Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Saturday 3 July 2004 - A Sort of Biathlon Day

This rather historic posting is for Andrew. I hope it brings back happy memories. The time was soon  before Sue and I took a long trip to the Pyrenees after I'd completed some management accounts for a June year end, otherwise we'd have gone by now...

Here's my account:

Sue and I were up at 6:30 to enjoy chocolate croissants before loading the car with two bikes, bike gear, walking gear and camping gear (actually no problem apart from the risk of oil impregnation) and setting off at 7:30 for Bowness.

Stopping at the South Lakes services on the M6, we spotted Andrew's Volvo and joined him for a pot of tea before continuing to the ferry car park at Bowness. It was raining, so a spacious area under a tree canopy came in very handy for us to assemble and oil the bikes and get ready.

Half an hour later, at 10 am, we set off on the route. We rode slowly through Bowness and Windermere. (Andrew later suggested an alternative through a Windermere housing estate to the right - check next time).

Then we endured a short distance along the horribly busy A591, before turning first left along lanes to eventually join Dubbs Road and pass Dubbs Reservoir. By now the showers had subsided and the views across to Troutbeck were good.

It was a lovely technical descent to Troutbeck (Sue and Andrew walked quite a bit of it). 

Then we took the narrow path up to Troutbeck village and the long ascent up towards Jenkin Crag.

We stopped for quite a while at the bench overlooking Windermere. A lovely spot. On the way, many common spotted orchids in the verges, and still a smell of garlic in the woodland sections.

We continued on to Jenkin Crag. En route there is a quick grassy section. I misjudged it and caught a pedal in a verge. This catapulted me down a grassy slope. Quite fun really. Out of sight of any onlookers, but they did look puzzled when they passed. (I was waiting in a rather odd place and I was busy straightening handlebars and saddle.)

Ahead of the others again, I strolled across to Jenkin Crag before heading down the last rocky section (I got off for a 10 metre section down wet rock) to Ambleside, where we enjoyed a 20-minute stop, with ice-creams purchased from a girl with a very limited command of English. The ice cream ran out and the refilled machine squirted ice cream all over the hapless foreigner, but we eventually got the goods (12:40 to 1 pm).

After watching swans with six cygnets (swan angry with radio-controlled boat), we continued along the road towards Hawkshead, passing High Wray and Low Wray, and always keeping left, until reaching the Dower House at the top of a crest. From here we descended enjoyably to the lake and stopped to look at birds in the wood. Thrushes, and other birds on trees in the distance -  Nuthatch maybe. Earlier, birds of prey had been seen over the hills near Troutbeck.

This lovely track continued all the way back to the ferry on a now dry day. The thick foliage allowed only brief views of the lake, but we heard the shouts of water skiers and the swoosh of waves reaching the shore from the various boats traversing the lake. 40p each saw us across the ferry and back to the car park (£4 pay and display), where we enjoyed a bite to eat (pork pies for me and Sue) before all travelling in heavy traffic up to Braithwaite (3 pm to 4 pm).

Here's the route (click on it for a better version) - 30 km with 700 metres ascent:

And so, our new Hilleberg Nallo 2 tent joined Andrew's older one at the Braithwaite campsite. Andrew shared his first brew on his new stove, and after that nice cup of tea we went to the excellent campsite cafe for a baked potato before setting off on Phase 2 of our biathlon - the ascent of Hopegill Head.

17:35 - Braithwaite
19:20 - Grisedale Pike 

We met a person on the way up, he was slow and singing, the only person seen other than a few on the ridge the other side of Coledale.

Sue and I had a Brocken Spectre experience for a couple of minutes. It was quite unexpected - cloud drifted into Coledale and our reflections in it were caught by the low sun.

The strongish wind didn't deter us from continuing to Hopegill Head (20:00 to 20:15), from where we descended gently to reach the Red Lion by 21:45, after a lovely pink sunset, to enjoy a drink (Bailey's for Sue, who seems to have slowly recovered during the day from a serious hangover) with a couple of Geordies.

Spots of rain before a showery christening for the Nallo 2.

