Martin in Gatineau Park

Martin in Gatineau Park

Friday, 24 October 2014

Saturday 26 January 1985 – Ben Vorlich (Loch Lomond)

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When Sue and I went up Ben Vorlich a couple of weeks ago I recalled clearly, or so I thought, the views we enjoyed on my previous visit. I’ve now found the diary entry and some snaps (no negatives) from that trip. The images in this posting are therefore photographs of some fairly ancient 6” x 4” prints. (On ‘reflection’ they may have been better scanned, as the photos have picked up reflections from the dark surfaces of the matt prints.) Our clothing and equipment has changed quite a bit since then.

In those days our little group of ‘trippers’'’ took turns in writing ‘The Diary’. On this occasion it was Laurence who drew the short straw. Here’s what he wrote, with captioned pictures inserted as appropriate:

“Rendezvous at Rising Sun. Friday 6.30 pm. ‘Outside the door’ should have been specified as it was too crowded to get inside with gear. Prompt departure to Oswald Road to collect shovel. Thereafter smooth journey with meal break at Gretna, arriving at Ardlui 12.15 am.

Laurie is trying out his new tent, and making one or two discoveries about the principles of comfortable camping. The hard way. The ground is frozen solid, though clear of snow. Pegs bend and fingers go numb, and pitching takes ages. Dave and Martin share their warm tent with a light and cooking facilities; Laurie has a rather chilly night.

[Must bring sleeping bag next time!] comments Dave.

Morning brings a perfectly clear and sunny sky with snow everywhere except the first few hundred feet of the valley. We walk over the railway and up the east ridge. Soon come across footprints along our intended way. Snow quite fresh, soft or slightly crusty, so these prints are a lot of help. Mostly in the shade despite the sun and complete absence of cloud.

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Waterfall on the slopes of Ben Vorlich

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Dave, Laurie and Martin modelling 1980’s knitwear and wooden ice axes

The ridge eventually leads to Ben Vorlich (3082 ft), and the last part is in and out of a bitterly cold wind. Snowy peaks to the distance in every direction.

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Views from the ascent of Ben Vorlich from Ardlui

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Dave on Ben Vorlich

Dave and Martin taking all the classic photo shots. [Not sure about that!]

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Summit view south to Ben Lomond from Ben Vorlich

Laurie has to hack ice away from the trig point to find its number – 6510 (ancient tradition of trig point collecting). Also attempts to eat a mango but fails when the juice freezes on his lips. Everyone puts on an extra layer at this point.

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Searching for the trig point number on Ben Vorlich*

Descend over Little Hills, diverted by good footprints into lower valley. Snow softer and deeper here; pretty hard work. No long slides – shorter ones taken at various angles and orientations (including head first) by all.

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On the slithery descent over the Little Hills

Entire descent in shadow, arriving back at camp at 4.30.”

Always one for the last word, I added a few further comments about our being unsure whether we were camping on grass or concrete; meeting a solo artist from Nottingham, also camping, in the Ardlui Hotel – it seems we followed his footprints from the previous day; menus, and a note that Laurie spilt his dinner and ate it from his groundsheet; whinge about everything that had been in liquid form having frozen; futile attempts to moderate alcohol intake given the memory of some pretty awful hangovers on the same trip in 1984.

Overall memories of a fine day in the hills with lots of fresh snow and glistening ice crystals, Laurie’s unpreparedness and (Dave comments) Martin’s clumsiness.

Not mentioned in the old diary is my abiding memory of this trip - the long view* from Ben Vorlich’s summit towards the city of Glasgow, which in my recollection sat below a thick layer of mist beyond Loch Lomond.

Thanks to Laurie for inadvertently providing the main text, and to both him and Dave for many happy memories. I hope you both enjoy this posting.

How better to spend a rainy Friday morning in Timperley?

Thursday, 23 October 2014

A Dolomites Slideshow and Index

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Last night (22 October) we had the privilege of providing another ‘slide’ presentation to SWOG (Stockport Walking and Outdoors Group). All went well once an extension lead had been borrowed from the Grapes, and despite the large number of ‘flower’ pictures we managed to complete the task in precisely one hour. The slideshow (138 images) is here.

I have now also produced a series of mini annotated slideshows on a day to day basis, as well as the one hour show referred to above:
“Hut to Hut in the Dolomites by Alta Via 1
...a floral interlude...
Followed by a few Day Walks and Via Ferrata”

This is available should anyone like us to present it in person.

