Martin on the TGO Challenge 2017

Martin on the TGO Challenge 2017

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Wednesday 30 October 2013 – A Plod from Adlington to Abbey Village (featuring Fish ‘n Chips and a Quagmire)

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It’s some time since I went on a proper ‘Plodder’ walk, apart from that nice excursion to the Roaches with Don and Neil, having spent the time since Part 1 of the Thirlmere Way on 3 April in a variety of alternative locations or states of injury.

Having missed many of Reg’s previous ‘Fish ‘n Chip’ outings, I made sure I didn’t slip up this time. We started from Kingston Towers in Adlington at 10am prompt, with twelve stalwart plodders and a couple of dogs.

Lapsed LDWA member Alan R had been tuned in to my wavelength and turned up in search of tractors, or was it by way of therapy after some Satmap GPS software mishaps and the mess of a dysfunctional continuous ink supply system?

Anyway, Reg came up trumps when he led the obedient group out of his housing estate and more or less immediately past a David Brown 1390 2wd tractor in condition that had Alan R drooling.

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Pleasant paths and lanes led inexorably across the M61 motorway and on towards the banks of Anglezarke Reservoir, with good views to Winter Hill and Rivington Pike.

A pause for breath outside a new housing estate offered Reg the chance to explain that this was the site of Heath Charnock Isolation Hospital.

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Here infectious diseases such as tuberculosis were treated between 1901 and 1982. Patients benefited from the clean air, there being no nearby motorway for most of that time.  The hospital was demolished, making way for this de-luxe housing estate with a constant hum from traffic, in the mid 1990s.

The infant River Yarrow was crossed by a narrow footbridge, beyond which we enjoyed excellent views towards Anglezarke Moor.

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The path beside Anglezarke Reservoir is a public right of way, despite the landowner’s efforts to discourage visitors.

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The green lane deteriorated into a minor road leading towards Heapey and the disused railway line. Reg related stories about secret storage depots for retired steam engines. There’s much more about it here.  There are rumours of night time visits by large lorries, ‘disused’ tunnels guarded by CCTV, locals who maintain a discreet silence, and much more.

An assortment of paths and tracks led us past disused railways, notably the Lancashire Union Railway, sometimes completely overgrown, sometimes converted to nice pathways on private land like the one shown below, and just occasionally on public rights of way where we could enjoy a stroll along the track bed.

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Then we crossed a few muddy fields and passed beneath lovely autumnal tree canopies.

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A large pond, with voracious ducks, signalled our entry to the village of Brinscall.

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Lunch beckoned. Reg had warned the fish ‘n chip shop of the impending arrival of twelve hungry walkers, and we were soon ensconced on the pond side of a wrought iron ‘snake gate’ in a nearby park, with excellent portions of said fayre at just £3.80 a portion.

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Plodder stops are fairly short, but thankfully longer than the regular LDWA lunch breaks, so we managed a good twenty minutes of relaxation before setting off on the last stage of today’s journey to Abbey Village. Much of this was on the track bed of the Lancashire and Yorkshire railway branch of the Lancashire Union Railway, linking Cherry Tree with Chorley.  The seven mile stretch of line served mainly to transport coal from Wigan to the mills of East Lancashire without having to go through Preston, and it lasted from about 1869 to 1968.  There are quite a few remains (platform, bridges, etc) at Withnell, which we passed through en route to Abbey Village.

The remains of a narrow gauge model railway lay below us at one point, unused since the death of its enthusiastic owner several years ago. A great shame.

Having reached Abbey Village, our destination, Reg decided we were either too early or not muddy enough. So he led us into a farmyard where even those with boots discovered the inundating effect of deep slurry. The farmer’s tractor was a bit of a give-away – it was armed with two sets of rear wheels. The field we were ushered innocently into was a trap.  Luckily there was no bull, but only three or four of us managed to escape over a barbed wire fence to the safety of a back alley. The rest circled aimlessly in the field until released by Reg, who had noticed that the bus to Chorley was now due.  Last time we caught this bus it had been distressingly early for those who had just purchased a beer. Today, fortunately, it was on time. This was perhaps due to the cautious driver, who nevertheless caused quite a commotion when he braked sharply to avoid a pheasant.

