It's over three months since we were last on a 'summit'. So last night's stroll up Shutlingsloe with Alastair was a welcome benefit from the relaxation of Lockdown.
That was a few days after a 'mercy mission' to Bacup, where some frozen provisions were provided for Kate and Jessica and Jacob, who need all the help they can get just now. We hope you enjoy the lasagne.
Earlier in the week, my routine hour on the bike on local roads was somewhat blighted by the increase in traffic arising from Lockdown relaxation. So I switched to an off-road route in the hope that the crowds along the towpath have now taken to their cars. The towpath to the Bay Malton was in fact fairly clear. I paused to take an up to date picture of the Linotype Works development that I hadn't passed for several months.
On the sunny morning, the canal as it passes by Altrincham looks very pretty at this time of year.
Beyond the Bay Malton, a rough track through woods leads to the Trans Pennine Trail (TPT), and this view.
Following the TPT past our recycling depot, the track leads to the edge of Carrington Moss, and a pause for the following three pictures.
This area has, I think, been earmarked for a massive housing development, which will be a shame.
I followed the TPT as far as the Banky Meadow loop around Ashton-on-Mersey's RUFC facility, before returning via West Sale.
This section of woodland is very close to a road, but nobody seems to be bothered by this particular abandoned relic.
West Sale is the home of The Brigadier, near where there's a proposed development of 263 homes on 'underused land' (aka 'a wonderful green space'). What a shame.
So that's an acceptable 20+km route, mainly off-road, to replace the one I've been spending an hour on nearly every day for the past three months. I won't miss the latter, but hopefully it has kept me 'bike fit' and I hope shortly to try some longer rides. Armed with flask and cake!
The picture at the head of this posting shows Al and Sue atop Shutlingsloe, which we ascended from Trentabank on our usual route - less than 6 km up and down, with 220 metres ascent.
Having reached the top, on what can only be described as a perfect evening, cold beers were most welcome. I'm so glad we brought them.
There were other people around, but everyone was carefully 'social distancing' unlike those on some of the UK's beaches.
The air was clear, and we enjoyed good views in all directions, this one towards the Roaches.
As the hill's shadow slowly encroached over Wildboarclough, we could see beyond that to the Cat & Fiddle pub (below - top left). We have been dismayed by the fact that this iconic hostelry has been closed for several years. It is therefore somewhat of a surprise to discover that under Lockdown it has re-opened as a purveyor of gin, courtesy of Wincle Brewery in Danebridge. Coffees etc are also available on a take out basis. I'll visit on the bike very soon.
We reluctantly dragged ourselves away from the summit, and enjoyed some wonderful evening light on the return to Trentabank.
Soon after these pictures were take, we were stalked by a tawny owl, who for a while perched in the fork of two branches, studiously following our progress.
Three members of our six-strong party had failed to make it due to last minute commitments, so we hope to do this again soon, though we won't beat tonight's conditions.
Meanwhile, one of our favourite activities, parkrun, has got fed up with its participants not recording their runs, so we can now record one (not)parkrun every day. So Thursday's (not)parkrun took me 1:39:05, my slowest yet. Today I devised a pleasant circuit from home that took me only 37:53. Much better, considering I'm crocked from a long term running injury, and from a dead leg incurred when I carelessly fell off my bike yesterday!