Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Saturday 16 September 2023

Wednesday 13 September 2023 - An Audience with Keith Warrender

The Stockport Walking and Outdoors Group (SWOG) Wednesday evening talks have commenced, signifying the end of summer, despite the current fine and warm weather.

Keith Warrender is an accomplished photographer, author and speaker, and tonight he spoke about the Bollin Valley between Macclesfield and Wilmslow, guiding his audience through some lovely countryside littered with fascinating history and buildings and personalities.

We came away with a couple of his expertly compiled books, (£10 each), the back cover of one of which advertised more:

Keith will return to this venue (Hazel Grove Civic Centre) next year. We look forward to that, and will no doubt extend our library again.

Thursday 14 September 2023

Wednesday 13 September 2023 - Rufford and Mere Sands Wood

It has been a while since I ventured into Deepest Lancashire for one of Mark Sutcliffe's walks, and I've a long way to go to catch up with BC, who was here in March last year. (See here.) He offers more details than me.

A latte outside the Brasserie generated approval for parking outside for a couple of hours.

The walk starts past St Mary's Church. Given I only wanted a morning's walk, I didn't attempt to gain entry, nor did I visit the National Trust property, Rufford Old Hall, nearby. I saved that for when Sue can join me - she was at work today.

The Leeds & Liverpool Canal was looking very pretty in the bright sunshine, with good reflections.

After a while, weeds/lilies could be seen to be encroaching, but the canal is perfectly navigable. I left the towpath by crossing over swing bridge number 9 and heading to the main A59 road.

The canal heads north from here towards its terminus, from where a paddle boarder was approaching - can you spot them in the distance?

Soon a turn down Sandy Lane saw the route passing through fields of healthy looking crops.

... and a few weeds...

Prickly Sowthistle

In a corner of a field of lettuce a narrow footbridge led into Mere Sands Wood Nature Reserve.

There's a large pond and a viewing hide as you walk around the perimeter of the reserve to the Visitor Centre. No wildlife today as it was all disturbed by Rangers enjoying a bonfire of unwanted vegetation.

I found a large unidentified Shelf Fungus.

I could pretend that I saw all these 'Sightings', but I have to admit to missing a few of them...

I enjoyed a picnic outside the visitor centre, which is not the prettiest I've seen.

Mere Sands Wood is proud of its trees, and the ongoing walk around the perimeter of the reserve is very pleasant.

On leaving the reserve, my path followed a dyke past a pristine cricket pitch. I'd have paused here for a while had they been playing, but I had to rely on England's thrashing of New Zealand in the third ODI for today's dose of cricket.

The path switched to the right of the dyke and ran, partly on a springy boardwalk, all the way back to the A59 road.

A few metres along the road, and another swing bridge gave access to the canal towpath.

Finally, past the Marina and on to the road bridge and return to the Boathouse Brasserie to collect the car and set off on the hour's drive home.

Here's today's route - 10.5km, 30 metres ascent, taking a little over 2 hours. A fine little outing.

October 1977 - A European Road Trip (Part 1)

This posting is Part 1 of 4 and takes me back to a road trip completed in 1977. It's a long posting. Readers may prefer to 'stay at home', or just skim through the pictures (click on one for a slideshow), seeing whether they recognise any of the places.

The opportunity to take all my four weeks' holiday at one go arose after I was appointed audit manager of Ferranti, at that time Thornton Baker's largest client. This was a full time occupation, apart from October, when I'm sure the client was pleased to have a rest from the auditors (though I did bump into one of their cost accountants during the trip!).

The diaries that are now up to Volume 105 had not been started in 1977, but I did make notes about the contents of the slides, as well as making a few rudimentary notes that I expanded upon up to Day 4, before life moved on. So those notes will supplement the scanned slides, and I'll include some of the indelible memories not recorded at the time.

I kept copious records of costs, but I'm not inclined to analyse them here. They would mainly relate to fuel, food and cheap accommodation in an assortment of currencies, some long gone, and Travellers Cheques were used to get cash.

I also sent a few postcards, but they don't add anything to the narrative.

Friday 30 September 1977 (Day 0)

Start: Blackley
Finish: Totteridge, North London
Mileage: 200
Cumulative Mileage: 200
Weather: Wet and windy

I set off from 40 Russet Road, Blackley, my first 'owned' home, at 7pm and drove in dreadful weather to London in my Ford Capri 1.6GT, armed with an AA map of Europe, reaching Totteridge after 200 miles. An old flatmate, Jacqui, was there to meet me at her parents' house. She had just returned from South Africa, and hadn't seen her parents, who were at the time living in Munich, for several years. 

