Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Saturday 8 August 2020

Friday 7 August 2020 - A Circuit from Hale

The 'Friday Team' assembled at Paul's house in Hale for this stroll featuring the Bollin Valley and the surrounds of Manchester Airport.
The Bollin Valley is a pleasant green groove on the outskirts of Manchester. The River Bollin runs from around Langley near Macclesfield, and drains into the Mersey at Bollin Point, near Lymm. There's a marked trail, the Bollin Valley Way, which runs for 40 km (25 miles) from Macclesfield to Partington, roughly following the course of the river.
High volumes of water early in the year resulted in a few landslips, including the one shown below.
There are also a number of 'beaches', where families with dogs were bathing in the river on this hot day.
Overhead - a comparatively rare sight:
After a break for tea and cake in view of the deserted second runway, (presumably not in current use)we came to the runway tunnel, eschewed on this occasion in favour of an alternative route beside the main road.
Then it was back to the Bollin Valley and the sweet fragrance of rampant Himalayan Balsam. This invasive species should be removed, but currently, I think, volunteers to uproot the plants are inhibited from doing so by Covid restrictions.
Some of the fields are simply grassy, others are full of thistles, and elsewhere the dreaded ragwort is rife. Somewhere there may even be a 'proper' meadow with a variety of species.
Here's the route - 19 km with 150 metres ascent. It took us four and a half hours.
Thanks for your company on this very pleasant stroll, folks. It's the Sandstone Trail next Friday - if anyone else would like to join us, let me know.

Friday 7 August 2020

Thursday 6 August 2020 - The 'Famous Five' in Cheshire

Well, the same 'Famous Five' as in many previous postings, most recently the evening walk on 5 April 2006 referred to in yesterday's posting, were reunited for another evening in 'Deepest Cheshire', with Andrew leading, as is now customary. With the passing years the distance covered on these walks has subsided to around 5 km. They used to be as much as 15+ km and finish really late after a busy day at work.
Anyway, we parked up at a nondescript lay-by to which Andrew's directions easily guided us. With R&J running late, Sue and I spent a relaxing 15 minutes with Andrew on the camp chairs that live in the boot of Sue's car.
Once we got going ('no rush, it's only 5 km') we soon reached the bubbling cauldron of this part of Cheshire's favourite river - the Peover Eye.
Nearby, Jodrell Bank telescope was in its resting position. Andrew explained that it had remained so since Lockdown due to public sector workers having been able to take time off on full pay. (I'm not sure I buy that one, Andrew!)
It's nice to know that the Cheshire farmers are still working hard - these cows were incredibly clean, and very well behaved (behind their electric fence).

It was a warm hot summer's evening, so something of a surprise to see smoke swirling from a chimney at Bate Mill, though judging by the car the place may be in some sort of parallel universe. (See below!)
Peover Eye was crossed again as dusk curtailed photographic activity. It's a fine body of water for one that emanates fairly close by (near Redesmere?).
Garmin appear to have paid their ransom and are back to a semblance of normal, so this week I was able to download the route, which amounted to a little over 5km, and a few more stiles than Andrew would have liked if anyone but he had chosen it!

Conrad obviously has more time on his hands than I have:
Here's his take on Bate Mill...


Thursday 6 August 2020

Wednesday 5 April 2006 - Some Flowers in Timperley, and an Evening Walk

Delving back to another random day from the past, I clicked on these two photos from 5 April 2006, on what must have been a frosty morning in Timperley.
A quick check with the diary, and I discovered a record of a walk on this day that was clearly camera free. Probably because of the time of day of the walk. However, there's a short diary entry, thus:
"A fine evening this year for our pilgrimage to Alderley Edge - the usual 8 km route, in its entirety this time. Richard and Jenny gave Sue and me a lift to the Drum and Monkey, where we met Andrew. A quick beer and we were away. We were well along the Edge before dusk fell, amidst the squawking of crows and the hooting of owls. The moon cast a good shadow, so Jenny's new torch wasn't really necessary. We did keep a good pace, taking from 7:32 to 9:45, 2 hours 13 minutes, only slightly less than Naismith pace. Tonight there were no 'fallers', unlike Andrew last year, and we stayed dry. Then we enjoyed another beer and went home."
Here's the route:
Perhaps we should do this again sometime, as this particular 'pilgrimage' seems to have fallen into a distant memory!.

