Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Saturday, 6 October 2018

Thursday 4 October 2018 – Another Circuit from Marple (Rose Hill)

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This was a very similar outing to that on 21 March 2017 with Paul and Andy. I omitted the Fox Inn loop and extended the route to 28 km by heading through Mellor to visit recently bereaved Linda in Hollins Lane.

Starting on a dull day down the Middlewood Way for 6.5 km, with an annoying headwind today, the track passes through a short corrugated iron tunnel before reaching the station at Nelson Pit in Higher Poynton.

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After leaving the Middlewood Way to pass under the Macclesfield Canal, the route enters Lyme Park at West Parkgate. There’s a long and gentle ascent to another gate, pictured below beside a wall that needs to be rebuilt. On this ascent I encountered a group of park rangers including Nigel from SWOG. The rangers were learning about the geology of the park, and Nigel told me about some erratics near The Cage.

Nigel has also told me that he will be doing some dry stone walling. Apparently there is a constant need for wall maintenance around the park, for which the volunteers are greatly valued.

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Lyme Hall soon came into view. It’s a magnificent building. I must find time to go round it sometime.

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On a short promontory beyond the hall, is the Cage, originally a hunting lodge but later used as a park-keeper's cottage and as a lock-up for prisoners.

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I went onto the promontory to investigate the boulders referred to by Nigel as being of geological interest. They apparently originated in the Lake District and they must have been deposited here by a glacier, some time ago. The first is shown below.

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The second boulder, not far from the Cage, is a bit bigger.

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As I was taking the above picture, I spotted a couple of the red deer whose ancestors have lived here since at least mediaeval times.

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The day remained overcast apart from a brief spell of sunshine that I enjoyed by the Peak Forest Canal. Meanwhile my route exited the park and spent some time on the Gritstone Trail path, with views towards New Mills.

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Though the picture doesn’t necessarily show it, this tree was absolutely laden with red berries. I imagine it comes under siege from time to time from migrating birds.

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Steep paths with a dollop of loose rocks lead to the Peak Forest Canal. En route my back tyre picked up a metal tack. Had this happened last week, I’d have been in trouble, but earlier this morning I had called in at Bike Shak to buy the correct adaptor for my pump. It was needed, as was my spare inner tube.

The canal was littered with leaves, a first sign of autumn despite the lingering green of the foliage.

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After a few comfortable kilometres, the route leaves the canal to descend to Strines, then steeply up to Greenclough Farm, where the usual car museum was on display.

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Continued ascent to The Banks leads to a pleasant path beside a golf course, and onwards to Mellor. My usual route goes down a rocky track to Roman Lakes, then on roads to Rose Hill, but today I chose to visit Linda in Marple Bridge before taking the main road back to base.

It turned out to be a 28 km route with about 500 metres ascent. Whilst it took me 4 hours 40 minutes in total, the ‘moving time’ was just 2 hours 40 minutes.

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It was a late lunch…

Friday, 5 October 2018

Henry Blofeld – Over and Out

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We recently strolled down to Waterside Arts Centre in Sale to spend an evening, together with a packed audience of at least 400, with Henry Blofeld, a Test Match Special commentator from 1972 until his retirement at the age of 77.

He was very engaging, with lots of anecdotes, as one would expect, and even those (like Sue) with no particular interest in cricket came away feeling thoroughly entertained, even doubling the cost of their evening by spending £20 on a copy of Henry’s latest book. I noticed at half time that his wife was hiding behind a huge pile of books in the foyer and I wondered why they had brought so many, but by the end of the night the people who had queued for the longest time had to make do with a handshake with Henry across a bare table.

I’ve not yet read the book, but I’m sure it’ll provide good entertainment for a few hours.

Henry’s ‘78 Retired’ tour continues at various venues until mid November.

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Monday 1 October 2018 – Another TPT/Cheshire Ring Bike Ride

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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.

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Commuters were still making their way to work.

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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.

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Here’s the gang (minus Sue, who had returned home) beside the sculpture.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Saturday 29 September 2018 – Wythenshawe parkrun number 358

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Our first run for five weeks, and we hadn’t seen Paul and Jeanette for just as long. Jeanette was sporting her new ‘250’ shirt after reaching that target whilst on a visit to Shetland; Paul’s is quite old. They have completed 566 parkruns between them, and their son Greg has managed a further 379.

It was a lovely morning. I jogged a slow first kilometre to warm up, before speeding up to finish in a respectable time, albeit position 83, just ahead of Jeanette, some way behind whom Sue ran in with Cary. She had intended to walk, but her Achilles problem doesn’t seem to have affected her too much today and she enjoyed a chat with Cary.

Results here.

It’s a red letter week for the hall, damaged by fire in March 2016. The bell tower has been repositioned in its rightful place.

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Here’s what it looked like immediately after the fire.

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So there’s hope for the future behind all that scaffolding. I think the work is supposed to be completed in January 2019.

It’s great to see so many bikes at the parkrun these days. The message really does seem to have got home to a good number of people that parking is limited and cycling to the event is the perfect way to digest your breakfast on a Saturday morning.

We were also pleased to see that there’s a new, more convenient for us, run at Orleans in Ottawa, where friends took part in the inaugural run on Saturday. We look forward to joining them on our next visit. 38 people took part, which is encouraging.

Monday, 1 October 2018

Summer in the Alps - 2018

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This is part of a regular Wednesday evening programme for Stockport Walking and Outdoor Group.

All are welcome on this or any other Wednesday.

Many thanks to all 35 or so who filled the room and made the effort of producing the slideshow so soon after we had returned from the trip worthwhile.