Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Saturday 24 October 2020

Friday 23 October 2020 - A Walk from Hollingworth Lake

Six of us, me, Sue, Cary, Dave, Graeme and Paul, met on a rainy morning at the Visitor Centre at Hollingworth Lake, near Littleborough. In normal times the journey on a busy section of the M62 motorway might discourage us from this venue, but these days the traffic is light - even during rush hour. Moreover, today was the first day of a high risk Lockdown, during which working from home is recommended, and staying within your own area is advised. This 'Tier 3' Lockdown applies to Greater Manchester, and despite being a 45 minute drive away, our destination remained within those bounds.

We set off along the 'Rochdale Way' path, beside a conduit that allows water from Hollingworth Lake to run into the Rochdale Canal. The 'lake' is a reservoir constructed in the late eighteenth century for this very purpose.

Soon we reached the canal, which rises quite steeply at this point through a series of locks.

Bridge number 49, with its resident gaggle of mallard ducks, was soon reached.

We continued for quite some way along the towpath, surrounded by vibrant autumn colours despite the light rain that came and went during the course of the morning.

Elevenses were taken before we left the towpath and headed up past Summit Quarry, a locally important gritstone quarry where climbing now takes place on a number of routes. We joined the Pennine Bridleway footpath here, and followed the well signposted route nearly all the way back to Hollingworth Lake, which itself was well signposted.

It took just a few minutes to rise above Higher Chelburn Reservoir, also built to feed into the Rochdale Canal. This section of the Bridleway is quite low and fortunately didn't dump us into the cloud that hung just above us.

The Pennine Bridleway is a 205 mile route from Derbyshire to Cumbria, running parallel to the Pennine Way footpath. It provides an alternative to the Pennine Way for those travelling by horse or by bicycle, for whom the Pennine Way path is inappropriate.

A farm was passed. Despite accusations from some members of the party that the animals were ostriches, it did seem a bit far fetched to regard them even as 'baby ostriches'. My research after getting home leads me to think they are rhea. I hope they feel at home here, far away from their native South America.

After a pleasant walk along the Pennine Bridleway, during which we observed hunting kestrels and met a handful of people in this popular walking area, we dropped down to the road by Hollingworth Lake, beside which we enjoyed our lunches. (Smoked salmon and cream cheese; thank you Sue.)

We continued in a clockwise direction around the lake, which was less than photogenic today. There was a lone boat bobbing about in the middle, otherwise none of the usual frenetic activity. The lake is very close to Smithy Bridge, and access to a railway linking Lancashire and Yorkshire, so it has been a popular tourist attraction for sailing, walking and picnicking for well over 100 years.

In fact, this has triggered memories from 60 years ago from Conrad, a regular correspondent here, who comments thus:

'Memories for me and my younger brother who is sadly no longer with us racing our Merlin Rocket dinghy at Hollingworth Lake Sailing Club back in the early 60s.'

Thanks Conrad.

Back at the car park, we were all glad to have paid the £3 fee, as a team of wardens was assiduously checking all vehicles for tickets (as they had been when we arrived four hours earlier).

The trees here are in a rather more advanced state of 'autumn distress' than those at home in Timperley, just a few miles to the south, and rather lower in altitude.

Here's the excellent, and very easy to follow, route. It's just 15 km (9 miles) and includes about 300 metres of ascent. It took us a leisurely four hours or so. Other routes are available.

Thank you for your company and cake, everyone, this was another lovely outing.

Next week, 30 October: 
Kingsley (near Frodsham). Meet at 10 am at the Community Centre in Kingsley (SJ 550 748) for a 10 km circuit to the Frodsham cut and back.

Friday 23 October 2020

Family Transport (1)

A rummage through some old photo albums at Dot's house last Sunday brought my attention to a few photos from my dad's side of the family. It's nearly 30 years since he sadly passed away, but he must have been responsible for a few notes in the 'Whitby Album'.

For example, the lady in the car at the head of this posting may have been my Great Aunt Gertrude. She looks very proud of her splendid carriage. The year may be approximately 1932. She was a grumpy old lady when I encountered her at my grandparents' house in Shrewsbury in around 1954.

The Auburn car may have been made in America, but it had travelled half way around the world by the time this next picture was taken.

There are several pictures in the album of families standing proudly next to their cars, even outside a petrol station in this next offering.

My dad thinks the picnic spot in the next picture may be 'The Springs' near Pretoria. I suppose it does make more sense if the car is parked next to a spring, rather than a mundane setting next to a river.

Thanks go to Nick, who has identified TP 3057 as a 1930 Chevrolet Universal AD 4-Door Sedan, though Alan R reckons it's a 1924 model.

