Martin in Gatineau Park

Martin in Gatineau Park

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Saturday 8 August 2009 – Lymm, Oughtrington, and St Peter’s Church

Today Sue and I wandered briefly under a grey sky, along a route similar to the one taken by me on 24 March this year.

Since then we had been contacted by Gary, from Boston – Massachusetts – whose forebears, including his grandfather, had been baptized at St Peter’s around 1884 before emigrating to the New World.

Whilst St Peter’s does have a website, there are no images of the interior, and Gary would like a picture of the Baptismal Font.

Sadly, the church was well and truly locked up today, so it looks as if we’ll have to revisit it on a Sunday morning after a service.

In the meantime, just to keep things warm for Gary, and show him some of the scenery his ancestors would have enjoyed, here are a few images.

Firstly, on the pleasant approach down a footpath from Lymm, the church comes into view beyond a field of grain.  In the far distance, 25 miles away, are the Pennine Moors that rise to 2000 feet or more above Glossop and Mossley.  In the centre of the picture below you can just make out the outline of the Beetham Tower.  Gary’s grandfather would never have seen this – completed in 2006 at a cost of £150 million, it is the highest building in Manchester, the tallest residential building in Europe and the 7th tallest building in England with over 525,000 square feet of space. It’s 169 metres high and has a total of 47 floors.  No wonder it’s visible from here!

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As we get closer, the church becomes nicely framed by a canopy of foliage from the trees that line the path.

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The graveyard is still very much in use.  I presume that the closeness of these recent memorials reflects a preference for cremation.

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Some eminent people have their final resting place here.

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Today the spire towered high above us into the greyness.

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In the early part of the last century some tombstones were rather more ornate than in modern times.

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Moving on, the Bridgewater Canal, opened in 1761, is still (as mentioned in previous postings) going strong.  Here’s today’s view from the bridge in the centre of Lymm.

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From the same spot, the Bulls Head looks in fine fettle.  I go back some way with members of the Hyde family, and it’s great to see that their local family brewery is still going strong.

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We finished today’s 5 km amble with a circuit of Lymm’s small lake, Lymm Dam.  From here there’s a good view of St Mary’s Church.

One day I’ll get an acceptable picture across the lake to the church, but to date I’ve been unable to make that happen.  This is the best I can manage.

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We certainly didn’t expect to find the cormorant I saw back in March still in residence, but it appears to have made its home here.

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Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Friday 7 August 2009 – An Italian Meal

It is a tradition that the Famous Five (including very much alive and well ‘Notchy’/Andrew) enjoy a meal subsequent to our adventures, based on the cuisine of the adventure (in this instance our fare in the Maritime Alps).  Rosemary joins us in order to adjudicate on any disagreements and snooze through the slide show, and Lucy (asleep upstairs) is our current mascot.

Here, I am being rebuked for flippant behaviour with a camera whilst I should have been recharging glasses.

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Tut Tut

The meal was largely courtesy of Jamie Oliver’s ‘How to Cook an Italian Meal in Ten Minutes’ tome, and some may say the Menu looked more impressive than the actual dishes.

However, we learnt how to skin squid, and the tuna was absolutely delicious.

And the glasses were frequently replenished – they just seemed to empty themselves very quickly.

Here’s the published (but not exhaustive) Menu:

Un pasto delle alpi marittime

7 agosto 2009

19,30 per 20,00 alla Via Balmoral

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PRIMI
peperoni cotti al forno con aglio
calamari alla griglia
frittata di spinaci

SECONDI
le migliori polpette di tonno
linguine con olio di oliva

CONTORNI
ricotta tipica per verdure verdi

DOLCI
bustrengo

caffè e cioccolatini

clip_image004 BUON APPETITO clip_image004[1]

You may detect that this posting is via Windows Live Writer, for which I have to thank a Weird genius of the IT industry.  Thanks, WD.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Thursday 6 August 2009 - An Evening Walk to Brabyns Park Iron Bridge

Tonight we met Andrew and Graham at the Midland in Marple Bridge, for a favourite short walk of mine, reported on previously on 20 March 2008. Doesn't time fly!

