Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Saturday, 3 November 2018

Saturday 3 November 2018 – Marple parkrun

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Wythenshawe on Tour

A few weeks ago I’d suggested that we pay a visit to Marple parkrun, and today was the allotted date. Others went on tour to Macclesfield, and Sue went to Wythenshawe to host a visit from the Jones and Pickard families who were on tour to our home run (Wythenshawe).

All a bit complicated, but on another sunny morning we went to Brabyn’s Park at Marple Bridge in expectation of mud. Greg had warned us, and had declined to join us on account of the notorious Marple Mud.

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How wrong could you be, Greg? The following picture taken at the finish shows the path as muddy as it got. In fact, the soft layer of leaf litter made the surface very easy and forgiving. The only bit that presented a slight problem was a field near the start, where we had to be careful to avoid the molehills and holes.

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Apart from those pictured at the head of this posting, we were honoured to have the support of Nobby, who kindly took the picture, and Annie, who kindly ran around the course with Owen (pictured below).

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The results are pretty irrelevant on what was as much a social occasion as a running challenge, but Paul came in before the rest of us in a creditable time of 22.27, finishing 23rd out of 187 participants, whilst Annie and Owen brought up the rear of our team in 34.49. Full results are here.

Libby’s café was full. Luckily it was warm enough to sit outside. Owen was ‘the lucky boy’ as two different people both bought him a hot chocolate. It was a lovely spot to linger, beside the bright autumn colours of the Goyt Valley.

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I had to leave early to return to Timperley for my ‘flu jab, only to discover that they had run out of vaccine. Ah well, I tried!

Here’s the Really Nice Route taken by this parkrun. It’s over two laps, so can you spot which of the four arrows marks each of the four kilometre points?

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Finally I should thank the friendly Run Director and the marshals, all of whom were most welcoming. Thank you.

Friday, 2 November 2018

Friday 2 November 2018 – A Walk near Alderley Edge

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My short Friday morning walks programme continued to enjoy fine autumn weather for this stroll from the National Trust Car Park near the Wizard Tea Room.

Andrew, Bridget and Paul were all waiting for me at 10am. I hadn’t realised how slow the journey from Timperley could be!

These pages have featured Alderley Edge on numerous occasions, so today I chose some paths I may not have walked before, though the others were familiar with some of them.

We started down Bradford Lane, where Andrew encountered the team that tends his garden, pictured above, enjoying perfect weather for their occupation.

Then we turned onto Hocker Lane. admiring the colours and dodging the occasional vehicle. This is a footballer millionaire zone, and Andrew reminded me that it was the site of a high velocity bike ride we undertook in 2004 whilst training for a visit to Annapurna.

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After turning onto Slade Lane, we rose to a point where the Jodrell Bank telescope loomed high on the horizon beyond the sunlit fields.

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A convenient post in the shadow of Clinton Hill facilitated a team photo.

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The building at Finlow Hill, presumably once a farm, has been redeveloped. The occupants have nice views. Unlike those observing from the outside of the new building. There was however a convenient bench, occupied only by a single red rose and a pile of bird s**t. Andrew carefully removed the rose and sat in the s**t. Various means of sustenance were produced, principally bananas and tea.

The bench was returned to the state it was in before we arrived (if a little flatter) and we moved on through a rather horsey zone. A giraffe house seems to have been built at the end of a large field.

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A pleasant path led through Finlow Hill Wood to the busy B5087 road. We crossed that and headed along the path to Edge House Farm, which remains a building site surrounded by an ugly green fence. The site was deserted. Not much seems to have happened since I was last there a few months ago.

From Edge House Farm we briefly followed the North Cheshire Way footpath, before turning left to pass a spring and enter Waterfall Wood, pictured below. A couple of families with children were enjoying a half term romp just here.

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There are many ways of regaining the car park from here. We chose a short route through Dickens Wood. That took us to the busy Wizard Tea Room, en route to which we met some of Bridget’s friends. It was warm enough to enjoy our coffee and cake outside, before heading off after this most pleasant saunter.

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Here’s our route – about 7.5 km, with around 150 metres of gentle ascents, taking a shade over 2 hours.

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Thanks for coming, everyone. Next week it’s a slightly longer walk from Rostherne:

“Friday 9 November: Around Rostherne. Meet in Rostherne village (SJ 744 833) at 10 am for a 11 km bimble.”

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Alpine Interlude (4) – At Gornergrat, 4 September 2018

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Wow, I’m up to Day 41 with photo processing, but the days spent in Zermatt have LOTS of images.

Happy Days….

Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Alpine Interlude (3) – Chamanna Tuoi and the Vermunt Pass, 1 September 2018

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This is Day 38 of our ‘Summer in the Alps’. Whilst Richard and I were wrestling our bikes over some mountain passes to Livigno (see here – the ‘Day 37’ heading should read ‘Day 38’), Sue was wrestling her way up from Chamanna Tuoi (a mountain hut at 2250 metres) towards the Vermunt Pass, just below Piz Buin at around 2800 metres. The snow got too deep for her to continue safely, so she returned to the hut to finish her entry in the visitors’ book.

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Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Monday 29 October 2018 – Another 45 Mile Bike Ride to Pennington Flash and Mucky Mountains

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This was a repeat of last week’s route, with very minor variations, on which I reported here.

