Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Friday 22 December 2023

Monday 18 December 2023 - Dan's Christmas Pubrun 2023

This was an event organised by Dan, one of Wythenshawe parkrun's run directors. Apparently he's been doing this for a few years.

I set off from Timperley Station ten minutes before 55 others, and I made it to the Swan just as the back markers were catching up with me.

After a couple of drinks in the crowded pub, we headed up to Dunham Massey Hall for a group photo.

Then we set off for Altrincham.

I soon found myself at the back of the pack, and I missed the snicket into the golf course. So I missed the Altrincham boozer (I wasn't sure where they were going) and headed directly to the Moss Trooper, back in Timperley. Numbers had diminished to the 20s or 30s by the time they arrived there, but the die-hards were intent on getting hangovers. An enjoyable evening was had by all. When we left we hardly noticed the steady rain...

Here's my 14km route. Everyone else went through the golf course.

Thursday 21 December 2023

Sunday 17 December 2023 - A Christmas Walk Around Shutlingsloe

Parking beside Ridgegate Reservoir on a Sunday morning isn't the easiest, but 16 or so of us managed to congregate outside the Leather's Smithy in time to start our walk roughly on time at 10 0'clock.

After a leisurely start around the reservoir, it was uphill all the way to the summit of Shutlingsloe.

After leaving the trees behind, we continued on to the final steep ascent, pausing at the stile shown below.

Then it was single file up the steep steps to the summit.

GS was missing, otherwise it was a good turnout. I was joined (L-R) by David, Phil, Roger, Graeme, Jill, Carol, Graham, Ruth, Tove, Anne, Tom, Sue, Ken and Sue. Keith was away bagging a sub-tump hill summit.

It was cool and breezy on top, so we found a sheltered spot a little lower down to enjoy our coffee and cake.

Returning initially the way we came, we soon turned onto the boggy path to the car park above Bollin Brook. This was conveniently frozen over on my most recent visit. Today the surface was loose but not as bad as I had expected. Trail shoes were adequate to avoid wet feet.

The surface soon firms up, and after the next stile it's easy going to the car park, with good views back to Shutlingsloe.

After a lovely woodland section, it's a steep climb up to the quiet lane to the chapel at Macclesfield Forest.

Before the road reaches the chapel, a left turn takes us steeply up a lane and back into the forest, where a trusty soul has left a decorated tree and some Christmas presents. We have encountered these before - it's a local tradition.

Soon we were re-joined by Keith, Sue and Phil, who had diverted to another sub-tump that I'd been up many times on my mountain bike, for a lovely walk through the moss clad trees of the forest.

A final pause near the finish was to finish off any remaining coffee and cake before reaching the haven of the Leather's Smithy.

No more pictures were taken, but Graeme went home and Andrew joined us for lunch in the pub. Quite a contrast to recent Xmas lunches in the Crispin, (other Christmas Walk reports are here) but perfectly acceptable in a hostelry where food delivery issues were making life quite challenging for the chefs. We had ordered six gammon, but on the third recount (there were lots of other parties) the chefs could only allocate us two of them. So four of our group switched to haddock. "Oh dear" said landlord John, "I'm not sure how many haddock we have left!"

It's actually good to see a busy, friendly pub. Our experience there was a good one and some of us will be back for a lunchtime soup in the New Year when business has calmed down.

Here's our route - 10.5km with 350 metres ascent, the walk taking 3.5 hours. In a break with tradition, there was no afternoon walk other than that back to our randomly parked cars.

Any ideas for next year?

Wednesday 20 December 2023

Saturday 16 December 2023 - Paddle Boarding on the Bridgewater Canal

After returning from the parkrun, a stroll along the Bridgewater Canal towpath drew me level with a jolly group of paddle boarders. I couldn't resist recording their joy.

Our 'resident' paddle boarders, Sue and Richard and Jenny may come across this lot at some point.

Tuesday 19 December 2023

Saturday 16 December 2023 - Wythenshawe parkrun #551

I was volunteering for run number 551, which used the 'Flag and Sandcastle' course. I was positioned in order to stop anyone from falling off the top of the flagpole. The sun was rising behind an impressive pond that in normal weather doesn't exist as more than a puddle.

With only 181 participants, the runners soon thinned out - I was positioned at the top of the flag only about 200 metres from the start at the bottom of the flag.

You can see in the next picture the spread out field running along the bottom of the flag.

I had only about ten minutes to wait for the leaders to come past on their second lap. Alice Stiles, on her first visit to Wythenshawe, appeared to be well clear in second place, but the results show her as coming third. Either she faded badly or someone took a shortcut.

Various folk were hammering along near the front.

The JM10 year old in the next two pictures was moving at a pace that matched his dad's PB - 23:18. Such children need to be accompanied, so his dad was under some pressure to stay with the young lad!

Further back, Jan was hopping along with a bandage still present on last Sunday's injury.

Sue was about a minute behind Jan, in 25:31.

I had quite a wait for the tail walker, so time for a couple more photos with the sun a little higher.

Coffees in the tearoom (we could go inside, as Paul had taken Rufus to Fletcher Moss, which has a dog friendly cafe) then my second volunteering role - sorting the 181 barcodes into order.

Full results are here, and there's a video (thanks Jan for the link) here.

As usual, a great start to the weekend.

Friday 15 December 2023 - Father Christmas at Styal Mill, and more

It's that time of year. Time for a shy three year old to encounter a scary person with a big beard.

Isabella could relate to the penguins.

But she found Father Christmas a little scary.

Eventually they became friends and managed a 'high five'.

The snowmen were fun, and there were presents.

Thanks go to Sue and Sarah for the pictures above. Only two adults were allowed to accompany  children to see Father Christmas, so I went for a short walk to Twinnies Bridge and back, repeating a circuit I used to do with Isabella's dad in a push chair or papoose (there may be photos when I get around to scanning them!).

Back in 'the day', the path shown below was a quagmire.

Twinnies Bridge hasn't changed.

Nor has Heron's Pool Bridge, although the woodwork has probably been renewed.

The small children's playground, complete with wonky mirror, is a relatively recent addition.

The next two pictures were taken from the same place.

The big house, right next to the mill, has recently been renovated.

Isabella seemed impressed by the tall chimney.

She then demolished a plate of beans and some tasty cake.

After Isabella headed home with her mum, Sue and I went to Bacup, where Sue was enrolled to assist Jessica in Christmas Cracker production. They had lots of fun with various bits of stationery.

Meanwhile, Jacob played 'Fortnite', not very photogenic, but he was seen earlier with a monster brass instrument.