Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Friday 8 March 2019

Friday 8 March 2019 – Around Stretton Moss

As usual, click on an image for better resolution and a slide show at the foot of the screen

Lucky, Lucky. The two Pauls and I managed this short walk in the Cheshire countryside just before the rain set in.

This route was taken from Jen Darling’s ‘More Pub Walks in Cheshire and Wirral’. The Stretton Fox, a place with a long history that I haven’t time to go into now, is a good place to start and finish as it has a huge car park, and it served adequate coffee and soup after we’d finished.

The Stretton Fox is at junction 10 of the M56, so only a few minutes to get to from Timperley. The walking route is to the south of the motorway, where we could admire the banks of daffodils as we entered Lower Stretton, taking care to go slowly.

The Ring O Bells Inn is soon passed. This is an alternative starting point, but not as attractive as the Fox. Jen’s guide mentions ‘the unusual inn sign is a portrait of the late Tom Galley, a bell ringer at the nearby church for more than 60 years’. Sadly, his memory seems to have subsided to the pages of Jen’s book, as I don’t discern any reference to Tom in the current signage.

The walk passes numerous ponds and ‘mosses’ where peat has been harvested since the time of the Romans. We expected to see herons, but they were absent from our vision today. There were however numerous buzzards, and large flocks of lapwings and of carrion crows. Many other birds were also in evidence in this area, which must be rich in food sources.

The blackthorn (May) blossom was out, as can be seen in the view below. In a few weeks’ time the pond will be obscured by the leafy thicket.

Soon after this, we paused for a snack, including some Wasabi, a crispy seaweed offering from the Korean supermarket, courtesy of Katrina. Thanks again, Katrina.

Here are my companions, on Stretton Moss just near some barns that were built in 1940 by the War Agricultural Committee – they were later converted into private dwellings.

In the distance, a theme park lurked behind an array of forbidding signs and a racecourse training circuit.

Moss Hall triggered memories of my first building site job, when I occasionally got the chance to drive a dumper truck like this example.

After about two hours on our feet, we were back in Lower Stretton, just making it back to the Fox Covert before steady rain set in for the rest of the day, as Paul and I peered out from our bowls of soup.

Here’s our route – 9.5 km with minimal ascent, taking two hours plus breaks.

Thanks for your company, folks.

Next week it’s Stockport to Sale via the Mersey Valley. Start from Stockport railway station at 10.20 am for a 16 km or so stroll to a café in Sale. Trains run from Altrincham (10.00) and from Navigation Road (10.02).

Thursday 7 March 2019

Old Friends arrive in Timperley

Andrea and Thomas have arrived for a few days. Here they are with Sue, in the Alps last July, when we had an excellent day on the Berger-See-Hutte circuit above the Virgental Valley to the west of Matrei.
A and T used to be our close neighbours who looked after our house when we were away - until they moved to Heidelberg over five years ago. We miss them, and it's great to have them back for a few days, albeit we have separate agendas and commitments.

Wednesday 6 March 2019

Monday Nights at Eagley Jazz Club

This is The Spirit of New Orleans jazz band, last Monday’s performers at Eagley.

There was a good turnout, including one of Sue’s colleagues, Rob. And Reg was in good form, despite having had to curtail his Sri Lankan holiday due to dentistry and other issues.

At £6 for members and £8 for non-members, with cheap beer into the bargain, these performances do make for an excellent night out. The current ‘flier’ is below, and the up to date programme (which is currently as below) is here.



New start and end times 8.00pm to 10.30pm


Monday 4th March
Spirit of New Orleans

Monday 18th March
Aire Valley Jazz Band

Monday 1st April
The Savannah Jazz Band

Monday 15th April
The Harlem Hot Stompers

Monday 6th May
The Dixie Beats

Monday 20th May
The Chicago Teddy Bears Society Jazz Band

Monday 3rd June

Monday 17th June
The Tame Valley Stompers



The Banff Mountain Film Festival is probably a world leader in its genre. I think the festival takes place in Banff in October or November, when there isn’t much else happening there. A selection of twelve films then goes on tour to the UK and elsewhere. There are two separate screenings of six films each, in a programme lasting a couple of hours. I don’t know how they decide which venues get which set of films. The tour lasts from 19 January to 24 May.

On Saturday Sue and I were joined by Cary and Penny for a visit to the ‘Blue’ programme at the historic Plaza venue in Stockport.

The films covered the antics of a 97 year old runner, a lady who set out to climb all 82 of Europe’s 4000 metre summits in one season, a nineteen year old woman’s bid to climb grades never before achieved by a woman, an Asian mountain biker, mountain bikers on a near vertical ski run, and the retracing of an 80 year old journey of survival in Australia’s outback.

All quite exhilarating, despite the stiff necks we came away with. (Note our position in relation to the screen…)

Sunday mornings at home have, for me, got into the habit of starting with a 5km jog around Wythenshawe Park. This takes place under the auspices of ‘great run local’ and is aimed at novices and others, with a 2 km route and a 5 km route. About 100 people take part, including many children. As with the unrelated parkrun events, it’s a very friendly community event, with some folk trying harder than others. It’s a good way to get some Sunday morning exercise and justification for eating any cake that might appear later.

Here’s the start line. The children in particular enjoy a lap of the running track at the start, and everyone finishes half way around the track at the end of their run.

Great stuff!

So there was nothing holding me back from eating a fair number of young Kate’s cakes when the opportunity arose later. Thanks Kate.

I’ll finish with a note from last week’s bike ride. When we cycled past the section of the Rochdale Canal that was being drained and cleaned, Richard and I didn’t stop to enquire as to the niceties of what was going on.

