Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Friday, 17 August 2018

Thursday 16 August 2018 – A Bimble from the Bells of Peover

1601BellsofPeover

The last of Andrew’s ‘Deepest Cheshire’ evening walks of this season (doesn’t the time fly past!) took place, starting from the Bells of Peover pub, from the outside of which the seating that we’ve found convenient in the past has been removed. No matter, we congregated in the beer garden after finding somewhere to park in an overflow area. The place was heaving with diners, having become more a restaurant than the pub as we new it back in the 1970s.

The famous five – Andrew, Richard, Jenny, Sue and Martin, were joined on this occasion by Sue’s old work associate, Manu, for whom a walk involving stiles and tree trunks took her slightly out of her comfort zone.

We set off in bright sunshine despite some ominous moisture on the garden furniture following a recent shower.

1602team

The weather had cleared, leaving us to enjoy a bright evening in pleasant countryside – not too hot and not too cold.

Here’s the view in an area named Foxcovert.

1603cheshire

After a while, the sun dipped below the horizon and we found ourselves on recently adjusted paths to protect the privacy of the owners of some new homes. The path did however pass through the garden of a large property between Sandy Lane and Heath Lane. It goes to the rear of the house, past an ornamental pond with plastic swans in residence.

1605garden2

At the front of the house a fleet of sheep have been deployed to mow the lawn (or are they just pretending?).

1606sheep

An old willow tree observes the goings on in lofty silence.

1607tree

At the end of Heath Lane, we turned left onto Townfield Lane before walking carefully along the wide verge of the boy racing venue known as the A50 road, where the intelligentsia seem to think that all the ‘50’ signs refer to the number of the road and not to the speed limit. 

The Drovers Arms in Allostock started life as a farmhouse and spent many years as a hostelry, before closing in 2010 and subsequently being acquired by Equiport as a venue for the manufacture of horse rugs and riding jackets. At least it’s not a derelict shell like some former pubs featured on these pages.

1608drovers

Here’s what it looked like in 2009.

2902droversarms

From the Drovers Arms it’s a pleasant stroll back through fields beside a busy stream to our starting point, where the ancient St Oswald’s Church, dating from 1269, stands next to the Bells of Peover (so named after a former owner, not by virtue of its proximity to the church).

1609church1

An excellent little outing, concluded as darkness was falling. Thanks go to Andrew for organising this series of walks, and hopefully there will be some more to enjoy next year. I’ll also be arranging some winter evening walks in the environs of Timperley and Altrincham.

Here’s our route – 6 km with minimal ascent, in a very leisurely hour and a half.

1620route

Comment notification in Blogger

Back in May, Google’s Blogger product stopped sending emails to bloggers notifying them of comments received. This meant that we had to go into the Blogger dashboard to view comments, and for new postings we could receive comments by email after sending a dummy comment and ticking the notification box.

Today I found the following advice on how to fix the issue, and it does seem to work for me.


“For anyone using Blogger: if you haven't been receiving email notification of blog comments this is how to fix the issue.
  1. Go into Blogger - Settings - Email
  2. Delete your email address in the box for comment notification
  3. Click SAVE SETTINGS
  4. Add your email back and click SAVE SETTINGS

You should receive an email where you confirm that you want to subscribe to receive email  notifications of comments.
If you use any comment moderation, you need to repeat the same steps under Settings - Posts, Comments, Sharing
AND, if you have been using the Email Post To (under Settings - Email), you need to copy the addresses, delete, SAVE SETTINGS, paste them back and SAVE SETTINGS. The recipients will receive an email where they can authorize receiving the posts.”

______________________________________________________________

Other News
We have a spare 40” Samsung LCD TV if anyone wants one. Six or seven years old but it should work fine. Let us know (
martin@topwalks.com).

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Wednesday 15 August 2018 – Pomona Metrolink Construction

1501pomona1

A repeat of last Tuesday’s bike ride. Just a bit of exercise, but I stopped to take a couple of pictures by the Ship Canal where the Metrolink extension from Pomona to the Trafford Centre is being constructed.

Hopefully they’ll tidy up the site when they’ve finished.

