Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Saturday 29 May 2021

Grandchildren to Stay!

It was a pleasure to have Jacob and Jessica in the house today, baking and generally enjoying themselves, followed by a visit to Newton Park. The first time since early last year. What a pleasure, and whilst Jess went home with her mum, Jacob became our first overnight visitor since Lockdown began last March.


Friday 28 May 2021

Primrosehill Wood

This was another recce for Jen Darling, should she get around to issuing a new edition of 'Walks in West Cheshire and Wirral'. It's basically a shortened version of her 14 km route described in 'More Pub Walks in Cheshire and Wirral', which we walked on 5 April 2019 - report here. Neither of my companions on that occasion were present today.

Seven of us - me, Sue, Jenny, Graeme, Philip, Keith and Carol - assembled efficiently at a lay-by on Stoney Lane, Delamere (SJ 553 683), on an overcast but comfortably warm morning.

After a brief period of unpleasantness on the pavement of the A54 main road, we found ourselves making our way through damp grass at the side of a field to a wooden post that neatly housed my camera for the self-timed group picture shown above.

We then ascended a path at the edge of Primrosehill Wood, into which we could see other pathways leading to the interior of the wood, with magnificent beech trees in this detached segment of Delamere Forest.

From the edge of the wood at its high point, Philip assured us that on a clear day we would be able to discern the distinct outline of Shutlingsloe. Today it was a little hazy for that, and some imagination was needed in order to pick out the outline of the Peak District in the distance.

After joining Tirley Lane, and passing Tirley Farm, our path took us pleasantly around the Tirley Garth estate. The large country house seemed to be shielded from public view. Built in 1907, the building has an interesting history, and was bought by Mersey Television (founded by Phil Redmond) in 2002. That is now known as Lime Pictures, so perhaps the internal cloisters of the building provide the set for many a Lime Pictures production?

A quiet lane, John Street, led into the pretty village of Utkinton where we turned right down a snicket and passed an unusual wall structure, despite a 'footpath closed' sign. We soon discovered the reason for the sign - about five metres of pathway have disappeared, leaving a 3 metre chasm with vertical sides.

We adjourned for elevenses and some of Sue's chocolate caramel shortbread.

The path may have completely disappeared, but five of us found a way round, whilst Graeme and Philip were sensible - their longer route to a rendezvous point got them there rather more speedily than our adventures in the gully.

Once 'out of the woods' we could enjoy views across the Cheshire farmland to Beeston Castle. (Click on any of these images for a better version/slideshow.)

The Sandstone Trail path was now joined, and a good footpath led around the side of a field.

Note, below, the yellow latch on a kissing gate. Under the initiative of Michael Gove, supervised by Dominic Cummings, the Tory government would appear to have required each Local Authority to appoint a 'latchperson' to paint all gate and stile latches yellow so that their voters, now released into the UK countryside instead of being allowed to stumble around the crowded beaches of Spain, can find their way from yellow latch to yellow latch across the countryside of their homeland where they've never previously set foot ...

Jen's book eulogises Summer Trees Tea Room. Sadly, this former haven for walkers was sold some time ago and is now a private house.

Soon after this, we veered right, off the Sandstone Trail, heading past a meadow filled with buttercups and Ribwort Plantain, before returning to the delights of Primrosehill Wood.

Beyond the wood, gallops and horsey infrastructure - believed to be part of the Michael Footballer Owen Empire - on an industrial scale lay before us, but luckily the yellow latches (not to mention the footpath signs) led us with the aid of our resident cow-whisperer (Sue), through a field of cows and back to Stoney Lane.

Here's our route - 9.5 km with 200 metres ascent, taking rather less than three hours.

Graeme and Phil returned home. The rest of us drove a very short distance to Abbeywood Gardens for lunch after this sociable outing in lovely countryside.

Our next Friday walk will be as follows; all are welcome under the current rules:

Friday 18 June, 10.00am start - A 14 km circuit from Rose Hill, Marple. Park by the Middlewood Way trail at Rose Hill station, SJ 949 887. Bring a sandwich.

Thursday 27 May 2021

Canada Geese by the Bridgewater Canal in Timperley

This posting is by email, as blogger is declining to load my pictures via the desktop computer. There should be an image of some Canada Geese mowing a lawn beside the canal. Good to see them enjoying a meal. I'm putting out loads of bird food at present as there don't seem to be many insects around.

