Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Saturday 13 June 2020

12 June 2010 - Dunham Massey

Another Lockdown week goes past. We enjoyed our 13th parkrun quiz this morning, so that's a quarter of a year with no parkrun and no lots of other things.
But people are doing a bit more, so the return to a more normal life will slowly pick up pace from now on, we hope.
Looking for 'content' for today's posting, I decided to insert a picture from exactly ten years ago. The closest I could get was 12 June, shortly after our return from a lovely break in Mallorca with the Roberts family.
We were at Dunham Massey, which today probably looks very similar to this ten year old image.
Meanwhile, at home we sadly don't have any swifts this year, and we have struggled with the raucous racket of the local magpies, who seem to be flourishing. But just now, pride of place has to be given to the house sparrows, whose nests under our neighbour's eaves seem to be producing hordes of cheerful fledglings. They all look very well fed, airworthy and clean after dunking themselves in next door's bird bath, so hopefully a good number will look after themselves and survive. Their chatty demeanour makes a very pleasant change from the magpies!
Here's my best effort for today. Our south facing garden isn't amenable to taking pictures of sparrows perched in trees with the sun directly behind them!

Friday 12 June 2020

TGO Challenge - Wild Camps (No 11: 11 May 2008)

From the Cluanie Inn, Sue and I strolled into Glen Affric and spent an hour with Steve, the warden at Alltbeithe SYHA. There were no other Challengers around - Steve reckoned they had all gone through earlier.
Despite the cloud being down, we then took the route north, up to a flattish area at Coire na Cloiche, at around 700 metres.
The top picture was taken at dinner time after we had returned to the tent from the Affric ridge, where we visited Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan, the very top of which was just about above the cloud. Finding the tent on the way back could have been tricky!
The following morning the tent was still in the cloud, as it had been since when we arrived the previous afternoon.
However, as soon as we reached the ridge, just a few metres above us, we had risen above the cloud and we enjoyed some lovely inversions from An Socach and beyond.

Thursday 11 June 2020

New Year's Day - 1990 - The Old Man of Coniston

Ascending on the Church Beck path
In years past, we observed the tradition of a good walk on New Year's Day. These days I do a parkrun (or two) instead.
In 1990, Dave, Laurie and I met up with my old UMIST contemporaries, Jim and Cath, and their daughter Ruth and her boyfriend Paul. I took just four (terrible) pictures. They all feature in this posting and they may take the title of the worst pictures in a single posting, though some of the 'family' pictures I'm circulating privately at present would give them a run for their money!
I can identify Jim from his gait in the above picture. He is in red.
Here's the diary entry:
"Hurry up to Coniston after a late (8:45) start. Stop at Forton (9:40) for relief, especially for Dave, who had too much wine last night. Got to the Car Park [presumably the village centre] by 10:30 after a speedy journey that had Laurie's tum churning (too much wine).
Jim, Cath, Ruth and Paul joined us for the direct ascent of The Old Man of Coniston. It was a gloomy day, but the Goldcrests and the Tree Creepers seemed happy enough.
The final section to the summit was very icy. Jim's party had crampons. The rest of us managed without, as did a school party that we found on the summit. Self-timed pictures were taken, but there was no view.
Self-timed: L to R - Ruth, Jim, Martin, Laurie, Paul and Dave
Laurie on the cairn, Ruth and Jim with the flag from their pirate ship

We continued along the ridge to Brim Fell. The ice wasn't too bad. Then on to Swirl How and down to Swirl Hause and back past Levers Water.

Getting gloomy [as we looked back from the path approaching Coniston village].
Tea at 4 pm. We had hoped to be home by 5 pm to cook tea (Christine, Alan, Maggie, Roy) but made it by 7 due to slow traffic, and had a nice evening."

Wednesday 10 June 2020

Wednesday 10 June 2020 - A Walk around Timperley and Stretford

This route from home is shown at the end of the posting. Click on any image for a slideshow.
After Monday's successful outing with Graeme, I decided to attempt a socially distanced walk from home. The fact that it was a rare showery day meant that not too many folk should be encountered. And so it was - I didn't feel under threat, there was nothing that needed to be touched (other than Darryl's fish), and I had the pleasure of Sue's company.
We took a familiar route to the recycling depot (surprisingly quiet - no queue), then turned right along the Trans Pennine Trail (TPT). There was nobody around. A right turn took us down a path that I'd not been on before. Sue is pictured on it above. The cycle path is much wider, but the narrowness of this one didn't matter as there was no sign of anyone other than the odd fox, and the constantly chirping birds, including small warblers, probably willow warblers, that we don't see in our garden, which is currently the home of house sparrows and goldfinches.
We were soon back on the TPT, which we followed all the way to the canal, crossing the Mersey where there's a weir that requires canoeists to take advantage of a portage facility to negotiate the steep banks of the river. 

