Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Saturday 7 November 2020

Saturday 7 November 2020 - (not)parkrun number 138

This excellent picture of Wythenshawe Hall, taken last night, is courtesy of the Wythenshawe parkrun Facebook page.

It's a shame that the hall is surrounded by a high fence and is not open to visitors. One day....

Our Saturday mornings start with a (not)parkrun on a pleasant course around Timperley. I kept Sue waiting back at home after finishing this morning due to some photo stops.

It's good to have such a nice route from our front door, outside which Sue insisted on a 'selfie' once I'd got back. Out of my 139 daily outings since the middle of June, 138 of which have been recorded, probably about 100 have been on the route around Timperley that has a slight variant that keeps feet dry in wet weather when the usual route that we took today gets a bit waterlogged.

Parkrunning friend Annie then joined us on Zoom from Yorkshire to take part in Vassos Alexander's weekly parkrun quiz. We scored 11/15 - one of our better weeks, and enjoyed a chat with Annie

After that, (purely out of habit) we cycled to Wythenshawe Park, where the car park and the children's playground were both full of pairs of people/children.

By chance, and remaining strictly in pairs, we came across a few folk who were following the same habit as us in order to get some exercise. Sue gave an impromptu yoga demonstration. Others joined in. I ate some cake that had kindly been provided by Owen, and I shared out a few bits of fudge that had gravitated into my bag.

So despite the enhanced state of Lockdown, we managed to enjoy a fairly 'new normal' Saturday morning.

Friday 6 November 2020

Where Am I Now?

Entries on these pages may be a little sparse for a while due to other priorities. Today's skim through a few images came up with this arguably spectacular one...

Thursday 5 November 2020

Thursday 5 November 2020 - Styal

Click on any image for a better view/slideshow

It's always a pleasure to visit Styal Woods, even when - like today - the sun isn't shining.

This was my routine 'Friday' walk. Adjusted to Thursday this week due to a commitment tomorrow (which is now later today!). The 'new normal' restricts me to one companion, who can be from another household [I hope that if anyone reads this in a generation's time, they will be suitably bemused]. Paul B, having been in the right place at the right time, was my worthy companion today.

We set off through the woods. Just imagine what the colours would be like if the sun was shining.

Giant's Castle Bridge always reminds me of similarly named places in the Drakensberg mountains near Johannesburg.

It was muddy in the woods, but even more muddy on the path around the airport perimeter. Very few aircraft were in use.

My Keen Targhee 2 trail shoes proved adequate in keeping the moisture out - even in a waterlogged field, but Paul's less robust shoes eventually relinquished their defence against the elements.

After a pause for fudge and tea, field paths led to Wilmslow, where this ancient barn seemed to be held up by the bales of hay stored under its roof.

After jogging slowly through some of Wilmslow's ginnels, and taking a path that was shut due to the risk of falling trees (no wind today - we ignored the barriers), we reached Twinnies Bridge, where the car park was full and the path to Styal Mill was very busy.

Styal Mill was built by Samuel Greg in 1784, and by the time he retired in 1832 the mill was the biggest cotton spinner in the UK. It's a huge place.

Previous visits to the Styal Mill area are recorded here. Recently, a new entrance building has been added to this National Trust property. There was a light on inside, but today the buildings were all closed.

Back in Styal village, we discovered that Earlams Community Cafe was open for takeaways, so we got some coffees and sat outside the (very much shut) Ship Inn to sup them before returning home for lunch.

Here's our route - 12 km with 150 metres ascent, taking a little over two hours. Allow three hours at a more gentle pace. A delightful outing despite a few bits of mud.

Wednesday 4 November 2020

More Lockdown

Lockdown intensifies. From tonight, for four weeks, we will be even more restricted than usual as to what we can do. So whilst our decorators are allowed in, we cannot go away as planned while they get on with the work. We'll need to go out locally.

Our weekly trips to Wythenshawe Park on Saturday mornings may continue, but we will have to meet in pairs, so we won't really be able to meet at all. The pictures above and below this text are from last Saturday morning, with Andy and Jan pictured with Sue, getting socially distanced coffees. We have tried to give the cafe some business, but this week it won't be allowed to open so we will have to take flasks.

There's a good children's playground at Wythenshawe Park. Hopefully it won't be roped off.

There's also one (just beyond the picture below) at our more local Newton Park, where we used to enjoy the company of grandchildren Jacob and Jessica. Nowadays our contact with them is over Zoom. We've lost eight months, to date, of a 'normal' relationship with our grandchildren.

These pictures were taken a couple of days ago. The bright autumn colours have evaded my camera, which seems to forever encounter showers of rain and falling leaves.

Pre Lockdown, Sue and I had got into the habit of enjoying a Sunday morning 5 km run with like minded folk on Sunday mornings, thanks to Great Run Local. Sadly - especially for many small children for whom the 2 km version of this event provided an ideal introduction to athletics - they have called it a day:

Dear Martin,

The uncertainty of running in events and groups continues, and as such, we have taken the difficult decision to permanently suspend all Great Run Local events.


