Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Saturday 5 February 2022

Saturday 5 February 2022 - Beddgelert to Pen-y-Gwryd

We are back in Porthmadog for a few days, with Richard and Jenny for the weekend.

Today's linear walk in the Glaslyn valley on a warm, breezy, day was thankfully free from rain and enjoyed by all. Richard, Jenny and Sue are pictured above on the bridge over the hydro pipes near the power station. Snowdon towers over us - unseen today in the mist.

This is walk number 21 in Alex Kendall's excellent 'Snowdonia North' Cicerone guide.

Unfortunately, with no Wi-Fi and a very poor phone signal, I'll have to keep reports very brief with just one photo each day this week. I'll top that up with more pictures when we get home.

Friday 4 February 2022

Friday = Isabella Day

Just a few pictures from a well behaved girl, especially for Great Grandma Dot.

Thursday 3 February 2022

2 February 2022 - Around Tarporley

Here are a few pictures taken on a cloudy day. I walked Jen Darling's 'Tarporley' route in her 'West Cheshire' book for the purpose of bringing the route description up to date for her.

I parked behind the Rising Sun and wandered down the High Street as far as the Baptist chapel, pictured above.

Next to St Helen's church, the manor house, built sideways to the road, dates from 1586 and is said to be the smallest manor house in the country.

The route took me down a path beside St Helen's church.

Soon the Sandstone Trail was joined, with good views towards Beeston Castle. (And a narrow muddy path confined by an electric fence.)

A muddy descent led to Wharton's Lock, an excellent spot for elevenses.

The firm surface of the towpath was short lived, as I left it at the next bridge - Bate's Mill Bridge - where I turned off past the Shady Oak pub.

Soon I was back on the Sandstone Trail. Not much sandstone in evidence, but lots of glutinous mud!

After numerous fields of mud, a signpost to Tarporley that led me around the less muddy perimeter of a huge field, to paths that dumped me straight into the car park I'd chosen.

Looking back towards Beeston Castle over a sea of Sandstone Trail mud

Here's the 10 km route. It took me a muddy three hours, but I did make one or two wrong turns, and 'editing' took a bit of time. All good fun!

Wednesday 2 February 2022

30 and 31 January 2022 - Community Run Vimto and Dunham Massey Revisited

I couldn't resist including Sunday morning's picture of Michael, sidelined from running due to a calf muscle pull resulting from his trying to keep up with a faster runner, organising mugs of hot Vimto for the 2km and the 5km runners taking part in Wythenshawe's Community Run. Thanks Michael.

On Monday, a message from Jen Darling indicated that her 'West Cheshire and Wirral' walk around Dunham Massey needed editing. I couldn't quite work out the accuracy of the description, despite having walked in the other direction a week earlier, so I nipped out to a different starting point. It was a worthwhile exercise, as things do tend to look different from 'the other direction'.

Some late afternoon sun allowed me to take a few more snaps:

Winter trees by Woodhouse Lane

Canada geese, coots, moorhens and mallards at the smithy pool

C16 watermill/sawmill, renovated in 2022 (tarpaulin removed since last week)

The oak tree in Little Bollington's 'village green'

Late afternoon at the Bridgewater Canal in Little Bollington

The route, very similar to last week's but in the other direction, is shown below - starting in a clockwise direction from Agden Bridge at the bottom left. 6.5 km (4 miles) - allow an hour and a half. Click on any of the images for better versions.

Monday 31 January 2022

22 to 25 August 1997 - Melinda's Last Munro

Friday was a longish day, from early morning tea for a welcome visitor (Anne Y), to a late night rendezvous at Cruachan campsite near Killin, via a busy day at work, a lunchtime trip home to pack and load (Anne had stayed until 8:30 en route to a hash bash in Exeter). Dick and Martin S arrived at my office at 4:30. Tesco's in Carlisle for nourishment and shopping, and finally prolonged exploration of the campsite before Julie eventually spotted us.

Mike, Sue and Phil soon appeared from the boozer in Killin (this campsite is 3 miles east of Killin), and a good sleep was eventually enjoyed on this £2 a night site.

Saturday morning was good for a lie in as Melinda and Rupert were not expected until 10 - 11 am. I managed to contact Nick to give him a third rendezvous point (I'd thought Blair Atholl, then central Killin, were the sites where we would meet). Bacon and sausage butties were duly consumed and eventually the star of the day arrived, armed with lots of goodies.

Schiehallion was the choice of mountain, on a cloudy day with intermittent views and indeed drizzle. Suitably atmospheric, but not damp enough to spoil the occasion. Julie lasted out in shorts, and there were no midges.

