Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Saturday 11 June 2011

A Dales High Way - Day 1 - Saltaire to Ilkley (Craiglands Hotel)

17km, 500 metres ascent, 3.7hrs incl stops.
Weather: fine, with sunny periods and a brisk SW breeze on higher ground.

Another day, another trip.

Andrew (aka Notchy) and I have set off on a 'luxury' backpacking trip from Saltaire to Appleby in eight days. We are following a route devised in 2007 by Saltaire residents, Chris and Tony Grogan.

Full details can be found at

A successful rendezvous at Manchester Piccadilly, followed by an hour and a half's £7 worth of efficient rail travel saw us in Saltaire by soon after noon.

We spent a while exploring the industrial village built by Titus Salt in the mid 19th century, a prime example of 'Victorian philanthropic paternalism'.

By 1892 Salt had been dead for 14 years and his company had gone into liquidation. It wasn't until the 1980s, when another visionary, Jonathan Silver, bought the old mill and introduced an interesting mix of uses, that a turn around started. The railway station reopened and the old mill cottages became desirable for young commuters. New shops, bars and cafés appeared and Saltaire was once again booming.

We can confirm that it remains a smart, vibrant place to this day - certainly that was the impression we gained whilst lunching at Vicars Cafe Bistro, near Victoria Hall, the venue for a recent Antiques Roadshow.

But we were here for a walk, and a very pleasant afternoon's stroll it was too, basically directly north to Ilkley. I took diversions to take in Hope Hill, as well as Ilkley Moor's 402 metre summit, and the Thimble Stones, but even those excursions involved little extra effort and we arrived conveniently outside our hotel directly from a footpath above the town.

It was good to see plenty of curlew today, after noting their scarcity during my recent walk across Scotland. Lapwings, skylarks, meadow pipits and a sparrowhawk were also very much in evidence, but there were no oyster catchers, and there seemed to be fewer birds than when I passed along a very similar route two years ago.

Whilst there was no sign of any moisture on the surface of the moors, numerous piles of paving slabs were strewn across the summit of Ilkley Moor, awaiting a path construction team, indicating that the moor is unusually dry just now!

We encountered a good smattering of walkers, runners and mountain bikers, including a man in a kilt and some scout leaders on Ilkley Moor who kindly took the above photo.

Below the spa baths at White Wells, which date from 1703, lies the prosperous town of Ilkley, where we later savoured the delights of its Piccolino restaurant. However, above White Wells, a 3500 year old stone circle, the Twelve Apostles, stood proud alongside our route, and Rombalds Moor sports numerous examples of prehistoric rock art dating from over 3000 years ago. Most of the 350 examples are off today's beaten tracks, but I did come across a couple of the sites as I descended from the moor towards Ilkley.

That's all for now. We are hoping for another fine day tomorrow.

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

Thursday 9 June 2011 – Deepest Cheshire

Deepest Cheshire
In view of the formidable sound of this evening stroll:

“An adventure with Notchy - Deepest Cheshire - starting at 7.30 pm from The Egerton Arms, Chelford  - 9.16 km with 48 metres of ascent (but not all in one go!)”

the turnout of ten random people was something of a surprise, especially to Notchy, who, having walked the route earlier in the day, but having succumbed to short-term memory loss, tried hard to allay his fear of getting lost by gazing lovingly into the screen of his GPS unit all evening.

It was a lovely warm evening, with pleasant lanes, and paths beside sandpits, and not a drop of rain.

Deepest Cheshire, with sandpit

Two Johns were present, including ‘magician’ JJ, who helped Steve out:

“My shins hurt” announced Steve.

“I’ll carry you then” offered JJ.

“OK” agreed Steve, not realising that he was about to be sprinkled with JJ’s magic powder that he had found in a Roald Dahl first edition.

Man shoulders shrunken walker in surprise piggy back competition

Steve never really recovered from this, and had completely disappeared by the time we left the jolly bellringers of Chelford church to continue their appeal for his reappearance.

Here’s our 8.5 km route – very good for a two hour stroll, even if it was a bit shorter than broadcast.

Our route - 8.5km in a couple of hours

Thanks everyone for turning up – the evening programme is here – hope to see you again on 15 July in Hayfield.

(I may load a short slide show later – out of time now.)

