Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Friday 11 December 2009


Blog written by guest bloggers Alan (Mines a large one) Sloman and Phil (That’s not what I’ve heard) Lambert who have hacked into this blog to report THE TRUTH.

You can tell its not the usual blogger as the spalling and grammer is a bit iffy, and as for syntax, well, why not….?

Way back in those heady days just before this ultra-modern Mersey Beat nonsense came in, it was always said that you never saw Cliff Richard and Helen Shapiro together in the same room.

And so it is with Mike (The Postcard) Banfield and Martin (The Pie) Knipe. You never see them in the same room. And we’re here to investigate the reasons.

And, what a giveaway – they blog at the same time and about the same walks with the same pictures. The only difference is, of course, that the actual words are sometimes completely different.

If you don’t believe us, check out the other blog here.

We have suspected for some time that these blog posts actually do relate to REAL walks. It’s a very clever double-bluff. There were dark rumours of a secret tryst, involving dirty boots and damp trouser legs and a WALK, beginning at the quiet Yorkshire village of Embsay in Craven, once said to be the centre of a legal rambling ring, but never convincingly proved as a fact.

Cunningly disguised so that you can only just see him at the foot of the picture:  Grousey, our roving reporter


But this time, we had them Banged to Rights. We sent out Grousey, a radio-controlled clockwork chicken, cunningly disguised as a Red Grouse (that’s a wild bird, not a grumpy socialist) to monitor their every move….

And this is what we saw.

First of all, we have to report, dear readers, that there is NO DOG. Bruno is a figleaf of the imagination. He doesn’t exist. We suspect photoshop, to be honest. Why they should go to this length as to invent a fictitious pet is beyond us. Maybe they just wanted to appear normal or something.

Their was a meeting quite near the once-renowned country inn – The Elm Tree, in Embsay village centre – now cunningly disguised as a coffee shop – but without any coffee….

The Elm Tree Inn: doesn't serve Gourmet fresh coffee, or anything else for that matter

(You can see just how clever these two are, now, can’t you?)

Under cover of a women’s institute yoga, life drawing and belly dancing seminar, our two suspects sloped discretely off up a quiet lane and disappeared briefly into dense hillfog about 800 feet up the slopes of Crookrise Crag.

Grousey got this shot as the cloud lifted

Our roving correspondent kept track of them in the improving conditions.

Our hero, the clockwork chicken, with a nice self-timed shotLater.they were seen laughing and joking and drinking “something” out of flasks by the trig point on the top.

We think we may have been sussed - Mike, or is it Martin, is too quick for Grousey with his Thomas the Tank mask

The mist slowly cleared to reveal that both were wearing gaiters of the type commonly sported by the mountaineering classes. Already they had expounded more calories than the average Outdoor Blogger  in a week of keyboarding.

Oh dear, look at those awful gaiters!

But let us continue. We must warn you that there are parts of the story coming up which decent home-loving OBs will find quite distasteful. You may wish to alter the contrast on your screens.

They was tracked in their halting progress over deep heather and across a small stream at the head of a waterfall.

Not everyone got across this chasm.  Our intrepid reporter wore its battery down at this point by having to 'go airborne'.

One of them was heard to say “Fatdog – that’s a real dog y’know” and they both laughed. Here, they managed to avoid our monitor for a while, but we picked them up again disporting themselves by a large stone Cross teetering on the edge of a beetling crag or cliff. They actually seemed to be enjoying themselves. Outrageous.

We are sure this was one of them, just visible in the blinding sunshine 
And then, a bit later, they were spotted enjoying luncheon beside an obelisk or stone pepperpot, having scared off a couple of innocent day walkers, one of who was heard to say “Quick, put your clothes on, Brenda, there’s somebody coming.”

This is the highest point - Brenda is hiding

At this point, we, whilst skillfully monitoring their progress, 

Grousey tries not to be distracted by the view to Grassington, Wharfedale and Buckden Pike

were beginning to wonder just exactly what it was that these two get out of this outdoor malarkey, for, given that any sensible OB would of taken the opportunity at this point to descend to the pub at Cracoe, get absolutely blotto on strong spirits and then get a taxi back to Embsay, these two, unbelievably, continued, bashing their way through deep bog and heather to visit yet another trig point.