It's an easy mountain, and lots of summit photos portrayed Melinda and her beloved Gordon, together with a well earned bottle of champagne. 

Soon Mike encountered some acquaintances who kindly photographed all nine of us on the summit, with all our cameras. We all hope this couple didn't suffer from camera shake! 

A tablecloth was laid and goodies were consumed - cake, wine, port, champagne, numerous 'dips', and even my fudge brownies were appreciated.

We spent about an hour on the top then strolled down, and were back at camp in time for an enjoyable game of rounders, thanks to Julie who seemed to have a car full of sports equipment.

Nick arrived a few minutes before we were due to leave for a celebratory meal in Killin, and so he joined us on this most pleasant occasion. 


Up a bit quicker today, but it was after 11 am when we eventually set off from south of Tyndrum (Dalrigh) on a hot sunny day, having left two cars at the Glen Lochy car park below Ben Lui. Melinda had gone into temporary retirement with a visit to Blair Castle, with parents who had never been to Scotland. Martin S and Rupert went up Ben Lui and Ben a Chleibh via Cononish, in an attempt to reconstruct a previous incident in which Martin 'fell off' Ben Lui's eastern face.

The remaining 7 of us slogged up Beinn Dubhchraig.

And then Ben Oss, where we waited 30 minutes for Mike, who wisely decided to descend back to Dalrigh, via the Ben Lui col and Cononish.

This was a beautiful day so long as not too much time was spent lingering, as midges tended to be attracted.

On up Ben Lui and steeply down then gently up to Beinn a Chleibh, where the low sun gave wonderful lighting and views.

The descent through the woods did not 'go' and we resorted to the main path down boggy Eas Daimh. My left ankle was twinging badly and the right knee had had more than enough. A simple crossing of the river on stones avoided wet feet, but in the 5 minutes the others had waited for me to arrive with my car keys, those who had not got spaces in Phil's car we're becoming upset by midges. It was 8:20 pm.

By 9 pm we were back at a midgeless campsite, where a pleasant meal was enjoyed by all our little enclave. Nick and I combined efforts to produce a most excellent 'nosh'. Melinda arrived, somewhat unexpectedly, having had an early dinner and escaped from her parents. It was interesting to see the dynamics of the campsite change to focus on Melinda's spot for a while.


After another really good night's sleep (except for Mike), we slowly packed things away. 

Nick and Rupert went off to climb some Crianlarich hills. Most of the rest of us wanted to summit An Stuc. So cars were liberally distributed at Lawers (the village) and the rest of us found ourselves at Ben Lawers Visitor Centre.

The pleasant walk, on a more cloudy but steadily improving day, soon brought us to Beinn Ghlas summit, where Melinda turned back as she wanted to get back early to Hull. She has a 'pacemaker', which halves her heart rate when it gets to 175, and she is much admired. (Strange girl - allergic to plasters but works for an adhesive company.)

The remaining six of us strolled up to Ben Lawers.

And then to An Stuc, a newly promoted Munro which we hadn't been up before. 

Dick and Julie then shot off to recover my car from the Visitor Centre and get an early start home for Julie. The rest of us soon caught them up, despite their 10 minute start, on a difficult section which would make the traverse of this mountain extremely tricky in winter.

Once on the col, I ambled down to Lawers village behind Dick and Julie. My knee was very sore but it eventually recovered. 

Martin, Sue and Phil took the opportunity to knock off the remaining two Munros on the ridge. This was a very productive break for Sue and Phil who now have 50 plus (Munros) each to their names, but are taking their time. Phil seems to have the same attitude as I have had - to savour these mountains over many years.

We eventually returned to the campsite. Julie was still waiting for Nick and her passenger, Rupert, to return. They eventually left at 5 pm, and Dick and I got off an hour later after a pleasant pot of tea at the campsite cafe, and cheerio to Martin, Sue and Phil, who had successfully achieved their objective.

Dropped Dick (thanks to him for sharing the driving) at his dad's in Kendal. Home by 11 pm. Martin returned next day with Sue and Phil.

A most enjoyable weekend in excellent company. Thanks to Sue for the introduction. (We all missed you, Sue.)

Historical Note:
This is a verbatim diary transcript of one of my first encounters with Sue's RAMSOC (Nottingham University Walking Club) friends, and my first 'Final Munro' party. I hope everyone enjoys the reminiscence - I think we have email addresses for all but Mike. Nick of course is one of my old Uni friends (happy birthday Nick) who is now based in Germany.
Melinda thus became 'Munro compleater' number 1831.
My right knee was still recovering from its ACL reconstruction in 1996, and both knees were recovering from arthroscopies to sort out damaged cartilege in May. Hence I was slow and careful!