The next picture is from a blurred original, but it is a splendid vehicle, perhaps owned by my Great Uncle Arnold, who's wife (Aunt Dossie) corresponded with my dad well into the 1970's, if I remember correctly. She sent him big bundles of foreign stamps. [Alan R comments: The white car with the ladies is the 1925 Studebaker Special six. What a wonderful car.]

I have no idea who this next chap is, nor I suspect did my dad, who was probably younger than ten at the time. I thought the car might be a Morris 10, but the badge isn't right. (Alan R thinks - and I agree - it is an Austin Ascot [produced 1932 - 1939], so this would have been among the earlier versions of this car.)

This final picture could be 'Uncle Arnold' who in a troubled world gained pleasure in taking people from Roberts Heights for rides in his car at weekends. I wonder whether the girl could be my dad's elder sister, Catherine, or whether either of the ladies is Aunt Dossie.

If anyone can identify these splendid vehicles, if not their owners, I should love to know.

Wednesday 21 October 2020

Saturday 3 July 2004 - A Sort of Biathlon Day

This rather historic posting is for Andrew. I hope it brings back happy memories. The time was soon  before Sue and I took a long trip to the Pyrenees after I'd completed some management accounts for a June year end, otherwise we'd have gone by now...

Here's my account:

Sue and I were up at 6:30 to enjoy chocolate croissants before loading the car with two bikes, bike gear, walking gear and camping gear (actually no problem apart from the risk of oil impregnation) and setting off at 7:30 for Bowness.

Stopping at the South Lakes services on the M6, we spotted Andrew's Volvo and joined him for a pot of tea before continuing to the ferry car park at Bowness. It was raining, so a spacious area under a tree canopy came in very handy for us to assemble and oil the bikes and get ready.

Half an hour later, at 10 am, we set off on the route. We rode slowly through Bowness and Windermere. (Andrew later suggested an alternative through a Windermere housing estate to the right - check next time).

Then we endured a short distance along the horribly busy A591, before turning first left along lanes to eventually join Dubbs Road and pass Dubbs Reservoir. By now the showers had subsided and the views across to Troutbeck were good.

It was a lovely technical descent to Troutbeck (Sue and Andrew walked quite a bit of it). 

Then we took the narrow path up to Troutbeck village and the long ascent up towards Jenkin Crag.

We stopped for quite a while at the bench overlooking Windermere. A lovely spot. On the way, many common spotted orchids in the verges, and still a smell of garlic in the woodland sections.

We continued on to Jenkin Crag. En route there is a quick grassy section. I misjudged it and caught a pedal in a verge. This catapulted me down a grassy slope. Quite fun really. Out of sight of any onlookers, but they did look puzzled when they passed. (I was waiting in a rather odd place and I was busy straightening handlebars and saddle.)

Ahead of the others again, I strolled across to Jenkin Crag before heading down the last rocky section (I got off for a 10 metre section down wet rock) to Ambleside, where we enjoyed a 20-minute stop, with ice-creams purchased from a girl with a very limited command of English. The ice cream ran out and the refilled machine squirted ice cream all over the hapless foreigner, but we eventually got the goods (12:40 to 1 pm).

After watching swans with six cygnets (swan angry with radio-controlled boat), we continued along the road towards Hawkshead, passing High Wray and Low Wray, and always keeping left, until reaching the Dower House at the top of a crest. From here we descended enjoyably to the lake and stopped to look at birds in the wood. Thrushes, and other birds on trees in the distance -  Nuthatch maybe. Earlier, birds of prey had been seen over the hills near Troutbeck.

This lovely track continued all the way back to the ferry on a now dry day. The thick foliage allowed only brief views of the lake, but we heard the shouts of water skiers and the swoosh of waves reaching the shore from the various boats traversing the lake. 40p each saw us across the ferry and back to the car park (£4 pay and display), where we enjoyed a bite to eat (pork pies for me and Sue) before all travelling in heavy traffic up to Braithwaite (3 pm to 4 pm).

Here's the route (click on it for a better version) - 30 km with 700 metres ascent:

And so, our new Hilleberg Nallo 2 tent joined Andrew's older one at the Braithwaite campsite. Andrew shared his first brew on his new stove, and after that nice cup of tea we went to the excellent campsite cafe for a baked potato before setting off on Phase 2 of our biathlon - the ascent of Hopegill Head.

17:35 - Braithwaite
19:20 - Grisedale Pike 

We met a person on the way up, he was slow and singing, the only person seen other than a few on the ridge the other side of Coledale.

Sue and I had a Brocken Spectre experience for a couple of minutes. It was quite unexpected - cloud drifted into Coledale and our reflections in it were caught by the low sun.

The strongish wind didn't deter us from continuing to Hopegill Head (20:00 to 20:15), from where we descended gently to reach the Red Lion by 21:45, after a lovely pink sunset, to enjoy a drink (Bailey's for Sue, who seems to have slowly recovered during the day from a serious hangover) with a couple of Geordies.

