Martin on the TGO Challenge 2017

Martin on the TGO Challenge 2017

Friday, 4 November 2016

Wednesday 2 November 2016 – Shutlingsloe

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We’ve been here many times before, though it’s a while since I did this exact walk. Previous descriptions are here.

I wasn’t intending to go out, but the sunny weather drew me to parking near the Leather’s Smithy in Langley and setting off on this familiar 12 km circuit. No map was needed.

I was not alone. The top picture shows a number of folk wending their way up the normal ascent path. Looking back, the autumn colours of Macclesfield Forest glowed under a bright November sun.

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There were various folk gathered on the summit, admiring good views in all directions.

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It was fairly cool on the summit, but no windproof was needed as I descended to the Crag Inn, trying to maintain 10 minutes per kilometre pace. The Crag Inn ‘serves hot food’, so it’s still going strong. I seem to recall a threatened close down and conversion to a private house being thwarted by planning permissions.

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After some well marked field paths with friendly signs from the farmer, and a short section of tarmac, the path ascends to Oakenclough, from where you can look back at the side of Shutlingsloe. A small terrier came yapping after me but ran away when I tried to engage it in conversion (a familiar experience, perhaps it had human genes?).

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The next picture is taken from the top of the path that leads down to the Hanging Gate pub. It’s one of my favourite places, with fine views over Greater Manchester and across to Joddrell Bank and the Cheshire plain, backed by the Clwydian Hills. I always come armed with a flask and a banana as an excuse to pause for a while here, before heading on down the often boggy path. It was dry today; the lack of rain means that trail shoes can be worn with impunity until the autumn rains eventually arrive.

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The Hanging Gate would be a good place to stop, if time permitted.

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Below the Hanging Gate, a grassy path leads to the Gritstone Trail.

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Good signposting on the Gritstone Trail leads walkers through fields of livestock and past private residencies, with good views across to Tegg’s Nose.

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Whilst the Gritstone Trail heads down to Clarke Lane, those returning to the Leather’s Smithy turn sharply right over a footbridge to go past the end of Ridgegate Reservoir.

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It’s a brisk couple of hours for the 12 km circuit, with about 450 metres ascent. A lovely outing. I’ll be there again soon.

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Thursday, 3 November 2016

Autumn On The Bridgewater Canal

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It’ll be interesting to see what these scenes in Broadheath look like in a couple of years’ time.

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Meanwhile, the canal between Sale and Brooklands will probably look just like this.

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Have fun!

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

A Weekend in Leyburn – 28 to 30 October 2016

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This was another weekend for my ‘Pyrenean Friends’ and a few others deserving a treat, based at Collett’s lovely B&B in Leyburn in the Yorkshire Dales.

Last year’s visit is recorded here.

Sadly, some of last year’s participants were unable to come, but it was great to have Humphrey and Mary along – Humphrey’s efforts in producing my two ‘Pyrenees Adventure’ books being the inspiration for the weekend – and Mike and Marian, who are regularly so hospitable to us in Patterdale.

We are pictured above outside Eastfield Lodge on Sunday morning.

We had assembled there on Friday night. I’d cooked a fish pie and a couple of lasagne dishes that I thought would be more than enough. How embarrassing – I invited Henry Collett to join us, but the food ran out so he had to resort to his frozen reserves. Sorry Henry!

On Saturday, twelve out of our party of sixteen drove to Redmire for a 21 km stroll via Castle Bolton, Hazel Bank and Aysgarth, whilst Ali O had a day recovering from a stressful week, and Humphrey, Mary and Marian enjoyed a tour of some local racing stables.

The overcast day wasn't good for photography, so the pictures are very much ‘for the record’ with no attempt at ‘artistry’. At least it was calm and warm, excellent for walking.

Castle Bolton was soon reached.

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Bolton Castle, in Castle Bolton, dates from C14. Mary, Queen of Scots, spent six months here in 1568 before being transferred to Tutbury in Staffordshire.

We headed along the excellent path past Ellerlands Edge below Carperby Moor.

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Elevenses were supplemented by chocolate caramel shortbread.

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After passing a lead mining area, we strode on, towards Hazel Bank and a pretty waterfall.

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Beyond Hazel Bank we headed towards Aysgarth. Sue found a relic.

