Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018
Showing posts with label Manchester. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Manchester. Show all posts

Saturday, 29 February 2020

Saturday 29 February 2020 - Alexandra parkrun number 14

This week it soon became clear that Wythenshawe's parkrun would be cancelled for environmental reasons, and on Thursday the word went out that it was indeed cancelled. The run director gave some spurious reason in her email, but we all know that the real reason was that she didn't want to frighten the mallards in their new home.
So a large gang of Wythenshawe regulars descended once more on Alexandra parkrun, which wasn't without its own obstacles. Kate Holloway followed Cary, who was in expansive mood through a water splash. (Thanks to Kate for the photo.)
Michael, seen here with his friend Michelle, jogged slowly round, thus allowing me the honour of being the fastest 'over 70', despite me having been caught out chatting to Martha when the run started, leaving us at the back of the 384 strong field, and having to weave through the field to catch those who had started further forward. Our first kilometre was very slow.

As last week, we'd driven to the run in a downpour. Sue and I had even gone back inside to don full waterproofs. But, as last week, the rain stopped just as we were assembling at the start. Magic!

The full results are .

This week's 'café plan' worked a treat. Jenny (not running) got ahead of the masses and ordered coffees to arrive soon after we finished running. We'd had a long wait for them last week. It also seemed that the hard working staff were managing a bit better this week. It's a very good café.
Happy days...

Sunday, 23 February 2020

Saturday 22 February 2020 - Swanning Around at Alexandra park(run)

What a contrast to our last three parkruns at Kanata! Alexandra Park was at least 20C warmer, and there were 404 participants, compared with 11 last week at Kanata.
I used to live around the corner on Manley Road, back in the 1970s, but I didn't visit the park very much. I think the whole place has been renovated since then, with the Pavilion, described and pictured below, now housing a vibrant café etc.
Click on the pictures to get a better version.
There were over a dozen of us, plus the Cordingley family, who normally go to Wythenshawe Park, but that parkrun was cancelled today because of the waterlogged ground.
Alexandra parkrun may cancel when it's frosty, but the tarmac surfaces mean that a drop of rain  just gives rise to a few puddles, as pictured below.
Owen's needs are such that he loves parkrun, but requires a buddy to accompany him. I did this today, and we finished in a satisfactory 35 minutes or so. Rather slower than my usual pace, but just about the pace I need to maintain for over 26 miles in a few weeks' time. So good practice at running slowly!
Whilst Sue was setting her fastest time this year, and coming home first in her age category for the sixth consecutive week, Owen was loving running through the long avenue of sunlit trees.
We had to wait for a while to get our post-run coffees, whilst a dance group performed on the other side of a partition, but it was good to see that the café has changed its Saturday opening time (it was 10.00 when we were last here) to accommodate a 9.30 influx of thirsty runners; and a jolly time was had by all.
Full results are .

Sunday, 26 January 2020

Saturday 25 January 2020 - UK National Track Championships at the Velodrome

After a routine Saturday of parkrunning etc, Sue and I enjoyed our first visit to the Velodrome as spectators. We usually just use the café, and we've had a track taster session (great fun!).

Today we were joined by Paul and Jeanette (thanks a lot for the lift) for the evening session, and we enjoyed watching the men's sprint finals (won by Hamish Turnbull), the women's Keirin (Lauren Bell), the women's 10 km Scratch race - pictured above - (Ella Barnwell) and the very exciting men's points race over 30 km - 120 laps of the track - that was won by Rhys Britton in a tight finish.

A most enjoyable evening. We must go again.