1502pomona2

This is a dry route with a good surface at all times of the year, which is very handy for an off road ride. There’s less than a couple of km on roads, though the section from the BBC studios to Eccles is on a cycle track next to the road.

Here’s the route again – 26km, 40 metres ascent, in an hour and a quarter or so today. Easy (and quicker) on a road bike if you have one.

1503route

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Monday 13 August 2018 – Another Bike Ride to Phoenix Park (Runcorn)

1303seamons2

Andy Wright recommended this route a couple of years ago, and I enjoyed the ride on 18 September 2016. A detailed record of that ride is here, so I’ll make this one brief.

I met Richard and Paul at 8.30 am at Seamons Moss Bridge, where the repair work is continuing at a pedestrian pace. At least the necessary diversion is very short, and pedestrians and cyclists are allowed over the bridge.

1301Seamons1

This bridge, next to the now defunct Bay Malton pub, marks the end of industrial Altrincham and the start of the Cheshire countryside through which the Bridgewater Canal now passes. Here’s the view in the other direction, towards Cheshire.

1302seamonsview

As before, the towpath was followed all the way through Lymm to Stockton Heath. There are occasional signs indicating ‘no bikes’, but today the towpath was firm and I can’t see that we were doing any harm by using it with courtesy on our bikes. Apart from one woman, everyone was friendly and no objections were raised. Later on our ride, some narrower and muddier paths were encountered on the Trans Pennine Trail that is a recognised cycling route.

We took a short break from the towpath between Stockton Heath and Acton Grange Bridge, using bridleways and quiet lanes by way of variety.

Here’s the view from, and the team at, Acton Grange Bridge.

1304ActonGBridge11305ActonGBridge2

Leaving the towpath at Red Brow Lane, we followed tarmac to muddle our way into Town Park then Phoenix Park, where the Urban Cafe that I used in 2016 was sadly closed down..

1306UrbanCafe

Andy W had usefully commented that we might find a café at Norton Priory, so we found our way past a building side to the canal again, and a footbridge that led into the grounds of Norton Priory Museum & Gardens. The Brooke Café saw to our needs (coffee and cake), and the whole site looked worthy of a longer visit.

The cycle path through Moore Meadows was a big improvement over my previous route, and we soon found ourselves next to the Manchester Ship Canal, hidden from view for a few kilometres until we reached the well signposted Trans Pennine Trail and familiar ground closer to home.

By now the drizzle was thickening and when we looked back to the bridge seen below ahead of us, that same bridge was engulfed in a watery mist that was slowly gaining ground on us.

1307ShipCanal

The good news was that the wind was behind us. The bad news was that it was carrying with it ever heavier rain. By the time I got home I was still warm, but literally ‘soaked to the skin’, leaving a big puddle on the kitchen floor…

Here’s the route, by way of an overview, many alternative options being feasible. My route from home was 63 km with 150 metres ascent, taking 4 hours plus stops. An excellent ride, and thanks to Richard and Paul for joining me.

1399route

Same time, same place, similar route next week – Monday 20 August.

Monday, 13 August 2018

Saturday 11 August 2018 – Wythenshawe parkrun number 351

1103parkrun03

Saturday morning, 8.45: Oliver is omnipresent in Wythenshawe Park, and has had plenty of time to learn his ‘First Timer’s Briefing’ script.

Meanwhile, the hordes gather for this week’s bout of weekend exercise.

1102parkrun021104parkrun04

Just before 9 am: Today’s Run Director, Tris, mounts his rostrum to address 311 assembled runners from all over the country.

“We aren’t sole users of the park, dogs on short leads, children to look after their accompanying adults, cake thanks to Catherine Lay, etc, etc.”

1105parkrun05

Nearly half an hour later, elite volunteer Ken (his elite runner status is on hold until after his forthcoming knee operation) keeps the dogs at bay whilst some quicker runners are heading for the finish.

1106parkrun06

Ron storms past Syd to finish in 28.49.

