Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Saturday 16 July 2022

Friday = Isabella Day (14), and a visit to Great Grandma

Thursday: a visit to Dot in Ecclesall where William and george's eggs are very popular. Out of stock. But the Old Smithy restaurant was excellent as ever.

Friday: Isabella Day - not teething this week, just very snotty...

We fed some ducks.

We went to the park, but got distracted by meeting up with Alastair, so no pictures from that part of the day.

It was beefburgers and peas and fried potato for lunch. And what did she eat first?

"I like grandad's burgers!"

Friday 15 July 2022

Wednesday 13 July 2022 - A SWOG walk from Wilmslow

Thirteen SWOG walkers set off on Wednesday evening from The Carrs in Wilmslow for a 9km stroll around the environs of Styal, Morley and Lindow Moss. We soon crossed the River Bollin - not exactly in spate - at Twinnies Bridge, pictured above.

The two hour walk, with minimal ascent, was devised by Pam and Paul, who ensured that everyone remained jolly enough to enjoy the extra distance compared with their 6km prediction!

There's not much more to say, except that it was a very pleasant, warm evening, and a delight to be out with the friendly crowd. You can tap on an image to access a slideshow, or skim through the captioned pictures below.

The weir at Styal, above, and the Mill Pond, below. How times have changed!

Pam leads the way through the meadow behind Styal Mill

Paul fails in his mission to hold the title of 'Tail Walker'

Styal Mill (part of) from the meadow

Quarry Bank House, home of the Mill Owner

Crops near Morley, near where the old boggy path and tatty farmhouse have been replaced by smart housing and a solid surface

Tonight's team near Lindow Moss

Black Lake - grebes live here, but tonight all we saw were mallards

Here's the route, one of many good walks in this area

Wednesday 13 July 2022

November 2004 - The Annapurna Circuit - Day 15

Monday 15 November
Kagbeni to Marpha
Itinerary: DAY 15 Marpha (2,667m) From here we head south through a wide, wind swept valley, on the left bank of the Kali Gandaki River via Eklebhatti (2,758m) to Jomsom (2,713m) in full view of Nilgiri. Jomsom is the administrative centre of Mustang District and has an airstrip. The people along the valley here are known as Thakalis and until the Chinese invasion of Tibet, they had the monopoly on the Salt Trade of the region. After crossing the Kali Gandaki River at Jomsom to its right bank, we continue to Marpha, a Thakali village noted for its apple. (5 - 6 hours walk).

[Diarist: Martin]
Up at 6 am - tea then washing water. Nice to be warm and to have room to stand up, and a flushing toilet. 

Rice with nuts and raisins for breakfast, followed by omelettes and 'jam bread'. 

Away by about 7:30 to try to get to Jomson before the wind starts.

In the Kali Gandaki valley near Jomsom, with Dhauligiri on the left and 
Tukuche Peak to the right

Eklibhatti (meaning 'the single tea shop') is reached after half an hour. There are at least four teashops passed every day nowadays. The path took us beside the Kali Gandaki river bed, undulating beside the barren estuary like flatness of the river bed. We pass a long, well tensioned, suspension bridge. 

Sparrows twitter in the villages. Crows and ravens scavenge by the river. There are horsemen, ponies, goats, sheep, yaks and cows on the trail. Also lots of French people. 

Our skins are still chapped from the dry air encountered at altitude. There are mani walls and chortens on the route. We take care to pass them to the left (or the Gods may be offended - not to mention the locals) but other tourists do not all comply. 

There are views up and down the valley on another cloudless day. By 9:15 we are in sunshine and in sight of Jomsom, which is overlooked by the Jomsom Hill Resort - we gather this is not an entirely successful venture, as people who land at 2700 metres in Jomsom do not always want to walk up a hill to their hotel.

We find a coffee shop where Andrew reminisces about its qualities. However, today there is nobody there who can make coffee, so we move on. Another place is found for lemon tea all round - we sit in a courtyard watching passing horses (even a Dalmatian one) and admiring views of Nilgiri and Dhauligiri high above us. 

We then walked for 15 minutes down to the other Jomsom - Jomsom Airport - and killed time before lunch by visiting the excellent Eco Museum. Lots of exhibits and some interesting history, but some of the taxidermy was a bit amateurish, for example the sparrows. 

