Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Monday 15 April 2024

Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 April 2024 - Fletcher Moss parkrun, and the Manchester Marathon

We chose to avoid the Wythenshawe mud, in favour of Fletcher Moss's network of dri(ish) tracks, for Saturday's parkrun.

After dropping Isabella off last night, Sue and I enjoyed the company of Mick and Gayle, who had parked their campervan, Bertie, in nearby Frieston Road.

Mary Berry's 'Humble Pie' seemed to be appreciated, washed down with a bottle of Mick's finest Bordeau Superieur.

Anyway, Saturday morning was soon upon us, and we took a 15 minute drive in convoy, to park outside Isabella's house in Didsbury, from where a short walk took us to the lovely tree-lined start of Fletcher Moss parkrun, pictured above. 

Setting off at the back of 455 participants, Teddy, on his first parkrun, got pushed the first section. We took over 9 minutes for the first kilometre, but sped up after that, as Teddy and his family spectated from the banks of the River Mersey.

The Barbers joined us afterwards for coffees in the Sports Centre, and Jenny and Owen also turned up. It was Mick's 100th parkrun, achieved nearly 18 years after his first parkrun, which he assured us was some sort of record to be proud of. Perhaps!

Full results are here.

Sunday morning found Sue and I trapped in our housing estate, with our local roads closed for the annual Manchester Marathon. I'd been on the point of entering, but was put off by the advertised 6 hour cut-off time. I'll know better next time! (The last finisher took 7:24.)

The half way point is about 200 metres from our house. There were cheers from the roadside as the leaders went past at about 11:10.

Two of those pictured above, 108 and 113, came second and third in around 2 hours 18 minutes. The winner must be hidden from view. Number 156 dropped out.

Those following were cheered past as I watched from Park Road. Here's the 2:45 pacer with his entourage.

A couple of hours later, Sue and I went out to cheer on our friends, Caroline and Lexi, who would finish in around 5 hours, with Caroline overtaking her daughter at around the 18 mile mark. Sue ran with both of them for a while, and I failed to get any pictures. I was too busy ringing the handbell we have for such events.

A massive choir was putting on an impressive performance outside Timperley's Methodist Chapel.

By the time the runners (many of whom are walking at this point) had been to Altrincham and back, they were strung out along Altrincham Road before returning to Timperley. At this point the 5 hour pacer went past, closely followed by the 4:45 pacer. Oops!

A great event in perfect weather (results here) with 21,500 finishers. Well done everyone.

Friday = Isabella Day (64)

Another lovely day with Isabella.

"More fish fingers? More beans? I think I'll give Grandad's soggy toast a miss!"

Adventures with Thomas. Great fun!

Then some banana flapjack was made, and before we knew, it was time to go home.

Tuesday 9 April 2024

This and That - A Diary Update

It's some time since my last posting, so here's a brief update on an uneventful couple of weeks during which we've had a new garden fence, new desktop and laptop computers, more work assisting Reg with his autobiography, and an assortment of running and other social events that seem to have swallowed up any otherwise 'free' time.

On 25 March we enjoyed a performance from the Night Owls at Eagley Jazz Club. The band comprised: Reeds: Diane Hammond, Trumpet: Ben Richeton, Trombone: Duncan Winfield, Piano: Robin Dewhurst, Drums:  Andy Bold and leader, Tuba and Bass Sax: Dan Price. Excellent.

On 29 March Sue and I met with Andrew (from whose Cheshire home the spectacular rainbow pictured above was admired), together with Sue and David, and Dave and Betty - some of our 'South African' friends - for a meal at 'The Dog' that proved to be tasty and enjoyable.

The following day, Wythenshawe parkrun offered another chance to get our trainers muddy, as part of a turnout of 195 runners and walkers. Fewer than usual, as less muddy options were taken by some of the regulars who attended drier venues. Full results are here.

It was even warm enough to enjoy our post run coffees outside in the courtyard.

Later that day, camera shy Jack and Scott finished installing our new garden fences. They seem to have made a good job of it over the course of the week, and we would recommend them - 'Level Fencing Manchester', subcontractors for Rock Steady Fencing Urmston Ltd.

Sunday morning saw Paul in familiar pose briefing the 100 plus runners before setting them off on their regular Sunday morning Community Run of 2km or 5km.

After that I returned home to provide an Easter Sunday lunch for the family plus Jacob's mate Seb. I think they enjoyed it.

1 April, and Sue and I avoided any practical jokes and admired the rapidly greening foliage in De Quincey Park.

3 April, and a walk to the shops in Sale drew the camera out for another leafy vision. My daily walks somehow miraculously avoided the frequent rain showers, though a plan to watch cricket at Old Trafford had to be abandoned.

Peter and I were students at UMIST in the late 1960s, and despite moving to Canada, where he now lives with his wife Cassie, Peter has kept in touch. They visited us on 4/5 April and we took a short stroll beside our local canal (Bridgewater). It was good to see them, albeit briefly, and to 'catch up'.

A visit to Dunham Massey allowed Peter and Cassie to use our NT membership to enjoy the Winter Garden, which is at its best just now, while Sue and I went for a wander around the estate.