On a lovely sunny morning, I was joined by Paul, Jeanette, Laura, Richard and Sue. The poplars beside the canal past Water’s Meet near the Trafford Centre looked magnificent. Sue insisted that I send the following picture to the Sale and Altrincham Messenger newspaper.

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Beyond the Barton Swing Bridge, with Grey Wagtails flitting over the canal, and a Sparrowhawk ‘fast flapping’ ahead of us, we proceeded through Eccles to join the Loopline, at which point Sue returned to Sale for some attention to her painful Achilles.

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The rest of us continued through Roe Green towards the Busway at Ellenbrook.

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At the centre of Leigh the canal is re-joined. The Bridgewater Canal was opened in 1761 to transport coal from Worsley to Manchester. In 1795 an extension to Leigh was opened, and by then an extension from Water’s Meet to Runcorn had been built. The Leigh extension was later linked to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal by way of a branch of that canal from Wigan. These days the canals join seamlessly, the picture below of a renovated warehouse being situated on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

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Pennington Flash is right next to the canal. It used to be the home of a couple of farms, but mining subsidence led to flooding and these were abandoned in the early 1900s. The present country park and bird reserve was opened in 1981. Some 230 different bird species have been observed here.

We paused for drinks and sustenance from our bags, as the nearby mobile kiosk got a thumbs down for its greasy chip menu.

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After the same 9 km of roads as last week, we dropped down to the Sankey Valley and its disused canal.

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The disused canal runs parallel to Sankey Brook, which no doubt fed into the canal, which actually pre-dates the Bridgewater Canal, having opened in 1757.

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This whole area is rich in industrial history and the subject of many books. Our route headed down the Sankey valley to join the Trans Pennine Trail (TPT) to the west of Warrington.

After a break at the memorial forest, we eventually arrived in Stockton Heath, where Paul and Jeanette knew of a café. I think it was called LD24. Anyway, a short diversion to the centre of Stockton Heath soon found it, and that was indeed a worthwhile diversion.

Back on the TPT, we went under this bridge, one of many bridges of a particular type to be found crossing the Manchester Ship Canal.

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After that we returned home via the TPT to the Bay Malton, where we went our separate ways, mine being back home along the canal towpath.

Here are two takes on the route - 74 km, 500 metres ascent, taking 6+ hours including three breaks.

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What a lovely morning.

Monday, 29 October 2018

27/28 October 2018 – Ramsoc goes to Dufton

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Another year has passed. Sue’s YHA weekend for her Nottingham University contemporaries and various other friends has come round again. Last year we were in Helmsley. My reports on various RAMSOC trips can be found here.

This time we split into two main groups, so only a few of the participants are actually pictured here. Those shown above – Christine (Jenny’s friend), Neal, Jenny, Dave, Sal, Sue, Russell and Alison - came on a Saturday walk that I’d planned.

It was a lovely day, if a little cool, for this walk up to High Cup Nick. We were delayed for a while by an overgrown path in the village, then by a wait for sheep that were being shepherded down to their winter quarters. Several 4x4 buggies were in use on difficult terrain, some transporting injured sheep.

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We took a contouring path from the Nick. Sue found a frozen puddle. It was cold.

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We nipped up Murton Pike. It was windy.

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But lovely and calm and warm on the lee side of the fell.

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The descent to Murton was steep. From there on, the undulations were gentle, as was the scenery.

The path to Flakebridge was … overgrown.

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Beyond Flakebridge, good paths led through lovely autumn colours to pick up Frith Lane and proceed to Brampton.

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Easy paths led past a couple of friendly donkeys and some trees full of Fieldfares, back to Dufton.

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Here’s our route – a pretty leisurely 22 km with 800 metres ascent, taking 7.5 hours, including many pauses.

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The Stag Inn provided an excellent meal later, after those of us who had headed for the teapot before showering had learnt the error of their ways.

On Sunday morning we had all warmed up from our cold showers. Some went elsewhere, but nine of us headed up Dufton Pike. Spot the cyclist, Anne, who didn’t come with us. She and Ulrich found us later at a café in Appleby.

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It was another lovely day.

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From the top of Dufton Pike, there’s a good view up Threlkeld Side. Robin headed up there after the summit photo, whilst the rest of us headed down the north western flank to Rundale after having been entertained by several teams of acrobatic crows.

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After watching a couple of red deer on the hillside opposite, we returned uneventfully back to Dufton, by the route shown below – 7.5 km with 350 metres ascent, taking 2.5 hours.

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A characterful café at Appleby provided scones and coffee. “You’ll have to wait for 17 minutes” explained the proprietor, as he disappeared into a cupboard looking for flour.

Then Cary, Sue and I went for a walk beside the River Eden.

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We passed a prize specimen.

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After passing the sewage works, the path got thinner.

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Soon we realised why. Some of the stepping stones were missing.

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It wouldn’t take much to sort the stones out, but it wouldn’t have been sensible to attempt to cross with them in their present state, so we turned back, our planned route having been foiled.

This was just an easy 5 km stroll, after which we went home.

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It was a lovely weekend in excellent weather. Several people expressed a desire to return here in 2019.

I’ve tried to make a Flickr album (56 images) here.