Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Friday 15 December 2017

A Postcard from Timperley – The Stonemasons Arms


Here’s the pub that has stood in the centre of Timperley since 1840, after a £270,000 make over inspired by two restauranteurs, Pilling and Pride (Steve Pilling and Angus Cameron Pride) and funded by Greene King.

It looks smart, but opinions on its mutation into a ‘destination premium casual dining and drinking venue’ with up to 180 covers may be divided.

Timperley was once the home of John Arnold, a stonemason.  He was landlord of the pub, which has also been known as ‘The Naked Child’. It looked like this five years ago.

Stonemasons Arms

I’m happy to add any more historical information to this posting, if it comes to light. (My ‘Timperley As It Was’ book seems to have gravitated to a dark corner of the bookshelf.)

Wednesday 13 December 2017

Sunday 10 December 2017 – The Tatton Yule Yomp


The reason for yesterday’s leisurely parkrun was that Sue and I were entered for the Tatton Yule Yomp, a 10 km cross country race around Tatton Park. I did it in 2014, dressed as a Christmas tree and (as this year) carrying an injury. With a dubious weather forecast I just couldn’t face lumbering round with the tree this time, so a Santa’s jacket would have to do by way of fancy dress, for which this event is notorious.

Having parked at Sarah’s house (thanks Sarah) we strolled to the start at the park entrance and took a ‘selfie’, which Tony ‘bombed’. He was duly given the job of taking a proper photo (above), a version of which will stare from our 2018 calendar next December.


After warming up at the head of the field, we made our way to the back of the 1165 runners for the start. This ploy worked well for me a few weeks ago at the Birmingham Marathon. So once the gun went, we took a couple of minutes to reach the archway where our timing chips were activated.

The first kilometre was very slow due to congestion, allowing us to warm up gently, gradually increasing our speed and steadily moving through the field during the course of the event. We stayed together until a steep downhill section at around 5 km, where my Salomon Speedcross 4 shoes gave me much better grip than Sue’s old trainers. Anyway that made me a target for her to aim at, and despite me speeding up at the end of the event, Sue finished only a few seconds behind me.

It was a cool day, and despite the very jolly atmosphere we didn’t spot anyone we knew, so after a couple of photos at the finish, we adjourned to collect our ‘goodie bags’, which were stuffed with products from Roberts Bakery – who sponsor this race.


Here’s the nifty medal we got at the finish.


And here are a couple of low resolution photos from the Tatton Yule Yomp website, taken during the race.


Here’s the route, should anyone care to repeat it. My Garmin gadget recorded just over 10 km, with over 50 metres ascent.


You may need to click on the following image for a larger version to see how we got on. Both of us are carrying injuries, and we started very slowly, so the time was even slower than my 2014 time of 56.35. I was quite happy to come 4th out of 15 in my age category, and Sue finished 4th in her age group, but based on chip times she actually came 2nd out of 75 in that category. So all the parkruns she has been walking must have paid off, and her Achilles survived without further damage thanks to the leisurely pace on the soft ground.


Everything you might want to know about this event is here. It’s a lovely route through the park, and great fun if you like slithery mud, water splashes, and other features of cross country running. It reminded me of being at school! And it didn’t rain much this year.

Tuesday 12 December 2017

Saturday 9 December 2017 – Woodbank parkrun number 432


We were all set to go parkrunning at Wythenshawe, as usual, but icy conditions had us alert to their Facebook page. Sure enough, a message from run director Tristan at about 8.15 confirmed that he had deemed the conditions to be too icy for a safe run.

Whilst others turned up and did the run anyway on an unofficial basis, we knew that Woodbank parkrun in Stockport never cancels, so we popped down there in plenty of time for the 9 am start for 151 runners on the cold morning.

Vernon Park and Woodbank Park are next to each other in Stockport. I had a go at orienteering here in December 2009, and Sue and I did the parkrun here on 16 January 2016, on another icy morning that was too much for Wythenshawe.

There had been a sprinkling of snow, as evident from the top picture taken outside Vernon Park’s posh but rather impersonal (compared with Wythenshawe) café.

Normally, Woodbank parkrun takes place over two laps, including a steep hill. But today’s icy conditions had them using a three lap course that my Garmin measured as a little short of 5 km. Sue walked around in 35 minutes so as not to aggravate her Achilles injury, and I jogged gently round in a little under 27 minutes. We were both registered for an event the following day (see next posting) and I spent some time chatting to a dog walker who was also taking it easy for the same reason, whilst Sue’s walking pace was fairly brisk as she tried to stay on the coattails of a chap called Chris Bryans, running with a numb leg in the 80-85 age category.

