Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Saturday 8 January 2011

Trafoi (Stelvio National Park) – 8 July 2010

The church in Trafoi

We enjoyed this view every time we strolled into the village of Trafoi from the camp site, which is just visible above the church roof.

The hanging glacier is the one which dominates the camp site - shown in yesterday’s image.

The church provided a roost for hundreds of screeching swifts, which gathered each night much as starlings do at this time of year in the UK.

Friday 7 January 2011

Sunset from Trafoi – 8 July 2010

Sunset, from the camp site at Trafoi

Remember the heatwave of last July?  We escaped from the intense heat around Lake Garda, to spend a lovely few days above 1500 metres at the camp site at Trafoi, in the Stelvio National Park. 

The glaciers lit by the lovely sunsets, were visibly, and audibly, melting during our stay, which was punctuated by the crash of distant avalanches.

Thursday 6 January 2011

Pic Tabaretta – 2538 metres

Pic Tabaretta - 2538 metres

High up in the Stelvio National Park, on 7 July 2010, I’m admiring the view north, towards Austria.

Roll on summer!

Brexton Travels

This one is for Robert and Lyn.

Trevor exhibits a favourite antique piece of kit. Maureen was camera shy, but she says 'hello'.

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

Devil’s Claw (Physoplexis comosa)

Devil's Claw (Physoplexis comosa

We are having a few days away – not a walking trip – so unless some mobile postings are forthcoming, over the next few days viewers will have to make do with a few images from last summer’s holiday in the Alps.

Near Persone – a small village not far from Lake Garda – we found this fine specimen of Devil’s Claw, a shy plant that tries to hide away in high rocky crevices.

The images from that trip remain ‘unsorted’, so it’s a great pleasure to browse through them; please excuse the indulgence.

Tuesday 4 January 2011

TGO Challenge 2011 – A Route is Born, and a Strange Tram Experience

Finishing the 2010 TGO Challenge on the beach north of Montrose ‘Poor Michael’ and I have a route.  There’s a low level option – 339km (212 miles) with 7875 metres ascent.  However the preferred route leads over a few summits and is slightly more demanding.

Oban > Bridge of Orchy > Bridge of Gaur > Dalwhinnie > Ballater > North Water Bridge > a beach near St Cyrus, is the gist of the route, at the end of which I hope a good companion will stand in for the very wobbly walking pole from which the above picture was taken at the end of last year’s effort.

Comments from an (as yet unnamed) esteemed vetter are awaited.

A Strange Tram Experience

I joined Sue and Jenny for a pizza in town tonight, after which they were going to the ballet.  I’d just not felt like cooking for myself, but I was dismayed, on leaving the restaurant, to discover that my route home, past Old Trafford, coincided with a rush of supporters intent on watching a Man Utd football match.  I squeezed onto a tram at Market Street.  It was full of supporters, but calm, chatty, and not at all intimidating.  I must have looked a bit frail.  For the first time in my life someone stood up and offered their seat.  I politely declined and moved towards an empty seat further up the carriage.  Someone else stood up and offered their seat.  '”It’s ok, thanks”, I found the empty seat.  This group of supporters were actually better travel companions than the pushy commuters I used to have to contend with (I was one of them, I don’t deny that).  On reaching Old Trafford, nearly everyone got off.  Unlike commuters, they paused when they reached my seat to enable me to leave before them – I had to explain that I wasn’t going to the match.  All very courteous.  Should I be surprised?  Perhaps not.

Monday 3 January 2011


Ice on the Bridgewater Canal in Altrincham - 2/1/11

Over on Gayle’s blog are some impressive graphs concerning her activities during 2010.

So I thought I’d work out some statistics for my own 2010 activities.

I walked rather less than Gayle’s 1,813 miles, though at 1,184 miles (1,905km) I nearly managed to replicate her digits.  But my miles weren’t all that ‘flat’, as I climbed some 73,360 metres (240,694 ft) and topped a few summits – 9 Munros, 22 Corbetts, 32 Wainwrights and 53 Birketts, as well as 19 other ‘minor’ summits – mainly Shutlingsloe and lesser Alpine peaks.  Of the UK summits, 53 were ‘Marilyns’ – ie summits 500 feet (~150 metres) higher than the land around them.

Adding in bike rides (1,317km), jogging (307km) and skiing (250km), my grand totals for 2010 are 3,779km (2,348 miles) and 100,343 metres (329,225 ft) ascent.

But the statistic I like best is the number of days I managed to get out – excluding walks under 5km, bike rides and most of the jogging – it comes to about 150 days, from which I conclude that I’m well and truly retired!  Perhaps even a bit tired!

It’s cooling down again here in Timperley.  The slight thaw produced a little surface water on the frozen canal, which has re-frozen to form an attractive ‘shattered glass’ effect.  It’s now about 3 inches thick, so is fine to walk on, apart for a few thin patches and the fact that it’s incredibly slippery.

Plans for 2011 are on the drawing board, but some of the above statistics will take some beating…

Sunday 2 January 2011

Christmas Presents (1)

We had some lovely presents this (last) year.

Here’s one of the best, a 250 piece wooden jigsaw featuring a classic view.  For a change, it’s not Shutlingsloe!

A Christmas Jigsaw - Andrew and Kate by the Bachsee, with Schreckhorn (left) and Finsteraarhorn

Thank you, Andrew and Kate, for this lovely present.  We’ll dismantle it soon and bring it round to your house for reconstruction.

Similar products are available from here.

Saturday 1 January 2011 - Shutlingsloe

It’s not long since I was joined by Richard and Graham for a stroll up Shutlingsloe on the splendidly moonlit evening of 20 December.

Richard and Graham bag Shutlingsloe (again)

It’s only a 5km walk with 270 metres of ascent from Trentabank, but for me the ascent of the Matterhorn of Cheshire always counts as a ‘mountain’ with its wide ranging views into the Peak District, across the Cheshire plain, and over much of Greater Manchester.

We enjoyed that walk, and the subsequent sojourn with beers in front of a roaring fire at the Leather’s Smithy.

But that was last year…

It’s a New Year tradition for Sue and me to go for a walk – a tough one if the weather is suitable.  Today dawned dull and dreich, so we didn’t rush off to get drenched in Snowdonia or the Lake District. 

That can wait.

Instead, we enjoyed a gentle ascent of Shutlingsloe with some good friends, setting off for a change from the Standing Stone Car Park, which reduces the ascent to just 170 metres.

Andrew and Kate were eager to bag the summit….

Rushing up the path from Standing Stone Car Park 
…which soon came into view, intermittently through the mist.

Shutlingsloe - the Matterhorn of Cheshire

It didn’t take long to reach the top, where lots of photos of the group….

On the summit of Shutlingsloe 
…were taken by our resident experts.

Two Professionals

Descent was by the path to Trentabank, then through the woods which despite the low light levels sported some surprisingly bright green tree trunks.

Macclesfield Forest

This was an excellent way to spend a couple of hours on New Year’s Day,  followed by lunch from the kiosk at Trentabank Visitor Centre, where we happened upon Alan and Kate, out for a stroll with Obi the horse (by which time my camera, sadly, had been stashed in the car).

Some more pictures, for the benefit of those present on the walk, are here.

And here’s our route – about 4.5km, with 170 metres ascent, suitable for children, and those with little time to spare.

A route up Shutlingsloe from Standing Stone Car Park

Happy New Year, everyone.