The main purpose of this blog is to keep in touch with friends and family, and maybe entertain others with common interests, particularly in relation to the outdoors. We hope you enjoy it, and your comments are valued....
Lunch at the Meccano Bridge and picnic table between Bolton and Bury
The sun is shining. It's time to plan to get out of the house. If I set some dates and venues I have to be there. Others are welcome to join me. Here's the current plan:
Monday Bike rides,
all starting at 9.00 am from TimperleyBridge, on the towpath by the Metro
Station, and heading initially towards Sale
along the towpath:
23 March - Pennington Flash > MuckyMountains > SankeyValley
> Trans-Pennine Trail (70 km) [Lunch at a café in Stockton Heath.]
30 March - Bolton > Bury
circuit (60 km) [Lunch = picnic at the Meccano bridge.]
13 April - Bury > Chadderton > RochdaleCanal
circuit (70 km) [Break at café near Gigg
Lane in Bury.]
20 April - Trans-Pennine Trail west from Stretford > CheshireRingCanal from Romiley to Timperley via Manchester (60 km) [Break
at the velodrome café.]
Note: on all of these dates, if the weather is poor, or we
feel like a shorter route, other options are available, including the
Fallowfield Loopline Circuit (50 km) and the Moore Lane (Acton Bridge) Circuit
(also 50 km)
Friday morning walks:
27 March - Hanging Stone and Lud's Church - a favourite
outing, 10 km starting from the bridge at Danebridge at 10.00 am (SJ 965 652).
[Adjourn to the Ship Inn.]
10 April - A 17 km circuit from Hale, via the BollinValley,
Mobberley Brook and Ashley. Start at the railway bridge on Bankhall Lane at 10.00 am (SJ 772 859). [Possible café after 12 km.]
17 April - A 16 km circuit via Furness Vale and Whaley
Bridge, from the main car park at Lyme Park, starting at 10.00 am (SJ 963 823).
[Café at Lyme Hall.]
1 May - Around Bunbury, starting at 10.00 am from the green
by St Boniface Church (SJ 570 581). 11 km with various refreshment points.
I'll soon put these dates on our topwalks.com website when the old computer is reconnected after some carpet laying, so any amendments will appear there. All are welcome to join me, but it may be worth letting me know if you plan on turning up.
This was Sue and Phil's 25th wedding anniversary weekend at Ilam Hall, attended by well over 100 of their friends and relatives.
On Saturday morning a sizeable party left the hall, in view of the church that lies within the grounds - pictured above - at around 9.30. Just as Richard and I were finishing our 5 km jog in Derby.
We hastened back to base, and whilst Richard then enjoyed a leisurely day, I shot off to catch up with those who had set out an hour earlier. I was called back by Phil - one of his bellringing fraternity had arrived late and wanted a longish walk.
So bellringer Brian and I set off to cross a tempting bridge from which the next picture, looking back up to the hall, was taken.
We soon realised we'd gone the wrong way. However, our brisk pace brought us to a point near Beeston Tor Farm, where the big group of 27 were sitting around with their flasks open. The drink was most welcome. I'm usually full of coffee by now, after a parkrun!
A rather more sedate pace prevailed for the rest of the day - much to Brian's relief.
The cycle track beside the River Manifold, following the course of an old railway line, led us from Weag's Bridge (below) to the turn to Wetton and Thor's Cave.
There's an information board about Thor's Cave, from where the massive cave is seen high above.
I've written about this spot after previous visits. provides more information, or you could just put '' into the search box on the top left of this blog - always a good way to find things I might have written about.
There were lots of people, in addition to our 27, about today, so most of us didn't bother to go into the steep, slippery, muddy cave. Been there, done that!
There's a fine view down to the Manifold Valley from the cave entrance.
The Royal Oak in Wetton provided another most welcome rehydration opportunity, with the benches in the village centre offering a good spot to scoff some lunch - Thanks to Sue for the smoked salmon and cream cheese with cucumber buns.
From Wetton, the path down Hall Dale brought us to Dove Dale, the pinnacles of Pickering Tor, and the much photographed Ilam Rock, on which there were no climbers today.
Ilam Rock would have been a very greasy climb today.
Dove Dale has clearly recently seen the River Dove at high levels, but there's no evidence of serious flooding. The duck boards seem to have stayed above the river level.
There's a rocky knoll near Lover's Leap and the Twelve Apostles, on which our motley crew finished off any edible contents of their bags and flasks before resuming the easy walk amongst grockles back to the Hall for tea and (lots of) cake.
Anyone who had stayed mud free so far was to be disappointed as they trudged across a final field beyond Izaak Walton Hotel to Ilam.
Here's our route - 20 km with about 550 metres of ascent.
Later, about 110 guests enjoyed a lavish meal at Ilam Hall. Sue has lots more photos that she may broadcast separately.
