Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Saturday 28 November 2020

Friday 27 November 2020 - A Styal Circuit from Lindow Common

Graeme joined me on a dull morning for this excellent 11.5 km circuit from the small car park at Lindow Common in Wilmslow. Our route was very similar to the one that Paul and I enjoyed on 5 November, the detailed record of which is here.

We walked down to Twinnies Bridge, where the car park was overflowing, then beside the Bollin on the good path to Styal Mill, pictured above.

The owner's house has recently been restored, but I have yet to go round it. The Greg family lived right next to their mill, built in 1784 in the days when it's not a surprise to learn that other members of the family were involved in the slave trade. Samuel Greg's brother-in-law owned a slave ship, and his father and brother part owned sugar plantations in Dominica - one of which employed 139 slaves.

There's quite a contrast between today and the fifth of November regarding Styal woods. They were full of colour three weeks ago, but now the majority of leaves have fallen, and only Graeme's jacket significantly brightens the next two pictures.

We enjoyed a pleasant interlude with Ash - a friend of Graeme who used to be an expert pediatric surgeon - and his dog. Beyond the woods, with seasonal Cheshire mud underfoot, we took the path to the runway tunnel, beyond which mainly field paths led us back to our car park.

For more information, check the links in my 5 November posting. There's not much more to add here, apart from recording a pleasant, chatty morning in Graeme's good company that enabled the world to be put to rights.

Here's our route - 11.5 km with 150 metres ascent, taking us about three hours on this occasion.

Friday 27 November 2020

TGO Challenge - Wild Camps (No 44: 12 May 2013)

The Strathfarrar Munro ridge was my target today, but poor weather scuppered that. I made do with going over the 693 metre summit of Beinn na Muice, from Monar Lodge, before setting up camp on not so welcoming ground near a waterfall at NH 234 401.

As can be seen from the picture below, taken at 8.30 the following morning, it had snowed overnight as far down as my spot at 350 metres.

After striking camp, I strolled down to the road and headed to the comfort of the Struy Hotel, and a pleasant evening with Ali Ogden.

Thursday 26 November 2020

Thursday 26 November 2020 - Hello from Timperley

This was a sad day as it was dominated by Andrew's wife Rosemary's funeral.

The service was lovely, with a reading from 'Midsummer', by Annie O'Garra Worsley, and 'An Evening Hour' by Pearlyn, all interspersed with lovely music.

Goodbye, Rosemary, you leave us with fond memories. 

The willow trees in de Quincy Park were weeping.

The study carpet is down, some files have been shelved, and I've managed by some miracle to reassemble the desk. But that's enough for one day, the computer is still languishing in a bedroom ..... resting. 

Wednesday 25 November 2020

Wednesday 25 November 2020 - A Cool Day in Timperley

It was a carpet and curtain fitting day today, before which a (not)parkrun in the rain, featuring an unusually quiet towpath - pictured above.

In between fittings we managed a delivery of Chardonnay chicken to Mike and Sarah in Didsbury, by which time the weather in Fletcher Moss Park had decidedly improved, though the bikes needed a good hose down once we got back.

Tuesday 24 November 2020

Tuesday 24 November 2020 - Around Great Budworth

Today's morning stroll took Sue and me the short drive to Great Budworth, for an outing in familiar surroundings. 

We followed the route suggested by Jen Darling in her 'Walks in West Cheshire and Wirral' book, noting 'edits' for Jen's next updated edition.

Budworth Mere soon came into view after we left Budworth Lane. (Top picture.)

After some fairly muddy fields, we crossed a minor road and headed across Cogshall Brook. Jen describes the bridge as 'well made'. That description couldn't be applied to it on our last visit on 23 November 2018, when we struggled over a health and safety fence rather than wade the brook. Since then the bridge (thankfully) has been replaced by a sturdy structure that I omitted to record on film.

The next section, on a field path in view of Claycroft Farm, follows a narrow strip of earth/mud through a newly planted field. Apparently the prescribed width of a public footpath is one metre.

Be thankful for small mercies - quite a few Cheshire farmers would have ploughed the whole field, making progress difficult for any walker.

From now on there was much less mud. We dropped down to the Anderton Boat Lift. No evidence of it operating today, and the Visitor Centre was closed.

As we continued towards Anderton Marina, a kingfisher flashed past us. There was more bird life in evidence as we continued towards Marbury Country Park.

There's a run off from the canal, by Jackson's Turn cottage, that drops steeply down to Marbury Brook. 

Access to Marbury Country Park is via an elegant black and white bridge.

We continued along the towpath, pausing for coffee etc on a bench near a mile post that was replaced in 1980.

I'm not sure what the residents of the barge moored next to the bench thought of our presence, and our conversations with other towpath users, but they seemed to have been stimulated into getting dressed!

After more pleasant towpath strolling, we reached the village of Marston, where there are pubs (closed) and the derelict remains of the Lion Salt Works. This was the only place still producing salt by the 'open pan' method, until it went bankrupt in 1986.

Pictured below, on the left the site of the salt store, and a final view of the Trent & Mersey Canal.

From Ollershaw Lane, it's a straightforward walk through a series of not so muddy fields,  to reach the A559 road and then a footpath into Great Budworth, arriving there behind the church.

En route, a 'relic’.

Also en route, a view to Great Budworth across a rather mangled field.

Sue insisted that I pose for a picture beside the stocks.

The George and Dragon dates from 1722, so it shouldn't have a problem getting through the current pandemic. Other walkers and cyclists were happily enjoying their packed lunches on the picnic tables outside the closed pub, as you do these days.

Our 10 km walk concluded with a stroll through the pretty village and back to the car, which got us back home for lunch.

Here's a Viewranger screen dump that overlays the route taken over the route I plotted last night.

