View from Oban Bothy

View from Oban Bothy

Tuesday, 18 February 2020

P2P recce with Judith, a UFO, and a wild camp.

The reason for this test is the continuing problem I have with posting using Open LiveWriter….

The Plan (there’s sometimes A Plan) was to once again recce the route from Hope to New Mills.

Judith had been pressed into proof-reading my written route description, checking that the words on the paper bore some resemblance to the actual route on the ground. 

It proved to be nearly okay…..apart from the odd intruction to head East rather than West. Oh well.

Judith and I met up in Manchester and then hopped onto a train to Hope, arriving around mid-day.

Our route headed north from Hope station

Thursday, 9 January 2020

For Conrad

A K4 phone box / post box.

(Image borrowed from Lymm Life.)

Christmas Eve Wild Camp, 24th Dec 2019

I managed to escape some of the madness that Christmas has become by a wild camp in the Peak District.

My usual camp spot, suggested to me some time ago by the very excellent Chrissie Dixie, proved to be impractical because of the high winds – so a lower and more sheltered spot was called for.

I wasn’t expecting the wind to be so, er, windy – in fact when I arrived in Edale there was just a gentle breeze, but as I climbed higher the wind got much stronger. After a quick squint at the map I dropped down and wandered up Grindsbrook Clough where I found a lovely flat spot, right next to a water source. Nice.

My tent was up and I was safely and cosily snuggled up in my Akto just as darkness fell. A cheating tea of bread & cheese and Heinz Tomato Cupasoup followed by mince pies & custard (well it WAS Christmas Eve!) sorted out my hunger pangs. 

The evening was spent reading (Laurie Lee’s ‘As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning’) and listening to the Radio 4 type wireless. All was well.

Although it was a breezy, wet night I slept through it all, not waking until 7.30am. After a quick breakfast of porridge and numerous mugs of coffee, I packed up and headed back to Edale and my car. 

I was surprised how many walkers and even runners I met on my walk back to my car. One runner passed me, having run DOWN from Kinder….he must have started early, wherever he came from.

I was back at the car by 10am, and home by 10.45am. Then it was Christmas Day with my family – great fun!

Tally-Ho! from the Tiger's Head, Norley. 4th Jan 2020

Tales from the Hares....

Hon Pres Park and I met up at the appointed hour and place (the car park of The Tigers Head), and after some faffing around with sawdust, shredded paper, and trail-bags we trotted off, leaving clumps of trail up School Lane and Maddocks Hill to cross over High Street by the Bowling Club.

It was a bit of a chilly morning. The sun was low in the sky but dazzlingly bright, the Winter Solstice had only recently passed. It was easy to miss faint tracks.

The route had been dreamt up by Wells, but contraints on his time (he’s retired) meant he hadn’t had the chance to recce the route on the ground, and family commitments meant he was unable to lay this trail. All the planning had been done on paper. I’d recced a section the day before, this had proved to be A Very Good Thing.

Where we SHOULD have gone
Running (!) south and downhill along the familiar lane we were soon following footpaths through cow fields populated with, er, cows.

Cow fields make for easy trail-laying trail….we knew exactly where to place the sawdust.

By Breach Moss Wood and crossing Small Brook we soon entered Delamere Forest proper where the going was good on the dry forestry tracks.

Now heading west, the sun was no longer doing it’s best to blind us, and we were able to trot along quite happily, dumping sawdust with gay abandon.
Paul had warned me of an almost hidden left turn off the track. It wasn’t marked on my 1:25k map but I’d downloaded the GPX file onto my Garmin Etrex30 – so we found it. The narrow footpath took down to the delightful Dead Lake, a lovely spot where we stopped to take photographs, discuss the state of British politics (woeful) and wonder how many runners would turn out to follow our beautifully laid sawdust trail.

 Dead Lake....dead lovely

We were so full of ourselves that we completely missed our turn-off to exit the forest. Oh well, I needed the exercise.

We eventually exited the forest onto Station Road, close to Delamere Railway Station….and far more importantly, the ice cream shop. We didn’t stop though. Instead we headed west into Delamere ‘park’ along a track that was really quite busy with walkers and cyclists.