Here’s an INDEX to our ‘Summer Holiday’ trip, making navigation through the pages a bit easier for anyone wishing to read about any of it, now including links to the slideshows, which include a total of nearly 1100 images, so I suggest you don't try to look at them all in one sitting.

Friday 27 June 2014 - Summer Holiday - Day 1 - Timperley to Wokingham
Saturday 28 June 2014 - Summer Holiday - Day 2 - Wokingham to Montreuil
(Day 2 Slideshow - 18 images)
Sunday 29 June 2014 - Summer Holiday - Day 3 - Montreuil to Verdun
(Day 3 Slideshow - 12 images)
Monday 30 June 2014 - Summer Holiday - Day 4 - Verdun to Heidelberg
(Day 4 Slideshow - 13 images)
Tuesday 1 July 2014 - Summer Holiday - Day 5 - Heidelberg
(Day 5 Slideshow - 64 images)
Wednesday 2 July 2014 - Summer Holiday - Day 6 - Heidelberg to Scuol
(Day 6 Slideshow - 7 images)
Thursday 3 July 2014 - Summer Holiday - Day 7 - Scuol to Lischana Hütte (Chamonna Lischana)
(Day 7 Slideshow - 50 images)
Friday 4 July 2014 - Summer Holiday - Day 8 - Lais da Rims
(Day 8 Slideshow - 37 images)
Saturday 5 July 2014 - Summer Holiday - Day 9 - Lischana Hütte to Lago di Braies
(Day 9 Slideshow - 26 images)
Sunday 6 July 2014 - Summer Holiday - Day 10 - Lago di Braies to Rifugio Lavarella
(Day 10 Slideshow - 52 images)
Monday 7 July 2014 - Summer Holiday - Day 11 - Rifugio Lavarella to Rifugio Dibona
(Day 11 Slideshow - 57 images)
Tuesday 8 July 2014 - Summer Holiday - Day 12 - Rifugio Dibona to Rifugio Città di Fiume
(Day 12 Slideshow - 21 images)
Wednesday 9 July 2014 - Summer Holiday - Day 13 - Rifugio Città di Fiume to Rifugio Coldai
(Day 13 Slideshow - 37 images)
Thursday 10 July 2014 - Summer Holiday - Day 14 - Rifugio Coldai to Passo Duran
(Day 14 Slideshow - 47 images)
Friday 11 July 2014 - Summer Holiday - Day 15 - Passo Duran to Rifugio Pian de Fontana
(Day 15 Slideshow - 73 images)
Saturday 12 July 2014 - Summer Holiday - Day 16 - Rifugio Pian de Fontana to La Pissa, then Pedraces
(Day 16 Slideshow - 38 images)
Sunday 13 July 2014 - Summer Holiday - Day 17 - Pralongia Plateau
(Day 17 Slideshow - 23 images)
Monday 14 July 2014 - Summer Holiday - Day 18 - Col di Lana
(Day 18 Slideshow - 54 images)
Tuesday 15 July 2014 - Summer Holiday - Day 19 - Sassongher
(Day 19 Slideshow - 60 images)
Wednesday 16 July 2014 - Summer Holiday - Day 20 - Via Ferratas Averau and Nuvalau, and an evening in the pub
(Day 20 Slideshow - 67 images)
Thursday 17 July 2014 - Summer Holiday - Day 21 - Sass de Putia
(Day 21 Slideshow - 43 images)
Friday 18 July 2014 - Summer Holiday - Day 22 - A Walk from Haus Valentin, and VF Tridentina
(Day 22 Slideshow - 55 images)
Saturday 19 July 2014 - Summer Holiday - Day 23 - Badia (Pedraces) to campsite at Lanzada in Val Malenco
(Day 23 Slideshow - 21 images)
Sunday 20 July 2014 - Summer Holiday - Day 24 - Val Malenco
(Day 24 Slideshow - 48 images)
Monday 21 July 2014 - Summer Holiday - Day 25 - Chiesa to Parc Regionale de Haut-Jura
(Day 25 Slideshow - 4 images)
Tuesday 22 July 2014 - Summer Holiday - Day 26 - In Search of Cascades
(Day 26 Slideshow - 43 images)
Wednesday 23 July 2014 - Summer Holiday - Day 27 - Lac de Vouglans and Longchaumois
(Day 27 Slideshow - 43 images)
Thursday 24 July 2014 - Summer Holiday - Day 28 - St Claude to Louvemont
(Day 28 Slideshow - 26 images)
Friday 25 July 2014 - Summer Holiday - Day 29 - Around Lac du Der
(Day 29 Slideshow - 34 images)
Saturday 26 July 2014 - Summer Holiday - Day 30 - Louvemont to Montreuil (Full Circle)
(Day 30 Slideshow - 16 images)
Sunday 27 July 2014 - Summer Holiday - Day 31 - Montreuil-sur-Mer to Timperley
No photo album - we just drove home...

