Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

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

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Monday 1 January 2018 – Arnside Knott


Whilst others were limbering up in preparation for two parkruns on New Year’s Day, Sue and I were enjoying a banquet and a late night at Lyn’s house in north Manchester.


We were pretty full by the end of the evening, after losing count of the number of courses served up by an assortment of participants.


Delicious. A lovely evening. Thanks go to Lyn and Robert for hosting.


The unfinished ceviche made a fine substitute for marmalade on New Year’s morning, and was finally utilised by Sue and me as a starter later on. Nothing goes to waste in our kitchen.

Sue and I are struggling with heavy colds, so we weren’t inclined to rush off. But when we did, we headed gently up to Conrad’s house in Arnside. The idea was to wish him a happy new year, then enjoy a stroll in the Silverdale/Arnside area.

Conrad is recovering well from a replacement knee operation, albeit unable to join us on a walk. After a long chat, it was afternoon by the time we set off up Arnside Knott.


Occasional squalls didn’t dampen our enthusiasm, and a fair number of folk were encountered. The following view from Arnside Knott across the Kent Estuary shows the Lake District to be engulfed in cloud, so we were happy with our decision to head for a low southern hill.


Here’s a picture from the trig point.


We headed along contouring paths down to Arnside Tower, which is visible to the left of Sue’s head. You can just see a new path that now sensibly skirts the yard of the nearby farm.


The signage in this area is pretty good, but this particular sign appears to have suffered the same fate as our old garden fence!


We continued over Middlebarrow, through Holgates mobile home/campsite to Elmslack, for lunch on a bench at Elmslack Well, upon which a litter bin has been judiciously placed!

A pleasant path then led around to Waterslack, where the railway was crossed and we soon joined a permissive path not marked on the map, past this distinctive tree, to the Hawes Water bridleway.


Last year’s visit on yielded a photo taken near here that now glows at us from January’s calendar. Today’s conditions were less sunny, and as we progressed along the footpaths towards Hazelslack they got progressively more muddy. This is ‘before the mud’.


Hazelslack is a farm next to a ruin, much in the same vein as Arnside Tower.


We joined the estuary path to the north of Carr Bank. This had been inundated by the tide when we arrived earlier, but now the water had receded, with views to Arnside beyond the grassy area that has sections of mud where the grass appears to have been mechanically removed. I wonder why?


Having supplied coffee and cake earlier, (aka ‘Sir Hugh’) was now well disposed to offering tea and (excellent) biscuits before we tootled off home. By coincidence, he was busy exchanging emails with fellow bloggers, . He has a very homely spot, with a view to Ingleborough on less cloudy days (subject to an errant chimney pot for which he is still scouring eBay for a bazooka!).


Here’s our route, a very pleasant circuit of 13 km, with 300 metres ascent, taking about three and a half hours at a gentle pace. There are lots of alternatives in this area that is happily stuffed full of picturesque rights of way.


Happy New Year, everyone.

Monday, 20 March 2017

Rentahostel at Hawkshead – 17 to 19 March 2017


This was our annual ‘rentahostel’ weekend with 24 or so assorted friends based on Sue’s old university hillwalking club.

This year we had use of part of Hawkshead Youth Hostel. The weather was wet and the road between Hawkshead and the Youth Hostel was flooded. So despite an inclination to walk, we drove to the Red Lion on Friday evening.

I’d planned a circuit based on Dow Crag for Saturday. Whilst most people preferred something a bit lower in the inclement weather, ten of us assembled for the drive up to the end of the Walna Scar Road.

Before setting off, two of that number suddenly changed their minds in favour of a low level walk from the hostel. So it was just eight of us who disembarked at the Walna Scar Road terminus.


It was raining quite hard.

A search for Ken and Anne’s boots proved fruitless, so they were left with little option but to walk back to Hawkshead in their slippers. Bob and Judy, who had come for the day from their home in the Lakes, accompanied them.

So even before we had started, our group of ten had been reduced to me, Sue, Pam and Paul!

We made our way uneventfully up to Goat’s Water, which we could just about see through the mist.


There were quite a few people coming down the path leading to the gap (Goat’s Hawse) between Dow Crag and The Old Man of Coniston, some sporting rather drenched pairs of jeans. They were the last people we saw before meeting a mountain rescue team several hours later on the Walna Scar Road. We stopped for a cuppa just below the col where it was calm and warm. If wet.

