Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Saturday 27 June 2020

TGO Challenge - Wild Camps (No 15: 19 May 2008)

For our sixth and final wild camp of the 2008 Challenge, Sue and I found this secluded spot by Allt Darrarie (NO319837) at about 550 metres, after a great day on the Lochnagar summits. Ann and Alvar Thorn had suggested the spot; Colin Tock was sceptical. The former were rewarded with a few pieces of chocolate caramel shortbread left for them by Sue on Carn an t-Sagairt Mor.
Darren Christie, who had to be helicoptered out in 2007, managed better this year, and he passed us with his friend Dawn, soon after we had pitched our tent. They are pictured below.
It's a great spot for a small tent, and we know that Sabine for one has been there more recently. There are lots more good camping spots further up Allt Darrarie towards Shielin of Mark, but this is possibly the most sheltered.
Having enjoyed nine wild camps in 2007, when I was a solo walker, Sue and I had just six such camps this year. We were a little more sociable than I had been the previous year, utilising five campsites and two B&Bs. We have a number of very good friends whom we first encountered on this 2008 Challenge.

Friday 26 June 2020

Lockdown in Timperley (continued), and a visit to Shutlingsloe

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!

Thursday 25 June 2020

Thursday 25 June 2020 - Canadian Canoeing in Timperley

Today Sue and I joined Richard and Jenny for an outing in some Canadian canoes on the Bridgewater Canal. And a very pleasant outing it was too. Nice to be in the relative cool of the canal on a day of 30+C temperatures.
We sped, in a rather leisurely fashion, along from Sale to Timperley, then back to Dane Road before returning the boats to Sale. Thus covering about 6 km in our two hour slot.
Thanks to Jenny for the following snaps.
A very pleasant outing, and thanks to R&J for supplying post canoeing coffees.

Wednesday 24 June 2020

TGO Challenge - Wild Camps (No 14: 17 May 2008)

Our desire to make progress towards Braemar was hindered by our equally strong desire to visit the Munro summits of Carn an Fhidhleir and An Sgarsoch, where we bumped into Graham Brookes.
After that the Geldie, pictured above, had to be crossed. The water was very low and boots didn't have to be taken off. Normally this is a knee deep, or worse, crossing.
About 2 km beyond White Bridge we found a flat sheltered spot, near to a good water supply, at NO028892, to spend the night before proceeding to the Fleshpots.
We omitted to take a picture of the suitably positioned Nallo tent, the image below showing Sue as we regained the nearby track to Linn of Dee was our first picture of the day.

Tuesday 23 June 2020

24 February to 3 March 1990 - A Week in Kinlochewe - Index

Here I am, finishing off all the food for our final Friday night meal.
A map showing our various excursions is shown below, and the individual days are recorded as follows:
It's rather sobering to know that I was older, on this trip thirty years ago, than our cross-country skiing companion, Shane, who collapsed and died a few days ago. Our thoughts are with his partner and family. He was a lovely man, and very helpful to Sue when she was ill on our Polish trip in 2018.

24 February to 3 March 1990 - A Week in Kinlochewe - Part 6

Friday 2 March (Martin)

Lie in until 8 am. Get up to find Dave engrossed in a 'game'. I thought the deadline was yesterday, but apparently it's postponed until today's morning post. (Yesterday's package apparently related to another 'game'.)

Fairly mild outside, cloudy and not too windy. Snow already melting.

Dave eventually meets his 9:30 deadline. Washing up is abandoned and we set off to attempt Sgorr Ruadh, from Achnasheen, one of my missing Munros (I copped out in 1984). Unfortunately both map owners of sheet 25 have gone, so we had to rely on Donald Bennett's SMC guidebook.

