Martin on the TGO Challenge 2017

Martin on the TGO Challenge 2017

Thursday, 27 February 2014

A GR10 Slideshow for SWOG

13070962lacsdemadamete5

Last night we were kindly offered the opportunity to re-live last summer’s trip to the Pyrenees by way of a slideshow for Stockport Walking and Outdoor Group (SWOG).

It was standing room only as around forty folk squeezed into our room at Hazel Grove Civic Centre. Thanks go to Mick and Gayle, and also Andrew, for boosting the attendance. Thanks also to the handful of people who bought a copy of my book. There are still a few left if anyone out there wants one.

A most pleasurable evening – we hope some of those attending are inspired to visit this easily accessible and wonderfully scenic part of the world.

The above picture shows Sue at Lacs de Madamete on 9 July 2013, perhaps a more agreeable image (it was second choice for the book cover) than a routine photo from the Bridgewater Canal, which is just about as far as I have ventured in today’s spring sunshine.

Monday, 24 February 2014

An XXL Club weekend in Newtonmore

09031918summitview3

I had debated whether to join friends at the XXL Hillwalking Club’s weekend at Newtonmore, but the weather forecast didn’t warrant the trip.

I’m pleased with the decision, as one of the members who is renowned for going off on his own on tough days in his bid to climb all the Munro (3000 feet) summits during the winter months, came to grief.

Here’s the relevant entry on Lochaber Mountain Rescue Team’s Facebook page:

We had a 10 hour epic day yesterday with a shout for a climber who had fallen through a cornice on Beinn Eibhinn to the north of Corrour. Our guys fell through cornices at least 4 times themselves and were avalanched while trying to locate the climber. Conditions were atrocious with total white out conditions and very high winds and heavy snow. The guys were having to navigate around the edge of cliffs and gullies in visibility that was not even the length of your arm. Although we say it ourselves, "The Team" did an absolutely fantastic job putting both life and limb on the line to get to the guy who was recovered safe and well.
We would like to thank Philip and his staff at Corrour Estate for providing ATV's to transport guys and equipment part of the way up the mountain and for allowing use of the of the community centre and providing refreshments for the guys when they finally got off the mountain. As usual much appreciated as the helicopter had to be grounded due to a mechanical issue.
The conditions in the mountains this year are some of the most extreme we have ever experienced. Virtually every rescue has had a very high element of risk involved and this is not just in Lochaber but for all teams operating in the Highlands. We are quieter than normal with only 11 call outs so far this year but the conditions have been putting considerable demands on us and other teams across Scotland.
If you are heading to the mountains enjoy but stay safe. If you use the outdoors support mountain rescue in what ever way you can.

I don’t think anyone else on the weekend got up anything very much, and their Saturday evening may well have been spoilt as they waited for news of David, who ended up spending the night at the mountain rescue base.

I’ve always been impressed with the emphasis on safety shown by most members of this club, as you would expect from people who in the main earn their living from the North Sea oil industry. This event must come as quite a shock… but if it was going to happen to anyone… At least he was equipped to cope with around six hours of waiting high on a mountain in dire weather before he was reached by the Mountain Rescue Team.

‘A thought for all of us’ comments Chairman Bill.

As the header picture, featuring a wiser David who now winters in the sunshine, shows – winter walks in Scotland can be wonderful. For those who don’t recognise it, this is the iconic view from Sgurr Mhor on Beinn Alligin, taken on 19 March 2009.

I’m told that the snow that blankets the Highlands of Scotland is currently melting fast, with rivers in spate. I’m not minded to visit them for a week or two. Or more.

Saturday 22 February 2014 – A Therapeutic Bike Ride

2202crocus2

I was planning to take part in the 5 km Parkrun at Wythenshawe today, but a visit to a friendly physiotherapist left me concluding that running would be unwise. It transpires that the ‘muscle problem’ from which I’ve been suffering for the past few months may be a form of sciatica (as per my original self diagnosis), with referred muscular pain. Spondylosis ‘is quite prevalent among older runners’ I’m told, and the process starts when, as a result of wear and tear on the spine, the discs lose some of their fluid and compress, the side effects from which can result in the space for the nerves becoming smaller. The result of impact activities like running can then put pressure on the nerves resulting in leg pain.

So I need to be careful about running, and it wasn’t advised after treatment from the physio.

Before I could change my mind, I volunteered to marshal at the Parkrun, only to discover that it had been cancelled for the second week running due to tree debris on the course following last week’s blustery weather.

Cycling is lower impact, but off road it’s muddy at present, and I dislike cycling on roads. So it’s not a particularly convenient way of exercising compared with popping out for a short jog. But a cobbled together route from home involving surfaced towpaths, the Trans Pennine Way cycle route, and an assortment of quiet roads, did the trick, although the bike did need to be hosed down afterwards.

It was 27 km, with minimal ascent, as below. A perfectly acceptable route given the constraint that it started from home, and a most pleasant morning on which to enjoy the bike ride.

2200route

The short ‘there and back’ to the Swan with Two Nicks (at the bottom left of the route) did involve a very muddy section of towpath, but was included in order to visit a crocus field, pictured above, just near the pub. It’s a field that we failed to notice when we passed it on Thursday, densely packed with an assortment of crocuses that have all blossomed at the same time. Well worth the visit. Thanks go to Merian for alerting me to this picturesque corner of Little Bollington.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Thursday 20 February 2014 – An Evening Walk to the Swan with Two Nicks

2006swan

Thursday provided a warm starlit evening for an 11 km stroll along the Bridgewater Canal’s muddy towpath to the Swan with Two Nicks in Little Bollington. Graham and Andrew joined us for this little romp, with a pleasing pause in said hostelry for tasty refreshments from the local brewery.

On the way, we passed Budenberg Haus, pictured below, which always seems to provide interesting reflections as you pass under the A56 road in Altrincham.

2002budhaus2

We were told that it had been ‘quite windy’ whilst we were enjoying our Canadian ‘beach holiday’, and this was confirmed to us as we headed on towards Altrincham through the golf course. The path was blocked by a tree so large that I was unable to climb over the trunk, my efforts to do so simply resulting in my clothing acquiring a layer of green algae/moss/slime. All over, such were my efforts to avoid failure, but eventually I gave up and bushwhacked through the foliage like the others.

Here’s our route, after which we returned home via tram.

2000route

A most pleasant evening. Thanks for your company, everyone.