Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Saturday 11 May 2024

Friday/Saturday 10/11 May 2024 - And so to Ullapool

Friday morning - off we go again, pausing today at Tebay services for coffees outside in the warm May sunshine.

Then up to TGO Challenge Control in Newtonmore, where, in exchange for a comfy bed, we provided cucumber and crab bites, fish pie, and strawberries and cream, to ten diners, whilst Ali and Mick provided telephone support to several needy Challengers, the annual event having started on Thursday.

Saturday morning, and we met up with Sue O at Aviemore parkrun. All three of us were happy with our times, with both Sues getting PBs for this course. Full results are here.

One chap, Bill, was applauded for his effort in volunteering for the 250th time today. He is the stalwart volunteer who, together with his faithful friend, marshals at the 2.5km turnaround point. Congratulations, Bill.

After brunch at the Ryvoan Café and a long chat with Sue, we headed via Inverness (for provisions) towards Ullapool, stopping for a while beside Loch Glascarnoch to admire the wonderful mountain views.

Our accommodation in Ullapool is at Parc Mhor. It’s an Airbnb apartment ideal for two people, a half hour walk from the centre of Ullapool. The friendly owner, Graham, lives next door. There are many noisy residents - including vocal sparrows, cooing collared doves, and distant cuckoos.

We have arrived in the middle of the town’s inaugural ‘Lugger Fest’. It’s a traditional Maritime Festival, with Boats, Talk, Music and Food. The ‘Lugger’ name comes from the sails used historically by the herring fishing fleet. We walked into town and joined hundreds of others on the hot, but sadly windless afternoon.

A piper was in full piping mode, which certainly enhanced the ambience of the festival; he received frequent rounds of applause from the hundreds of spectators.

It really was an unexpectedly hot afternoon, and sadly we didn’t have any cold beers. Luckily the fridge did yield some cold Pinot Grigio that proved a good substitute.

Thursday 9 May 2024

Wednesday 8 May 2024 - A Visit to the Bridgewater Gardens

The fine morning encouraged us to pop round to the Bridgewater Gardens, by car - no time for us to do it by bike as we have lots of jobs to do before going away.

I'm no expert on garden flowers, so I haven't attemped to name those shown in this posting. They did however look very nice, though the garden hasn't yet got going for the summer, with many 'annuals' waiting to be planted after there is no risk of a further frost. (T-shirts and shorts today.)

The penultimate picture shows the Japanese garden, which is developing nicely.

That's it for now. Mobile postings should be made during the next couple of weeks, after which Sue is planning to contact BC for a rendezvous at the Bridgewater Gardens as a guest on her ticket.

Wednesday 8 May 2024

Monday 6 May 2024 - Around Appleton

On a lovely sunny Bank Holiday morning, we decided on a local but scenic outing. It takes about 25 minutes to reach Hillside, near Warrington, via junction 10 of the M56, very quiet today.

Beyond Hillside Farm, near where the above picture was taken, our path skirted meadows near Bellfield Farm. We passed through a buttercup zone, encountering many dog walkers.

Instead of our usual route past Bellfield Farm and the site that marks the place that Cromwell's horse is supposed to have been killed, we took a left turn towards the canal, reaching it a little sooner than usual.

The local mallards were struggling to keep tabs on their innocent newborns.

The next picture was taken to showcase the wonderful colours of the tree, but to the right of the barge you can see the steps where passengers used to wait to catch the boat from here (London Bridge) to Manchester, some time before cars, let alone the current motorway network.

After coffee on a bench around our half way point, we strolled north towards the Dingle, Lumb Brook Valley, and Ford's Rough, through an extended belt of deciduous bluebell woodland that today sported a variety of plants and fungi, some of which are pictured here, with many others retaining their privacy.

Common Stump Brittlestem


Children were playing happily, swinging high above the path in Lumb Brook Valley.

Common Gilled Mushroom

Dryad's Saddle

Red Campion

Spanish Bluebell

Brittle Cinder

Our walk passed lots of dandelion heads, pristine on the windless day, finishing along the shady path at Pewterspear.

Jelly Ear

Our route is shown below - one of many good walks around here. It's exactly 10km, with only 80 or so metres of ascent. Allow 2 to 3 hours.

What a lovely way to spend a Bank Holiday morning close to home.

Tuesday 7 May 2024

5km x 3

Our first '5km' (three miles) was on Saturday morning in overcast, almost drizzly, conditions. It was the Fletcher Moss parkrun, one of our favourites. I was the only person over 75 taking part, so was pleased to finish in 30:00, position 223 out of 353 participants. Sue did much better - position 108, in 25:30. Well done Sue. Full results are here.

Coffees at the Sports Club followed, though none of the other Wythenshawe regulars made it to join us on this occasion.

The path to the Sports Club smells lovely just now thanks to the banks of Wild Garlic.

Sunday morning, and while Sue was bellringing, I went down to the track to do my second 5km of the weekend, the Wythenshawe Community Run.

Here are the 125 starters, being briefed before they dash around the track then on into the park.

Sunday afternoon, and Sue requested some exercise in the lovely sunny weather, so we went to Bowdon for a 5km walk in the Bollin Valley and surrounds. 

I'm sure the route to the right used to be less wet than the somewhat muddy path down which the cyclist is heading. I'm not surprised that the cyclists baulked at going through the pond!

But, if you look carefully, you'll see that they didn't baulk at diving into the River Bollin, or jumping off the footbridge. Great Bank Holiday fun!

We continued our anticlockwise circuit, admiring the well developed crops.

Back near the Bollin Valley, the 'Cafe in the Woods' was doing a roaring trade.

A minor navigational error turned this 5km walk into one of 7.3km, thanks to most of Bowdon being  a 'no go' area that is only accessed from the perimeter, with no obvious shortcuts once the 'wrong' direction has been chosen. Never mind, it was nice to be out on the sunny afternoon.

Here's our route: