Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

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

Sunday, 1 September 2019

Friday 30 August 2019 - A Short Circuit from Danebridge

Anna and Dale's visit provided the opportunity for us to partake in one of our favourite walks, from Danebridge. As usual, click on any picture for a better version.
It was late morning on an overcast day by the time we set off from the eponymous bridge, soon passing the Methodist church.
The path rises gently through woodland of pine trees.
Soon we emerged into a familiar field with a rock in the middle of it. An erratic? This is the approach to Hangingstone Farm. Can you spot the stone that provides the name?
Here it is, from the track to the farm, where 'Postman Pat' was busy making deliveries for the Royal Mail.
Close up, the stone has various placards that have been fastened to it for many years. I've described these, long ago, herehere and here.
Sue always likes to pose on the edge, with the Roaches and Hen Cloud visible to the left of the picture.
Shutlingsloe appears as a significant pimple in this next view from just above the Hanging Stone.
The bilberries seem to be almost over, but the Ling (Heather) is in full bloom just now.
Anna and Dale found it hard going, as did three mountain bikers who were struggling along the footpath, so it was a relief when a short cut to our planned route to Lud's Church appeared on this sign.
I've already posted one picture of Lud's Church,. This next picture was taken from the same spot in the other direction.
A 'money log' was found near the entrance to the chasm. I don't remember that from previous visits.
I've written at length about Lud's Church in the past. Learn all about it .
We exited by way of the track to Gradbach that picks up a path, just before a scout campsite*, that leads all the way back to Danebridge beside the River Dane.
Some years ago there was a rockfall that I photographed at the time, . This is what it now looks like.

Beyond some rare breed sheep and a lengthy refreshment stop, we passed several trees laden with red berries, no doubt awaiting a hungry flock of migrating birds.
After that, the path led easily and unerringly back to Danebridge's eponymous bridge, and a visit to the brewery.
We took nearly four and a half hours over the 10 km walk. You may be able to do it slightly faster...
Here's the route we took - there are many possible variations on this theme.
* As a Boy Scout in the mid 1960s, I camped here with our troop on a week's scout camp. We travelled, along with all our gear, in the back of a furniture van. Those were the days!

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Saturday 22 June 2019 - Hanley parkrun number 403

As we were travelling down to Warwick, Sue and I decided to pause our journey just off the A500 in Hanley for a bit of welcome 5km exercise with 266 other people on a warm day.

The natives were friendly and despite being far from our quickest times, we both managed to come first in our age categories on the hilly course.

A great way to start the weekend. Full results are .

Sunday, 2 June 2019

Saturday 1 June 2019 - Isabel Trail parkrun number 26

A visit to Dot enabled her to join us on this parkrun, which starts outside a Sainsbury store in Stafford. Sadly she was unable to run; if she had been able to, she would have set a record in the 90 to 94 age group.

Mick and Gayle, who were with us in Montrose last week, turned up again and Mick's ankle injury again prevented him from running. So he wheeled Dot to about 200 metres up the course, where she could observe proceedings from the comfort of her chair.

The pre run briefing at the start of the narrow course required a loud hailer and some large 'Quiet' signs in order to be effective. Despite it being only the 26th run here, there were a number of landmark runs taking place, including one lady who was completing the alphabet challenge - she had completed parkruns whose names begin with every letter of the alphabet. (I've done 15 on that basis.)

I'd decided not to push hard, and I was quite happy to run with Sue at 5 minutes per kilometre pace. That's what we did, reaching the turnaround point on this 'there and back' route in exactly 12 minutes and thirty seconds - precisely as planned.

Distracted by the greenery and birdsong, and many of the rest of the 263 participants coming the other way, it seems that I accidentally accelerated on the jog to the finish. Perhaps it was slightly downhill. Anyway, I kept looking back and Sue was still there. Soon we were whizzing past Dot and Mick, and accelerating to reach the click of the timekeeper. Gayle finished close behind us - a bit of a surprise as she is normally faster than Sue.

We regrouped, M & G shot off to a birthday party, and Sue, Dot and I toddled off to Sainsbury for post run coffees.