Swifts usually arrive here around 8 May, but this year I've only seen one of them - a couple of days ago. Oh dear!

Meanwhile, whilst the picture by email was successful, if I try to upload pictures from the computer into blogger, I still get the following message: says
Sorry! An unexpected error occurred while processing your selection. Please try again later.

Does anyone know how to resolve this issue? I now see that others are having the same problem.

Later (28 May): thanks for your comment, Conrad. Uploading seems to be working again - here's the image I was trying to load last night.

Wednesday 26 May 2021

22 and 23 May 2021 - Backpacking in the Lake District - in Pictures

Sue and I drove up to Patterdale on Saturday and spent a relaxing couple of hours chatting about routes, etc, before setting off on this backpacking trip. For us, this is an annual trip to check out gear etc that hasn't been used for a while - in this case mostly not used for two years. For Mike, it was a chance to check out the efficacy of certain items in preparation for the TGO Challenge - postponed this year until 18 June - Sue and I have bottled out of that due to midge and logistics issues that we are reluctant to face.

The view above is towards Place Fell, from Mike and Marian's garden. Are we not envious!?

Setting off around noon, after a bite of lunch, we took a path to the south of Grisedale Beck.

Soon we were heading over rough ground towards Trough Head, with good views back to Ullswater.

A high wall was spanned by a metal ladder that reminded me of via ferrata ladders that we haven't had a chance to experience for too long now.

Mike reminisced about this tree, which he fondly remembers when it was still alive. Now it still serves a purpose as a rubbing point and windbreak for sheep.

Looking ahead to the Fairfield summits, a sheep and its lamb on the top of a small rise watched studiously as we passed by below.

Looking to our left, the twin peaks of the Angletarn Pikes were prominent in the view across Brothers Water.

Looking ahead again, we continued to contour over rough ground, towards our target, Link Cove, hidden in a small dip above the steep slope that two becks cut through in the middle of the next two pictures.

Several waterfalls were encountered on the way up to the cove. A rare bout of sunshine dazzled us as we looked up to these falls.

Here's the view back, from near our objective, with Angletarn Pikes still prominent.

Later, after drizzly showers on the way up, we could enjoy sunnier views for a while - the next wave of bad weather arrived during the night.

Link Cove, reached at around 3.30pm, presented numerous good camping spots at about 500 metres heightwise.

I found a comfy rock on which to admire the view whilst I wrote and dispatched the day's blog posting.

We enjoyed our soup outside, with a view to Place Fell, before the sun left us to dip behind the Fairfield summits and we adjourned to the trusty Nallo tent for our main course of pasta and tuna, and a dessert of Angel Delight. Delicious.

Here's our route - 7km, with 550 metres ascent, taking a leisurely three and a half hours.

Sunday arrived in a stormy manner. Having forgotten to tighten the guys earlier, I was up at midnight to do that job and stop any flapping of the tent, so we slept well until our first brew at 7am.

The rain had turned to snow in the night. You can see the remains of it around the base of our tent, with Mike's tent just visible through the murk.

We got going soon after 8am, and could soon enjoy a view back into the cove.

It was a steep ascent to the ridge between Hart Crag and Dove Crag, past a Priest's Hole that is best viewed from this route (but there's no picture as it was raining hard and my fingers were too cold to take pictures, albeit I had my waterproof Lumix camera - not used for three years - on this trip).

After slogging our way up to Dove Crag, we enjoyed the gentle descent towards Ambleside, slowly warming up as we continued.

We were not alone - some hardy folk had started early from Ambleside to do the Fairfield round.

Lunch was taken in a pause from the rain, just outside Ambleside, while we watched the next pulse of wet weather approaching us over the Langdale Pikes. At this point a combination of the continuing bad weather forecast and an infection for which Sue needed to get medication, brought us to the decision to abandon the trip at Ambleside. The testing was sufficient, and the decision was justified to Sue and me as we drove home with the windscreen wipers on 'fast wipe', when we would otherwise have been continuing our walk in torrential rain.

We passed a bubbling brook and a smart grey tractor before reaching the fleshpots of Ambleside and catching a bus to Bowness, from where the Penrith service took us back to Patterdale.

Here's our route - 11km, with 350 metres ascent, taking aroround five hours.

An excellent little trip, and thanks to Mike for his company and route planning. He will use a different tent on the Challenge, pack some matches or a lighter, and make a few other minor adjustments. I will take better gloves next time, and a proper first aid kit (I had strips of plasters, but no scissors!).