Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Saturday, 18 January 2020

Sherwood Pines parkrun

This parkrun takes place only a couple of miles from Center Parcs, so I popped along whilst the others got a few minutes exercise on hydrobikes.
Curiously, there were 390 participants on the single lap course along forest paths - the same as Wythenshawe last week. Also, curiously,  I took exactly the same time as last week - 23.54, but my position was slightly different - thanks possibly to all the fast 11 year olds at Sherwood Pines.

It was a lovely clear morning - ideal for this 5 km jog.

Friday, 17 January 2020

Center Parcs 2019 (1)

Here we are, duly assembled for another active weekend in Sherwood Forest. 

Thursday, 16 January 2020

The TGO Challenge - Vetting Days (9)

Here, I'm packing up near the summit of Beinn na Caillich, on 18 May 2010, after one of the best nights I've had in a tent, with the door wide open and views across Loch Leven to Glencoe.

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

The TGO Challenge - Vetting Days (8)

The route I'm currently vetting has a camping spot below the Munro summit of Creag nan Damh, on the South Glen Shiel ridge. Sue and I were there on 9 May 2008, in t-shirt weather.
This year's Challengers may not be so lucky - here's a panoramic view taken by Ali O on her 2019 Challenge, where a group of Challengers camped in the same (more or less - NG 986 111) spot in fine, but hardly t-shirt, weather. You'll need to click on the picture to view it properly.

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

The TGO Challenge - Vetting Days (7)

This one is for fellow vetter, Barbara, who asked about access to the Schiehallion path from Kinloch Rannoch (where ice creams are an essential purchase).
Here's Sue on 15 May 2019 at our camp (NN696554) along the track Barbara was enquiring about.

Monday, 13 January 2020

The TGO Challenge - Vetting Days (6)

Today I'm vetting a route that passes Ryvoan bothy, near Glenmore Lodge. I stayed outside the bothy on a lovely flat piece of grass, on my first Challenge in 2007.
I have a vivid memory of the ensuing sleepless night. Some might say I was disturbing the wildlife, but the troop of lekking black grouse acted as if I simply wasn't there, refusing to be shooed away from their night time mating rituals.
Don't camp here!

Sunday, 12 January 2020

Saturday 11 January 2020 - Wythenshawe parkrun number 424

On a routine Saturday morning on the 5 km 'Reverse Flag and Sandcastle' course, Jan rests under the supervision of Oliver after speeding off ahead of me, despite my efforts to slow him down with inconsequential chat at around the 3 km mark.
Full results are here. Another good turn out of 390 people. Laura was first woman again, in another new PB, so well done to her - she's now flying ahead of her dad.
I was over a minute slower on today's (Sunday) faster 'Great Run Local' course, but as it was somewhat rainy, and I was wearing full waterproofs, I'll live with that.

Saturday, 11 January 2020

Friday 10 January 2020 - A Walk from Stockport to Ashton

I did this walk on my own back in September, reporting on it here, where you'll find a bit more greenery in the pictures, and a map.
Today's outing was for the benefit of Sue and Paul, who I think were as surprised as me to discover that there's a completely off-road route through the suburbs of Greater Manchester between these two towns, thanks largely to the River Tame, and the canal engineers from over 200 years ago.
We travelled by train from Navigation Road, and it took a few minutes to extricate ourselves from Stockport Town Centre, where the frog pictured in September by the railway station has been removed. We soon found ourselves in woodland beside the River Tame, near to where it joins up with the River Goyt to form the Mersey.
It was a wintry view today, with greenery provided courtesy of the mosses and lichens that cover almost every bit of bare wood.
I dutifully showed Sue and Paul Harrison's Weir, dating from the early 1780s. It's in need of a bit of repair.
We normally cross the bridge leading to Reddish Vale Visitor's Centre on our bikes, without noticing the carved inscriptions at either side of the bridge, denoting the old border between Cheshire and Lancashire. Interestingly, there's a bee emblem on the Cheshire side, and a rose on the Lancashire side. I've rather amateurishly stitched a few photos together. If you click on the images you'll get a better version.
Amongst other information, these plaques state that Lancashire was formed in 1351, and that the Heatons and Reddish were transferred to the Borough of Stockport in 1916. They also state that since 1974, wherever you stand on the bridge you are in Greater Manchester. That makes these plaques quite recent.
From the bridge, there's a view over a small nature reserve - lots of varieties of ducks on view - and to the impressive Reddish Vale viaduct.
Our route headed east, under the massive arches of the viaduct.