Saturday, 25 January 2020

Friday 24 January 2020 - Irlam and the Mosses

The last of my current series of Friday morning walks was due to start from Irlam Station, but Paul and I couldn't find any satisfactory parking there, and with nobody else expected on the walk we took the risk of driving round to the small car park at New Moss Wood (SJ 703 933).
The mizzle eased as we strolled up the lane by Cadishead Moss, along the route of the Salford Trail.
The fields looked lush with winter greens.
After crossing the M62, the path went past Ringing Pits Farm, then through woodland teeming with birds.
The peat beds of Great Woolden Moss and Little Woolden Moss were soon reached. The path around the mosses remains in good condition, but the willow arch seen in 2017 has been destroyed.
This frog dates from when the path was built a few years ago.
The mosses are being preserved, and form a nature reserve that's really close to the industrial sites of Greater Manchester. Lots of bird watching opportunities here.
Our path turned towards Moss Lodge Farm and Red House Farm, where discarded tractors litter the countryside.
Before reaching Glazebury, and the site of the first 'inter city' railway in 1830, we turned, still on the Salford Trail, to follow Glaze Brook in a southerly direction, enjoying a tea and cake break before passing Little Woolden Hall and reaching the Keeper's Cottage, in front of which is a carpet of budding snowdrops. This entire stretch is full of birds - we saw redwings, tits, a great spotted woodpecker, blackcap, and many more.
These places, through which the M62 motorway now carves, are full of history, with Great Woolden Hall soon being passed beyond the motorway.
We followed the Glazebrook Trail/Salford Trail routes, leaving them just after going under a railway. We then took a mildly incorrect turn down a pleasant stretch of dismantled railway as far as Liverpool Road, to which we descended through a hole in the fence.
Irlam station beckoned. In my haste to grab coffees and scones I forgot to take a photo, so here's one from 2017. The renovated station is a fine licensed café, with good food being served.
Outside, this old engine has been lovingly restored. The whole place is a museum piece. Worth a visit if you haven't been there.
Nearby, not everywhere is as prosperous.
An easy 2 km walk back to the car completed this 15 km circuit that took us three hours plus stops.
Here's the route:
Thanks for your company, Paul - I hope you enjoyed this 'new' location that is really close to home.
I've been here before, and indeed have reported in much greater detail that doesn't warrant being repeated today. Those reports can be found here:

Saturday, 11 January 2020

Friday 10 January 2020 - A Walk from Stockport to Ashton

I did this walk on my own back in September, reporting on it , where you'll find a bit more greenery in the pictures, and a map.
Today's outing was for the benefit of Sue and Paul, who I think were as surprised as me to discover that there's a completely off-road route through the suburbs of Greater Manchester between these two towns, thanks largely to the River Tame, and the canal engineers from over 200 years ago.
We travelled by train from Navigation Road, and it took a few minutes to extricate ourselves from Stockport Town Centre, where the frog pictured in September by the railway station has been removed. We soon found ourselves in woodland beside the River Tame, near to where it joins up with the River Goyt to form the Mersey.
It was a wintry view today, with greenery provided courtesy of the mosses and lichens that cover almost every bit of bare wood.
I dutifully showed Sue and Paul Harrison's Weir, dating from the early 1780s. It's in need of a bit of repair.
We normally cross the bridge leading to Reddish Vale Visitor's Centre on our bikes, without noticing the carved inscriptions at either side of the bridge, denoting the old border between Cheshire and Lancashire. Interestingly, there's a bee emblem on the Cheshire side, and a rose on the Lancashire side. I've rather amateurishly stitched a few photos together. If you click on the images you'll get a better version.
Amongst other information, these plaques state that Lancashire was formed in 1351, and that the Heatons and Reddish were transferred to the Borough of Stockport in 1916. They also state that since 1974, wherever you stand on the bridge you are in Greater Manchester. That makes these plaques quite recent.
From the bridge, there's a view over a small nature reserve - lots of varieties of ducks on view - and to the impressive Reddish Vale viaduct.
Our route headed east, under the massive arches of the viaduct.

We then passed under the M60 motorway and crossed some waterlogged fields that challenged the trail shoes that Sue and I were wearing.
Eventually, after more pleasant walking (and lunch on a convenient bench) beside the River Tame, we took a pretty walled path (see top picture) up to the Peak Forest Canal. The sun came out and provided some lovely reflections.
Reaching the Portland Basin, the Peak Forest Canal meets the Ashton Canal and the Huddersfield Narrow Canal. Some of the street furniture there looks in need of renovation!
From the same spot - a rather better view towards the Portland Basin Museum (open) and its attached café (closed).
Ashton Metrolink Station is nearby, so we strolled along to it and caught a tram home.
We had walked about 16 km, taking around four hours, on this enjoyable excursion.
Friday 24 January
Day Walk
A 15 km circuit from Irlam Station, visiting The Salford Trail, Great Woolden Moss, and the Glazebrook Trail. Meet at 10 am. Lunch at the station (SJ 713 931).

