Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Saturday 9 January 2010

Timperley to Dunham Massey by Canal

Treescape in Little Bollington

Yesterday was allocated to various ‘admin’ jobs, but the wonderfully clear, fine weather continued, so Sue and I couldn’t resist a trip out.

So we set off after lunch, past The Big Blue Snowman, to the local canal.

The Blue Snowman

The surface was very firm, except under the bridges.  Here Sue and Mike establish that it’s perfectly safe.  Further on there was an ice hockey match in progress!

Sue and Mike on the canal

The canal surface was not its usual texture.

The canal surface had some interesting textures

Hoar frost seems to rule OK on a 24 hour basis.

Hoar frost adorned the grasses lining the canal

This has to be a little unusual!

A pristine surface on the path to Dunham Massey

And this!

Cycling is easier down here - the towpath is bumpy and narrow...

I headed off to collect the car from its annual service, whilst Sue proceeded to Little Bollington and thence to Dunham Massey, taking these excellent sunset images along the way.

On the approach to Dunham Massey, from the path leading from The Swan Sunset from Dunham Massey

A full set of images, should you have the time or inclination, is here.

Friday 8 January 2010

Winter in Timperley

The Bridgewater Canal in Timperley on 5 January 2010
We have enjoyed some unusual scenes over the past few days.

It snowed on Monday night and continued to accumulate during Tuesday.  This is unusual close to central Manchester.  So unusual that Jamie recorded a visual diary of his commute to work from Altrincham to Manchester.

Our street on 5 January 2010

With abandoned cars littering the roads, the residents of our street stayed at home or used the trams, which surprised everyone by continuing to work despite the expectation of ‘leaves on the line’.

An Altrincham bound tram at Timperley

There’s now even somewhere for passengers heading towards Manchester from Timperley to shelter from the elements, albeit less adequate than their predecessor!  Some new trams, designed for ‘rush hour’ use, with narrower seats and wider passageways, have been operating since before Christmas, but I have yet to capture one ‘on film’.

Two new shelters adorn the Manchester bound platform

The canal remained frozen. 

The Bridgewater Canal from Timperley Bridge on 5 January 2010

Drivers played at ‘dodgems’.

Park Road, Timperley, beside the Metro Station

We remained at home.

On Wednesday the crisp, clear day enticed us out, but (and the situation remains so) we couldn’t justify getting the car out as the roads remained treacherous.  So we walked to Hale and enjoyed a game of Monopoly with some friends whose school was shut but whose mum needed to work.  Then we had fun in their garden.

Hale Tower

What happened next? 
Snow Boy
The walk home made us quite glad we hadn’t bothered with the car.

Thursday brought another crisp day, with the sun beating down from a clear blue sky, causing the thermometer to rise to a spectacular minus 5C, the coldest I can recall it at midday around here.

It was lovely, with a very light wind and crisp compacted snow underfoot, though a trip to the dentist by car did test my skills of manoeuvring through deep snow in the remoter parts of a car park in Urmston!

We didn’t have to venture far to get some more wintry images, some of them from angles normally only accessible by boat.

A view along the Bridgewater Canal to Marsland Bridge

Blogger Jogger

An afternoon view towards Timperley, from Marsland Bridge

Sunset - 6 January 2010

A full set of images, mainly for H and the children, is here.

Hopefully it won’t be too long before we can actually go somewhere more interesting – I’m yearning for the winter tyres we have in Canada that make driving in these conditions relatively easy!

Wednesday 6 January 2010

Monday 4 January 2010 – Around Rostherne

A Cheshire Tree

A beautiful afternoon found Sue and me braving more icy paths, this time on a short walk around Rostherne.

The Swan at Bucklow Hill
Parking up at the Swan at Bucklow Hill, we crossed the busy A556 road and headed down Chapel Lane, which proved to be a sheet of ice.  Soon we were able to take to the fields down a pleasant path with frosted grass.

A lovely thatched cottage marks the point where another road is joined.

A pretty thatched cottage near Bucklow Hill

Short of time, we turned left and stuck to the road to pass Millington Hall on our left, rather than take our usual route past Agden Brook to Booth Bank.

A warning sign for wayward people


There’s a reluctance to allow the local lads to bag rabbits, etc.







Today we turned right down Millington Lane and headed back to re-cross the A556 and stroll down the quiet lane – closed for pipe laying – to Rostherne.  On the way a narrow path is worth taking for the views it affords of Rostherne Mere, the largest natural lake in Cheshire at over 100 feet deep, and a haven for wintering birds.

Rostherne Mere

After being hemmed between a barbed wire fence and a bramble hedge it was liberating to rejoin the icy lane and slither along to St Mary’s church, which sports the oldest lychgate in England – dating from 1640.  The church was resplendent in the low afternoon sun.

St Mary's church, Rostherne

The churchyard is dotted with tombs of the Egerton family (if you read yesterday’s entry you may recall that they were the owners of the Tatton Estate until it was bequeathed to the National Trust in 1958).

From here we could have returned along the lane directly to Bucklow Hill, but time permitted a diversion through frozen fields of beet, with a flock of fieldfare, to Home Farm, part of the Tatton Park estate.

Sue follows an icy path through a field of beet

A wide right of passage had been scoured and fenced off, perhaps for the pipeline, or is a road being built?

