Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Saturday 24 April 2021

Happy Birthday Jacob!

Jacob's Big Birthday!

Jacob has made more than 50 appearances on these pages since he came into the world ten years ago, and I've enjoyed them all.

I hear that amongst yesterday's presents is a tennis set that I hope will encourage him to enjoy the towpath walk to the courts at Walton Park next time he visits.

I hope you had a great day, and have a lovely weekend, Jacob.

Friday 23 April 2021

Friday 23 April 2021 - The Bowstones and Sponds Hill

Today's Friday morning 'Rule of Six' walk took place in summery weather, on a route devised by JJ, who wrote about it here. I have deliberately not read JJ's report before writing this version.

Parking up at Nelson Pit, in Higher Poynton, I was joined by Sue, Jenny, Graeme, Bridget and Graham B. We went over the canal bridge, glancing across to the scene above, and took the path into Lyme Park towards Lyme Hall. This is as close as we got to the hall.

Whilst I think JJ did an extra loop here, we joined the Gritstone Trail path for a few km, initially rising beside Knightslow Wood.

Emerging from the wood, we strolled in the face of a cool breeze up a gentle slope to the broad ridge on which the Bowstones are situated.

The Bowstones are the shafts of two late Saxon crosses, dating from the 9th or 10th centuries AD. The crosses were probably destroyed after the Reformation in the mid 1500s. Two cross heads ploughed up near Disley in C19 may have belonged to these shafts, which were perhaps placed in their present position as boundary stones or guide posts by Sir Piers Legh in the late 16th century.

We turned right along the crest of the ridge, diverting shortly to the trig point that marks the grassy 410 metre summit of Sponds Hill.

From the approach to the Bowstones, and all the way along the path to the road that leads to Brink Farm, there are fine views towards Shutlingsloe and other Peak District summits, as well as views past Jodrell Bank and right across Greater Manchester to the huge mast on Winter Hill and the windfarms of the South Pennine hills.

We continued along the Gritstone Trail path towards Bollington, with the bulbous shape of White Nancy coming into view before we took a sharp right turn to bring us on course for a visit to Pott Shrigley.

The industrial estate at Pott Shrigley was very quiet, being manned quite calmly today by a skeleton staff.

Public Footpath number 155 soon followed, and on the descent to West Parkgate we found an excellent spot at which to enjoy our lunch and admire extensive views towards Manchester and beyond.

After descending through a flourish of Wood Anemonies, a short section of road drew us to a tunnel under the Macclesfield Canal and steep steps up to the towpath past lavish clumps of Lesser Celandine.

There was some debate as to the identity of the ancient plants growing plentifully beside the canal just here. I think they are Horsetail (or they may be called mares-tail), Equisetum arvense.

A short stroll beside the canal brought us back to our starting point after a very enjoyable walk, in time to return home for beer in the garden by 3 pm.

Here's our route - about 14 km with 350 metres ascent, taking us about four and a half hours including a couple of generous breaks.

Thanks again to JJ for the route - sorry you couldn't join us.

Thursday 22 April 2021

28 to 31 December 1979 - A Trip to Wasdale

This posting arises from the scanning of my '1980' Kodachrome slides, which curiously start at the end of 1979 with a 'New Year' visit to Wasdale.

This trip took place shortly before the diaries that are now up to Volume 102 were inaugurated, so I'm in no better position than my erstwhile companions as regards recollections from the trip, other than my brief annotation to each slide.

Anyway, I hope this brings back memories for Dave and for Ian, and even from beyond Daffyd's grave.

It looks as if we headed up Pillar on 28 December, snapping the view down Ennerdale (above) on the way up, and celebrating arrival at the summit a little later.

The next picture indicates the view to Wasdale, and Burnmoor Tarn, from the path down to Black Sail Pass.

Then we admired the view towards Skiddaw, with Fleetwith Pike in the foreground.

29 December reveals only one slide worth scanning. Several readers may identify this as Styhead Tarn, looking towards Borrowdale. We continued to Esk Hause, but I can't remember much more than that. I presume we returned to Wasdale via Great End and Scafell Pike.

The first image from 30 December, shows Ian, about to leave the campsite at Wasdale Head - the field outside the Inn that was always crammed full of tents at New Year.

It appears that we, led by Dave, took the direct path up Kirk Fell.

Looking back to Wasdale, Daffyd lumbered into view.

After climbing both Kirk Fell and Great Gable, we descended, with this view towards Styhead Tarn and Seathwaite Fell.

The view across to Scafell Pike, Piers Gill, and Lingmell, was clearly a struggle for Kodachrome.