1107parkrun07

Unlike this sub-30 pushchair, Syd still has a lap to go…

1108parkrun08

The pushchair is ahead of Diana, Charlotte, Sue and Cary, who all fail the 30 minute hurdle. [Does that matter? No, it’s just an observation to pad out this text!]

1109parkrun09

Sue and Cary were having a good chat, anyway.

1110parkrun10

Afterwards the hordes strolled round the corner and crowded into the spacious quarters of the Courtyard Tea Room.

1111parkrun111112parkrun121113parkrun13

As always, a splendid way to start the weekend.

Full results are here.

And congratulations to Gayle, who has been doing quite a bit of running recently and achieved a Personal Best in Stuttgart this morning.

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Thursday 9 August 2018 – An Evening Walk from the Whipping Stocks

0901path

Thursday evening saw us return to Deepest Cheshire for the latest in this year’s series of summer evening walks led by Andrew. Apparently one took place whilst Sue and I were sunning ourselves in Austria, and everyone got soaked. But not tonight. Richard and Jenny turned out with their friends, Paul and Helen, so it was a team of seven who set out on another fine evening on a good path across Ambrose Acre towards Peover Superior.

0902ambroseacre

Beyond Eelcage Covert (the mind boggles!) we reached the church that is attached by a gateway to Peover Hall.

0903church0904peoverhall

The house dates from before 1585 and was built for Sir Ralph Mainwaring. There have been frequent alterations, including the building of a stable block in 1654. In 1919 the Mainwaring family sold the house, and it was sold again to Harry Brooks in 1940. During the Second World War the house was requisitioned and used by General George Patton and his staff. The hall was also used as a prisoner of war camp, and as a resettlement home for allied prisoners of war and for English people repatriated after the partition of India. It was returned to the Brooks family in 1950. A wing built in the 1760’s was in poor condition and was demolished in 1964, taking the house from 21 to 11 bedrooms. Other modifications were made, including a new entrance. According to Wikipedia, Randle and Juliet Brooks currently reside in the Hall.

0905stables

There’s a plaque above the door of the stable block built in 1654.

0906plaque10907plaque2

More information about this splendid old building can be found here.

Our walk continued past a chrysanthemum factory and along quiet Cheshire lanes to reach Sandy Lane – a pleasant track from which we could enjoy a pretty sunset.

0908sunset

After this pleasant hour and a half’s meander, we were back at the start, wondering what the place would have been like in our ancestors’ times.

0909sign0910pub

Whilst whipping may still be allowed (there was no sign saying it wasn’t), Sue noted the sign below with envy. Apparently her NHS workplace could do with a similar notice…

0911sign2

Here’s our route, a pleasant 7 km amble with minimal ascent, taking an hour and a half.

0920route

Thanks go to Andrew for organising this outing. The next, and last of this season’s Deepest Cheshire summer evening walks, takes place next Thursday, 16 August, and starts at 7.30 pm from The Bells of Peover (next to the church in Lower Peover) - SJ 742 742. All are welcome.

Saturday, 11 August 2018

Monday 6 to Thursday 9 August 2018 – A Few Bike Rides

0901toCandF

In preparation for another trip, a bit of bike fitness has been deemed appropriate.

1. So on Monday I enjoyed a routine hour long 19 km circuit - along the canal to Stretford, then along the Trans Pennine Trail (TPT) to re-join the canal at the site of the now sadly defunct Bay Malton pub, where the bridge (see here) is still being repaired, before returning home on the towpath.

I checked out the underpass at SJ 787 936 that Conrad struggled through last week. It's down a narrow unmarked footpath that leaves the TPT, re-joining that trail shortly after exiting the mud. Here’s the entry to the underpass.

0602underpass2

And the view through the mud…

0601underpass1

I suppose a warning sign would be helpful, but I imagine most people would be less brave than Conrad, take one look at the mud and return to the TPT, which crosses all ten lanes of the M60 motorway via a smart footbridge just a little further along the trail at SJ 784 936.

0603bridge

Personally, I'd prefer any funds to be spent on the maintenance of the TPT rather than on the futile maintenance of an easily avoided underpass path.

Here’s the route that I regularly cycle for a bit of exercise. It’s flat, 19 km, and generally takes me rather less than an hour.