As a business we have supported Great Run Local financially over the years but given the COVID-19 pandemic’s economic effects on us as a business, we are no longer able to do this.

We are truly sorry to bring this popular series to a close.  

We want to thank you for being part of this over the last 9 years.

I hope parkrun - the 5km Saturday morning event, doesn't go the same way. The (not)parkrun they introduced several months ago, whereby you can register a 5 km run or walk every day, has certainly provided an incentive to stay active. I registered (not)parkrun number 135 this morning, during which the following picture showed the canalside trees to be retaining their leaves rather better than those in Newton Park in the next picture.

That was after a visit to our local carpet/curtain shop who I was pleased to learn can still operate during the heightened Lockdown that starts tomorrow, so we can still have carpets and curtains fitted when the decorating is done.

When will all this end?

Tuesday 3 November 2020

A Sad Day

Sadly, our good friend Andrew's wife, Rosemary, passed away suddenly yesterday. We will remember her fondly. Our condolences and sympathy go to Andrew.

Monday 2 November 2020

22 and 23 October 2005 - Ramsoc Goes to Coniston

This is another 'Blast from the Past', the earliest Ramsoc October meet that is recorded on these pages. The rest are here, and more, earlier, Ramsoc weekends may be added. What triggered this was the fact that we should have spent last weekend by way of 'Ramsoc goes to Langdon Beck', but sadly that was not possible and has been rearranged for the same weekend next year.

Here's the transcript of my contemporaneous diary entry:

"Friday afternoon saw me leave Adrian Richards' leaving lunch (39 Steps) soon before 3 pm, ahead of the rest, as Sue could also get away from work at 3 pm. So by 4:15 we were on our way on a 3 hour journey to Coniston for the annual reunion of Sue's University hiking club pals.

After brief hellos we headed off with GS and Mike Coldwell to the Sun Hotel, recommended for food in preference to other hostelries. Jenny Haworth and friend Tim joined us, as did GI and Tove. We ate in a big conservatory - expensive but adequate - a bar meal may have been better.

Sue adjourned earlyish to the women's dorm and despite my efforts to stay up, I was one of the first to bed down in the twelve person men's dorm. Luckily, the snoring wasn't too bad and I only had to get up twice.

Saturday morning was damp, but by the time we were ready to leave, the drizzle had stopped. My plan for a walk in the heavily overcast weather to Tarn Hows then Grizedale and back to Coniston was vetoed in favour of a drive to the Langdales and ascent of the Pikes ... > Angle Tarn, then suck it and see. Twelve of us set off from the £5.50 car park by the New Dungeon Ghyll Hotel: me, Sue, Chris, Martin S, Jess, Julie, Phil, Sue, Mike, Tara, Jenny and Tim, and we joined the hordes on a dull day, at 10:20, up to Stickle Tarn. [Passing the waterfall pictured above.]

At the tarn it started raining and the cloud was down. So Plan B was brought into operation and I managed to manipulate 11 out of 12 into an alternative route heading east then down to Elterwater. Only Chris stuck to the original plan. He went via Stake Pass and Angle Tarn (no Langdale Pikes), to Bowfell and Crinkle Crags, then Wrynose Pass, the long ridge to Swirl How, and back to Coniston. He was probably the only one of us fit enough to do this.

Plan B worked, and after hopping across the flooded exit to Stickle Tarn the 11 of us had a pleasurable tramp over Blea Rigg to Silver How, initially keeping to the south of the ridge on a contouring and sometimes boggy route, before reaching the crest, overlooking Helm Crag and with views to the slopes of cloud riven Helvellyn.

A spectator on Blea Rigg

Lunch at 12:45 on a summit not far from Silver How, then a slithery descent to Elterwater (2:30) before which seven of the group left to return to the cars via Chapel Stile and the valley route. That left me, Sue, Jessica and Michael Williams to enjoy a pleasurable stroll back to Coniston via Little Langdale.

The Britannia at Elterwater

Slater Bridge

Soon after the car park at Low Tilberthwaite, I headed up a quarry path and managed a short cut through deep bracken. After a 5-minute wait (for me) the others arrived for the last lap to Coniston. We got to a point high above Coniston, Mike's map reading proving to be sound - before electing to descend by a faint path to a stile. This was down White Ghyll - not the prescribed route. We eschewed the stile (it would have led to an easy path) and continued our struggle - the descent had been steep and slippery, much care needed - with the terrain by continuing to the south of the wall. We eventually reached a gap just above the hostel. Mike felt we were not yet there, so he continued whilst the three of us went on for a couple of minutes and reached our destination at about 5:20. Mike arrived 10 minutes later having climbed a wall to secure a cross country route. Hopefully he didn't destroy it.

A few brews later and the wine was opened and nearly 50 of us, 33 adults and 15 children, enjoyed a reasonable meal for £12 a head.

Here's our route - about 18 km with 1000 metres ascent.

Sunday brought damper weather and a trip, partly with all the kids, around the sculpture trail at Grizedale - the green route first and then the yellow route, before going home in plenty of time to do some chores!"

The mountain biking in Grizedale looks good. [It is good.]