Bit of a problem with Grousey Cam here, folks, but we think we've caught up with them at the trig (not the highest) point

And, did they then, at this point head for home? Not on your outdoor blogging nelly, they didn’t – they went North to some squalid huts,

Two bothies and a confused hobo

one of which they entered, obviously casing the joint for a possible overnight bivi (I told you this would get unpleasant, didn’t I?) and only then – only then did they find a track which led them back towards Embsay.

Grousey Cam failed, so he drew us this little picture

Behind them, the rejected bothy stood stark on the horizon in the late sun.

The rejected bothy stood stark on the horizon under a crimson sky

And, the final proof, that these two really are involved in Outdoor Activities (we sticks in the craw….) they didn’t descend directly back to Embsay as they could of done.  No – they used the last vestiges of daylight to visit Embsay Crag, where they brazenly took photographs and were heard laughing and joking, and waving to dog walkers and sailors below.

Turning on his infra red attachment, Grousey caught proof of this final unspeakable act

We ask you – is this the kind of behaviour we expect from Outdoor Bloggers. We mean, they’re supposed to be blogging, not traipsing about in the countryside.

We save the most damning piece of evidence till the last. They obviously did not have a stove. There was very little evidence of gear testing going on, in fact all of their stuff looked old and used. Martin Knipe looked specially old and used, in fact.

We expect you’ve had to sit down and let the shrapnel of that final devastating bombshell finish rattling around your sensibilities.

They must be Brought to Book (the capitals are important here). This is just blatant.

Comments, please…..we can’t be putting up with this.

Please send your objections and a cheque or postal order for £5 to Alan Lambert, League Against Cruel Rambles, Postcard Pie Cottage, The Flat Mile, Fenland, UK.

Finally, our SPOT activated Grousey reported the following co-ordinates for this most unusual and unexpected OB activity.

Tuesday 8 December 2009, 20 km (12 miles), 700 metres (2200 feet) ascent, 6.5 hours (400 minutes)

Thursday 10 December 2009

Sunday 6 December 2009 – Around Hatton

This was supposed to be the day that Alistair and I headed up to Cross Fell, the highest point in England that Al has not yet visited.

He still hasn’t been there.

Events conspired to foil our plan – not least the fact that after a week ‘on the road’ and with a 5.30 am Monday morning train to catch, it was better that Al spend some time at home.

However, we did manage a brief saunter in North Cheshire, with the bonus of Sue feeling well enough to join us for the six mile outing.

It’s less than 30 minutes from home to junction 10 of the M56 and some minor roads to Hatton, where there’s a large car park opposite the local pub at SJ 599 824.

The Hatton Arms and Restaurant, Hatton, SJ 599 824

The pub was shut, but just along the road a garden sported a fine selection of ‘Christmas Toys’ whirring away and actually gyrating to the carols that were softly emanating from the various models.  Very nice to see, in what is virtually a suburb of Liverpool that is therefore susceptible to the fly-tipping monsters from that city.

We waited in vain for glasses of mulled wine to appear on a conveyor belt.

Christmas arrives in Hatton

It was cool, but thankfully ‘mainly dry’, and we soon found ourselves wandering through the bamboo forest otherwise known as Row’s Wood, where we encountered the Timberland Trail, previously seen on a wander around Lymm – must do it one day!

Entering the bamboo filled enclave of Row's Wood

This emerged at Outer Wood, which we walked beside at the grand height of 60 metres, sufficient in these Flat Lands to afford fine views to the north, across Greater Manchester to the tall mast on Winter Hill that has recently been practicing a juggling act with our TV signals.

60 metres above sea level - with fine views to the North

We didn’t venture into Outer Wood.  We weren’t welcome there.

Private Woodlands

It looked as if we weren’t welcome here, either.  Al and Sue tramped on whilst I observed the small print on the sign:

‘Score so far: Bull 2 – Ramblers 0’

Score so far:  Bull 2 - Ramblers 0

Hello Big Boy!

A bull

After a bit of petting, the big soft lump calmed down.

Then she ‘enjoyed’ a tea break.  “I’ve brought a flask, so you will drink the tea”, I insisted.  “Wrap up warmer next time!”

Tea break

We continued down the edge of another field, something of a feature of this route.