After a swift half of Landlord's we strolled up to the Peak Forest Canal via an overgrown path at the rear of the tennis club. Even at 8 pm the canal was busy - if not well lit, as you can see from the blurred image, with canal boats feverishly trying to negotiate the long system of 16 locks before nightfall, albeit there was a full moon tonight.

After all the recent rain, the place was positively verdant, with ragwort sprouting at will, and great banks of Himalayan Balsam - a plant ubiquitous to river banks at this time of year, introduced like Rhododendron from deepest Asia and now flourishing at the expense of our native species.


We wandered slowly down the towpath to reach the Aquaduct, opened in 1800 as home to the canal some 100 feet above the River Goyt. An impressive feat of engineering. Tonight we rather surprised some kayakers on the Goyt by returning their echoey shouts into the dusk.
Beyond the aquaduct we dropped down to the river, under the arches, and along the farm path that rejoins the Goyt by a small sewage farm. A few dog walkers were still about despite the late hour.

Emerging at Compstall we strolled past the George and turned right down the lane to Brabyns Park. On my last visit the bridge over the River Goyt had been closed for restoration, barring entry to the park at this point. It's a cast iron structure built in 1813 (34 years after Telford's iconic bridge over the River Severn at Coalbrookdale). It was the only one built by Salford Iron works, and is the only surviving bridge of its type in the north west of England.

We admired the handiwork of the restorers, whilst regretting that the cottage beside the bridge is now unoccupied and boarded up.


By now the sun had departed, so we ambled on through Brabyns Park for more refreshment at the Midland.

A very pleasant evening stroll - 5 km in an amiable hour and a half.

All are welcome on these short excursions - see here for details.

Wednesday 5 August 2009 - An Edale Circuit

My companions for today's walk were brother and sister, Steve and Viv, stalwarts of the TGO Challenge, and Long Distance Walkers extraordinaire. They are training for next month's 56 mile Bullock Smithy Hike, and are plotting to complete their 5th hundred miler in May next year. Today they had me to hold them back, and were surprised how long it took (just over 8 hours) to complete the 27 km route.

It's just an hour in summer traffic, from Timperley to a convenient layby at the foot of Rushup Edge. So soon after 9 am we were dashing up that Edge, heading in the direction of Mam Tor and Lose Hill, which is pictured above, behind Steve's left ear.

The weather was disappointing, Heather (the weather) having informed us on breakfast TV that today would be one of blue skies. The reality was a uniform greyness, with occasional mizzle, until the sun finally crept out in mid-afternoon.

Our route took us over Mam Tor and Lose Hill, past many others enjoying the popular Peak District haunts - pensioners, ramblers, families with young children, as well as groups of jolly teenagers - all and sundry, in fact.

A descent to Hope found us crossing a saggy railway bridge before ascending past Twitchill Farm to the 462 metre summit of Win Hill, where I demonstrated to Steve and Viv 'how the other half live'. They showed signs of jealousy as they tucked into jam butties whilst mocking my smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwich.

Here they are, heading off Win Hill, in the direction of Lose Hill and Edale.

It's a pleasant tramp along an easy ridge with good views, to Hope Cross, where I posed beside this ancient guide post on the route linking Hope with Glossop.

A few metres further, and we turned left down the bridleway to cross Jaggers Clough, with good views towards Lose Hill, Mam Tor and Lord's Seat.

We stopped for afternoon tea just beyond the Clough, with its usual complement of polite mountain bikers (it's an excellent MTB trail). The Pacerpole camera attachment again did its stuff. I'm glad I bought that item.

It's a delightful path that leads past the Youth Hostel and a variety of picturesque holiday cottages, emerging at this famous establishment, The Old Nags Head - opened in 1577, from which many an aspirant Pennine Way walker has stumbled, over the years.