Having ignored one of our ‘back at base’ number’s suggestion that we take the ‘seriously exposed’ climbers’ route up Dow Crag (why would we even know that there was a climbers’ route?!) we encountered no difficulties other than a bit of clambering over slippery rocks on Dow Crag. Then it was an easy walk over Buck Pike and Brown Pike, with occasional views down to diminutive Blind Tarn.

En route, the next two pictures taken from the same spot (it wasn’t a good day for photography in the pouring rain) give an idea of the terrain.


On reaching the Walna Scar Road, I pointed out the easy shortcut back to the start of the walk, but that option was rapidly discarded in favour of a further four summits.

Good paths led over Walna Scar to White Pike, from where there would normally be a good view, and back beside a wall to White Maiden.

A compass bearing then guided us towards our final summit – High Pike Haw, seen here from near our lunch spot after we’d established that the compass bearing had taken us in the right direction around a few steepish cliffs.


High Pike Haw is a minor summit with character. From there we headed over Torver High Common in a roughly north east direction, keeping to the left of a boggy area, to eventually re-join the Walna Scar Road at its bridge over Torver Beck, which unlike Ash Gill, crossed en route and pictured top, would not have been an easy ‘hop’ today.


We finished the walk around 3.30 – here’s the view to Crowberry Haws from the car park.


Despite the weather, only Pam had wet feet, and we were otherwise nice and dry apart from having wet hands. Waterproof garments had all worked well apart from some of the gloves. In this weather (not too cold) I find that fairly lightweight gloves that can be wrung out frequently keep my hands warmer than my waterproof gloves (Terra Nova Extremities) which were hardly used today.

Here’s our route – about 15 km with 800 metres ascent, taking 5.3 hours.


That left us plenty of time to relax back at base, where a sumptuous supper was served. There was an assortment of excellent menu items. My contribution of chardonnay chicken with artichoke hearts proved a good choice – it’s really easy to prepare, and went down well with Sue’s baked potatoes.

By Sunday morning the rain hadn’t abated, so most people went home via indoor attractions. Hawkshead hostel is shown below; we were in an annex behind me.


Sue and I were joined by Andrew at Leighton Moss Bird Reserve, where we eventually escaped from the café. There’s a fairly new ‘Skytower’ that affords a view over the reserve. Can you spot it in the picture below?


Here’s the view from the Skytower.


Back down to earth, these Scarlet Elf Cups were abundant. Apparently they are very tasty, but we didn’t pick any.


We visited several of the hides and got occasional glimpses of Marsh Harriers, as well as seeing the following:

Mute Swan
Greylag Geese
Tufted Duck
Little Egret
Great Egret
Curlew (Saturday)
Marsh or Willow Tit
Great Tit
Blue Tit
Carrion Crow
House Sparrow

Had Ken and Anne been with us, we would no doubt have spotted much more.


The reed beds have been cleared in places in order to prevent tree growth, and efforts are being made to provide suitable habitats for both Bittern, who like it wet, and Bearded Tits, who like it dry in the reed beds.


The pheasants seemed pretty comfortable with our presence. This one wasn’t sure whether to regard my orange anorak as friend or foe. Gun shots could be heard in the distance.


Here’s where we walked – a bit less than 7 km.


Then we went home.

Thanks to Sue W for organising the weekend but not for providing her customary wet weather.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Monday 2 January 2017 – Silverdale


It was a good decision to postpone this visit for 24 hours. We were rewarded with a superb 'blue sky' day.

After another leisurely start we enjoyed coffee and cake at Leighton Moss bird reserve visitor centre, leaving it at around 11 am for a clockwise 19 km stroll around the coast to Silverdale, over Arnside Knott, down to Arnside and a bit more coast, then cross country past sunset at Hawes Water to a pot of tea at the visitor centre before it closed at 4.30.

There were many people about and the paths are well used by locals and visitors alike. Thankfully not as muddy as those around Alderley Edge, and the planning regulations seem to be more sensible here.

The top picture shows me approaching the old Smelt Mill Chimney at Jenny Brown’s Point, after which we meandered through Jack Scout, where the sun shone on these seed heads from a deep blue sky.


