Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Friday, 21 June 2019

Friday 21 June 2019 - A Visit to The Old Man of Coniston

 
 
 
 
This week's 'Friday Walk' ventured a bit further afield than usual, in deference to midsummer.

Sadly, despite threats from various likely suspects, only Sue and I made it to the 10.30 starting point at the end of Walna Scar Road, above Coniston. They missed a treat!

We took the easy way up the hill, staying on the foxglove bounded 'road' all the way to the col between White Maiden and Brown Pike. It was a lovely sunny day, with a cool breeze higher up. Just a handful of walkers about, and a couple of polite mountain bikers enjoying the descent before the path got too crowded.

Our elevenses break was taken on a sheltered rock with a fine view down to Coniston Water and Grizedale Forest. Bleeps from a WhatsApp group stuck in traffic on the M6 brought home how lucky we were to be here after a clear run from Manchester punctuated only by cappuccinos at the Swan in Newby Bridge.

After admiring the good views into the Duddon valley and beyond from the col, we trundled up to the top of Brown Pike (top picture, 682 metres) for even better views. Despite the clear views that we were enjoying, we noticed that the higher Scafell summits were cloaked in mist for a while.

The easy stroll along the broad ridge and up to Buck Pike (744 metres) rewarded us with great views from beyond the summit down to Goat's Water and across to 'The Old Man' (second picture).

It's an easy walk along the ridge before a short scramble to the 778 metre top of Dow Crag, where I'm pictured in today's third image. It must be easy!

This section of the walk was cool, with a brisk westerly wind battering us. Sue nearly trod on a man hiding in a crevice with some binoculars. "Out of the wind, here" he teased.

Suitably gloved and hatted, we hastened down to Goat's Hawse, after which the wind dropped and we ambled up to our final summit of the day, The Old Man of Coniston - at 803 metres the highest point of our day. The bottom picture was taken here.

There were other people around, but it was hardly crowded. Lunch was taken and I caught up with the cricket (England v Sri Lanka - England later lost this game).

The route up from Low Water was pretty busy with people slogging and dogs skipping up the steep path. Various mining paraphernalia was passed as we continued to descend, with good views throughout, to the easy track leading back to the car park. 

We were back by 2.30, after nearly 11 km and 750 metres ascent, which had taken us less than four hours.

Then we drove down to Blawith, a ten minute drive away, next to the lake, to spend a couple of hours with Jim and Cathy, old university contemporaries of mine, who we hadn't seen for far too long. It was great to see them, and thanks for the tea and biscuits and the incomparable Paddy End.

We were home by 6.30 after another clear run, and are now getting ready for another mini trip, hence this brief entry. Lots of photos were taken today - I'll post a few more next week if I get round to it.

Here they are!

Have a great mid-summer. 

Thursday, 20 June 2019

Happy Days in the Pyrenees

 
On 6 August 2013 I had the pleasure of bumping into Uli (with the beard) whilst I was walking the GR10 route across the Pyrenees. We realised when we parted a few days later that we'd probably never meet again, and that may well be the case.
 
It was something of a surprise, therefore, to receive a message from Uli today. He is starting a Pyrenees HRP walk (that's the high level one that Sue and I walked in 2004) on Monday, heading from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic. I do so wish I could go with him, but I'll just have to accept a vicarious trip on this occasion, by following his progress here.
 
Whilst Uli was a faster walker than me, he and another GR10 hiker, Peter, kindly waited for me during the ascent of Pic du Canigou, on a day when the summit was engulfed in cloud and the scrambly route of ascent was rather slippery. We are pictured above on the 2785 metre summit of that iconic mountain. It was close to freezing - a bit of a shock, as t-shirts and shorts had been de rigeur for several weeks by then.
 
The three of us stayed more or less together until lunchtime on 9 August. We are pictured below, just outside Arles-sur-Tech, before Uli and Peter headed on to Moulin de la Palette and I headed gently down to Amelie-les-Bains for a welcome rest.

 
Good luck on this year's adventure, Uli, and do take care. We will be with you in spirit.

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

A Bike Ride, some Jazz, and a Game of Cricket

 
Monday morning bike rides aren't the same without Paul and Jeanette! This Monday I made my way in light rain to the allotted 8.45am rendezvous at Timperley Bridge, and waited with the familiar view shown above.
 
I was on my own, together with lots of fast, damp commuters. Never mind, I'd planned a shorter route than usual because of other perceived commitments. It was the same route as Richard and I took on 11 March.
 
By the time I'd reached Old Trafford, either it was very misty, or the 'phone camera didn't like being retrieved from my pocket into the muggy atmosphere.