Heading along the Pennine Way route to Upper Booth, the sun finally appeared, and as we strolled along thin paths to the south, heading directly for the upper reaches of Chapel Gate, the views back down the Vale of Edale became noticeably brighter.

By soon after 5 pm we had joined the Chapel Gate track, passed the time with some other (rather muddier from the bogs leading from Brown Knoll) walkers, and strolled back down the rocky sunken path to the layby below Rushup Edge.

An excellent day out, followed by an easy drive home.

Here's an overview of the route - 27 km, 1150 metres ascent, taking around 8 hours including an hour of breaks.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

1 to 3 August 2009 – A Short Walk Across Wales

This posting serves as an index to earlier postings made as the walk took place, and as a brief route description for others who may wish to follow in our footsteps along the route, which is based on that used on the annual 'Across Wales' challenge walk.

There's also a slideshow from our walk - here.

Day 1: Anchor Bridge to Llanidloes – 27 km, 800 metres ascent, approx 9 hours.

Blog Postings
Martin's:
An Across Wales Walk
Testing the Pacerpole Camera Mount
Saturday 1 August 2009 - A Walk Across Wales - Day 1 - Anchor Bridge to Disco Heaven (A Camp Site at Llanidloes)
Gayle's:
Across Wales Day 1 - Elevenses
AWW Day 1 Arrival
AWW Day 1 (report)

Route Details
If you don’t have mapping software you’ll need Landranger map numbers 136 and 135, or Explorer map numbers 214 and 213.

The Route Description for the annual 'Across Wales Walk' is to be found here. We adapted that route slightly, and that adaptation is set out below.

The numbering follows that on the route overview below.

1. Start from Anchor Bridge (SO 173 855); the nearest railway station is Newtown, to which you could return from Aberystwyth after finishing the walk, and we noticed a free car park in nearby Kerry.
Take the lane north to Kerry Pole, where a left turn opposite another lane takes you easily along Kerry Ridgeway for 5 km to Two Tumps.

2
. An orientation point indicates that there are extensive views. You may see them if the cloud isn’t down. Leave this path via a right turn at SO 115 849, 300 metres after Two Tumps.
Follow the path/posts down to a wood where you bear NW to reach the B4355 road at Black Gate.
Cross the road and follow a track W for 600 metres until just after a gate and sheepfold you turn right, north, uphill with a copse on your right.
Descend to a gate and turn left down a track that leads to the A483.

3
. We ‘fumbled’ the next bit. Turn left along the road, leaving it to the right, opposite Glog Farm. Go down the hill and try to keep right of the thin wood that fills a ravine.
Keep as close to the wood as possible, eventually entering it to descend steeply, emerging at a track where you turn left over a ‘causeway’.
[We went to the left of the wood and got ‘trapped’ at the bottom of a field where low barbed fences allowed us to escape through a shallow gully to reach the ‘causeway’.]
Continue left, over the highest point of the field, to a gate, whence a path leads across a footbridge, reaching a metalled lane.
Turn right, then after 150 metres take a path up a bank to the left.
Ascend to a gate in the middle of the facing hedge, then bear right to ascend to a stile in the corner of the field.
Go on to another stile to the right of some farm buildings before descending to a road at SO 077 861.

4
. Go left up the road, bearing right at a fork and continuing to a T-junction at SO 069 864 after 1km.
Go through gate and bear left to gate, then follow track, crossing stile to the left of a wood yard, following the path right, down a grassy bank to cross ditch and fence before passing across a field to the left of two oak trees to the edge of woods.
Follow path through the woods, crossing footbridge over Mochdre Brook.
Climb steep bank keeping muddy gully to the right, and continue NW to a gate at the left side of a black and white house (Penthryn) at SO 061 867.
Turn right along the track in front of the house, after a few metres turning left up a road for about 1km to a T-junction at SO 052 872 where a left turn leads up to a col with fine views east.
On approaching the ‘col’, bear left and go through a gate after 20 metres, beyond which a track leads west near the left bank of a stream (a path is marked on the map to the right of the stream, but appeared overgrown to us).
Join a lane that leads down to the pretty village of Llandinam. (No shops open on a Saturday.)

