Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Friday 16 June 2017

Thursday 15 June 2017 - An Evening Walk around Mobberley

The pictures should suffice to describe this pleasant two hour / eight kilometre stroll through lush Cheshire 'farm' (aka horse grazing) land from the Church Inn in Mobberley.

With Sue away, and only a day after I got round to circulating details, it was no surprise that only Andrew, who had kindly planned the route, and Richard and Jenny, who had known about the date for weeks, turned up.

Frisky bullocks and friendly horses occupied some of the lush fields, and all the footpaths were well signed.

This was a very pleasant way to start a short series of evening walks, details of the remainder of which are given below. All are welcome. They take place at a slow pace.

Friday 23 June
7.30pm from De Trafford Arms, Alderley (SJ 843 781). This is the large pub on the old A34 at the southern end of Alderley Edge High Street. Use street parking or Waitrose if pub car park is full. 5 - 6 miles on paths normally only walked on cold dark evenings, followed by a beer.

Thursday 6 July
7.30pm from the Wood House Garden (SJ 808 702). Postcode for Satnav SK11 9DX. Parking at rear of house. Refreshments before an amble around paths and lanes in lush dairy farming country.

Thursday 13 July
7.30pm from parking area near Redesmere Lake, Redesmere Lane, Siddington (SJ 849 713). 5-6 miles, adjourning to the Blacksmiths Arms in Henbury (SJ 878 736). Andrew's walk as Sue and Martin will be in Austria.

Friday 28 July
7.30pm from the Parkgate Inn in Over Peover (SJ 786 739). 5 - 6 miles followed by a beer.

Thursday 15 June 2017

A Quartet of Ice Axes, including the Camp Corsa Nanotech

A quartet of ice axes
I wonder how many households sport this sort of array of ice axes? Despite not having used mine very much in recent years, I bought a new axe last week.

That triggered this post.

Here’s what you see above:

Number    Date    Name                                      Length (cm)          Weight (gm)
1               1944   Cornelius Whitehouse                     82                       1050

2             ~1970   Stubai                                              80                         950
3             ~1990   Grivel Mont Blanc                           63                         650
4               2017   Camp Corsa Nanotech                    50                         230

1  Probably not so many households contain the first axe, which was kindly given to me by Rodney Cottrell a few years ago in return for a small favour. It may be connected with Frank and Doris Sale, whose photograph album of a 1949 holiday in Zermatt was also given to me (albeit Rodney’s notes say that Frank died in 1948).

There’s a similar axe in the Scottish Mountain Heritage Collection, but I think the one I have is a more authentic example, possibly never having been used in anger.

Cornelius Whitehouse & Sons - makers of this ice axe - were one of Britain's best known manufacturers of wooden handled tools in the early 1900's.

It's no surprise therefore that the War Department asked them to produce a batch of ice axes in 1944, presumably for issue to mountain troops. Loads of gear became surplus to requirement when the war ended in 1945, and it was sold off to an eager outdoor market. Whether or not the original owner of this axe bought it ex WD or was issued with it I have no idea.

2  The Stubai axe, made in Austria, was my first axe, used in anger for about 20 years from around 1970. It’s very similar to the War Department axe. I can’t remember exactly when I first used it, but I do recall Jackie Ross, heavy foundry charge hand at Blackett Hutton steelworks in Guisborough, giving me some freshly fettled crampons in the 1960s. I never managed to fit those with straps, but I did soon afterwards buy some crampons (I feel another posting coming on) that are still in use.

Jackie may have inspired some Lake District use of axe and crampons, or I may have first used them in Scotland in the 1970s, when we enjoyed frequent visits to snow clad Munro summits.

3 By around 1990, ice axe technology had moved on, and despite the use of much linseed oil I was nervous about the strength of the shaft of the aging Stubai axe. In those days step cutting was a regular feature of winter ‘walking’. (I was never a climber.)

This Grivel Mont Blanc axe has been a brilliant axe and has accompanied me on many Scottish and Alpine trips over a period of almost 30 years.

4  With an Austrian hut to hut trip coming up, during which no significant snowfields are expected to be encountered, I’m a little nervous about the possibility of of encounters with snow filled gullies.

Whilst any such short impasses may be negotiable using walking poles, I prefer the security of an ice axe, used in conjunction with microspike crampons.

The Camp Corsa Nanotech seems to offer just what is needed, for the very modest addition of 230 grammes for this short (50 cm) version. There’s also a saving of 50 grammes, as Sue has pointed out that the trowel I carry everywhere is rendered obsolete by the hole digging qualities of the axe.
So, hopefully a brilliant piece of kit – despite the flimsy pick protection!

With a group of four, just two of these axes between us should be sufficient for the trip, especially if everyone carries microspike crampons.

Tuesday 13 June 2017

Sunday Afternoon at Walton Park


Kate and Simon needed a break (well, a ‘break out’) so Sue and I were pleased to enjoy the company of Jacob and Jessica on Sunday afternoon whilst their parents went searching for new break out rooms.

Walton Park is a few minutes walk away, and Sunday afternoon generally finds the light railway in operation. There’s usually an ice cream van, but we missed it on this occasion.

