Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Saturday 6 April 2019

Friday 5 April 2019 – Around Kelsall

My current series of Friday morning walks (there will now be a break until June due to other commitments) concluded with this pleasant stroll in the Sandstone area around Kelsall, easily reached in 45 minutes from Timperley.
Rick and Paul S joined me on a cool, cloudy morning blessed with fine scenery and spring sprouting. We parked at the welcoming Boot Inn, and headed into the area known as Little Switzerland, aka Boothsdale, pictured above and below.

Up at the tree line in the picture above, we passed a busy Great Spotted Woodpecker and arrived at the site of Kelsborrow Castle, a Bronze Age fort, pictured and described on the information board below.

Click on the image for a better view.

The Bronze Age lasted from around 3300BC to 1200BC, so it covers quite some period! There are a good number of such forts in this area.

A little further on, King’s Gate was passed. This provides a reminder of the rigid forest boundaries that applied from 1070 (William the Conqueror) until the reign of Charles 1 (1625-49), during the period when the Norman earls, then the Crown, ruled the forest that extended across much of Cheshire.

The Sandstone Trail long-distance (34 miles) footpath was soon joined. This led us past the gallops of the present ‘squire’ one Michael Owen, perhaps known better for his footballing exploits for Liverpool and other teams, as well as for playing in the senior England team in 1998, becoming England's youngest player and youngest goalscorer at the time.

Taken from the same spot in the other direction, today’s Top Team…

After crossing the busy A54 road, we left the Sandstone Trail at the sign pictured below, and headed past Hangingstone Hill, where deer thieves were reputedly hanged from a stone, to reach the course of the Watling Street, the Roman road linking Chester with Manchester.

Salt was sent along the Roman road from Northwich to the garrison at Chester. It was paid for in ‘salarium’ (salt money) – the origin of the word ‘salary’.

We left this ancient way before reaching Eddisbury Hill, a site of Iron Age and later forts. After passing a village school built on land given for the purpose by Queen Victoria, we found our way across the A556 and the A54 roads and walked across more of Mr Owen’s estate, here seemingly dedicated to ‘eventing’, with lots of scary jumps for the horses.

The next photo looks back along our path, and the one below shows loads of jump paraphernalia littered inside a large area bounded by the traditional ‘gallops’.

We pressed on over the undulations of Harrow Hill, beside woodland and cooled by a strong head wind. A welcome break provided the opportunity to devour our provisions, including my last packet of Korean seaweed.

A couple that we had passed earlier were puzzling over their Sandstone Trail guidebook outside Tirley Farm. This is some distance from the Sandstone Trail. They hadn’t been concentrating. We walked with them until our turn past Tirley Garth, pointing them along Tirley Lane in the direction of their ‘lost’ trail.

At the entry to Tirley Garth is a rather sad building of interesting design. A sort of gate house that has been left to rot.

Our route took us past some interesting and exclusive property in the vicinity of Bentley Wood, after which we rose above the Cheshire plain, with good views towards Beeston and Peckforton.

On re-joining the Sandstone Trail, the nature of the footpath leads to no doubt about the suitability of the route’s name.

After a very pleasant, albeit uphill, section past Willington Wood and Black Firs, Tirley Lane was briefly revisited before we turned down another lane to return to Boothsdale.

Turning right up Gooseberry Lane, we passed a cottage that apparently incorporates stonework from an old chapel. It’s proudly dated, but neither 1061 nor 1901 seems likely!

The Boot Inn served us with coffee before we dispersed. The inn was built as a dwelling house in 1815, and was acquired by Greenall Whitley in 1913. It’s currently both smart and welcoming, and if we’d had more time we would have enjoyed lunch here.

Here’s the route – 14 km with about 300 metres ascent. It took us about three hours at a respectable pace. Next time I’ll make time for lunch at the pub, and maybe park at one of the free parking spaces that we passed along the route.

The route was adapted from one in Jen Darling’s excellent book, ‘More Pub Walks in Cheshire and Wirral’.

Thursday 4 April 2019

Monday 1 April 2019 – A Pennington Flash Loop

This is a third time on this route, so I’ll be brief. The first, on 22 October 2019,  is recorded here, and the second, on 29 October 2018, is here.

On a cool, overcast, April morning, Sue, Al, Richard and I set off at 8.45 from Timperley Bridge. We followed the route previously described – canal to Worsley, Loopline and busway to Leigh, then canal to the Flash, where Richard and Al enjoyed baskets of chips, covered in tomato sauce, from a local kiosk. Sue had turned back at Worsley, she was inadequately dressed for the cool morning.

