Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Saturday 30 December 2023

Tuesday 26 December 2023 - A Walk from Hayfield

                       Looking back to Hayfield from the Pennine Bridleway

While Sue stayed at home to welcome her parents for a few days' stay, I headed out with Jenny to join nine other like minded folk in Hayfield.

Setting off soon after 10 am, we warmed up by visiting our first summit of the day, Lantern Pike, 373 metres.

Mike, Phil, Graham, Sue, Heather, Roger, Jenny, Carol, Tove and Keith

The skyscrapers of Manchester glistened in the distant sunshine. (Click on any of these images for a better version or slideshow.)

Jenny's request for a coffee break on Lantern Pike was firmly rejected (not by me, I hasten to add), and there was discussion on how to get to the next summit, Matley Moor, without having to negoriate a barbed wire fence. It proved to be easy - just a squeeze through a rusty gate, and a steep haul to the 382 metre summit, on which Sue, Keith and Mike are pictured below.

Keith then paced thoroughly over every sticky out blade of grass on the summit plateau, just to verify that he made it to the top, which was just above where we all congregated nicely out of the cool breeze, for our rather overdue elevenses break.

There were good views from this excellent spot, towards the Kinder Scout plateau in particular.

Descending from Matley Moor, any remaining barbed wire exclusion zone seemed to have been mollified by way of a robust ladder stile.

We soon reached the Peak & Northern Footpaths Society's well signposted route to our next objective, our high point of the day at 411 metres, Cown Edge.

There were good views towards the distant Dark Peak hills from Cown Edge.

A fine grassy path led below Cown Edge, back towards Hayfield.

A shot diversion took us to Robin Hood's Picking Rods, near Far Slack. Here Mike is making a futile effort to climb onto one of the rods.

According to 'The Megalithic Portal', the two stone columns stand together in a large socketed stone base. The columns were probably once part of a Mercian cross. It is thought that originally there was only one column here, but it was broken in two and then set as they look today.

They are said, according to historians, to date from the 9th century - making them Anglo Saxon in date. The stones are also referred to as Robin Hood's Stumps, and even the Druid Stones. According to the legend, Robin Hood used the column or columns 'to bend his bow on' and so the name has stuck. He may have had associations with Ludworth, to the NW of this site.

The tallest column has a tiny cross within a circle carved onto it, whilst the smaller one has what could be cup-marks, or circles, and small holes. It is uncertain what these represent, but this could mean the stones are much earlier in date.  

Anyway, Mike gave up the climb and stood behind the recalcitrant stone.

Others joined him.

It got to be quite a crowd!

We descended from the Edge with other walkers (quite a few seen today), to a pigsty where unnamed members of the party seemed to be (in Sue B's absence) contesting for a 'pig whispering' award.

This was in Rowarth, where The Little Mill was doing a roaring Boxing Day trade.

And yes, there is a mill - not so 'Little' either.

A guardian pigeon is one of many fauna who look over the Mill.

Nearby, a traffic jam from an uncertain date.

Walking back to the Pennine Bridleway on which path we ascended Lantern Pike, Hayfield returned to our view. It was then a straightforward stroll down to the Sett Valley Trail and back to Hayfield.

Here's our route - 18 km, 500 metres ascent, taking 5 hours.

That's the last decent walk of the year, and the longest for some time for me. A most enjoyable outing. Thanks go to Sue W for organising it.

Friday 29 December 2023

Two Christmas Lunches

Christmas Eve sees us enjoying a family lunch in Timperley. Jacob's friend Seb joined us. The ten of us just about fitted around our dining table. As usual, baked potatoes, beans, cheese and Coronation chicken were the order of the day, followed by apple crumble, and some of Kate's 'Bacup Biscuit Box' for anyone who might still have been hungry..

Jessica and Isabella (cousins) seem to get on well together.

We hoped Isabella would take after her mum, who has an aversion to chocolate....

After lunch, whilst the grandmas had a snooze and the children played hide and seek, some of us enjoyed a game of Rummikub.

Back in Didsbury, monkey face seems to prefer yogurt to chocolate. Or maybe there was no chocolate available?

Christmas Day found us (after the Alderley Park parkrun) up in Bacup for Christmas dinner with Kate, Jacob and Jessica. That was Kate's Christmas present from me and Sue! We had a lovely time.

