Martin in Gatineau Park

Martin in Gatineau Park

Friday, 2 March 2012

Ten Days in Timperley

Above the Vale of Edale

Is it really ten days since I flew in to the greenery of Timperley?

Well, yes – and the only day walk I’ve been on is last week’s ‘plod’ from Abbey Village to Mellor.

But before I got back, whilst I was supporting Ken on his 51km skate-ski Loppet, Sue enjoyed a bimble in the Peak District, snapping Paul (above) taking in the sumptuous view over the Vale of Edale, and Jenny, Phil and Sue W on the unmistakable summit of Mam Tor. 

Mam Tor

Perhaps she’ll write about it one day!

Then, last weekend, she deserted me in favour of another little trip.

Snow and Mountains

Icelandic View

Icelandic waterfall

Reykjavik

Perhaps she’ll write about it one day!

Meanwhile, back in Timperley I’ve been enjoying the spring-like weather in between planning for this summer’s outings, with Sue strapped to her desk earning the means to pay for those outings, many of which are ‘hut to hut’, as opposed to backpacking with a tent, to satisfy the needs of her neck.

So this rather mundane entry is really for my mum, Dot, who fractured her femur on the night before we left for Canada.  Within a week or so she was back home after her second ‘half a hip replacement’ within twelve months.  Sadly however the joint is harbouring a bacterial infection, so after several visits to A&E she has now been readmitted for at least three weeks to be dosed with powerful antibiotics in an effort to subdue the infection.

Being away from her computer, she’ll receive a hard copy of this posting, and all those from our Canadian trip.

Here’s hoping for a speedy recovery.

Yesterday it was very spring-like in Manchester, as over the rest of the country according to my fellow bloggers.  It’s an excellent time of year for bird watching, and as I pedaled down the course of the old Warrington and Stockport railway, closed in the 1960’s but retained as a valuable recreational resource, it was a pleasure to watch lapwings in the fields and goldfinches in the hedgerows, from the tops of which the warbling dunnocks defied their drab appearance.  Lots of other birds were also in evidence, as well as jay-walking squirrels.

On the Warrington and Stockport railway line near Warburton

My 17 mile circuit on the bike takes me under the M6 motorway to Thelwall, to join the Bridgewater Canal for the return to Timperley.  It’s a delightful ride, if rather flat, and sometimes muddy.  Here’s the canal to the west of Lymm.

The Bridgewater Canal at Lymm

The Bridgewater Canal at Lymm

On return, I noticed that our garden needs some attention, but as on the canal towpath the crocuses are flourishing.

In our garden - 1/3/12

A walk to the shops in Sale took me over a really muddy section of towpath, which thankfully has dried out enough over the past week to facilitate cycling without getting totally covered in mud.

However, the section by Sale Rowing Club seems to be receiving special attention.  Very good, but we hope the other, rather muddier sections soon receive the same treatment (although hopefully the season of the towpath mud zones is drawing to a close).

The bridgewater Canal at Sale Rowing Club

Work Float No 4 still seems to be in position and loaded with resurfacing material, which is certainly a good sign.

Work Float No 4

Sale has an attractive Town Hall, fronted by an impressive war memorial.

Sale Town Hall

The afternoon view along the Bridgewater Canal from Sale Bridge is always into the glare of the sun, but shows the canal running straight as a die for about two miles to Timperley.  And there’s always the option of traveling home by way of the tram line that runs just to the left of the canal.

The view from Sale Bridge on a sunny winter afternoon

That’s all for now.  Back to the planning (and other distractions).

Get well soon, Dot.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Wednesday 22 February 2012 – The Lancashire Trail (Part 5) – Abbey Village to Mellor

Maude inspects the residents

After a couple of weeks in monochromatic, if sunny, Ottawa, it was nice to be out on a warm day in the bright green surroundings of the English countryside.

14 Plodders and Maude set off from Abbey Village at around 10.30, on this fifth section of the increasingly popular Lancashire Trail series of walks.  As you can see, Maude was soon distracted by some friendly locals.

Stiles frequently hindered our progress on this walk, which took the Witton Weavers Way at times where the old route of the Lancashire Trail has fallen into obscurity, so keeping up with Reg’s cracking pace wasn’t too arduous today..

It was muddy...

Don splodges through the mud

...and raining...and slippery ...

A slippery descent

For more, you’ll have to go to the slideshow link at the end of this posting, but the picture above shows clearly the gentleman from BT who latched onto us – he seemed to be walking backwards for much of the day, perhaps in search of wonky poles to Roger his way up and repair the ‘phone lines.

