Here’s a bit more on Susan’s trip, principally for Susan herself. I hope it will bring happy memories.
We collected Susan and Dave from Kendal, on our way home from Ingleton, and whilst Dave returned home to work, Susan spent four days with us, visiting several local landmarks during the course of her stay.
There’s a slide show (57 images) here, covering the whole trip.
Monday 26 October - Shutlingsloe
Dave had to return to Birmingham, so it was convenient to drop him at Macclesfield en route to the Peak District.
I reported briefly here by way of a piccie on the summit of Shutlingsloe – the Matterhorn of the Peak District. Given the view from the summit (uniformly grey), it may just as well have been the Matterhorn!
The mist had however provided a bit of atmosphere as we strolled up to the tree line in Macclesfield Forest.
We bumped into Helen and Richard on the summit of Shutlingsloe and they rejoined us whilst we dallied at this pretty spot in Wildboarclough.
We chatted with them, on and off, all the way to beyond the Hanging Gate near Langley.
It was a great struggle to walk past this, beyond which the Gritstone Trail transported us neatly outside the Leather’s Smithy.
For some reason (perhaps we were muddy) we went past this as well. I fear some readers will be less than impressed.
Anyway, I can assure you that we returned safely to Sue, and that the wine flowed, with a good meal, that Monday night.
Here’s our route – 11 km, with 500 metres ascent, taking around 3 hours.
Tuesday 27 October – Snowdon
Susan had never visited Snowdonia, so I had the Snowdon Horseshoe in mind by way of a gentle introduction.
I have already reported briefly on this day out, here.
Despite an early start, when we reached Pen-y-pass at 9.15 am we just missed the last legitimate parking space. Others had no conscience about placing their small cars in the large spaces allocated to minibuses, but Susan and I drove back down the road and parked in the lay-by on the main road by Pen-y-Gwryd Hotel.
Some of the resultant savings were utilised on coffee and cake at the café, once we had strolled back up the road.
The beauty of the Snowdon Horseshoe is that, being a short walk, there are no real time pressures, even in winter.
So it was 10.15 by the time we joined the procession of folk who were filing up the Pyg Track.
[Note to self - ‘start earlier to avoid the crowds’.]
It was quite breezy, with cloud on the tops, so reluctantly we decided to miss out Crib Goch and head easily up the Pyg Track in good weather below the cloud. It was a pleasant morning’s walk, with only the very summit of the mountain in the murk.
It was my first visit to the new café. Folk were crouching outside with their butties, only food bought on the premises being allowed to be consumed indoors. It was 12.15. Should we enjoy our lunch outside, or buy a drink inside? The decision was made for us. The serving hatches lowered their shutters at 12.20. It was too windy for the supply train to run, and supplies were exhausted. We were free to enjoy our packed lunch and flask of tea in the warmth of the café.
Heading on around the Horseshoe we descended steeply towards the Watkin Path, soon emerging from the mist.
By the time we reached Bwlch Ciliau we enjoyed wide ranging views to the coast and down to Llyn Llydaw to the north east (below).
We strolled along Y Lliwedd, keeping religiously to the ridge, together with a young family. The children were clearly loving the easy scrambling.
Care was needed on the descent – both Susan and I fell on the greasy rocks, but injuries were avoided and once near the foot of the slope we enjoyed the dregs from the flask before strolling back down to the car.
As is often the case on this walk, the mountains cleared of cloud in the afternoon and Susan was at least able to get a good view of the summits, so she could see a little of what she had missed on Crib Goch.
We finished at 4.15, having enjoyed a leisurely 12 km with 1090 metres ascent in around 6 hours.
Our route is shown above. It’s quite easy really, as long as you know where to turn east at point 4. Having said that, we did encounter two lads at the northern end of Y Lliwedd who had mistakenly descended by the Miners Track, when their car was parked at the end of the Watkin Path! They should just about have made it over Y Lliwedd and back to their car before dark (I bet they didn’t have torches).
Wednesday 28 October – Arnside Knott
The Arnside/Silverdale area, just north of Lancaster, is one of my favourite spots. Most of our overseas visitors finish up here, in this area of lakes, marshes, woodland, sea shore, limestone pavements and low hills.
I’ve previously mentioned this particular visit, here. We started with a coffee in the Leighton Moss RSPB café, before strolling down to the public hide, past a group with powerful telescopes looking for bearded tits.
My little camera was totally inadequate, as you can surmise from the slideshow, but during our short stay in the hide, and with the help of a kindly bird watcher and his telescope, we did spot the following:
and elsewhere on our walk, these birds were in evidence:
and many more unidentified estuary and woodland species.
These short lists rather expose our lack of observation skills in this area, but I have reiterated these positive IDs for Susan’s benefit.
Continuing over a golf course and through a mixed terrain of fields and woodland, we rose eventually to the 159 metre summit of Arnside Knott. Sitting on a bench with an elderly couple, they confirmed what we could see to the north:
“Torrential rain and a huge traffic jam in Ambleside”, they pronounced, “so we’ve escaped to this spot. Isn’t it wonderful.”
Well, it was overcast but fine – not a bad day for late October.
A few metres from the bench, this distinctive but long deceased tree, knotted in Victorian times, is always a good spot for a posed picture.
Down the other side of the hill, at Far Arnside, Susan appears to be staring at a wall, whilst I regretted not knowing where Mark (Beating the Bounds – essential reading for those who appreciate this part of the world) lives. It would have been good to meet him.
Instead, we strolled along the beach to Silverdale, past autumn leaves, to the Wolf House Gallery, much changed since the days of Ted and Denise, but still a good place to linger. Today it was warm enough to stay outside amongst the many families who were enjoying a day out on their half-term holidays.
On we strolled, past Jack Scout and Jenny Brown’s Point to reach the Smelt Mill Chimney and round the estuary to turn our backs on sunlit Morecambe Bay and return past Heald Brow to a minor road that took us easily back to the bird reserve.
Here’s our route – 17 km, with 350 metres ascent, in a leisurely 6 hours. There are endless variations and permutations to this – given the numerous footpaths you can make walks around here as long or short as you wish. Silverdale Beach (point 11) is a good alternative start and finish point.
Thursday 29 October – Dunham Massey
For Susan’s last day in the UK, we chose a venue where Sue could join us. So after Susan had strolled into Altrincham and explored our local ‘facilities’, we took the 10 minute drive to Dunham Massey and enjoyed pottering around the grounds and the gardens.
I reported earlier, here.
The beech leaves are a lovely coppery colour just now, and when the sun shines, it’s still quite summery.
Then it was a walk back home along the Bridgewater Canal (featured heavily elsewhere on these pages!) before adjourning for a Market Gardener’s Pie at Hale Towers, with Al, Hazel, Andrew, Kate and Fiona.
A very pleasant evening.
Then Susan went home…. We do hope you enjoyed your visit; we certainly enjoyed having you to stay. And there were some excellent days out….
Here, again, is the link to the slideshow.