Wednesday 5 August 2020

TGO Challenge - Wild Camps (No 25: 15 May 2010)

A superb spot to camp on Day 2 of my 2010 Challenge. After dropping down to Glenfinnan for lunch, and meeting Robert Ridgewell on his first Challenge (he had walked along the road from Lochailort - there are many ways to skin this cat), I went over my sixth Corbett of this crossing, Sgorr Craobh a'Chaorainn, before plonking the tent at my planned stopping point at around 600 metres, near a lochan at NM885750.

The view shown is taken facing east, with Sgurr Ghiughsachain, my first objective for the morrow.

The weather was coming from the west, hence the tent is facing east. Later that evening I made the following observation as to the weather:

"The gale outside has eased, but the rain is (at 9.30pm) lashing down as vociferously as ever."

Happy Days!

Tuesday 4 August 2020

Monday 3 August 2020 - Dodd Fell Hill

Sue at last was able to join me on this lovely walk up a hill we'd not been up before. It's not the most exciting hill - 'Dodd Fell Hill' translates as 'Plump Hill Hill' - but whilst the sun stayed hidden, it was fair weather and great for a walk in the Dales.
Here's Sue's diary entry, with some captions from me.
A Day Trip to the Yorkshire Dales

A rare day in the hills for me. In fact, although Martin has had some days out in recent weeks, this was my first full day out walking since our weekend in Ilam on 7/8 March!

A 2-hour journey saw us reach a quiet Hawes at 10am, where sun cream was applied but not really needed as there was significant cloud cover. The ascent was initially gradual through fields where muck spreading had recently taken place and the grass was still damp.
This is the view towards Dodd Fell Hill
Looking back to Gayle and beyond
After a short section of road,  a patch of yellow loosestrife marked the start of a good track that climbed gently, with views widening over Wensleydale but grey clouds hovering stubbornly. 
Tea, biscuits and brownies boosted the onward rise to our summit, with ‘peewit’ and meadow ‘pipit’ calls to accompany us. Leaving the track, we ambled over tussocks, which gradually became heavier with water and my feet didn’t stay dry in trail shoes! Lots of holes in the grass hinted at the number of voles around, of which I saw four diving in, disturbed by my steps.
The trig point of Dodd Fell Hill was eventually reached, after a couple of false tops, and having to skirt between the areas of bog! From here, the views included the Lakeland fells and distinctive tops of Ingleborough and Whernside, all rather dominated by heavy grey cloud.
We didn’t linger but headed across more moist ground, this time peppered with pretty yellow areas of bog asphodel, bell heather, bog cotton, and cloudberry leaves.


Just before reaching a surfaced road, we sat atop a mound for a sandwich and remaining brownies, moving on quickly due to the cool wind. The dark clouds were left behind over the hill, as we moved to another ridge on a good track, to where paragliders and hang gliders were ‘hanging’ out.
Soon after, there were two mountain bikers and four walkers in evidence, the first people we’d seen since setting out.
Looking back to Dodd Fell Hill from the paraglider hill
The descent took us down a lovely green bridleway. Whilst I waited at a gate, a shrew appeared a couple of times from his hole next to me, but was too timid to venture far, preferring to go back down, his long nose twitching. 
Sue was unable to catch the shrew, or a nearby stoat, on film, but I did manage to 'capture' this chap, who was definitely a 'slow mover'
 Above and below - looking across to Hawes from the descent path

Approaching the hamlet of Burtersett we passed dog walkers, bringing the total of other walkers seen to nine.
Our path back to Hawes across fields and through multiple small gate stiles was lovely, particularly as the sun was now breaking through the cloud.
A stroll through the village revealed some shops open, but certainly not all, and not the numbers of people you would expect during August. No tables were available outside cafes so we headed back to Timperley for cups of tea ‘chez Banfield’. Of course, by now, the sky was blue, with pretty cumulus cloud....
A good day out Grommet!
Here's our route - 19 km, 500 metres ascent, taking 5 hours including breaks.
Other routes are available

Monday 3 August 2020

Cows in the garden!

