Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Wednesday 24 December 2014

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year


Seasons Greetings to all our readers. Those who want to can find Sue’s brief Christmas letter here.

Time to refill that glass of sherry, I think, having been bashing away at this keyboard for the last couple of hours in an effort to ‘catch up’. I particularly enjoyed reading, copying and pasting Andy’s Parkrun report.

Saturday 20 December 2014 – Wythenshawe Parkrun number 167


Parkrun’ has become quite an institution, currently growing faster than ever after the tenth anniversary of the inaugural run in Bushey Park.

Sue and I ran again at Wythenshawe (my 74th and her 20th outing), on a day when times didn’t matter, not that they ever do really.

Here are a few more pictures from today.

A dignified tree and Santa.


Wallys and reindeer are for ever, not just for Christmas. Note disapproving Oliver C in the background.


The wet trunk clings to everywhere, including the bottom of my smooth-soled trainers. It was hard work…


The ‘Grinches’ won the family award.


Wythenshawe’s course director, Andy, enjoys – with assistance from Oliver C - putting together post run reports, and the efforts of the enthusiastic organisers and volunteer marshalls seem to rub off on everyone, making these Saturday morning outings a highlight of the week for many of us.

I hope Andy (aka ‘The Willowy Blonde’) doesn’t mind me reproducing his report on this week’s run here:

Well, that was rather festive wasn’t it?

We asked you to turn up in your Christmas-themed outfits and boy, did you oblige.  Santas, reindeer, elves, Grinches, trees, fairies and, er, crocodiles (I’m sure it’s a Christmas theme somewhere in the world) all made for a jolly get-together in the puddles and mud of Wythenshawe park under the disapproving gaze of Oliver Cromwell.

Puddles are perhaps not an accurate description as can be seen from the pictures below.  A large lake has recently formed on the main path and the first loop was more water than grass (so maybe the crocodile outfit was not completely misjudged).  Having negotiated that lot, our 168 intrepid runners had further mud and slippery grass to contend with in all the usual places so most of our lovely outfits were looking rather sodden and brown by the end.

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You might be able to spot the odd runner in among the puddles

For those of you visiting Wythenshawe for the first time, it’s not always that wet.  Come back in July and you might get a dry run.  There were tourists from Durham and Arrow Valley and one of these, Mike Hudson, claimed the arbitrary distinction of being 20,000th finisher and so notched up the 100,000th kilometre.

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A clearly emotional Mike Hudson trying to hold it all together after being informed of his landmark position

I know you all love the stats so the most important ones for the day were that 73 bacon and 24 sausage sandwiches were served to appreciative runners in the Courtyard Café afterwards.  A big thanks to them for this as it added to the festive atmosphere as everyone gathered to compare degrees of muddiness of legs and eagerly awaited the awarding of the fancy dress prizes.  This year both men’s and ladies’ prizes went to trees Martin Banfield and Julia Reynolds – take a bough both of you (sorry), and the family prize was stolen by Grinch family Walker.

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The Grinch family

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A spruced Martin plus a deer friend

The results table may show that there were only two official PBs but the beauty of parkrun is that you can have has many different categories of PB as you like.  I personally set a new wet fairy best and I’m sure others will have found a PB category for their outfit/weather condition combination.

The first three men home were Roger Preece who was all revved up in his dog collar (arguably not in fancy dress) followed by the Willowy Blond, then Santa Fishwick and for the ladies it was Hope Rodgers, Beatrice Cordingley and Wendy Terry.

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The first four finishers

Let’s not forget the wonderful volunteers who were led this week by Run Director Tris Pocock.  Thanks to you all for helping the rest of us to enjoy ourselves.  The roster was made up of Alison Cardwell, Jackie Cordingley, Barbara Dunn, Linda Edmondson, Vicky Fletcher (and assorted family members), Ralph Gilchrist, Kate Holloway, Alan Lamb, Katharine, Alex and Jonathan Lay, Jenny Miles, Dorothy Muldoon and Sue Strickland.  Not forgetting Laura Morris who started on finish tokens then hopped to barcode scanning when her father had finished his run and took over finish tokens.

We need volunteers every week and so please try to make yourselves available every so often.  It is fun and does give you a different view on how the whole thing works.  Check the roster ( and you’ll see we have plenty of spaces in the coming weeks.

With that I’ll bid you all a very merry Christmas and hope that Santa brings you loads of new running gear to equip you for your weekly 5k fixes.



Well done Andy. You and yours are stars.

Thursday 18 December 2014 – Shutlingsloe


Just for the record, here’s a short report on our annual evening walk up Shutlingsloe.

Sue and I were joined by Graham B, Andrew J, and families Evans and Roberts – eleven of us in total. After heavy rain all day and a dire forecast (90% chance of rain) we braved the elements and much to our surprise enjoyed a brief window of calm, dry, warm weather for the two hour outing. By the time we reached the Leathers Smithy pub it was raining again, and tipping down when we left the pub.

