Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Friday, 22 June 2018

Thursday 21 June 2018 – An Evening Walk Around Styal

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Mid summer. Historically the time for an ambitious evening walk to the summit of Coniston Old Man or some similar spot before returning to work the following day. But that’s in the distant past, before the days of this blog, though it would have been great tonight. Perhaps we should aim to do that next year.

Anyway, Andrew had rushed back from holiday to a mountain of emails and a promise to lead us on an evening walk from The Ship in Styal.

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A lovely sunny evening, with no clouds - so no spectacular sunset, starting through pleasant fields. There were no unforeseen obstacles on tonight’s route.

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We skirted the runway for a while. Quite a noisy place. There are some houses here, on a gated road. They must have triple glazing! It didn’t bother the goldfinches though.

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Progressing towards Morley, we found a field in which we’ve previously encountered head high crops. The farmer has kindly provided a path through the present crop, but it’ll be very wet after rain, and interesting if it grows to head height!

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In normal conditions the path through Bank House Farm can be diabolically muddy, with lots of sad looking livestock in evidence. Today the farm is boarded up and the livestock has gone. The ground is solid – not surprising given the recent lack of rain. The path beyond the farm leading down to Styal Mill was delightful.

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The walk drew to a close after we passed Styal Mill, Quarry Bank House where the owners lived, and the Apprentice House.

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Styal village had been heaving with people earlier, due to a cricket match, a beer festival, and hordes of scouts. Only the scouts remained in evidence when we returned, though the place was still full of cars.

Here’s our route – 7.6 km, with minimal ascent. It took us a couple of hours, after which we adjourned to The Ship for some midsummer Prosecco etc.

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Thanks go to Andrew for organising this pleasant stroll, during which England thrashed Australia at one-day cricket, and Croatia thrashed Argentina at football in the World Cup.

Thursday, 21 June 2018

GR54 – Tour of the Écrins, September 2012 – Index of Postings

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Nearly six years late, but here’s a posting that makes navigating the GR54 trip postings a bit easier.

Prologue

Tour of the Oisans - Getting to Bourg d'Oisans

Saturday 1 September 2012 - GR54 Day 1 - Bourg d'Oisans to Clavans-le-Bas

Sunday 2 September 2012 - GR54 Day 2 - Clavans-le-Bas to Chez Baptiste in Le Chazelet

Monday 3 September 2012 - GR54 Day 3 - Le Chazelet (1786m) to Refuge de l'Alpe de Villar 
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Tuesday 4 September 2012 - GR54 Day 4 - Refuge de l'Alpe de Villar d'Arene (2077m) to Monêtier-les-Bains (1495m)

Wednesday 5 September 2012 - GR54 Day 5 - Monêtier-les-Bains (1495m) to Vallouise (1166m) via Col des Grangettes

Thursday 6 September 2012 - GR54 Day 6 - Vallouise (1166m) to Refuge des Bans (2076m)

Friday 7 September 2012 - GR54 Day 7 - Refuge des Bans (2076m) to Refuge du Pré de la Chaumette (1790m)

Saturday 8 September 2012 - GR54 Day 8 - Refuge du Pré de la Chaumette (1790m) to Refuge de Vallonpierre (2271m)

Sunday 9 September 2012 - GR54 Day 9 - Refuge de Vallonpierre (2271m) to Refuge des Souffles (1975m) via Col de Colombes

Monday 10 September 2012 - GR54 Day 10 - Refuge des Souffles (1975m) to Le Désert-en-Valjouffrey (1255m)
Tuesday 11 September 2012 - GR54 Day 11 - Le Désert-en-Valjouffrey (1255m) to Valsenestre (1294m)

Wednesday 12 September 2012 - GR54 Day 12 - Valsenestre (1294m) to Refuge de la Muzelle (2130m)

The View from Refuge de la Muzelle

Thursday 13 September 2012 - GR54 Day 13 - Refuge de la Muzelle (2130m) to Bourg d'Oisans (720m)

Wednesday 9 January 2013 – A slideshow for SWOG – Tour of the Ecrins

Reprise

Conrad's 1999 adventure

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

GR54 – Tour of the Écrins

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A call with Humphrey this morning reminded me of this excellent trip that dates back to 2012, the above picture featuring Roy and Susan at Col de Vallonpierre, 2607 metres, on 8 September 2012.

For anyone looking for a fine ‘hut to hut’ route of up to a fortnight in the Alps, this could be a great choice. Kev Reynolds’ Cicerone guide provides all the information you should need, and the Parc National des Écrins 1:50000 scale hiking map covers the entire route.

If you are planning to go in August, it may be best to book the mountain huts in advance, but outside that month it’s simply courteous to call ahead to let the guardian know that you will be arriving. The hut guardians are usually happy to do this for you.

Huts vary regarding bookings – some (possibly most these days) can be booked by email, or once they have opened reservations can be made by ‘phone. Due to increasing instances of ‘no-shows’ many huts now require payment of a deposit, often by bank transfer. This isn’t really practical for UK visitors due to high bank charges. We’ve solved this problem in the past by agreeing to confirm our reservation by ‘phone a couple of days before arrival.

If you are going as a group you do get piece of mind by taking the trouble to book in advance. If you then get delayed by bad weather you’d have to undergo a session of phone calls to adjust the bookings – luckily in nearly forty years of Alpine trips this has yet to happen to me.

For anyone interested, my contemporaneous GR54 blog postings are here.

Have fun in the Alps! If you go to the Écrins this September say hello to Humphrey if you bump into him. Have a great trip, HMP3!

PS Conrad has kindly commented, with this link to his own diary of a 1999 trip that I know will be of interest to Humphrey, and others who are familiar with Conrad's adventures.

I've finally composed an Index - click here for the Index of these postings.

Monday, 18 June 2018

Sunday 17 June 2018 – Yet Another Dunham Massey Walk

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We didn’t make the same mistake as last time. Today’s departure from Timperley Bridge at 8.40 saw us arriving at the Lavender Tea Rooms spot on 10.00, just as they opened with a fresh stock of newly baked cakes. My miniscule portion of coffee and walnut cake almost dwarfed the coffee that was served in crockery from a doll’s house!

On my last visit I reported that the swans didn’t seem to have any offspring this year. They must have been taking a break then, as today they were looking after a kindergarten of eight or nine babies.

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The canal was busy, with runners and cyclists on the towpath, as well as the usual boats and rowers. What can sometimes be a very muddy, churned up and rutted path turns into a hard baked flat surface at times such as this. We’ve had hardly any rain for some time.

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If we were train spotters, this would be a ‘double header’.

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‘Two ‘phones’ JJ enjoyed one of his home made scones, whilst it took me a little while to meet the ‘cake challenge’. We reflected on how lucky we are to have such a fine establishment as the Lavender Tea Rooms so close to where we live. And it’s not the only such place.

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A 14 km circuit from Timperley Bridge, after we’d returned via Altrincham and Navigation Road. I’ll not detail the numerous calf injuries that arose over the weekend, but I hope everyone makes speedy recoveries.