Saturday 1 October 1977 (Day 1)

Start: Totteridge
Finish: Bar-le-Duc
Mileage: 317
Cumulative Mileage: 517
Weather: Bright but windy

8.45 start. Eventually got 1.30pm car ferry - Dover-Calais, because too rough for hovercraft. 

                                                      Car Ferry at Dover

                                               The White Cliffs of Dover

Pleasant drive - Arras > Rheims (dark by now) > Nettancourt. Camped near Bar-le-Duc.

Near Arras

Sunday 2 October 1977 (Day 2)

Start: Bar-le-Duc
Finish: Munich
Mileage: 458
Cumulative Mileage: 975
Weather: Fair, with rain later

7.30 start in fair weather. Breakfast by a river near Toul. 

Breakfast near Toul

Continued through Nancy > St Dié > Colmar, to Freiburg. 

A typical village near St Dié

Fraise, from Col du Bonhomme

Reached the German border (after 175 miles) at Breisach - 1pm. Decided to go to Munich over the Bavarian Alps. Proceeded through Black Forest -Titisee, Bonndorf, Singen and alongside Lake Constance to Lindau. 

A Black Forest view near Titisee

A Black Forest view near Singen, looking east

A Black Forest view near Singen, looking north, with a typical house

Beautiful colours with sun shining on light coloured autumn foliage. Heavy traffic and unable to stop. Solid jam in other direction. Beautiful sunset (about 2 minutes of glorious colour). Start climbing after Lindau - light for some time and Alps in sight. 

First view of the Alps, from above Lindau

Rain after Oberstaufen all the way to Munich. Nice towns, and beautifully lit Royal Castles near Fussen. (Konigsschlosser, Hohenschwangau and Neuschwanstein - neo-feudal castles late C19.) Left Alpine road at Steingaden and went to Munich (10pm) via Peiting and the motorway. Good reception from Mr and Mrs Welch after considerable difficulty in finding the Hotel Arabella.

It was Jacqui's return to see her parents after 3 years in Cape Town, via Africa. Quite a reunion. Dark Side of the Moon, and Mike Harding in the rain got us to Munich. Jacqui's father was a motor manufacture executive, working for a period in Munich. [I don't think her parents were very pleased that we'd taken the long route through the Black Forest and had arrived late!]

Monday 3 October 1977 (Day 3)

Start: Munich
Finish: Munich
Mileage: 0
Cumulative Mileage: 975
Weather: Fair

10am start, to 3pm - sightseeing in Munich including soup and coffee for the equivalent of £1 each - to Jacqui's horror. Guided by Mrs W. Very efficient public transport. A nice city. Tall, slim, beautiful girls. Nice meal and good film show in the evening. An early night.

View from Arabella Haus to central Munich (east). Alps would be visible if it was clearer. 
Note the twin towers of the Frauenkirche (Church of our Lady)

The New Town Hall was built 1867 to 1908 (Gothic Style). Its outline and carillon (Glockenspiel) is the largest in Germany, and is celebrated for its enamelled copper figures. Action ~ twice a day. Frauenkirche in background. Picture taken from the Marienplatz, an important pedestrian square. The Frauenkirche was built 1468-1488 in Flamboyent Gothic style but was badly damaged by 1944 air raids and is now rebuilt. The onion domes (325 ft high) on the western façade are great landmarks and the symbol of Munich

Fountain on the Marienplatz

The National Theatre (Opera) - built 1811, formerly one of the great music centres of the world. Destroyed in 1943 but now rebuilt to original plan. Auditorium holds 2000. Square is Max-Joseph-Platz

Church of the Theatines. Built 1663-1688, its façade being added a century later. 
Mixture of Renaissance and Baroque styles

 War Memorial. Not maintained and in a state of ruin

Hofgarten, with the Residence and Church of the Theatines in background

View from Maximiliansbridge towards some civil service buildings

Tuesday 4 October 1977 (Day 4)

Start: Munich
Finish: Five miles beyond the Italian border
Mileage: 205
Cumulative Mileage: 1180
Weather: Sunny

9am start. Motorway to Kufstein. Gradually better views of the Alps.

First view of the Alps - foothills from the motorway

Cattle shed - near Kufstein

Northern foothills from near St Johann in Tirol

Over Thurn Pass, then Gross Glockner (had lunch on top). Few tourists.

View south from Thurn Pass, 4180 ft, beyond Kitzbuhel

View north from Bruch - the start of the GrosGlockner Pass

View south east from Bruch

Fuscherkarkopf and Sonnenwelleck from the Barenschlucht Gorge

The Kafertal Amphitheatre, with Fuscherkarkopf and Sonnenwelleck 

The view east from Edelweisse-Spitze, 8451 ft, with Goldberg Group on the right > Fuschertal gap opens up a view of the Zell Lake, chalky massifs of the Loferer and Leoganger Steinberge, and still further to the right, the Steinernes Meer

View south east from Edelweisse-Spitze

Excellent Glacier. A spectacular road. The snow ploughs had been out.

