Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Saturday 13 December 2014

A Typical Saturday Morning for Sue!


It’s sometimes tough, being married to such a fine athlete. She’s training – here in the 5 km ‘personal challenge’ that is Wythenshawe Parkrun - for the Gatineau Loppett, or so she says…

Friday 12 December 2014

Thursday 11 December 2014 – Ten Lakeland Summits from Tilberthwaite


Firstly, an addendum to yesterday by way of a ‘post blog’ portrait of the inestimable John P, who after jarring his knee on Tuesday had spent the day purchasing bling that apparently served as a pinny for his baking exploits.

The dessert was delicious.


Our group was now down to six for this short bimble from Tilberthwaite, which proved a suitable venue for celebrating Kath's fiftieth birthday.

We set off in bright sunshine on the cool day, but as we gently ascended the old miners' track the sunshine moved across to appear like a searchlight on Lingmoor Fell (top picture).

After passing some mine buildings an 'off-piste' route was followed. The Langdale Pikes showed signs of recent snowfall. We enjoyed views in that direction whilst taking a roundabout route to Summit Number 1 - Great Intake on Low Fell (405 metres).


There were great views across the southern Lakes.

Soon we headed off and nearly climbed Birk Fell by mistake. After realising our error (four of us were equipped with GPS units!) we battled the wind up to Summit Number 2 - High Fell (428 metres). The snowy heights of Wetherlam towered above us as we looked down towards Coniston whilst trying to avoid being blown away.


A small tarn led to Summit Number 3 - Hawk Rigg, at 441 metres the highest point of this entire trip, but very windy.


A little further on was Summit Number 4 - Haystacks (421 metres), featuring Roger trying not to get blown away, and snow clad Wetherlam behind us.


Summit Number 5 was Blake Rigg (423 metres) – there was quite a breeze up there. Five down, five to go.


After some unnecessary faffing by four of the party (Tilberthwaite Gill being the easy obstacle that they were reluctant to step across) Roger, Viv, Peter and Barbara deigned to join Kath and me for lunch in a sheltered spot in Yewdale Moss.


Excellent miner's paths past some wonderful wild camping pitches led to Hole Rake, and much evidence of mining. We'd skirted around the upland plateau of Yewdale Moss. Eventually we gained Summit Number 6 - Kitty Crag (435 metres). There was a good view down to Coniston Water.


Ghyll Head was just about visible from Kitty Crag, across a distant Windermere.

Here we are at the next top - Summit Number 7 - Long Crag on Yewdale Fells (421 metres). There's a dished shield of rock on the top of Long Crag on which Roger and Barbara enjoyed a snooze.


A little further on we reached Summit Number 8 - High Wythow (410 metres). It was going well. Everyone seemed happy despite the unnaturally short (for the LDWA) length of the walk.


It was largely downhill to Summit Number 9 - Low Wythow (372 metres). The wind was a bit kinder here.


There was no cairn on Summit Number 10 - Brackeny Crag (370 metres), but Barbara did her best to impersonate one before the rest of the team arrived to celebrate with afternoon tea. Yes, that's ten (10) summits we managed to climb on this windy day.


The weather held as we descended back to Tilberthwaite, pausing only to pick ourselves up when blown over by the occasional severe gusts of wind, before adjourning to Chesters for coffee and cake by way of ‘Kathy’s Birthday Treat’.


Here's our route - 11 km with 500 metres ascent, in 4.5 hours.


Back at Ghyll Head, there were mammoth celebrations.


There’s a 96 image slideshow here, and this link takes you to all three years’ reports on my visits to Ghyll Head.

A slideshow for our 2013 visit is here, and 2012’s is here.

Finally, thanks to Reg for organising this trip, to all the wonderful chefs, and to the various ‘Quizmasters’. A most enjoyable few days.

Wednesday 10 December 2014

Wednesday 10 December 2014 – Gummer’s How from Ghyll Head


We enjoyed a lie in today, before leaving Ghyll Head after 10 am on a low level circuit involving Gummer’s How. This was as a result of an atrocious weather forecast, but apart from a bit of wind fuelled hail above 300 metres on Gummer’s How, conditions were relatively benign for the nine of us on this walk. Others were lazier.

Here we are, early in the day at Winster House. Nearby, a pheasant shoot was in progress. Apparently John P, on a separate walk, was offered a ‘snifter’ and a job as a beater. They obviously recognised his thirst for alcohol but didn’t notice his crippled knee.


The River Winster was slightly inflated after yesterday’s rain, which had continued overnight. We managed to cross without incident, but the ford may have proved tricky for the average Renault Laguna.


Elevenses with brownies in a field were soon surpassed by mulled wine and coffee in the Mason’s Arms. The coffee was much delayed by a mechanical failure, as a result of which we managed to avoid leaving the pub until after a sharp squall had passed over.


Lunch was taken in an initially sheltered suntrap in Raven’s Barrow (pictured, top), then, after recovering various items that had been snatched by the sudden arrival of a heavenly huff, we made our way up to the summit of Gummer’s How. Roger and Peter managed to join me in getting directly to the summit. Others arrived by a circuitous route. Some were just happy not to be blown away in the squall that arrived just as we approached the top.


Views towards Windermere could at least be admired.


After the Mason’s Arms we had dropped off my map, so I have Kathy and Barbara to thank for pointing us all in the right direction after that, thanks to some routes being downloaded to their GPSs last night. Well done all concerned. We found the correct path through Blake Holme woods and along good paths, with a pause for afternoon tea and the last few brownies, to reach the road to Ghyll Head and get back in time for a cuppa at 4 pm.