Must go…another trip is beckoning…

Friday 10 June 2011

2 to 6 June 2011 – A Long Weekend based at Windermere Youth Hostel

Windermere Youth Hostel, Troutbeck

There were eleven participants on this trip.  Whilst youth hostels aren’t particularly cheap these days, this one at Windermere has been nicely refurbished, with rooms for two or four people, some being en-suite, and with ample grounds and various prepared activities for children, such as orienteering, treasure hunting, etc.  In fact it is extremely child friendly, which is just as well as we had four under tens in our party, and Much Cheaper than a B&B or hotel.

Ten of us arrived on a hot Thursday afternoon.  Ben and Polly soon grabbed Sue when their mum and Dad dozed off.

Ben, Sue and Polly

We all then enjoyed a stroll up Wansfell Pike, with ‘Bubbles’ celebrating reaching the summit in style.

'Bubbles' Kate, on the summit of Wansfell Pike

Al and I went on to the summit of Wansfell, whilst the others raced us back to Troutbeck.  Some of them beat us, despite our running!

All that exercise meant good business for the bar at the hostel (yes, many youth hostels have licensed bars these days), and we were soon tucking in to Sue’s excellent sausage pasta dish.


The pudding was Yummy – a repeat of the one we cooked for Lyn and Simon’s wedding ‘a few’ years ago.

Friday morning dawned hot and sunny, so everyone enjoyed a trip down to Windermere.

Windermere on a summer's morning

We caught the Bowness ferry and whilst some just lazed around on the western shore of the lake, others went for a ‘paddle’.  In the absence of swimwear, many of the images that record this episode could get me into trouble if I publish them here…

Anyway, everyone else adjourned to a boat trip to Ambleside, whilst I strolled back to the hostel via The Dales Way, The Windermere Way, and Orrest Head.  A lovely walk, albeit very hot, with fine views throughout, and especially towards the Kentmere Hills from Orrest Head.

A view from Orrest Head

It was thirsty work, and again we ate outside, today Al and Hazel being providers of plentiful pizza and salad.


Fiona had joined us on Friday afternoon, and she helped to coax Polly up Helm Crag on Saturday morning.  (Hot, sunny.  Boring isn’t it!)

Pausing on the steep ascent of Helm Crag

I was very happy by lunch time, having managed to scale the summit rock face (closely followed by a small girl).  It’s about as hard as I can manage without a rope!

Lunch by the summit of Helm Crag

Sue and Al also made it to the top, whilst others were happy to watch, before descending to play in a frothy beck, from where a short walk led to the Lancrigg Hotel.  A gem of a place, outside which we enjoyed massive servings of carrot cake and other delights, before returning for a well cooked YHA meal.

Sunday morning saw Lyn and Simon head off with their charges, but not before Aussie Stephen, from the hostel (a very patient man – we observed him working diligently in reception, where some guests fully expected the service that would be offered by a five star hotel – and got it) took this excellent group photo.

Team Photo: Simon, Polly, Lyn, Ben, Sue, Kate, Andrew, Hazel, Al, Fiona, Martin

The remaining seven of us headed off to Grizedale Forest on a cooler day, and enjoyed a romp around the ‘red’ trail over Carron Crag.

Numerous sculptures were encountered, as always in this forest, this one being near the summit of the crag.

One of many sculptures in Grizedale Forest

Then we all went home, after an extremely successful and enjoyable outing.  Very relaxing after the TGO Challenge!

Sue and I took lots of photos.  A selection of 50 is here, but if you were lucky enough to be on this particular trip, you may enjoy the ‘full works’, some 160 images, here.

Monday 6 June 2011

Summer in Timperley (1)

Canada Geese by the Bridgewater Canal near Brooklands

We are back here for a few days (for the benefit of Gibson) after a very summery trip to the Lake District on which I will report later in the week.

Meanwhile, back at home, the swifts (who arrived at the end of April) are getting noisier, but I think may still be incubating under the eaves; the nettles down the ‘entry’ ginnel that gives access to the canal are growing uncontrollably; and the Canada Geese goslings (pictured above) are prancing around with all the confidence if not the aggression of their parents.

Nearby, the MSC Co (Manchester Ship Canal Company) barge known as ‘WF No 1’ is engaged in repairing the Bridgewater Canal at the point where constant use by the local rowing club has caused the stonework of the bank to collapse.  One of its jolly crew members claimed that ‘WF No 1’ was an abbreviation of ‘Wayne Forever No 1’.  I know better – this is one of several canal maintenance vessels - ‘Work Float No 1’.

Repairs to the Bridgewater Canal - damaged stonework caused by Manchester Rowing Club