Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Saturday 24 December 2022

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

With very best wishes from Sue and Martin and family.

Wednesday 21 December 2022

Wednesday 21 December 2022 - Another Bollin Valley 10km Walk

We had planned to go to Silverdale, and perhaps call in on Conrad and on Rona if they were at home, but we didn't really have the time. Instead, Sue and I managed a couple of hours in the Bollin Valley, very close to home.

We've been here before. Reports are here. (There may be more - I just can't find them!)

Today the sun shone brightly as we crossed the River Bollin by one of many footbridges (above).

Then Sue befriended a little dog.

We continued towards Ryecroft Farm, where the work I'd seen on my last visit seems to have resulted in a flat piece of land with some lumps around the edges. Earlier crops of sweetcorn have been replaced with winter greens.

After a wet path in the M56 area, the pleasantly dry path beside a neatly trimmed hedge took us towards Birkin Farm and the village of Ashley.

A sunlit tree beside Ashley Road seems to have retained much of its plumage.

Further on, we passed Ashley Hall.

That was today's final picture - this walk has been well illustrated in the past. We didn't stop at the cafe in the woods, and we finished in rather less than two hours. My Garmin gadget accurately recorded the route shown below.

Tuesday 20 December 2022

Monday = Isabella Day (35)

Today featured a visit to Al and Hazel, and Kate and Andrew, in Altrincham. Their large living room provided a fine venue for some of Kate and Andrew's old toys to be brought out of retirement, all overseen by Kevin the carrot.

The toy below is actually a fold out book, the like of which is no longer available.

Battery operated toys, but the batteries had long since seen better days, apart from an overactive mouse, bottom left below.

The road/railway junction provided slight confusion, as Izzie usually just has to master only a train timetable!

A huge number of rabbits made a bid to escape in a procession from Kate's bedroom...

Then we went home for lunch - with 'Apple Three Ways' for dessert.

After a long nap, a tram ride to Sale and back completed an important errand.

The tram drivers mostly had Christmas jumpers and friendly waves today.

Then it was time to return to Didsbury...

Monday 19 December 2022

Sunday 18 December 2022 - A Christmas Lunch Walk from Bakewell

                                    Click on any image to access a slideshow

Sue and I were at the Lime Lounge in Bakewell in plenty of time for the 10am start of our regular 'Christmas Lunch Walk'. The breakfasts looked very tempting, but we made do with coffees, having already eaten at home.

Others were not so punctual, and most of us shivered for a while beside the River Wye.

Soon we were off, on a well worn route that passes through the parish churchyard.

My steady amble was a bit too quick for some, who got detached and took the wrong path - luckily they were recovered - it would have been a shame to lose people in the first 500 metres of the walk! 

It was cool but dry, with just a few flaky bits of sleet before the lunch stop. Just 11 of us on this year's walk, plus two who went directly to the pub due to knee ailments.

Near Crowhill Lane, some pictures were taken whilst waiting for the laggards.

The frosted path that leads down to Ashford in the Water turned out to be rather less slippery than usual, with no slithery grass to negotiate.

Views were a little drab, under heavy skies.

The Ashford mallard population had congregated near the bandstand. Mike attempted to catch one for his dinner, but they were just a bit too quick for him.

We stopped for a coffee and cake break at the benches beside the playing field beyond the public toilets.

The firm conditions made life easy for those of us wearing trail shoes rather than boots.

We crossed the Monsal Trail, which at this point offered no sign of the difficulties we would encounter on it later.

The next photo doesn't really show it, but the area where folk are passing through a gate was pretty much an ice rink. Care needed.

We made it safely to the Crispin, in plenty of time for our 1pm lunch, withe the usual good food and service, and no complaints about the lack of a quiz this year.

By the time we left, a cold drizzle had set in, leaving two who had arrived by car with smug grins...

From L to R: David, Ken, Graham, Jill, Phil, Mike, Jenny, Richard, Anne, Andrew, Sue, Martin.
Thanks to Tom for this photo and to Jenny for some of the others.

We trudged off to join the Monsal Trail on the gloomy afternoon.

Everyone was remarkably happy, being full of Christmas food and Cheer, and luckily nobody came a cropper on the tricky ascent to the Trail. Mike's efforts were particularly entertaining.

No more photos were taken as the afternoon drifted towards an early dusk, but the Monsal Trail had become a River of Ice in quite a few spots, so care was needed and we escaped injury with just a few near misses.

Our route is shown below - 8.5km in the morning (in blue) and 5km in the afternoon (in green).

Thanks to everyone for turning out, and thanks to the Crispin for looking after our culinary needs, etc.

We may try a different venue next year - on Sunday 17 December. Perhaps a walk in the Macclesfield Forest/Shutlingsloe area, with lunch at the Leather's Smithy in Langley. I'd suggest that we don't completely abandon the excellent Crispin - perhaps we can grab a nice meal there after a summer's afternoon walk?