We then passed under the M60 motorway and crossed some waterlogged fields that challenged the trail shoes that Sue and I were wearing.
Eventually, after more pleasant walking (and lunch on a convenient bench) beside the River Tame, we took a pretty walled path (see top picture) up to the Peak Forest Canal. The sun came out and provided some lovely reflections.
Reaching the Portland Basin, the Peak Forest Canal meets the Ashton Canal and the Huddersfield Narrow Canal. Some of the street furniture there looks in need of renovation!
From the same spot - a rather better view towards the Portland Basin Museum (open) and its attached café (closed).
Ashton Metrolink Station is nearby, so we strolled along to it and caught a tram home.
We had walked about 16 km, taking around four hours, on this enjoyable excursion.
Friday 24 January
Day Walk
A 15 km circuit from Irlam Station, visiting The Salford Trail, Great Woolden Moss, and the Glazebrook Trail. Meet at 10 am. Lunch at the station (SJ 713 931).

Friday, 10 January 2020

The TGO Challenge - Vetting Days (5)

This photo is from 10 May 2009, when Sue and I camped near the summit of Gulvain. The route I vetted yesterday went very close by, and my enquiries about the route near the A' Chuil bothy led me to the explanation as to why Sue and I didn't find a bridge mentioned by my vetter at the time, Alan Hardy. We were on the wrong path through Glendessarry - we should have gone through the wood that's to the south of the main path.
I wish I could still climb trig points like that!

Thursday, 9 January 2020

Wednesday 8 January 2020 - Motoring in the Edwardian Era - A Talk by Craig Horner

These two members of SWOG had clearly dressed for the occasion!
In a fascinating presentation, backed by the tome shown below, Craig explained that, even at the turn of the century, there was a thriving second-hand market, cars were available on finance, and number plates (when they were introduced in 1904), could be 'cherished'. If I heard him correctly, the first registration number to be issued in Cheshire - to Lord Egerton of Tatton - 'M1' - was sold in 2006 for £331,500, apparently to a mystery buyer who bought it as a birthday present for his six year old son. 
Craig has spent many happy hours transcribing the scrawled  ownership entries of all the cars registered in Cheshire since registrations began! This is just the first volume, and you can't see from the picture, but it's about 3 cm thick. Geek!
In the early days, most cars were manufactured on the continent, mainly in France, by people like Lutzmann. Most of the names from that period have been lost to common knowledge in the mists of time, but 'Benz' does appear, and I have another book that pictures a car built by Herbert Austin in 1895, ten years before the formation of the Austin Motor Co.
All very interesting, and it appeared to inspire Cary into measuring the Christmas decorations, which he then dutifully re-hung!

Wednesday, 8 January 2020

The TGO Challenge - Vetting Days (4)

I've had the pleasure today of vetting a route that includes a day that almost exactly replicates the day Sue and I spent on 19 May 2008. I wrote about it here.

I hope that Myles can enjoy his day in May on these hills as much as we did.

Sue is pictured above with the view from the summit of Lochnagar, back to Loch nan Eun.

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

Monday 6 January 2020 - Deco Delight Jazz Band at Eagley Jazz Club

Another excellent night at the Jazz Club, with an entertaining performance from this band of accomplished musicians, details of whom can be found here.
Music from the 1920's was the theme of the evening, and very good it was as well. They only seem to come once a year, and we missed them last year.
And just when we didn't need it, being just after Christmas, Sue and I won a large box of chocolates in the raffle!

Monday, 6 January 2020

The TGO Challenge - Vetting Days (3)

Another picture from the same (2009) Challenge as the previous two postings.
Our route joined the Great Glen Way for a while, passing by the southern end of Loch Lochy towards Gairlochy.
The views up Loch Lochy were immaculate, with birch and beech trees almost visibly bursting into leaf on the hot day.

