Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Saturday 29 April 2017

Saturday 29 April 2017 – Ralph’s Return to Wythenshawe parkrun


Today was Ron’s 100th parkrun and his 92nd at Wythenshawe. To celebrate the occasion his old mate (they met at parkrun) Ralph returned from exile in Yorkshire to enjoy the chippings of Wythenshawe Park that have recently replaced the infamous ‘muddy passage’.

The above picture was taken near the finish, so I was puzzled not to find Ron’s name next to Ralph’s (the latter came home in position 309 out of a record 381), but I’ve now discovered that Ron finished earlier, in his 3rd consecutive Personal Best time, and must have jogged back out to meet his mate.

Ron went for years running in times of well over 30 minutes for the 5 km, but now he’s under 27 minutes and heading south. Well done Ron, again.

The conditions were good. Sue was close to her PB, and I managed my best time since October 2015. And shortly afterwards my current bout of root canal treatment was concluded. Hooray, but the tooth now needs a crown…

Today’s results are here – there are lots of great performances.

Thursday 27 April 2017

The TGO Challenge 2017


Last year I completed my tenth TGO Challenge. There’s a tradition that after one’s tenth you either help with the organising in some way or take a break for a year. My ‘organising’ services weren’t needed, so I submitted an application for this year’s Challenge on the basis that I’d be ‘last standby reserve’. I was in standby position number 80.

By the time of the Snake Inn reunion in March, the dropout level meant that I was ‘in’, so a route was quickly devised and vetted without amendment by Bernie Marshall. Thanks Bernie. At 290 km (180 miles) with 9,500 metres ascent it’s my easiest route to date and is shown on the map above, which may appear as a slightly larger image if you click on it. The arrows are at 10 km intervals, the red or black triangles are summits, and the camping or house icons mark where I intend to stay.

Here’s a summary:

Day 0: Thursday 11 May - Train to Oban (Regent Hotel)

Day 1: Friday 12 May (21 km, 830 metres ascent) – Ferry to Lismore > Port Appin > Airds Hill (Ma) > Appin > Strath of Appin > camp to the west of Beinn Churalain around NM 986 464

Day 2: Saturday 13 May (28 km, 1520 metres ascent) - Wild camp > Beinn Churalain (Ma) > NE ridge dropping to join minor road N of Fasnacloich > NE to Elleric > Glenure > Glen Ure > Airigh nan Lochan > S to Beinn Trilleachan (C)(Ma) > N and E to Gualachulain > Druimachoish > bridge at NN 140 468 > S towards the Robbers Waterfall (wild camp around NN 138 449)

Day 3: Sunday 14 May (21 km, 1360 metres ascent) - Wild camp > Allt Mheuran to col at NN 163 433 > Glas Bheinn Mhor (M)(Ma) > return to col > Stob Coir an Albannaich (M)(Ma) > return to col > SE below Sron na h-Iolaire to join track at NN 197 409 > past Loch Dochard > Abhainn Shira > Clashgour Hut > N beside Allt Toaig to convenient wild camping spot around NN 254 429

Day 4: Monday 15 May (19 km, 430 metres ascent) - Wild camp > Abhainn Shira > Victoria Bridge > Mam Carraigh > Bridge of Orchy > West Highland Way > Tyndrum (Pine Trees Caravan Park)

Day 5: Tuesday 16 May (13 km, 920 metres ascent) - Tyndrum > West Highland Way > Kirkton Farm > NE > South top (MT) > Ben Challum (M)(Ma) > E to Stob a' Bhiora > N to wild camp by Allt Challuim around NN 399 332

Day 6: Wednesday 17 May (23 km, 420 metres ascent) - Wild camp > tracks roughly NE to join minor road near Kenknock > minor roads > Botaurnie > Tullich > fork L at Lochay Power Station > Killin (Killin Hotel, meet Sue)

Day 7: Thursday 18 May (22 km, 1750 metres ascent) - Killin > A827 > turn N towards Meall Liath > join track at top of pipeline > NE to minor road at NN 605 383 > S to parking spot for ascent of Lawers massif > Ben Lawers traverse - Beinn Ghlas (M), Ben Lawers (M)(Ma), Creag an Fhithich (MT), An Stuc (M), Meall Garbh (M)(Ma), Meall Greigh (M)(Ma) > N to wild camp around NN 677 447 (or stop earlier)

Day 8: Friday 19 May (14 km, 330 metres ascent) - Descend E > Boreland > Fearnan > forest track above A827 > descend to Kenmore, try to get meal in hotel and wild camp nearby

Day 9: Saturday 20 May (20 km, 600 metres ascent) - Kenmore > minor road E > Tombuie Cottage > Rob Roy Way > Garrow (River Quaich) > track to Wester Shian > Auchnacloich > L to Turrerich > NE shore of Loch Freuchie > Wester Kinloch > Amulree (camp here or nearby – NN 900 366)

