Martin in Gatineau Park

Martin in Gatineau Park

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Friday 13 June 2008 - 20/20 Cricket

Old Trafford filled up tonight for the type of cricket I’ve been playing after work for over 30 years. It was a shame that the New Zealanders were unable to compete, but the sun shone and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Andrew and I glanced across to the nearby suits of my former employers (he is still a client) and we were happy to be able to enjoy the game [it was a game, not a contest] without the need to make small talk with the inevitable guest or host who really doesn’t want to be there.

Thank you Richard for organising the tickets, and sorry Chris - didn't get a chance to chat to you - never mind!

(I apologise to readers who don’t understand cricket. There are far better pages than these to learn about the game. Suffice to say that in footballing terms the score was England 9, New Zealand 1)

Friday, 13 June 2008

Thursday 12 June 2008 - Bursting Hedgerows

Amongst all the colour in the local hedgerows just now, the bright white swathes of ox-eye daisies are currently the dominant feature along the disused railway line that links Altrincham and Lymm.

Wednesday 11 June 2008 - It’s a Duck’s Life

Here are two of Timperley’s resident mallard families, enjoying the sunny afternoon.


Tuesday 10 June 2008 - Notchy’s Trek to the Deeper Parts of Mid-Cheshire

Tonight’s walk had been planned for some time. And Notchy always puts his walks through a dry run.
So, when Richard, Jenny, Sue and I arrived at the Bird in Hand, half an hour early, we expected our leader to be ensconced over a pint of Best with the route memorised and not a map in sight.
He wasn’t there!
We supped in the sun and our intrepid guide duly arrived.
He placed a GPS and map on the table and ordered a ‘half’.
Something was wrong.
‘I...I haven’t had time…’ he announced gloomily.
‘It’s OK, you’re amongst friends’ we responded in unison, ‘and anyway, none of the rest of us recce our walks in advance’.
Then Notchy went pale.
Three more people had turned up.
‘Hello Anne’
‘Hello Sheila’
‘This is Ros’ said Sheila, ‘My next door neighbour’.


Notchy felt a turn coming on.
Last time strangers had turned up on one of his walks they had been secondees from Manilla to a local firm for whom Roger works. Roger had arrived on that occasion with half his office in tow, and Notchy had orchestrated a splendid guided walk, adapted on the hoof to take account of the fact that the lads from Manilla had possibly never walked as far (6-8 km) in their lives.
‘The air in Manilla is too polluted to walk’ they said ‘but the air in Manchester is wonderful’.

Well I never!

Tonight there were no real time pressures, as it wouldn’t be dark until after ten. Just as well, I thought, as the group moved slowly off, Notchy’s GPS indicating that our route commenced over the roof of the house next to the pub!

The route we actually took is shown below.


It was largely an amble through fields and down lanes. All conducted at a slow pace due to chatting and ambling (as opposed to ‘proper walking!’), but also due to the time it took to get eight people over the stiles liberally dotted around the route.


Here Sheila remonstrates with our illustrious leader on a particularly important point of order.

Had Notchy deliberately chosen an obstacle course? Perhaps not, I concluded, as he cursed the farmers for concealing the paths in their fields, and the local council for not bothering to look after their Rights of Way, one of which was even blocked by electric gates, with a stile clearly visible beyond them!
Luckily the ground was dry, but the nettles have recently flourished and were in fine fettle, happily penetrating everyone’s clothing.
Someone had planted some trees in the middle of a path linking two stiles that were about 10 metres apart!
At least the horses that crowded around us at frequent intervals were not the least bit threatening. They were a lazy lot, having made no impression on the high vegetation through which we had to battle.

At least this field was easy enough to negotiate...

It was a lovely warm summery evening, with few insects and a lovely sunset and lots of time to chat about ventures past and future – Mallorca, the Lakes, Pembroke, Devon, Cornwall, Peru – everyone had a tale to tell and another to anticipate.
The sun gradually disappeared off for a rest, leaving some nice colours in its wake.

All this chatting and exercising was rounded off with a quaff around a sturdy old table in the pleasant surroundings of the Bird in Hand, to which Notchy’s wonderful homing device eventually returned us after about 9 km and 2½ hours.

Thank you, Andrew, for your sterling efforts and your unfailing attention to the map.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Saturday 31 May to Saturday 7 June 2008 - Ravenglass to Dalston - Index

This page summarises our Lake District backpacking trip in 2008.

Our web page, giving full details of the actual route, and some additional panoramic images, is here.

