Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Saturday 8 April 2017

Newtonmore Hostel - Home for a few nights

It's Heather's Big Birthday weekend. She and a few friends are here to celebrate. I have The Palatial Suite in the garden. It's great. I sleep best in a tent.

Various people brought the ingredients for a fine meal, before which a short stroll to the view shown worked up an appetite for some of us.

The weather today has been stunning, but will it continue?...

Lancaster parkrun

It was a pleasure to meet up with TGO Challenger Jayme Morgan for this morning's parkrun in Lancaster. Thanks for staying with my slow pace and chatting, Jayme. Your prediction of a 'lumpy' course was correct. The woodland paths were certainly undulating, so I was pleased to finish the 5 km course in under 25 minutes. So it must be easier than Lyme Park, but not by much.

I got someone to photograph us at the finish but I didn't check whether they had pressed the button. So you'll have to make do with a view from the post run café.

Lovely weather, and a great way to start the weekend.

Friday 7 April 2017

Across the Generations, and Happy Birthday Dot

Just three snaps from this week that span the generations.

After one of our regular meals with Dot at the Hollybush, she enjoyed a ride around Eccleshall, the first since our last visit. On every occasion we encounter people she knows, so it’s a shame that the wheelchair is a bit heavy to handle for other friends and relatives.


Happy birthday Dot, 92 by the time she reads this.

A couple of days later a visit from my daughter and grandchildren made for a fun afternoon, with three year old Jessica enjoying quality time with mummy.


Meanwhile, Jacob, six later this month, has fully mastered the art of frisbee, which he played with Sue for well over an hour in nearby Newton Park.


Monday 3 April 2017 – Along the Bridgewater Canal and Trans Pennine Trail


With Sue taking a period off work, she could join me on a short (18 km) bike ride along the canal to Stretford, then on the Trans Pennine Trail heading west to the Bay Malton, and home along the canal again.

A pleasurable hour on the bikes.

The canal towpath sports a few flowers that appear before I got around to taking photos last year. My entry from last July is here, and I’ve updated the slideshow here.

The following pictures demonstrate my continuing need to learn the art of taking pictures of flowers… Can anyone identify this one?


Here are some more from today’s ‘towpath offering’.




Speedwell – (‘Wood’, perhaps, or could it be ‘Slender’?)


A garden escape?


Green Alkanet


Lesser Celandine


Daffodil – I should have got to them earlier as they are fading fast in the dry weather.

Thursday 6 April 2017

Sunday 2 April 2017 – A Walk Around Lymm


After the excitement of supporting the Manchester Marathon, Sue, Ken and I took a 15 minute drive to Lymm for a short stroll around its scenic delights, starting past the familiar Bulls Head and continuing to the old cottages beside the Lower Dam, pictured above.


The higher reservoir, known as Lymm Dam, is much larger and is reached from the village by a series of steps up a mossy path. Cormorants, and many ducks and other birds live here.


It’s a two to three kilometre walk around the lake. Delightful on this sunny Sunday afternoon, despite the crowds.


A short walk along the main road led to a left turn down a ginnel that Ken wanted to call a snicket, (lets just say it was an alleyway), took us to a lane that linked with a path to St Peter’s Church in Oughtrington. From this elevated position the walker gains fine views to central Manchester, and to Winter Hill and the South Pennines to the north.


Pleasant field paths lead on in an easterly direction, now with good views towards the Peak District, eventually dropping to the Bridgewater Canal at Agden Bridge, from where the towpath provides a direct route back to Lymm.


Butterbur and daffodils were still in bloom across the canal from the boatyards at Agden Wharf. It really was a lovely spring day.


The recent dry weather had dried out the towpath nicely, so no mud was encountered as we strolled on through Oughtrington and back to Lymm.


Here’s our route – just over 10 km; allow a good couple of hours.


The following morning Ken left us to join Helen in Chesterfield and then travel to his dad’s in the South for the latter’s 93rd birthday celebrations. It was great to have them both to stay and we hope the rest of their trip has gone well.

Tuesday 4 April 2017

Sunday 2 April 2017 – The Manchester Marathon


The first Manchester Marathon was run in 1908, starting and finishing at the Saracen's Head pub in Warburton in Trafford. This was a 20 mile (there was no established distance for a marathon then) run organised by Salford Harriers.

The first ever amateur marathon to be run using the now established marathon distance of 26 miles 385 yard distance was the Manchester Marathon in 1909. This marathon started in Sandbach and finished at the Fallowfield Stadium in Manchester.

After a 14 year gap, the Manchester marathon returned and kept the same course from 1923 to 1928 and 1931 to 1936. This route started and finished at the Fallowfield Stadium passing through Cheadle, Timperley, Altrincham, Hale Barns, Styal and Gatley.

From 1969 to 1973 the Maxol marathons started from Manchester Town Hall and finished at Old Trafford football stadium. Manchester Marathons were then run from 1981 to 1985 and from 1996 to 2002.