Here’s our route, more or less made up as we went along – 19 km, with 700 metres ascent, taking a little less than 6 hours. Another excellent day out.


Tuesday 9 December 2014

Tuesday 9 December 2014 – Claife Heights


A rather damp day out with the Plodders, from Ghyll Head, where we are staying for a few days. Reg the chicken wisely chose an easy stroll, whilst the twelve of us pictured above embarked on a mini adventure.

It was dry for the walk to the Bowness ferry, but once we got to the west bank the rain started and waterproofs were needed all day.

The anticipation of crossing the lake in typhoon conditions had caused great concern, but thankfully the weather was not as bad as predicted and we crossed safely, albeit in a frenzy of excitement exhibited by those not accustomed to this form of transport. The ferryman did warn us that we might not get back, due to high winds. This caused some of the more anxious members of the party (Roger, Hilary, Peter – most of us actually) some worry for the rest of the day.


A half dead wood pigeon resisted Viv’s attempts to feed it.

After a while, and after some clamour for elevenses, our leader conceded to a brief halt.


“Lunch will be later” claimed our 78 year old guide. Sadly, his memory seems to be fading, as lunch had still not been taken by the time many of us got back to Ghyll Head at 4 pm!

Some rather slithery sections were encountered as we wound our way through mist laden countryside.


Moss Eccles Tarn’s dam proved a bit of a slippery challenge for Peter Haslam, who despite his commando training encountered much difficulty. “My soles are smooth” he claimed. (Not verified.)

Here he is, faffing over a simple stream crossing.


However, Peter soon recovered, and he and I were the only ones out of the twelve of us to venture to the easy summit of High Blind How.


The forest walk in early afternoon seemed more like a night hike – the light has been brightened considerably in the following image, taken in heavy rain.


Eventually a few of us did manage to get a view across to Bowness, but the town was only just visible through the gloom. The predicted view of Helvellyn remained in the imagination.


Mulled wine in the Cuckoo Brow Inn was enjoyed by most of the party – Kathy in particular enjoyed her half pint laced with dregs. Some of us surreptitiously ate our lunches outside, whilst the executive committee indoors raised their glasses to us. Then the rain got torrential, so we went in.

Some ‘slippage’ occurred, John P’s knee falling victim to the slippery rocks, so he and Neil walked back along the road, dutifully chaperoned by Hilary.

Here’s our route – 23 km, with 600 metres ascent, taking 6.75 hours. Thanks go to John B for leading the ‘west bank’ section of the walk, and to Peter H for guiding us to the ferry from Ghyll Head – and back, as nobody could remember the way.


And tomorrow’s forecast is worse!

Finally, thanks go to Kathy and John P, who helped me to compose this entry.

Monday 8 December 2014

Tatton Yule Yomp and a Parkrun


Two runs dominated the weekend’s attempts to get some exercise.

First, the weekly Parkrun at Wythenshawe, where we assembled on Saturday morning rather chillily but in bright sunshine. Here’s Richard with his team.


After singing Happy Birthday to eighty year old John Dawson, the runners set off after Andy Holloway, pictured in red on the right-hand side, had asserted “this is not a race”.


Poor Paul Barber found himself all alone near the finish. A creditable tenth in the “not a race” that had been led home by Mr Holloway in a shade under 19 minutes, Paul just failed to lap yours truly, who came in at the back of the field in a little over 42 minutes.


The 42 minute 5 km Parkrun (well – ‘Parkfastwalk’) had been my first attempt at ‘running’ for five weeks due to a poorly knee, but that would have to do as ‘training’ for the Tatton Yule Yomp as I was doing that 10 km race for charity.

We spent a few minutes with Colin and Helen, with whom I’m pictured above, then we observed a large group of folk emerge from a mobile bar (aka a Haytons Executive Bus). The Prosecco fuelled group then morphed into the ‘Twelve Days of Christmas’.


Chorlton Runners clearly take this 10 km race seriously…

Others set off with objectives to win…


… or merely to get round the muddy course.


“What’s going on, boys – better get out of here before they rope us in!”


Sue, who took these pictures, didn’t venture into the mud that occupied four fifths of the course. It had started raining half way through the above video, and it continued to do so. My costume was very wet and clingy, with the foliage gradually assuming the hue of a tree trunk; the frilly bits kept getting stuck to the smooth soles of my feet, which made the sections up and down muddy slopes and over tree roots quite interesting.

I was encouraged on by Alastair, who like me is injured. By the time we reached the point shown below we were wet and cold but my knee and Alastair’s foot seemed by some miracle to have stood up to the punishment.


So we continued on, to finish in 56 minutes 35 seconds, about 400th out of nearly 1100 starters. Thanks really do go to Alastair for keeping us going at a fair pace under the circumstances. I’m told I was the first tree to finish, and I had successfully avoided all the baying dogs with their bladders poised for discharge. My lights were still working – something of a surprise, that.


The penguins came in a few minutes later.


Even the snowman made it without completely melting, though his soggy nose was rather droopy.


Great fun was had by all (I think), and thanks to the car’s heater on the way home we just about managed to avoid hypothermia (it was close, though).

Here’s the route, should anyone wish to go round it and explore the mud.


There’s a slideshow here, and the Wythenshawe photos have been posted to their Flickr site, or is it here, and if you haven’t supported my charity and would like to contribute (I’m still trying to reach a £400 target) my JustGiving page is here.