5. Turn right onto to A470 then left after 250 metres, by a statue of David Davies, across the River Severn, immediately beyond which is a fine picnic spot on the right.
After 350 metres, where the road goes right, turn left to Troedyrniew, where a track goes to the right of the house and rises through bracken.
Follow the indistinct path uphill (several options) to the top of the gully and on to an indistinct old gateway where the bracken ends (this may be to your left if you emerge early from the bracken.
Skirt left of a thistly domed field, then head half right to a gate at the edge of a wood with a fallen tree.
Take path through wood, continuing uphill to farm track at SO 017 881.
At track junction join the Severn Way by turning right into a field. Now follow the Severn Way, continuing along the marked path, through a wood, joining a tarmac road at SO 005 875.
At a T-junction turn left towards Gwastadcoed, then in 30 metres turn right onto a muddy bridleway.
Descend to gate in lower right-hand corner.
A track now leads on to join a road at Wigdwr farm. Continue west to a junction with a grassy ‘island’ at SN 987 863.

6. Go straight on up the lane heading roughly SW, following it around a loop to Bont-newydd, leaving the Severn Way in favour of the track leading to that farm, before which a stile leads you across a field directly to the north of the farm.
This path continues west, passing to the south of the next farm, Morfodion, before leading to the camp site (7) at Dol-llys (Llanidloes), SN 962 857.
[We were forced, by a cow that had just given birth, to take a route through a field, to enter the camp site by climbing a barbed fence at a water trough – the actual path went to our right.]


Day 2: Llanidloes to Maesnant Valley – 26 km, 1200 metres ascent, approx 10 hours.

Blog Postings

Martin's:
Sunday Morning - Bright and Early
Sunday Lunch at Hafren
Mick and Gayle make it to the summit of Plynlimon
Home for the Night
Sunday 2 August 2009 - A Walk Across Wales - Day 2 - Llanidloes to Soft and Hard Camp (A Wild Camp below Plynlimon - see previous posting)
Gayle's:
AWW Day 2 - Luncheon
AWW Day 2 (report 1)
AWW Day 2
(report 2)

Route Details
1. Turn left out of the camp site towards Llanidloes, taking a sharp right turn at the junction with the B4569 road.
Continue up this road, where there is an option to take a brief excursion through woods to the left before rejoining the road at a sharp right-hand bend. Here, go left up the lane to Penrallt, where immediately after the buildings you turn right down a waymarked track.
After 250 metres leave the track at SN 955 862.

2. Turn left along Glyndŵr's Way. Follow the path, with the hedge on the left, to a gate, then descend to the left of an Opel Manta, with a wood on the left, to cross a stile.
Good views to Y Fan and beyond.
Bear right across a field to join a lane via a gate in the lower right-hand corner.
Turn right along the lane for 100 metres before taking the footpath left, to descend through fields to another lane at SN 951 871.
Cross the road and head up the lane towards Garth Farm. After 250 metres turn right up a steep bracken bank at the edge of a small wood. Continue up this path, past a small quarry on the left, to enter a field at SN 945 872.
Carry on in the same direction, taking a fainter lower path after 100 metres, contouring around Garth Hill to a green lane bounded by trees.
After a gate, continue to follow Glyndŵr's Way as it heads left across a field, then right along field edges, before pointlessly progressing alongside a perfectly walkable driveway to Pen-y-banc.
Turn right onto the B4518 and reach a road junction after a few metres at SN 931 868.