Here’s our route – 16 km, 250 metres ascent, in 4 hours. A grand day out.

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There are a few more pictures here. And Alan R’s excellent report is here.

Friday, 8 November 2013

The Munro Society – Anniversary Anthology 2002-2012

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I was delighted to receive the other day this lovely volume from The Munro Society, especially as it includes some of my own work. I’ll reproduce that in due course on these pages, but for the moment I’m trying hard to catch up with a backlog of postings.

The Munro Society was formed in 2002 and has done much good work in promoting the Munros, reviewing some of their heights, and producing voluminous environmental data.

It’s objectives are set out as follows:

  • To secure access to and conservation of Munros as areas of wild mountain land.
  • To foster social and cultural exchange between members.
  • To establish and maintain an archive of material relative to the Munros and Munroists.

This 177 page A5 volume falls within the second and third objectives and is a labour of love on the part of Julian Foot, who has compiled the anthology from an assortment of narratives from members who between them re-climbed every Munro during 2012. The styles of the numerous contributors vary greatly, and each entry is limited to about five hundred words, so you shouldn’t get too bored, though I don’t think many, if any, of the contributors are professional writers.

It’s not a guide book, just a lovely selection of stories. I’ve dipped into it and will enjoy reading the rest of it shortly.

Well done, Julian.

Whilst Munro Society members will have received their copies, further copies are available, as detailed here.

Ramsoc Weekend at Eyam – 26/27 October 2013

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This is the sixth Ramsoc weekend to be mentioned in these pages – Sue’s University Rambling Club reunion has come round again. This year she inherited the organiser’s mantle from Sue W, who retired after a twelve year stint but remained in a crucial position as she bankrolled the whole event. Thanks Sue.

Click here to view all the Ramsoc postings.

Saturday

We assembled outside the impressive if rather crumbly facade of Eyam Youth Hostel.

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24 out of the 43 attendees set off in one group, past a large ball of wool. Was it a sheep, a llama, or an alpaca? (See slideshow for images)

Once in Eyam village, the group stood outside a closed café – showing a bizarre reluctance to follow their leader across the road!

The day’s first geocache - 'A Stoney stroll part 7 through the plague village', was easily located by resident expert Tom (aka HoratioP), ably assisted by David (aka david1.7).

Here Kate and Andrew rather fail to suppress their bafflement that folk leave tupperware boxes with log books scattered around the countryside.

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The second cache was found further on along the path to Stoney Middleton, near here - the boundary stone where in 1666 the quarantined villagers placed their money to pay for the food that was left for them in the time of the plague.

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'HoratioP', ‘Phreerunner’ and 'david1.7' recorded their visits, and down in the village ‘The Grove’ soon revealed our third cache of the day.

Meanwhile, Sue busied herself with autumnal pictures like this one.

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Cache number 4 (‘Rocket’) just outside Stoney Middleton provided an excuse for another pause, before we headed over the top to Coombs Dale, passing a cache – ‘A Quarry Caper Pt 1’ - that had been ‘Muggled’ (evidenced by a bare strip of velcro) and another well hidden cache, ‘A Quarry Caper Pt 2’, our fifth find of the day. Others enjoyed some tea and cake whilst the geocachers sought this one out.

After finding ‘A Quarry Caper Pt 3 – Big Log’, we continued along the track up Rough Side that was almost inundated by a stream emanating from a forceful gurgle beside the path, guarded by a small but perfectly formed frog.

After a short pull onto Longstone Moor, cache number 7 – ‘A Quarry Caper Pt 9 - Pond the Replay’ – was soon located under some rocks. [What happened to Pts 4 to 8? I have no idea!] Moving on towards Wardlow we passed a brightly coloured pond where many seagulls were braving the chemicals and there were dire warnings of ‘Thin Ice’. There is much evidence here of the area’s past history of mining of various minerals.

Lunch was taken on Longstone Moor, in the shelter of a well grassed spoil heap.

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Returning to face the fresh breeze, we paused by old mine shafts to take in the view by our next cache – ‘Take in the View’, before descending through Wardlow and down to Tansley Dale.

We came across some familiar figures, identified from afar by way of a rather overdressed, but admittedly less scruffy than usual, gent in a stalking hat. It was Sue W’s group, on a similar route, but aiming for pub stops rather than geocache pauses.