Monday 23 November 2020

Great Grandma Goes on Tour (23/11/20)

And she thrashed us at cards afterwards!

Sunday 22 November 2020

5 to 7 December 2003 - Don and Liz's 'Century Wedding Weekend'

This is an entry that will bring back a few memories. For that reason I've included most of the weekend's pictures, though many are of inferior quality. Click on any of them for a better version/slideshow.

It's 17 years ago. How time flies! I was coming to the end of my days as an employee of Grant Thornton and was only working part time, but I was still too busy to write up this trip until I found myself on my own in a restaurant in Cambridge over a week later. Here's my contemporaneous report. I do remember taking my notebook into the restaurant.

"It's now 16 December and we are again behind with diary entries. I am unexpectedly alone in the Varsity Restaurant in Cambridge. I'm here to carry out a review of the procedures and compliance in our Cambridge office. My two colleagues have found excuses to avoid joining me. Barbara has left early for a children's play, and Malcolm (Malcolm Shierson - colleague/boss for many years, died of cancer in 2019) didn't arrive due to a new big job in London. (What's new?) So at last I have time to commit pen to paper.

Back to 5 December. Sue and I got a sensibly early 3:15 start from Tesco's in Wythenshawe, and had a very easy run compared with Sue's recent effort to get to the Kendal Mountain Film Festival. Reached Helvellyn Youth Hostel at 5:15 to find Andrew already installed. After a very leisurely brew, we got installed in our twin room (not en-suite, but only £10.50 a night each).

Then - getting on for 7 pm and still no other arrivals - we strolled down to the pub. Here, an excellent meal was served in very cosy surroundings. Promise of a good weekend. After a while Don and Liz turned up, then Maryvic, then Dave Oliver and others. A pleasant evening, then a nice stroll in the moonlight back up the road.

Saturday 6 December

Though up leisurely, Sue and I were ahead of most people. We joined Andrew as the only people to eat a hostel breakfast. We were ready well before 10 am, and Mary and others set off.

Top picture - getting ready to leave the hostel; above - the hostel team

Reluctant to be waiting too long on the top of Helvellyn on a cool, breezy day in December, Sue and I held back and sauntered along with the slow brigade on a rather strange route up to Striding Edge - we contoured above the hostel before joining a major path and going to 'Hole in the Wall', before puristically sticking to the high point of the ridge to reach the summit.

Glenridding Beck

The view back to Glenridding

Hole in the Wall
The next few pictures were taken during the ascent of Striding Edge

Don and Dave

Heavily laden Don and Liz approach the summit windbreak

A view from the summit of Helvellyn

The summit was reached spot on as planned, at 1 pm. There were over 20 of us including Dave and Linda Kitto (the first time they have left their children, 17 and 15, for a night - they arrived this morning) and we had soon completely taken over the summit shelter windbreak.

Luckily, Mary and co were still there; they spent an hour on the top and it wasn't warm.

The champagne was opened...

On the ascent I had noticed Liz being very laden and a little pensive. She blamed the champagne in her rucksack. I had champagne also but I was not pensive. Liz was lying! 

Glasses (plastic beakers) in hand, we all supped merrily. Then Liz ('The Boss') called everyone to attention. About 50 people turned to face her. The 20 or so in our party then received her address: 

"You thought you were here to celebrate Don and my Century Birthday" (they were both 50 in November - she rambled on about the dates) "but we are also here for another purpose - to celebrate our marriage last Monday." She then explained that they had got married on 1st of December, about 16 days after Don's divorce came through. 

And with that weight off her mind, Liz produced the extra weight (that had been masquerading as champagne) out of her rucksack - a wedding cake. 

Mouths gaped as we ate our lunches and drank our champagne and ate cake. The party continued unabated.

Eventually people started to drift off. It was cold. Most went down Swirral Edge, but Sue, Dave, Linda and Andrew joined me to descend via Raise and Sticks Pass.

The path to Raise

On the summit of Raise

Back down before dark, we encountered the search and rescue dogs that had apparently fully booked Patterdale YH. And so to an enjoyable and leisurely evening in good company with a nice meal - produced by the hostel for £8.50. 

Dave and Linda

Here's our approximate route - 12 km with 850 metres ascent.

Sunday 7 December

A lovely day for a walk from the east of Scales up Mousthwaite Comb, with a break on the edge of Scales Fell and another below Brunt Knott, in bright sunshine, before scrambling up Sharp Edge and onto the summit of Blencathra. Descent by Knowe Crags and a late afternoon stroll along the foot of the fell past Threlkeld.

Ascending Scales Fell to Brunt Knott

Lunch below Brunt Knott

On the walk were me, Sue, Dave, Linda, Andrew, Dave, Barry (71), Don and Liz.

The highlights were:

·        lounging in the sun below Brunt Knott;

·        that was after a very, very leisurely start - 11 am before we started walking, with superb views from the road over the top, partly behind a very fast vintage Bentley sports car;

·        Linda's ascent of Sharp Edge. Unfortunately she followed Sue up the last section, which brought her to tears as she had promised her paranoid daughter to 'take care'. She was very quick!

·        lingering on the summit in the warm sunshine.

Don and Liz on Sharp Edge

Andrew on Sharp Edge

It's a steep scramble

On the summit of Blencathra

Descending in the afternoon sunlight

After Andrew, Don and Liz had taken the short direct route down, the rest of us ambled gently, with a full moon rising from around the edge of Blencathra as the sun set behind us. We finished as it was getting dark, then Sue and I went into Keswick to meet Don and Liz at the Lemon and Lime cafe, which would also be good for an evening meal. They eschewed fish and chips, so we at them in the car before returning home after the traffic had cleared."

Here's our approximate route - 12 km with 850 metres ascent. (The same as the previous day.)