Sunday, 15 December 2019

Friday 13 December 2019 - Exploring the Irk Valley

I've been here before - reports are and . They contain quite a lot of information, so today I'll be brief.
The two Pauls and I rendezvoused on the tram to Heaton Park, where on this occasion nobody else joined us. Not surprising really, as it was p*****g down with rain. We tried to dispel said inclemency by spending as long as we could in the café, before pressing on past the hall. The trick had worked, briefly, as the downpour seems to have paused for the above photo.
Not for long. Normal service from the skies soon resumed, curtailing the usual view towards the ever increasing mass of skyscrapers in the centre of Manchester. 

After a minor navigational hiccup, we exited the park, crossed the main A576 road near Victoria Avenue, and took a thin path on the west bank of the River Irk, which unsurprisingly was pretty full of water.
I suppose the walk was pleasant enough, and the company was good, but the camera remained stashed until we came across the usual rubbish in Hendham Vale. A victim of fly tipping on previous visits, and nothing has changed. It must cost the people of Collyhurst a fortune on their rates bill. 
Both Pauls looked on in dismay.
A little further on is th road bridge housing Queen's Road. By now the lens was misting up.
Just beyond here we walked under the viaduct that was the scene of a fatal accident a few years ago in 1953. . These days Metrolink trams rumble gently along the re-laid tracks.
A little further on, 'Dreadnowt' is encountered, before reaching the H Marcel Guest paint factory that has been in business here for 80 years and is still going strong.
There's a wonderful commentary on this and other 'Irksome' matters in.
Thanks to Paul S for discovering both the above links, which are well worth a click - they are certainly more interesting than this mundane report.
Closing in on Victoria, our pace quickened in an effort to get to somewhere dry. That place turned out to be the meagre shelter at Shudehill Metrolink station, from where we were conveyed by carriage to the sanctuary of our respective homes for a late lunch after our 13 km stroll.
Thanks for joining me, Pauls, you were brave (stupid?) to venture out today.

Thursday, 28 November 2019

Thursday 28 November 2019 - A Taster Session at the Velodrome

A long awaited trip to Manchester's Velodrome finally came to fruition today. Sue and I joined eight others for a taster session.
Andy, who we could have encountered at last Saturday's Alexandra parkrun - he finished in under 18 minutes, gave us a safety briefing after we'd been fitted with bikes, toe straps, etc, whilst the bikes hung on to the railings.
Basically, we had to 'Keep Pedalling', and look back over either our right or left shoulder, depending on where we were on the track, to avoid turning into passing traffic. Keeping pedalling is quite important, as failure to do so jolts you off the bike, and as these bikes are fixed wheel bikes with no brakes there's a learning curve.
I was helped by the knowledge that I spent a short period cycling to and fro to Manchester from Bury when I was taking my University finals for the second time and living with Jim and Cath - back in 1971. I was pleased not to have brakes this time; Jim's old bike had a front brake only, and that kept trying (and succeeding) to throw me over the handlebars.
I couldn't take the camera onto the track, so I only managed to get a picture of Sue as she was finishing, having been granted an extra lap due to a puncture, and narrowly avoiding being trashed by the GB peleton.
We started on dark blue, moved to light blue for a few laps, then graduated to the rest of the track. The idea was to stay above the advertising patches, but that was quite hard work. You have to pedal harder around the corners to maintain height on the steep banking.
I reckon we did about 40 to 50 laps of the 250 metre circuit - maybe 10km during the hour's session. Here is our group of ten at the end of the session.
Andy took this photo for us.
This is the National Cycling Centre, home of British Cycling. Many members of the team were engaged in exercises in the central area, and as soon as we had finished they were practising all manner of things, from starts to sprints, on the track.
This was all great fun, after which we enjoyed lunch in the excellent café, before waving goodbye to one of the resident bees.
We commend anyone to book a taster session, it really was most enjoyable. We'll be back.