The results came through later in the morning. Sue and I really must have accelerated at the end as she got her first ever 70%+ age related result. Moreover, on this - her 148th parkrun - it seems that Sue managed her best ever parkrun time, 24 minutes 16 seconds, beating her previous best by all of three seconds.

Well done, Sue.

The photo was taken before the run, and the full results are here:

Saturday, 5 January 2019

Saturday 5 January 2019 – The Wammy parkrun, and Apedale Country Park


We hadn’t seen Mick and Gayle for ages. So a plot was hatched to meet up at the Wammy parkrun in Newcastle-under-Lyme, then go for a short walk in Apedale Country Park, before M&G went to visit Gayle’s sister and we went to visit Dot, both of whom live nearby.

It was a great success. The Wammy, on which Mick is pictured below, is a fairly flat disused railway line with a tarmac surface. It’s a fast ‘there and back’ course. It must be fast, as I managed a very rare sub 23 minute time for the 5 km.


Gayle and Sue weren’t far behind Mick. Whilst Gayle looks comfortable, she did incur an injury – we hope it’s feeling better, and Sue looks to be in agony but later confessed that she was ‘just pretending’.


It was a very rare success for me, as I managed to come top out of the 275 participants, in the Age Grade results! (There are no prizes, and it’s not a race – but still very satisfying.)


The post run café turned out to be Bertie, pictured at the head of the posting. Mick and Gayle are imminently setting off in Bertie for some winter sunshine, hence us taking this opportunity to catch up.

It was a cool, dull day, not really suitable for photography, and the walking route we took in Apedale was just cobbled together to enable us to partake of a good chat in some fresh air. Not spectacular scenery, but it served a purpose.

Whilst returning to our vehicles after the run, we were passed by a cyclist who had chosen a rather inconvenient time to be on the crowded path… “That was your brother” exclaimed Sue. Either I have lots of brothers, or it’s a very small world!

Here we are, frolicking in Apedale. For a change, Sue decided not to fall over, despite passing through a muddy section which would have been ideal for a sprawl in the mud that she has developed a habit of adventuring into over the past few days.


Here’s our route – 8.2 km, 150 metres ascent, taking 2 hours.


After a spot of lunch in Bertie, we bade our farewells and headed off on our respective family visits. Sue and I were pleased to find Dot in good form, and able to play cards with the double size pack we got her for Christmas from the RNIB.

It had been great to meet up with Mick and Gayle, and we hope to combine more parkrun ‘tourism’ with suitable rendezvous points and post run walks with them in the future.

Finally, following Conrad’s comment on yesterday’s posting, I promised more pictures of the Lymm Dam cormorants. Here they are in 2009. I wonder how these birds are related to the birds we saw yesterday?


Saturday, 4 August 2018

Friday 3 August 2018 – A Stroll with Conrad


Conrad is a good friend who I would never have encountered but for this blog. He met Mick and Gayle on one of their long walks, following which we became aware of each others blogging exploits, enjoyed ‘following’ each other, and eventually met up. Conrad’s extensive blogging records, dating from 2009, are here, though as with most bloggers his most interesting trips may have been much earlier.

On 10 April 2017 Conrad set off on a walk from Berwick-on-Tweed to Castle Carey. It’s quite a long way and has provided considerable challenges.

On catching up with his reports after our return from ‘Summer in the Alps’, I realised that he had passed by Timperley a couple of days earlier. Not an entirely enjoyable experience as he had accidentally left the excellent surface of the Trans Pennine Trail in favour of an obscure sea of mud under the M60 motorway, rather than use the shiny dry footbridge nearby.

He was still close by, staying at Winterley, near Crewe, on Thursday night. So I set off with a view to surprising him on the South Cheshire Way footpath that runs directly south from Winterley. I assumed that as he was moving south, he would take that route. (But, dear reader, you may have noted from the start date of Conrad’s walk that he sometimes moves in mysterious ways!)

Anyway, I parked up in Weston and headed north through the Cheshire countryside, pausing for the occasional snap (see below) and wondering when I would bump into said heroic Long Distance Walker.


After negotiating my way uneasily through the bunkers of Crewe Golf Club, where hundreds of emaciated old men were driving round in buggies and wielding cartloads of clubs, I realised it was after 10 am and I was approaching Conrad’s departure point. A ‘phone call was needed.