A Cheshire field

By and by we came to a plaque.

Plaque in memory of Lewis Carroll

A photo of The Parsonage adorned an information board with a Japanese translation – we quickly looked around, but thankfully there was no tourist bus here today, just a swooping buzzard.

The Parsonage where Lewis Carroll was born

The site was caringly marked out, with brickwork showing the footprint of the old building, enabling one to stroll through the rooms and admire the well.

The site of the Parsonage

An island farm ‘mid seas of corn,
Swayed by the wandering breath of morn,
The happy spot where I was born.

Lewis Carroll was born at the above spot on 27 January 1832.  He spent the first eleven years of his life here before going to Rugby school, then studying mathematics at Christ Church, Oxford, where he remained, teaching maths and experimenting with photography, for the rest of his life.  There he met Alice, the Dean’s daughter, and the book ‘Alice in Wonderland’ evolved from a story told to Alice on a picnic in 1862.

Anyway, we retraced some steps and found some sunshine as we approached Queastybirch Hall Farm.

Fine weather by Queastybirch Hall Farm

‘Queastybirch’ – I wonder how that name came about?

Queastybirch Lane

Here’s the route – 11 km with 100 metres ascent.  It took us 2½ hours of gentle strolling.  For anyone intent on following in our footsteps, I’ve set out some route directions below this image, which together with OS Explorer map number 275 should enable anyone to follow in our footsteps.

Route taken - 11 km, 100 metres ascent, 2.5 hours

Start from the Hatton Arms, SJ 599 824.

Turn left out of the car park and walk along Warrington Road to the second footpath on the left (there’s just a short section without a pavement).

The path is to the right after crossing a ditch, and this leads to and through Row’s Wood (actually mainly following the left hand boundary of Row’s Wood), up to a signpost at the corner of Outer Wood.  Turn left along the edge of this wood.  On reaching the end of the short wood follow the fence left for 20 metres or so, then turn right to hug the field edge before coming upon the track that becomes Hall Lane.

Turn right down Daresbury Lane, towards Daresbury, leaving the road in favour of a footpath to the left, shortly before the church.

Head along this path for over 300 metres before taking a path to the right, back towards the road, before which you turn left again, along a thin path through a field.  Head about 50 metres to the left of an oak tree, past which you aim for a stile in the field’s boundary.

Follow stiles and waymarks to Newton Lane, which you cross to take the track opposite, leading to Newton Bank Farm.  Before that farm take a right turn along a footpath under the motorway and on up to Little Manor Farm.

Go straight on through the farm to reach Summer Lane.  Turn left here and follow the road for about 500 metres until turning right just after passing a building on the left.  Go down the lane leading to a fairly new barn conversion project, but where the lane turns right you continue straight on beside fields to reach more tarmac at Morphany Lane.

Turn right to visit Lewis Carroll’s birthplace, an open area with benches and plaques, about 500 metres down the lane.

Return to where you joined the lane, and continue along it to reach the junction with Newton Lane.  Turn right, then left at Penkridge Lake Farm.  Turn left by the farmhouse, going between cow byres, then turn right beside more cows and a hay store.

Negotiate mud and slurry (keep to the left) to climb a gate/stile to continue along the path, which runs to the left of a barbed wire fence to the next stile, then straight ahead across the middle of the next field to two stiles separated by a bridge in the facing hedge.

Go ahead again across the next field, turning right on reaching the hedge.  Then turn left at the first opportunity and follow the field boundary to Queastybirch Hall Farm.  Keep straight on through the farmyard and more stiles through what appears to be a front garden, to reach a cobbled track.

Turn left down the cobbled track, leaving it to continue straight on where the track bends left.  Increasing traffic noise indicates a potentially formidable barrier, but after a flight of steps the route across the M56 reveals itself as being feasible without the need to dodge the motorway traffic.

Continue along Pillmoss Lane, past Queastybirch Lane, to turn left at the end of the lane and return to Hatton.

Acknowledgement:  Based on a route described in Jen Darling’s book ‘Walks in North Cheshire’ – Alfresco Books, 1994.

[I wonder whether anyone will ever find this description and follow it, or am I doing such things purely ‘for the record’ to satisfy my sense of ‘compleation’ of projects so small as 11 km strolls?]