Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Saturday 24 November 2018

Saturday 24 November 2018 – Wythenshawe parkrun number 366


Just 231 of us gathered on a coolish morning in the park.

Her are some of the participants limbering up before the start.


Wythenshawe Hall is slowly emerging from its protective scaffolding. It seems a long time since we use to congregate right next to the building.


Today’s run director was Charley, who managed a dance on the pedestal whilst announcing '”No first timers” and “No tourists” without pausing for breath before moving on to the starting process. Charley and the other marshals did a fine job today as there was a bit of a mix up that caused problems with the results.


So was PB’s PB (21.17) accurately recorded, or was it just a fluke of the faulty timings? There don’t seem to be many people around him, so did he really come in so far ahead, or has he miscounted the laps?


And surely the parkrun is supposed to be undertaken on foot, not on a bike! Not surprising that she came home only narrowly behind PB, who of course can run much faster than the average cyclist.


For anyone confused by all this, don’t worry, it’s just a bit of fun. The full results are here.

Friday 23 November 2018

Friday 23 November 2018 – Around Anderton


This is another route from Jen Darling’s 1990 edition of ‘Pub Walks in Cheshire’, adapted to start at the Anderton Lift Visitor Centre. That was shut, but at least the ‘Pay and Display’ machines had been turned off.

It seems that the Visitor Centre by the huge lift that transfers boats 50 feet between the River Weaver and the Trent & Mersey Canal is only open at weekends at this time of year. I’m not sure whether the lift works outside weekends.


We pootled past the lift and along the canal towpath for a while.


Six of us were on this walk, on a cool but fine morning. We left the towpath via the footbridge that shows in the distance in the above picture.

Easy field walking soon led past Claycroft Farm to a footbridge over Cogshall Brook at SJ 646 764. Here, an obstacle was encountered as the bridge had been declared unsafe and was fenced off. We could have waded the stream – probably knee deep. But we didn’t. We could have turned back. But we didn’t.


We were later classified as ‘rebels’ by the nice ladies in the George & Dragon. Climbing the fence wasn’t exactly straightforward.


Some might say he was ‘resting’ in this position (below). Surely the old geezer wasn’t struggling ‘to get his leg over’? [Just there, he would have a long drop into the water.]


Back on dry land, and another member of the team shows skills that could have been acquired from a period behind bars.


It’s an ungainly exercise, but long legs just reach the safety of a piece of plastic.


Arson is suspected. The two side beams were quite firm, but the bridge really wasn’t in a very good state.


Luckily, I had some cake with which to atone for my ‘poor route finding’, though I got a feeling that everyone had enjoyed this little adventure in a funny sort of way. It certainly added a bit of spice to the walk.

A little further on, we passed the pub that Jen’s 1990 version of this walk starts from. I’ve done it before from this starting point – on 26 March 1995, and on 17 April 2006 – so not on these pages.


The rebels posed dutifully.


Scones on a bench in Great Budworth’s church yard were on offer. But instead we succumbed to the roaring fire inside the George & Dragon, where the ladies took pleasure in serving as good a coffee as I’ve had in a pub. I’m sure they’d have allowed us to eat the scones had we asked.

We discussed the burnt bridge and they were impressed that we’d negotiated the barrier… “Well done you rebels!” A swift repair is hoped for, though it has already extended beyond the 21 day estimated closure period we noticed on a sign as we exited the path.


An easy path led down to Budworth Mere, and a view back to the village and its huge 16th century church.


Field paths took us gently back to the canal towpath. Here, the site of the Lion Salt Works is now a museum worthy, I’m told, of a visit. It has many awards.


Then it was a gentle stroll back to our starting point.


Luckily we were not heading to the signposted destinations.


We passed The Rum Wench. “Shiver Me Timbers” she gurgled.


At last. An opportunity to nosh JJ’s fresh scones. Just as well he’d brought them, what with the Visitor Centre being closed.


Here’s our route – 12 km with about 100 metres ascent. It took us 3.5 hours, including an hour’s worth of stops.


Then we went home. Thanks for the company, folks.


Friday 30 November
Tegg's Nose and Lamaload Reservoir. Meet at Tegg's Nose Visitor Centre (SJ 950 733) at 10 am for a 9 km stroll to Lamaload Reservoir and back. A537 and Buxton Old Road from Macclesfield.

Thursday 22 November 2018

Thursday 22 November 2018 – Around Acton Bridge


Déjà vu? Yes, this a repeat of the walk I did with Andrew on 19 October, on which I reported here.

Today’s visit was for the purpose of checking out Jen Darling’s draft wording for the third edition of her ‘Pub Walks in Cheshire’ book. I hope my comments (not included here) will be of value to her.

Autumn has come on apace in the past five weeks. Frost on the stiles and gateposts got onto my gloves and made the ink run on my paperwork. So the walker you saw today wearing only one glove was me. Not that I saw anyone other than a couple of well wrapped dog walkers.

Sleeping on a barge at this time of year has me shivering at the very thought!


The two pictures above were the first taken with my new S9 phone, with its ‘SM-G960F’ camera. The colours actually seem less vibrant than those from the S5 phone. The photo below, from bridge 110, was taken with my old Lumix FT4 waterproof camera. It still performs well.


Neither camera was equipped for pictures of birds, but having watched moorhens squabbling as a kingfisher flew past while I was on the towpath next to the A49 road, I decided to include this image of a Dutton Locks heron, who nervously and cautiously moved away from me as I observed from the other side of the river.


