Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Saturday 15 June 2019

Saturday 15 June 2019 - Wythenshawe parkrun number 395

Another Saturday, another parkrun...

All went well for the 329 participants until somebody dropped the finish tokens after about 120 had finished. The finish funnel got somewhat congested for a while...

On a morning that was ideal for running, Sue and I managed to lead our respective age groups home, though in order for her time to be recorded, Sue had to rush home to collect her barcode before the results were processed. She just managed that despite a slow puncture hindering her progress.

A very pleasant time was had outside the Courtyard Tearoom, before we pedalled off homeward.

The pictures show a bit of parkrun routine:
Tris, today's run director, addresses the masses
Milling around at the start
Sorting the finish tokens into order for next week
Watching the results being (very efficiently) processed
Coffee and cake time

Full results are here.

Friday 14 June 2019 - A Sandstone Trail Amble

Rain was forecast. Again. Just Paul S and I braved the predicted Armageddon. It hit whilst we were travelling along the M56 motorway. By the time we reached the Sandstone Trail car park in Simon's Lane the weather had cleared and we were threatened with sunshine. There were then clear views from Woodhouse Hill to the Welsh hills, Helsby (above) and the lumps and spires of Liverpool.
We followed the Sandstone Trail's signposted route over undulating, slithery ground, coming across this serene pond, occupied by moorhens.

We continued along this excellent trail as far as Simmond's Hill. This section of the trail struggles to hug the escarpment, but does pass through pleasant woodland.

Leaving the Sandstone Trail, we headed towards Manley Old Hall, past newly seeded fields.

A large aircraft appeared overhead. Paul reckoned that it was coming to collect aircraft wings destined for plane assembly on the continent.

A 'permissive path' around Manley Old Hall preserved the inmates' privacy, but we'd have been better to follow the normal signed path, thereby avoiding some of the slurry.
A field path was wisely taken to avoid a slurried track leading north from the farm, then the section to the west of Crabtree Farm was along a path that hadn't been walked for a while. It goes through the centre of the next picture, to a decomposing footbridge under the trees.

We muscled our way through nettles and brambles to a better surface at SJ 503 732, where we enjoyed a tea break and met an elderly lady coming in the other direction. She was doing a recce for a walk on Sunday. Good luck on battling your way through that jungle, madam!
After turning left at the next minor road, we joined the Longster Trail, which we accidentally deserted due to the attractions of the field path shown below.

Those with a nervous disposition should be discouraged from following our 'field' route to Alderhall. It comes with warnings of deep holes on steep ground filled by head high nettles, brambles and Balsam. We survived, though others may prefer to take the lane.
We'd been on the North Cheshire Way trail for a while. It was now on easy ground beneath the arboretum in Foxhill Wood. The path headed north, slowly rising and circling above Frodsham, eventually joining the Sandstone Trail path from its starting point in Frodsham.
The wet weather has encouraged the fungi. This one may be edible, but as it resembles (or actually is) Sulphur Tuft, we won't be trying it. Previously classed as 'inedible', it is now officially 'poisonous'.

The path emerges at a war memorial that enjoys a fine view towards Liverpool, with clear views of the bridges over the Mersey in Runcorn, and many other landmarks, including Billinge Hill and Winter Hill.

A short stroll from the memorial, past a large hotel by a golf club, saw us back at Paul's car after a 13.7km walk, with over 300 metres ascent, taking us three and a half hours. Here's the route.

As usual, clicking on the images will produce a better resolution version and access to a slideshow, although given my new method of loading the pictures, they may not be as blurry as over the past few months since Open Live Writer failed to work.
Next Friday it's The Old Man of Coniston, leaving Timperley at 7.30 if you would like a lift, and leaving the Walna Scar Road car park at 10.30 or earlier, returning to Manchester by early evening. It would be helpful if you could let us know if you are coming.

Friday 14 June 2019

Wednesday 12 June 2019 - An Evening Stroll Around Marple Bridge

This week's SWOG evening walk was attended by over twenty folk who arrived well equipped to withstand the forecast deluge that Sue had avoided by choosing bell ringing as her activity for tonight. However, as usual, the rain ceased at Jack's command. Setting off on an unfamiliar path from behind the Midland, we soon passed the equipment used to rescue folk who fall off the narrow path into the River Goyt.
A little further on, 'The Garden House' appears to be a playground for small children.

"They spit", I was told.

Near the above plaque is an information board with a picture of the old house that stood here, and the plans for a new building.

Down the road, the remains of Mellor Mill, that I presume was owned by Samuel Oldknow, have been further restored since our previous visits (see here). Previously only the huge wheelhouse had been excavated.

We then climbed around the back of Roman Lakes, up Linnet Clough, past some rather muddy mountain bikers (it's a great descent), to the golf club and scout camp. Here, Baden Powell looks across the camp, bewildered, to a 'Cube' that today's scouts use for their Adventure Training. (My photo of the Cube wasn't good enough to reproduce here, but it does look a rather daunting piece of equipment. It wasn't in use, tonight's scouts preferring a game of football.)