The weekend's running wasn't recorded on film, and was eschewed by Sue, who went on a yoga retreat weekend in Criccieth. I did the Alexandra parkrkrun with 543 others and despite a half minute delay at the start I managed a respectable time and an age related 64%, the best for a while. Full results are here.

Sunday's Community Run also passed uneventfully (and slowly) in surprisingly sunny weather after many had been put off by early morning rain.

8 April found us at Dot's house, celebrating her 99th birthday with a sausage sandwich lunch and a game of cards, during which she spent some time stuck on a score of 99!

Returning home from that, Sue and I were soon on our way to Eagley for Trad Jazz entertainment with John Hallam and the Tom Kincaid Trio, who played to a full house.

I'm sure I've missed something, but at least 'Blogger' is working. Now I have to return to the mysteries of different versions of Microsoft Outlook and the move from Office 2003 to Microsoft 365. I think I'll carry on with Reg's autobiography first.

The following image shows that in the 400 days since I replaced my phone I must have had contact with the internet for some time on each of those days. How sad!

Tuesday 26 March 2024

Friday/Saturday 23 and 24 March 2024 - RAMSOC weekend in Kirkby Stephen

Kirkby Stephen's Youth Hostel has now been sold and has become an independent hostel, but the same arrangements for 'Rentahostel' have been preserved, offering a cheap weekend for the exclusive use of our group of 25 or so members and hangers on from Sue's old university walking group (RAMSOC - presumably being the 'Rambling Society'.

On Saturday we split into two groups, one of which saw me leading about nine of us on an easy walk up the Mallerstang valley beside the River Eden, as far as the remains of Pendragon Castle, one of many such ruins in this area. I was reminded of Peter Goddard's memorial walk up nearby Tailbridge Hill in September 2021.

We started from the hostel, pictured above.

We soon reached Frank's Bridge.

A walk along the valley brought us through Nateby and up to an elevenses stop near the remains of Lammerside Castle, where Jo turned round for an easier day.

The rest of us continued to Pendragon Castle for lunch in the shelter (from a cool wind) of its walls.

The castle has a rich history, described in more detail here. According to legend, it was built in the 12th century by Uther Pendragon, King Arthur's father, and it is said that an abortive effort was made to tame the River Eden into forming a moat for the castle.

Click on any image for a better version/slideshow

A short stretch of tarmac took us up to Pudding Howe Hill and a good footpath heading north. By now there was a shallow, long lasting, rainbow. Curlew and lapwings were present, and the air seemed thick with skylarks. A white bird in the distance turned out not to be a seagull (we saw those as well) but a barn owl flapping around looking for food. And wherever there were trees there seemed to be a colony of rooks.

A pleasant descent back into the valley, via a convenient spot for afternoon tea, led us to an intricate arrangement of riverside paths, a disused railway, and a viaduct.

After most people had taken a direct route back to the hostel, four of us returned to our outward path, and Frank's Bridge. On the way, we passed some clumps of Common Toothwort, a parasitic plant in the Broomrape family.

Here's our route - 19.5 km with 400 metres ascent, taking the best part of 6 hours including breaks.

Once we had the cooker up to temperature, there was a fine display of cookery. Robin's black pudding and poached egg starter, which most of us had chosen, was a triumph!

Sunday morning, and 13 of us drove the short distance to Cotegill, where a friendly farmer pointed out where our three cars could be left without being a nuisance. Soon we were striding up a path in the Howgill Fells that led to the summit of West Fell (541 metres).

It was a lovely sunny day, very clear, with a cool but light breeze higher up.

On West Fell

Our onward route to The Calf followed the ridge on the left of the next picture.

I bypassed Hazelgill Knot by taking the good Dales High Way path, but everyone else went up to this minor summit. There's a pond beside the path shortly before it climbs past some remnants of snow up to the 676 metre summit of The Calf, where we enjoyed our lunch in the presence of a few other hikers.

The route ahead  stretched over Bush Howe and north to Simon's Seat.

Some of us took a contouring path that's just discernable on the right in the next picture. It looks deceptively easy, but there were a couple of steep gullies, and you wouldn't want to fall off the path!

Descending from The Calf

On the steep sided contouring path

I contoured again and rejoined the others near the summit of Simon's Seat, from where we headed down to a final minor summit, Middleton (490 metres).

After that, most people followed the path to a packhorse bridge over Langdale Beck, after which a very steep ascent led them over Cowbound Brow. My preference, and Julie and Richard followed, was to cross higher up, across a ford, and follow a much more gentle slope to the brow - our final climb of the day. This worked. We all had gaiters. Splish, splash, splosh and we were across the beck with dry feet.

Before the final descent to Cotegill

Today's outing was about 19 km with 700 metres ascent, taking around 7 hours. A day to be savoured in the fine conditions.

I went home to welcome some fencers on Monday morning (our garden fences blew down in gales in late 2023 and need replacing; they lasted 11 years.), whilst Sue stayed for a short Monday morning walk before returning home.