Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Sunday, 31 December 2017

Christmas 2017 – A Pictorial Review

2311parkrunsue2

I start with some sad news. Yesterday members of Eagley Jazz Club received the following message from Reg Kingston, concerning a stalwart of the club, Jeff Gilpin:

“Jeff passed away yesterday after suffering a heart attack. We who were at the Jazz Dinner will I think always remember his brave Funeral March.”

Somehow I seem to have missed making a diary entry of the splendid evening on 18 December with a Christmas dinner and the excellent Savannah Jazz Band. Towards the end of the evening, Jeff, who didn’t look well, performed the Funeral March. It was brilliant. I’m sure he will be sadly missed by many people.

1807jazz7

Moving on to the following Saturday, 23 December, Wythenshawe parkrun attracted a motley bunch for its 319th event. Family Jesus turned up in force.

2302parkrunjb1

In addition to the stalwarts pictured above, here are a pair, Paul and Greg, who have over 630 parkruns under their combined belt!

2303parkrunjb2

The two equally generous but opposing in stature kings, Syd and Ken, allowed a tree to slip between them, with Jan and Andy drifting into the picture.

2312parkrunsue3

It was a slow run, with the tree’s material gathering mud and extra weight all the way round. At least Mike didn’t sprint past me at the finish this year. The bacon and sausage butties at the end were most welcome. There was a great turnout of 310 people.

2310parkrunsue1

Christmas Eve found us in Timperley hosting a family gathering. My cameras have been stashed pretty much throughout the Christmas period, so the photos are mainly from other people. I think Sue took this one of the grandchildren. Jessica later had her missing arm sewn back on, but Jacob couldn’t find his dentures.

2401xmas-(2)

Christmas lunch was enjoyed in Timperley with Sue’s mum and dad, Richard and Diana. Before that, Sue and I popped down to Platt Fields Park, where 379 parkrunners were starting Christmas Day with a bit of exercise.

2502SMparkrun1

Greg was there, as were other Wythenshawe regulars, there not being a Christmas Day run at Wythenshawe.

2503SMparkrun2

Joe and Diana joined Sue and started off together.

2505SMparkrun4

But Richard (of Richard and Diana number 2) shot off ahead and whizzed around the fast course in well under 20 minutes (I wish!).

2506SMparkrun5

Joe speeded up towards the end and left Sue trailing, with Diana nowhere to be seen.

2507SMparkrun6

Boxing Day brought a trip to Dunham Massey. I strolled down the towpath whilst the others cheated in the car.

2601dunham12602dunham2

There’s not an awful lot in flower in the winter garden just now, but the Witch Hazel is quite pretty.

2603dunham32604dunham4

The oldies spent an hour or two resting on the reindeer bench, then we went for coffee.

2614dunham14

Later on, another family get together provided an image I’ll always remember. I don’t think I’ve seen either of my children washing up before, let alone both at the same time!

2630washingup

I can’t remember much about the following day, perhaps we rested! But on Thursday we had the pleasure of hosting Jacob and Jessica. The soft play was calculated to tire them out. It didn’t.

2801softplay

Cooking followed.

2804cooking3

Cup cakes with chocolate icing, and shortbread were produced. Note the technique that avoids their clothing getting clogged up with flour.

2807cooking7

Not even the washing and drying up tired them out.

2809cooking9

Friday morning had been designated for a walk around Lindow Moss. The rain/sleet stopped just as we were about to set off, and whilst it wasn’t as muddy as last week’s effort, those with wellies chose wisely.

2902lindow2

I’ve reported from here many times before. To see pictures, and information about ‘Lindow Man’, type ‘Lindow Moss’ in the search box (top left) and read on…

Today’s walk was just 8 km, on the route shown below. It took us two hours, with a welcome coffee in the Boddington Arms afterwards.

2903lindowroute

Parkruns come round quickly at this time of year. Yesterday Wythenshawe’s 320th run was overseen by run director Andy. It was Very Muddy, so perhaps just as well that only168 turned up. A good, sociable occasion as always.

3001parkrun13003parkrun3

Sue and I dashed off to enjoy lunch with Dot at the Royal Oak in Eccleshall, returning for yet another family get together, at which the host decided to disclose a wealth of archive material including photos and schoolwork from past generations…

3004dot

Having survived the festive period to date, Sue and I will shortly be off to north Manchester to see the New Year in with good friends and lots of good food and wine.

So here’s a final sunset over Timperley from our kitchen window for 2017.

2201Timperley-sunset

Our very best wishes to everyone for 2018. Have fun!

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Thursday 21 December 2017 – A Stroll from Timperley

2106tree

It was a dull day, and perhaps a dull route, for this week’s morning stroll, which I decided to start from Timperley Bridge to avoid having to drive anywhere.