Spots of rain before a showery christening for the Nallo 2.

Other points of interest:

  • ascending Grisedale Pike - Hospital Plantation - we surmised it may have been named after an ancient 'isolation area' used for people with contagious diseases. Yes, GP6 (Wainwright) confirms that the solitary dwelling on the Whinlatter Pass road (now 'Lakeland View') was once a Fever Hospital;
  • lovely path up Grisedale Pike - see Wainwright's GP8;
  • on the ridge walk from Grisedale Pike to Hopegill Head, good views of the lush cliffs of Hobcarton Crag, known for being the habitat of a rare Alpine plant, the Red Alpine Catchfly. The lush green colour is due to bilberries amongst the grey and silver rocks;
  • Force Crag Mines on the descent of Coledale below Force Crag, have what looks like a new portaloo in evidence. The mine was always a rich one but not continuously worked. When Wainwright wrote his guide in 1964 it was again operating, after a lengthy closure, for the extraction of barytes - a mineral form of barium sulphate. The mines are now closed again - the days of the McKechnie Brothers of Wainwright's era (GP4) presumably being over.
Here's our route - 14 km with 900 metres ascent:

My diary entry ends, but we are pictured at breakfast the following morning. The camera used was our first Olympus Digital that took rather low resolution (1600 x 1200 pixels) images.

Tuesday 20 October 2020

Tuesday 20 October 2020 - Lockdown in Timperley

We are still allowed to walk along the Bridgewater Canal towpath. Very nice too at this time of year.

I've been sorting through some old postcards, and found this one.

My daughter Kate has commented that when exactly the same thing happened on a school trip to New York when she was a supervising teacher, as a result of her experience in Paris as a sixteen year old, she knew exactly what to do.

Today a walk to Altrincham and Timperley to sort out my mobile phone contract and get beef for 'meals on wheels' for Mike and Sarah, saw me strolling back along Park Road, a normally very busy thoroughfare. Judging by the volume of traffic, we have already entered a more serious phase of the Lockdown that has been a constant since March.

Meanwhile, our good, and somewhat intellectual, friend Cary, has made the following pertinent observations:

On herd immunity:
"Herd Immunity is on my mind:
A) No evidence whatsoever that herd immunity for covid is possible via natural transmission.
B ) The term is applied to vaccination for diseases like measles where decades of observational data suggests that a vaccination rate of at least 85% is needed to prevent the disease reaching those who cannot be vaccinated or the vaccine doesn’t work for.
C) People advocating natural-transmission herd immunity without being honest about what an 85% infection rate means. (As is happening in the US right now - people advocating it)
(Infection fatality rate above 1% but probably below 6%, depending on all sorts of things).
UK population at 70million ... do the math.
It’s not a choice between the economy and health: that level of death, not to mention any morbidity, will damage an economy by itself.
The really hard problem is coming up with a suitable response.
Pretending there’s an easy solution is not a suitable response."

On Trump:

"Mr President, you are almost certainly not immune for the following medical/scientific reasons:
-The immunoglobulin you were given was intended to mop up any virus in your bloodstream
-The Remdesivir was intended to stop any virus replicating
-The dexamethasone was intended to *suppress* your immune system, (and incidentally to stop your body creating an immune response to the immunoglobulin. Peculiar that no news outlets picked this up)

If acting as intended: your immune system would barely have had a chance to develop any immune response at all; there’s no proof that any immunity lasts; and there are patients who have caught it twice.

You haven’t shown any interest in the science apart from this almost unverifiable claim ... but you can probably claim to be the only person in the world to have received all these experimental treatments at once."

Thanks, Cary.

Monday 19 October 2020

Saturday 24 June 2006 - Somewhere in the Pyrenees

Here's another dive into random pictures from 2006. Judging by some of the pictures taken on this day, I was somewhere near the Col du Tourmalet. The rack railway in the above image looks interesting.

Sunday 18 October 2020

Saturday 12 August 2006 - Visit to a Landmark

I've discovered amongst the debris removed from our recently decorated dining room, a pile of photos numbered 1 to 246. I think they come from 2006, and I probably also have digital versions. Do I tackle the pile and put them in a scrap book, or do I rely on the digital versions, which currently are not indexed, just - if I can find them - sitting on the computer hard drive (well, they must have been on at least four hard drives by now) waiting for someone to notice them.

Moreover, today I've borrowed from Dot an album compiled by my dad that gives a pictorial family history from 1947 to 1977. That just has to be scanned for the family archives.

What to do next, then?

Meanwhile I'm distracted by the black humour of 'The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden', and I've run out of time to make a meaningful posting today, so I can merely offer a picture (not in the pile of 246) from what turned out to be a mildly eventful weekend in 2006 and resulted in the largest insurance claim I have ever made.

I would guess that most readers will only require a quick glance to recognise where we were that day.