Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Saturday 12 December 2020

Friday 11 December 2020 - A Circuit from Woodbank Park, Stockport

Our planned assembly point at Tesco in Portwood didn't work, as I'd forgotten that Tesco charges £70 for stays over three hours. So we went to the small free car park by Vernon and Woodbank Parks that we use when visiting Woodbank parkrun. There was plenty of room there.

Whilst I'd planned to follow the river bank, it proved easier to start along the wide path through Woodbank Park, before dropping down to the banks of the River Goyt from the point pictured above.

We continued along the Midshires Way footpath and took a wrong turn into Offerton, where we decided to re-trace our steps in preference to walking through a housing estate. This route took us beside a subsidiary river that flows into the Goyt. Our maps show a path on the west side of the river, but that has long gone, with a bridge and a good path now leading to the main A626 road, after an annoying diversion up what should have been signed as a private footpath to a house

A short stroll along the road took us past the 'Spice Tower' restaurant, situated in a building that used to be The Wrights Arms, a low-ceilinged roadside inn dating from the 1800s.

A little further on, and just beyond a ford that would have been 'interesting' today, with the river in spate, is a bridge dating from 2012 that provides dry access to Chadkirk Chapel. Here, my two companions for the day, Graeme and Graham, posed dutifully.

Next to the bridge are three sculptures in the same style as those beside the Rochdale Canal and elsewhere. There's a frame for an information board about these and/or the bridge that has gone - why would anyone steal such an object! So we debated who they might be?

A bit of research revealed their identities:
On the left, appearing at first sight to be a woman, is in fact St Chad of Mercia.
In the middle is Douglas Tattersall - former Clerk to Bredbury and Romiley Urban District Council who arranged the purchase of Chadkirk Estate and Etherow Country Park for the people of Stockport before the Council was disbanded in 1974.
On the right is John Bradshaw, The Lord President of England and Judge at the trial of Charles I, who is connected to the area.

From the bridge we made our way to the chapel (closed due to Covid) and presented ourselves to a well fed monk who appeared to be guarding the premises.

You can learn a bit about the chapel by clicking on the following image in order to easily read it.
It's thought that St Chad, who was Bishop of Lichfield from AD 669 to 672, founded a monastic cell here, but the oldest parts of the present building 'only' date from the 16th century.

An enthusiast could probably spend hours studying the graveyard. Again, you can click on the information board to discover a little more. The graves here date from 1762.

On our way up to the Peak Forest Canal, a much more recent construction - completed in 1800 - we passed St Chad's well. It may have had its origins in Celtic times (from 6th century BC), but later St Chad became the patron saint of wells and springs.

On the hill leading to the canal, we passed a strangely shaped house - Kirkwood Cottage - the house looks as though it could have been a toll house but there is no evidence to prove this. Because of its peculiar shape, it has had some creative nicknames over the years, including the Mouse Trap, the Pepperpot and the Concertina House.

The towpath was muddy, but nowhere near as muddy as that of the Bridgewater Canal around Dunham Massey. We had a pleasant stroll along it before coming off at Romiley.

There's a good footpath from Romiley to Bredbury Hall, near where there's a new 40 metre long bridge over the Goyt that was lifted into place as recently as 17 July 2020. It's in the same style as the Chadkirk bridge. I'm told that these bridges could be dangerous to cross in a thunderstorm!

The mess of the construction site lingers, and the cycleway up to Woodbank Park has not yet been completed. From the bridge you can see a large mill, and if you look carefully at the next picture you can see why it's called 'Pear Mill'.

We returned in sunshine up the muddy path to join the tarmac on which we had started our walk in drizzle over three hours earlier. Here's our 13 km route.

Thanks for your company, folks.

Friday 11 December 2020

A Flower Day

Going back through the unedited pictures on my hard drive, I discovered just one picture taken with my Canon Powershot S70 on 3 July 2005.

So now that one picture can see the light of day. I think it's an Oilseed Poppy (Papaver somniferum), from our garden in Timperley.

Thursday 10 December 2020

Thursday 10 December 2020 - De-Quincey Park

Our regular 5 km (not)parkrun passes either alongside or through this small park beside the A56 road in Timperley. At present the route beside Baguley Brook outside the confines of the park is a bit boggy, so we've been jogging around the inner perimeter, which is an absolute delight.

The top picture is from the entry to the park, next to an Enterprise car hire depot.

The mature trees next to the brook were glimmering in the sunshine this morning.

This little park always looks pristine. It has no facilities (playground, bowling green, tennis courts, etc - all these can be found in other nearby parks) apart from a lone bench and a rubbish bin. These are at the far end of the park, from where you have to double back to reach an exit. Beyond  here there are some allotments that have to be accessed from somewhere else.