We then ran south and uphill through Eddisbury Wood, then west, on good paths, ignoring the many tracks up to Pail Heights which was on the originally planned route. All the tracks were blocked off for forestry / logging so we just continued west to join the Sandstone Trail at Eddisbury Lodge. This was a blessing in disguise, taking in Pale Heights would have extended to route to nearer 10 miles.

Turning right to run north, we dodged walkers, dogs, and cyclists who were out enjoying the lovely weather. More than once we had to explain what we were doing – our explanations seemed to be well received. Or maybe the enquirers were just being polite.

The prescribed route veered off from the Sandstone Trail after a while, no doubt in an attempt to avoid the crowds. This would have been a fine plan, indeed all was going well until Hon Pres Park, running a yard or so ahead of me, suddenly lost 2ft of height – he’d stepped into a fetid, man eating swamp. 

A second later I suffered the same fate. It was clear that further progress along this path was going to be impossible – certainly without the aid of a boat. 

We re-traced our steps and re-joined the busy Sandstone Trail, crossing the wonderfully named Battleaxe Road to get to it.

Our route crossed over a minor road at Barnbridge Gate and we soon once again left the Sandstone Trail. Some muddiness followed.

The forestry tracks zig-zagged to Hatchmere, where we hoped to spot a big blue duck, featured on the OS map. 

No such duck was spotted, but the view over the mere was quite lovely….if you squinted into the still very bright sun.

A short trot down Delamere Road took us by an old Tally-ho! venue, The Carriers (Marstons).

Turning left (North) off the road we followed more tracks and paths to Norley Road, where after an only slightly circuitous route passing by Norley Hall and Home Farm (home of the very tired couple of stiles and the now legally diverted footpath to avoid them) we used the last of our sawdust to lay the final approach to the Tigers Head.

Potter, first man home…

…followed by fast Taylor

The tin bath was put to use, and, for only the second time in the history of the Club, I enjoyed clean water. Perhaps that’s one of the perks of being a trail-layer.

21 sat down to an excellent dinner of beef & mushroom pie and chips (lots) followed by crumble and custard…apart from Merciless who had a meal more suited to his preferences.

The beer was good, with a fine selection which seemed to keep everyone happy. The pub’s "Second Son Distillery" provided gin for those who preferred that sort of thing – it seemed to have been very well received.
Sadly, this was to be the last time we would visit the pub whilst under the management of the very excellent Tracie & John who are moving on to other things, although I gather they will continue their gin production, presumably at another site. 

The route varied in length from 8.23 miles to 8.9 miles – dependent on who’s GPS device was used, and how lost they got.

Thanks to Joe for his help and fine company, and (probably) to Wells who’s damned fool idea it was in the first place.

Where we actually went

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

Brian’s Memorial Run, 27th Dec 2019

Words by Wells, Pics by me.

Brian (2nd L) at the 2018 Turkey Trot

The Christmas pud was still very present in our digestion when we assembled to remember Brian by running around muddy fields from the Old No3.

I was still krook so volunteered to help the main man lay the trail. JJ also had a mate, Martin, along so we had plenty to carry the sawdust. 

It was an early start as the runners wanted to set off at 10ish, so we met and were off about 9.

The pub was located on the map and we set off along the road to find the path, only eventually to realise that that wasn’t the correcct pub and we had missed the path.
Scrubbing the trail out as we returned we set off down the path which was directly across from the pub.

We headed off across a muddy field and I thought that the hounds mayhave difficulty following trail until I realised that we had no real idea where we were headed. We circled about until we located the exit from the field and hoped the trail would be good enough. 

Straight across another field to the boundary and the left, following the fence. We were headed towards the motorway as the furthest south.

The day was overcast but not unpleasant after the excess of rain that had plagued the previous days. However that had left an ankle deep layer of mud over all but the firmest surfaces and made to going pretty tough. 

JJ and Martin were worried about being caught so trotted off, leaving me to follow as best I could. They hadn’t made much ground by the time we reached Reddy Lane as it emerged from the motorway bridge. Back on good going we headed back towards the canal before leaving the road right opposite Arthill Farm.

They raced off again and I followed filling in as I felt. Passing by a copse we crossed a field to enter as another. At least they did. By the time I got there 4 horses had galloped down and occupied the space between the entry and exit.

