Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Friday 22 March 2019

Wednesday 20 March 2019 – Timperley to Rochdale

Click on the image for a better version, with slideshow at the bottom of the screen

A bit of exercise was called for. I’m supposed to be doing (I hasten to omit the word ‘running’) a marathon in a couple of weeks’ time.

So I set off at 8 o’clock and joined the commuters who were taking full advantage of the nicely surfaced Bridgewater Canal towpath.

After 3 km I reached Dane Road, pictured above, and I took pictures at regular intervals all the way to Rochdale. I’ll therefore describe the rest of the route by way of captions, with just a few additional comments on this pleasant morning’s outing.

Km 6: Stretford

Km 8: looking back as Old Trafford is passed

Km 9: view towards Pomona from Throstle Nest Bridge
I didn't realise there was so much graffiti here, amongst the construction work for the Metrolink extension to the Trafford Centre.

Km 9.5: the River Medlock makes its way from a culvert into the Irwell

Km 10: St Georges, Cornbrook

Km 11: Castlefield and Merchant's Bridge

Km 11.5: the arrow beside the Rochdale Canal points to the submerged plug that releases the canal water into the culverted River Tib

Km 12: approaching Oxford Road

Km 12: Oxford Road horse - also in the previous picture

Km 13: on the bridge where the Rochdale and Ashton Canals divide, looking up the Rochdale Canal

Km 14.5: footbridge and mill on the Rochdale Canal

Km 16.5: mess left by workmen in Newton Heath

Km 17.5: Canada Geese are in pairs at present, probably the commonest bird on the entire route

There’s lots of bird life on this route – Grey Wagtails, Chaffinches, Goldfinches, Herons, Mallards, Cormorants, Black-headed Gulls, to name but a few.

Km 18: disgraceful rubbish between Newton Heath and Failsworth

Km 18.5: Ten Acres Lock

Km 19: mill chimney in Failsworth

Km 19: Regent Mill, home of Remington

Km 25: the Rochdale Canal has many green interludes

Km 26: really quite countryfied here, though you wouldn't guess that from the map

Km 26.5: these are real horses!

Km 27.5: Slattocks, I smell coffee

Km 27.5: AlanR, purveyor of fine hospitality

Thanks to Alan and Sheila for the giant mug of coffee and a very pleasant interlude.

Km 28: evidence of flooding at Norton Grange

Km 29: approaching Castleton
Km 29.5: Sustrans people near Castleton

Km 30: my route encountered over 30 locks; it would be slower by boat!

Km 30.5: water management, a feature of the entire route, at lock 51

Km 30.5: Arrow Mill

Km 31.5: the final section to Rochdale really doesn't look as rural as this on the map

Km 33: at Rochdale Metrolink - for a one and a quarter hour ride back to Timperley

Here’s the route, virtually entirely off road for a little over 33 km, with around 200 metres gentle ascent up thirty odd locks on the Rochdale Canal. It took me about 4.5 hours, plus an hour with Alan and Sheila. A good workout!

Click on map for better resolution

Thursday 21 March 2019

Monday 18 March 2019 – The Aire Valley Jazz Band at Eagley Jazz Club

Another entertaining evening at Eagley Jazz Club, where we were pleased to be joined by Paul and Julie after mentioning this to them on Saturday.The Aire Valley Jazz Band is one that failed to appear in January, thanks to a malfunction of the M62 motorway, but I have seen them before.
One of the highlights of the band’s performances is Rod McNamara’s exploits with his drums. He recalls… 
"I began playing some sort of drums - knitting needles as sticks and tin cans as drums at age 7. I swapped this interesting collection for a drum kit when I was thirteen and got to deputise at a local Working Mens Club. There was no recycling then so the needles and cans went on the local tip.”
Here he is with one of his drum solos.
Click on image for better resolution and slideshow
Great fun – can’t wait to see the Savannah Jazz Band here on 1 April.

Wednesday 20 March 2019

Saturday 16 March 2019 – Another ex TDHHC Reunion

Target practice in the Peak District

I originally headed this posting with a picture of ‘The Mad Ones’ after completing the Bogle Stroll in 1981. Then I found a magnificent diary entry on that event by Nick – all of 42 pages of a small notebook! – so I’ve postponed that entry in favour of a few older images that may bring back memories to some of the 14 old friends who turned up at our house for a mini ‘tea and cake’ reunion on Saturday afternoon, following the get together we enjoyed on 6 November last year.
All my ex-UMIST/TDHHC postings can be found here. I’ll be adding entries that cover a banquet, and the above-mentioned Bogle Stroll.

Thanks again, to the following who took the trouble to turn up on Saturday. Our kitchen has never been so full!

Linda, Gary, Paul and Julie, Dave and Margaret, Rob and Brenda, Ian and Rona, and Dave and Calla. And it was lovely to see Paul and Julie again at Eagley Jazz Club on Monday evening. We hope you enjoyed that.

