View from Oban Bothy

View from Oban Bothy

Monday, 4 February 2013

Sunday 3rd February, Stockport to Manchester

Don’t let the title put you off, this is an interesting little walk – although there isn’t a curry at the end of it. There will be next time.

I needed to escape JJ Towers, two weeks of walking inactivity wasn’t doing me any good at all. That’s not to say I haven’t been busy, I’ve been running round like a blue-arsed fly recently, I just haven’t had any ‘me’ time.

A Plan needed to be put together. A frazzled brain meant that The Plan would have to be a simple one, needing very little brain power. No problem there then…I’m blessed with VERY little brain power.

Company on the walk was obtained relatively easily: Alistair rarely needs an reason to get out and it was good that he could come along. Oh, and there’s me of course. I’m still here – despite what you may think….and I need to train to get ready for a training trip that’s coming up.

I took the train from Navigation road station in order to catch the 09:57 to Stockport. It delivered me to, er, Stockport 15 minutes later. Alistair, who lives a few minutes from Stockport Station rolled up a few minutes later – and off we went.

Our route took us north out of the town, initially along the Trans Pennine Trail. The morning was a bit grim – not actually raining, but cold, dark and drizzly-damp. Fortunately we were all clad in boots. The path was very muddy in parts although as with many paths, the bits close to populated areas tended to be well surfaced.

P1010257This section of the TPT, in common with a lot of the route, follows disused railway tracks.
P1010260Rather attractive marker posts guided us to Reddish Vale
The last time I was walking here was in 2005 when I used an extended version of the route as a training walk for the Nijmegen Four Days Marches. Things have changed a little since then. This is the reason we got lost missed our turning around Reddish Vale. And there were too many railway lines. Oh, and we were probably yacking too much to be keeping an eye on the map. This little mishap meant we used more tarmac than planned, but that wasn’t the end of the world.
P1010262Reddish Vale and the slow line to Sheffield….the cause of some confusion. 

Lunch was taken in Debdale Park but the cold wind ensured we didn’t hang around. Then there was another navigational mishap, this one caused by the planting of a new housing estate on top of a footpath. No big deal though, we were soon back on our planned route.

P1010263 The local council’s careful use of limited finances is to be applauded.

Soon we’re on the Ashton Canal towpath, walking west (?!) on a route that coincided with the Cheshire Ring Canal Walk. This canal is just part of a very extensive network of canals that grew out of, and grew with, the industrial revolution. The sad shells of factories are all about.

Much of the housing around here consists of small terraced properties. Thankfully the slum-housing of East Manchester is long gone, but it’s easy to imagine what the area must have been like in years gone by. More modern properties are cropping up where these industrial slums once stood.

P1010265Then came the Fairfield Moravian Settlement – an oasis of peace and tranquillity. It has to be visited to be believed. You should go, it’s quite a shock to come across this place – set as it is, in a not particularly wealthy area of East Manchester. Check out the link, here are some photos:
Back on the canal, still walking west, and more industrial archaeology:
P1010275P1010282 The disused factory of Eva Brothers, Forgemasters and Engineers.
P1010283 Manchester city centre in the distance
The condition of the canal towpath and it’s environs improved as we got closer to Manchester. I suspect this improvement is a legacy of the Commonwealth Games – it had to look good for the visitors! Lack of finance (and interest?) has meant that the area hasn’t been maintained as well as it might have been.
The Games were of definite benefit to the area though:
P1010292Manchester Velodrome 
P1010293 City of Manchester Stadium, now home to Manchester City Football Club
P1010296 Getting closer to the centre now, old mills and new builds

P1010304Who ever said that Manchester wasn’t at the cutting edge of entertainment technology clearly hasn’t visited the city for a long time:
On final approach to Piccadilly Station where Alistair left us to catch his train home
P1010308There’s a lot of investment going on in Manchester, even in these financially strained times. It would be a terrible shame if this old advertisement was to vanish, just in the name of ‘progress’. H.A.Howard & Sons Ltd was incorporated in Manchester in the 1940s but the firm no longer exists.
Chrissy Brand’s very excellent Mancunian Wave featured this advertisement in November 2011. 

We trundled on, into the city centre, to catch the Metrolink tram home – just in time for afternoon tea. A splendid day out and just what the doctor ordered.

This is where we went. Sort of….

Stockport to Manchester route Around 12.5 miles with not a lot of up and/or downery. Good though.


  1. Well done, JJ. Good to see you getting out!

  2. I do enjoy these semi- industrial rambles. You ought to write a Cicerone guide to Manchester and its environs ;-)

    And that is joking only very, very slightly. Most Cicerone guides are for ghastly barren unpopulated places with no pubs.

  3. I once read an article in a motorcycle magazine (Bike, I think) extolling the virtues of the English village, but pointing out that "a village without a pub is just a farm".

    We seem to be getting more farms.

    You got Mr Cicerone's telephone number?



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...