Martin in Gatineau Park

Martin in Gatineau Park

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Saturday 1 February 2014 - Mooney's Bay

Another month, another place (aka the Terry Fox Athletic Facilities).

Here (above) Sue warms up with Helen after yesterday's uneventful journey across a large pond.

It's two years since we last visited, and in that time Ken and Helen have moved from the Ottawa River district to the Rideau River district. We are installed in their lovely new house and enjoyed a short ski this morning before the snow started.

Then a trip to Fresh Air Experience resulted in my battered old skis and worn out boots being replaced. It'll be interesting, maybe even a revelation, to have skis on which the edges haven't been destroyed. 

The rest of the day seems to have been spent sorting out various wi-fi connections for our ever more extensive collection of gadgets. 

Thursday, 30 January 2014

TGO Challenge 2014 – A Sociable Route

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Last year, I was pleased to meet Pete Varley at Pennan, and subsequently at our Fraserburgh finish, where we are pictured trying to maintain an upright position in the strong wind.

Pete was the fifth Challenger I met on my 230 mile stroll from Plockton.

This year I’ve drafted a much more sociable route, low level as last year, from Morar to Dunnottar Castle – 222 miles with 14,500 metres ascent, if it goes to plan, taking in 31 summits of varying altitude along the way, but less than 12 Munros and Corbetts – summits over 2,500 feet – so officially ‘low level’.

The route passes through numerous Challenge ‘hotspots’ so I’m guaranteed to encounter up to 200 Challengers en route this year, just by way of a contrast.

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It’s basically as follows:

Morar (Friday) > Glendessarry > Torness (Sunday) > Glen Turret > Creag Meagaidh > Dalwhinnie (Wednesday)> Tarf Water > Bynack Lodge > Braemar (Saturday) > Ballater (Sunday) > Tarfside (Monday) > Mount Battock > Charr > Elf Hill (Fetteresso) > Dunnottar Castle (Thursday)

Thanks go to Colin Tock for vetting the route and providing words of advice and encouragement

Roll on May…

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Tuesday 28 January 2014 – A Visit to Dunham Massey

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In between today’s showers, we enjoyed a trip to Dunham Massey for a two mile walk and lunch in the cafe.

Before that our overnight visitor ventured briefly into Timperley’s suburbia on his scooter before attempting a smile and retreating to the comfort of his indoor toys.

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By mid morning, Sue had long gone to work, and Kate and Jessica had wrestled their way past an M66 pile up to join us for a trip to Dunham.

Jacob was a little concerned at the black-headed gulls’ aggressive tactics, which seemed to be depriving the hungry stock of mallards, coots, moorhens, Canada geese and tufted ducks of their rightful share.

We were soon off on a two mile circuit of the park, including a lengthy very muddy section.

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Pride comes before a fall, and so shortly after the following picture was taken, Jacob ploughed (encouraged by his mother) into a puddle.  “You’ll be alright with the puddles” she had assured him “with your waterproof suit and new wellies.”

Unfortunately that advice didn’t quite work for a boy who found himself suddenly lying with a bloodied nose in six inches of water.

Later, after a bit of a clean up and some tasty lunch, he did admit to enjoying the visit despite his encounter with a ‘naughty puddle’.  He loves his balance bike.

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Great fun!

Monday, 27 January 2014

Monday 27 January 2014 – A Wet Day in Long Preston

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I popped up to Long Preston to wish Heather a Happy New Year and enjoy a stroll in the rain with Rowan and the two mucky spaniels, Millie and Daisy.

It mainly rained, as forecast, as we pottered around a 12 km circuit based on a shortened version of the one we did in November 2012.

Returning to Long Preston, we admired what Heather describes as a classic view, towards Pendle Hill.  She assures me that at certain times, for example in spring, autumn, and after a snow storm, this view is really wonderful. I couldn’t decide which image I prefer, so both of today’s are included below. I’ll visit again on a more clement day – it’ll be interesting to compare the pictures.

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After lunch a visit to Captain Manning of the TGO Challenge Brigade and his lovely platoon, proved a good way to spend a rainy afternoon, before returning to Timperley, and a surprise visitor.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Thursday 23 January 2014 – An Evening Walk around Lymm

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The rain stopped just in time for us to enjoy our first evening stroll of the year – a very simple 6.5 km route from the Bulls Head along the Trans Pennine Trail (disused railway line) to Thelwall, and back along the rather more muddy towpath of the Bridgewater Canal.

Andrew turned up to bag a trio of dates in the summer for his popular ‘Deepest Cheshire’ series of evening walks, and with good ale and in the peace of the bar (the lounge was humming with noisy post work activity) we filled in the other ‘TBA’ venues for the remainder of our programme of evening walks. I’ve since edited them slightly.

The walk proceeded with frequent pauses to admire the night sky in weather that seemed more like April than January. There was nobody else about.

The evening walk details will be put on www.topwalks.com/evenings.htm shortly, but in case you want to note them from here, they are as follows, all starting at 7.30pm:

Thursday 20 February
Timperley to Altrincham, via the Swan with Two Nicks (10 km)
Meet 7.15 at our house, or 7.30 outside Timperley Metro Station

Thursday 20 March
Worsley Woods – up to 12 km from Eccles Metro Station, via a pub en route

Tuesday 15 April
Wincle - an 8km stroll starting at 7.30 pm from the Ship Inn at Wincle (SJ 962 653), going up to Hanging Stone then down to Lud's Church, returning by the Dane Valley

Thursday 1 May
Deepest Cheshire (1) – from the Red Lion, Goostrey (next to the church) SJ 780 700

Thursday 12 June
Deepest Cheshire (2) – from the Church Inn, Mobberley (next to the church) SJ 791 802

Friday 20 June
South Lakes – from The Wheatsheaf in Beetham (on the A6 just south of Milnthorpe) - a 7.5 km walk overlooking the Kent Estuary and featuring the Fairy Steps

Thursday 7 August
Deepest Cheshire (3) – from the Swettenham Arms, Swettenham (next to the church – Andrew’s sudden recourse to religion has got me wondering) SJ 800 672

Wednesday 27 August
Cheshire - around Marton – meet at the Davenport Arms, Marton (SJ 850 683)

Tuesday 9 September
A circuit around Marple – meet at the Midland Hotel in Marple Bridge

Thursday 9 October
An evening on the Sandstone Trail – details to follow

Thursday 13 November (provisional)
Around Styal – meet at the Ship Inn

Thursday 18 December
Shutlingsloe - our regular 5 km yomp - starting at 7.30pm from Trentabank car park (SJ 960 711), adjourning for Christmas Ale at the Leather's Smithy in Langley.

Also, anyone wishing to see our ‘Pyrenean Adventure’ slideshow is welcome to join us on Wednesday 26 February at Hazel Grove Civic Centre (8 pm), where we are doing a presentation for SWOG.