Our route then followed the Mersey for a while. I hadn't noticed the 'Coming Soon, Riverbank Coffee' sign before. This would be a good site for a café as the riverside path is heavily used, and there are no other facilities nearby. Presumably it is the subject of a Covid 19 delay.
The next obstacle was the M60 motorway. From this mid-morning view of the ten lanes that this well designed footbridge crosses, it is evident that 'traffic' is far from 'normal'.
A single graceful 'tower' at one end of the footbridge seems to house all the necessary wires needed to maintain the structure.
Pleasant paths lead past Stretford Meadows, then under the A56 main road, to join the Bridgewater Canal near the Watch House Cruising base. The drizzle meant that the towpath wasn't too busy, and social distancing was ok.
We stopped off in Sale to visit Darryl's fish emporium, and stocked up with trout, salmon, squid and anchovies. The scallops were very tempting... next time, when we have some black pudding to go with them!
The towpath is home to many flowers at present, including water lilies (on the canal) and orchids. I suspect these are the Common Spotted variety.
Here are two screen dumps of our route, first the 'Garmin' route following download from my Forerunner 35, and secondly the Anquet route following export/import of the .gpx file produced by the Garmin gadget. I'm still wrestling with the latest Anquet software, so there are no waypoints here (the route starts from the very bottom of the image), nor are there kilometre markers, and the track is light blue. The software is far from intuitive, but the maps are up to date.
So that was about 16 km, with minimal ascent, in a little over 2.5 hours. Very satisfying.

Tuesday 9 June 2020

TGO Challenge - Wild Camps (No 10: 9 May 2008)

In 2008, Sue joined me on the Challenge. We started from Shiel Bridge and used the Hilleberg Nallo2 tent that had performed so well on our HRP trip in 2004.
We had an easy first day, bagging the Corbett - Sgurr a'Bhac Chaolais (885m) and a Munro - Creag nan Damh (918m), before setting up camp at NG986111 (755 metres).
We carried two pans in those days. Here, one of them is on the stove, whilst Sue is perfecting her Angel Delight dessert in the other.
After a comfortable we woke to mist, but it soon cleared, giving us another fairly easy day over the rest of the South Kintail ridge, finishing up at the Cluanie Inn.

Monday 8 June 2020

Monday 8 June 2020 - A Walk around Wilmslow

My last walk was on 18 March, with Graeme and Andrew.
Since then I've been 'Locked Down'. I recently received an invitation from Graeme, to join him for a walk from his door, which is closer to countryside than our door in Timperley. I was in two minds whether to accept, but I did, and we enjoyed a socially distanced couple of hours' stroll on some wide tracks and lanes from his house in Wilmslow.
I was surprised to see a game of cricket in full flow, though the action was fairly statuesque.
The alpacas are used to being mobbed by family visits, but today the schools are back. On my earlier bike ride the presence of 'Lollipop' people was very evident, though I didn't see any children!
I conclude from this picture that horses don't eat buttercups, but alpacas probably do eat them.
The Plough and Flail certainly wasn't open, but happily - nor was it wasn't boarded up.
Towards the end of the walk, Graeme pointed out this rather splendid barn at Lindow.
Here's our 8 km, satisfactory for social distancing, route. It was a pleasure to be out for a walk. Thanks Graeme. 

Sunday 7 June 2020

TGO Challenge - Wild Camps (No 9: 22 May 2007)

This was the ninth and final wild camp on my first TGO Challenge in 2007. Instead of following the masses down to Tarfside from Mount Keen, I headed east towards Mount Battock. A few km short of that landmark, I stopped, as planned, near the top of the Fungle Road, setting up camp on tussocky ground at about NO504862, facing north.
Suffice to say, the site was 'adequate', and once I sorted out a comfortable position I got a good night's sleep, before waking at 6:30 and spending a good hour catching up with my diary.
I suspect that nine is the most wild camps I've had on any of my 'Challenges'. All good spots.