Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Friday, 13 June 2008

Tuesday 10 June 2008 - Notchy’s Trek to the Deeper Parts of Mid-Cheshire

Tonight’s walk had been planned for some time. And Notchy always puts his walks through a dry run.
So, when Richard, Jenny, Sue and I arrived at the Bird in Hand, half an hour early, we expected our leader to be ensconced over a pint of Best with the route memorised and not a map in sight.
He wasn’t there!
We supped in the sun and our intrepid guide duly arrived.
He placed a GPS and map on the table and ordered a ‘half’.
Something was wrong.
‘I...I haven’t had time…’ he announced gloomily.
‘It’s OK, you’re amongst friends’ we responded in unison, ‘and anyway, none of the rest of us recce our walks in advance’.
Then Notchy went pale.
Three more people had turned up.
‘Hello Anne’
‘Hello Sheila’
‘This is Ros’ said Sheila, ‘My next door neighbour’.

Notchy felt a turn coming on.
Last time strangers had turned up on one of his walks they had been secondees from Manilla to a local firm for whom Roger works. Roger had arrived on that occasion with half his office in tow, and Notchy had orchestrated a splendid guided walk, adapted on the hoof to take account of the fact that the lads from Manilla had possibly never walked as far (6-8 km) in their lives.
‘The air in Manilla is too polluted to walk’ they said ‘but the air in Manchester is wonderful’.

Well I never!

Tonight there were no real time pressures, as it wouldn’t be dark until after ten. Just as well, I thought, as the group moved slowly off, Notchy’s GPS indicating that our route commenced over the roof of the house next to the pub!

The route we actually took is shown below.

It was largely an amble through fields and down lanes. All conducted at a slow pace due to chatting and ambling (as opposed to ‘proper walking!’), but also due to the time it took to get eight people over the stiles liberally dotted around the route.

Here Sheila remonstrates with our illustrious leader on a particularly important point of order.

Had Notchy deliberately chosen an obstacle course? Perhaps not, I concluded, as he cursed the farmers for concealing the paths in their fields, and the local council for not bothering to look after their Rights of Way, one of which was even blocked by electric gates, with a stile clearly visible beyond them!
Luckily the ground was dry, but the nettles have recently flourished and were in fine fettle, happily penetrating everyone’s clothing.
Someone had planted some trees in the middle of a path linking two stiles that were about 10 metres apart!
At least the horses that crowded around us at frequent intervals were not the least bit threatening. They were a lazy lot, having made no impression on the high vegetation through which we had to battle.

At least this field was easy enough to negotiate...

It was a lovely warm summery evening, with few insects and a lovely sunset and lots of time to chat about ventures past and future – Mallorca, the Lakes, Pembroke, Devon, Cornwall, Peru – everyone had a tale to tell and another to anticipate.
The sun gradually disappeared off for a rest, leaving some nice colours in its wake.

All this chatting and exercising was rounded off with a quaff around a sturdy old table in the pleasant surroundings of the Bird in Hand, to which Notchy’s wonderful homing device eventually returned us after about 9 km and 2½ hours.

Thank you, Andrew, for your sterling efforts and your unfailing attention to the map.

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