Day 10: Sunday 21 May (24 km, 580 metres ascent) - A822 > track to Girron > Meall nan Caorach (Ma)(G) > NE to join track at NN 939 346 > around Findowie Hill to Auchmore > SE to Little Glenshee > track to Loch Tullybelton > Glack > Balquharn > minor roads to Bankfoot Inn

Day 11: Monday 22 May (22 km, 510 Metres ascent) - Bankfoot > Ardonachie > New Ardonachie > Airntully > Honeyhole > Ballathie House > cross River Tay (see query) > Cargill > Meikle Whitefield > Redstone > Saucher > Collace > Dunsinane Hill (O) > Black Hill (O) > wild camp near Broch by Little Dunsinane around NO 223 324

Day 12: Tuesday 23 May (22 km, 380 metres ascent) - Wild camp > King's Seat (Ma) > NE to join track > SE then N to Glenbran > E and N to Dundriven > Littleton > SE to Redmyre > Dron > Flocklones > Benvie > Denhead of Gray > Camperdown Country Park > Dundee Hotel Travelodge

Day 13: Wednesday 24 May (16 km, 150 metres ascent) - Camperdown Country Park > fort and memorial at Dundee Law > join coastal cycleway at Tay Road Bridge > Broughty Castle > Monifieth (campsite at NO 497 321)

Day 14: Thursday 25 May (22 km, 150 metres ascent) - Monifieth > coastal cycleway > Carnoustie > East Haven > Arbroath > Dickmont's Den

Back to Arbroath for bus to Montrose (Links Hotel)

Friday 26 May – return to Manchester for Manchester Half Marathon on 28 May.

I’m planning on taking my Phoenix Phreerunner tent that dates from the 1980’s, if I feel it won’t weigh me down excessively. Here it is on Beinn na Caillich, enjoying some morning sunshine at 6 am on 18 May 2010.


I may not be rising so early on this year’s easier route…

To fellow Challengers – see you in Glasgow, Oban or Montrose, and maybe a few of you along the paths between Oban and Montrose, but I may be a bit to your south!

Wednesday 26 April 2017

Tuesday 25 April 2017 – A Walk to Stockport


JJ was yet again to blame for this morning’s outing. He had booked tickets to Mallaig to start his TGO Challenge in a couple of weeks time and needed to visit Stockport station to collect them. There are many ways of reaching Stockport from Timperley, on foot being the most scenic.

It was a lovely morning, so Sue and I jumped at the chance of a stroll through Wythenshawe Park then the Mersey Valley to Stockport.

One of the river crossings, in Didsbury, is by Simon’s Bridge, recently repainted. The plaque records its origin in 1901, after Simon’s death.


Henry Simon (1835–1899) was a German born engineer who revolutionised Great Britain's flour milling industry and in 1878 founded the engineering companies Henry Simon Ltd and Simon Carves. His second son, Ernest Simon went on to become the first baron of Wythenshawe in 1947. There’s more about this remarkable man here.

This stretch of river has lots of bends. Kingfishers can often be seen, but we didn’t spot any today. Greenfinches, jays and magpies mingled with the swallows, all busily following their own agendas.


A little further on we crossed a stretch of road that forms the most northerly stretch of the old Manchester to Oxford route. In 1753 the Manchester and Wilmslow Turnpike Trust was created by Act of Parliament, with powers to build, maintain, and improve this stretch of the route, funded by the collection of tolls.

In 1755 the Trust built the first stone bridge over the River Mersey at this point. The river flows 70 miles (113 km) from Stockport to Liverpool Bay.

This part of the River Mersey is prone to flooding and the original bridge collapsed in 1756 and was rebuilt in 1758. The bridge was replaced in 1780 and again in 1861 with this current bridge.


The River Mersey here historically formed the boundary between the counties of Lancashire and Cheshire and there is a boundary marker in the middle of the bridge.

The Trans Pennine Trail follows the Mersey Valley at this point. It’s a 215 mile cycle route between Southport and Hornsea, completed in 2004. There are some ornate ‘mileposts’ like the one below, many of which feature on these pages in previous postings.


Stockport is eventually reached. The offices perched on the side of the buildings across the river at this point always amuse me. I imagine foremen or managers with a high regard for their status occupying these exclusive sites above the river!


It’s a land of bridges and viaducts and even, nearby in Marple, aqueducts.


We were soon ensconced in Rosies Tea Room with coffees (tea for Sue) and toasted tea cakes after our ten mile walk. A busy place.


Sue and JJ went in search of train tickets whilst I picked up some Essential Supplies from Alpenstock, where Jose and Hugh informed me that they would shortly be closing as the lease expires and Jose wants to retire. Our favourite outdoor shop has been there for about 40 years. It’ll be the end of an era. There may be some bargains to be had as Jose tries to get the best prices she can for her remaining stock.

The train to Navigation Road saw us nearly all the way home, via a short stretch beside the canal, where this family was braving the cool breeze.


It was sunny enough to enjoy a cuppa in the garden.


Happy Days…