Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Saturday 13 October 2018

Saturday 13 October 2018 – Wythenshawe parkrun number 360


On a wet and windy October morning, some 182 stalwarts assembled outside Wythenshawe Hall for their weekly five kilometre workout. Luckily the massive branch had fallen across the path before we set off.

Before the run I chatted with Fast Michael and agreed to try to spur him on to a sub 24 minute time. He was doing well, pictured below leading the pack, when passing the obstacle on the first lap. After that I managed to encourage him until we caught up with Young Joe at the end of the first lap. I then handed the ‘keep Mike going’ baton over to Joe, on the grounds that he shouldn’t allow himself to be headed by somebody who is well over 50 years older than him.


Sadly, Joe failed in his task. He headed Mike by a second, but they finished just a few seconds outside the 24 minute target. Nevertheless, given the trying conditions Mike should be pleased by the consolation that he came home second on the age related list. Well done! I finished some way behind them both. The results are here.

Meanwhile, you’d think these ladies would get dressed before arriving at the start. Wouldn’t you?


Friday 12 October 2018

Wednesday 10 October 2018 – Y Garn and the Glyders


The prospect of a glorious day out had me binning my plans for Wednesday in favour of a day ‘on the hill’. The ‘hill’ in question was Y Garn and the Glyders, one of my favourite walks. It has the advantage of being easily achievable in a day out from Timperley, with breakfast as normal and the ability to return in time to buy and cook dinner before heading off at 7 pm to see Jim’s SWOG presentation.

I’m really surprised to note that since I’ve been recording this on-line diary I’ve only walked this route twice, on 1 January 2008, and on 29 November 2012, the reports on which contrast markedly with this one. This rare recurrence of a favourite walk reflects an increasing tendency to walk more locally, I suspect.

Anyway, after an 8 am start, passage through a low lying blanket of mist over Cheshire, then past lovely autumn shades beside the M56 motorway, was followed by a twenty minute delay in the A55 roadworks. I eventually parked in a layby a few minutes walk from Ogwen Cottage alongside Llyn Ogwen, which looked splendid under the bright blue sky.

The rebuilding of the Ogwen Centre has been completed since my last visit, and it’s very nice too. Coffee and cake served through the traditional hatch was of a high standard. I chatted to a couple from the Wirral with whom I’d shared space in the traffic jam. They were planning to avoid the wind on the summits by heading up to the Tryfan col and then over Foel Goch to Capel Curig, returning by a low level route.

I set off at around 11am and soon passed a party of eleven children with two teachers. They were heading up to Llyn Idwal before returning for an afternoon of raft building.

I left them and continued up the good path towards Y Garn.


There were fine, clear views back to Llyn Ogwen, framed on the left by the southernmost of the Carnedd summits, Yr Ole Wen, and by Tryfan on the right.


I passed a couple on the ascent. They hadn’t been here before. I explained the route over the Glyders, but unfortunately neither I nor they had a proper map. I’m not sure whether they would have been able to read it, even if I’d had one. (Navigation was never going to be an issue for me on a day like this in familiar surroundings.)

The summit of Y Garn (947 metres) was breezy but not overly windy. A thin fleece over a t-shirt was more than adequate for keeping warm, and quite a few people were sporting shorts. Snowdon stood firm under the clear blue sky across the Llanberis Pass.


Although only just after noon, numerous folk were lunching in sheltered spots beside Llyn y Cwr, from above which there was a good view back to the path down Y Garn.


It was good to be in the shade for the haul up Glyder Fawr. The sun was blindingly dazzling at points where the line of ascent was shallow enough to reveal that brilliant orb. The summit (1001 metres) is easily gained, with good views back across the rocks towards Snowdon.


To the south, a succession of hills led the eye all the way to the distant horizon.


To the east, that little bobble on the horizon is the next summit, that of Glyder Fach (994 metres). It’s slow going to get there, thanks to the rubbly nature of the terrain.


A little further on, Llyn Idwal shone above the Ogwen Valley in a deep shade of blue. The view down to Bethesda and beyond was magnificent.


The gnarly rocks of Glyder Fach soon loomed above me. Ravens and air force jets played in the thermals.


Glyder Fach isn’t the easiest of summits to attain. It’s quite a scramble up to the innocuous looking summit rock pictured below. I stumbled around here for a good half hour. Great care was needed as there was nobody about and the rocks on the north side were very slippery.


A few metres further on is the Cantilever Stone, sadly unoccupied today. You just have to imagine a big group of people standing on the right hand end of the huge rock.


The descent to Llyn Caseg-fraith starts just a little further on. A group of pensioners was slogging slowly up the gentle ascent that I was ambling down. I’d decided against descending via Bristly Ridge, the direct route.


After turning sharp left at the col that is reached before the lake, superb views of Tryfan are enjoyed as you make your way carefully across to the Tryfan col.


Whilst crossing the Glyder ridge I’d looked down on Tryfan and spotted numerous folk on its summit. I caught up with a group of at least a dozen of them shortly after passing below Llyn Bochlwyd, pictured below with Y Garn in the background. They were a group of former students enjoying a reunion.


