Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Saturday 17 July 2021

March 1980 - A Brief Diary Entry

The diaries that are now up to Volume 103 started in April 1980. Today I scanned some slides from March 1980, the results of which are here, and may be of some interest to the participants.

The first picture is of Dafydd, alighting from a taxi which had taken him the short distance between my house in Adria Road and the Red Lion in Withington, where it was customary for members of TDHHC (our University hiking club) to congregate the day after completing the 55 mile Bogle Stroll. We did this for many years, but only Dafydd ever arrived by taxi. He wasn't able to walk!

The following weekend, the club visited Cheddar Gorge.

I must have struggled for 'picture content' as one of the very few images shows John Mansell and Ian Inch peering into a quarry near Priddy.

This was on a hike near Priddy.

It was often dark by the time we finished our walks, and on this occasion I was inspired to photograph the sunset over glasshouses at Halfway Farm.

It's a shame there's no diary entry. I'll insert a hike report if I find one (very unlikely).

The following day, 9 March, looks much brighter as we gathered outside the Youth Hostel in time honoured fashion.

We rose to a tower that offered a good view over Cheddar, and one of very few of these slides that I haven't had to 'brighten up' in order to look vaguely acceptable.

Cheddar Gorge looks quite bright here, thanks to Photoshop.

I captioned the next slide 'Ancient Monument at Priddy'. It's actually a pile of hurdles capped by a thatched roof. The information board explains:

'These hurdles are a symbolic reconstruction of the original collection which were kept here to form the pens for the sheep fair which moved from Wells to Priddy in 1348 during the Black Death. It is still held annually on the nearest Wednesday to the original date of the 21st August.'

I wonder whether it's still there?

The next picture shows a little girl running away from someone who looks suspiciously like my son Michael!

Another week went past. I remember it being an extremely challenging time at work, but on Sunday 16 March I managed a trip to Blencathra with Alison. David, Bob and Annie. The weather wasn't ideal. Here they are near Threlkeld, David fumbling with his boots and the others showing signs of apprehension.

We tried to spot the summit. "It's not up there!"

Bob and Annie emigrated after this.

Alison should have been warm in that gear. Note that it's snowing in all these pictures.

David looks remarkably cheerful in his Helly Hansen sailor's uniform.

This was the only picture I took 'on the hill'. [Happy Days!]

Back down, and Alison looks positively cheerful. Probably ecstatic to have survived.

Two weeks later, Nell and I visited Alison and David in Eltham (London). We visited Greenwich.

My colour slides of the Cutty Sark and Gipsy Moth seem to have an embedded monochrome feature that no amount of Photoshop will shift.

It seems that we went up Maze Hill and took photos of the National Maritime Museum.

Then we went into London, where I took a last photo of March (what relief!) of a random square - who knows which one!?

Well, wasn't that fun...

PS Nick comments: "the building in the background is the Royal Observatory. And the statue commemorates General James Wolfe, whose victory against the French in Quebec secured Canada for the British."

Friday 16 July 2021

Thursday 15 July 2021 - Sale Sizzler 3

I reported on this year's first Sale Sizzler here.

We missed the second race - we were in Scotland.

This was the third event in this year's series, on a beautifully sunny evening in the park. 418 runners took part.

Sue and I expected to be slow, not having been for a run for more than a week. However, Sue did a PB and finished well ahead of me. I had a jolly time, starting right at the back and overtaking a few people. You may need to click on the above image to see it properly.

The start and finish involves a lap around the lovely track, shown below as folk congregate at the start.

At 7:20 everyone made their way to their socially distanced start positions, based on their estimated finishing times.

I started right at the back, behind Mark and Andy.

The gun went off at 7:30 and the leaders disappeared down the track, whilst those of us at the back shuffled to the start, narrowly avoiding the front runners as they completed their lap on the track and left the stadium.

Starting at the back and speeding up every kilometre has its advantages. Only one person passed me apart from the leading 50 or 60 folk who lapped me.

At 8pm prompt, Fechin went through his usual routine of awarding prizes to the winners in each age category. As usual, I was second in the 70-74 category. A club runner finishes ahead of me every time - always a different person, and always well ahead.

Thursday 15 July 2021

Where am I now?

More memories - possibly of more interest to readers than tonight's 5km 'Sizzler' race. It will be a sizzler!

In 2003 Sue and I enjoyed a trip to the Dolomites, during which our first digital camera took a few pictures, including this one featuring Don, Dave, Sue, Liz, Nick, Andrew and Catherine.

