A more detailed photographic essay of this route is to be found here.
It was another lovely Monday morning. Appropriate to celebrate a few anniversaries together with Sue, Paul, Jeanette and Richard:
15 years since I stopped full time work;
5 years since Paul retired;
11 years and 3069 postings since I started this blog.
Richard hasn’t long retired. It was his prerogative to be confused about the road system between Hale and Timperley, but he turned up eventually. Meanwhile we’d enjoyed a chat in the sunshine. Our slow start set the pace for the day. I normally complete this ride in about 4 hours; today it took us 7 hours!
The conversion of our local office block, Nelson House, into apartments is virtually complete. It looks quite smart in the sunshine.
Commuters were still making their way to work.
We made good progress down the towpath to Stretford, and then along the Trans Pennine Trail (TPT) to Northenden, where Sue turned back to avoid getting lost as she wanted a shorter outing.
The heron that graces the banks of the Mersey in Northenden was eying up the moon today; the remains of the Tatton Arms were looking just a bit more dilapidated.
Here’s the gang (minus Sue, who had returned home) beside the sculpture.
After a tea break by the river, we muddled our way through Stockport and headed to Reddish Vale. I took a wrong turn, heading by mistake through a dark tunnel towards Bredbury. It was down here that Richard picked up a puncture. Looking at the map, I think there may be an acceptable (and slightly shorter) alternative route to the Peak Forest Canal via Bredbury.
Anyway, we returned to the ‘normal’ TPT route and soon reached the canal, which was in better shape than on my last visit, when it looked terribly polluted. There were a couple of maintenance vehicles of a type I haven’t seen before.
Before reaching Dukinfield we saw a mink on the footpath ahead of us. We were within feet of it as it swam across the canal. I don’t recall having seen one before. We also saw Jays and Herons, and rather noisy Grey Wagtails, amongst the usual common species.
A café that we’d been aiming for at the junction of the Peak Forest and Ashton canals turned out to be closed on Mondays. It took a while to establish that, and Jeanette discovered that it is slow work negotiating steep cobbles in her shoes that appear to have pedals attached to their soles.
A little further on a diversion caused a further delay, exacerbated by my poor map reading, so what with more cobbles on some of the descents beside the locks, it seemed to take ages to reach the Velodrome at the National Cycling Centre. We paused for coffee and cake. Richard had a full meal. ‘Lunch hour’ was exactly that.
Before leaving the Velo’drone we had to admire some of the Manchester bees that are on display here.
I should have dedicated a posting to these bees, but we were busy in the Alps.
On leaving the café, I discovered that my back tyre had a slow puncture, and I didn’t have the correct attachment to my pump. Paul to the rescue. Eventually, after several pumping sessions every few kilometres, we gave up pumping and changed the inner tube – twice, as the first one seemed defective. Luckily I carry two spares. Punctures are common at this time of year when the hawthorn hedges are being trimmed.
Here’s our route – 65 km (normally it’s 60 km) with about 250 metres ascent (ie essentially flat). It took us 7 hours! More for those who had to make the 3 km each way return trip from and to Hale. A very pleasant way to spend the day.
Next Monday: meet under Timperley Bridge at 8.30 for a 70 km ride to Bury then across to Middleton, and back along the Rochdale Canal.