A Friday walk slotted into my 'programme' at short notice on a rainy day wasn't expected to gather any takers, and that expectation was duly met.
The ten o'clock train from Navigation Road got me to Stockport in time for me to collect some tickets (see next posting) and gather next to a convenient rendezvous point for a 'non rendezvous'.
Manchester has its bees, and Stockport is now littered with frogs, in various states of decoration.
A stroll through the town centre got me to the Trans Pennine Trail (TPT), that I soon abandoned in favour of the Tameside Trail, in order to avoid the A626 main road.
The River Tame was crossed by way of this footbridge, to join a path that leads back to the TPT.
This route passes Harrison's Weir, the subject of the next three images. This is the advantage of taking footpaths rather than the usual bike trails. I don't recall having been here before.
The old railway line was then followed to Reddish Vale Visitors Centre and ponds. Here, there's one of many ornate TPT signposts.
A little further on, I deserted the bridleway again, in favour of the footpath along the Tameside Trail, signposted to Stockport Road.
This path sent me round in circles for a while, during which I returned to the Reddish Vale ponds, and this excellent view of the railway viaduct.
After several 'on/off' episodes with the waterproofs, the showers slowly moved on, leaving a sunny morning as I continued to follow the riverside Tameside Trail path, a little to the west of my usual bike route along the TPT and the Peak Forest Canal towpath. Eventually, this path goes under the M67 motorway and heads up a delightful set of walled cobblestones to reach the canal.
The Portland Basin in Ashton-under-Lyne is a few minutes along the Peak Forest Canal. Here, there's a T-junction, with the Ashton Canal heading off to the left, towards the tall chimney pictured below. To the right in the picture is the back door of the 'Bridge View Café', where I enjoyed a coffee and some very tasty carrot cake. This was a special treat as this café is shut when we pass it on our Monday bike rides.
In the other direction, the Huddersfield Narrow Canal sets off on its arduous course through the Pennines via the Standedge Tunnels..
In the direction of Manchester, the Ashton Canal towpath took me about 3 km to Audenshaw, for a few hundred metres of road walking to the Metrolink station - the first road walking since leaving Stockport.
On the way, and whilst 'Audenshaw' doesn't really capture the imagination as a place to live, some interesting, even opulent, housing is passed.
My route amounted to 21 km. It would have been rather less if I'd found the correct path out of Reddish Vale at the first attempt (take the signed footpath and take a left turn where the path divides). Ascent is minimal - just a couple of hundred metres - and despite the urban surroundings, this route is entirely off road apart from a little tarmac at the start and the finish.
A very pleasant little jaunt, taking me about three and a half hours at a brisk pace.