Saturday, 1 December 2018
Friday, 30 November 2018
Today’s morning stroll was blessed with bright sunshine after a few indifferent days of weather. Sue and I picked up Rick in Timperley and it was just the three of us who set off some time later from Tegg’s Nose Visitor Centre, which turns out to have mutated into an excellent café.
The walk commenced with a short section of road walking down Buxton Old Road towards Walker Barn. Shutlingsloe and Jodrell Bank were both in clear, if opposing, view.
We soon passed a Wesleyan chapel dating from 1863.
Walker Barn used to have a pub, The Setter Dog, referred to in Jen Darling’s 1990 edition of ‘Pub Walks in Cheshire’, on which today’s amble was based. I think there was also a bike shop here; now all I could see was private houses.
Anyway, after crossing the busy main road to Buxton we headed along footpath number 557 towards Lamaload Reservoir (see top picture).
There were good views here towards the highest point in the area, Shining Tor, probably just to the right of the next picture.
The reservoir was hidden behind trees as we progressed to a fine rubbing post near Brock Low.
The reservoir now appeared. It’s very low, still suffering the effects of the dry summer.
Our path proceeded through the edge of a wood, where we could gaze into the sun for a group photo (with the aid of a post – we saw no other walkers).
A little later, after a pause for tea and cake, we passed sparse woodland by Snipe House that was occupied by a flock of hungry Fieldfares.
At Higherlane Farm it was just as well we had a map with us as the signpost could be deemed amusing but not entirely helpful.
There were fine views across the Dean Valley.
After a while on a farm/water board access road, we headed up through more woodland to join the Gritstone Trail, which we followed for the rest of the walk, ascending slowly back up to our starting point.
It took a little over two hours to complete this 8.5 km circuit on good paths, including about 250 metres of ascent.
Rick expressed his gratitude for the absence of six foot fences on this route, and we were all happy to enjoy coffees and teacakes in the warmth of the café whilst the sky spat on the windows.
Thursday, 29 November 2018
A couple of hours drive from Troyes, Fontainebleau was our last significant stop on the way home. We stayed at Barbizon, but before going there we had a good look around Fontainebleau Palace and its grounds.
The place has a rich history…
“The hamlet of Fontainebleau was endowed with a royal hunting lodge and a chapel by Louis VII in the middle of the twelfth century. A century later, Louis IX, also called Saint Louis, who held Fontainebleau in high esteem and referred to it as "his wilderness", had a country house and a hospital constructed there.
The connection between the town of Fontainebleau and the French monarchy was reinforced with the transformation of the royal country house into a true royal palace, the Palace of Fontainebleau. This was accomplished by the great builder-king, Francis I (1494–1547), who, in the largest of his many construction projects, reconstructed, expanded, and transformed the royal château at Fontainebleau into a residence that became his favourite, as well as the residence of his mistress, Anne, duchess of Étampes.”
And so on … including Napoleon Bonaparte’s presence before his first abdication:
“On 20 April 1814, Napoleon Bonaparte, shortly before his first abdication, bid farewell to the Old Guard, the renowned grognards (gripers) who had served with him since his very first campaigns, in the "White Horse Courtyard" (la cour du Cheval Blanc) at the Palace of Fontainebleau. (The courtyard has since been renamed the "Courtyard of Goodbyes".) According to contemporary sources, the occasion was very moving. The 1814 Treaty of Fontainebleau stripped Napoleon of his powers (but not his title as Emperor of the French) and sent him into exile on Elba.”
It’s a magnificent palace. Here are just a few of our pictures.
Wednesday, 28 November 2018
Here’s an overview of our recent trip to Porthmadog, together with route maps.
We started with this excellent walk featuring some splendid rainbows at Porth Ychain.
The walk ended near Porth Towyn, where a lone woman was swimming in the sea.
Here’s our route - 13 km with 100 metres ascent, taking 3.5 hours.
We went to Llanbedrog with my brother Dave. He’d never been there before! It’s a steep climb up to the Iron Man sculpture.
Here’s our route - 4 km with 200 metres ascent, taking 1.5 hours.
After the walk we visited Plas Glyny-y-Weddw. Had to seriously resist spending Lots of money.
On return to Porthmadog, we enjoyed a short walk to Tremadog, returning via a supermarket and a storm.
Here’s our route - 6 km with 50 metres ascent, taking 1.5 hours.
This was a 27 km circular walk via Criccieth, starting on a lovely morning from Porthmadog harbour.
The coast path leads through Borth-y-Gest to Ynys Cyngar.
A long stroll along the firm Black Rock Sands led eventually to an excellent café in Criccieth.
Beyond Criccieth we encountered (well, we failed to encounter) a path which had no access point, then a bit later another path that came to an abrupt halt at a high stone wall bordered by equally high barbed wire fences and no sign of a stile. We turned around near where this view from Bryn Braich-y-saint towards Porthmadog was recorded.
The horses were more friendly than the natives.
Here’s our route - 27 km with 500 metres ascent, taking 6.5 hours.
This was the day we completed a section of the Anglesey Coast Path that we missed out in April. Newborough Forest hadn’t lost any of its beauty.
The walk along Traeth Penrhos was arduous. We were sand-blasted. Goggles would have been useful.
We had to wait an hour and a half before we could splash our way across to Llanddwyn Island.
A lorry load of shells have been deposited – to be used as hard core for path maintenance. This area is easily accessed by car and is obviously a very popular place.
From the tip of the island there are good views to Snowdonia and (below) to the hills of the Lleyn Peninsula.
After an unfortunate episode with a badly behaved dog, we enjoyed an orange sunset shortly before returning to the car.
Here’s our route - 18 km with 200 metres ascent, taking 5 hours.
We drove up to Ffestiniog, where Sue made friends with a ginger tom cat.
Our walk in Ceunant Cynfal featured a rain forest (yes!), moss laden trees, waterfalls, and some attempts at photographic artistry from Sue.
Shortly before arriving back at Ffestiniog, we paused to attack the contents of a large flask, with great views towards the Moelwyns.
Here’s our route - 8 km with 300 metres ascent, taking 3 hours.
And there’s more from Day 5…
We drove down to Harlech and soon found paths above the town. There were good views into Snowdonia, where cloud lingered just above the summit of Snowdon.
A little further on we were offered fine views of the nearby Rhinog summits.
On return to Harlech, before heading for the beach we admired the following view, apparently ‘The Postcard View’ of Harlech Castle. It’s rather blighted by an unsightly mess of green caravans.
Descending to the beach, you look back to the town to be presented with the sight of several abandoned hotels like this one. Harlech is not a pretty place.
There is, however, a fine beach, from where we watched the sun set at the end of our holiday.
Here’s our afternoon route - 10 km with 350 metres ascent, taking 3 hours.
An excellent short break. Thanks go to Dave and Maggie for the loan of their house in South Snowdon Wharf.