Other points of interest:

  • ascending Grisedale Pike - Hospital Plantation - we surmised it may have been named after an ancient 'isolation area' used for people with contagious diseases. Yes, GP6 (Wainwright) confirms that the solitary dwelling on the Whinlatter Pass road (now 'Lakeland View') was once a Fever Hospital;
  • lovely path up Grisedale Pike - see Wainwright's GP8;
  • on the ridge walk from Grisedale Pike to Hopegill Head, good views of the lush cliffs of Hobcarton Crag, known for being the habitat of a rare Alpine plant, the Red Alpine Catchfly. The lush green colour is due to bilberries amongst the grey and silver rocks;
  • Force Crag Mines on the descent of Coledale below Force Crag, have what looks like a new portaloo in evidence. The mine was always a rich one but not continuously worked. When Wainwright wrote his guide in 1964 it was again operating, after a lengthy closure, for the extraction of barytes - a mineral form of barium sulphate. The mines are now closed again - the days of the McKechnie Brothers of Wainwright's era (GP4) presumably being over.
Here's our route - 14 km with 900 metres ascent:

My diary entry ends, but we are pictured at breakfast the following morning. The camera used was our first Olympus Digital that took rather low resolution (1600 x 1200 pixels) images.

Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Tuesday 20 October 2020 - Lockdown in Timperley

We are still allowed to walk along the Bridgewater Canal towpath. Very nice too at this time of year.

I've been sorting through some old postcards, and found this one.

My daughter Kate has commented that when exactly the same thing happened on a school trip to New York when she was a supervising teacher, as a result of her experience in Paris as a sixteen year old, she knew exactly what to do.

Today a walk to Altrincham and Timperley to sort out my mobile phone contract and get beef for 'meals on wheels' for Mike and Sarah, saw me strolling back along Park Road, a normally very busy thoroughfare. Judging by the volume of traffic, we have already entered a more serious phase of the Lockdown that has been a constant since March.

Meanwhile, our good, and somewhat intellectual, friend Cary, has made the following pertinent observations:

On herd immunity:
"Herd Immunity is on my mind:
A) No evidence whatsoever that herd immunity for covid is possible via natural transmission.
B ) The term is applied to vaccination for diseases like measles where decades of observational data suggests that a vaccination rate of at least 85% is needed to prevent the disease reaching those who cannot be vaccinated or the vaccine doesn’t work for.
C) People advocating natural-transmission herd immunity without being honest about what an 85% infection rate means. (As is happening in the US right now - people advocating it)
(Infection fatality rate above 1% but probably below 6%, depending on all sorts of things).
UK population at 70million ... do the math.
It’s not a choice between the economy and health: that level of death, not to mention any morbidity, will damage an economy by itself.
The really hard problem is coming up with a suitable response.
Pretending there’s an easy solution is not a suitable response."

On Trump:

"Mr President, you are almost certainly not immune for the following medical/scientific reasons:
-The immunoglobulin you were given was intended to mop up any virus in your bloodstream
-The Remdesivir was intended to stop any virus replicating
-The dexamethasone was intended to *suppress* your immune system, (and incidentally to stop your body creating an immune response to the immunoglobulin. Peculiar that no news outlets picked this up)

If acting as intended: your immune system would barely have had a chance to develop any immune response at all; there’s no proof that any immunity lasts; and there are patients who have caught it twice.

You haven’t shown any interest in the science apart from this almost unverifiable claim ... but you can probably claim to be the only person in the world to have received all these experimental treatments at once."

Thanks, Cary.

Monday, 19 October 2020

Saturday 24 June 2006 - Somewhere in the Pyrenees

Here's another dive into random pictures from 2006. Judging by some of the pictures taken on this day, I was somewhere near the Col du Tourmalet. The rack railway in the above image looks interesting.

Sunday, 18 October 2020

Saturday 12 August 2006 - Visit to a Landmark

I've discovered amongst the debris removed from our recently decorated dining room, a pile of photos numbered 1 to 246. I think they come from 2006, and I probably also have digital versions. Do I tackle the pile and put them in a scrap book, or do I rely on the digital versions, which currently are not indexed, just - if I can find them - sitting on the computer hard drive (well, they must have been on at least four hard drives by now) waiting for someone to notice them.

Moreover, today I've borrowed from Dot an album compiled by my dad that gives a pictorial family history from 1947 to 1977. That just has to be scanned for the family archives.

What to do next, then?

Meanwhile I'm distracted by the black humour of 'The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden', and I've run out of time to make a meaningful posting today, so I can merely offer a picture (not in the pile of 246) from what turned out to be a mildly eventful weekend in 2006 and resulted in the largest insurance claim I have ever made.

I would guess that most readers will only require a quick glance to recognise where we were that day.

Saturday, 17 October 2020

TGO Challenge - Wild Camps (No 39: 21 May 2011)

During an easy FWA day from Ruigh-aiteachain bothy, Mike and I met various folk in Glen Feshie, most of them heading from the Linn of Dee to Mar Lodge or Braemar.

It was another wet afternoon and evening. Out of nine days' walking, we had been in rain for six of them.

