Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Friday, 30 March 2018

Thursday 29 March – A Short Walk from the Wizard

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Time travelling back to the present (see previous entry), at last I’m now fit enough to be able to arrange a few morning walks. This one was at very short notice, so it was great that JJ, Rob and Pam were able to join me for this pleasant amble. We are pictured above, near Alder Wood, on the North Cheshire Way.

Setting off along the NE path to Mottram St Andrew from the NT car park by the Wizard café (£4 for 2 hours, £7 for longer – the National Trust subscription soon pays for itself), we soon got good view over Cheshire towards the Peak District.

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Before setting off, I’d warned the others that it might be a bit muddy in places!

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Generally, the paths to Mottram St Andrew were pretty good. A short stretch of quiet road through the village led eventually to the North Cheshire Way footpath, through fields bulging with new-born lambs.

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This post in Alder Wood pointed towards Alderley Edge, but the wood carving indicated our closeness to Hare Hill, which I’d have visited if there was a good off-road route back to the car park.

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However, we chose the direct route to Mount Farm, then on to Edge House Farm, which has for some considerable time been the subject of a major construction project. I expect the locals will be pleased when it’s finished.

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Rob’s photo seems to show me pondering something technical. The route?

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We returned past the Engine Vein, pictured below, which a few years ago was an ugly open scar, where a line of early mining pits was excavated in around 1900.  After being fenced off, it now looks grassy and benign, hiding centuries of mineral excavation.

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Numerous old tools, dating back as far as the Bronze Age (2500 to 800 BC) have been found hereabouts.  Many minerals are found here in the space of a few acres, including copper, lead, iron, zinc, silver, arsenic, silicon, barium, vanadium, and magnesium, in a variety of forms, mainly as thin films coating the pebbles and grains of the porous sandstone.  From the Engine Vein, later galleries and levels amounting to 22 miles in length, reach out beneath the Edge.

After about 100 minutes of walking, and having covered all of 7 km, JJ elected to drag us in to the Wizard Tea Room to continue his cake training regime for this year’s TGO Challenge, whilst I set about calculating how long the marathon I’m doing on 8 April would take at this pace. Ten hours – I think the finish may be closed by then!

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An excellent little outing; thanks everyone for turning up, and to Rob for his photos. Here’s the route we took – 7 km with about 150 metres ascent, taking rather less than 2 hours.

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There’s a longer version of today’s outing described here.

I’ve planned a couple more morning walks – all are welcome:

Thursday 5 April - A short morning walk from Lindow Moss car park opposite the Harvester Boddington Arms on Racecourse Road, SJ 888 863. Meet at 10.30am for this 6-7km stroll.

Wednesday 11 April - A morning walk around Bramhall and Poynton. Meet 10.00am at Bramhall Hall, SJ 888 863 for a 14km stroll.

Saturday 14 April
The Calderdale Hike - 22 or 40 miles around Calderdale. (I’ll will be doing the 22 mile route.)

There’s also a 15 mile LDWA walk near Rivington on Easter Monday if anyone is interested. JJ and I will be in attendance.

Thursday, 29 March 2018

A Short Tour of the Vanoise – Sunday 26 August 2007 - Day 1 – Modane to Refuge d'Orgère

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The Tour of the Vanoise route, and part of GR5, is portrayed above, with the route we took being the small loop at the bottom, annotated with our days 1 to 7.

So longer routes are available. They are detailed in Kev Reynolds’ Cicerone Guide to the area.

Here’s Sue’s diary record for Stage 1:

Sunday 26 August 2007

Off to a gentle start - a leisurely breakfast at 8.30. We arrange to meet at 9.30, which all comply with on a warm morning with a blue sky. We admire the proprietor's flowers - Martin attempts to lock the car, parked opposite the hotel, to no avail. The attempt continues for over half an hour, with the manual coming out - but it's in French. Eventually we seek the assistance of the hotel owner, who stands several metres from the car, a Renault Megane, and manages to lock it. He is proclaimed an expert, and finally we set off at 10.10.

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The industrial part of Modane is soon left behind and we walk through quiet streets, where the only noise is from racquets on a tennis ball from a court by the road.

Slowly, we begin to climb, first through streets, then onto a track, and finally on steep paths through woods. It is very warm, despite the shade of the trees. There are nearly 900 metres to climb but the steep path affords good progress. At about midday we stop on the path to brew and snack - glimpses of Modane below.

