Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Thursday, 23 March 2023

Thursday 23 March 2023 - Hardown Hill and Pilsdon Pen

After an excellent meal at the busy Three Horseshoes pub, we returned last night to Middle Farm.

The rain lashed down. 

Today, Sue and I set off for the NT car park at Stonebarrow Hill. 

The rain lashed down. 

By the time we got our walking boots into first gear the sun was reflecting brightly from the gorse, with a backdrop of rain sodden Golden Cap.

We headed to Chardown Hill then descended to cross the busy A35 road and climb steeply up to the 207 metre summit of Hardown Hill. The sun beat down through a stiff breeze.

A descent to the north took us to a lane that contoured back to the A35, whence we took a bridleway to the south, past nuthatches and treecreepers. Then back to the car via a gently ascending track in increasing overcastness, up Chardown Hill to lunch in the car. 

Our 8km route will be pictured below. 

The rain lashed down.

A short drive north took us to a car park just 60 metres below the 277 metre summit of Pilsdon Pen, the site of an ancient Fort and roundhouses. Antiquities dating back 10000 years have apparently been found here.

The rain lashed down. 

We braved the gale and reached the trig point in a cloud. Not many photos were taken today! Apparently there used to be a lodge here, perhaps occupied by a 'rabbit man' at a time when the ancient looking mounds were constructed to allow rabbits to live in a huge warren, with the 'rabbit man' being responsible for farming them.

The rain lashed down. 

We wandered around this interesting site for a while, then returned drenched to the car, thus concluding this week's perambulatory activities. 

Our 1.4km route will be pictured below. 

Middle Farm at Long Bredy is a lovely haven to which to return, despite the WiFi being down.

Hence this email posting that I'll edit next week, mainly by way of added pictures.

Tonight we will reconvene with the rest of the gang for a fish and chip supper, before we all leave for home tomorrow. 

Wednesday, 22 March 2023

Wednesday 22 March 2023 - Abbotsbury, West Bexington and Chesil Beach

Today eight of us found our way to the car park in Abbotsbury for a 14km walk, starting along the South Dorset Ridgeway path, and descending to West Bexington before returning along the Chesil Beach coastal path.

We rose steeply after leaving the village.

We hoped the fog would clear, but after reaching the point at which we joined the Ridgeway path on Saturday, we were still engulfed as we stopped for elevenses and then continued beyond the trig point. Skylarks sang happily (I assume they are happy!) above, and a flock of sheep were rattled by a combination of Anita's dog and a passing horse.

Dave, Betty, Gaynor and Anita took the path down from Tulk's Hill. The rest of us - me, Sue, David and Sue - continued on to descend into West Bexington before turning left into the deep expanse of shingle that is Chesil Beach.

We soon caught up with everyone except Andrew, who was somewhere nearby. We actually glanced a view of his back at a turn in the coast path that we but not he were following. 

Colin had sneered at the prospect of a coastal walk and had gone home to Exeter to play raquet ball!

Sue ventured up to St Catherine's Chapel whilst the rest of us hastened back to tea shop or cars before our paid for time (£1 per hour down here these days) ran out.

Then it was back to Middle Farm for some R&R and to jot down these notes before wrestling with the 'OBJ ' icon problem and our Internet connection, which seemed to have gone down.

Sue and I are eating tonight in the Three Horseshoes pub in Burton Bradstock, near Bridport. I'll report on that tomorrow.

Here's today's 14km route. (Well, for the moment it may just be a picture taken just below today's trig point, as some posting is better than no posting and I should be able to edit/add more photos when back at home next week...)

Tuesday, 21 March 2023


Separate posting due to problems with the OBJ icon when using the S23 phone.

Tuesday 21 March 2023 - Askerswell and Powerstock

Sue and I decided on a 14km stroll from nearby Askerswell, where we parked outside the church. Good paths and lanes took us to Nettlecombe, where a friendly cat joined us for elevenses outside The Marquis of Lorne.

Powerstock was soon reached. Another impressive ancient church.

