Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Wednesday 28 December 2022

Monday 26 December 2022 - Around Appleton

This 10km walk around Appleton has become a favourite outing just a 20 minute drive from home. I discovered it whilst doing a bit of editing for Jen Darling (Best Pub Walks in Cheshire). We normally start from the London Bridge Inn (there's off road parking nearby), but today we saved a bit of fuel and time by taking junction 10 of the M56 and parking near the first roundabout, on Stonehill Close.

Our last visit was on 2 January 2022, recorded here, on a rather less sunny day than we enjoyed on this current visit.

Hillside Farm looks a fairly friendly place. Our path crosses a stile at the farm entrance and passes a friendly bin (the picture is for Isabella, who loves bins with eyes) before skirting the farm buildings on a good footpath.

After passing lots of empty duck houses we reached 'Bellfields', where the sandstone pillar is reputed to mark the spot where Cromwell's horse was buried after being killed in a skirmish nearby in 1648. This is our usual 'refreshment' point, but today we reached it far too soon for that.

The path beside a golf course to Hillcliffe was well lit by the winter sun.

Views over the Fox Covert cemetery extend over various of Warrington's landmarks and on to Winter Hill, a good ten miles to the north.

Here we are at the lychgate, through which the tall spire of Warrington's parish church can be seen.

A familiar route through the ginnels of the 'Rabbit Run' brought us out opposite the London Bridge Inn, from where we usually start this walk.

Just beyond The Cheshire Cat, Molly 'B' was moored (pictured at the head of this posting), and beyond that the massive bulk of Rack & Ruin looked set to go cruising, had the whole place not been deserted apart from the odd dog walker.

After leaving the canal at Lumb Brook, we soon entered the Millennium Green, where there was a choice of benches from which to enjoy a coffee break in the sun at our 5km half way point.

The woodland walk through the Dingle and Ford's Rough was delightful. Not too muddy, and winter sun beaming through the leafless branches.

Sue found an immense log on which to stand rather precariously!

Back down to earth, she then proceeded to photograph a selection of fungi during the walk to Ford's Rough.

At the start of Ford's Rough is a new footpath sign, dedicated: 
In Memory of David Heath 1943 - 2022
A Keen Walker
Nature Lover
and PNFS Volunteer
He will be missed by his Friends
And sometimes by his Wife

Sadly, on exiting Lumb Brook Valley and reaching Green Lane, we failed again to trace the old footpath that seems to have been obliterated by a new housing estate. However, the path by Dipping Brook to Cann Lane is a satisfactory alternative.*

Here are some of Sue's fungi.

Velvet Foot (Flammulina velutipes)

Crowded Parchment (Stereum complicatum)

Green Cheese Polypore (Fomitopsis spraguei)
Stump Brittlestem (Psathyrella piluliformis)

We continued amiably along the good path beside Pewterspear Lane, soon reaching the roundabout beyond which the car was parked in Stonehill Close.

An excellent 10km outing, with minimal ascent - here's the route we took.

* Those with Jen's 'Best Pub Walks' 3rd edition should go to page 25 and replace the wording from 'Cross the bridleway...reach Cann Lane' with the following:

'Turn right along the bridleway and continue a short distance to a small 'Welcome' to our woods sign on the left. Follow this narrow but clear woodland path until it reaches Cann Lane.' It's a very pleasant path.

Tuesday 27 December 2022

Two Christmas parkruns

It's traditional to dress up for the pre-Xmas parkrun, and that's what we did at Wythenshawe on Saturday for their 503rd event. Before the start, Paul and Laura posed with Rufus before lining up in a group of 306 at the start (above).

A dog called Alan posed next to a tree...

... on which he couldn't resist doing his business...

Father Christmas (aka Paul Muldoon) put in quite a few appearances, including this one.

Run Director Andy, and his boss Kate, posed for Sue before Andy's briefing at the start. Thanks to Sue for today's pictures, as my tree costume precludes access to a camera.

Eventually we got under way. Slowly in my case.

Sue went a bit more quickly and took this picture by the football pitches.

Regular parkrunner Robin entertained at the finish with his cello.

Full results are here.

The Courtyard cafe, friendly as ever!, had decided to be shut today, so on Jenny's suggestion some of us adjourned to Di Martino Caffe in Timperley. An excellent, friendly cafe that welcomes muddy shoes and dogs. Just what we needed. Despite looming Christmas meals, we all managed tea cakes to go with our coffees. 

Sunday - Christmas Day - found us enjoying Wilmslow parkrun #339. We've done this Christmas Day event before, and very jolly it is as well. Sue lined up with all the Barbers before the start.

I should have worn the tree again, but I didn't. The Run Director gave his usual jolly introductory briefing and 257 participants lined up for the 200 metre dash to a bottleneck by a narrow bridge at the start of the 5km course.

Colin, finishing in blue below, was the 32 minute pacer. I was happy (and surprised) to finish a little ahead of him. Full results are here.

Wilmslow is a very upmarket parkrun, with prosecco and chocolate biscuits at the finish.

Then Sue went off to do a bit of bell ringing, where Colin's sister is also a ringer; I went home to prepare Christmas dinner for me and Sue and Kate; Colin went for dinner with his sister; and the Barbers adjourned for a rather larger party with family and Ukranians.

Monday 26 December 2022

Xmas 2022 around Timperley

Q: "What would you like for Christmas, Isabella?" A: "Cake, please."

Q: "What would you like for Christmas, Jacob?" A: "A chess set, please."

Q: "What would you like for Christmas, Jessica?" A: Cluedo, please."

Well, that's nothing that can't be sourced from the biscuit tin and the loft!

Then, while I took a trip to the cash point, Sue went for an outdoor swim with Jenny. You'd have to pay me a lot to do that!

Our family Christmas lunch is on Christmas Eve these days. Nine of us enjoyed a traditional 'not quite Christmas' lunch.

Isabella was not as cheerful as usual due to the arrival of some big back teeth.

However, a train track and some comforting from cousin Jess saw Izzie slowly recovering her good cheer, to the extent that by the time she had to leave she didn't want to go. She was probably fast asleep in the car within minutes of leaving for home...

Our tree is a hand down and probably dates from the 1970's

On Christmas Day, Sue and I enjoyed a traditional Christmas lunch with Kate. No photos* I'm afraid. Kate then took a Chritmas dinner to her grandma in Eccleshall. That was all after J and J had opened their presents and gone to see their dad. In between games of Cluedo, Jessica admired her new bedroom furniture.

And in Didsbury a rejuvenated Isabella was in heaven with some pancakes topped with yogurt, berries and maple syrup, and a new purple rabbit.

Xmas Day stress rating: Zero.

PS. I nearly forgot. Isabella's birthday present for her mum, sent for firing a couple of weeks ago, turned out well:

* Well, I found a couple of photos. Sue was careless with a knife when preparing fingers for stuffing, and a few of the ingrediends are laid out before reaching their positions on the timing flowchart that takes the stress out of cooking.