View from Oban Bothy

View from Oban Bothy
Showing posts with label Awaydays. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Awaydays. Show all posts

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

1st & 2nd March 2015, Frodsham Frolics

A(nother) John Bullen Production

John doesn’t do a great deal with the LDWA these days, although he’s certainly paid his dues by the selfless service he’s given to the East Lancashire group in his time as Walks Secretary. In recent years he’s organised hugely successful walking weekends based at Forest Hills, just above Frodsham. This year’s trip to Frodsham was on a much smaller scale but it was to prove just as successful as previous trips.

Sunday 1st March

P1030831 Weaver Navigation at Frodsham 

John likes a coffee before a walk, so he’d arranged to meet his loyal followers at a sort of roadside outdoorsy cafe kind of thing. At 9.30, his thirst for caffeine sated, John led us down to the banks of the River Weaver and the start of the day’s walk.

P1030832 Eastwards(ish) on the banks of the Weaver

Half the party were LDWA members, the other half were John’s friends and neighbours, it was a cheerful and rather noisy party that disturbed the peace and quiet of this Sunday morning. Judith, suitably recovered from her recent Curry Walk, joined the party for the day. As a member of the LDWA and a TGO Challenger she certainly had the right credentials for the walk.

P1030834Our glorious leader….and Jan

   P1030835The LDWA part of the group leading the way

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Bridge on the Weaver’s north bank linking the island to the ‘mainland’ by Dutton Locks

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Dutton Locks – and our lunch stop

image Waiting for the AA?

Although I’ve walked and run in this area before I was really surprised to find that Dutton Locks bridges the Weaver to an island in the river. I’m guessing that the rather acute bend in the river needed to be straightened out when the waterway was made navigable. The sluice to the eastern side of the island provides more evidence that this may well have been the case.

image  The island in the Weaver, by Dutton Locks

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Acton Bridge

We left the Weaver Navigation at Acton Bridge to continue the flatness on the towpath of the Trent and Mersey Canal and the return leg of the walk. This part of the canal coincides with the Cheshire Ring Canal Walk route, a 98 mile canal towpath walk. That’s a rounte that still on my ‘to do’ list, although I intend bikepacking it at leisure with my mate Jon….although I don’t think I may have told him about his plans yet….

Back to the walk: at one point The Plan didn’t look to be going as planned…

image …but we didn’t let a little detail like that stop us.

As it happened, the Towpath Closed sign was a bit out of date and we were able to continue unhindered. The sign probably dated back to the repairs carried out after the canal burst it’s banks in 2012 causing mega problems to boat owners who had their boats on the wrong side of the breach…..like my mate John who had bought a boat the week before the breach. The boat, of course, was on the ‘wrong’ side of the breach.

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The brilliantly blue sky of the morning had now vanished and had been replaced by low, grey cloud. Leaving the muddy towpath just beyond where the breach had occurred, we were back on tarmac for a short while. By now the rain was raining and shelter was needed for Lunch No2. The church porch at Aston served nicely:

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Next up we were back on the banks of the Weaver Navigation and before we knew it had arrived back at the cars. Judith legged it back home whilst the rest of the team headed up to Forest Hills for some R&R and a lovely meal.

Where we went (widdershins):

Route Day1

12.3 miles (19.8km) and fairly flat

 

Monday 2nd March

After a ginormous breakfast we were all on parade at 9.30am. Rick arrived in good time to join us for the day’s adventures. The paparazzi were called in before kick-off:

P1030859 Posing by the war memorial, the Mersey estuary and Liverpool in the background

P1030862 Worrabunch of posers, this time at the start / finish of The Sandstone Trail, which we didn’t follow, well not yet.

After a not very quick food-shop in Frodsham, we set off along the banks of the Weaver Navigation, re-tracing the previous day’s route – for the first couple of miles anyway. Leaving the waterside path, we followed tracks and tarmac into Kingsley. 