I had to detour into an adjacent field but was unable to get to the correct exit, but ducked through a fence and eventually regained the trail. Out onto Spode Green Lane and down to the A56. I kept the others in sight just about, but they disappeared as we crossed the road and took to the fields again at New Farm. 

They took an unusual route through the first field, ignoring the footpath to take the open gate instead. I caught sight of them as we headed down towards the Swan with Two Nicks, just ahead across the fields.

Exiting the fields onto Park View we turned right and crossed the Bollin before heading straight on into Dunham Massey Park. We ran in front of the old hall almost to the far side, but then turned right to run parallel to Charcoal Road to exit the park at the top end. 

A nip across the road and we entered the woods on the edge of the Dunham Forest Golf and Country Club. There we exhortations the stick to the right of way but these were not indicated so it wasn’t easy. JJ and Martin were somehow just ahead now, so as we did a lazy u-turn to exit the course and drop onto Oldfield Lane I caught them up.

Straight across the road we headed towards Dunham Town, turning right down School Lane past the Axe and Cleaver and joining the canal over the bridge. The Bridgewater was an unpleasant brown colour and we passed a good number of bemused walkers before we left the canal at Woodhouse Lane. We reloaded the trail bags here, and Martin set off putting trail down every few meters as we headed to Dunham Woodhouses. 

At the sharp right corner we left the road on the left and headed past Woolstencroft Farm to Agden Bridge Farm. It was very muddy across here and I was keeping up with the joggers ok. 

We rejoined the canal and headed back towards Dunham Massey but had to cross the canal. So went past the pub to use the tunnel at Little Bollington before returning to the pub along the other canal bank.

I recorded 9.5 miles but the runners made it about 8.5.

Greater Ruddock’s better half, Pauline was first on the scene, followed by Geof Walley with Aussie Daughter and Grandson. Slowly the others arrived and some partook of the small bath JJ had provided in the gents.

Shotgun was accompanied by Riley, Murray and Biker Eastwood walked with Doggie Burston and arrived back with Pres Park. 

Riley was joined by his better half and we all enjoyed a meal and a beer or two.

Not many photos I’m afraid:

A rather miserable looking River Bollin

Martin & Paul heading back to the pub

For Alan R

Where the Hares went:

Thanks to Paul for his report, and to Martin for his help in laying trail.
Martin’s report, which includes rather more photographs, is here.

Friday, 8 November 2019

Fireworks Avoidance, Bonfire Night 2019

…or Five go Adventuring Again

Lucky The Dog really doesn’t like fireworks, not one little bit. It didn’t take a huge amount of badgering to get his Dad to take him off on a wild camping trip dahn sarf for a couple of nights, and so it came to be.

Lucky & Dad arrived on Monday 3rd November in order to pre-empt any possible pre-emptive firework-whizz-flash-bang displays around the green and pleasant land of Crookshire.

It didn’t take long for the peaceful trip that Lucky’s Dad (henceforth known as Mike) had planned to be gatecrashed by Judith, Beryl the Peril (aka Margaret) and meself.

Judith, Margaret and I had agreed to rendezvous on the Tuesday. On arrival, Judith was found trying to locate a benchmark on the side of a building. It’s what she does.

We headed off after an hour or so, having demolished our packed lunches, and then walked for miles and miles over hill & dale and through raging rivers to seek out the appointed very very nice and flat camp-spot.

Although it certainly wasn’t anywhere near dark, the light was just beginning to fail and I couldn’t make out Mike’s dark green Akto, it blended very well into the background of cow-poo laden grass. 

Fortunately Mike had spotted us and he flashed his torch (well I think it was his torch) which really stood out well in the low light of the winter afternoon. Tents were soon erected and after sharing our tales of daring-do it was almost time for tea….but not before copious amounts of, er, tea.

Then it got rather cool, really very quite chilly-cool. A bit too cold to socialise outside our tents. 

Inter-tent communication is always a bit difficult – made even more difficult by the hiss of a gas stove. I spent the evening eating, reading, listening to the BBC R4-type-wireless, dozing, eating some more…oh and drinking tea. Camomile tea seeing as you ask – doesn’t need milk y’see.