Sunday, 5 January 2020

The TGO Challenge - Vetting Days (2)

Here's our camp that preceded the idyllic spot beside the Finiskaig river in the previous posting. I suppose that given the pace of global warming such pictures as this will become a rare sight on the Challenge in May.

We were camped at about 680 metres by Allt a Choire Odhair, which looked like this when we pitched the tent:

A reminder of this, our first day out of Mallaig, is here.

Saturday, 4 January 2020

The TGO Challenge - Vetting Days (1)

Following the sad demise of Bernie Marshall last year, I offered to help the organisers - knowing that he was supposed to be on Challenge Control at the Park Hotel in Montrose.

"We have that covered, but Bernie was a vetter, and he will be sorely missed from that role" was the gist of the response.

I can't fill Bernie's size 14s, but I did agree to vet some routes. Around 300 routes are submitted each year from TGO Challenge entrants. A team of nearly twenty people vets these routes, to ensure that they are sensible, manageable and, as far as possible, safe.

January is the busiest month for vetting, as many participants prepare their routes during the Christmas holidays, and the deadlines for submission become imminent.

I'm enjoying the vetting, but it is time consuming, so I'll have less time to compose items for this blog for a few weeks. I've therefore decided to post random pictures from the TGO Challenges that I've been taking part in since 2007.

I'm currently looking at a first timer's route that passes through Knoydart and then up beside the Finiskaig River. He plans to camp at NM891943, but I'll be able to suggest that if he cares to continue for another 1.5 km, he may find an idyllic spot at NM906947, where Sue is pictured next to our tent in 2009.

PS We did take part in Wythenshawe parkrun this morning, with Sue walking with Jeanette as both are injured. There was a huge turnout of 401 people, on a fine morning. Everything went smoothly but I took no pictures. We spent the usual hour + in the tea room afterwards. Full results, just for the record, are here.

Friday, 3 January 2020

Friday 3 January 2020 - A Middlewood Way/Macclesfield Canal Circuit

2020's Friday morning walks got off to a start this morning. Billy No Mates turned up on time at Rose Hill in Marple and enjoyed a 13 km stroll in more of the lovely weather that seems to have draped itself over the North West since the change of decade.
It won't last!
Well, those who might have come but didn't missed a nice route (detailed below), starting along the Middlewood Way in the company of cyclists, dog walkers and runners. A busy place despite the impression given by today's header photo.
After a while, I turned into a less muddy field than Tally-Ho would savour, and made my way past Windlehurst to the Macclesfield Canal.
Joining the towpath at bridge number 8, I discovered this to be another busy thoroughfare.
I wasn't going to Hall Green, so luckily didn't need to know how far away that was!
High Lane crosses the canal by the Bull's Head, which I gave a miss today.
A little further south, this old bridge gives access to a sizeable mooring basin.
These mallards seemed to be taunting the cat... "Come and get us if you can!"
The low sun was blinding as I moved gently south.
There's a bridge where the Ladybrook Valley Interest Trail crosses the canal. I took this trail, alongside the canal, then heading east across Bollinhurst Brook.

A rare 'Northern' train passed by just as I reached a pedestrian crossing.
Coppiceside Farm is a muddy mess. Some day it may look rather different... with a bell tower and manicured lawns?
After a short section of quiet lanes, I left the road near Wybersley Hall, then encountered a lot of mud and dodgy stiles around Lomber Hey Farm.
Hunters Park Farm was much cleaner, with good views over the sunny fields, and an easy track back to the canal towpath.
At Hawk Green, near a massive old mill building, a left turn along the Cown Edge Way footpath took me through a busy golf course then along a lovely woodland path to re-join the Middlewood Way just south of Rose Hill.
A pleasant little jaunt in perfect weather - 13 km, taking a little under two hours at a brisk pace - here's the route.
Next Friday, 10 January, I'll be walking 'off road' from Stockport to Ashton, again. And I may be on my own. Again! Here's the flier... all welcome.
Stockport to Ashton - a 21 km walk from Stockport Railway Station to Audenshaw Metrolink. Off road all the way. Meet at 10.20 am at the frog outside Stockport Station, to cater for 10 am train from Altrincham.