Whilst there didn’t really seem to be many people about, I must have seen seventy or so folk during the course of this excellent walk. Five hours of unadulterated pleasure concluded with the short walk back beside Llyn Ogwen to Polly.


My Garmin GPS recorded just over 13 km, with 1000 metres ascent. Transferring the .gpx file to Anquet mapping, shown below, produced the same distance but Anquet reckoned on 1448 metres ascent. I guess it’s actually about 1100 metres, but who really cares, it’s an excellent walk.


Returning via Ruthin and Mold, more fine autumn colours were on display, but in certain areas, Betws-y-Coed for example, the deep greens of summer were still dominant.

Tuesday 9 October 2018

Monday 8 October – Another Bike Ride to Bury


This was a successful adaptation of the route I took on 28 September, marred only by the fact that Richard turned up on a rather grotty bike.

It’s a straightforward route along the Bridgewater Canal into Manchester and across Regent Bridge to join National Cycle Route number 6. That route sticks to roads through Salford. We successfully deviated beside the River Irwell where Manchester Racecourse used to be situated. Nowadays the area has been turned into a flood defence zone and is populated with a very happy flock of Canada Geese. Grey Wagtails, Mallards and Herons were seen by the river.

The photo below looks across the flood zone to Kersal.


As well as Richard, Paul had turned up. He excelled himself by pulling another slightly less dubious bike out of a hedgerow for Richard to utilise in his bid to keep up with us. (He was exhausted after having gone for a run with an elderly lady, Ann-Marie Jones.)


All went pretty well on the route to Bury. I decided to leave Route 6 by a large sculpture at SD 775 060, to continue along the Sculpture Trail with the intention of crossing a footbridge over the Irwell and taking a path to the left at SD 774 065, to reach the disused Manchester, Bolton and Bury Canal. It was a good path to the bridge, after which I missed the intended footpath and we finished up taking the path at SD 778 068, a push through a thick jungle of tangled brambles, to reach the canal. (Sorry, folks.)

However, this avoided the roads of Radcliffe and led easily to the A56 in Bury. En route we enjoyed a chat with two very serious bird watchers, whose idea of “everyday birds that we see” included some species that I’ve never managed to spot, such as Water Rail. They showed us some impressive photos.

The A56 wasn’t followed for very long, but it did sport an excellent café that was most welcome after 30 km of cycling.


I’d actually planned to stop at the football ground café a little further on in Gigg Lane, but it’s just as well we stopped where we did as the Gigg Lane fleshpot appeared to be the scene of a very well attended biker’s funeral.

After that we made our way across north Manchester, passing very close to Birch services on the M62. We could have entered on our bikes through the back entrance; I’m not sure how that would have gone down!

After a section of unavoidable but quiet roads, but otherwise excellent bridleways, we reached the Rochdale Canal at SD 884 079 without incident. I remembered a bench that would have been suitable for another drinks break, but it was occupied by a strange individual who appeared to be walking from Manchester to Rochdale. He lay on the bench and entered into a discourse with us that Richard aptly described as “a stream of consciousness”. Whatever he was on, he was friendly enough. We soon left him to continue in his quest for a meaningful life, and we found a good spot for our own break a little further on, on a grassy bank.

It’s a scenic and straightforward route into Manchester along the towpath, downhill all the way through a series of locks.

The Ancoats area sports this large piece of graffiti.


Castlefield, and this view from Merchants’ Bridge, soon followed, before the ‘stick of the lollipop’ route along the canal towpath back to Timperley and beyond.


Here’s our route – 71km with about 300 metres ascent, taking us 5.75 hours including stops.


Thanks for your company, gents, and see you again soon.

Monday 8 October 2018

Wythenshawe parkrun number 359, and Conkers


Kate (Jacob’s mum) called: “He would like to visit you but he wants to collect a few conkers. I think you may have to go to Tatton, or at least Dunham.”

A: “No problem.”

Child duly delivered, we took a five minute stroll to nearby Newton Park, home to a lofty horse chestnut tree. In the gentle breeze the conkers rained down.

The contest was a draw: Sue and Jacob collected 2.5 kilos, and so did I. In between collections we enjoyed a game of frisbee, which the seven year old is very good at, before adjourning home for a game of boules. He’s good at that as well.

I hope the conkers will be put to good use; Jacob has a theory that they are used to ward of spiders, that despite my assurances he seems to dislike.

Earlier in the weekend Sue and I went along to Wythenshawe Park for the 359th parkrun held there. Some people never seem to learn….


Paul – you should know by now, it’s not a race!

Rather more leisurely in pace, Sue and Martha managed a shade under 30 minutes as well as a chat. Faster than Sue planned because she forgot her barcode and had to pedal furiously back home to collect it in order not to be anonymised.

Lurking just behind Sue and Martha it looks like Dan, who actually finished second. He must have done a third lap to ‘warm down’!


Full results here.