Martin in Gatineau Park

Martin in Gatineau Park

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Thursday 1 May 2014 – An Evening Walk around Goostrey

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The long evenings and daylight walks until late have soon come around.

On Thursday a select little group met in the quirky pub near Goostrey station.

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Sculptures adorn the car park.

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As do some vintage cars. The Ford Anglia is nearly fifty years old.

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After a delightful stroll through The Bongs, we wound our way past several farms to a spot where Andrew expounded on a new permissive path that loops through fields and bluebell woods.

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The good people of Goostrey are very progressive, and have created this excellent new footpath. Here it passes through a field, but it’s mostly in woodland. Very smart stiles and sturdy signs are evidence of the planned permanence of the path.

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Having started at 7.45pm, by 9.30 it was getting dark, but these longhorn cattle seemed quite happy to stand and stare, though the males seemed intent on locking horns with each other.

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The bluebell woods on this walk were extensive and stunning. Well worth a visit when there’s a bit more light to illuminate them, but very pleasant even at this time of day.

Here’s the route we took, before and after beers at the Red Lion.

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8 km, minimal ascent, allow 2 hours.

Happy Days!

Friday, 2 May 2014

Monday 28 April 2014 – The Mary Towneley Loop

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Robert and I failed to complete this 75 km (47 mile) bike ride when we tried on 22 June 2012. The report is here.

This time we had near perfect weather and pretty dry surfaces. Mike was busy launching a new website, but Paul joined us to make up another trio.

We took our time, especially after setting off 45 minutes later than planned due to Robert’s carelessness with traffic.

So it was a cheerful Paul, Robert and Martin who set off at 9.15am, from the picnic car park at Waterfoot.

Here’s a map that I’ve gleaned from elsewhere, and thanks go to one John B Taylor for producing it. The route is basically a classic circuit of bridleways in the South Pennines area. It’s hilly – constantly undulating with 2000 metres or so total ascent. (My mapping software says 2350 metres, but my Garmin GPS says just 1820 metres.)

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It took us an hour and a quarter, including a slight navigational mishap, to reach the memorial to Lady Towneley, who inspired the development of this bridleway route. I haven’t time today to go into its history, but there is lots of information, and reports of much quicker trips than ours, on the web if anyone is interested.

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After two and a half hours we reached Can Clough Reservoir, with the weather great and the bikes all running smoothly. (If in my case rather slowly!)

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A perfect day for a bike ride

Here are Paul and Robert on Black Moor, beyond Hurstwood Reservoir, with the upper Gorple Reservoir to their right.

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We passed countless reservoirs on the 75 km ride.

Much of the route is very rough, and steep - this image is deceptive until you notice that Robert has had to dismount.

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After four and a half hours we'd had lunch and were enjoying views towards Hebden Bridge before an excitingly steep descent to Charlestown.

Here we enjoyed our first crossing of the Rochdale Canal, after five hours on the bikes.

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It's a long haul back up to the Mankinholes track. "Glad we don't have to go up to Stoodley Pike" we agreed.

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There were many paths with differing qualities of cobbles, this one by Lumbutts, beyond where the cobbles stretched for miles.

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At Bottomley, after nearly seven hours, we took a welcome break at our second crossing of the Rochdale Canal. Then the bridleway undulated more disconcertingly than ever, with some steep sections that even had Paul and Robert pushing.

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Finally, we hauled ourselves up the last and very long ascent, up Rooley Moor to the highest point of the day.

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Soon we came across this welcome sign - just 3 miles to go - by now we'd been on the bikes for over ten hours. The others had just returned from cycling holidays in Mallorca, but I hadn’t been out very much. My bottom was sore.

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Those last three miles stretch off into the distance beside Cowpe Moss, with Robert and Paul just distant specks. Very pleasant cycling though, and we knew we were nearly home.

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We completed the 75 km route in a little less than 11 hours, just before darkness fell. A fine day out. A local hostelry was deemed to be essential from a life-saving point of view, but after finishing the ride at around 8pm Paul and I weren’t home until well after 9 o’clock. Thanks go to Sue (and I imagine Jeanette) for having much needed food on the table more or less instantly.

The day really warrants a fuller report, but I’m afraid time has got the better of me. I’ll add any further comments/corrections that Paul or Robert would like to make.

Here’s a short slideshow with a few more pictures.

And here’s what my Garmin recorded – note that it has smoothed off some of the corners and the time of about 8 hours is ‘moving’ time. We took nearly 11 hours in total.

PS Robert informs me that one of his tyres expired on his way home. We were fortunate that it did this in his car and not during the ride!

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Sunday 27 April 2014 – A Lamaload Bimble

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Sue W kindly organised this stroll in the Peak District. After assembling at Lamaload Reservoir at 10.15, 17 of us set off in the direction of Rainow on what Sue had advertised as an ‘11 mile bimble’.

Soon faced with serious route-finding decisions, we elected to go This Way.

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It was a fine, sunny, April day as we admired the view north towards Rainow.

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Arriving at the Gritstone Trail path that leads to the Saddle of Kerridge, with White Nancy already visible, we immediately diverted from it to ascend the steep side of  Kerridge Hill to a trig point that some members of the party wanted to ‘bag’. (A point that regular readers may recognise from numerous previous visits.)

Time for a group photo – see above.

After only 4 km, an elevenses break was taken before we headed to the end of the Saddle, where White Nancy, a folly built around 1817 to commemorate victory at Waterloo, overlooks the old mill town of Bollington.

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We descended quickly down the steep slope before heading east, now firmly on the Gritstone Trail for a few miles, with fine views of trees coming into leaf...

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... and the bluebell woods near Berristall Hall.

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Soon after passing a sheep with a very newborn lamb, a shouting guinea fowl, and three docile ducks, Sue W urged "Come on you lot, it's eleven miles", the first sign of anxiety over the time we would finish.

"I'm stopping for lunch" announced Colin, two minutes later.

Soon afterwards, we left the Gritstone Trail for good and took a diversion up an extra hill from Charles Head, thanks to a new permissive footpath that led to a short ridge with good views to Shining Tor, with Shutlingsloe just visible. We were careful not to disturb ground nesting birds like the snipe I nearly trod on.

From the ridge it was a sharp descent to Summer Close.

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I'd expected to head straight to Shining Tor, but Sue W's 11 mile route took us away to the north east and Taxal Edge, where we lazed for a while at Windgather Rocks.

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It's a pleasant stroll along Taxal Edge, above the Goyt Valley. Luckily Keith was making good progress after his illness, so he could just about manage 11 miles.

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We rested at length above the Cat & Fiddle road at Shining Tor, the highest point in the area at 559 metres. "Is this bimble really 11 miles?" asked Graeme "... it seems like more…?"

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Soon we were off and away on the last lap over Andrew's Edge, where Andrew wasn't waiting for us, and down to Lamaload in the afternoon sunshine.

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Lamaload Reservoir, reached soon after 5pm, was glinting in the early evening light.

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Here’s our route - 25 km with 750 metres ascent in 7 hours. "An excellent 11 mile bimble", announced Sue W. Nobody disagreed apart from a slight debate about the distance.

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Then we all went home for tea. Thanks for organising, Sue, and it is indeed a most pleasant route. Visitors from Greater Manchester may find it more convenient to start from the Middlewood Way car park in Bollington.

There’s a slideshow (36 images) here.