My plan was to follow the ‘Altrincham Circular’ – a 27 km walk devised in the late 1980s – from Timperley Bridge to Roaring Gate Lane, then head across the fields to Altrincham.

From the Metro station at Timperley a gate leads to a canal side path on the opposite side to the well surfaced towpath. A little slithery here, but nothing to worry about.

2101canal

The path soon reaches a footbridge over the railway.

2102tram

From here, a stroll across some playing fields leads to a footbridge over Baguley Brook. Turning left into Woodhouse Lane East, then right beyond the ‘Sylvan’ public house, you enter Milton Drive, then Sylvan Avenue. There used to be a ginnel to Burton Avenue between house numbers166 and 168, but that has now been blocked and you need to turn right then left to reach Burton Avenue, at the end of which a ginnel leads straight on to Rossett Avenue.

Continuing down Rossett Avenue to number 75, take an unmade road to the left, into Crofton Avenue. Cross over and in a few metres you reach Heyes Lane. There used to be a walkable path into Oakdene Road here. That in turn led to a nice ginnel called the ‘Boggart’, but sadly a locked gate now bars the way to the Boggart despite efforts over the years to keep this footpath open against the wishes of the residents whose back gardens were passed. The obvious route nowadays is to cross over Heyes Lane and take Beech Avenue, which leads to the recreation ground. Keeping to the right of the playing fields, a cinder track leading to Stelfox Avenue is eventually reached.

A left turn down Stockport Road brings you to the Brooklands roundabout. Cross over Brooklands Road then Altrincham Road to reach the relative calm of Hale Road, the start of Brooks Drive. You know you’re in the right place when, after just a few metres, you reach the bridge shown below. The railway line linking Altrincham with Stockport lies below. Baguley Station is nearby, but that closed in 1964 and plans to reopen it elsewhere in Baguley to provide a tram/train link appear to have come to nothing.

2103brooks1

This marks the start of Brooks Drive, which the Altrincham Circular walk follows all the way to Hale Road, over 4 km away. It’s mainly a recently renovated walking/cycling path, but it’s one of the oldest thoroughfares in the area, dating from the 1860’s and built by Samuel Brooks, a mill owner and banker, and his son. An existing network of roads was used to link the new thoroughfare, which over time became known as Brooks’s road, now Brooks Drive.

2104brooks2

After 2 km of pleasant walking, during which I met an old friend with whom to natter for a while, Roaring Gate Lane is reached. This taxi route to Manchester Airport isn’t pleasant to walk along, so after a couple of hundred metres both the Altrincham Circular and my route for the day take a footpath to the right, beyond Chapel House Farm. After a few metres, this is the scene that greets you at this time of year.

2105mud1

A muddy splodge takes you to the hedge at the end of the field, where a left turn, and soon a stile that puts the hedge on your right, takes you to a footbridge, a short while after which you emerge onto Buttery House Lane.

From here, the Altrincham Circular route turns left and soon rejoins Brooks Drive for an easy walk to Hale Road. Whereas I turned right along the lane and soon found myself in the deceptively grassy field pictured at the head of this posting. The grassy appearance belies a few inches of waterlogged earth. I was glad I’d worn waterproof socks with the old trail shoes. This muddy gateway near Well Green was particularly noxious.

2107mud22108mud3

After a couple more fields, the comfort of Altrincham’s suburbia, in the form of Ash Lane, was reached. A right turn took me up the road to this typically tight ginnel, through to Wellfield Lane.

2109ginnel

A short way up Wellfield Lane, a signed footpath left leads through more soft ground to reach Thorley Lane. Crossing over the busy lane, another path leads around a secondary school, eventually reaching Altrincham Golf Course. A marked (just about) path leads across the course towards Timperley Brook, which is then followed to King George V Pool, where a colony of coots mingles with the swans and mallards and moorhens, etc.

2110ducks

You can finish the walk in a number of ways. I continued beside the brook to cross Woodlands Road at (another) Timperley Bridge and head down Woodlands Parkway and Navigation Road to the tram station that enabled me to scoot down to Sale for an emergency purchase from Daz, the fishmonger.

Here’s the 12 km route. It took me a couple of hours, but you may prefer a more leisurely pace.

2111route

I challenge my readers from Timperley to follow this route and have fun in the mud. I’m up for it again, but only after a hard frost!

Sunday, 24 December 2017

Merry Christmas Everyone

2501Christmas-email

Hello All

We wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a happy and fulfilling New Year.

With Very Best Wishes

Martin and Sue

[Christmas Festivities have taken precedence over catching up with a backlog of postings. Normal service will be resumed in due course.]

