Martin in Gatineau Park

Martin in Gatineau Park

Friday, 29 March 2013

Thursday 28 March 2013 – An Evening Walk to Chadkirk

2802bridge2

Having postponed walks planned for last Friday and last Monday, and abandoned this Friday’s plan to cycle the 47 mile Mary Towneley Loop, all due to the unseasonably cold weather and roads, bridleways and footpaths blocked with snowdrifts, we refused to curtail last night’s long planned evening walk.

I had in mind a walk from the Midland Hotel in Marple Bridge, to Strines via Roman Lakes, and back along the Macclesfield Canal towpath.  But on arrival at the Midland I was reminded that the walk was supposed to be to Chadkirk.  Oops!  With no map and only a vague recollection of the route (I could do the expected Strines route blindfolded), our local representative, Graham, was pressed into action as leader.

He was keen to show us a new bridge over the River Goyt, but he wasn’t quite sure where it was.  So we set off by heading up to the canal (where I switched on my Garmin gadget – see route below) and proceeding along the pleasantly dry towpath for a few kilometres.  The cold easterly wind was behind us, and the route was fairly sheltered, so it was a pleasure to be out.  There was supposed to be a pretty full moon, but sadly it hid behind a low bank of cloud until after we had finished the walk.  Nevertheless, Marple’s ambient light and the beams from a variety of sources from security lights to aircraft headlamps made our own head torches completely redundant.

After negotiating a tunnel, some dog walkers, and a brightly lit but pedestrian cyclist, we arrived at some steep steps down to Chadkirk.  There’s an old chapel here, but we missed it today.  This is the point at which one of my 40 mile bike circuits from Timperley leaves the Trans Pennine Trail and joins the Cheshire Ring, so I briefly recognised the location.

Anyway, Graham led us confidently on to a plethora of new signposts, one of which directed us to a point known to be on the other side of the formerly unbridged river. 

“It must be that way” asserted Graham.  And it was.  A wide new track brought us to the impressive bridge over the River Goyt on which my three companions on this pleasant evening are pictured above.

To be honest, I think I could have found my way thus far, but Graham’s local knowledge of the paths and ginnels that jinked their way back to the heaving chunks of humanity in the crowded bar of the Midland Hotel was really quite handy.

Thanks, Graham.

The route is shown below – very pleasant for a short excursion, evening or otherwise – click on the image to get a bigger one that you stand a chance of reading!  It was 7.5 km, with 100 metres ascent.  Allow 1.5 to 2 hours.

2899route

Our next evening walk should at least start in daylight – it’s on 25 April and will see us summiting Lantern Pike from the Pack Horse in Hayfield.  We should be able to find the way.  All are welcome.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Wednesday 20 March 2013 – Dunham Winter Garden (6)

20485Snowdrops

Hello!  Nallo Lady here again!  After delivering a lecture to undergraduates at Manchester University, and having an unexpected coffee (and cake!) with a colleague I’d worked with in 1993-4, it was almost lunchtime by the time I arrived at Dunham.

Note: I haven’t added tags to these photos, in the interests of time. 

20478Hellebore

As you can see by the folded nature of the wood anemone leaves, these are just emerging and only one or two flowers were out:

20476WoodAnemone

20482Yellow

These lovely long-lasting red flowers belong to Pieris japonica ‘Valley Valentine’:

20483Pieris

This beautiful snowdrop (Galanthus spindlestone surprise?), also pictured at the top, has orange stamens and a yellow bulb:

20486Snowdrop

0489Snowdrop

The variety of hellebores continues to amaze me but many people will miss the interest unless they turn the flower heads up from their natural hanging position.

20493Hellebore

20497Hellebore

20500Hellebore

Anemone blanda:

20502Anemone

Primula vulgaris:

20505Primula

Whilst I was taking photos, a guide was talking to his group, “the rabbits have eaten 4,000 irises this year”. Well, I made sure I captured this stunning example before the rabbits could devour it!  Perhaps some rabbit-proofing of the garden is necessary?

20508Iris

Scilla siberia ‘Spring Beauty’ is just coming into flower, the buds lined up to open:

20506Scilla

Both these shrubs indicate that spring is around the corner, but when will this cold weather cease?  The east wind has brought snow here this morning, and although not unusual at this time of year, it is has been persistently cold this month.

20510Shrub

20516Daphne

Roll on the weather to match the flowers!

20511Daffs

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Wednesday 20 March 2013 – A Plod from Bury to Holcombe Brook

2019group

With Captain Reg firmly back in charge of East Lancs LDWA's 'Plodders', he headed straight for the warmth of the Manager's Office, whilst the rest of us pottered around Bury's Transport Museum.

There’s an array of different types of transport.  I remember 'spotting' trains like this one at Stafford station many years ago.

2004BuryMuseum4

"Where's Alan R?" went out the call, when someone spotted a rather sparse information board about a Fordson in a pretty blue livery.

We were sure that he would know all about this single cylinder Marshall, with just 49 moving parts!

2011BuryMuseum11

An assistant manager was busy moving stuff around...

2012BuryMuseum12

...whilst Hilary appeared to have been waiting for some time for the Cheadle train to arrive.

2013BuryMuseum13

Norman went home early after his van broke down and got snaffled by the museum staff.

2014BuryMuseum14

David H (good to see you, David) arrived on a bus that met a similar fate!

2018BuryMuseum18

Eventually Reg declared “Time for a walk” and we adjourned to a cold car park for the header picture.

An arduous route from Bury to Holcombe Brook had been plotted by the maestro, including a scarily vertiginous bridge over the River Irwell.

Bernard became agitated for a while, as he worried about the risk of being run over by this cyclist...

2024cyclist

This old railway line from Bury to Holcombe Brook was electrified in 1912 – here Reg points out to a junior member of the class one of the blocks to which the overhead cable stanchions were fitted.

2029block

Lesser mortals may have found the constant uphill grind a little tedious, but this group had lunch in its sights.

2031plodders2

"That's it" announced Reg, after about an hour and a half, pointing to an NHS building that blocked the way forward along the old line beyond Greenmount.

But a few minutes later, David enthused "come and look at this" – and directed us to a wall behind a supermarket, revealing a couple of rusty buffers (perhaps imagined) that signified the true 'end of the line'.

“Yes, I’m sure I can see them!”

2039endofline2

Lunch in the Hare & Hounds was a sumptuous affair, especially the chocolate pudding.

Our route - 6km, 100 metres ascent, in under 2 hours:

2041route

There’s a full slideshow here.  I hope you enjoy it.

It was good to see Reg back at the helm and in good form.  He will be leading off an attempt to complete the Thirlmere Way by the end of the year, starting at Heaton Park station at 10.30am on Wednesday 3 April.  Hope to see you there…

Monday, 25 March 2013

Monday and Tuesday 18/19 March 2013 – A Trip to Dunkeld

1818descentwood2

I’ve already written brief reports:

Monday

Tuesday

So this posting is by way of insertion of a captioned slideshow for these two days, should anyone be interested.

Click here for the slideshow.

Saturday and Sunday 16 and 17 March 2013 – A Trip to Helmsley

1621group

I’ve already written brief reports:

Saturday

Sunday

So this posting is mainly for those who came along on this weekend and have the energy to view a captioned slideshow of 50 or so images, including Sue’s pictures from Castle Howard on the Sunday.

Click here for the slideshow.

(Just as well we didn’t choose the following weekend for this trip, I suspect!)