Saturday, 16 March 2013
Today Keith chose to celebrate his graduation to advanced years by walking the flattish 29km section of the Cleveland Way from Osmotherley to Helmsley. Twelve of us were conned into joining him on the basis that it was only 25km.
Cloudy skies and morning mist gave way eventually to blue skies as we rounded Sutton Bank.
Mud, mud, glorious mud!
Eventually we passed Rievaulx and started the descent to Helmsley, speeding past the castle (pictured) as the promise of a pot of tea and Sue W's tiffin beckoned.
It had taken seven and a half hours. A really enjoyable walk in fine company.
Corks are now popping.
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Friday, 15 March 2013
With a nicely sparkling refurbished bike, I’ve been touring from Timperley over the past few weeks. There’s a short slideshow here.
Rides have comprised some regular short circuits involving the Bridgewater Canal and the Trans Pennine Trail. Here’s a picture from where the two more or less intersect near Thelwall.
At the end of February, the crocuses were doing very well hereabouts.
On 3 March I managed a longer ride (see map below) – a 40 mile mainly off-road circuit from home, using the Trans Pennine Trail, shown below at Brinnington,
and the Cheshire Ring Canal system, which passes the home of Manchester City FC.
This is an excellent route, the only downside being a bit of road work on the TPT between Didsbury and Stockport. Sticking to the banks of the Mersey would be a good option in dry conditions. It’s about 40 miles – allow 4 hours.
On 10 March, the Bridgewater Canal towpath proved a good venue, and after a short diversion past the Trafford Centre it led to Worsley in a little over an hour.
Eventually, in Leigh, after some muddy sections, the canal mutates seamlessly into a branch of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, along which I continued to beyond Pennington Flash.
After this, a disappointingly lengthy (but fast) section of road leads through Warrington to eventually join the Trans Pennine Trail beside the Manchester Ship Canal near Thelwall.
The TPT then provides a quick route home (barring the day’s incessant cold easterly wind), via the Bay Malton and the canal towpath through Altrincham.
Here’s the route – 40 miles or so, allow 4 hours.
The slideshow is here.
For anyone living in the Sale/Altrincham area, these are excellent Sunday morning rides from the doorstep. Why, you may ask, am I going for some longer than usual rides? Because a re-match with the 47 mile Mary Towneley Loop is planned and I want to be more ‘bike fit’ than last time.
Thursday, 14 March 2013
A day out in the Yorkshire Dales – it was a pleasure to be joined by John and Heather, and Heather’s 4 month old Collie, Rowan. Time constraints permitted just a 9 km, 3 hour stroll, but at least one of the paths, above Stackhouse, with a lovely limestone pavement and fine views to Pen-y-ghent, had seen none of our boots before.
The atmosphere was as clear as you could wish for, albeit the cloud free nature of the day to some extent inhibited our attempts at photography.
I took a few snaps which can be seen here.
What a lovely day out; thanks for joining me, you two. And Rowan.
Monday, 11 March 2013
A near record turnout of over 40 Challengers convened at The Snake for their annual weekend reunion. Living close by, and with a busy weekend, Sue and I just turned up for the day.
The ‘wild camping’ next to the pub looked as enticing as ever. Gayle and Mick, in Colin the campervan, seemed to have made the best call!
Soon after 10am, Intrepid Alan led a motley group of about 34 people (he never seemed quite sure how many) over the stile across the busy A57 road. It took a while for them to negotiate this obstacle, and there was an even longer delay at Fair Brook (pictured above), which unlike many of the Scottish river crossings has some easily negotiated stepping stones.
More practice needed, perhaps.
Then Alan led us gently up into the mist. Frequent stops were needed to wait for backmarkers. We hoped they realise the Scottish hills are longer, rougher and steeper than this path up to Seal Stones.
More practice needed, perhaps.
Another stile took a while to negotiate.
Elevenses and cake provided a minor distraction whilst we waited, but Gayle was getting cold, so we re-formed an ‘A-team’ and took our leave of the main group, some of whom had still not arrived on The Edge.
By and by we stopped for lunch some way along The Edge, beyond Fairbrook Naze. Here we were joined by stragglers from the main group, which bizarrely seemed to have passed us (I still can’t believe that), abandoning ‘Science’ Dave and ‘Karrimor’ Chris to the elements. They were happy to join us for the rest of the walk.
After sinking deep into numerous snow gullies along The Edge, the team assembled to record their experience at the head of William Clough. The snow turned to sleet.
Here we joined the Pennine Way path, with its slippery slabs, nearly losing Dave, who took an unseen tumble and was almost abandoned. Mick’s cracking pace facilitated ‘warming up’ after the slow and cold progress along The Edge.
Over the Snake Pass road, the remains of a Vango tent fluttered from a fence, a relic from a DofE award trip perhaps. I wondered how my daughter was coping with her DofE children on the Oldham moors nearby…
As we descended Doctor’s Gate and joined the lovely path through Lady Clough, the sleet turned to rain and provided a meaningful test for our old waterproofs. They passed.
Backmarkers from the main group were overhauled as the Snake Inn came into our sights. They had apparently taken a short cut down Ashop Clough. Alan informed us that nearly everyone was accounted for. Or so he thought.
Tea and cake in Colin were most welcome, then we adjourned to the pub, where Sue attempted to set fire to her clothing in front of the roaring fire.
It was good to pass the day, and the evening, with this jolly group of Challengers, though we were sorry to miss Tim.
Here’s our route – approx 20km, 500 metres ascent, 6-6.5 hours.