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Martin’s Christmas Quiz 2017

As promised, here is my quiz for anyone who is up for a challenge. It’s not my best. Feedback so far has been:

Pictures too small
Too esoteric
Needs to be more generic

(And that’s despite somebody, other than me, at the lunch being present when all but a handful of the pictures were taken.)

So I need to try harder. My excuse is that I left it to the last minute and ran out of time. There were no complaints about the prizes though – everyone was a winner, thanks to Pure Cocoa.
 

21992017XmasQuiz

Martin's Quiz - 2017

Name____________________________________

41 points available

Taken from which hill?

Where is this Trig point?

Which peninsula?

When and Where?

Which island is Richard on?

Where?

Manufactured by?

*1 see below

1. Name the hill?
2. Date it became a Munro?

1. Valley?
2 Reservoir?

City?

Entrance to which castle?

Lake?

Forest?

Place?

English name for this car?

Which castles are nearby?

Name this band?

1. Name one of the nearby horses?

2. Two relevant dates?

Which mill?

Name the country of which this city is capital?

Where?

Name the hill?

Name the viewpoint?

Name the mountain? (Note the railway.)

What is Paul waiting to do?

Where?

1. Where?

2. When?

Where?

Where?

Where?

Where?

Where?

Where?

Where?

*1 -Rock formations, mineral springs and catacombs. What else is this Cycladic island famous for?

If you fancy having a go, paste the table above into a word document, fill in the answers, and send it to me at xmasquiz@topwalks.com. There may even be a prize!

Have fun!

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Sunday 17 December 2017 – A Christmas Circuit from Bakewell

1712XmasWalk12

Last year’s Christmas lunch at The Crispin proved to be a great venue, so it was booked again for this year. It has the benefit of a private dining room for up to thirty diners, and a good chef.

Rather than repeat last year’s walk from Tideswell, a ten mile circuit from Bakewell was devised. Some of us enjoyed a coffee in ‘The Lime Lounge’ before setting off into the rain.

1700cafe2

Last year we were 23 in number. This year’s spreadsheet had the same number, but by the time we started we were down to 18 due to crockedness and illness, though numbers did rise to 21 for lunch. Alan R had bravely risen from his sick bed for his first full day walk for over a month. Well done Alan, it was good to see you. He pictured me celebrating that with Sheila.

1700XmasWalk0

We rendezvoused with the poor people who couldn’t afford a coffee, and set off beside the River Wye, where goldcrests joined a variety of different tits (many with long tails) in nibbling the riverside berries.

1701XmasWalk11702XmasWalk2

I wonder how many of the group noticed a brief hiatus in the rain as we passed by this fine edifice.

1703XmasWalk3Frid

Full waterproofs were deployed as we headed up a gentle slope to cross Stanedge Road, heading west over easy ground.

1704XmasWalk41705XmasWalk5

There was no snow on our path, but the frost made for a mostly satisfactory firm surface in lovely Peak District scenery.

1706XmasWalk6Frid

There were good views down to Ashford in the Water.

1708XmasWalk8Frid

As we passed the church in Ashford, Andrew (crocked but able to join us for the walk for 3 km) contrived to fail to notice 18 hikers as they passed by the shelter under which he was waiting. Luckily we stopped for elevenses nearby (see top picture), during which break Andrew was recovered from his blind spot!

1710XmasWalk10

Then it was an easy stroll in soft conditions, culminating in a dash to the pub.

1714XmasWalk14Z

I organised a quiz, as usual, and Jenny (crocked but hungry) kindly took a few snaps to record the occasion.

1717XmasWalk17Jenny1718XmasWalk18Jenny1719XmasWalk19Jenny1720XmasWalk20Jenny

Quiz results time – one team managed (with the aid of a large magnifying glass) to get 25/35, but everyone was a winner. The questions will feature in the next posting.

1722XmasWalk22Jenny

After our two+ hour break, the rain had stopped, and navigation for the afternoon would be easy, though numbers had now risen to 21.

1724XmasWalk24Jenny

This snowball is all that is left of Great Longstone’s giant snowman.

1725XmasWalk25Frid

It’s a pleasant stroll to the Monsal Trail.

1726XmasWalk261727XmasWalk27Frid

Perhaps some people were put off by the frost? Maybe some dived into the café at Hassop?

1728XmasWalk28Frid1729XmasWalk29Frid

Light began to fade, but the route along the railway track was clear. Nevertheless, by the time we reached the end of the path at Coombs Lane we were down to eight people, a further thirteen having apparently sloped off by way of a variety of ‘cheats’.

Anyway, the route followed by those eight stalwarts is shown below – 16.6 km with about 350 metres ascent. Shorter routes are obviously available, but this was a very satisfactory one.

1798XmasWalkroute

Thanks for coming everyone, especially those who travelled a long way and who we only seem to see very rarely. I hope you all enjoyed your day out.