There’s a playground.


A lovely afternoon, with well behaved children.

Monday 12 June 2017

Saturday 10 June 2017 – Wythenshawe parkrun number 292


I got there early enough to hide under a gazebo in my full waterproofs. They stayed on for the full course of the 5 km run. Others stripped off!

Run director Dan arrived in jeans that very quickly looked very soggy. Here he is at the start on the director’s pedestal, I’m in the foreground wearing a blue anorak and black overtrousers. (Wimp!)

1006parkrun start 
Thanks to whoever took that picture (I stole it from Facebook).

There weren’t many first timers. I wonder why?

Attendance was 177 runners, the lowest number at Wythenshawe for over six months.

Nevertheless, there was enthusiasm for signing up to volunteer in future weeks.


So, it was raining quite hard and a number of fast regulars didn’t turn up, leaving some surprised runners on the ‘age related percentage’ rostrum.


I had to dash off for more root canal treatment at 10 am. “Shall I wipe the grass off your face?” asked the nurse before I settled down to a couple of hours of jaw aching treatment…

I hope I found time to congratulate Alan Lamb on his excellent report on last week’s run, as he flew past me on the second lap. I’m sure he won’t mind me reproducing it here:

Event number 291

3rd June 2017

A manifesto

Just in case you aren’t electioned out, here is a partly unpolitical broadcast on behalf of the Wythenshawe parkrun party. We promise to bring you the following;

  • Membership of a community that welcomes everyone, regardless of speed, ability, or questionable running wear.
  • Entertaining run briefings. Occasionally. This might be the pledge least likely to be delivered.
  • A huge sense of wellbeing whether you run, volunteer, or both. Possibly even smugness for the entire weekend.
  • An exciting range of conversation topics, particularly in the 30-35 minute range of runners.
  • Cake. Usually.
  • Looking out of the window this evening we may even be bringing back the mud.

…and our policies are all fully costed, that is to say they cost nothing!

We are also proud of our track record. There have been 49,299 “votes” for Wythenshawe since 6th August 2011 from 7,061 different runners, resulting in 8,897 Personal Bests.

This week 318 of that total took part, 33 being first timers (25 doing their first parkrun anywhere) and 64 recorded new Personal Bests. I’d like to pick out two of these- Mark Hunter clocked his approximately annual PB in his 102nd run at Wythenshawe, whilst Suzanne Cundick edged ever closer to breaking 30 minutes with her 4th PB in her last 6 parkruns.

Whilst parkrun is equally for everyone, here is some news on the “elites”- The male placings this week were:

Nick HAMLIN (SM25-29) (Unattached) was first over the line in 18:06 - first time in 3 appearances.

Robert WADSWORTH (VM35-39) of Dragons Running Club, was second over the line in 18:13 - has been first to finish on 2 previous occasions.

Dan MARTELL (SM25-29) of Altrincham and District AC, was third over the line in 18:20 - has been first to finish on 3 previous occasions.

Whilst the leading women were:

Cecilia COLE (SW20-24) of Manchester Harriers & AC, was first (25th overall) over the line in 21:06 - third time in 4 appearances.

Katie MAUDE (SW25-29) (Unattached) was second (34th overall) over the line in 21:34 - was first to finish once before.

Jackie CORDINGLEY (VW55-59) of Sale Harriers Manchester, was third (50th overall) over the line in 22:21 - has been first to finish on 44 previous occasions.

The three highest age grades were recorded by:

“HM” Jackie CORDINGLEY (VW55-59) – 83.22% for the time 22:21 (50th overall).

“Rt. Hon” Mark J HUNTER (VM60-64) – 82.86% for the time 19:21 (9th overall).

Graham HARRISON (VM55-59) – 77.37% for the time 20:02 (13th overall).

The event was made possible by 23 activists, some clad in the party colours of aubergine and apricot:

Paul BARBER • The Dear Leader Andy HOLLOWAY • Kate HOLLOWAY • Richard PAVEY • Martha WHITEHEAD • Charlotte DEAN • Chris SNOW • Gareth CROOK • Mark SYDDALL • Caroline COLQUHOUN-LYNN • John GAVIN • Sam MCGRATH • Jane GAVIN • Norma BURGESS • Mike GAVIN

Plus our youth movement- Alice LAMB • Isabella GREENHALGH • Thomas PAVEY • Amelia ATACK • Amy MOLLARD • Dan HART • Alex MOLLARD •

Plus some bloke who is rarely described as strong or stable….

So whatever the weather this Saturday, please VOTE WYTHENSHAWE and DFYB!


Excellent. Well done Alan, and well done all those who braved the weather for run number 292.

Sunday 11 June 2017

Thursday 8 June 2017 – Evening on the Bridgewater Canal


I never tire of the delights of the Bridgewater Canal, a haven for wildlife within a few metres of our home.

On the way back from our evening stroll, Sue and I passed our new junior school – Timperley West. The 200 children who attend this school had been given the day off.


[This started as a long rant but has been drastically sanitised. I hope those children can do better than their elders.]