0610route

2. Tuesday saw me taking the Bridgewater Canal towpath past Waters Meet all the way to the Throstles Nest Bridge. The area around there is full of construction work - the Wharfside area of the tramline extension to the Trafford Centre.

My route follows the Ship Canal as closely as possible along cycle lanes past the BBC studios to Eccles, then down to the Barton Swing Bridge before returning to Waters Meet along the Bridgewater Canal towpath past the Trafford Centre. The last 7 km is the reverse of the first 7 km - the stick of this 'lollipop' route. 26 km with about 40 metres of ascent, generally taking about an hour and 20 minutes.

0700route

3. I enjoyed a longer ride on Wednesday, picking up the TPT at Stretford and following it through Stockport to join the Peak Forest Canal beyond Haughton Green and return via the canals of the Cheshire Ring through Manchester city centre. 60 km in a shade over four hours, and back home in plenty of time for lunch. I wrote about this route in more detail here, and elsewhere.

The sad ruins of the Tatton Arms in Northenden continue to be a Blot on the Landscape.

18080801pub

Some bridge works have led to a diversion that didn’t affect me, as I got a bit misplaced in Northenden.

0804sign

The closed path is on the right in the next picture, taken from the footbridge pictured below.

0802mersey0803bridge

About half way round this circuit is an elevenses bench where there used to be a picnic table. Never mind, I rested in the company of a dog walker with a view of rampant ragwort and rosebay willowherb.

0805elevenses

Looking back over previous trips, it’s interesting to note that I always seem to take photos from the same spots, as in the next two pictures, taken where the Peak Forest Canal meets the Ashton Canal. One day I’ll stop and visit the Portland Basin Museum and enjoy some refreshments at the café next door.

0806canal10807chimney

A little further on, Guidebridge Mill, built in 1884, was the second mill built at the this site - the first, built in 1876 was demolished around 1938. Later mills such as this one were built with flat roofs, which could be used as reservoirs for the sprinkler systems. The mill building now houses various diverse businesses.

0808canal2

The northern stretch of the Peak Forest Canal was rather evil in odour, with a greasy film on the water, but the Ashton Canal was refreshingly cleaner, providing good reflections of some of the barges that live there.

0809canal3

I managed to find my way through Manchester centre, where you have to leave the towpath for a while. There were lots of people around, making it slow going.

Around Old Trafford, the orchids have died away, to be replaced by the bright yellow flowers of Evening Primrose.

0810flower

Here’s an overview of the route I took, which varies every time I do this ride. Today it amounted to exactly 60 km, with about 200 metres ascent, taking 4 hours or so including stops.

0820route

4. On Thursday I was joined by Richard for a ‘Big Macc Ramble’.

I’ve been cycling this route every now and then since January 1996. Reports since 2008 are here. They include a report on my first outing on ‘Stumpy’ in 2011. The chain broke. Today Stumpy was rather off colour again. The front brake was sticking, making progress rather hard work, but I wouldn’t have been able to go at Richard’s pace anyway, and at the end of the ride the rear suspension decided that it was to be set in the ‘on’ position all the time – a bit tedious as that suspension is only needed on bumpy downhill sections of track.

We took three and a half hours over the 23 km route, but that included lots of stops. My moving time was about an hour less than that, and Richard’s would have been a lot less, given the number of ‘waits’ he needed for me to catch up.

Notwithstanding all this, and the road closure that blocked the usual route to Langley, and the road closure on the A54 that blocked just the short section we needed along there, and a diversion due to logging in the forest, it was a good ride in fine weather. I was pleased to manage to cycle up the steep section to Nessit Hill, from where the following two pictures were taken before our swift descent to Trentabank that now includes some easy singletrack (bike only) paths.

0902toLangley0903richard

The header picture was also taken on this ride, on Charity Lane before the rough descent to Macclesfield Forest hamlet and a traditional break on the bench outside the chapel.

Here’s the 23 km route, which includes about 600 metres ascent. A good workout, especially with a sticking front brake, and thanks for your company, Richard.

0910route