Here’s a stalwart of these excursions, Don – 'Mud Man' – a nickname for which he can thank today’s ground conditions!  Maybe if he didn’t have the invaluable stick he would be ‘Roly-Poly Man’?

'Mud Man'

This was one of the drier sections of the walk - we've just crossed (underneath!) the M65 motorway.

By the M65 near Riley Green

Looking ahead from the site of the previous picture, we could see down to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, with Hoghton beyond, on what turned out to be a rather murky day.

A view to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and Hoghton

Reg cracked on along the towpath before slewing to a breezy halt for elevenses in the shelter of a bridge.  Fudge brownies seemed to go down well.  They are so popular that some participants have started to make their own, hence some additional ‘cooking’ hints in the above link!

Reg with his flock, by the Leeds and Liverpool Canal

We then forsook the canal and headed to the River Darwen, where a massive weir was built during the industrial revolution in order to slow the pace of the river.  With today’s rain it looked a bit like Niagara.  R Norman (61) felt that it needed a human presence along its length to present the viewer with a sense of scale, so, being an obliging sort of soul (with a brain the size of a pea – he doesn’t read these reports – don’t tell him I said that!) he strolled over to oblige.

Norman takes a stroll across the weir

“Don’t do that at home” he announced, after being fished out of the river.

After drying Norman out, we passed under this magnificent viaduct that houses the railway line linking Preston with Blackburn.  The old brickwork shows no sign of deterioration.

Viaduct at Hoghton

Hoghton Bottoms is home to a businessman who has a selection of commuting vehicles.  Amongst his 4WD vehicles is a Microlight aircraft that he uses for commuting to work in the summer months.

It was good to see large swathes of snowdrops in flower at Hoghton Bottoms, though the delicate flowers were sheltering tightly from the rain.

"Hello, my name's Alan” announced the BMC Nuffield 10/60, in a rather weary voice. “I live in a cave."

Alan, a lonely BMC Nuffield 10/60

“At least I’m out of the rain” he commented, positively.

Muddy fields featured strongly in today's walk.  The weather was 'driech' – laying siege with cats and dogs at some points, like here, near Billinge Hall, where we should have had views to the suburbs of Blackburn.

Our path took us past the suburbs of Blackburn

Perhaps it was just as well that it was misty!

I found it impossible to keep the rain off the lens.

We lunched on a wall outside a pub.  Anne went in, but came out again.  A long lunch wasn’t on the agenda so we made do by exchanging stares with diners in the posh dining room just the other side of our wall.  The pub has recently been expensively refurbished.  Clogs and the billycock were the favourite attire of a landlord who took over this 150 year old pub in the early 20th century. Clogs were also worn by local mill workers, and their boss or charge-hand was always identifiable by his lowcrowned wide-brimmed felt bowler hat - the billycock.

the clog and billycock

Eventually our destination, Mellor, with its distinctive spire of St Mary's church, came into view - up a final, laboriously boggy hill.

Approaching Mellor

After a short lecture from the font of all knowledge on the art of passing through slurry, we consulted the back of his hand and took evasive action.  There was still one little ‘hop’ that some found challenging … but help was on hand, so to speak.

A 'slurry' incident

Anyway, we soon reached the pleasant village of Mellor, which is full of enticing pub signs.  Some carefully positioned cars were soon located, and after a short drive to reunite others with their transport, we were back at the Hare and Hounds in Abbey Village – by coincidence the same Hare and Hounds that we had to leave so abruptly after stage 4 of this epic adventure.

Anne proudly advertised her new sponsor, whilst the rest of us nipped in to sample the Black Sheep, etc.  Very nice it was, too.

'Bag Lady'

We had walked about 16km (10 miles), mostly in the rain, climbing a modest 400 metres or so, but no particular hill as such, in around 4.5 hours.  Here’s the route we took:

Our route - 16km, 400 metres ascent, 4.5 hours

Apologies for the delay in this report.  I have excuses.  And I have a poor memory and a dodgy camera, so I also apologise for any minor factual inaccuracies and insults within the text and the images.  Reg’s factual and timely report can be found on this page, and my 32 image slideshow is here.

See you next time, I hope.  The date for stage 6 is currently a closely guarded secret in an attempt to control the ever burgeoning numbers of folk coming on this excellent (whatever you may infer from the text) series of walks.

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