Since then, Jan has brought to my attention a video that shows how the canal is drained via a 215 year old trapdoor into the culverted River Tib. The position of the trapdoor is given by this arrow at the edge of the towpath just near where the above picture was taken:

The hidden (in culverts) River Tib flows into the River Medlock, with the water eventually seeing daylight where the Medlock drains into the River Irwell/Manchester Ship Canal.Here’s the link to the 26 minute video:


Tuesday 5 March 2019

Monday 4 March 2019 – A Moore Lane Circuit

As usual, click on the images for better resolution, and slideshow at foot of screen

Paul and Jeanette were able to join me on a pleasant morning, if rather cooler than last week – especially for them, as they were in the Costa Blanca then.

On my way down to Seamons Moss Bridge I paused to record the current state of progress on the old Linotype site. Whilst the façade seems to be looking for an excuse not to be retained, building work is progressing quickly.

Waiting by the bridge, I couldn’t help but wonder what will happen to the Bay Malton site. The pub has now been closed for some time.

From the same position, the next photo shows how easy it would be for the unwary motorist to get a scrape from the kerbs that have been inserted to prevent HGVs from attempting to cross the narrow bridge.

We took the Trans Pennine Trail to Lymm, rather than churn up the fragile towpath, and thence mainly minor roads before a short stretch of towpath to Moore. Passing through Grappenhall village, I recognised St Wilfred’s as the ‘Cheshire Cat’ church, but Paul and I couldn’t spot the cat, and J had zoomed on ahead, so we couldn’t hang around.

Anyway, we did spot it back in December, and here it is…

A commitment for P&J meant we had to be back earlier than usual, so instead of going all the way to Phoenix Park and Norton Priory, we took a shortcut from Moore, down Moore Lane, to re-join our usual route by Moore Nature Reserve.

The Trans Pennine Trail was soon joined, and that led us all the way home, via an essential stop at LD24 café in Stockton Heath. Coffee and cake essential!

This abbreviated version of our Phoenix Park winter route is shown below. From Timperley I recorded exactly 50 km, and 150 metres ascent, taking around 4 hours including a long coffee break. P&J will have slightly different statistics.

Sunday 3 March 2019

Saturday 2 March 2019 – Rivington

Note: as with all current postings, picture resolution is poor, but if you click on any picture you get a clearer image, and access to a slideshow at the foot of the screen

Last week’s recce was in delightful weather. Today’s walk was on another grey day. I’m not surprised that some folk bottled – our destination was smothered in cloud when we set off after 10.30. A select group of the five pharmacists pictured above, and yours truly.

Knowing this was going to be a short walk, we could afford to start with a leisurely coffee in the Great House Barn’s café. Sue even managed to squeeze in a parkrun before the walk, whilst I had a tooth filled.

We started off along one of the many tree lined avenues in Lever Park, named after William Lever, Lord Leverhulme, who bought the estate in 1899. After this level stretch through chatty woodland to warm up, a pretty path leads up above Knowle House.

A short descent is then required to cross a narrow valley full of moss covered rocks.

A good path then leads up to Ormstons Farm and onwards towards Pike Cottage. We took a short break, with good views to our objective, Rivington Pike, and beyond the local reservoirs to the Lancashire coast. Thankfully, by now the mist had cleared and the sun was trying to emerge, despite a forecast of rain.

After a while, we arrived at the high point of the walk, Rivington Pike Tower, 363 metres above sea level, a hunting lodge built in 1733. Here, Shak, with his customary panache, obliged a large group of jolly ramblers with photos from each of their ‘phones.

Our own group photo was rather easier, and the picture(s) can be shared via Dropbox.
Did you know that the hunting lodge, the entrance to which is now blocked up, has a spacious cellar?

Our team, Shak in particular, found the ensuing descent rather easier than the ascent. Perhaps because we had refuelled with tea, cake and bananas, plus some excellent spicy seaweed from a Korean supermarket. Thanks Katrina.

The path soon levels out as it joins the track that by-passes the tower and continues to the spooky looking Pigeon Tower. Built in 1910, and with Lady Leverhulme's sewing room on the top floor, it was renovated in 1974 and re-roofed in 2005. It now seems to be implicated in some further restoration work, as are the terraced gardens below it.

Here’s a bit more information:

The Pigeon Tower was built in gritstone with four storeys, each a single room. It has a steeply pitched roof and a corbelled chimney. On the west side is a semi-circular stair turret with a conical roof. The fourth storey, Lady Lever’s sewing room, has four light mullioned windows on two sides. The second and third storeys are a dovecote. On the west wall are square pigeon holes with perching ledges.

Beyond the Pigeon Tower, a steep, rocky track, deeply eroded into the hillside, leads to a car park, beyond which easy paths lead to Rivington Hall Barn, which was renovated by Lord Leverhulme in the early 1900s, but which may originally date from up to 1000 years earlier, albeit the current structure dates (merely!) from the 16th century.

Rivington Hall Barn is devoted to private events (today’s was a wedding) on Saturdays, but it has a thriving cafe full of bikers and hikers on Sundays.

Raindrops towards the end of our walk deterred us from continuing for an afternoon amble. Instead, we enjoyed a lengthy lunch at the Great House Barn, which provides café facilities every day of the week. The last three pictures from the walk were taken in light rain.

This barn is dated 1702, probably from a restoration or rebuilding. It was restored, altered, and enlarged in 1905. It has an exposed oak cruck frame, clad in squared sandstone and stone slate roof. A Tudor-style timber-framed porch and mullion windows are 20th-century additions. It’s an excellent café.

Here’s our route – 7.2 km with about 220 metres ascent, taking us about two and a quarter hours. A delightful stroll, and thanks to everyone for coming along.

I believe that Shakeel is minded to arrange another similar event.