3. Continue along the B4518 for about 400 metres, rising around the eastern side of Penwar hill, before turning left down a surfaced farm road towards Bryntail. Follow the waymarked path to the north of the farm and on towards the impressive Llyn Clywedog Reservoir dam, at 72 metres high, the tallest concrete dam in Britain. You can skirt to the right, or do as we did and drop down through the woods to emerge at the site of a lead mine and picnic site with a fine view of the dam.
It's worth taking a breather here, as the next section is tricky.
Go over the bridge and turn right up to the car park, then up the access road to a junction. Turn right here, to ascend gently for about 200 metres to a point where the road bears to the right. On this corner a faint path through bracken leads west to enter a field, after 20 metres, over a barbed fence. From there, head up another 20 metres to a gate, beyond which a faint path leads south. Do not follow this path more than a few metres. Instead, head on up the slope for another 30 metres or so to join a thin path contouring left.
Traverse carefully, past SN 910 863, through deep bracken, taking care to keep feet on the path, as there is a precipitous drop to the left.
This will be slow.
After a while the precipice lessens and the path slowly descends to join a sunken lane just beyond a derelict building on the left. The worst is over!
Continue ahead, passing to the left of a gorse topped spoil heap at SN 906 864.
Cross a stream to pass between the game feed sheds and pheasant pens of Aberdaunant Shoot to a gate, beyond which only the foolhardy would cross the stream using a bridge made from crash barriers. A footbridge to their right is recommended.
Ascend on a path heading south of west, progressively climbing out of the valley until, at the top, a gate leads to flat ground and a road junction at SN 896 860.
Cross a cattle grid and turn SW down the track to Brithdir and its swarm of small dogs.
Continue down gated track to reach road at SN 885 855.

4. Follow the road for 3.3 km to Hafren Picnic Site (benches, toilets, finely cut grass).

5. There are several routes up Plynlimon (Pumlumon Fawr). We went near the source of the River Wye; you could go via the source of the River Severn, a slightly longer route but with more paths.
Leave the picnic site under the archway and take the left-hand path to join the bright red 'Cascades Trail' boardwalk.
Continue beyond the end of the boardwalk, after some distance passing a small covered picnic area. Soon after this the path heads to the right, beside the infant River Severn. Continue up there if you wish to visit the source of the Severn. But our route crossed the first bridge - after about 200 metres - and doubled back left, following the 'Wye Valley Walk' and rejoining the (true*) left bank of the river, continuing gently upwards and eventually reaching a T-junction with a forest road.
Turn left, following posts with the 'Wye Valley Walk' emblem to another junction at SN 832 867, where a sharp right turn on the forest road leads up to a loop that takes you north then briefly south, to a gate at the forest boundary.
Continue for about 400 metres to the highest point on the track, just before a right-hand bend, at SN 826 865.
From here take a bearing of 303° (magnetically adjusted), and ascend steadily for 2 km, with good retrospective views and the infant Wye to your left, to reach a boundary fence at or near its low point (SN 809 873 - 675 metres) to the west of Pumlumon Arwystli. [Those visiting the source of the River Severn will rejoin our route here.]

6. Follow the boundary fence in a westerly direction, crossing it to reach a pristine looking boundary stone marked '1865'. Continue to a cairn at SN 799 871, now with a view towards Plynlimon's summit.
Continue in a westerly direction, to the left of a fence, down then up, to reach the summit of Plynlimon, at 752 metres the highest point of the walk and an excellent viewpoint.

7. From the trig point head north for 200 metres to a large cairn, then bear left to a smaller cairn from with a descent north leads to a col at SN 788 873.
Take a sheep track skirting to the left of reeds, then head west, on the right bank of the Maesnant. You could select a camping spot here, but we continued down to camp beside a vehicle track at SN 777 877 (8).


Day 3: Maesnant Valley to Aberystwyth – 27 km, 600 metres ascent, approx 8.5 hours.