We adjourned to the café and watched the tail enders negotiating a very icy corner near the end of the course. This is pictured below, with the finish visible in the distance.


Here’s the café. Rather shockingly posh compared with Wythenshawe’s friendly Courtyard Café.


The results, for what they are worth, are here. There were more participants than usual, possibly because of other cancellations, including a few other familiar faces from Wythenshawe.

Sunday 10 December 2017

Friday 8 December 2017 – A Ten Mile Walk from Navigation Road


This week’s morning walk was due to end at the Aspire Restaurant at Trafford College, where we were booked to enjoy a Christmas lunch with Paul and Jeanette, so a convenient rendezvous point, as they live in Hale, was Navigation Road Metro Station.

Rick sprouted unexpectedly at the start. Having spent most of his working life at FE Colleges, he politely declined any luncheon there, but he was most welcome in joining us for this local walk.

We survived the icy footpaths that led to the stone chipped surface of the Bridgewater Canal towpath. No slipping over here. The top picture shows how the housing development on the old Linotype site is steaming ahead.

On the other side of the grey bridge that is now unusable (what will happen to it?) is some old lifting gear and massive timbers that presumably can be slotted into the canal to retain water on one side or the other. I’ve never seen them in use.


We left the canal by the Bay Malton and strolled down Black Moss Road to Sinderland Crossing, to join the Warrington to Altrincham Junction Railway, the disused line of which now houses the Trans Pennine Trail (TPT) cycle route. It was a lovely sunny morning. (NB – better to continue along the towpath for a few hundred metres to the end of the resurfaced section, then turn right through the woods to join the TPT.)

The section of line between Latchford and Broadheath was opened in 1853 and was closed to passengers in 1962. Goods traffic continued until 1985, when the Latchford Viaduct was deemed too expensive to maintain.


The first bridge you come to takes School Lane over the railway. Some sort of construction work is on the go here. Not sure what.


The muddy route was significantly repaired a few years ago, and it continues to be maintained as part of the TPT. Some sections are easier to maintain than others. They seem to have given up in the spot shown below and have created a narrow pathway/cycleway to the side of the flooded trackbed.


We passed the site of the former Dunham Massey Station and continued towards Heatley.

The Bollin Valley Way (BVW) path was then taken. This led us along a mixture of quiet lanes and field paths, leaving the BVW at some point. Tea and cake was consumed at a suitable point near some picnic benches in the vicinity of Moss Wood.

Altrincham Crematorium was eventually passed, beyond which a junction drew us to a narrow unsurfaced lane, Dark Lane, which becomes Dunham Road after crossing the former Glazebrook to Timperley railway line and heads into Carrington Moss.

Dark Lane is the final resting place of a piece of technical wizardry that is now almost beyond identification. My guess is ‘Ford Ka’, but that’s only based on Fords’ reputation for going rusty!


Our luncheon booking fast approaching, the quickest way of getting there was via the trackbed of the disused railway. It’s the Partington to West Timperley line on the following representation of railways in use in 1960.


This line was opened in 1873. It was deviated in 1890 to cope with the construction of the Manchester Ship Canal, with the Cadishead Viaduct being completed in 1892. Passenger services ceased in 1964 when the stations were closed, but freight traffic continued until 1983, when the high cost of repairing the Cadishead Viaduct led British Rail to close the service and mothball the viaduct.

The track as far as Partington was lifted in the 1980s, but beyond that it remains partially intact and now under the ownership of Network Rail. Whilst there’s no official footpath here, the trackbed is readily accessed. We walked along it as far as the new housing estate at Stamford Brook.


The bridge below is near the recycling centre by Malljurs Covert. The only bar to progress along the line is the rampant brambles, which are quite manageable at this time of year.


This line is one that is being put forward for reinstatement. It’ll cost a lot!

We could have continued further along the railway, but it suited us to diverge slightly and stroll through the new housing estate to Trafford College, and an excellent Christmas dinner for four of us at the Aspire Restaurant after we’d waved off Rick.

Here’s our route – 16 km with minimal ascent, taking us around 3.5 hours.


Another most pleasurable morning stroll.