As usual on such events, many people went home on Sunday morning, so there were just 15 or so of us on a ramble from the Hall.
The views towards Thorpe Cloud and Dove Dale were illuminated by sunshine today, but after overnight rain everywhere was rather muddy.
We went via Rushley then down a very muddy path to the River Hamps and the Manifold Way, lunching in a churned up field before heading up Soles Hollow.
After crossing a minor road, our path led down a most pleasant valley through Musden Wood to Rushley.
Pleasant, but muddy.
Then, by mid afternoon, we found ourselves back at the Hall, with just enough time to get to Morrisons in Buxton before its 4 pm closing time to purchase supplies for dinner.
Here's our convoluted route - just 17 km today, with 480 metres ascent. Thanks go to Robin for planning both day's routes.
So, a most enjoyable weekend, away from the relentless news of the spread of Coronavirus, which at the time of writing is starting to threaten many of this year's plans.
Google seems to have created a few hurdles in order for me to access my blog, so this is just a short entry to check that I've managed to get it working, and a 'mobile' posting will follow, by way of a test using my phone rather than this desktop computer.
Saturday morning saw me in a park in Derby with Richard, pictured above. My pre-run pictures don't quite portray the numbers of participants.
I never got to hear the pre run briefing as I was crammed in amongst the 663 participants. This was a popular event! By some dint of fortune, I was within the first couple of hundred starters, so I can't complain too much about the minor hold up at the start. Richard soon went past, and as I didn't want to keep him waiting at the finish for too long I managed to adopt one of my quicker jogging paces, albeit there was an annoying hill that slowed the older participants on both the laps around this pleasant park.
Richard came home in a creditable position 28, whilst at 84th, I was happy to be in the first hundred to cross the finishing line. 23.35 was my time, and the age related percentage of 75.69% put me in 5th place overall on that basis. All in all, a satisfactory pre-walk jog, after which we zoomed back to our weekend base to resume activities there.
The picture below shows people finishing, as Richard and I departed the scene. I wish I'd spotted what appears to be a table of cakes in the bottom right.
The full results are . Well done, and thank you, to all the marshals who facilitated the smooth running of this event.
John Percival's band, previously noted with a slightly different line up , were on great form - consolidating their position as the leading Dixie Jazz band in Bolton with solid performances from all the band members, who tonight were John Percival(Trumpet/vocalist), Richard Slater (Trombone), Michael
Grant (Reeds), Scot Johnson (Guitar/Banjo), Karen Johnson (Percussion), and
Steve Allen (Bass).
A very enjoyable evening, and a suitably excellent turnout to appreciate the band's efforts.
I'm currently vetting a route that takes in some of the Creag Meagaidh ridge, and the last route I vetted also took this in, bringing back memories of several outings in this area.
Wind features quite heavily in those memories. On one wintry visit, Liz's gloves blew away near the main summit, necessitating a break in my emergency shelter before we tackled the steep descent from The Window to Lochan a' Choire.
My report on 13 May 2009 offers memories of mackerel being blown out of its tin at lunchtime, and an image of me sprawled under my rucksack, being the calmest place to take a rest. All this whilst low level Challengers were basking in hot sunshine in the valleys.
Our day had started from the camp pictured above (NN 369 873), and had basically taken in the entire Creag Meagaidh ridge, on which Sue is pictured below. This picture doesn't really portray the battle we had against the cold easterly wind.
By the time we had traversed the ridge and descended to 430 metres, we were out of the gale and enjoying a sunlit campsite at around NN 510 909. It had been a magical day, with wonderful views, despite the annoying wind.
Just to prove that it doesn't rain every day, and Wythenshawe Park isn't totally under water or frost, here are a couple of Zoe's photos from this morning's jog around the park. This route is on tarmac, so all the wet weather does is create a few massive puddles (like yesterday's at Alexandra Park), so wet feet are the order of the day.
While Sue went bellringing, I jogged around the 5 km course with Michael, for the second week running just failing to outsprint him to the finishing line. 24.23 was quite an acceptable time, after a slowish start amongst the children and the puddles once we'd left the running track.
A lovely way to start the day. Thanks for the photos, Zoe.
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.
From the early days of digital photography, here are three images from our 2003 trip to Cornwall, when about 16 of us walked the section of the SWCP from Marazion to Helford Ferry.
Being hard at work at the time, I never got round to properly indexing the photos, which are labelled 'corn2' to 'corn32' and various other puzzling designations, so my identification of the locations and timings (not attributed to digital images at that time) are to some extent guesswork.
The top picture could be of Porthleven on 24 May 2003, and the rooks shown below can definitely be identified as being at Church Cove on 25 May. The bottom picture must have been taken in the vicinity of Kynance, with views towards Lizard Point.
I'll continue from time to time with these snippets from a long and enjoyable walk over a period of some years.
It's still raining in Timperley... and there are TGO Challenge routes to be vetted.