Blog Postings
Martin's:
Monday Morning - Back in Contact
No Further to Go
Monday 3 August 2009 - A Walk Across Wales - Day 3 - Maesnant Valley to Aberystwyth
Gayle's:
AWW Success
AWW Day 3 (report)

Route Details
1. Turn left down the vehicle track and descend to the minor road by Nant-y-moch Reservoir, cutting off the last corner to descent directly to the road.

2. Turn left along this road for about 2 km to reach the impressive dam, built in 1964, which according to the information boards flooded many antiquities and drowned many historic relics.

3
. Continue over the dam, past a convenient gents toilet cubicle (see here) and on for about 3.5 km to leave the road along a track to the left at a bend in the road at SN 736 867. (You could take an alternative route through the forest here.)
Continue along the track, turning right at a T-junction then descending to cross a ford (Nant Melyn) at SN 729 864.
Follow a bearing of 250° mag along the north side of Llyn Craigypistyll on a reasonable path.
On reaching a dam the best route is probably to continue along this path to cross the screes of Craig y Pistyll, keeping the stream to the left. We chose to avoid the screes by crossing the outflow from the dam over pipes about 30 metres below the outflow. We then followed a path traversing the left-hand side of the valley.
We continued through a gate to a firebreak in the forest to the left, descended the firebreak to just over half way down, taking a forest path to the right (marked by a prominent rock in the centre of the firebreak), past the front of a small farmhouse and down (right) to a footbridge which led to the path coming down from the screes.
Continue down the valley, passing on the left side of old mine workings then below the fine looking farmhouse at Llawr-y-cwm-Bach. On reaching a gate at SN 701 856, leave the track in favour of fields (as indicated by the waymark on the gate) heading towards a wind farm on the horizon.
Rejoin the track and pass above Llanerchclwydau before descending to the hamlet of Bont-goch.

4. Turn left along the road through the village, past a house with a graveyard for a garden, and past a plaque commemorating the birthplace of Dafydd Gwilym - poet.
Keep left here and shortly continue on across another junction to a gated road along which you carry straight on down a hill and past lovely woods, through Broginin and on to Garth, turning right into Penrhyn-coch.
Beyond the church, turn left along the road to Aberystwyth, soon passing a picnic site at Gogerddan - an excellent spot for lunch.
Continue to turn right down a lane, shortly before reaching the A4159 road. Cross that road and pass experimental vegetable patches and inflating scarecrows to reach a wood.
Follow the path through the wood and right, to reach the main A487 road under a railway bridge.
Turn left under the bridge then follow a track to the right until it approaches farm buildings. Turn left up the field and follow a rising path in a SW direction to the right of a small hill, dropping down to a lane that leads up to the B4572 road.
Turn left and head past a campsite almost all the way to the A487, turning 1st right along a track that rises to a good viewpoint. This is the last hill!
Turn left at the T-junction and after a few metres take a path to the left that follows a hedge on the left-hand boundary of the golf course. Follow this pretty path into woodland and find your way down to the sea front - we took a convoluted route down steps to the left, along a road to descend a ginnel to the right, then right into the town centre and on to the beach (5), and its associated 'fleshpots'.

I've not attempted to illustrate this particular posting, partly because of difficulties with Windows Live Writer - it has stopped working on our desktop computer - it won't reinstall - it just comes up with this single obstinate message:
'Windows Live Writer has encountered a problem and needs to close. We are sorry for the inconvenience.'

Any ideas on how to resolve the problem would be appreciated!

But in any case I've spent time time compiling a slideshow, so you can take a pictorial journey along our route by clicking here for the slideshow.

There are of course many ways to skin a cat, and obviously many ways to reach the Welsh coast from Anchor Bridge, or wherever you happen to wish to start. This is just one route, and there is no reason to follow it blindly - it is not necessarily the best route!

Phew. That was a long one (in response to requests for 'route details') so I'll now be doing a few short postings in order to try to 'catch up' with last week's activities!

*left/right bank is always the river bank as you face down river, so even though we were walking up on the right-hand side of the river, we were on it's left bank, if you see what I mean.