Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019
On the Archduke's Path in Mallorca

Tuesday, 7 July 2020


The whistle of the marmot is a frequently heard sound in the Alps and Pyrenees. Depending on where you are, the animals can be either very shy, or very cheeky. I'll leave you to guess the nature of this specimen, pictured above Zermatt on 6 September 2018.

Monday, 6 July 2020

Monday 6 July 2020 - Around Appleton

After four weeks of walks from Graeme's house in Wilmslow, we decided to venture further today. I chose what I think will be one of the best walks from Jen Darling's 'Pub Walks in Cheshire' - third edition, when it is eventually published.
Jen will be pleased to hear that the London Bridge pub is well and truly open, as indicated by the signage in the following picture, by which my companions for today - Graeme, Bridget and Sue, lined up before setting of on our 10 km stroll.
Outside the pub, is the rounded flight of steps where people boarded passenger boats to Manchester when the fare was one penny a mile. The service finished in 1918, but it was apparently the last of its nature in England. The boat used - the Duchess Countess, had an S-shaped knife on her bow which was used to slice ruthlessly through any obstructions.
Our first kilometre was along the Bridgewater Canal towpath, where Salad Burnet currently graces the verges.
These swans and their seven offspring scooted across the canal towards us, but soon lost interest when we told them we weren't prepared to share our chocolate brownies.
After leaving the canal, our route headed south across three sections of the Lumb Brook Valley. First, the Millennium Green, created in 2000 and intended to be kept forever for the benefit of local residents and the wider community.
The 'Green' ends at a roadway with a cycle path, across which the narrow paths of The Dingle (pictured top, and below) provide a contrast to the Green's open spaces. A buzzard swished through the woodland above the brook.
After crossing another roadway, we entered the Ford's Rough section of the valley. I didn't take any pictures of the new housing estate that is springing up here. The path is fenced off from the housing, and passes an oak tree mentioned in Jen's description of the route. However, I didn't spot the pool that was another landmark mentioned by her.
On reaching Cann Lane, a right turn leads past Brook House. I think it's this property's distinctive tall chimneys that are pictured below.
Pewterspear Lane is soon reached. I'm trying to find details as to the origin of that name, currently without success. The entire area is rich with history from many different eras, with St Elphin's dating as a place of worship from 650AD. The current church was opened in 1867 and has the third highest spire of any parish church in England. It's visible from quite a few points along this walk.
Our path skirted several fields around Hillside Farm, with cereal crops flourishing and Scentless Mayweed adding a bit of colour (albeit white) to the verges.
By the time we reached 'Bellfields' we were ready to enjoy the contents of our flasks by the sandstone pillar that marks the spot where Oliver Cromwell's horse was killed in a skirmish in 1648, and to share the brownies. Here's what I've previously written about Bellfields:
'Bellfields', the house in the background, was built around 1750 by a retired naval commander, Admiral Hoare, who fitted it out in a nautical manner and addressed his servants as if from the quarter deck. The next occupant was also a colourful character. Count Vittoria Alfieri got into trouble over a duel with a Legioner in 1771. This was an unsavoury matter, as was Alfieri's general conduct. He soon vanished from the area and was last seen living with the Countess of Albany, wife of Prince Charles Edward. 
Pleasant paths overlooking Warrington and the hills of the South Pennines, led past a partridge/chicken/duck farm. Free ranging, they looked happy enough.
The path then rose above a huge cemetery to reach a splendid lychgate, through which St Elphin's spire is clearly visible.
From here, it's downhill all the way, on a path between houses that is known as the Rabbit Run, where before the housing encroached, rabbits enjoyed the run of the once grassy slopes.
Here's our 10 km route. It can easily be shortened or extended.
I've looked for previous reports on this walk. Graeme didn't admit to having been here before, but judging by this report on our slightly extended version of the walk - undertaken on 31 May 2019 - he has definitely been here!
There are more photos and a bit of information in this report on a recce walk for Jen on 28 December 2018.
Well, with thanks to the rain for holding off, and to my companions for the morning, that was a most enjoyable and satisfying interlude. Lockdown is slowly easing...

Sunday, 5 July 2020

TGO Challenge - Wild Camps (No 18: 10 May 2009)

After a brilliant day, during which we traversed the Gulvain ridge, Sue and I found this idyllic flat pitch with a view towards Ben Nevis from our front door.
We were at about 620 metres, at NN020881, near to a beautiful spring. The top picture was taken on the Sunday evening, and the following morning the sun caught us early, seen here when we were packing up, with a backdrop of the summit of Gulvain when viewed from the east.

Saturday, 4 July 2020

Sunnegga, and a new project

I've just finished a Photobook for my 2007 TGO Challenge. Very satisfying!
Next, a book covering our trip to Zermatt in September 2018. It'll include images like the one above, selected at random, taken from Sunnegga, high above Zermatt.
Lockdown relaxation has meant a big increase in traffic here, but the paths were empty this morning for my (not)parkrun, during which I couldn't help but pause to snap the friendly heron, who seems oblivious to people passing by on the towpath.

Friday, 3 July 2020

TGO Challenge - Wild Camps (No 17: 9 May 2009)

After a very easy 'Fowl Weather Alternative' day, on which we paused at length at Sourlies Bothy, where we provided tea for a rather bedraggled Robert Slade, we found ourselves in an idyllic spot near Lochan a Mhaim (NM906947).
From this pitch at 290 metres, we opened the door to see the mist rising, on what would prove to be a superb day in clear weather.
Sue could look out of the tent to admire a posse of geese overhead, or was that a bit later?

Thursday, 2 July 2020

Flowers of the Bridgewater Canal in Timperley

Some snaps from the towpath today, to keep me entertained on my walk to see Darryl at the fish shop.

How many of the twenty (or so) flowers can you identify? I know some may have to be generic due to a lack of leaf pictures.
There may be some help offered by previous postings such as this, or this. See also my guesses below.
It's just as well I took these pictures on my outward walk, as the council grass cutter had been in action by the time I went back, destroying many of these, and some more specimens that I was going to snap on the way home. A shame. Recently we saw someone rescuing caterpillars from a razed patch of nettles that were doing nobody any harm, but the council's giant lawnmower had taken exception to them.
Completely unrelated, here's a picture for Conrad from this morning's bike ride. Probably where the council lawnmower men hang out.
However dubious this place looks, it does sell good beer!
Flower guesses, from the top:
Hedge Bindweed
Umbellifer (Cow Parsley?)
Bramble (x2)
White Clover
Buttercup (probably Meadow)
Wood Avens (aka Herb Bennet)
Ox-eye Daisy
Red Clover
Herb Robert
Dog Rose
Tufted Vetch

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

TGO Challenge - Wild Camps (No 16: 8 May 2009)

2009 saw me enjoying my third Challenge, accompanied again by Sue, on her second event. We used the Hilleberg Nallo tent again, ideal accommodation for this event.
We caught the ferry from Mallaig to Inverie, where we lingered at length before a fairly short walk over the Munro summit of Luinne Beinn to the 680 metre col at the head of Choire Odhar.
Our camp was at 680 metres (NG871001), and proved most comfortable, especially compared with Robert Slade's nearby bivouac location, we later discovered.
After quite a few sliding noises, it was no surprise to open the tent to a snowy scene, with our Fowl Weather Alternative being needed as a traverse of the Knoydart summits didn't seem wise.
We had plenty of time for more pictures of the snowy scene, before heading off down to the valley.