Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Saturday 3 October 2020

Friday 2 October 2020 - Bunbury - An 11km Circuit

Three old codgers, Me, Paul and Graeme, assembled outside Bunbury church for this Friday morning stroll in overcast but fine conditions. Just as well it was dry, as I had my pen out to scribble all over route number 9 in Jen Darling's 'Walks in West Cheshire and Wirral' book. There are a few minor changes since the latest update in 2007, mainly relating to stiles - the old wooden stiles have been replaced in places such as the River Gowy crossing below, with metal kissing gates.

We had set off through the large, freshly mown, cemetery, past a curious turquoise snake where one would expect to see flowers. There must be a story behind that!

After a while we reached Yew Tree House, up for sale and in a dilapidated state. Its proximity to the A49 main road might deter buyers.

Beeston Gate Farm is altogether a different proposition. Through a high fence we could see a fine, well maintained property enhanced by gables and honeycomb windows. The route we took went past the farm and continued in the same direction all the way to a track to Deanbank Cottages. Here, there are signs encouraging walkers to follow the waymarks and noting that the Public Right of Way has been re-aligned to conform with the Definitive Map.

From the field path beyond the farm, Beeston Castle came into view ahead of us.

After crossing Dean Bank (a lane), we headed some way down the driveway serving Beeston Hall Farm. The driveway is graced by a border of magnificent trees.

A narrow path led down from the driveway to skirt a field of sweetcorn before entering a desolate area that used to be the environs of a thriving cattle market. That market has closed and there are signs requiring a footpath diversion, the route of which was completely overgrown. So we continued on through the desolation. I suspect the large area pictured below behind the fence might soon be transformed into a whole new village. The market looked closed for good, but a retail shop nearby still tries to sell all things agricultural.

We turned left for a few yards along the A49, passing the Lockgate Cafe, where Graeme's research assured us that bacon butties would be available. At this point it was too early for that, so a few yards further on we joined the canal towpath, bringing a halt to any navigation issues for well over an hour.

Beeston Iron Lock was accompanied by some picnic tables, just out of sight in the next picture, that served us well for an elevenses and cake break.

This section of the Shropshire Union Canal was completed in 1779, but the sandy nature of its surroundings caused the banks to cave in, and in 1787 the original lock collapsed. By 1813 there were new owners and new engineers (Thomas's Denton and Telford). The bottom lock was constructed of iron plate, the next lock was still of stone, and the canal was re-aligned and finally re-opened in 1828.

Beeston Stone Lock was soon reached, next to which stands a curious circular building.

Shortly before we got to Tilston Lock, we passed a house which had a mooring for its very own barge.

Here's Tilston Lock. The water in the canal was very muddy today.

There was another circular building. These buildings provided short term shelter for maintenance men and lock keepers, and storage of equipment out of the rain.

We marched on towards Bunbury Locks.

There are various facilities and a car park at Bunbury staircase locks, where the height difference of the canal is considerably more than usual.

There's also a stable block with 20 bays and 7 doorways, each of the 7 stalls having its own chimney. Here, horses would change over, with fresh horses pulling the fast 'fly-boats' to factories in the Midlands within 24 hours of setting off on their 80 mile journey from the Mersey estuary.

We left the towpath shortly before the next bridge, at post number 48H, taking field paths to Bird's Lane. Walking along the lane, after passing Bird's Lane Farm, Jen's book said we should be able to see Bunbury Church, but it wasn't until a while later that we spotted it, before we reached Bunbury Mill.

The mill is closed due to the Covid pandemic, but in normal times it would be a good place to visit. Apparently there has been a mill here since 1290, with the present building, pictured below, dating from 1850. It operated until it was disabled by a massive flood in 1960. By 1977 it had been restored to working order by United Utilities, and in normal times it's operated on certain days every week.

From the mill, it was just a case of hopping over a stile and tootling up a grassy slope to reach the church in Bunbury. St Boniface church seems rather excessive in size for the small village. It's actually one of the great churches of Cheshire, dating from the early 1300's, so I suppose the massive cemetery shouldn't be too much of a surprise.

Here's our route - 11 km with minimal undulations, taking us a leisurely 3+ hours. Click on any of the images to get a better picture or a slideshow.

Afterwards we drove in convoy to the Lockgate Cafe, but were defeated by Covid regulations and denied the pleasure of bacon butties. Ah well, better safe than sorry.

Next week Sue will have the car, so I'll be walking from home (9.55) via Timperley Bridge (10.00) and Seamons Bridge (by the remains of the Bay Malton) (10.30 to 10.45), to Dunham via the Swan with Two Nicks, and perhaps to the Dunham Barn cafe, returning via Altrincham. All welcome, within reason - let me know in advance.

Friday 2 October 2020

18 June 2005 - On holiday in Ireland

Another random image, from 2005. Where was I?

Thursday 1 October 2020

Another Marathon - Sunday 4 October

Finishing the Manchester Marathon in April 2019 - my most recent marathon

I was due to run the London Marathon on 26 April 2020. 

That has been postponed to 3 October 2021, and I intend to run it then. 

In the meantime, on Sunday 4 October this year, a 'virtual' London Marathon is being held, with runners able to complete their own marathon courses over a 24 hour period on Sunday. 