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These Fordsons would soon be needed...

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We crossed the River Ure and enjoyed lunch on a bank by the river.

Beyond Aysgarth, a good path led to the Falls.

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En route we found a campervan stuck in a grassy field. Here's where we needed the Fordsons.

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That was the closest we got, then the vehicle went backwards, almost reaching a fence.

Aysgarth Falls were not exactly ‘in spate’. Here are the Upper Falls, in need of a bit more frost and sunlight to brighten the spectacle.

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Beyond the Middle Falls ‘Three Wise Men and Gayle’ were found sitting on a bench discussing the essentials of walking for the elderly. “Never pass a bench.” said the chap on the left. “Or a toilet” added Graham.

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This chap looked on… “Are you sure you are on the right path, Graham?”

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These two were so busy snarling at each other that they’d missed their lunch.

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The Lower Falls – whilst Mick wandered above the abyss debating whether or not to take a bath, I attempted a picture of some rose hips.

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Almost back at Redmire, a crossing of Apedale Beck offered alternatives to hopping across the rocks, in that Graham attempted to swim across (“I gave it my best shot” he said later, rubbing his knee) and Alan and Sheila found a place deep enough to wade across.

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Others sought an alternative involving trespassing over a private bridge. Cheats.

Soon we were back at Redmire, risking the dangers of crossing the railway line before returning safely to the station car park. (We’d have used the train if the times had been more convenient.)

Here's our route, 21 km with 350 metres ascent, taking us 6.5 hours.

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Then we adjourned for tea and cake (excellent, thanks Moira), some laptop based slideshows (‘Graffiti’ and ‘TGOC’), some photo books (very interesting, Humphrey) followed by a nice meal at Thirteen.

Then I think some tasks for the future were handed to intoxicated victims. If true, this will become apparent in due course!

Sunday morning - Ali and Sue escaped the group photo as they needed to head back to Newtonmore to prepare for an important ‘draw’ for places in the 2017 TGO Challenge.

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By the time various others had headed off due to commitments or injuries (Humphrey had bravely managed the trip despite recently breaking his leg), eight of us embarked on an anticlockwise circuit via Middleham.

We started off towards Wensley, passing a rather grey looking Wensley Church on another grey overcast day. But as we crossed the River Ure again, we could appreciate the warm, calm day, on which it was a delight to be able to slump into a warm heap for elevenses near the top of Middleham Low Moor.

Mick spotted a drone? Others puzzled over its location.

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The golden eagle/drone/whatever moved on, leaving us with this pleasant view across the valley to Leyburn.

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We were soon on the ‘gallops’ used by the racehorses for training. Several members of our own party had galloped past before I could capture the moment, eventually reaching a trig point at 236 metres before the grassy descent towards Middleham.

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This Shaggy Ink Cap would have been tasty in its youth. Other mushrooms were picked. They smelt and felt lovely to eat, but after consultation with our mushroom guru (Heather T-S), we decided they would be great for our compost despite the minimal risk of eating them…

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Middleham sports a castle dating from 1190, when it replaced an earlier structure. It fell into disuse and disrepair in the 17th century, but before that it was a most impressive and grand residence.

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Middleham is a nice village in the centre of a number of horse racing yards, with an excellent tea room outside which it was most pleasant to enjoy lunch on the warm October day. Mick and Gayle had rushed off to iron some of Mick’s shirts, so they sadly missed this delight.

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Field paths then led to our fourth and final crossing of the River Ure, over the castellated Middleham Bridge, and the return to Leyburn via pleasant field paths.

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Here's our route, 15 km, 250 metres ascent, taking 5 hours. Starting and finishing in Leyburn.
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We were back at Eastfield Lodge by about 2.30. Conrad abandoned his poles and we all went home.

There’s a slideshow (58 images) here. The dreaded Google slideshow again – try clicking on the first image. There are captions, but Google may choose to conceal them from you.

That was a lovely weekend. Sue and I hope everyone enjoyed it as much as we did. Thanks again for coming.

Monday, 31 October 2016

Salford Quays in Autumn

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Last week was a quiet one. The only picture I took was this one near the BBC buildings in Salford Quays. Today the scene will be very similar, so I’m heading out into the sunshine in preference to ‘processing’ the weekend’s activities, which will appear later…

Have a nice week.