Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Saturday 23 October 2021

Saturday 23 October 2021 - Burnley parkrun #412

       It looks as if they are on their own, but there were another 303 participants...

A Friday evening in Bacup saw us dog walking with Oscar, now an Old Man, but still with a strong sense of smell!

Saturday morning found us taking the short drive to Towneley Hall, on the outskirts of Burnley. I'm still crocked with Plantar Fasciitis, but Jacob (10) was keen to move on from his regular Sunday morning 2km run, to do the 5km Saturday parkrun.

Parking in a lay-by opposite a park entrance, we wandered down to the hall past an exhibition of excellent wildlife photos.

Cuckoo stand off with a sedge warbler

Over 300 runners then congregated at the start, which enjoys a fine view of the hall.

After a short briefing... off they went.

Can you spot Jacob?

With a lap to go, the pair of them (is it cool for a boy to do parkrun with a granny?) were going well, and after a slow start were picking off runners as they trundled along.

They managed to avoid being lapped by the leader, Marc Hartley of Blackburn Harriers, who finished in 17:42, well outside his personal best.

The 'Granny/Boy' pair were still going well at the bottom of the final hill. They stormed up it.

Meanwhile, here's a typical 'finish' picture, with runners constrained by the funnel, at the end of which finish barcode tokens are handed out in order by volunteers.

A final sprint from Boy put him a couple of places ahead of Granny.

We weren't sure of the time, but later discovered that Jacob finished about half way down the field in position 166, in a time of 28:40, a personal best and the first time he has gone under 30 minutes. Well done Jacob. We look forward to him visiting us at Wythenshawe, and maybe coming on tour with us.

Full results are here.

Here's a view from the front of the hall, looking across a pond to the green swathe from where the parkrun starts.

Passing the photo exhibition, I couldn't resist taking snaps of a couple of the pictures - Kingfisher and Kestrel. If I'd been more alert I might have got a similar kestrel picture on Thursday near Mellor Hall.

The autumn colours are on the way. Here, Sue and Jacob are strolling back up the hill towards the car, and our return for a morning in Bacup with some grandchildren.

A lovely start to the weekend.

Friday 22 October 2021

TGO Challenge - Wild Camps (No 71: 12 May 2017)

2017 saw me setting off on a solo crossing, starting again at Oban, but taking the ferry to Lismore and following my planned route, as reported at the time:

Route: roughly as planned - Ferry to Lismore > Port Appin > Airds Hill (Ma) > Appin > Strath of Appin > camp to the west of Beinn Churalain at NM 986 464 (420 metres)

I've still not processed the photos from this crossing, on which I used the stalwart Phreerunner tent, which performed as well as ever, and on this day was positioned exactly as planned on the slopes of Beinn Churalain..

Thursday 21 October 2021

Thursday 21 October 2021 - A Bike Ride from Rose Hill (Marple)

I chose a lovely day for this leisurely 30km bike ride from the western end of the Middlewood Way at Rose Hill in Marple.

Autumn colours do not yet dominate the scene, though they are on the way, and the dappled light from the low sun as it pierced the trees was lovely as I warmed up by way of 7km along the old railway track.

A short road section then took me into Lyme Park, and a steady climb through more woodland.

I'd been going for an hour by the time I reached the pond near Lyme Hall. Time for elevenses.

As I climbed out of the park before heading towards New Mills, I visited The Cage, an old hunting lodge amongst other things, from which there were views over Manchester to the South Pennines, towards the Welsh hills to the south, and across the Peak District beyond New Mills.

'Historic England' has quite a bit to say about The Cage, including the following:

'Formerly a hunting tower cum gatehouse, later park keeper's house and prisoners' lock-up: Origins c.1580, taken down 1734 by George Platt, rebuilt 1737 by Peter Platt, perhaps to a design by Leoni for Peter Legh X. Coursed, squared, buff sandstone rubble with ashlar sandstone dressings, felted roof and cupolas (originally stone) and formerly 2 chimneys. In plan, square with attached square corner towers. 3-storeys symmetrical fronts. Chamfered plinth, raised rusticated quoins, applied ashlar band at first floor. Windows in towers in raised, plain surrounds (now blocked but with 12-pane sashes originally). Semi-circular headed doorcases on 3 faces, with rusticated surrounds and Tuscan pilaster capitals to imposts with raised plain, window surrounds above (all blocked). Projecting heavily-moulded entablature with ashlar blocking course with central balustrading (probably added by Wyatt, now damaged). On towers, stepped bases to domed cupolas (now C20 wooden replacements) 3 square sundials on moulded sills between 1st and 2nd storeys, read: east face, "Vive Hodie"; south face, "Remember now the creator in the days of thy youth"; west face, "Cras minus aptus eris". Interior: 4 Tuscan antae with banded rustication in ground floor. Diagonal flight leads to spiral, stone staircase in south-west corner tower. Remainder of interior now removed but first floor was the main room with a panelled oak ceiling with huge, central, carved rosette. The stairs were in one corner, a fireplace, a lavatory, and a prison room in the others.'