I think it was probably near Rifugio Fondo Savio, before some of us set off along the Bonacassa Way via ferrata, on 21 July.

Won't it be nice to return there one day?

The trip precedes this blog by over four years, but I did record events here, should anyone be interested.

Wednesday 14 July 2021

Where am I now?

I don't expect an answer to the question. Thumbing through old photos, this one caught my eye. It brings back the distant memory of a backpack with Andrew and Gary from Kendal to Keswick. Very few pictures were taken on this day, 4 June 2005, but this one stood out. We walked from Kendal Youth Hostel to Windermere Youth Hostel (which is at Troutbeck), via Staveley, near where this picture must have been taken. My camera broke soon after that.

I wonder how much Andrew and Gary remember of this trip. Shall I 'bloggerise' the diary?

Tuesday 13 July 2021

Tuesday 13 July 2021 - Bodnant Garden

On our return home from Wales, we spent the afternoon at Bodnant Garden. The grounds are extensive. We walked over 6km and failed again to source a good cream tea. This time we got tea, cake and brownies at the Old Mill café - they had run out of cream tea ingredients. 

I took a few photos, some of which are shown below. The house is private, but the garden is stunning. Well worth a visit if you are on your way to or from the Welsh coast.

Monday 12 July 2021

Monday 12 July 2021 - The Mawddach Estuary

Today we parked by the Penmaenpool Toll Bridge, a wooden construction built in 1879 to replace a ferry.

We then set off along the Mawddach Trail, a disused railway track for walkers and cyclists. 

We followed the trail for over 7km as far as Arthog, where there's another car park.

Rosebay Willowherb was abundant beside the path.

Cyclists were abundant on the path, but not when the next picture was taken. Cows were paddling in the boggy ground just above the water level in the estuary. It must have been high tide. Jellyfish swam alongside us as we continued along the path.

Navigation became a little more taxing once we'd left the comfort of the old railway line, but Sue was pleased to glimpse a Kingfisher as we walked along an embankment beside a Afon Arthog.

Elevenses were taken in the porch of St Catherine's Church, then we embarked on a delightful, if rather steep, path beside the fast flowing Afon Arthog, with lots of small waterfalls.

By the time we had reached the top, a rain shower had reached us and Sue was fully waterproofed for a picture on a stone slab bridge over the stream.

By the time we reached our lunch spot in the shadow of Pared-y-Cefn hir, the rain had ceased.

From this perch we had wonderful panoramic views. Today, those towards Barmouth and the Lleyn Peninsula were better than the views towards the rocky ramparts of the North face of Cadair Idris, possibly because the latter were engulfed in cloud. 

The paths were well signposted today, and Alex's route description was wholly accurate (as usual). We seemed to be on several signed routes, including the Cambrian Way that I thought about walking last year, but I was thwarted by Covid, and in particular by not being allowed into Wales. 

After walking down to a road we encountered quite a few folk. It seems the area is favoured by Outwood Bound, and a school bus from Solihull was on duty to complement the supervised teenagers who were seen near Llynnau Cregennen, beside which there was a large car park.

Meanwhile, we enjoyed views to the summit of Pared-y-Cefn hir, languishing high above a hillside, the higher slopes of which are dominated by a carpet of bell heather.

It would be convenient to use the car park and ascend the hill from here.

After a fine path beside the lake and beyond, some steep descending through woodland got us past a deserted Youth Hostel to the main A493 road. We felt sorry for any hostelling cyclists who would have to negotiate the steep ascent after a long day.

Across the main road, we headed through an avenue of giant redwood trees, towards Abergwynant Farm. 

Soon after that, Abergwynant Woods were entered. This is an area where timber (oak etc) was taken for shipbuilding and other uses. Then conifers were planted. Efforts are now being made to get rid of the conifers and return the area to its natural state  thus benefiting wildlife and plants.

A short 'dog-leg' took us to a viewpoint over the estuary, the tide having now gone out some way.

Then it was down to the old railway line for a bike dodging (they were all very polite) stroll back to the car.

Here's our route - about 20km with 350 metres ascent, taking about 5.5 hours.

That's it from Porthmadog for now. I'll leave you with two views from our deck. In one of them, note the convoy of Canada Geese. At about 5:30 every afternoon a group of 60 geese paddle serenely, in single file, through the harbour and into the estuary, where yesterday a Peregrine falcon sat for hours on a rock.

This next picture was taken around sunset.