Then King's Lane led past some trampolining goats to Whetley, whence a very muddy path through dense forest brought us to a lunch spot sheltered from the strong wind. Sue's boots had filled with overflowing mud. I wore gaiters.

After that we headed for Barrowland Farm, a place guarded by more deep mud, numerous electric fences, and ankle deep slurry. It didn't help that our route seemed to be entirely uphill. 

Eventually we reached Eggardon Hill, the site of a settlement dating from around 500BC. Sue wandered around it and I finally extricated myself from the wind by traversing the side of the hill, past some Highland cattle.

Lower down, friendly pigs and sheep had provided entertainment,  with chiffchaffs and many other birds active in the hedgerows. 

We were home by mid afternoon. Time to enjoy a bit of down time before joining 'The Other Houses' for the evening in Lower Kingcombe. 

Today's walk was about 24km.

Monday, 20 March 2023

Monday 20 March 2023 - Minterne Magna and Cerne Abbas

With rain and fog blowing in from the sea, Sue and I drove inland to meet David, Sue, Dave, Gaynor, Jacqui, Anita and her dog Billy at Minterne Magna for a circular walk featuring the village of Cerne Abbas and the Cerne Giant.

We started from the Minterne Gardens car park outside the church, pictured above, that dates from the early 17th century. It is noted for its association with the Churchill family going back to C17.

A great spotted woodpecker, hammering away in a nearby tree failed to notice our vocal group as we passed by. It seems that we chat at high volume because most of us need hearing aids. 

Given the damp conditions, we were remarkably cheerful as we progressed along pleasant footpaths, eventually reaching a viewpoint. From here we could see the Cerne Giant, a 180 foot tall 'Rude Giant' cut into the turf of the opposing hillside. The earliest reference to it is in 1694. 

Walking on to Cerne Abbas, we passed some flood prevention constructions and after a riverside walk we eventually wound up in the friendly surroundings of the New Inn - apparently over 600 years old. 

Continuing in intermittent light rain and low cloud, we made our way back through light fog to Minterne Magna on good paths, passing below the unseen (fenced off to deter fertility rites) Giant. 

Our route, shown below, was a little over 10km and took us all morning.

Then we went back to base for some indoors entertainment.


Sunday, 19 March 2023

Sunday 19 March 2023 - A Walk from Eype Mouth

A short drive to the NT car park on Stonebarrow Lane put Sue in a position to be pictured in an undergrowth of gorse bushes.

Others who are staying nearby and with whom we enjoyed a fine meal at their rented house last night, soon arrived. I was to have a gentle day whilst my strained calf repairs itself, so I bade goodbye to Dave, Sue, Gill, Sue, Gaynor and David and headed to Eype Mouth.

A short walk from the car park saw me up Thorncombe Beacon, with good views from the crumbling cliffs to the east.

Near the summit, someone’s been busy!

I met the others above Seatown, and we soon paused for lunch on the draughty hillside.

And the prevailing wind is from the sea…

Back at Thorncombe Beacon, Gaynor expressed ‘Body Language’ while the others lined up for a routine snapshot.

Gill stopped walking at Eype, joining me to wrestle with a car park in West Bay - a very busy place on Mothers Day. We all met up and returned drivers to cars before adjourning to our various accommodations.
Here’s where I went - follow the light blue line. About 6km for me. The others probably walked about 11km, maybe the same as Colin’s group of ‘Inland Antiquities Walkers’.

Saturday, 18 March 2023

Saturday 18 March 2023 - St Mary's parkrun (Bridport) and a walk from Long Bredy

Bridport parkrun. Sue did well; I strained a calf muscle.

Then an eleven km stroll from Long Bredy. 

Lunch on the South Dorset Ridgeway path.

Sea fret nearly obscured the view of the sea over Abbotsbury.

Then we returned to Long Bredy via the Macmillan Way.

We soon passed a stone circle in a field crowded with docile cows.

Our route is shown below by way of a faint blue line.