On Boxing Day I went for a walk. (See separate entry.) But the next day we had the pleasure of company again, and Sue read 'Seen and not Heard' to Isabella many times - she was fascinated by the story. It's over ten years since my cousin Richard's daughter had this book published, and it's great to see it still being enjoyed, as it was by Jacob and Jessica a few years ago..

Thursday 28 December 2023

A Compendium of 5 km Runs

Note: many pictures here - click on one to view the slideshow.

23 December 2023 - Wythenshawe parkrun #552

Some 270 walkers and runners, plus many more marshals, assembled at Wythenshawe Park for their annual Christmas Dress run. My old tree was extricated from a bag in a wardrobe.

Posing before the start

Today's Run Director is... a reindeer...

Looking back before the start to slower runners and barking dogs

Run Director - Alan the Reindeer

It's the 'Flag and Sandcastle' route; turn left at the top of the flagpole

It's amazing how quickly the runners get spread out

Andy was Owen's Guardian Angel today

There's a short part of the course where you meet those going faster/slower than you 

The route goes in the opposite direction to the normal one

Sue stopped for a chat with legendary marshal Sam McGrath
(she had finished and came back to meet me)

The leader, Edward Lord, came flying past, lapping me before I'd got very far at all!

This lot of stalwarts were taking their time

A smiley, but chilly, marshal

Andy W cheekily nipped past Sue at the finish

Edyta and Charlie were well ahead of me

There were 'milestone goodies' at the finish

Andy and Owen were joined by Jan for their race to the line

Here's another well known marshal - one of the Terrible Twins

Paul was first into the cafe, and with Rufus left at home he won't be thrown out today 
unless there's an aversion to elves as well as dogs

It's a shame that dogs are not allowed in, and other silly rules apply to the cafe, who to be fair were well mannered on this occasion, providing great scones, with jam and cream, and mince pies, all free of charge. But gone are the days when most of the runners trooped into the cafe for pre-ordered bacon or sausage rolls, etc.

After a while, a reindeer appeared after the last person had finished, and dumped 270 barcode token on our table, to be sorted and re-threaded in order. Andy pretended they were playing cards and got half way through a game of solitaire before realising it wasn't working!

Paul and Jeanette were very studious, and second cups of coffee were required to enable us to get through this arduous task

So that was event number 552, and a successful run up to Christmas. Full results are here, for what they are worth - no records were broken.

24 December 2023 - Wythenshawe Community Run

With our usual master of ceremonies, Paul, away sunning himself on a foreign beach, the management (Paul) had left a top team in charge of the regular Sunday morning 5 km Community Run.

What the top team didn't know was that Paul seemed to have invited all his friends and relations. I realised that something was up when I arrived in plenty of time and found the car park to be full. To cut a long story short, it's pleasing if the attendance is close to 100; today it was 265.

Alison bravely raised her voice for a briefing

And we are off, around the running track - the youngsters love that bit

Soon we are zooming through the woods

Most folk turned around after 1 km, including these ladies who are regulars on the local running scene

There was quite a long queue to register having finished.
At this point I still had a lap of the running track
 before joining said queue

I was keeping pace with Anna and Laurence, before they went ahead

Alison & co were studiously recording every finisher. Well done to them. Naming everyone in the results became a little tricky, so everyone was also designated a festive name, for avoidance of doubt. I was down as 'Garland Grottomilk'
The Cordingleys were out in force today

I even made it to being an 'Honorary Cordingley'. Wow!

There's more on the Community Run here on Facebook, and on their website here.

25 December 2023 - Alderley Park parkrun #75

A half hour drive took us to Alderley Park, for our second go at this excellent undulating run through pleasant woodland. Not all parkruns operate on Bank Holidays, so a number of us from Wythenshawe met up amongst 184 participants here on Christmas morning.

Zoe, Sue, Cary, Jeanette, Greg, Freddie, Alan, Alice and Alice's mum, 
and there were others away warming up

We gathered at the start, but where I was I didn't notice that we had 'set off'

Pictures were taken by various people at the finish

Laura was first lady home, in 20:02. Well done to her...

Barcode sorting: they have a system; I wonder how many tokens go astray?

Bye Freddie: bye Rufus, and let's all go and have lots of food and drink, after all that exercise!

Well, that was a nice outing. Full results are here.

Now let's go and enjoy our Christmas Dinners. (See next posting.)