Anyway, without the usual hazard of ice, and despite a strong breeze on top, we enjoyed about twenty minutes at the summit, eating, drinking, and enjoying some Christmas classics under the guidance of choir mistress Sue.

The lights of Manchester glowed in the distance, as you can see from the (terrible) header picture of us singing on the summit.

Thanks, everyone, for coming along, especially those who were about to fly off to Chamonix. We hope you found some snow!

This was my third ascent of Shutlingsloe this month, the first being on 2 December in fine weather with the views below:

The same view as the header picture, with the white disc of Jodrell Bank showing clearly.


This is the view across to the Cat and Fiddle.


Finally, a ‘selfie’ in the direction of Tegg’s Nose.


It’s a great little hill, always worth a visit.

Plodders Circumnavigate Three Reservoirs


[There’s been a ‘Christmas Card Interlude’ since my last posting, and a week has passed since Sue and I enjoyed this walk, so the exact details may be lost in the depths of Entwistle Reservoir. But this is roughly what happenedIn love]

Norman's 'Elite' Plodders were ready to leave at 10 am sharp, but where were Martin and Sue? They had said they were coming after spending the night in Adlington following Christmas Dinner for their quiz team.

“I’m a member of that team” piped John P “why wasn’t I invited? Let’s leave without them.”

“I’ve sent them the postcode because Martin lost the instructions” advised Don, “they should be here by now.”

Ok, we were late, thanks to Don having used Trip Adviser’s postcode for Jumbles, which had taken us to a housing estate five miles beyond our intended destination.

And we are sorry we forgot to invite you to the meal, John P, your presence may have lifted us from equal second. On the other hand….

So we got going about ten minutes late. Thanks for waiting, folks.

Our first obstacle was the awkward stepping stone crossing below Jumbles Reservoir. Norman led the way. “I’ve done this before” he gurgled, as he swam to safety. “I’ve found a bridge” enthused Bernard, and we all followed him across it.


It was dull and dreich as we headed up to the reservoir. But Plodders always walk with a spring in their stride, especially Norman (who’s ‘elite’).


Past Turton Tower there's a unique castellated bridge. Before the railway line from Bolton to Blackburn could be opened in 1848, the railway company had been required to give an assurance to James Kay, the owner of Turton Tower, that no station would be built within 300 yards of his house and that a large ornamental bridge would be built to carry the continuation of his drive over the line. We made a short diversion to admire the bridge.


Here’s today's Plodder team: Dave, Bernard, Don, Norman (elite), Sue, Ken, Alma, John, Heather and Mike.


Some children never grow up.


"I think the Plodders can pull this off!" said Norman from under his balaclava, then he changed his mind when it occurred to him that Hilary might be inside protecting her assets.


The plaque behind these cake eating three wise men says something about the Chapeltown stocks that they are gazing at in trepidation as to what Norman will order next...


"It took god six days to make the earth - then he rested - then he made man and rested again - finally he made women - since then no bugger ever rested" announced one of the signs on a heavily decorated doorway.


Above Chapeltown, Wayoh Reservoir, built in 1876 and upgraded in 1962, was quite low.


We strolled on beside Wayoh to pass under a magnificent Victorian edifice, Armsgrove Viaduct, built in 1847/48 and still in full use after no obvious signs of maintenance.


Above Wayoh, Turton and Entwistle Reservoir is full to overflowing. Why don't they release some of it into Wayoh?

The good path was inundated in places. The rain didn't help.


We continued in the rain, past the first of many decorated Christmas trees, to the head of the reservoir. There’s clearly only one elite Plodder amongst this lot – the one whose visage was streaming with water, or was it sweat?


"Where's the cafe?" muttered ten accomplices.

We paused for lunch on a log, after admiring the views at the head of the lake.

Not even Norman could be persuaded to mount the giant heron on which he had stood his great grandchild a few days earlier.


After our soggy lunch on the wet log we passed many more gaily decorated trees.


By and by we came upon the Strawbury Duck, a hostelry which used to welcome walkers; we gave its current batch of fine diners a wide berth.

The entire group then followed its bandy legged leader along the path back down to Wayoh Reservoir.


The Black Bull, Edgworth, welcomed us with open arms, and Norman bought everyone a chip for Christmas. He’s a wonderfully generous chap.


A roundabout route, taken due to avoid the embarrassment of finishing before 3 pm, despite a spell in the pub, saw us beside a roaring torrent that led us all the way back to Jumbles.


We were leaderless for a period, whilst Norman swam this section...eventually emerging with his customary gurgles back at Jumbles.

Here’s our excellent route - 18 km, 400 metres ascent, taking 5 hours.


There’s a 39 image slideshow here.

I hope Santa is generous to everyone. Don’t forget to leave him some sherry!