I will be taking part, wearing bib number 26034. My route will go from our house in Timperley, to Wythenshawe Park by way of a circuitous 10 km route. My 'support' (Sue) will be positioned in the main car park in the park from about 10 am until I finish after running nearly 43 km (26+ miles), hopefully by about 3 pm. 

I have no specific route in the park, which has about a 5 km circumference - I'll be running/walking through the park at random. On Garmin, my route may look like an unravelled ball of wool! The full results will be published in due course.

The forecast is for rain. It could be an unpleasant 6 hours or so. And I'm unlikely to find any other 'over 70's' to commiserate with. Please do feel free to either come to the car park to support and chat with Sue, or jog around a 'lap' or so with me.

I'm running in aid of the Levana School Partnership charity, which like most charities needs all the funds it can get to carry out its aim of supporting township schools in Cape Town.

I'd therefore be really appreciative of any donation you can afford, however small. Otherwise there's not a lot of point in me doing a run that many of my contemporaries would regard as being 'a bit hard'.!

So, please, please, click here to donate (and note that you can change any charge from JustGiving to zero) and make the six hours or so of effort worthwhile from my point of view.

I'll let people know how I get on by way of a further blog entry.

Thank you.

Wednesday 30 September 2020

TGO Challenge - Wild Camps (No 37: 19 May 2011)

After two nights under roofs - first the excellence of Eddie and Heather's hospitality at Bridge of Gaur Guesthouse, secondly with Markus, Silke and Stefan in a comfy room at Culra Bothy (now out of bounds due to an asbestos problem) - we set up camp at NN690872 by Loch Cuaich. There are plenty of good camping spots here.

Mike had taken the low level route beside Loch Ericht and arrived at 3:30 pm, whereas Stefan and I arrived rather later. I had taken in The Fara (911 metres), via an exciting sighting of a Wildcat. I think Stefan took a low level route and spent a long time in the distillery at Dalwhinnie. I met him at the petrol station, where I collected a parcel containing four days' supplies, and he gorged on pasties whilst I chatted to a keeper who confirmed that I had indeed seen a wildcat.

The next two pictures are courtesy of Stefan. Mike and me cooking our suppers.

Tuesday 29 September 2020

Monday 28 September 2020 - Isabella 'has landed'

Welcome to the world, Isabella. 

Congratulations to Michael and Sarah, especially Sarah for managing with just one codeine tablet.

Saturday 26 September 2020 - Happy Birthday Jessica (7)


Happy Birthday, Jessica. We hope you had a great day and enjoyed all your presents.

Monday 28 September 2020

25 July 1989 - Alta Via 2 - Day 11 - Going Homeward

Never pass a rubbish bin when backpacking!

Tuesday 25 July (Diarist: Dave)

Martin complained that his six o'clock alarm came at 5:55! All had lots of sleep. Tents quickly down. One last brew before we released the last of the gas - very cold if it gets on you. Down the road. Stop in Pedavena for breakfast - yoghurts / juices / milk / muesli for Martin, etc. Dave decides to forgo the fantasized Fanta when it comes to it - it didn't seem all that appetizing.

On down to Feltre, where with a little difficulty we found the station at 9:30. John and Dave between them bought tickets for the 12:20 train.

[There is no map for today; the 5 km road walk to Feltre brought our AV2 route to a conclusion after about 160 km of hiking and over 12,000 metres of ascent in the ten and a bit days of walking - Ed]

Cappuccinos, greasing of boots, airing of feet. Dave and John go for a walk while Martin writes up the previous day's epic.

Feltre is a very historic town and was worthy of a much longer stay (why didn't we get a later train?). Market day - lots of street traders. We get two very small beers. Martin goes for a walk.

Efficient journey with helpful guards gets us to Venice via Montebelluna and Treviso. Arrive 2:40 and park ourselves outside the station along with many (mostly English speaking) others. We stay here until 10:30 pm. Martin does a lot of trips looking for food (shops shut until 4:30) and present buying. John makes a brief foray into Venice. Dave, who has the slightest of limps, stays put.

Here are some of Martin's snaps.

Lots of bread, etc, eaten. Books read. Walk to taxi stand. Taxi to airport, where John and Martin B crash out in sleeping bags (11:30 pm).

[Then we went home on an early morning flight.]


Sunday 27 September 2020

TGO Challenge - Wild Camps (No 36: 16 May 2011)

After a pretty dreadful night in Coire a'Ghabhalach, Mike and I descended and contoured into Gleann Cailliche, where we paused in the vague shelter of a sheep pen surrounded by droppings, near the Tigh nam Bodach antiquity, which we didn't visit on this occasion.

Any thoughts of continuing our planned high level route over Meall Buidhe were soon put to bed, as Mike needed his bed as soon as possible. (Keep reading, and eventually you'll see that I did manage to get to Meall Buidhe from here in a later year.)

Anyway, after a five hour stroll, we camped in a meadow next to Allt Coire a'Bhuic, about 3 km from Gorton Bothy, having seen just one person (not a Challenger) on the hill. We enjoyed lunch in the Phreerunner tent before embarking on a lazy afternoon. It had been raining for three days, and our Sealskinz gloves were wet, and difficult to get dry.

I can't resist adding this picture of Poor Michael, sheltering behind the sheep enclosure in Gleann Cailliche. I only took five pictures all day, and four of them are reproduced here.

Happy Days!