Both Wolf House Gallery and the Silverdale Hotel were closed. Perhaps they hadn’t realised that this Monday was a Bank Holiday on which they could have made good profits had they been open.

We’d anticipated our usual haunts being closed, so, with the tide out, we wandered along the slippery shore line to the cove.


There’s a bench, just out of shot to the right in the above picture, which makes an excellent luncheon venue.


Here’s the view over Morecambe Bay from the bench. You can see the Power Stations at Heysham on the horizon.


The robins hereabouts are not afraid of humans.


Nor are the mice. This is one of a pair who were busily constructing a nest in a wall. They ignored our attention, but if we had picked one up I expect a sharp nip would have been our reward.


Sue paused on the ascent of Arnside Knott to attempt some artistry with the frosted leaf litter.


Many pictures were taken from near the 159 metre summit of Arnside Knott. The views across the Kent Estuary to the Lake District were superb, with the higher summits such as Helvellyn and Skiddaw tinged with snow.


Our friends in Arnside – Conrad, and Ian and Rona, were all away, so sadly we passed Conrad’s local Spar shop and Ian and Rona’s house without the pleasure of seeing them. Though a stop of any consequence would have seen us finishing in the dark. The sun set as we passed Hawes Water, still with half an hour to go.


The bird watchers were still present in abundance as we approached the visitor centre well after dusk. We weren’t on a bird spotting mission today, but we did notice a Great Egret near Hazelslack.

Here’s our route – 19.5 km with about 400 metres ascent, taking a little less than five and a half hours.


I’m posting this to avoid getting too far behind. A slideshow will follow, and notes of birds and wild flowers observed this year. (Good intentions, anyway!)

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

A Christmas Compendium


Well, it has been a busy time of year as usual, with other priorities rightly taking precedence over daily blog postings. So you will be relieved that I'm not going to attempt to get up to date by way of individual postings. Instead I'm going to provide an annotated pictorial review of the past three weeks. Feel free to either skim or move on...

We returned from Chile on 17 December, having made no preparations for Christmas. So there were no cards this year apart from the lucky few who attended our Christmas lunch walk. Sorry about that; it goes without saying that we hope you all enjoyed the festive period and we wish everyone a Happy New Year.

After an unexpected visit to a car showroom the day after we got back, we found ourselves at Trentabank car park in the dark at 7.30pm. Fourteen people turned up for our annual traipse up Shutlingsloe, eleven of whom are regular parkrunners at Wythenshawe Park. Andrew, Graham and Toby made up the party that shuffled its way up the hill. The going was easier than usual thanks to the high temperature and lack of verglas. Having said that, the Holloway contingent, more used to skipping through parkland mud like fairies, found it a bit cool on the summit. Brownies and flapjack were distributed, a song was sung, and views over the lights of Greater Manchester in one direction and towards the Cat and Fiddle in the other direction were admired before we shot off back down the hill to prior engagements or, for most of us, the sanctity of the Leathers Smithy.

The camera emerged briefly on the summit.


The following day the sounds of summer - cooing pigeons and overhead jets, broke the silence of a Timperley morning. Sue and I made our way via Mike's house to the park for our first run since the dry days of October. It was muddy. The Christmas tree was beaten to the finish by an aforementioned fairy, and Mike managed to scrape home just in front of his dad. Results here.


The next day was allotted to an old Sunday walk tradition whereby a few of us used to meet over lunch and plan the following year's activities, the list then being attached to Christmas cards. Times move on, and the 'programme' is now dealt with through the Internet, though suggestions are still welcomed.

The Internet seems to make it much easier for friends to keep in touch. That may be partly the reason for an increase in numbers for this Christmas walk. This year 26 of us were due to meet for a well established route in the Peak District. Drop outs are rare - there were none. Drop ins are unheard of - but Gayle and Mick succeeded this year. It was good to see them on the sunny morning.

Here's our route.


It's the third time we've been this way. Previous reports are here and here. In the past the Charles Cotton Hotel has served an excellent lunch. Today the venue was fine but the lunch was found wanting. Alan R reported on it in his entertaining write up, the text from which is appended at the foot of this posting. Alan's encyclopedic knowledge of tractors gave the Bah Humbug team a critical advantage in the quiz, earning a prize of chocolates all the way from a Valparaiso supermarket.