I didn’t sleep too well, I was plenty warm enough but just couldn’t get comfortable, in spite of being pitched on flat ground.

The night was clear and the moon shone brightly, even so, loads of stars were visible. I should have taken a photograph or two but it was too damned cold for me to want to escape the warmth of my tent.

Next morning, the grass was white with frost – even as late as 10am.
The morning wasn’t wasted, we spent a good 10 minutes studiously studying maps in a successful attempt at planning a route for TGOC2020. After all this inventive route planning a blur of frenzied activity followed - and an early 11am departure – Denis would be proud.

We retraced our steps, and after hours of battling the sleet, snow, sun, rain, and cold wind we arrived back at our cars.

Judith found her Benchmark, I found an Eccles cake in the boot of my car, Mike & Lucky went off to find a hill, and then we all went home.

A nice little trip, thanks to Mike for arranging and making it happen. We should do it again.

More photographs here.

Oh, and here’s a map of a bit of Wales:

Thursday, 7 November 2019

A Day Out in Lancashire, 2nd Nov 2019

It was a typical Lancashire autumn day as we gathered at the Royal Arms for our annual visit. Dull, grey and raining but not particularly cold. 

The hostelry had recently changed hands but there was little change evident with both fires blazing and the rooms dotted with dogs. We dragged ourselves reluctantly out to see what Ridings and JJ had produced for us.

They herded us across the road and down through the woods to the Upper Roddlesworth Reservoir and then headed along to the Lower Roddlesworth Reservoir. 

A brief trot through Roddlesworth Woods and then it was Rake Brook reservoir. This was the last of the water we saw in organised areas, from here on it was liberally spread over the paths we were trying to run on.

The drizzle was continuous as we approached the Hare and Hounds at Abbey Village. We were too wet and muddy to pop in for a quick one so carried on over the road and out onto the open moor. We circled an old quarry then headed southish through ankle deep paths. 

The going was pretty good and while the trail was a little sparse it kept us on our toes and all found their way round. We skirted the high moors here and eventually found our way to the road near Watson’s Farm.
There was a tricky right then left which a few briefly missed. The turn off the road was vague and then headed down what appeared to be a small stream to meet the River Roddlesworth and the main track.

While the trail had not been exactly flat so far, this was the start of the major climb. The path rose steadily through Tockholes No 3 Plantation and past Hollinshead Hall to reach the road at Thorny Bank Plantation.
We crossed the road then ran parallel to it until turning left to climb up onto the moors.  

Through the col between Cartridge Hill and White Hill then picking up the main track across Darwen Moor before veering left and heading for the Tower. A brief look at the view then continue along the ridge to drop down through the fields and back to Ryal Folds where the drizzle finally abated so that we could get changed in the car park.

A large group of runners had set out, Wells, Biker Eastwood, Skint Wilson, Lesser Ruddock, Leech and Potter. They had become separated during the run and finished one by one. Fast Taylor set of early due to lack of training and Greater Ruddock a little after him. 

First off were DingDong Bell and Old Markham who wisely chose to forgo the entire route and met us at the car park. Brown strode manfully taking photos of the participants and a shortcut to get back in good time. Murray and Riley set off a little later, and then Shotgun and McHarry. The latter
managed to overtake everyone on their way round.

Lastly Time Norman and his brother Chris set out. They were a little late and took their time, only arriving back late but safe.

We assembled in the room of the pub and sampled their excellent beer, revelling in the warmth and lack of rain. 

The meal was served promptly when we asked, and while the portions initially disappointed they proved to be adequate and very tasty. Lamb hotpot but much better than our usual fare. This was followed by an excellent apple crumble and all
DingDong Bell asked for was a tenner.

An excellent trail, meal and venue!

You can’t not like this video by Evie Hargreaves (you may have to download Vimeo to view)

Words (mostly) by Wells, other words and all pics by me. Apart from the video by Evie Hargreaves….thanks to my mate Cheryl for this.

Note that some of these photos were taken on a recce – when the sun was shining.

P2P recce with Judith, a UFO, and a wild camp.

The reason for this test is the continuing problem I have with posting using Open LiveWriter…. The Plan (there’s sometimes A Plan) was to...