Then lunch in the newly completed and very luxurious Moonlight Hotel, where some Chinese looking people took over the toilet for their showering. The highlight of lunch was fresh croissants, which went well with chick peas, curried potatoes, coleslaw salad, and green beans.

Jomsom Airport

As we left at 1:30, a large group arrived. We knew the walk to Marpha would be windy and dusty, so we dressed like bandits to brave the blowing dust for the hour's walk. There are tractors (one brand new), motorcycles and bicycles here, as well as horsemen and trains of ponies laden with goods (mainly food produce). 

We continue on into the strong wind, past a distillery, and we can see the end of our journey through the rain shadow - pine trees in the distance. So by Marpha we are slowly emerging from the barren area of the last few days. On the outskirts of town people are selling baubles from a blanket laid out in the dust. We find our tents in a small courtyard at virtually the first hotel (Hotel Trans Himalayan) on the outskirts of the village. Hosta set off yesterday lunchtime to bag a site and seems to have done ok, as we are fairly sheltered from the wind here. We arrived at 2:30 and hot water for washing has just been supplied (4 pm). 

There will soon be a call for afternoon tea. 

Start: 2800 metres
Ascent: 100 metres
Descent: -190 metres
Finish: 2710 metres
Time: 7 hours
Stops: 3.5 hours
Walking time: 3.5 hours 

After tea, a stroll into the pleasant village of Marpha. Narrow streets and white-washed walls. Lots of souvenir shops and tourists. Water runs under the main street, exposed in places. We buy Marpha apple brandy and visit a bar for some scrumpy - 40 rupees a glass. Very nice. Apple cider.

Yaks at Marpha

Then back for another good meal - leg of goat, pasta bows with pepper and veg, aubergine fritters, tuna/veg spring rolls, carrot and cauliflower, mutton and veg soup to start, peaches to conclude. Then an exciting game of Uno which Mark won decisively. To bed in our cramped courtyard, porters sleeping nearby, around 8:45 pm.

Next Day
Previous Day

Tuesday 12 July 2022

9 and 10 July 2022 - A 'Tech-Domski' Reunion

Saturday afternoon found us in gloriously sunny Marple, where Sue and I sought out The Wharf, where a New Horizons barge was waiting for our group of University contemporaries, many of whom were celebrating 50 years since graduating from one or other of the current Manchester University's former components. Back in those days we were members of the Tech Domski Hiking and Hosteling Club (TDHHC), comprising an amalgam of students from UMIST (University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology)(mostly male) and Domski (Elizabeth Gaskell Domestic Science College), as well as the City of Manchester College of Higher Education (mostly female).

Most of my old university friends arise from membership of this club, and it was great to be able to get together with some of them this weekend. Thanks go to Linda, Elaine and Ceris for organising everything.

We wandered up past the locks of the Peak Forest Canal.

Now at the junction with the Macclesfield Canal, I think that's our boat in the distance, but we took some time to find it!

Eventually we all met up and jumped aboard the New Horizons barge that our worthy organisers had rented for the afternoon. The next picture shows us heading through the narrow section pictured above, before turning around for the trip along the Macclesfield Canal to Higher Poynton and back.

Here are some of the group, perched in the bow of the ship.

Sue, Ceris, Elaine, Linda, Gary, Sue, Julie and Paul

Eventually we escaped from Marple and another picture was taken - a 'Prosecco Moment'.

Higher Poynton provided an opportunity for a short break with ice creams (for those who had room after already having scoffed extensive cream teas) on what can only be described as a perfect summer's afternoon.

Then we returned to Marple. 

The Bull's Head, in Mottram St Andrew, provided the venue for a good evening meal (no photos), then on Sunday we all met up again, with Ray in charge of 'The Beast', for an even better BBQ based meal at Ceris and Ray's house in Prestbury. We were fortunate also to have the company of Dave and Calla, who were released briefly from duties involving a new puppy.

Ray, Ceris, Calla, Linda, Dave, Elaine, Paul, Sue, and Julie 

The other Sue must have gone walkabout when these pictures were taken, but she does appear on the older image of younger people shown below.

I'm struggling to accurately date this picture from the early '70s, taken outside Sue's parents' house in Tenbury. It's a reminder of those who are no longer with us, and we did indeed drink toasts to absent friends during the course of the weekend.

Thanks again to Linda, Elaine and Ceris for doing the organising, and to Ceris for putting on a lovely spread for Sunday lunch - a memorable occasion on another perfect summer's day - and thanks of course to Ray for mowing the lawn and manning 'The Beast'.