More memories below, and a forgotten name ‘Linda Spencer’ to relate to the picture above…. I’m afraid I can’t name everyone on these photos, but if you look at them for long enough, some names come back. Where are they all now?

From a Lake District weekend, perhaps in the Langdale Valley

Well, three of them were at our house on Saturday, and I’m in touch with about five more of those in the above 1970s pictures.

Tuesday 19 March 2019

Saturday 16 March 2019 – ‘Landmarks’ at Wythenshawe parkrun Number 382

‘Landmark’ parkruns come in multiples of 50. On this occasion there were six such landmarks, including Barbara Wright and Katie Reece’s 250th runs, and Martha and I, pictured above at the finish, both joined the ‘200’ club. So there was lots of cake.

The run took place in a deluge. I was going to insert the word ‘sadly’ in that last sentence, but our trot around the ‘flag and sandcastle’ course was actually good fun. We splashed around in modest times, and much to my surprise my son Mike turned up to amble along with his dad for a while.

The café has reopened with some posher furniture. It has lost some of its rustic ambience, but the staff seem happy. Most people went straight home, but some of us battled hypothermia and enjoyed a post run drink/chat and attempted to finish the brownies. Then we tried to dry and sort the finish tokens. Not a huge job, as only 147 runners turned up, many being put off by the rain. On a fine day around 300 would have been expected.

I can confirm that all those pictured above were completely sodden.

The results, for what they are worth, are here. Surprisingly there were several people doing their first ever parkrun, and one lady on her 109th outing managed a personal best!

Monday 18 March 2019

Friday 15 March 2019 – A Walk in the Mersey Valley

Click on this and other images for improved resolution and slideshow

Last Friday morning's walk found just me and Paul S meeting at Stockport station. By the time I'd collected some tickets for a future 'mission' it was 10.30.
We ambled down to the fuller than usual River Mersey that accompanied us on and off until we reached Jackson’s Boat Bridge, near Sale Water Park. The first few km were spent on the familiar paths of the Trans Pennine Trail (TPT), albeit at a slower pace and in the opposite direction to our usual cycling route. Thus we had time to pause by some of the well maintained information boards that have been placed at regular intervals in the Mersey valley.

One of these information boards, from Kings Reach Bridleway where the above picture was taken, mentions the sandstone caves pictured across the river. These man made caves are thought to date from about 1670, in the days of Charles II after the fall of Cromwell. There must have been quite a bit of digging around at that time, as it’s the year in which rock salt was discovered in Northwich. The main section of these Stockport caves comprises seven arches and various nooks and crannies. The caves were further excavated before WW2 for use as civilian air raid shelters. Work on these started in 1938 and the first set of shelters was opened in October 1939. Quite timely, as Stockport was bombed in 1940. They are now sealed up and left as they were when in use, with benches and bunk beds intact.

After passing under the M60 motorway, the TPT takes a break from the long loops of the Mersey by way of a shortcut through Didsbury. The route is punctuated by National Cycle Network signs, some of which date from before the TPT was opened in 2001. These signs are clearly being well maintained – see the next two pictures – and I believe that quite a lot of money has been put aside for the improvement of cycleways in the Mersey valley.

Paul and I re-joined the riverside path after wandering through Didsbury. We took care not to take an attractive looking (on the map) short cut across a golf course. JJ and I will both remember the day we tried that and emerged from the footpath that passes under the motorway at SJ 834 902. We got very wet!

This stretch of the Mersey is home to cormorants and goosanders. At least, it was today. Kingfishers also live around here, together with a variety of ducks, geese and herons, etc, that also enjoy the environs of Chorlton and Sale Water Parks.

We left the Mersey again, at the point pictured below, to take a short cut through Northenden on unfamiliar paths, before returning to the river by Chorlton Water Park.

The weir in Northenden may be roughly the place where local landowner William Tatton was drowned in 1616, perhaps on his way home from a night out in Manchester, leaving his large Wythenshawe estate to his ten year old heir, Robert. But that’s another story… The weir wouldn’t have been there then, as the weirs on the Mersey weren’t constructed until the late 1700s, when mill owners built them to provide power for their nearby spinning machines. I'm not sure whether the parakeets we saw here today would have been there until fairly recently!

Paul and I concluded our walk by strolling around Chorlton Water Park, then beside the river to Jackson’s Boat Bridge, from where a pleasant path leads to Sale Water Park and a footbridge across the M60 motorway, which is 10+ lanes at this point. After that I found some footpaths through the ginnels of Sale that I’d not been on before!

Here’s our route to Sale Metrolink station – about 17 km with minimal ascent, taking around three hours.

Click on image for better resolution

I’m not planning a walk for next Friday, but I hope to see a few people on 29 March, if the world doesn’t end on that day – here’s the flier:

Friday 29 March
Around Winwick. Meet at The Swan in Winwick Village (SJ 605 928), at 10 am for a 9 km bimble. M62 jnc 9, then north to a roundabout where you continue towards Newton-le-Willows on the A49. After a few metres bear right into Golborne Road in front of Winwick church, and the pub car park is on the right. Use the top car park.