First brew above Modane

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t's so hot that Richard removes his t-shirt and treats us to his 'brown loaf' stomach. (We were spared a photo today – Ed)

A lovely open meadow is soon reached and I share some tiny, ripe, alpine strawberries, picked on the trail. We see the first people since the village on the meadow. More woodland follows - with lovely warm pine smells and singing birds.

Cabin below Refuge d'Orgère

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The refuge is soon in sight - at the road head. We enjoy Salade de Montaguerde in the sun, then settle into Dortoir 3.

Lunch at Refuge d'Orgère

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The afternoon's activity is the 'Sentier Natur' - mostly in shade, which consists of information boards describing birds/animals/geology, and guessing games - 'Who am I?'

Sue with Crocus on the Nature Trail

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Willowherbs, and Refuge d'Orgère in the distance

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A moth

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A Nature Trail waterfall

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We climb towards the pass up the valley, then descend near sheep pens where two fearless marmots are munching the grass.

Sue stalks a marmot

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The track leads back to the Refuge d'Orgère for showers, then beers under a broad umbrella.

Dinner at 7 pm - soup, pork chops with boulangère potatoes, lettuce and cheese, then egg custard. The red wine flows at dinner and accompanies our game of Uno - Martin (as usual) wipes the floor with Richard and me.

Our game is accompanied by harmonica tunes from a 'fondue party' to celebrate a birthday - the musician is good and even indulges us with a baroque classic. Finally head for bed ~10 pm, with a nice, nearly full, moon.

Sue

[Stats: Start 10.10. Brew stop at 1700 metres 12.10 to 40. Finish at hut 1.20 (2.5 hours walk, 5.5 km, 880 metres ascent - Stage 1). Plus nature trail 4km + 185m ascent in 2.25 hours.]

(Anquet: 6 km, 1186 m ascent, + Nature Trail 4 km, 250 m ascent)

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Wednesday, 28 March 2018

A Short Tour of the Vanoise – Saturday 25 August 2007 - Day 0 – Travel to Modane

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This series of entries is my attempt to digitise some diary entries made in 2007, shortly before the setting up of this blog. Whilst the trip was over ten years ago, it recounts our hutting trip on a popular route and may be of interest to anyone wanting a relatively easy hut to hut route for a week’s holiday in great alpine scenery. Sue, Jenny and I took turns in writing the diary, as annotated to the various entries. Pen shy Andrew and Richard completed the ‘Famous Five’.

"Carry On Up The Vanoise" (with 'The Famous Five')

We meet at Manchester Airport at 8.00am. Andrew has been here for some time, but is strangely sitting in 'arrivals' - is he unsure about this trip?

The self check in proves to be less successful than we'd hoped, but we all manage to check in and board the plane. Jenny has taken four 'Kalms' and has a bit of a hangover, so the flight is not too bad all things considered.

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Richard has managed to lose his sunglasses before we are even out of the UK, but apart from that we arrive in Lyon intact and in good time.

Martin arranges the car hire while Sue, Jenny, Richard and Andrew have to fend off an overactive child.

Drive to Decathlon for camping gas (Martin), sunglasses (Richard), and a top (Jenny). Lunch in a small lay-by, then it's off to Modane. Check in to the Hotel Perce-Niege. Hotel is nice - apart from strange padded doors - what are they expecting us to do, we wonder?

Beers in Modane.

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Then a meal at the hotel - French cuisine here, unlike the rest of Modane* which seems to be more of the pizza variety. Good food and a nice atmosphere. Richard is told off for eating Jenny's pudding (fruit) - although it then becomes unclear as to whose husband is Jenny's as Andrew also appears to be eating her pudding.

All retire early, ready for tomorrow's walk. Nice tarte aux pommes.

Jenny

* we didn't actually see the centre of Modane, which was in the unknown territory beyond our hotel!

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Where am I now?

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Having failed to take any photos at Saturday’s parkrun, I found myself back in the area (Northern Moor) supervising a fitter at Mike and Sarah’s house.

It was lovely to be able to walk to the park in five minutes and enjoy a five kilometre circuit amongst the daffodils and newly arrived chiffchaffs on the lovely sunny day, before returning to brew more coffee for Steve, then zooming home to find Gareth the plasterer having sorted out our kitchen ceiling which has had a hole in it for several years!.

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The next set of postings may be of limited interest as they are another throwback to 2007.