Martin in Gatineau Park

Martin in Gatineau Park

Friday, 14 October 2011

Saturday 8 October 2011 – A Jog in the Park

Jake


“I’m doing a ‘Park Run’ on Saturday” announced Kate.  “Why don’t you come along, and Sue can look after Jake and Oscar.”

What Kate says goes, so I got the bar code that you need in order to participate in these 5km runs that are held all over the UK and beyond at 9am on Saturday mornings, and off we went.

The Oldham run is three and a half laps of an undulating circuit in Alexandra Park. 

Oscar kept a look out for his boss…

Oscar

…as she trundled past.

Kate

I didn’t really dress for the occasion - “Have you got some running kit under there?” questioned the Master of Ceremonies – a man from a shop called Sweatshop.  That didn’t bother me.  “I’m not a runner”, I admitted.

Martin

The jog did provide a voucher from Sweatshop and some good exercise, and the threat of being lapped by her dad did stimulate Kate into knocking a few minutes off her best time.  I think I’ll go again tomorrow, it was really rather fun.

Feel free to join in.

I’ll use this posting to insert further photos and results statistics in due course. 

Chopin in Manchester

Chopin - Deansgate, Manchester 
I couldn’t help but notice this rather fine statue near the junction of Brazennose Street and Deansgate last Friday, when I was pottering along on my way to lunch at the Old Grapes with a former colleague.

 Fryderyk Chopin

I though it was rather jolly.  Well done, those responsible.

Chopin - detail from the Deansgate sculpture

This link gives a fuller story – the statue was apparently unveiled on 16 September 2011.  Here’s an excerpt from a news bulletin at the time:

The 2.5 metre wide statue, a stylised bronze of the composer seated at the piano, was created by Polish sculptor, Robert Sobocinski. The bronze – the largest statue of Chopin outside Poland includes material dating from 1831, the year of the November Uprising by Poles against the Russian Empire.

“We are very proud to see this striking monument to one of Poland’s greatest sons here in the heart of one of Britain’s greatest cities, which has been home to many Poles over the years,” said Andrzej  Person, Chairman of the Polish Senate Committee for Migration and Polish Diaspora Abroad.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Thursday 6 October 2011 – The Salford Trail (Part 5) – a reprise

Marge and Steel

Today I was due to meet Reg and other East Lancs LDWA ‘Plodders’ for a reprise of the walk that we originally did on 21 July.

I travelled uneventfully by tram to Eccles, where Morrisons enabled supplies to be taken on for the rest of the day.  The number 67 bus then took me to the outskirts of Cadishead, where it suddenly shot off into a housing estate and terminated by a patch of grassland I recognised from Part 4 (SJ 703 018).  It was nearly 11 o’ clock, and as the LDWA always set off on time I jogged down to Glaze Brook and the ‘Marge and Steel’ roundabout (see above picture).

The sun was shining, but nobody was to be seen, and there were no cars in the lay-by, so I set off.  Cadishead Way is a long straight road.  There was no sign of anyone, so I went back to the roundabout.  Still no cars in the lay-by, and no sign of anyone.  I scrutinised the Marge and Steel plaque.

Marge and Steel - the plaque

11.15.  Set off again – I thought they must be way ahead by now, so I managed a fair pace.

The disused bridge over the ship canal was soon passed – the line continues in a remarkably short distance through Partington/Carrington to reach Timperley near Sinderland Brook and cross the Bridgewater Canal near our house.

Disused railway bridge over the Manchester Ship Canal

I wrote about this renovated Soap Works shunting engine in my previous report.

An old Soap Works shunting engine

The lush vegetation we saw in July has died back a bit, and the flowers have been replaced by berries.

Not so many flowers as in July

By the time I reached the Boat House the sun had gone in and it was drizzling.  There was no sign of Reg and his men, so I continued in pursuit.

The Boat House

After lunch beside the Ship Canal, the path beside the canal drew me towards the new City of Salford rugby stadium.  I wondered what it must have been like to stand in this spot a hundred years ago.

First sight of the City of Salford Stadium

The building work looks as if it’s progressing well.  The turf has been laid and there are some (practice/five-a-side?) pitches with synthetic surfaces beside the main stadium.

Stadium nearing completion?