Happy Days!

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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Moston Brook

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Today I had an opportunity to rummage around in the vicinity of Moston Brook, which as far as I can see from my map is a stream that runs through Moston and perhaps empties into the River Irk, which together with the Irwell and the Medlock is one of three rivers that empty via the Mersey, aided by the Manchester Ship Canal, into the Irish Sea.

Pictured above is the point at which I lost the will to follow the brook, as I didn’t have a torch!

The area is described on the NEPHRA* website as follows:

“Moston Brook has natural beauty and historical significance, and in the past helped power the Industrial Revolution. The valley winds itself through several wards including Moston, Chadderton and Failsworth, and the  Rochdale canal also runs through it, from Morrisons in Chadderton to Tesco’s in Failsworth. Nowadays (2011), it’s badly neglected and undervalued. Consequently, it's only popular with dog walkers, fly tippers and off road bikers!”

Since then some improvements have been made, and with the encouragement, funding and enthusiasm of local people and organisations, the area is slowly being recovered from its neglected state.

Here’s a map of the area, the tunnel being shown at the red icon. Paths are marked as green dashes and small black dashes. If you live close by, pop over for a stroll, the autumn colours are pretty at present. I’ll be back there next week.

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*What does NEPHRA mean?. It surprises many, to discover the name was just made up  in a hurry, from the initials of some local streets!
N Northfield Road
E Elder Grove
P Parkfield Road North
H Hollingworth Avenue
R Residents
A association

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Sunday 19 October 2014 – Strines Sunday with MMB

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I pay the subscription, so I should join the Manchester Mountain Bikers at least once every year!

Today I went along to Strines station, near Marple, for a ‘diesel-paced’ ride with Duncan, Steven, Glyn, Adam, Kevin, Darrell, Stuart and Simon.

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‘Meet at 9am, ready to ride 9.15’ was spot on and gave me a lie in as Strines is only a 30 minute drive from Timperley. We were soon on our way, gradually ascending a series of hills that took us slowly towards Mellor. The pace was, well, diesel rather than turbo diesel – about the same as last Sunday’s pace, but with more stops to regroup.

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A succession of good tracks and minor roads led to a good track heading east past Robin Hood’s Picking Rods. Well, it was an easy path, but best not to put your feet down when passing through the slurry pictured below.

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The track rose gently to a high point of the ride – Cown Edge. Here’s Adam arriving…

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…for a pause for sustenance, and a rare occasion when cake wasn’t available (due to my very busy day yesterday).

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There were good views towards Kinder Scout.

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It’s a mildly technical descent to the Pennine Bridleway. I was slowest, having taken suspensionless Shogun on this ride. Others went so fast over the rocks that a tyre exploded!

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Here’s the group at the Pennine Bridleway, where some sort of ‘horse event’ was taking place.

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We passed a number of horse riders and walkers today, and as usual when I’m with the MMB riders, I was impressed by the level of courtesy shown by the cyclists. It’s great to go out with such a friendly, supportive and courteous group.

After the short pull out of Rowarth, it’s an easy return to Strines via Castle Edge Road, from where this view towards Hayfield and Kinder can be enjoyed before the descent to the Fox Inn (sadly not yet open today) and the steep rocky final descent to Strines, where all the suspension bikes flew ahead, leaving Duncan to check that my more circumspect descent was achieved without losing too many fillings.

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Here’s the route – a very good one with no need to push at any point -  20.6km, 500 metres ascent, taking us 2.2 hours. Similar terrain to last week’s CMBM, at a similar pace but with more pauses, and about half the distance and time.

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Excellent.