It was a dull day, a recurring feature of these ‘Jen Darling recce’ excursions, but never mind, the air was fresh and the scenery was pleasing.

As I descended towards Acton Brook from Ainsworth Lane the sun attempted to make an appearance. Time for another couple of ‘shots’ with the new phone camera.


There are further illustrations from the route in my earlier report.

I wondered about testing a footpath from SJ 582 748 to SJ 584 745, which would eliminate 400 metres of walking beside a busy road, but it crosses a ploughed field that would be unpleasant to walk across. Farmer 1 – Walkers 0.

A visit to the Leigh Arms pub wasn’t possible today. Extensive refurbishments are in progress, with the re-opening ceremony taking place on 6 December.


Here’s the route – 10 km with about 100 metres of ascent (ie a flat walk), that walkers should manage to complete in 2 to 3 hours.


Tomorrow: meet at the Anderton Boat Lift Visitor Centre (SJ 647 752) at 10 am for a fairly flat 12 km in a similar area.

Wednesday 21 November 2018

Black Rock Sands


Today’s big news is that after nearly four years with the Samsung S5 phone, I’ve upgraded to an S9. I’ve left it so late that there’s hardly any increase in the monthly fee. But that means a lot of faffing, setting up the new phone and downloading maps etc. I don’t find it straightforward. I have some technical issues…

Anyway, I’ve taken a break to process some of last week’s photos and I’ve got this far – Black Rock Sands on Tuesday morning. It’s a long walk down that beach from Ynys Cyngar to Criccieth.

Tuesday 20 November 2018

Monday 19 November 2018 – The Chicago Teddybears Society Jazz Band at Eagley Jazz Club


Last night we had the pleasure of being entertained by this wonderful jazz band, featuring some of the best jazz musicians in the country. All for £5 a head at Eagley Jazz Club.


The band’s website is here. They have been going for some time – here’s their potted history:

The Chicago Teddybears Society Jazz Band originated in Manchester in the 1970s and the name came from a short-lived American television sitcom set in Prohibition-era Chicago. Fortunately, the band has proved more durable than the TV series and has entertained audiences across the UK and Europe for nearly fifty years now. Over that period, inevitable changes in personnel have expanded the band’s repertoire to encompass many styles of jazz – from Dixieland through New Orleans to mainstream and on to swing and jump-jive. Always lively and exuberant, the band’s versatility sees them playing at weddings, corporate events and garden parties as well as more traditional jazz clubs and festivals.

For a profile of the current band see the players page.


Monday 19 November 2018

Monday 19 November 2018 – Yet Another Bike Ride to Bury


Richard, Paul and I last did this 71 km ride on 8 October – report here.

Today Richard was replaced by Jeanette, so we went a bit faster. Except where there were cobbles.

Previous reports describe the route, so today I’ll just offer a few photos. Above is the view from the bridge at Waters Meeting. This is where the original canal, from Worsley to Manchester (1761) was extended to Stretford, Sale, and onwards to Runcorn, over a period of several years following Royal assent in 1762.

Below – the view from Throstle Nest Bridge towards Pomona and the new Metrolink line being constructed to the Trafford Centre. I’m not sure where the original Bridgewater Canal ends and the Rochdale Canal link – built after the construction of the Rochdale Canal in 1804, starts. Perhaps at the locks in Castlefield.


We joined Sustrans Bike Route number 6 in Salford and followed it (more or less) all the way to Bury.

Here’s one of the iconic buildings of Salford that’s nearly on the route.


After a section of woodland in Prestwich Forest Park, we were granted a view of what Monday mornings of our comparative youth looked like should we have been trying to visit clients. The M60 was as busy as ever.


There’s a fair amount of woodland on the ride up to Bury, and the autumn colours are persisting nicely.


At the ‘Irwell Sculpture’ at the junction below, we took a left turn to join the Manchester Bolton & Bury Canal towpath by paths, rather than by the more tarmaced route of number 6.


There was a 10% chance of rain. It rained. Coffee and cookies in the Dynamite Raw Café in Bury went down rather well. As did Jeanette’s scrambled eggs with spinach.

Mainly roads, with an interlude on a muddy path, took us to Middleton. The sun came out near Birch Motorway Services. (We could use the picnic benches there, and talk in loud voices about our experiences with the heavy and fast traffic.)


Eventually the Rochdale Canal was reached. Whilst there were no barges in evidence, the area that was drained last time we were here (in the Miles Platting/Ancoats area) seems to have been sorted, though some of the water levels are still very low.


A pair of herons seemed to be fishing from the top of a fence, and further on a Canada Goose was standing on a submerged shopping trolley – one of many seen in the canal today. We also saw staff fishing out rubbish from the canal. A thankless task, I suspect.


There’s a footbridge in Ancoats where I waited for a while as it was preceded by some cobbles. Here’s the view towards Piccadilly.


Looking back, you can see Paul and Jeanette approaching along the towpath.


We split up briefly while I followed the canal – there were no towpath closures today, and the others took an alternative road route due to an excess of cobbles. Here’s the view from Castlefield, where I obliged some tourists from County Fermanagh by taking a group photo of them. This is probably where the original Bridgewater Canal from Worsley to Manchester terminated.


After that we soon picked up our outward route to return home. This final picture was taken in the Pomona area on the approach to Throstle Nest Bridge, near the point at which the second of today’s pictures was taken.


An excellent ride, as is normal, of 71 km, with about 300 metres ascent, taking just under 6 hours, of which 4.5 were recorded as ‘moving’.