Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Saturday 25 January 2020

Friday 24 January 2020 - Irlam and the Mosses

The last of my current series of Friday morning walks was due to start from Irlam Station, but Paul and I couldn't find any satisfactory parking there, and with nobody else expected on the walk we took the risk of driving round to the small car park at New Moss Wood (SJ 703 933).
The mizzle eased as we strolled up the lane by Cadishead Moss, along the route of the Salford Trail.
The fields looked lush with winter greens.
After crossing the M62, the path went past Ringing Pits Farm, then through woodland teeming with birds.
The peat beds of Great Woolden Moss and Little Woolden Moss were soon reached. The path around the mosses remains in good condition, but the willow arch seen in 2017 has been destroyed.
This frog dates from when the path was built a few years ago.
The mosses are being preserved, and form a nature reserve that's really close to the industrial sites of Greater Manchester. Lots of bird watching opportunities here.
Our path turned towards Moss Lodge Farm and Red House Farm, where discarded tractors litter the countryside.
Before reaching Glazebury, and the site of the first 'inter city' railway in 1830, we turned, still on the Salford Trail, to follow Glaze Brook in a southerly direction, enjoying a tea and cake break before passing Little Woolden Hall and reaching the Keeper's Cottage, in front of which is a carpet of budding snowdrops. This entire stretch is full of birds - we saw redwings, tits, a great spotted woodpecker, blackcap, and many more.
These places, through which the M62 motorway now carves, are full of history, with Great Woolden Hall soon being passed beyond the motorway.
We followed the Glazebrook Trail/Salford Trail routes, leaving them just after going under a railway. We then took a mildly incorrect turn down a pleasant stretch of dismantled railway as far as Liverpool Road, to which we descended through a hole in the fence.
Irlam station beckoned. In my haste to grab coffees and scones I forgot to take a photo, so here's one from 2017. The renovated station is a fine licensed café, with good food being served.
Outside, this old engine has been lovingly restored. The whole place is a museum piece. Worth a visit if you haven't been there.
Nearby, not everywhere is as prosperous.
An easy 2 km walk back to the car completed this 15 km circuit that took us three hours plus stops.
Here's the route:
Thanks for your company, Paul - I hope you enjoyed this 'new' location that is really close to home.
I've been here before, and indeed have reported in much greater detail that doesn't warrant being repeated today. Those reports can be found here:

Friday 24 January 2020

The TGO Challenge - Vetting Days (12)

The most southerly starting point for the Challenge used to be The Grey Gull Inn at Ardrishaig. Sue is pictured here before our 2012 start. She is carrying all her luggage - a bum bag - hence looking so cheerful.

Recently, an additional, even more southerly, start point has been added - Portavadie Marina. I'm currently vetting a route that utilises that start point and sets off along the route of the Cowal Way. It looks very good; perhaps we'll start from there next year.

Thursday 23 January 2020

The TGO Challenge - Vetting Days (11)

Today I've been vetting a route that follows the Rob Roy Way from Kenmore to Aberfeldy. That means the Challengers concerned will be able to enjoy the delights of the Birks of Aberfeldy, a series of small waterfalls in a beautiful wooded area above the town.
They are in for a treat!

Wednesday 22 January 2020

The TGO Challenge - Vetting Days (10)

Here I am, on 17 May 2009, on the suspension bridge by Tarf Falls, which we found a little disappointing.
The trigger for this image is a route I'm currently vetting, on which the Challengers plan to cross Allt Garbh Buidhe here, en route from Tarf Water to Fealar Lodge. They may have to paddle across, just beyond the bridge. Sue and I must have done that in 2009, though my diary simply states "from the falls a pleasant path led over to Fealar Lodge".

Tuesday 21 January 2020

Center Parcs - Sherwood Forest - 17 to 20 January 2020

Here are just a few pictures from our weekend sojourn at Center Parcs in Sherwood Forest.
We had house/chalet number 889 again, reached by foot, bike or (in Louise's case) invalid carriage, down pretty pathways and past some relatively new buildings that have resulted in the golf range being turned into a family crazy golf course.
On Friday night, we assembled in the sauna, and adjourned (when the beer bottles got too hot) for Gerry and Chris's excellent 'spag bol', before a 'slide show' of last year's canal trip and other stuff.
Stuart, Lyn, Louise, Gerry, Chris, Robert and Sue.
On Saturday morning I went on a nearby 5 km parkrun, on which I've already reported. It was a lovely morning, as I took a finishing line picture before heading back to base.
The lake was glittering in the sunshine as I walked past.
There's a new 'ride' in the pool area - here it is, wisely positioned just above a building that houses the medical centre.
The afternoon was spent on a variety of different courts, of which only badminton is pictured below.
Whilst most of us adjourned to table tennis, Chris struggled up a climbing wall.
Captions please?
The exercises concluded with a marathon game of floodlit tennis, in which it took Sue and Robert the entire hour to beat me and Stuart (both cripples) by 10 games to 8. Then it was back to the sauna, and a chicken meal from Louise.
Sunday started with an hour and a half of squash, which five of us managed to enjoy without getting too shattered.
Nearby, Greylag and Egyptian Geese pottered about expectantly.
Later, the short tennis (indoors with a soft ball on a badminton court) was interrupted by a visit to some owls.
Did you know that a barn owl, without its feathers, is no bigger than a blackbird?
Owls from Africa and Mexico were passed around, then the barn owl, then the European Eagle Owl pictured below.
This fine fellow can live between 30 and 40 years in the wild, and 40 to 50 years in captivity. This one is about 18 years old. They are breeding successfully in the UK, in particular on the Yorkshire Moors and in the Yorkshire Dales, according to their 'dad'.
Goulash followed more sauna, then we enjoyed 'Lyn's Log' - a documentary about a canal crew in the Stratford area.
Monday morning saw more table tennis, swimming, etc, before everyone hobbled away for a bit of recovery time before their next bout of exercise.

Monday 20 January 2020

Monday 20 January 2020 - The Wabash Jazzmen at Eagley Jazz Club

We've seen this band a few times, but today the clarinet was in the hands of Eric Newton, who we last saw giving a presentation about his interesting life to SWOG members in October 2018.

Pictured on the left in the picture, Eric tells us he is still available to give talks about his life and times.

Another excellent Monday evening jazz night, with the added bonus of a winning raffle ticket for the second time running!

Sunday 19 January 2020

Center Parcs 2019 (2)

Some more photos may follow, but suffice to say we have enjoyed a variety of activities ranging from basket weaving to rock climbing, with lots of games involving balls of miscellaneous sizes in between. (Pool, tennis, badminton, short tennis, table tennis, etc.) As well as other stuff involving owls, gyms, cricket, football, slide shows, and the sauna that's attached to the chalet.