Earth had been scoured from a 20 metre strip of land

After a few metres along the road, a right turn led us back into fields, towards Mere Farm.  The sun went down.

Sunset from near Home Farm

A right turn then took us to a final footpath to the left, across more fields to a small Mere, where a sign written in Polish explained that it was a Private fishing ground for Warrington Anglers.

Then we rejoined the lane to return to the car after this brisk 7 km excursion.  The route is shown below.

Today's short route - 7 km, 70 metres ascent, 1.5 hours

Soon after returning home we noticed the first flurries of a snow storm that was to linger over Cheshire for the next 24 hours!

A full slide show (19 images) is here.

Tuesday 5 January 2010

Sunday 3 January 2010 – Tatton Park

A tree near the Knutsford entrance to Tatton Park
A lovely sunny day drew us out into the icy wastes of Manchester’s hinterland.  Known as Tatton Park, the venue for today’s slither has a long history, dating back to the bronze age, but more recently involving the bequeath of the Egerton family’s estate to the National Trust in 1958.

As we returned from the east coast yesterday, in interesting conditions involving icy roads and trees heavily laden with snow, a sharp shower of sleet in Manchester had immediately frozen solid, leaving a thin veneer of ice, more or less everywhere.

Sue in Tatton Park So we went to the Knutsford entrance to the park, slithered up the west side of the lake, past the Greek temple,

The 'Greek temple' in Tatton Park enjoyed coffee and cake in the restaurant, then slithered back along the east side of the lake. 

The view back across the lake, with Canada Geese, and the Mansion behind

A swan was sunbathing on the ice.

The sunbathing swan

Woodland in Tatton Park Attempts to find a short cut back from pleasant woodland to the park entrance failed due to impenetrable marshland, and we emerged eventually near the centre of Knutsford, passing the Ruskin Rooms – an ornate building completed by Richard Harding Watt, an admirer of John Ruskin (1819-1900), in 1902.

The Ruskin Rooms (1902)

A very pleasant 8 km slither on a blue sky day.  A short slideshow is here.

Friday 1 January 2010 – Robin Hood’s Bay

A tree near Robin Hood's BayApologies for the delay in posting. 2010 has started slowly. I blame all those other bloggers whose exploits I’ve spent ages catching up with in preference to banging my own keyboard.

Sue and I enjoyed a glorious technicolour start to the year, popping corks on the beach at Robin Hood’s Bay (RHB) and admiring the fireworks emanating from several competing groups on the beach.

Last time we saw in the New Year here a storm drowned the fireworks, and the electricity.  We have memories of using a fondue set to brew tea on New Year’s Day, as we sat in a cold Loft wrapped in duvets. This year the full moon shone brightly, the fireworks were excellent, and the power remained on, despite a snowstorm at breakfast time.

Sue and I were staying in the Station Waiting Rooms Loft, as guests of Jenny and Richard (aka Night Bird and Birthday Boy). It’s a great spot, at the top of the hill, with views across to Ravenscar.

Sunrise from the Station Waiting Rooms Loft at Robin Hood's Bay There’s plenty of room for two, and visitors like us can be housed in  a small cupboard that gets quite warm, especially when Richard turns on the heating all night, as he did on what remained of the night of 31 December.

There’s an increasingly monochromatic theme to a lot of the blog postings that I’ve been catching up on, and so it is here. The breakfast snow stuck to everything, and despite the day remaining largely overcast I took loads of photos, a selection of which can be viewed here.

Posing in the snow outside the Loft, which is the upper floor in the foreground with the snowed up windows. Bijou. Anyway, by 11 o’clock we were posing in the snow outside the Loft, and we soon set off along the old railway line to Boggle Hole and beyond. With a streaming cold, a well wrapped head, and a severe dose of lethargy, I was happy to trudge along at the rear whilst Richard took command of the route, a gentle 13 km ‘hike’. [Jenny may take offence if I were to describe it as an ‘amble’, ‘stroll’, ‘potter’, or similar!]

The view towards Ravenscar, from near Boggle Hole A distant ship provided the only colour in the landscape


Everything seemed to be white with traces of grey and black.

Even the beach, though an orange ship on the horizon did provide a narrow slash of colour.

I wore one of my many pairs of leaky boots. They are excellent in the freezing conditions that seem now to have taken a grip on the UK.  Apart from the Hi-Tecs, that fell apart in Silverdale.

Hunger was setting in. I had no food and fell behind. Eventually, perhaps around 2 pm, Richard deigned to call a halt, and the marchers congregated for ‘lunch’. Or was it afternoon tea? Anyway I was handed a large cheese sandwich and a sip of tea. And some shortbread that someone had concealed in my own bag.

The sun even deigned to appear as I chased the others past Colcroft Farm.

Sue, Jenny and Richard zoom ahead and past Colcroft Farm in the year's first sunshine. Refreshed, I managed to head them back onto the railway line.

Rejoining the disused railway line by Fyling Old Hall Then a short tramp led back to the Loft, and more seasonal indulgences before Sue and I collapsed back into our cupboard.

I’m told that our 13 km route followed the blue line on the following chart, and that it included over 400 metres of ascent.

Our 13.5 km route, with 410 metres of ascent, taking over four hours in the fresh slithery snow
Here’s the slideshow.

Happy New Year, everyone!