After admiring the roaring of the nearby rutting deer before leaving the park, I enjoyed some entertaining tracks, here crossing a bridge that for as long as I can recall sports warning signs that it's unsafe and possibly in imminent danger of collapse!

After a short ascent, a left turn was taken along a well signposted track that led to Long Lane - a bit muddy after the nice surface shown below.

A rough descent (Andy Wright walks it, but with the full suspension bike today I was able to descend at a steady pace) took me across the main road and under a railway bridge, to reach the tranquility of the Peak Forest Canal for an easy pedal into New Mills.

After passing the sweet factory, a left turn leads downhill to the Rock Inn, where a right turn found me on top of the viaduct pictured here.

It's correct to turn right at the Rock, but it's the left, not the right, path that's then taken. I've made the same mistake before. Anyway the correct path goes downhill under the viaduct and across the River Goyt to reach the remains of Torr Mill. This would be a good place to stop when doing this ride with just a single break.

The route then doubles back beside the river to reach the Millennium Walkway.

After this I made another mistake and took a steep path up to New Mills railway station. I should have continued beside the river for a little further, then doubled back on a more gentle ascent to reach the same place.

St Mary's Road then ascended to a left turn towards Brook Bottom. This road soon becomes single track and offers a few benches that sport good views back across the valley towards Lyme Park and The Cage.

A little further on, outside the Fox Inn, I spent some time with a chap who was trying to work out the course of the Goyt Way footpath. He had arrived on the signposted path from the valley, but couldn't work out where it went from here. Nor could I. He eventually settled for walking down Brook Bottom Lane and reaching the Millennium Walkway from the direction I had come. His was one of numerous friendly encounters I enjoyed in today's perfect weather.

By now my phone battery was running very low, so I could manage only one further photo, of Mellor golf course, which is nothing if not hilly. The picture is deceptive - that hill is steep!

Quiet lanes then drew me through Mellor and down to Marple Bridge, before a long ascent on the main road into Marple, and a turn to reach my start and finish point.

An off road section by Mellor Hall did present the sight of a kestrel, hunting just a few metres away, oblivious of human presence.

Here's my route - click on the image for a better version - about 30km with 500 metres ascent. It took me three and a half hours, of which a good hour was spent resting or chatting.

A pleasant and not particularly challenging route, on a lovely October day. Brilliant.

Wednesday 20 October 2021 - A Visit from a Famous Author

We had the pleasure of a visit from Jen Darling and her husband Chris. What a lovely evening. I've been helping Jen to re-walk some of the routes in her various 'Walking in Cheshire' books, and it was great at long last to meet her.

Hopefully the updated edition of 'Pub Walks in Cheshire' will soon arrive from the printers, and we can finish off 'West Cheshire' before getting stuck into 'More Pub Walks'.

Good luck with the updates, Jen.

Tuesday 19 October 2021

Monday 18 October 2021 - The Old Green River Band at Eagley Jazz Club

Sue and I enjoyed a pleasant evening together with about seventy like-minded souls, being entertained by the Old Green River Band. Apparently 'Old Green River' was a type of whisky that ceased to be produced in the early 1900s. Martin Bennett and his men have sought to keep the name alive.

I'm told that Martin is a very well known musician on the European Jazz scene, having spent over twenty  years touring extensively in Europe, the USA, Canada and Australia, playing famous clubs and festivals.  He first arrived in New Orleans in 1966 and is friends with many of the famous Jazz musicians there!  

He has now put together a band of musicians he is proud to present as the Old Green River Band, a mix of old heads and young blood, all with the shared intention of playing top class music with integrity and passion!  

The band members are Stan Williams trumpet, Liam Byrne reeds, Howard Worthington double bass, Bill Buck drums and Martin on keyboard. They entertained us royally, as they say.

Monday 18 October 2021

Tuesday 14 June 2005 - A Bike Ride to Strines and New Mills from Roman Lakes

Strines and New Mills from Roman Lakes (Route E4)

After a last minute rush to get the bikes ready after all of eight months since their last outing, Sue's puncture was repaired and a seat removed from the Espace to allow them to be wheeled in without difficulty.