Q. “Where are you, Conrad?”

A: “Alsager.”

I must admit, I hadn’t expected him to head east from his overnight stop.

“Text me with your map reference in an hour’s time.”

I returned to Weston – ‘Walk 1’ below – 11.6 km.

After parking on a grass verge by the A500, I received two messages:

1. ‘SJ 796 595 could be a while’
2. ‘SJ 790 545 In middle of nowhere. Will email emergency point shortly’

Conrad certainly knows how to get misplaced on an obscure route. But with the aid of modern technology I was soon able to ambush him with a cup of tea.


The next bit of navigation was easy, as I’d come that way. I decided to stay with Conrad along the footpath to Audley. After passing Millend and a pond that served as a reserve for Canada Geese, the footpath proceeded towards a sewage works. Except that at SJ 794 520 the path ceased to exist. We spent quite a few minutes relocating to a minor road, where I abandoned our hero and returned to Polly. Walk 2 – 5.3 km.

Another short walk in Audley relocated Conrad and led up a paved road to some sandwiches that I’d secreted earlier in Polly’s boot. Walk 3 – 1.4 km.

We worked out a sensible route to Madeley Heath, where I was to recce the suitability of a main road to Madeley for a pedestrian like Conrad. So off I went with confidence, carried out the recce, and parked up in Madeley Heath.

Conrad made good progress, and we met at the only two benches, by Bates Wood Nature Reserve, on the route. It was 3.15. We took pictures of each other – see header picture.

The paths hereabouts were good, and from the car (and Conrad’s hill route) you could see hills littered along the horizon to the west. But most of the scenery was as shown below. Lush tree foliage but drought parched grasses.


Heading past Agger Hill Farm, a beautiful flower proclaimed itself from the top of a rather manky stem.


After a steep descent we reached the A531 at Madeley Heath Farm, where they maybe don’t have much space as the animals appear to be shrunken versions of the real thing.


My recce had revealed a negotiable pavement to Madeley, but it was after 4pm and Conrad needed a rest. He likes to be truly ‘on holiday’ after 4pm. So Walk 4 ended after 5.3 km at Madeley Heath, from where Polly transported our legendary Long Distance Walker to near his B&B in Madeley.

“Don’t take me all the way, I want to arrive on foot!”

What a lovely day out, away from all the post-holiday domestic chores, and thanks to the emptiness of the M6 I was able to return home in time to have tea on the table just as her majesty returned home from work.

Here are my ramblings for the day – all there and back, totalling about 24 km, with 150 metres ascent.


Conrad’s report on the day is here, and I’m pleased to discover that his B&B was excellent and that he enjoyed poached salmon for supper.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Sunday 8 January 2017 – A Walk from Derbyshire Bridge


The sun was trying to emerge as we passed through Macclesfield, but the Cat & Fiddle road had a different agenda. We spent the whole day in variable amounts of cloud and rain, despite a favourable forecast.

Eleven of us met at Derbyshire Bridge, from where Sue W led us south, past noisy but largely hidden red grouse, eventually arriving at Three Shire Heads amongst a flurry of walkers, cyclists, and trial bikers.


Elevenses turned out to be ‘twelveses’, or should that read ‘noonses’? Anyway, Sue’s box of was soon depleted. At this point the rain intensified. Waterproofs were needed.


Soon it was time to cross the bridge and head up a sometimes muddy path to gain the Cat & Fiddle via the Dane Valley, where a dipper added colour to the scene, and Danebower Hollow.


The Cat & Fiddle remains sadly closed, with Robinsons still looking for a suitable tenant, so lunch was taken outside the pub, where a picnic bench served its purpose.


A couple of wimps headed back down the road to their car from here, but the rest of us enjoyed the path towards Shining Tor before turning down to Stake Clough and on to Goyt’s Clough beside the infant River Goyt. Even in the mist this was a pleasant route.


We finished reasonably early, before 3 o’clock, giving us a leisurely winter’s afternoon before popping round for dinner and Rummikub with Mike and Sarah in Northern Moor.

Here’s our route – 16km, 500 metres ascent, taking about 4.5 hours.