Still in need of an off road alternative, some relatively quiet roads saw us to The Mucky Mountains.

If you click on the following image, you should be able to make out some of their interesting industrial history from the information board.

Richard and Al studied the information presented, before we all headed off along the Sankey Valley to join the Trans Pennine Trail (drinks stop in the memorial forest), which we followed all the way back to the Bay Malton…. via a minor diversion to LD24 café in Stockton Heath, where coffee and cake were offered as an alternative to chips.

We were home from the 45 mile ride by 2.30 pm, despite three stops en route. Another pleasurable outing. Thanks for your company, folks.

Wednesday 3 April 2019

Marathon Number 4

Hopefully the conditions will be better than they were near Ottawa in February, where I’m pictured above on the 5 km Kanata parkrun! Brrr.

I’ve entered the Manchester Marathon for the second year, by way of my annual fundraising for Levana School Partnership, a small charity that supports a couple of township schools in Cape Town. Every penny raised makes a difference. My JustGiving site is here.

Many thanks to those who have already donated to this worthy (one of many, I know) cause.

My target time for the 26 miles (42 km) is five hours, though a knee problem might affect that, as well as forcing me to restrict my training to little more than the weekly 5 km parkruns that Sue and I enjoy.

That’s all for now, I need some rest!, so I hope to see some more donations, and I’ll report back on Monday.

PS If anyone does want to follow my progress, I understand that may be done through the Marathon’s website. My number is 16667.

Tuesday 2 April 2019

Saturday 30 March 2019 – Skating at Altrincham

Click on this or any other image for better resolution and slideshow

We had the pleasure of the company of Jacob and Jessica for the day. Two grandmas, a polar bear and a penguin ventured onto Altrincham ice rink with them, whilst I took a few ‘phone snaps from a distant balcony, so apologies for the poor image quality.

Having said that, this posting will only be of interest to immediate family members, so don’t feel obliged to continue reading…

Jacob soon got the hang of hanging on to the polar bear, though the bear got away from him more than he would have liked, resulting in a fair number of ‘splats’.

Jessica was more cautious.

Jess eventually traded in her penguin for a faster polar bear, before joining grandad on the balcony. (Grandad was craftily avoiding doing anything that would risk further damage to his knees.)

Here, Grandma Whoosh is about to save Jess from crashing into Grandma Sue, whilst Jacob has made a bid for freedom.

Freedom comes before a fall. Splat! One of many.

After every ‘splat’ was a short period of recuperation, then he was up and running again, with Grandma Sue splatting from time to time as well, sadly missed by the camera.

Despite going round with her eyes shut, Grandma Whoosh managed to stay mainly upright!

Soon the other skaters learnt that there were certain people who warranted a wide berth.

The polar bear was finally discarded and Jacob whizzed around for a while, unaided apart from the effects of gravity.

“Poor mite” soothed the Grandmas, back at base, “wrap some frozen peas around those knees, or your mum will think you’re going to lay eggs through your kneecaps!”

Then Mike and Sarah came and everyone except Grandad, who was confined to the kitchen, went to play ‘tree frisbee’ (involving some tree climbing by Uncle Mike) in the park.

What a lovely day. Come again soon, everyone.

PS There's a Flickr slideshow here.

Sunday 31 March 2019

Saturday 30 March 2019 – Wythenshawe parkrun 384, and Jacob’s first 5km at Burnley

Back at Wythenshawe, after touring in Hull last week. Today’s conditions were in complete contrast to the rain we endured here a fortnight ago, and the attendance more than doubled from then. We were happy to mill around at the start in the warm weather before Dan’s briefing for the normal course.
Today was the auspicious occasion of fellow veteran Michael’s 300th parkrun. He still doesn’t have a readily legible barcode; as you can see below, he is holding up the queue for scanning, with Jan – a few paces back – getting desperate for his post run coffee, cake and croissants (thanks to the various donors of these goodies, especially the chocolate croissants).

Norma wrestled with Michael’s duff barcode, whilst he showed off his exclusively designed ‘300’ tabbard. I’ll be following that around many times in the future as Michael usually outpaces me with ease.

Full results here.

Meanwhile, up at Burnley, seven year old Jacob was doing his first ever 5 km run – Burnley parkrun number 348. He finished in a creditable 31.34, some way ahead of his mum. Coming 278 out of 412 participants, he was still full of beans when he arrived in Timperley a little later. Well done Jacob. Full results here.

We topped him up with some more beans and a few pancakes.

Click on the image to see a more legible version!
I think Jacob, unlike some of us, can expect a good number of PBs in the future…