Technical issues - I keep losing the entire posting when the text becomes centred and the pictures are replaced by 'obj' icons.

Friday, 17 March 2023

Friday 17 March 2023 - Montacute House and Middle Farm, Long Bredy

After an evening in Solihull, Sue and I pottered down the M5 to Montacute House, dating from 1601. We admired its impressive long gallery on the second floor. There was also a rare Exeter bed. I’ll add more to this posting next week when back at home. The early glass windows are also a feature, as well as numerous paintings.

Then we zoomed on to Long Bredy and our home for the next week at Middle Farm. It's an excellent spot.

Thursday, 16 March 2023

TGO Challenge 2023

The TGO Challenge has seen many entries on these pages. Just look at the numerous labels on the right hand side. This year's event is fairly imminent - it starts from 11 May - and almost 300 different routes have been scrutinised and commented upon by the 20 or so vetters, of whom I am one.

The image above shows a few of the routes that I've vetted. None stray very far north of Montrose, and although timings may vary due to people starting on different days, places like Aviemore, Braemar and Tarfside look as if they will be pretty busy.

I'm hoping to be fit enough to take part, and Sue will be nearby and enjoying a Munro bagging holiday - and helping on Control if needed. My route from Torridon to Newtonhill is very much the northern line of those shown.

This posting is to celebrate the end of the vetting process, which lasts from November to March, after which Sue and I can disappear off to the south coast for a week. Hopefully my new phone will cope with a few mobile blogging entries.

Wythenshawe parkruns - 28 January to 11 March 2023

Click on any image to access a slideshow

This is a 'catch up' compendium of our parkrunning at Wythenshawe since late January. Most pictures are taken at the start, for obvious reasons, and there are one or two from the Community Run on Sunday mornings.

28 January

After a few weeks of rainy parkruns, today's fine weather was welcomed, albeit no sunshine. 

Graham and I were Owen's minders today, near the tail of the field.

The tearoom was pretty cold outside, to where we are banished due to the presnce of a dog, Rufus, who would simply go to sleep under a table if allowed inside. The present management have lost lots of business from parkrunners due to their officious rules and slow service.

The full results are here.

29 January

On another cold morning, I used three layers to keep me warm on the 5km Wythenshawe Community Run, taking a shade over 30 minutes.

4 February

We flocked to the start, and it appears from the picture taken at the finish that I got there ahead of Sue, which is very unusual these days.

Full results are here.

Michael turned up with Isabella, who enjoyed watching the runners before going to play in the well equipped playground.

11 February

Tristan was today's Run Director, with 241 participants - we are getting between 200 and 300 participants each week these days.

Paul was marshalling at Middle Bridge. Cold weather again, but no rain.

This used to be called 'Muddy Passage'. You'd never guess!

A motley crew of stalwarts posed after the finish. Full results are here.

?, Victoria, John B, Jackie, Sue, Martin, Andy, Frank, ?

18 February

Mike and Isabella came along again to cheer on the runners, with Andy wearing the Run Director vest today.

Full results are here.

25 February

Isabella is becoming a regular supporter. One day she'll take a break from playing in the leaves and run with the rest of us.

Readers may be relieved that there are no actual running pictures for this run, on another cold, overcast day. Full results are here.

26 February

Sunny on Sunday for the Community Run, which starts and finishes with a lap of the track - much enjoyed by both the 2km and the 5km participants.

11 March

More sunshine, with Alan donning the Run Director's vest and keeping the 240 runners in order at the start.

Jonathan lined up after the run with Mark, whose 400th parkrun it was today (thanks for the cake, Mark), and Sue, who went well in 25:07, coming first in her age group. (Perhaps the fast people were resting in preparation for their Saturday afternoon cross country race.)

Full results are here.

The Courtyard Tea Room wasn't needed today, as it was warm enough to sit outside the much friendlier kiosk outside the farm. Better coffee too.

Sue, Jeanette, Paul, Laura and Rufus

We missed Isabella today, as she was feeling a bit off colour. (She's better now.)