After turning away from the fleshpots of Braemar, we headed up Glen Lui to a slightly damp camping spot near Clais Fhearnaig. We met Judith, who was slightly puzzled by our direction of travel, and in front of whom 'Poor Michael' did his 'jelly' impression (see above).

I realised the need to stop as soon as possible, and we were able to set up camp just a few metres up the glen at NO 057 923.

I took these two pictures in the rain, before we sealed ourselves inside our tents for a good meal and a long rest during another rainy night.

Friday, 16 October 2020

Friday 16 October 2020 - Around Tegg's Nose

Click on the image for a slideshow

Whilst it wasn't sunny, the weather did behave itself for this lovely autumn stroll, with Sue and I being joined by Paul, Graeme, Cary and JJ. We wrestled our way to Tegg's Nose Visitor Centre, despite a road closure, and put our coins into the machine (well, we put in Graeme's coins as Sue and I had forgotten ours. Thanks Graeme.)

The view of Shutlingsloe from the car park is shown above. There's a bit of history to the place where we were standing; the name, Tegg's Nose, may originate from a time when a local Norseman named Tegga owned the land (naze). Or you might prefer the theory that 'tegg' is an old name for a lamb, and it's said that before the extensive quarrying, the hill's profile resembled that of a sheep.

The millstone grit rock of which Tegg's Nose is composed is an especially hard sandstone that is excellent for building both roads and houses. The whole area is home to many quarries. Tegg's Nose Quarry closed in 1955 and reopened as a country park in 1972. The site is 'littered' with displays of an assortment of old quarrying tools and machinery and plentiful information boards.

The area has been a hive of industry in the past, with quarries for stone which was crushed on site by heavy machinery, the relics of which have been preserved. As have the quarry walls, which are now fitted with abseil points and are used for training aspiring climbers.

We made our way slowly to a viewpoint.

It's a fine view over Cheshire, from Mow Cop to our far left, past Jodrell Bank telescope (seen in the picture below), to White Nancy above Bollington on our far right.

Then from another viewpoint overlooking our route, the reservoirs above Langley stand out, with Shutlingsloe to their left.

We made our way down to the reservoirs, and admired the autumn colours as best we could without the added vibrancy that a bit of sunshine would have provided.

Here's a tractor for Alan R.

We'd been on the Gritstone Trail since the start of the walk, and we could look back past a flock of Canada Geese and other birds to the modest protuberance of Tegg's Nose.

We then deserted the Gritstone Trail and made our way to the picnic benches outside the Leather's Smithy for elevenses. 

The pub takes its name from the first licensee, William Leather. There's a plaque dated 1821, but the building may be older than that. For a while it was called the 'New Inn'. This stems from the mid 1800s, before which time ale houses only sold ale, usually home-brewed, and porter (a dark brown bitter beer brewed from charred or brown malt - originally made for porters). When a new law was passed allowing licences to be granted for pubs to sell wines and spirits as well as ale and porter, many pubs changed their names to the 'New Inn' to show that they had the new licence.

My stock of brownies had long been eaten, but Sue brought some of her chocolate caramel shortbread and JJ handed round some lovely chocolatey tiffin. The only problem was my flask of tea, which Sue pronounced "disgusting"!

After a lengthy break that contributed to today's (not)parkrun time for 5 km of 1:51:14, we took easy paths through Macclesfield Forest up to the main road at Walker Barn. 

The mature plantations that form the forest were first planted by Macclesfield Water Board around 1928, and consist mainly of larch and spruce, which do well on the poor soil. It's maybe a similar story from many forests, but the last wolf in England is reputed to have been slain while prowling through Macclesfield Forest.

En route we passed a tumbledown building that JJ went to investigate. It seems that a war veteran may have lived there, or even built it.

Pleasant field paths led on after we left the forest, with JJ and Graeme hurrying past the bull.

Sue fed it some grass. She was quite oblivious of its sex.

Andrew J may not have appreciated the descent from this stile leading onto the road to Walker Barn. Luckily he wasn't with us, but our thoughts were with him and with others currently leading difficult lives.

From Walker Barn we could have strolled up the road to the car park, but we chose to continue along the path to Gulshaw Hollow.

And a very nice path it was too, leading past Hordern Farm and re-joining the Gritstone Trail to double back to Tegg's Nose.

Here's the excellent route, which was based on Jen Darling's 'Around Tegg's Nose' route from the Leather's Smithy in her book 'More Pub Walks in Cheshire and Wirral. It was about 11 km, with 400 metres ascent, taking us three and a half hours at a very leisurely pace.

Thanks go to Jen for the route and for some of the historical information that I've cadged from her book.

Here's JJ's report, which includes more on the occupant of the tumble down building.