The bench is an ideal place to pause and contemplate - it's away from any road noise and chirping birds rule the air waves. There may also be an occasional distant screech from the flock of parakeets that live a little to the west, after Baguley Brook has been joined by Timperley Brook to become Sinderland Brook.

This really is a brilliant amenity just a five minute jog from home.

Wednesday 9 December 2020

TGO Challenge - Wild Camps (No 46: 15 May 2013)

After a day of mixed weather, during which I sheltered from the showers in the superb Culloden Visitor Centre, I laboured up about 400 metres of ascent to find a convenient - if rather lumpy - spot to wild camp beyond Dalroy, at NH 787 413. There were superb views back towards Inverness and the Moray Firth.

En route, I'd passed under the magnificent Nairn Viaduct, a picture of which I can't resist inserting here.

Tuesday 8 December 2020

Monday 7 December 2020 - Brown Knowl and Bickerton Hill

I took a gamble. It was raining when I set off from home, but thankfully it was just heavily overcast when I rolled up outside Brown Knowl's telephone box - the starting point for this walk, which sets off up the road pictured above. It was warm as well - no gloves needed today.

This was a 'route description check' of one of Jen Darling's 'Walks in West Cheshire and Wirral'. It's only a short (just over 5 km) route, but with extra wanderings I went a good kilometre further than that.

The walk starts off up the road past an impressive Methodist chapel.

Beyond that, the stone gatepost of 'Tanglewood' confirmed that I was on the route described by Jen.

However, at a Bickerton Hill sign I mistakenly turned left, not realising that I should go straight on and up the hill, which is really Larkton Hill, though the whole area can probably be described as 'Bickerton Hill', before turning left.

Steps were dutifully re-traced when I realised I'd reached the Sandstone Trail from the wrong direction.

After the correct left turn, the path followed the crest, and Larkton Hill soon appeared out of the gloom, pictured below to the left of a shapely fir tree.

Continuing on to Maiden Castle, the site of a 2000 year old Iron Age fort, I spotted one of several tree trunk seats that I'd expected to see earlier. I enjoyed a break at one of these before heading up a well marked footpath onto Bickerton Hill.

Kitty's Stone, pictured above, is situated at the top of Bickerton Hill - a memorial to Leslie Wheeldon's wife Kitty. I think the poems on adjacent sides of the stone would appeal to our good friend Andrew.

The Welsh hills are visible from here. But not today!

Mad Allen's Hole is marked nearby on the map. I didn't spot that - it's apparently a two storey cave that was inhabited in the 17th century by a heartbroken hermit. Nearby, several skulls have been carved into the soft sandstone.

After another minor error ("keep to the crest") I found my way down to a National Trust path that doubled back, following the base of the escarpment at a lower level.

I was concerned to find cattle in a field of mud, with no obvious grass to be seen, and was relieved to come across a feeding station - there's lots of hay behind these curious animals.

A short stroll down Reading Room Lane brought me back to the start of the walk, by Brown Knowl's 'phone box.

All that remained was for me to finish off the contents of my flask and enjoy the company of some friendly goats.

Here's my 'warts and all' route that was 6.5 km rather than 5 km, due to my misinterpretations along the way! There's about 180 metres ascent. Allow about an hour and a half for this excellent outing.

Monday 7 December 2020

Where Is She Now?

This was a memorable day. We walked for more than 30 miles. Sue is resting at a summit before the half way point. Was it really as long ago as 5 July 2003? It seemed a long day then; who knows how long it would take us these days!

However, we often go up to this spot on a shorter outing, on our way to a rocky ridge beyond the distant water, which is actually only a few minutes walk away.

Sunday 6 December 2020

Lockdown Continues in South Manchester

Now we are in 'Tier 3', so we are allowed out in groups of six, several of which groups can be seen below in Wythenshawe Park on a beautiful Saturday morning in December. Takeaway coffees from the cafe that we are pleased to see remains open.

It's a 20 minute bike ride from the park to East Didsbury, on a route that crosses the Mersey at Simon's Bridge - built by Henry Simon in 1901, much to the relief of the poor people who had until then been obliged to ford the river in Northenden in order to cross hereabouts.

Having reached Didsbury we were allowed to abandon our bikes in favour of a walk with Michael, Sarah and Isabella in Fletcher Moss Park. Very nice too. Sue got to push the pram.

Meanwhile, work has started on the landing redecoration. There's a bit of tricky filling to be done up there, perchance?

After a visit to see Dot today (6 December), we got a bit of evening exercise and noticed that there must be a lot of peer pressure in nearby Westwood Avenue, where Rick and Les live, as virtually every house is decked with bright Christmas decorations!

That's it from another exciting weekend in Timperley...