Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Saturday, 19 May 2018

TGO Challenge 2018

This isn't the usual TGO Challenge report. There are ten of those to choose from to read amongst these pages, plus another in 2007.

This year Sue and I are helping at TGO Challenge Control at the Park Hotel in Montrose. Just for the second week of the event when extra help is needed to cope with the arrival of around 300 people at the signing in point in Montrose.

I travelled up by car today, a week later than originally planned, my day having started with over an hour's worth of root canal treatment. After that I popped down to join the Wythenshawe parkrunners for a coffee. Conditions were perfect for running; there were lots of Personal Best times. I was quite miffed not to have been able to do it.

The six and a half hour drive (330 miles) was punctuated with many stops, but I arrived at 6pm, in plenty of time for the day's 'special' of chicken lasagne, after a quick induction into the system for monitoring participants.

The middle picture showing Pauline with some washing up, and Bernie and Alison with phones in their hands and surrounded by paperwork, just about sums it up.

Sue and I have kindly been lent accommodation a five minute walk from the hotel in the palace shown in the bottom picture.

We are in for a busy week. 

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Wednesday 16 May 2018 – Happy Valley with SWOG

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On such a nice evening Sue and I felt obliged to attend Stockport Walking & Outdoors Group’s (SWOG) evening walk to Happy Valley, which we visited on 11 April with Paul and Jeanette. It was a lot greener and completely mud free on this occasion.

Our route was much shorter this time, with plentiful parking in a large lay-by at SJ 912 857 (SK7 5JY), from where 23 ‘Swoggers’ strode off, led by Louise, at 7.30 prompt.

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A steep path past Norbury House Farm led very quickly to the well manicured footpaths of Happy Valley Nature Reserve. Lady Brook was benign and shaded in the evening light.

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Thanks to a virtual absence of stiles, the group made good progress, though the stalwart vanguard pictured below did have to pause occasionally to allow re-grouping. It’s difficult to get 23 people to walk at the same pace; Louise did well to keep them together.

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We stopped at SJ 900 859, where our path started the top of the clockwise ‘lollipop’ route (see map below).

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There’s a choice of several paths to Bramhall Park, tonight’s being the direct one, whereas you could choose an alternative to the south. There were some lovely Copper Beeches in the park next to the golf course.

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After passing an active running club training in the grounds of Bramhall Hall, we endured a short section of busy roads before re-entering the Nature Reserve at the point where Sue is shown at the head of this posting. Then past mallards and small weirs as we proceeded alongside Lady Brook, with magnificent residencies to our left, before crossing the brook at the bridge at the base of our ‘lollipop’.

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Returning along the excellent path we’d come down earlier, there were many glances back to the sunset, and up to the tree tops to vociferous thrushes.

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Here’s our route – 6 km with about 40 metres ascent, taking a leisurely hour and a half.

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A lovely outing on excellent paths.

Monday, 14 May 2018

Sunday 13 May 2018 – Along the Bridgewater Canal and Trans Pennine Trail, and some Hangers-on

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Once the paths have dried out I enjoy an 18.7km circuit on the bike along the Bridgewater Canal to Stretford, then along the Trans Pennine Trail (TPT) to the Bay Malton pub, before re-joining the canal towpath to get home in a shade under an hour.

I reported on the same ride on 3 April 2017, but it has taken until now for me to get back on this route this year. It’s muddy in winter and I don’t like having to clean the bike after such a short outing.

On this visit the towpath was justifiably very busy, but the TPT was empty apart from a couple of horse riders.

Here’s the route, which includes about three km of tarmac but which is otherwise pleasantly off-road and provides an hour’s good quality exercise.

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Afterwards some hangers-on appeared with their mum, who promptly abandoned them and went for a run. Wasn’t Jessica looking smart in her Princess outfit, trying to outdo Jacob in some sort of primeval contest?

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