 
I paused for a short rest near the bridge at Barton upon Irwell, near the Trafford Centre.

 
The vegetation on and around the Trans Pennine Trail in Carrington is nothing if not lush just now.

 
The 37 km route took me rather less than two and a quarter hours to pedal gently around. It's a good, mainly off-road, route for a bit of exercise.

 
Monday night found me at Eagley Jazz Club, with the Tame Valley Stompers on stage. I wrote a bit about them here. Sadly Terry Brunt and his trombone were not present tonight as he had to attend the funeral of his long term partner earlier in the day. Whilst his substitute was excellent, the band isn't the same without extrovert Terry.
 
It was great to bump into Bernard (an East Lancs LDWA Plodder) and to spend the evening with him and his brother John.
 
Tuesday was a bad day for Richard's friend Simon - a roofer who couldn't pass over a chance to catch up on his work on a rare fine day. That made it a good day for me, as I could step in at the last minute and enjoy the one day match between England and Afghanistan at Old Trafford with Richard. Thanks for the 'call up', Richard. I had considered getting a ticket, but I'd fallen heavily at the hurdles of the application procedure.
 
So I walked down to M&S in Sale to acquire tasty provisions in the true tradition of my visits to the cricket ground, most of which pre date this journal. On the way I noticed that after many months of inaction, the path to a canal footpath at Brooklands is at last (or so it appears) having its wonky step repaired. What was probably an hour's job for a lone workman seems to have been escalated into a much bigger project! [Only the steps were closed, the footpath being easily accessed from the Metrolink station platform.]

 
We gave ourselves plenty of time as Richard was concerned about the time it would take to get through security. Just a few seconds, as it turned out.
 
With an hour before the start, the English players were engaged in a game of five a side football, whilst the Afghans preferred the non contact sport of frisbee throwing. Interviews were being broadcast, with numerous different broadcasters situated all around the in-field.

 
We were pleased when England won the toss and elected to bat. I optimistically suggested a total of 400 runs from the 50 overs, but soon discounted this when the English made a slow start, giving respect to the skill of the Afghan spinners.
 
Then captain Eoin Morgan came along and scored 148 runs from 71 balls, including 17 sixes, a record for a one-day international innings. We witnessed history (albeit in a relatively small way) being made, with England reaching 397 for 6 wickets in their 50 overs. Brilliant!

 
After meeting up with Keith and Carol during the break between innings, we enjoyed a rather sedate run chase which culminated with the Afghans needing to score about 150 runs off the final over.

 
Needless to say, they didn't manage that, and the game finished at about 6.15, having started at 10.30. It was well attended, with just a few gaps in the more expensive seats. The huge temporary stand in which Keith and Carol had £40 seats was full. Sadly I didn't take a picture of it - it's high to the left of the following image.

 
Here's a panoramic shot taken from our seats.
 


Thanks go to Richard for thinking of me when 'Poor Simon' dropped out at the last minute - it was a great day out.

Monday, 17 June 2019

Sunday 16 June 2019 - Shelsley Walsh Hill Climb


This was our third visit to Shelsley. We previously visited in 2013 and in 2017.
 
Today the occasion was to celebrate Sue's dad's 82nd birthday. Happy Birthday, Richard.
 
Having stayed with Dot overnight, we didn't need to start too early to reach Shelsley for breakfast at 9am. Then we wandered around the pits, and past some classic cars, to viewpoints up the 1000 metre hill that climbs up 100 metres. It has some interesting corners on the way up. Practice runs take place in the morning, with competition in various classes taking place in the afternoon.
 
The elegant Facel Vega featured in my Observers book of Automobiles in the late 1950s, but I never saw one, so this was a treat...
 
 
The well turned out Railton is another rarely seen vehicle.
 
 
The last two pictures are of vehicles brought by visitors. Lots more polishing took place after a sharp shower that slowed all the cars on their practice runs.
 
 
After our picnic lunch - thanks for the spread, Diana - Sue and I wandered around at various points on the hill. Here's a small selection of my photos.



 
The Ford Escort's steering on a steep corner didn't do too well.
  
 
The marshal on the left is carrying the windscreen, but apart from that there were just a few dents, and the car could be free-wheeled back down the hill.


 
This Mini is very similar to the woodland green one that provided me with transport for most of the 1970s (BVN406B).

 
The six-wheeler seems to use go-kart wheels, but a much bigger engine.

 
The model below has an air of being home made, but I'm sure it's a great vintage rarity.

 
Sue took this picture of her mum and dad during our afternoon tea break.

 
An enjoyable day out, if a bit different from our usual activities.