Monday morning: = a bike ride.
With none of my usual companions available I chose the 60km Trans Pennine Trail/Cheshire Ring circuit, leaving soon after 8 am in order to avoid the rain that arrived just as I returned home at midday. It's over six months since I last took this route - on 5 November last year - though the shorter Fallowfield Loopline route has been taken a few times since then, one of them being recorded here.
Of note, from the towpath, was a huge barge named Pauline, pictured above crossing the River Mersey in Stretford, with the M60 motorway in the background and the Metrolink tram line to the left. If you wait for a while at this bridge you should spot the seemingly unlikely sight of Kingfishers in this urban environment.
Attempts to converse with the skipper drew a smile but no voice - perhaps English wasn't his native language. Some sections of the Bridgewater Canal might be a bit tight for this vessel. I wonder where it is now? In the Irish sea?
I was pleased to find the towpath closures in the Ashton area were no longer an obstacle to progress, though the Canal & River Trust have closed the path in the centre of Manchester near lock number 89, so a short road section was needed to get from there to the Castlefield Basin. Not really a problem, and only a very small proportion, maybe 3km, of this 60km route is on roads. Most of this is near Stockport town centre, where I have yet to discover a good off-road route. I'm sure there is one.
Here's today's route - on this occasion I took the path beside the Mersey rather than go into Didsbury on the TPT. With just one tea and banana break at Haughton Green shortly before the route joins the Peak Forest Canal, it took me a little under four hours as I eschewed the attractions of the Velodrome café in favour of avoiding the rain.