The trip was 'blogged' as we went along, with numerous additional images added later.

The entire blog can be viewed here. You will need to click on 'older posts' and go to the bottom of the page to start at the beginning, or you can select individual days from the index below:

Day 1 - Ravenglass to Eskdale - Deepest Summer
Day 2 - Eskdale to Wasdale - A Sca Fell Day
Day 3 - Wasdale to Black Sail - Through the Mist
Day 4 - Black Sail to Buttermere - A Cream Tea Day
Day 5 - Buttermere to Byersteads - A Fine Lakeland Day
Day 6 - Byersteads to Dubwath - Low Level Heaven
Day 7 - Dubwath to Caldbeck - Whoosh!
Day 8 - Caldbeck to Dalston - The Home Run

If you try this route you will realise that it can be varied considerably, depending upon the ambitions of the party.

We would have stayed at Skiddaw House and walked up Skiddaw had Skiddaw House YHA not been full.

I am happy to answer any questions or queries anyone may have.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Saturday 7 June 2008 – The Home Run – Village Pub to Dalston Station

Distance - 16 km
Ascent - 160 metres
Time - 5 hours 15 mins including 1 hour 30 mins stops

It turned out to be a quiet night in our bijou room at The Oddfellows Arms, apart from a very vociferous dawn chorus.

Tea was served by Notchy before 7.30, just as we were coming to life for this short final day to Dalston. Wow, tea served in bed at a B&B!

An adequate breakfast fuelled us for our stroll. Today only four of us would be finishing the walk, as Sue and David were travelling to Langdale to continue their holiday. They were not in a hurry. Their bus left at 10 am, but much scratching of heads was going on as to where to catch it. Apparently there is no bus stop in Caldbeck, and there are only buses to Keswick and beyond on Saturday mornings. There are in fact two buses, leaving in opposite directions, so no-one knew where to catch them from.
‘Everyone here has a car’ was the uniform response.
We left S&D with their conundrum as we wandered out of this idyllic village at 9 am, chatting as we went to a friendly local returning home from the newsagent.

There had been rain overnight and the paths in Parson’s Park (a wood) were slithery. The air was thick with the scent of garlic from lush beds of ramsons.

The Health and Safety men had been checking this wood, and a sign warned of a landslide that maybe will occur within the next millennium, but there is clearly no immediate risk – what a waste of effort!

We entered a field of freshly cropped grass. A Nissan Micra flew through the grass. Joy riders? No, it was just the farmer checking the dampness of the grass and wondering whether it could be gathered today.

At Sebergham someone had made a good stab at demolishing the old bridge over the River Caldew. Much of the parapet had been pushed into the river, but there was no sign of the offending vehicle.

Sebergham Hall was apparently deserted, but well-kept and very private looking.

Our final brew up of the trip was on a grassy bank by the river near Holm House. Sand martins and grey wagtails were active here. A heron patrolled the river nearby, and a buzzard circled threateningly in the distance. Small white flowers – not water lilies - graced the surface of the slow flowing river.

Today our route followed the course of the Cumbria Way – a long distance footpath coursing through the Lake District by taking the least line of resistance (ie not over the tops).

After our brew stop we encountered two chaps who had also been in the pub last night.
‘Are you walking the Cumbria Way?’ asked Sue.
‘Yes, are you?’ one of them replied.
‘No, our route coincides with the Cumbria Way for this last section, but we prefer to go over the tops, so that route is really a bit flat for us.’
‘Oh, perhaps we won’t do the Cumbria Way, then!’ He ended the conversation leaving us puzzled as to what they were actually doing…

By the time we reached Rose Bridge, where the river banks were lined by dame's violet, the shrill cries of oyster catchers were being heard for the first time on this walk. Rose Castle looked impressive on the hillside above us.

A Redspearlands Footpath Group brochure sat lonely in a box fastened to a stile. We read about this local walking group and replaced the brochure before continuing along field paths.

A horse galloped past.

Then we entered the rhododendron strewn grounds of Hawksdale Hall, and passed the smart buildings of Lime House School.

Approaching Bridge End we noticed that we were on a ‘Reivers Off Road’ cycling route. We have encountered these routes a few times over the past couple of days.

The Bridge End Inn was bathed in sunshine and provided an excellent venue for our alfresco lunch, after which an easy path past an old mill (now owned by Cowens) led us to Dalston and the train back to Ravenglass on another sunny afternoon.

Here's today's route.

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