Then a thirty minute drive to Roman Lakes, where Andrew was waiting with his new Garmin Vista C GPS unit - like mine but in colour. Our bikes needed a good oiling (rusty chains) before setting off down the familiar paths to New Mills (see map).

The track past the paper mill was very muddy and narrow, but fun, and the sweet factory by the canal emitted contrasting odours.

The late sun nicely lit the canal, and the first photo taken with the replacement Canon Powershot S70 camera provided today by seemed good. (See above.)

Then a jolly descent into New Mills, where we zoomed around the Millenium Walkway, high over a curve in the River Goyt, before climbing slowly out of New Mills on a nice evening all the way up to Brook Bottom. We eschewed the pub (Fox Inn) in favour of continuing to the end of the ride on nice tracks until the final rocky descent to Roman Lakes.

Despite blinding sun, Sue kept up (nearly), though Andrew did a bit of walking here.

Adjourned to the Bridge Inn in Marple Bridge.

That was an 'archive' entry, and the map is shown below. I may have got the bit through New Mills slightly wrong, but the instructions, written in 2005 and included here below the map, should still be correct. The old 'topwalks' web page is here, and that points to a blog entry here.

Here's the route - 13km with about 350 metres ascent; allow 1.5 hours.

The ride starts out left from Roman Lakes and follows the track by the river, under the railway, then alongside the railway before emerging onto a track by a farm. Turn right over the railway then down to a T-junction where a right turn takes you to the B6101 at Strines. Turn left here* and after about half a km take a bridleway on the right immediately after a farm drive and before the river bridge. Emerge from this narrow track past the paper mill at a road.

Turn left up the hill then right at a junction up to the canal bridge. Double back under the bridge along the towpath to the left, keeping on the towpath past the sweet factory. Turn left immediately after passing under the road bridge to join a small road that leads down to the main road (A6015).

Go straight across and keep right at two junctions until the road ends at the Rock Inn. Take the track on the right down into The Torrs, crossing the River Goyt at the bottom (if you reach the picnic benches you've missed the left turn towards the Walkway) before turning left next to the river and crossing the Millenium Walkway above the river. Immediately after that go right up a steep path to emerge by New Mills railway station. Turn right up the narrow road to the top.

Cross straight over and climb steeply up St Mary's Road, turning left onto High Lea Road. Keep on the road, passing through Brook Bottom before a further climb to a farm. Descend the hill, but take first right soon after the last houses (easily missed) at the next junction onto an ascending narrow sandy track leading to a wide track at a group of cottages. Continue down and then along the road across the golf course to a junction. Turn left, and keep left, following the access road down through the golf course until the tarmac runs out. Then straight on down through rocks, stones, gravel, drop offs, mud and ruts until arriving at the junction of Lakes Road, where a left turn takes you back to Roman Lakes Leisure Park.

The only part of this ride that is 'off the saddle' is the steep path after the Millennium Walkway. It's a good, varied route, suitable for all. Allow a good two hours, including breaks, though a fit mountain biker would take well under an hour for this route.

*If walking, cross the B6101, ascend to the canal, and turn left.

Sunday 17 October 2021

Sunday 17 October 2021 - The Knutsford 10K race

This morning Sue and I drove in rain to join a traffic jam outside Over Peover. Cars from various directions were trying to access just one entrance to Radbroke Hall, the run HQ and start and finish point.

Eventually, Sue got her running kit on and jogged under my waterproof for a mile or so to claim her number and reach the starting area in plenty of time.

The rain stopped shortly before the start of the race, so conditions were excellent for running.

After a five minute delay to help those stuck in the traffic, the race started at 9:30 and Adam Craig shot off like a bullet, already with a good lead after 500 metres, where I was cheering everyone on.

The next group were also establishing a gap.

I stayed for a while, taking a few photos, but missing Sue as she went past.

I was supposed to be racing today, and would have come second in my age group, but Plantar Fasciitis dictated that I had to switch to doing a virtual 10K in my own time before 17 November. So today I went back to the car park to fetch a bell, returning to a point 500 metres from the finish. 

Adam Craig was still ahead - by nearly three minutes! - and flew past, finishing in a very creditable 28:53.

Edd Flynn was a clear second in 31:44.

Third in the race, and well clear of the next person, was Scott Minshull, who finished in 33.03.

I now stashed my phone (camera) in favour of ringing the bell and shouting encouragement for the final 500 metres. Various friends - Greg, Paul, Anthony, Helen, to name but a few - flew past before Sue arrived and went on to finish in a very respectable time - 51:35, 13th in her age category, and I made my way back to HQ.

Here's a map of the route.

The results indicate that out of 2087 entries, plus those like me who have switched to a 'virtual' event, just 1320 finished the race today. So nearly 700 failed to start!