However, a little later the camera had a fair crack at recording the sunset view from our campsite to Great Gable.

Next day, 31 December, we probably woke with hangovers, and returned to Manchester to spend New Year with loved ones.

Pictures of Skiddaw and Castlerigg Fell, not worth replicating here, indicate that we returned home via Keswick.

I wish I still had that pullover knitted by my mother, and some of the wool shirts she made for me. I'll have to buy her some wool, and a magnifying glass!

Wednesday 21 April 2021

Literary Granddaughters

Jessica goes out playing with her friends, usually popping in and out of the house, but on this occasion she had been out for ages. Her mum got worried and went out to check on her...

She was found with two friends and J K Rowling. One of them said "we're sitting here reading because it's such a peaceful place to read."

Meanwhile, cousin Isabella was reading up on the difference between silicon and germanium fuzz pedals and how they affect your guitar tone!

Then she went on the swings.

Sarah had gone to visit friends, leaving Michael with the task of preparing Isabella's lunch, the menu for which was 'salmon, spinach and lentil puree, and carrot with a lemon yogurt dip'.

She looked happy about that.

Tuesday 20 April 2021

TGO Challenge - Wild Camps (No 61: 11 May 2015)

After a very pleasant night drying out in the Slaters Arms in Cannich, and at Kerrow House B&B, we proceeded to the Balmacaan Forest, where a plan to camp in a spot that I had previously passed and deemed to be 'idyllic', was foiled by an excess of water. 

Eventually we got to a point where we decided to camp, rather than cross a fast flowing river - by Loch nam Meur at NH 390 245. 

At least we didn't have to go very far to get good water, and next day, after the storm had subsided, we were able to leap across the river without the need to take our boots off.

Monday 19 April 2021

Saturday 17 April 2021 - Jenny's Birthday Walk from Youlgrave

Richard and Jenny chose this venue - one of their favourite places, and Sue and I and Sue W (Phil is out of action with an Achilles problem) were those honoured to accompany them today under the 'Rule of Six' constraints.

We made our way from the car park past the Farmyard Inn, which would be seen to be heaving with people when we returned later, and descended to a bridge over the heavily managed (by way of weirs and ponds) River Bradford. Then it was uphill for quite some way, past bright yellow Marsh Marigolds, and a dipper that posed just a bit too far away for a decent picture. Grey wagtails and nesting coots were also making themselves very obvious from the river bank.

After a while we reached an enclosure, the wall around which has been subject to a novel form of repair.

A little further on - a wild camper's dream, lovely filtered water in abundance from a spring. You might even expect to find a water bottling business hiding round the corner!

We re-crossed the river via the stones pictured below, on which the following inscription has been carved:
"Consult the genius of the place in all that tells the waters or to rise or fall"

Soon afterwards, Sue spent ages setting up this self-timed photo that was cleverly photo-bombed by a dog walker.

A beautiful tree-lined path led up towards the hamlet of Middleton.

Elevenses were taken at a lovely spot in the sunshine above Long Dale, to which we then descended.

Another small enclosure bore three decorated rocks, two of them with symbols and birds, and the one in the foreground exhorting these most pertinent words: "We meet to create memories and depart to cherish them".

The march through Elton Common is on a very straight, and neatly gated, path through nascent crops. As on the previous day in the Wirral, I wondered what this path would be like when the crops are fully grown?

The graveyard of All Saint's church in Elton was chosen as a suitable lunch spot, where Phil took a break from stripping and joined us for a leisurely stop.

After that, the route to Robin Hood's Stride was adorned by meadows full of glossy petalled Lesser Celandine.

Beyond the Stride, the sight of a nearby stone circle reminded us that this place is full of antiquities.

Near Hollow Farm, the clock struck 3 pm and we paused for a minute, in time with cricketers across the valley, to mark the death of Prince Philip, at the good old age of 99.

Soon afterwards, a cleverly carved gatepost offered us a nod of approval as we passed by.

On the descent to Alport we visited a memorial in a field which reads "Behold the man - John Roger Harrop - 1942 - 2019 ... Gone from our home but not from our hearts". We assume he is buried inside the enclosure that's in front of the massive headstone.

Beyond Alport, the River Bradford, at one point managed sufficiently for an area to be deemed appropriate for swimming, rises slowly back to Youlgrave, passing at one point a cliff that looks suitable for climbing.

Back at the car park - a birthday presentation in honour of Jenny's garden.

Here's our route, superbly navigated by Richard, with occasional interference assistance from Sue W - 19 km with 450 metres ascent.

What an excellent day out. Thanks for inviting us.