On reaching the Bridgewater Canal I gave up my pursuit and decided to walk along the towpath to Stretford, rather than go to Salford Quays.  I found the view from the swing bridge over the Ship Canal quite impressive.

The Manchester Ship Canal and the M60 Motorway

The Bridgewater Canal flows happily over the Ship Canal.

The Bridgewater Canal crosses the Ship Canal

The Bridgewater Way is ‘work in progress’, but already some of the informative signs have been abused.

Graffiti

Approaching Stretford, I came across an impressive series of bridges.  The distant bridge is a footbridge over the Bridgewater Canal, where a spur to the right provides a link with the Rochdale Canal; then there are bridges for a disused railway line, the main Manchester to Warrington railway line, a footbridge near Trafford Park station, and a pipe, perhaps carrying water from the Lake District.

Canal Bridges

From here, a short stroll to Stretford found me a tram, and I was home by early afternoon.

Here’s my route – 17km in a bit more than 3 hours, with minimal ascent:

Meanwhile, Reg reported:

“Six Plodders braved the storms of yesterday to walk the 5th section of the Salford Trail.  Sheltered in the Ferryboat Inn (sic – it was the Boat House) for a while. The landlady felt sorry for us and let us eat our sandwiches in the pub while we sampled some of her excellent chips and coffee.  Further adventures involved scrumping apples and a tram ride from Media City.”

I was baffled…
…until I discovered that they had met at another lay-by 400 metres back along the road, and they had set off at 11.10, so I must have been just out of sight when they got to Cadishead Way.  I’d been ahead of them all the time.  And ahead of the ‘storms’ to which Reg refers!

The previous report on this walk is here, and an updated slideshow is here.

The walk had been specially arranged for one ‘R Norman’, an LDWA stalwart, who had called off at the last minute.  So there will be a third attempt at this route for his benefit.  I may be there – perhaps I’ll just sit in the Boat House Inn and wait, as R Norman is known to be incapable of walking past a pub.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Wednesday 5 October 2011 – A Curry Walk

“Fancy a Curry Walk?” asked JJ.

JJ on the Bridgewater Canal towpath in Timperley

I think that was a “Yes”.

We met on the towpath in Timperley at 10am, for a re-run of the walk we enjoyed on 16 February 2011.

After passing posh barges in Sale, Stretford’s water borne transport looked a little run down.

The Bridgewater Canal at Stretford

John’s brother Damian met us in Stretford.  He’s over here from Sydney, on his third visit in twenty years.  Here they are at the junction where the Bridgewater Canal heads off towards Eccles and our route to Manchester is beside the link with the Rochdale Canal.

John and Damian

Earlier in the year, orchids and water lilies flourish here, but today the colour in the hedgerow was provided mainly by Asters.

Aster, or Michaelmas Daisy?

The Australian tourist seemed fascinated.

Canalside sign

Beyond the football ground, the towpath changes to the other side of the canal, at the Throstle Nest Bridge in Old Trafford.

Throstle Nest Bridge - Old Trafford

There’s a Throstles Nest pub nearby.  It used to be my ‘local’.

Here’s the view towards Manchester from the bridge.

View towards Manchester from Throstle Nest Bridge

Nearer to ‘town’ I took a close-up picture of this freshly painted bridge, but have chosen the following image in preference, illustrating not only the finely decorated bridge, but its exhausted painter, an exercising office worker, a camera happy Australian tourist, a thirsty TGO Challenger, and some very old cobbles.

A newly painted bridge

Castlefield, backed by the Beetham Tower, always seems busy with boats, bridges, waterways and people.  It’s a vibrant spot that just a few years ago would have had the air of a desolate wasteland.

That’s Rick, on the bridge, passing the time with a local eccentric whilst waiting for us.  He would never miss a curry opportunity, even when not fit enough to complete the walk.

Castlefield

The area sports numerous ‘touches’ in support of city centre wildlife, here by way of inaccessible bird boxes under a very old railway bridge.

Birdboxes in Castlefield

After walking through Manchester’s centre, almost entirely beside the canal, our objective - ‘Rice + 3 Curries - £4.90’ - was finally reached.

This & That

15km in just over three hours. After lunch we adjourned to the ‘English Lounge’ for a beer.  Unfortunately there was no beer, so we went to the Shakespeare, where the Boddies was on tap but ‘off’ if you get my drift.  The Spitfire went down well, though!

Here’s the route: