Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Saturday 15 November 2008

Saturday 15 November 2008 - A Ride along High Street

Easy, But it's getting steep, we need a Better push, it's too steep to No, that doesn't work, I think I'll carry Cheer up! We'll make it to the And you're not the only 'Pusher' around here, The view across Ullswater is And so it was - Alastair and I enjoyed a fine excursion in the Lake District today.  To describe it as a 'ride' is a little optimistic.  You'll realise why from the statistics as well as the photos:

6 hours 16 minutes
23.7 miles
Average speed - 3.7 mph

So we could have walked it faster!  But it wouldn't have been such fun.  We covered miles of sodden ground with the tyres hidden from view as they sloughed through the marshes. 

We were running late as my rear tyre, perhaps in sympathy with what was to come, exploded on the journey north.  Otherwise the ancient steed performed impeccably, though the brakes did develop a juggernaut's horn impression in the latter stages, frightening walkers beside Ullswater.

Alastair's bike, nearly as old as mine, had a few brake problems of its own - of the malfunction variety; and bits of his bike seemed to come loose from time to time, as did his trousers, which disintegrated during the course of the day.  On the occasions when he was able to mount the bike, it seemed to object to his presence, as from time to time (Al was usually ahead) I came across man and machine spreadeagled across the path as if performing some bizarre ritual.

I have to admit that I was 'chucked off' a few times, as well.

This was a demanding ride.  Even the narrow rocky bridleway along the south side of Ullswater undulated viciously and required great care.

The route, shown below, took us from Hartsop (1) to The Knott (2) and on to Racecourse Hill (High Street - 4).  From there we retraced and headed for 6 miles along the Roman road that we discovered has very poor foundations.  Over High Raise to Red Crag (5), and on to Loadpot Hill (6), with stunning views across the District.  Then down to The Cockpit (7), from where a sharp turn leads down to Howtown (8).  Then a rising traverse around The Coombs took us to a road at Martindale Hause.  We sped down there to Sandwick (9) for the (Tedious?!) bridleway to Patterdale (10) from where we rushed back up to Hartsop (1) on the speedy tarmac to reach the car just as darkness fell.  Just as well; neither of us had any lights.  blog-08111509route We like going off road, but I have to say, regaining the tarmac at Patterdale was quite a relief!

Given the softness of much of the terrain on this route, and the amount of time we spent walking, I think next time I'll leave the bike at home and leave boot prints rather than ugly tyre grooves.  However, I've wanted to cycle along High Street's Roman road for many years, so today that ambition was achieved - it's very satisfying.

Here's a later entry, and here's a more detailed route card.

Friday 14 November 2008

Thursday 13 November 2008 - An Evening Stroll around Wilmslow

blog-08111401lindowcommonNotchy joined Sue and me for a pleasant evening stroll over the ground covered on 11 November, which was in effect a recce for this evening walk.

Starting into Lindow Common (above) we passed the slumbering ducks on Black Lake, which was indeed very black.

Quiet lanes and bridleways delivered us in due course to the boggy pathways of Lindow Moss.  The warm, calm evening was in great contrast to the weather that confronted us for last month's abandoned evening outing to Whaley Bridge, and it really was most pleasant.  Sadly, the full moon was obscured by heavy cloud, but the rain kept off and there was sufficient ambient light to avoid the need for torches apart from one short wet section under a thickly foliaged canopy.

Here's the birch lined path through the leads over a couple of narrow, slippery bridges, precariously perched above deep drainage ditches filled with black water.  One slip, and you could be gone for another 2000 years, like 'Pete Marsh', Lindow Man.  Notchy joked "what would they make of this strange 'Gore' clothing and the peculiar 'Petzl' object on its head?"

We emerged safely on this occasion into Newgate Lane, past a private fishing lake and country residences on the edge of Wilmslow. blog-08111403wilmslowWhere the autumn colours are striking just now. blog-08111404leavesHere's the 5 km route; it involves negligible ascent and takes around 1 hour 15 in all, a pleasant little excursion, courtesy of Tony Bowerman's 'Walks in Mysterious Cheshire and Wirral', which describes this short stroll in luxurious fashion over a passage of 12 pages.

Would my readers like more than this brief description?  I could always revisit this venue, on a slightly different route; it's a 15 minute drive from Timperley.

Thursday 13 November 2008

Wednesday 12 November 2008 - A Talk to Stockport Walking Group

blog-08111301ibr Sue looks across Lac della Valla in the Maritime Alps on 4 July 2008

The walking group honoured us last night by turning up in droves for our 'Italian Border Route' talk.  We managed to deliver it without incident to the audience of 30 or so, in the allocated time, before chatting to Richard and then adjourning to the Grapes for a welcome beer. 

Pam introduced herself: 'I'm Gavin's mother-in-law'.  Wow!  Gavin is the son of my oldest (longest standing that is) friend.  It surely is a very small world.  Hello Mike!

Diaries were produced.  They want us back.  It's an honour to be asked.  So Wednesday 25 February is in the diary, for 'Walks and Via Ferrate in the Dolomites'.  That should be fun to compile.  Here's a taster:

Punta Fiames summit in the Dolomites on 15 July 2007

Wednesday 12 November 2008

Blue Skies over Timperley

On a beautiful Autumn day, this was a view from within our small garden:blog-08111202leaves 
I make no apology for yet another canal picture - the view changes with the seasons - it was most appealing today:

Tonight we have the pleasure of revisiting 'Summer in the Alps', for the second time this week, with our slide show to the Stockport Walking Group.  You are all welcome to attend, or place a booking.

TGO Challenge 2009 - Let the Training Commence

blog-08111201jjThe letter has arrived, so training has commenced.  There's no escape from publicity for this Challenger from Timperley, seen jogging down Woodlands Parkway at 11.05 this morning.  He was identified from the clothing, which he doesn't seem to have changed since this picture was taken on 20 May 2008 beside Loch Lee. 
Hiya JJ.

Tuesday 11 November 2008

Lindow Moss and The Bog Man

blog-08111101LindowI passed by this scene of desolation today.  It is near Lindow Common in Wilmslow, where an assortment of birds were active on Black Lake, including the diver pictured below.  I think it's a Great-crested Grebe hiding its crest, but I stand to be corrected.

Anyway, whilst the small area of Lindow Common has been designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), nearby Lindow Moss, a much larger area and possibly of greater scientific importance, continues to house a commercial Peat Farm.  A matter of some local debate.

It was here that in 1984 some workmen discovered a body that had been preserved in the peat for around 2000 years.  This was 'Pete Marsh', whose wounds indicated a ritual killing whereby he was knocked unconscious, then slowly garotted, then had his throat cut.  His stomach contained burnt bread and mistletoe, sacred to the Druids.  It is possible that after this last sacred meal he suffered the 'threefold death' referred to by the Roman chronicler, Lucan, as a sacrifice to a triad of powerful Celtic gods: Teutates, Esus and Taranis. 

Pete's twisted body is now a popular exhibit in the British Museum in What other secrets may Lindow Moss hold, I wonder?  One murderer confessed to killing his wife when a skull was found in 1983.  That skull was later found to be from a woman who had died around 500BC, in the Iron age!

I've gleaned this information from Tony Bowerman's excellent little book - Walks in Mysterious Cheshire and Wirral.  This book is no longer available from Amazon, so may soon be difficult to obtain - get it while you can!   More information on Lindow Man is available from the British Museum, and from Wikipedia, as well as from this 'Mummy Tombs' website.

Monday 10 November 2008

Monday 10 November 2008 - A Trip to Southport

Today we had the pleasure of Tim and Kate's company at their home in Southport for an afternoon of photos from our Italian Border Route trip, and from the TGO Challenge, on which we walked with them this year from Newtonmore to the upper reaches of Glen Feshie. 

They are seasoned backpackers and have done 'The Challenge' ten times, so the slide show took a bit longer than usual as we tried to explain some of the intricacies and incidents of the Italian trip.

We did manage to find time to wander down to Ainsdale Sands (above), which Tim and Kate are lucky enough to have on their doorstep.

The Black-headed Gulls that have taken up residence on our local canal also proliferate in the coastal region of Southport.  Here they are lining up, readying themselves for target practice.


There were lots of Coots and Tufted Ducks on the pond behind the sands, mostly looking very lazy and well nourished.

blog-08111002coot blog-08111003tuftedduck 
Thank you, Tim and Kate, for an excellent lunch and a most enjoyable afternoon.

Sunday 9 November 2008

Saturday 8 November 2008 - Ellie and Jason get married

An enjoyable day was had by all, at Sandhole Oak Barn, near Congleton.  This was the (really excellent) venue for my niece Ellie's

There was a hyperactive man taking lots of photos, so we didn't try to compete with him, but here's a glimpse of some of the 'usual suspects'.


And this picture shows Ellie and Jason cutting into the results of our chemistry experiment with the slurry we had concocted at the time of the last posting.


The weather stayed fair for them, and they probably don't care much about today's inclemency, as they set off at 6 am (ugh) this morning to join the Trans Siberian Express on the first leg of a round the world trip which is planned to take a whole year.

We wish them a wonderful life together and a very happy year that really does put our own pathetic efforts at travelling into perspective!

Meanwhile, today (Sunday) I managed a pleasant bike ride before the worst of the rain arrived, but the towpath was muddy and 'she who must be obeyed' insisted on hosing me down before I was allowed back into the house!  I'm sparing you, dear reader, from any grey canalscapes that I may have been able to capture through the gloom of the November afternoon.

I'm becoming increasingly conscious of the 'lack of depth' to my postings compared with some of the other outdoors bloggers, but notwithstanding that I have today gained a fifth 'follower', Ron Bloomquist, who writes an entertaining blog - Walking Fort Bragg.  Hello Ron, I hope you will enjoy following the (mainly) outdoor activities, and hopefully the occasional pleasing image, from this layabout based in the north west of England.