Then, after an absence of ten years, the Manchester Marathon was brought back to Trafford in 2012. 

After the 2015 event came the news that “24,000 people have not completed the Greater Manchester Marathon after the course was found to be 380m too short for the past three years, with all runners between the 2013 and 2015 events having their times invalidated”.

Oh dear!

Today nearly 9000 runners, including 2600 women, ran round the re-measured and re-measured again course in perfect weather. Sue and Ken and I took our dinner bell off to Timperley where outward bound runners passed the 11 mile mark and those returning from ‘The Altrincham Loop’ passed us again after 14 miles.

We spotted a few friends. Jackie C not unexpectedly produced the star performance, coming in 12th out of 80 in her age group in a time of 3 hours 53 minutes. She just held off a last minute dash from a Wythenshawe parkrun run director, Alan, who finished a couple of minutes later.

Doesn’t Mrs C look so relaxed?!


Jayme who does TGO Challenges managed 4.11 for his first marathon; SWOG Helen came in in a creditable 4.56 on her first, and another first timer, parkrun Ron, took 5.13, possibly slowed by chatting with us in Timperley for a while. We also saw Paul and Edyta, Frank, and Claire, as well as a host of Sale Harriers who sometimes appear at parkruns.

Well done to all of them, and I do hope the course was measured correctly!

The following photos were just random ones of people who probably finished in times around 3.30 to 3.45. It was hard to cheer, ring a bell and take photos all at the same time…



Monday 3 April 2017

Saturday 1 April 2017 – The Calderdale Hike


It’s that time again.

Here are my previous reports (there are other non blog reports going back a lot further):


Robert and I started doing this walk following my cruciate ligament replacement in 1996. Before that, I had been walking the 55 mile ‘Bogle Stroll’ (Manchester Uni Rag Walk) since 1968. After the surgery I decided not to attempt distances of more than 26 (ish) miles for fear of injury.

But this year Ken was over from Canada again, and was planning to run the longer 38 mile route that beat him last year. After much debate I decided to do the long route, but as a walker. This meant I could start two hours before Ken, who would no doubt pass me at some point during the day. Walkers are strictly forbidden from running.

About 20 to 30 participants gathered for the usual ‘you are not allowed to run’ briefing at Sowerby Bridge Cricket Club before our 7 am start.


A couple of chaps set off at a really cracking pace. I think the rest of us would have had to run to keep up with them. Then there were about nine of us – a team of four, a couple of friends, and three random blokes of whom I was one, who slowly drew ahead of the other walkers. We weren’t deliberately staying together, but the relatively modest pace compared with my usual pace for the shorter course seemed to suit everyone. There’s no point in stretching out too much when you have 38 miles to cover.

I paused at the third checkpoint to take the top picture of Ryburn Reservoir, and this snap of Andy, Tom and Noel crossing the dam.


Two checkpoints later, and we were crossing the M62 footbridge. Noel would have been striding off ahead – he has very long legs – but Tom’s shorter legs saw him walking at a speed very similar to mine. Andy is in the background, as he remained for much of the day, but he kept us in sight and the clack of his walking poles was often in evidence.


After ambling with care over the slippery rocks of Blackstone Edge, we reached the White House checkpoint just as it started raining. Waterproofs were donned and sandwiches were scoffed. The poor quality of this year’s photos can be attributed to my using the Samsung S5’s camera, from within a waterproof bag. The next picture shows R to L, Andy, Tom, Noel and Danny, with the checkpoint team. Danny was walking in heavy boots and gaiters and was doing well to keep up with those of us wearing lighter footwear.


From the White House, we set off on a long loop to rejoin the shorter route at Lumbutts, passing the summit of Freeholds Top on the way.


Freeholds Top is about half way. I took no further photos until the next one, showing me with Tom and Noel after finishing. Perhaps we were getting tired, and it was raining for a good couple of hours. But looking at the splits from my GPS download, we walked the second half of the route slightly faster than the first half, despite spending a bit longer at each checkpoint. So the relatively leisurely pace at the start left us with the energy to maintain that pace for the entire walk, which saw seven of us finish in 10 hours 36 minutes. The team of four from East Lancs LDWA (they were practising for a 100 mile LDWA walk) had been reduced to three as one of their number had felt unwell, and Danny’s boots just lost their momentum up the last hill to Nab End, leaving him to finish about ten minutes adrift.


I’d been expecting to see Ken come jogging past, but there was no sign of him. He finished long after most of us had gone home, at around 8 pm, in a shade over 11 hours. Anyway, this year he did manage to avoid being timed out before the finish, so Well Done Ken.

Here’s our route – 61 km with 2000 metres ascent, taking 10 hours and 36 minutes. No after effects thanks to the relatively leisurely pace.


The full results are here.

The 40th Calderdale Hike will be held on a Saturday in April 2018.