View south from Edelweisse-Spitze

The Pasterze Glacier, and the 6¼ mile distant GrosGlockner summit. 
The view is from Franz-Josefs-Hohe 7772ft, up to 12457ft, highest point of the Austrian Alps

A view on descent near Schoneck

View north of Lienz

Superb descent through beautiful Autumn colours to Lienz.

Evening view near Lienz

On to Sillian, where I couldn't find the youth hostel, so I decided to camp.

Dusk on the Sillian road

I'd got 5 miles beyond the Italian border when the lights on the car failed. No lights!
Stopped at 6:30. Slept in the car in a gateway.It had been a beautiful day but a bit lonely. The following day I daubed all electrical contacts with vaseline - the lights then worked and I had no further issues with the car for the entire trip.

Wednesday 5 October 1977 (Day 5)

Start: Five miles beyond the Italian border
Finish: Venice campsite
Mileage: 130
Cumulative Mileage: 1310
Weather: Beautiful sunshine in Cortina, overcast in Venice

6:30 start. Drive through Dobbiaco then over Monte Croce de Comelico Pass.

Above and below: The Dolomites from the Mont Croce Pass

The northern outskirts of Cortina d'Ampezzo

Cortina at dawn, with the Tofane massif

Breakfast near Cortina

Pieve di Cadore - view east

Pieve di Cadore - typical street

Pieve di Cadore - another view

A view towards Venice - leaving the Alps near Ponti Nelle Alpi

Reach Venice at 12:30 and stay until 5pm. My first visit.

The causeway to Venice - looking back

Bridge near station

A small decrepit square

St Mary's Church - Gothic, Franciscan

Canal in Venice

Canal near Academy of Art

St Mark's Square, with St Mark's Basilica

The Doges' Palace, with St Mark's Basilica

The Doges' Palace - note the Death Sentence Columns

The Campanile, and the Old Library

Bridge of Sighs

View from Campanile - Guidecca Island

View from Campanile - St Mark's Square

View from Campanile - Church of St Mary of Salvation

Piazzetta St Mark, with the Lion of St Mark, and the statue of St Theodore

Rialto Bridge

Go to Venice campsite and finish my meal by 8pm.

Thursday 6 October 1977 (Day 6)

Start: Venice campsite
Finish: Just beyond Rijeka, Bakarac Campsite
Mileage: 191
Cumulative Mileage: 1501
Weather: Dull

Depart Venice campsite at 7:45, after a good shower.

Tree lined road approaching Portogruaro

Portogruaro - typical street

Portogruaro - central square

Pause at Miramare, looking towards Trieste, after 94 miles.

Miramare Castle (C19)

Miramare Gardens

The view towards Trieste from Miramare

Trieste (above and below)

Visited the Caves of Postojna.

Postojnska Jama - entrance to the caves

Lots of bus loads of children arrived from Belgrade. A crush at the entrance developed. Then a train ride took us deep into the caves, with children yelling the words to 'Yellow Submarine'. Fabulous caves.

We were separated into groups according to language. I was with 8 English and one American. The children were far away in this multi level complex of caves. We were shown sightless fish that exist in the dark of the caves. Also 'human fish' with legs.

Visited Castle of Predjama, dating from C16. It was along the road to this place that I managed to drive for several miles on the left hand side of the road, forgetting the local rules!

Castle of Predjama (C16)

Camped at Bakarac just beyond Rijecka, arriving 7:30pm. Food featured spaghetti sauce.

Friday 7 October 1977 (Day 7)

Start: Just beyond Rijeka, Bakarac Campsite
Finish: Split campsite
Mileage: 224
Cumulative Mileage: 1725
Weather: Another dull day 

Church by the campsite at Bakarac

Leave Bakarac 7:30.
Stop at Novi Vinodolski and get 650Dinar from £20 Travellers Cheque. Lots of photos today.

Novi Vinodolski

View near Senj

Get behind a UK van (a rarity) - 'Come back Dad, Gran's gone home' scrawled in the dirt.

View of Velebit Mountains, near Karlobag

View near Seline

Sibenik - a typical square

Sibenik Old Town, from the sea front

The Adriatic, from the sea front at Sibenik

A view towards Split from the coast road, with the Kozjak Mountains and the Mosor Mountains

Above and below: The sea front at Split, with cathedral

Split - The Peristyle

Split - the bell tower of the Cathedral of St Domnius - dating from C13 to C17, restored in 1908

Split - Grabovca Square

Split - from Marjan Hill

Sunset over the Adriatic, from Marjan Hill

Spend time with New Zealanders and adjourn at 11pm. A late night.