View from Oban Bothy

View from Oban Bothy

Sunday, 15 October 2017

18 miles Roundabout Ringheye

An East Lancashire LDWA production…

Ringheye – the old name for Ringway, the site of Manchester Airport

Ringway old map2

.I collected fellow East Lancashire LDWA member and fellow ceilidh band musician Rick, AKA Long Suffering Rick, at 8.30am and we trundled off to meet fellow members of the LDWA in darkest, deepest Hale.

This was my turn to lead a walk for the East Lancs LDWA. I’ve done very little with the LDWA over the last couple of years and the Roundabout Ringheye walk was my mea-culpa.


Eleven LDWA members gathered at the appointed time to endure my idea of fun….well, one of them. My absence from the LDWA scene was made very apparent (to me) – I only recognised 5 of the walkers. I need to get out more.

The weather forecast wasn’t brilliant: gloom followed by deeper gloom. At the least the gloom was forecast to be dry.

How wrong the forecasters were, we enjoyed warm sunshine virtually all day – I was more than glad I’d decided on wearing shorts.

The route was based on the ‘Jump in the Lake’ walk from a few years back – although there were some significant differences.

The walk coincided with the Manchester Half Marathon, held just a few miles north. Rather than setting off at bang on 9am we waited 5 minutes for any latecomers who may have been delayed by the road closures.

So, at 9.05am we wandered off, westwards, crossing the River Bollin (that river keeps cropping up on this blog) and then following the very well-surfaced farm track to Ryecroft Farm, adjacent to the M56.


By Ryecroft Farm: Preparations for ToughMudder continue


Here they come

It was here that we turned South-West, crossing the M56 and following a mix of tarmac and footpaths to the very pretty village of Rostherne.


There they go…heading towards Rostherne

At Rostherne we followed a concessionary path (not marked on the OS map) that took us close by Rostherne Mere. This was as close as it’s possible to get to the mere, it’s situated in a nature reserve with very restricted access.


Rostherne Mere (photo taken on a recce)


Autumn colours in Rostherne


St Mary’s Church, Rostherne – much photographed by me

From Rostherne we headed directly to the Home Farm entrance of Tatton Park by way of the dead-straight church path.

This was a leisurely 18 miler so we stopped for a good 20 – 25 minutes at Tatton Hall….where they serve rather nice coffee and cake. Rather nicely expensive too.


Rostherne’s church has strong links with the Parachute Regiment. Tatton Park was used extensively in WW2 for parachute training, the nearby RAF Ringway, now Manchester Airport, was home to No1 Parachute Training School. It only seemed right to include a visit to the training school’s monument, close to the landing zone in the park.


Long Suffering Rick and I had been at Tatton Hall on the previous Friday evening, playing a ceilidh. We’d noticed signs warning of the rutting – deer might not take kindly to us marching past their love nests. Care was to be taken.

As it happened the deer were generally away from our route so there wasn’t a problem. Even for Alma.

Leaving the monument, we walked south, keeping to the western shore of Tatton Mere to exit the park at Knutsford.


No apostrophe problem – but the spelling ain’t quite right.

A gentle wander through Knutsford, home to General Patton’s HQ in WW2, is always a pleasant experience.


Perhaps Joe Holt’s poshest pub

Our lunch stop was in Knutsford’s park. Conveniently vacant benches overlooked the lake – filled with Canada Geese and other birdies.



Rick has been suffering from a poorly foot so he’d chosen this point to bale out. A train would whisk him back from Knutsford to Timperley in double-quick time. Rick went one way and we went t’other, north-east towards Mobberley.

This next section was made up of a mix of tarmac and soggy fields.


Splodging through muddy fields


North towards the airport’s Runway 2 in hot sunshine


Double Decker to Dubai

The Plan was to follow quiet lanes to the east of the airport rather than following the unofficial and clarty, slutchy footpath that runs (?) alongside Runway 2. A last-minute change of plan was made after a lengthy (about 20 seconds) discussion with Frank – we would follow the runway mudbath. This shortened the route slightly but had the advantages of a) testing the grippiness and waterproof qualities of our footwear, b) allowing us very good views of aircraft taking off.

Leaving the side of the runway we joined the Bollin Valley Way as it took us UNDER the runway and west-ish on the final leg of the walk.P1070449

The River Bollin culvert under Runway 2

For those that complain that this area is flat – here’s proof that it just ain’t so:


60m A.S.L.

The last couple of miles were very gentle indeed (they probably needed to be after visiting that trig-point), a pleasant riverside walk back into Hale and our cars.