Here are just a few snaps to record the day, which culminated in a dramatic sunset.


My camera was then stashed for a few days whilst we enjoyed a family Christmas. (Sue may have some pictures.) Thanks go to Kate and Simon for hosting Christmas lunch for ten people, and to everyone for being well behaved. I did notice that when the children lost interest, the two great grandmas resorted to reading children’s books to each other!

After Boxing Day with another family party in Nantwich, albeit we’d started that day with a parkrun, some exercise was somewhat overdue. A 30 km bike ride under a pristine blue sky along the canal into Castlefield and back via the swing bridge at Eccles, on a route that I recced here, back in May, served the purpose.


A couple of days later we met Peter and Dorothy, last seen at El Chaltén on 11 November, at Leighton Moss Bird Reserve. On another sunny day we enjoyed our mugs of coffee before setting off into the reserve. We got about ten yards before being turned back by a flood. Wet feet were not what we wanted after five minutes of walking. So plans were revised and we headed past Hawes Water and Gait Barrows to Arnside.

Arnside Knott is usually a good viewpoint, and so it was today, albeit the Lake District beyond the Kent estuary was shrouded in cloud.


We posed beside the remains of two trees knotted in Victorian times. Their overall height seems to diminish each time we visit.


Descending by one of the gentler routes off Arnside Knott, we soon reached Arnside Tower, with good views back to the Knott.


Wikipedia tells me that ‘Arnside Tower was built in the second half of the 15th century; tower houses were then often built in the insecure areas of northern England and southern Scotland. Constructed of limestone rubble, the tower was originally five storeys high, measuring 50 feet by 34 feet. The tower was built with an adjacent wing of equal height built onto the side of the tower in a style common in Scotland, but rare in English tower houses. Historian Anthony Emery suggests that the design may have been influenced by that at Ashby de la Zouch Castle, rebuilt in 1464 by Lord Hastings.The tower suffered a serious fire in 1602 but after repairs remained in use until the end of the 17th century.

One of the walls of the tower collapsed around 1900, and as of 2014, English Heritage considered the condition of the castle to be very bad and ‘urgent works are required’. Arnside Tower is a Scheduled Monument and Grade II* listed building.’


A stroll through the nearby caravan park preceded the lane to the cove, past some alpaca that seem to have been in residence for years. The tide was in, so there was no chance of a meander along the beach.


It was lunchtime. The Silverdale Hotel usually provides reasonable fare, and a specials board sat enticingly in the porch.

The place was deserted. A local lady told us that it wasn’t permanently closed – ‘they just open it when they feel like it’ – not today!


The Wolf House Gallery was very busy, but their soup was excellent and fuelled us for the short afternoon stroll back to Leighton Moss via the chimney at Jenny Brown’s Point.


Back at the RSPB reserve, Sue and I inspected a new walkway that should have been opened by the next time we visit.


The walkway we usually use was more like a river today, following record rainfall in December.


Then Jessica had an overnight stay with us. The first of many, we hope.


And on New Year’s Eve Sue took delivery of a new toy, having donated her old one to a needy cause.


The evening was spent, as oft before, in Adlington with good friends, a lovely meal, and a game of Balderdash.


After midnight we all assembled for the first photo of the year.


On our way home on a fine New Year’s Day, Sue and I paused at Rivington Barn for a stroll up to the Pigeon Loft, then past Rivington Tower and up the access road to Winter Hill.


Whilst the Towers were thronged with visitors, the path past the ruins of the Hempshaw hamlets and the infant River Yarrow was more or less deserted.  A sheep with a bouquet between its teeth provided a cheerful and optimistic prospect for the year ahead.

Down at the Yarrow Reservoir we bumped into Lyn and Robert, enjoying their own form of 2016 exercise.


Then the bowling club’s impromptu café provided a mug of tea and a tasty teacake for a pretty nominal charge.

And that brings me rather hastily up to date, as yesterday’s stroll around Lindow, by Wilmslow, was undertaken in gloomy (albeit dry) weather. Just one picture was taken, at the fishing pond by Lindow Poultry Farm – it is included at the head of this posting.