On another path that I'd not been on before, Jack led us through the camp along some narrow paths and stiles that both old and young codgers found time consuming to negotiate, culminating with a climb through a field to Mellor Church.

There were good views back to the Cheshire countryside, with the tall buildings of Greater Manchester just visible in the background.
"I could do with a good long sleep here", commented Howard.

We thought his choice of bed wasn't really appropriate, so he was offered the twelfth century vicarage at the back of the church.

The rest of us marched back down the hill on a different path.

The pace increased, and as usual it was the fittest rather than the thirstiest who were first to the bar, where nearly all those on the walk squeezed into a cosy alcove with their rehydration fluid of choice.
Here's the route - 6.5km with about 200 metres ascent. It took us two hours, including breaks at the Garden House and the Mill, and slow going over the stiles.

Readers can click on the images for a higher resolution version and slideshow, but hopefully these images are a little better than those of late, thanks to the 'processing' changes referred to in the last posting.

Test - Wednesday evening's route, and destination

I'm trying to find an antidote to the blurry image problem. Bear with me whilst I carry out a few tests over the next few days.
These images were loaded at full size, directly into 'Blogger'.

That sort of works, at a default 'large' width of 400px. Now let's load them again and change the width to 550px, which is the size I use for the blog postings.

I don't think that works. I'm off out for a walk. Will continue this later.
Let's try changing the setting to extra large - 640px

Brilliant! But that's too wide for my blog template. Lets try setting the picture size at x-large (640px) then adjusting the size to 550px in HTML:

That seems to work. Now lets try with 'Saved for web' images of about 200Kb, rather than with full size images:

That looks acceptable. So I need to go through old postings and change the picture settings, and for new postings pictures can be loaded at original size or at 'Save for web' size, set at x-large, 640px, (or larger?), and then manually adjusted in HTML to the desired width/height, in this case a maximum width of 550px, to fit the Blogger template that is being used. Note the height also needs to be adjusted in HTML, eg a height of 400px would change to 343px on this basis (400 x 550/640).

I wish I'd tried this months ago!

Monday 10 June 2019

Monday 10 June 2019 – A Bike Ride to Bolton and Bury (60km)

On a lovely summer’s morning I set off with Sue at 8.45 from Timperley Bridge. Nobody else turned up, so I decided on an experimental route that links the route we take to Leigh with the one we take to Bury.

Sue turned back at the Barton swing bridge, whilst I continued to the lighthouse at Monton.

Turning onto the Worsley Loopline at the bridge after the lighthouse, this route followed the familiar trail towards Leigh.

However, at Roe Green I took the right hand track that leads all the way, along Sustrans route number 55, to Bolton. It’s mostly signposted, but there are gaps in the signage. The following sign removes the rider from the only stretch of road for miles – needed to negotiate the M61 motorway.

Picture taken from the same place, shows the track I headed down to an unsigned left turn towards Bolton.

As the centre of Bolton is approached, this off-road route 55 utilises what appear to be ancient rights of way that have escaped the ravages of housing.

I didn’t go into the centre of Bolton, this bridge near the station being as close as I got to it.

Just beyond the bridge, a right turn takes you as far as a left turn down Scholey Street. There’s a Starbucks here, about half way along the morning’s route.

After passing a police station the path crosses the A666 road. It’s completely enclosed in a cage, as is a further bridge over the River Tonge.

My route then turned right to reach Moses Gate Country Park in Darcy Lever. It was quite muddy after recent rain.

Once the busy A6053 road was crossed, I saved the muddy tracks for another time and headed steeply up to the left to reach the remains of the Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal, which at Nob End resembles a small lake.

Soon some portacabins for the Canal and River Trust were passed, and a ‘Meccano’ bridge was crossed, from which there’s a view down a series of crumbling locks that used to take people in the direction of Manchester. Apparently refreshments were available in a nearby large house that accommodated passengers whilst they waited for their transport to clear the locks.

The Meccano extends to a couple of picnic tables that on a fine day would be a much better option for a mid ride break than the Starbucks passed earlier.

We’ve seen teams of volunteers clearing the weed from this canal. They were busy doing that today, but these geese seemed to prefer the weed.

I left the canal at the point we join it on our Bury/Middleton route, descending to the River Irwell, and the bridge that requires bikes to be lifted over the bollards.

Then it’s the familiar route in reverse, Sustrans route 6 in very pleasant countryside.

Eventually, after a short section of road, this familiar bridge over the Irwell marks the first of several crossings of that river.

I took a wrong turn in Salford and muddled my way past the Science and Industry Museum to Castlefield and the Bridgewater Canal. Crossing Throstle Nest Bridge, I took this picture of a distant view of the current state of the Metrolink extension to the Trafford Centre.

Near the football ground in Old Trafford, this family of swans thought I had food for them.

Approaching Watch House Cruising Club in Stretford, my last picture of the morning attempted to capture the ambience of the towpath, with early purple orchids, oxeye daisies and the inevitable cyclist

Here’s my route – 60 km with about 300 metres ascent. It took me four and a half hours at a gentle pace – I was home by 1.15.

Click on any of these images for a better resolution picture/slideshow.