The road was still snowy, but a convenient spot was found to park near Achnashellach station. The guidebook was soon out and successfully directed us up a good, if very wet with melting snow, stalkers path. It's a pretty walk through woods by the River Lair, with Fuar Tholl's precipices dominating the view.
It's a long climb up to the plateau at 370 metres. We try to keep on high ground, avoiding deep snow. I start to employ a crawling technique on really deep bits, thus not sinking so far. Dave finds these 'crawls' rather harder to follow than the usual footprints!
Occasional snow showers. Cross the river without much trouble (except Dave, who hesitates and falls. We continue onwards, approximately along the stalkers path below Fuar Tholl, keeping to high ground as far as possible to avoid deep drifts. Slog on up, stopping for a sandwich.
Views of fearsome cliffs, and Fuar Tholl's summit high above. Eventually reach another plateau, high above the ice covered Loch Coire Lair. Traverse across to the foot of the south east spur of Sgorr Ruadh. This involves ups and downs and exhausting wading through snow drifts.
Enter the blizzard. A violent storm halts progress. The mountain clearly won't become clear, we have no map, visibility ahead is dubious, and there is more steep wading to come.
Dave has had enough. I concur. We descend, retracing steps made minutes earlier, some of which have been obliterated by the blizzard, which passes.
Welcome coffee and butty stop before steady stroll back to the car by 4 pm. A 5 hour walk. Quite enjoyable descent, with the deep snow not such a problem going down.
  Here's our route - 13 km with 750 metres ascent.
Scenic drive back via Lochcarron, Kishorn, and Shieldaig. Sunny, but only Beinn Damh's summit is visible.

Washing up, postcards, diary writing, lethargy (Dave), reading, packing, etc, conclude the holiday.

A final substantial meal. Plans for 6 am departure tomorrow as both of us wish to get home as early as possible. Decide on alternative route via Beauly and Drumnadrochit, as the Radio 4 road report claims a landslide has blocked our road at Attadale (the same slide as blocked John's train). More reading of Stephen Venables' Everest book; asleep by midnight.
Saturday 3 March (Martin)

Early rise. Tea from Dave at 5:45. Up and away at 6:03. Intended to breakfast / buy presents, etc at Fort Bill, but got there too early. Had to queue at Tyndrum's Little Chef (9.20). Left at 10:00 after a good breakfast. Had a swift trip back but got in an M63 traffic jam at 2:30 (330 miles later). Home soon after 3 pm. No disasters.

24 February to 3 March 1990 - A Week in Kinlochewe - Part 5

Thursday 1 March (Dave)

Superb views when I woke up, were quickly obscured by snowstorm.
As John needs to rest anyway (due to High Peak Marathon on Friday and Saturday), we decide to go for a local walk and set out at about 11:00.
We walked from the chalet down the road to the east and took the path on other side of the river. We were all dressed in full waterproofs, which began to come off in the good weather. There were good views of Beinn Eighe. Much photographed. Even John took a photo.
We carried along the path into the forest, where the weather turned worse and cags were put back on.
Path shown as going through forest (very thin dotted line on 1:25,000 map) Eventually found path - a sort of tunnel in the forest. Necessitated hoods up. Hard work. Occasional cairns and a few open clearings with tracks down them. Finally make it to the edge of the forest. Carry on to the far end and then down (west) to the river and along to a bridge where we stop to eat.
Post bus going over the bridge dislodges snow down Dave's neck.

Walk back to chalet along road in swirling snow for most of the way. Back for a cup of tea and early meal.
 Here's our route, if I remember correctly - 12 km with 200 metres ascent.
Leave at 5:30 for Achnasheen station, for John's 6:18 train. John has a punishing schedule - overnight to Edinburgh, then to Darlington for food, wash, sleep. Then public transport to Edale for 11 pm for the start of the overnight High Peak Marathon (42 miles). His train was delayed by a landslide and arrived at 8:15. We were therefore forced to have several pints at the hotel. Men manning gritting lorries were also in the bar. Including an Englishman who has settled here. Martin and Dave eventually return to chalet following the tracks of the gritter lorry, in almost zero visibility at the high point - not very pleasant. Decide to abandon 1000 piece jigsaw which we started just before tea. There's no chance of completing it.

Early to bed.

Part 4
Part 6