Sunrise to Sunset (By AlanR, reporting on 20 December 2015)

The A515 between Buxton and Ashbourne is a great road to witness a sunrise. Its blinding. We were here nice and early for our Christmas walk and lunch with Martin and Sue and too many others to mention in this sentence.

It was decided that we would have breakfast in the café in Hartington and upon arrival at 8.50am found that it was closed. The sign on the door pointed out that it was not open until Monday. Strange that a café doesn’t open on the day that I would guess is the busiest. Oh well, their loss, and ours. (The café at Tideswell is usually open – perhaps we should start from there in 2016 – Ed.)

Apart from a bit of a chilly breeze the day was quite balmy with huge clear blue skies. On other occasions we have been here at this time of year deep in snow with impassable roads. So please India, Russia and China keep belching out the CO2’s. It’s heart warming.

At assembly in the lay by I think we counted 28 souls and 1 dog. Motorists passing would be forgiven for thinking there was a Marks and Spencers on the other side of the hedge. And then we were off, the huge gradient onto the Tissington Way easy conquered. The first of many “meanders" quickly overcome as we made our slippery way off the old railway line and down to the River Dove just shy of Milldale. A few bottoms got muddy on the descent. No group photo? (No muddy bottom photos that I’m aware of – Ed.)

Once down by the river the breeze disappeared, the sun was shinning and the layers were removed. What a glorious day. As with all group walks chatting is the main event. Good to catch up with Mick and Gayle as always and we hope you enjoy whatever Spain offers you. Have a great trip and don’t forget the sun cream for Colin.

We met Heather for the first time, TGO Challenger and all round good egg. Along with Rowan the dog. What a lovely companion.

The scenery along the Dove (Wolfscote Dale) is wonderful although it was obvious that the wind had been fierce here during the past few weeks. Numerous trees were down and lots of logs had been cut and piled for removal.

Just before Biggin Dale we stopped for a compulsory coffee and brownie distribution. This has to be undertaken to ensure that the Mountain Rescue are not required. It was quite a leisurely brew stop and one could tell that it had been much rehearsed in the past.

Sadly, we had to resume leg bashing but unfortunately Gayle had forgotten how they were supposed to work and decided it was far better to test the cushioning on the bottom of her new trousers. Mick dashed to help, not.

Just a little disappointed that we had not been in snow and sleet and torrential rain we made it to the sanctuary of Hartington. There were no complaints, no one got lost, no lost equipment and funnily folk were still laughing. Some Christmas do this I thought, Bah Humbug.

The Lunch was booked and food pre-ordered at the Charles Cotton Hotel and that’s enough said about that. No point in telling you how good it was, because, well it wasn’t.

Martin’s quiz was as good as ever considering that they only got back from Patagonia a couple of days ago. And as it happens, the Bah Humbug team won the prize with 24½ points from a possible 30. (21½ actually, it was very close! – Ed.)

Considering that Sheila and I usually avoid quiz’s like the plague, it was good fun. Well done the A team. The choccy’s kept us going on the return leg.

Martin was left to pay the bill and the rest did a runner just in case they remembered that we had had no boiled potatoes and that the food had not been heated, that we did have an appetite, that vegetarians don’t like ham and that fish doesn’t take as long to cook as turkey, that sprouts don’t get mashed with bacon because again it doesn’t go down well with veggies and seasoning is required, that mince pies need cream and well I could go on……..

That’s only very slightly harsh, Alan. Very disappointing though, given the food has been good there in the past. Thanks to everyone for not making a big deal of it, I hope it didn’t spoil the occasion too much – Ed.

It started to rain, just a little and not for very long. The hills behind us disappeared and the sky in front was looking ominous. A couple more meanders took place and Martin caught up. There was no swearing, there was no mention of food, for the whole of the return trip. I assumed why not. (Yes, it’s a tough call, organising this sort of thing, especially for an incompetent navigator. Thanks for your forbearance – Ed.)

We saw a tractor, a nice new MF, well it would be rude not to wouldn’t it.

As evening closed in the sky partially cleared to allow the sun to set spectacularly. Fortunately with such a clear sky we didn’t need head torches to find our way back along the Tissington Trail. Timing was perfect and farewell’s made, the darkness closed in and we were away.

Once again we had a wonderful time and met new people. Thanks Martin and Sue and everyone else.