Today has been busy, so here's an 'unprocessed' picture from July 2006, picked at random from our hard drive. Yesterday it was a report of black bears in the garden, now it's cows. Much to the amusement of Kate's then DofE students, with whom she shared campsites.
The poo from yesterday's posting, incorrectly identified by a 'poo identification app', we are almost certain was from a hedgehog. Definitely not from a cow!

Sunday 2 August 2020

Lockdown (continued)

I haven't used the 'Lockdown' label for a while. We've been trying to escape Lockdown. We have failed. If I look at the Government Information I ascertain that there are no Covid cases in our postcode area, nor in Kate's postcode area, nor in Nell's postcode area, nor in my mother's postcode area. There are a small number of cases in Mike and Sarah's area.
However, in it's undoubted wisdom, the Government has felt it necessary to lock us down again and doesn't allow us to visit each other.
So far as I am concerned, Lockdown will continue until parkrun can take place every Saturday morning, the London Marathon takes place, and the TGO Challenge takes place in its traditional format. If I live that long.
Meanwhile, I suppose we just have to make the best of a bad situation and thank our luck at being financially secure.
So the weekly Zoom meetings continue. We have five or six of these, including a family one (above) that usually features a game of Pictionary in which I always come last.
We have enjoyed a few visits to Mike and Sarah and Millie, who live a half hour bike ride away. We enjoy a coffee and a chat outside their back door. Risk factor? Too great - we would now have to meet in a park.
We've also visited Paul and Jeanette, in their big garden, well distanced, and in admiration of well-behaved Rufus, their new dog.
We now have to meet with them in a crowded park as their garden is deemed to be an unsafe venue.
Last week Sue went Wild Swimming in Sale Water Park, with lots of others. She was frustrated that the local swimming pool had not been allowed to open. It has now opened, so she can now swim at Total Fitness. This is deemed to be safer than allowing someone into our garden.
We had new curtains. They are heavy. The rail collapsed. The fitter soon sorted this out. I'm not sure whether he would now be allowed inside the house. The small print of the ever changing rules is beyond me. The Health Minister is interviewed on TV and says one thing, but the rules he then disseminates say something different.
One morning Sue spotted some poo on the doorstep.
A 'poo identification' app, possibly sponsored by the Conservative party, informed us as to the culprit.
(We think they may have got the animal pictured above confused with a hedgehog.)
Meanwhile, as some of you may have noticed, I've been scanning some old photos. Many of them come from a huge old home made album that I'm currently dismantling. It contained over 500 pictures. 'Processing' them is not a quick job!
Meanwhile, Jessica's leg has been broken and is now getting better, with the plaster cast having been removed last week. We hope it continues to heal well.
Our local parkrun starts by a statue of Oliver Cromwell that was removed from the centre of Manchester some years ago. It's a good place to sit before or after the run. But not now it's surrounded by a flimsy barrier.
Wythenshawe Hall, renovated after the fire, is surrounded by a somewhat sturdier fence, so that's out of bounds as well.
This third picture, (all three were taken from the same place), does however reveal pleasant parkland in which we are free to wander.
I've been continuing to keep in touch with Markus, who lives in Dornbirn, Austria. Their Lockdown was quicker and stricter than ours, and at the moment they seem to be recovering well. Markus is trying to entice me to Austria with these pictures of the Salzkammergut area, where he is planning an eleven day trip in October.
One day, perhaps...
My daily (not)parkrun 5km jog includes a section along the canal towpath. This chap just stands there, keeping a wary eye on passers-by.
Until they get really close...
Yesterday, Annie, Sue and I did our 20th parkrun quiz hosted by Vassos Alexander and his family. So that's 20 parkruns that have been missed. We enjoy the quiz, but we'd prefer to run. Seven weeks ago parkrun set up (not)parkrun, whereby every day you can enter your time for a 5km run or walk on their website. I missed the first week, but since then it has provided me with motivation for some daily exercise. The last few are shown below. My times do vary somewhat!
Meanwhile, various family members, have been visiting and cooking for Great Grandma Dot, whom it appears that we are now banned from visiting. I suspect we will be taking the Barnard Castle route where necessary. She will not be left high and dry.
So that really brings us up to date regarding Lockdown, which looks like continuing indefinitely.