We waved them off towards Litton and headed past Peter’s Stone towards the delights of the Three Stags Heads inn at Wardlow Mires. 

In bright sunshine, we found our next two caches – ‘Beyond Peter’s Stone’ and C.O.D. Petrus (Derbyshire) – the latter being almost at the top of Peter’s Stone, from where the image at the head of this posting was taken.

Peter’s Stone is seen here as the distinctive feature on the left of the valley, looking back from the path to Wardlow Mires in the shade of the valley.

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Tom then found geocache number 11 - only revealed to 'Premium' members like HoratioP, so Phreerunner and david1.7 were unable to record this one, though we did sign the log and note the superb hiding place.

Whilst some bravely sought beer in the cramped surroundings of the Three Stags Heads, and in the company of various other dead animals secreted as good luck charms within the inn’s walls, others continued to Foolow, and many more enjoyed a caffeine fix at the Yondermann Café.

Then it fell to Tom to find 'A Silly Cache'...

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... from where there's a view down Silly Dale.

Luckily, Tom had found the cache before David, a member of Sue W’s now well-oiled group, selected its position for his 'call of nature'.

Soon our rather diminished little band reached the duck heaven that graces the pretty village of Foolow.

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Cache number 13 – ‘Foolow’ – was soon discovered by resident expert Tom, but its clever concealment – “a small camo style cache with a micro inside it … stealth may be required” – may well have fooled the rest of us for some time.

The path continued across fields towards Eyam, with late afternoon views to Eyam Edge and a failure to find the ‘Foolow Bound’ cache, which it later transpired had gone and has subsequently been replaced.

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As we returned through Eyam, Hall Hill Troughs became the site of our 14th and final cache of the day - another Premium cache available only to HoratioP (aka Tom) to record his visit on the geocaching website.

The Youth Hostel is a little out of town. It was a pleasant walk up the sunlit road. I was alone, having now managed to ‘lose’ all 23 of my charges!

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Everyone turned up eventually, and the hostel meal was fine. After the previous night’s poorly attended ‘Pyrenean Adventure’ slideshow, tonight’s offering of ‘An Hour in Knoydart’ filled the room to bursting point, mainly with people who had been on that trip and had the stamina to view the 900 or so pictures.

Today's route is shown below - 20 km, 450 metres ascent, 7 hours, 14 geocaches.

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Sunday

We assembled in the car park for a circular walk/bike ride.

“Any chance of a lift on your crossbar?” the finely honed athlete asked the portly gent in the cycle helmet. 

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Today’s route, led by local guide Sue W, took us back past the puzzled sheep with a long neck and down to Eyam, where the Miners Arms was proposed as a possibly suitable venue for a future Christmas lunch.

The road past the Wesleyan Reform Chapel, built in 1787 when John Wesley was still alive, led to the Riley Graves, where Mrs Elizabeth Hancock buried her husband and six children, victims of the plague, between the 3rd and the 10th of August 1666. The Hancocks farmed the field, known as Riley’s field – ‘Riley’ comes from ‘Rois Ley’s’ which means ‘Kings Field’. It was part of William the Conqueror’s Royal Hunting Ground.

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Then we marched off through pleasant woodland towards Froggatt and the River Derwent.

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The Derwent Valley is very well signposted hereabouts, though the drainage is a bit suspect.

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We lunched outside the very posh Hazelford Hall, where a resident arrived in a chauffeur driven carriage whilst we admired the views towards Hathersage and Stanage Edge from the perimeter of her garden.

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Heading on towards Abney Clough, Sue found this curious item.

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Sir William Hill - 429 metres, fell to a splinter group comprising just one person, whilst everyone else hastened back to Eyam in a race with the predicted storm, involving winds up to 100 mph and other dire warnings. 

It did look a bit threatening…

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Our route today is shown below - 16 km, 450 metres ascent, in 5 hours.

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All in all a most enjoyable weekend in surprisingly fair weather. Thanks go to the Sues for making it happen, and I must thank Tom for his expert assistance in tracking down Saturday’s geocaches.

A 95 image slideshow, probably only of interest to those who were there, is here.