The survivors were encouraged to pose before we finished:


I count two smiles…not sure about the others

We were done, dusted and finished by 4pm = a 7 hour bimble. We took 3 very leisurely breaks – this was a gentle 18 miler, not an eyeballs-out race. It was good.

Thanks to everyone who turned up, I hope you enjoyed it – I certainly did. I almost enjoyed Michael’s jokes….well maybe not.

 Winking smile

Where we went (anticlockwise):

Roundabout Ringheye Route 18 miles

18 miles with 960’ of ascent + lots of sunshine and laughs.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Friday 13th in Cheshire

What could possibly go wrong?

One of Sue & Martin’s walks. We met at Lindow Common (famous for Lindow Man) and wandered along bits of the Bollin Valley Way, over to Styal Woods and then to Quarry Bank Mill (NT) for a fast coffee before returning to Lindow Common.

I was in good company: we were five TGO Challengers: Sue & Martin, John B and Graham B….plus me of course.


Sue leads (!!) Graham through more slutch and clartyness

The weather promised to be a bit variable, and so it was: grey, wet, very wet and really very wet.

In between chatting with my fellow walkers, my thoughts drifted to what I should make for my tea, the possibility of fresh Rat-au-Van presented itself but was quickly discarded:




Martin, our glorious leader, leading from the rear


River Bollin in Styal Woods



Photos of the same bit of oak tree taken with my Lumix TZ70. The photo on the left was taken with maximum optical zoom, the photo on the right was taken with maximum optical zoom + (maybe) maximum electronic zoom.


Sue, being the ever-vigilant sort that she is, spotted this fungi


We’re Challengers after all….



Time was getting on, Sue & Martin had a lunch appointment in nearby Hale so the last mile or so of the route was coverered smartishly.

Where we went (clockwise):


7.5 miles with 700’ of up and downery…according to Viewranger.

A nice little walk in very agreeable company – just what was needed on a soggy Friday morning, thanks to Martin & Sue for inviting me along. And for the cake. And for the coffee.

You can read what REALLY went on here.


Thursday, 12 October 2017

A bit of running and a bit of walking

Monday 9th October: 4.6 miles, running

My usual morning route from home, on tarmac so not brilliant. No pictures,

Tuesday10th October: Zero miles

Decidedly off-colour (post wedding migraine) so most of the day was spent in / on my bed.

Wednesday 11th October:3.1 miles, running

I just needed to get out to get my bits moving. It was on tarmac – but at least I got out. This is a cut-down version of my 4.6 miles route.

Thursday:12th October: 18 miles, walking

Another recce of the East Lancs LDWA walk that I promised to lead on 15th October. This was pretty-well a repeat of the recent recce I did in the company of the very excellent Andy & Lynn – although this time the start / finish was in Hale, not Knutsford. This walk was in the company of John B – backpacker, walker, runner and all-round good egg.

I met John in Hale and we trotted off in a sort of westerly direction, initially on tarmac but soon on farm tracks and paths.


ToughMudder foundations


Mobberley Brook, north of Birkin House

It was a warm and sunny day. There were butterflies in abundance, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many – certainly not in mid-October: 

P1040105_thumb P1040118_thumb


Entering Tatton Park at the Home Farm entrance a couple of very nice classic cars had emerged from storage:



‘Victorian Steam’ is a bit of a misnomer, this is a diesel engine-powered generator – manufactured by L. Gardner & Sons in Patricroft, Eccles – where my Dad worked.



A well-kept Pashley


For Alan R


Rutting in Tatton


Model aircraft in Tatton Park

We left Tatton Park by the southern gate and wandered through Knutsford…one of Cheshire’s posher towns. We went in search of a pie shop to feed John’s pie habit, other than Aldi there was nothing to be found.


The former Knutsford Library

Out of Knutsford via a clarty, slutchy path, we had to suffer a mile or so of tarmac before returning to, er, clarty, slutchy paths. The fields weren’t actually water-logged, well not totally water-logged. I was pleased to be wearing boots, John wore Inov8s which he was quite soggily happy with.

Good, dry paths guided us around the airport where we enjoyed our own airshow – it was a busy day for departures and arrivals.


The enormous Emirates A380, en-route to Dubai

From the airport we followed the River Bollin back to Hale.

We got back to our cars at about 4.30pm having had a very enjoyable and laid back walk. Thanks to John B for his good company.

18 miles and 960’ of anti-clockwiseness. We started off at the top bit:

Roundabout Ringheye Route 18 miles

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...