Monday 11 July 2022

November 2004 - The Annapurna Circuit - Day 14

Sunday 14 November
Muktinath to Kagbeni
Itinerary: DAY 14 Kagbeni (2,804m) We descend towards the Kali Gandaki Valley through the fortress village of Jharkot (3,612m) back dropped by Dhaulagiri. Passing the barren landscape with dotted patches of green cultivation we arrive in Kagbeni, a former trading post on the way to Mustang and Tibet. (3 - 4 hours walk). 

[Diarist: Sue]
Back to 6 am wake up call - it seemed particularly dark this morning. A frosty but clear morning again. The usual porridge then puris and omelette in a chilly mess tent. Feet were cold by the time we set off.

Gateway to Jharcot

In about half an hour the trail reached Jharkot, a ridge upon which is perched a 550 year old monastery. Inside, it was similar to others, with prayer books, paintings, statues, incense burners and drums. The most interesting aspect was the Tibetan doctor (known as an 'Amji' or 'Amchi') and his herbs - jars containing powder, labelled in Tibetan. He uses between 3 and 35 herbs to treat a patient. Next door were shelves of dried herbs and a few other things such as dried fungi and calcium carbonate rock. A third room contained a display of herbs, and posters in English about Tibetan medicine. The doctor trained for 9 years and is training another. He goes off for 1 to 2 weeks at a time to collect herbs from the mountains.

Solar kettle at Jharcot

Jharcot monastery

Young boys training to be monks were getting up as we arrived, and the place was lively as they brushed their teeth in the main courtyard.

Continuing, the trail descended by irrigation channels and stone walls into the open and brown valley. By the time we stopped at the 'Romeo and Juliet Restaurant' it was very warm in the sun.

Descending from Jharcot

View to Dhaulagiri

Locals sold apples, and the ubiquitous scarves. The trail was busy with trekkers going both up and down. It is possible to fly to Jomosom and walk up to Muktinath, although tough due to the altitude. Some were ascending on ponies. Further down, it was possible to see right back to the pass, which didn't really look far away!

Jharcot from below

In the Kali Gandaki Valley

View to Thorong La, and Thorong Peak to the right

Kagbeni, our destination, came into view suddenly, at the lip of a steep descent. Autumn colours on the trees stood out, and the river in the Kali Gandaki valley could now be seen.

Views to the Kali Gandaki valley

View to Mustang


A quick descent, and Kagbeni (2804 metres) is reached. A lack of campsites means that unexpectedly we're staying in the purple painted 'Paradise' tea house. We have a very clean twin room and ensuite bathroom. A private western-style toilet makes a big change to a toilet tent and seat perched over a hole! It also means we can indulge in some beer without the fear of having to get out of the tent during the night!


In the Kali Gandaki valley

Lunch was sardine, coleslaw and sliced potatoes with cheese, and a chocolate layer pancake, after which washing water was provided. The wind was braved to go on a foray of Kagbeni - highlights were the 'Yak Donald' restaurant and 'Delimustang (cf Deli France). 

A young boy grabbed our hands and turned a somersault between us - at least it wasn't the usual demand for 'school pen'. At the end of the village is a checkpost beyond which lies the restricted area of Mustang. To enter, there is a fee of $700 for 11 days and you must be in an organised group with a liaison officer. Andrew did this to attend Sanjeev's wedding in Lo Mantang in 2000.

A view to Upper Mustang

The first floor dining room benefited from sun flooding through the windows (and no wind), so was ideal for writing postcards. This was only interrupted by the Tihar or Diwali singing below, followed by a request for donations for the school. Rather like carol singing from place to place but with a group of maybe 20 or more. 

Tea was served at 4 pm, then we headed to the 'Red House Restaurant' for pre dinner beers. Their top floor room was fairly warm and looked out onto the monastery roof. 

Dinner, back at 'Paradise' was chicken soup, then goat meatballs, rice, mashed potato, tuna momos, and apple salad, together with Lindy's rum. A nice apple and cinnamon pie for pudding. A long game of 'Hearts' took us to a 9:30 bedtime. 

Start: 3800 metres
Ascent: 5 metres
Descent: -1005 metres
Finish: 2800 metres
Time: 4 hours (7:45 to 11:45)
Stops: 1.25 hours
Walking time: 2.75 hours