 

P1030865The day was good but it was cool and breezy first thing 

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P1030870Jan, in subdued mode

P1030871 John B, the man with the map, with Diane & Jan

Somewhere along the way the route was shortened by a couple of miles from around 14 miles to around 15 miles. Don’t ask me, I didn’t plan the walk.

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The tracks through Delamere Forest are dead easy to follow. At weekends they’re heaving – but today there were very few out and about. The first, or maybe it was the second, lunch of the day was taken in the forest. After the large breakfast I didn’t need much at all.

We were now walking on the very well way-marked Sandstone Trail:

P1030874 John B, a man full of surprises, had arranged for a tea (& scone) stop somewhere out of the forest. it may have been near Alvanley Cliff but I can’t be sure.

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The 15th Century Austerson Old Hall. And a horse.

In the 12 years from 1974 to 1986 this building was dismantled and re-located from Coole Pilate near Nantwich, 27 miles away.

On the final approach to Forest Hills we had wonderful views over the Mersey Estuary from the sandstone edges – but I didn’t have the presence of mind to get the camera out. Silly bugger.

The gentle route had a real sting in the tail: the Bakers Dozen steps – it’s only 13 steps, but they’re quite steep - you really don’t need that at the end of the day:

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P1030882 Scary Mary Aunty Mary Mary climbing the Bakers Dozen steps

 

Where we went (clockwise):

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Around 15 miles with some up and down, but not much.

Rick and I headed off home after the walk, the rest of the group stayed behind to enjoy another night at Forest Hills. As we live less than half-an-hour away it seemed a bit daft to stop the night – although I’m sure it was a fun evening.

Thanks to John for putting the trip together, and to the whole group for making it so enjoyable.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

20th – 24th January, Cumbrian Patatas Fritas

Dawn, along with Lucky and Mike, had a few days of static camping planned in t’Lakes and they kindly invited me along. I agreed to come only on the understanding that there would be chips. It was a bit cold so I took my Optimus Nova liquid fuel stove – it was the only way to get the chip pan up to temperature y’see.

I rolled up with my caravan in tow. Dawn, Lucky & Mike, being well ‘ard, were under canvas.

We spent a nice couple of days wandering around some of the snow-covered lumpy bits, nothing high but all rather nice.

Wednesday, A wander around the left-hand side of Borrowdale:

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image    Chips for tea

Thursday, so it must be wandering around Latrigg:

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imageLucky, Mike and Dawn at lunch

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View over Derwentwater

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No comment

On Friday I went home, leaving Lucky, Mike, Dawn & Mike’s brother John to endure the wet.

It was a lovely couple of days in excellent company, you can read what really went on by reading Dawn’s and Lucky’s Mike’s accounts which say it all.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

28th – 30th November, Snowdonia Magic

Between Capel Curig and Betws-y-Coed, just off the A5, Bryn Brethynau Climbing Hut was our (a group of Outdoors Magic folk) home for the weekend. Little Miss Maria was the organisator – she’s good at that sort of thing.

From the Friday afternoon the place started to fill up – I gave Jim from Chapel-en-le-Frith a lift, he proved good company.

The hut was quite basic but could have done with a good clean before we moved in, the previous group staying there clearly weren’t too bothered how they left the place. The good news, for the hut owners, is that when an Outdoors Magic party use a place they always leave it in very clean condition.  Whatever, it was warm, dry and it had a hot shower – good enough for us rufty-tufty outdoorsy types.

image The advance party: Jim, LMM, Cathy, Carrick and Ed

That evening some went off to the boozer down the road for a meal and some beer. Others, me included, stayed at the hut and ate there.

The Glyders

Next morning a very select group of six set off to wander over the Glyders.

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Two cars were used, one parked at the start of the walk at the eastern end of Llyn Ogwen, t’other car was left at the Visitors Centre by Idwal Cottage, at the western end of the lake. Weather conditions were perfect, cool, clear and generally dry underfoot. Views improved as we climbed:

imageTryfan

The hills were very busy, a group of Royal Marine Commandos were out on a jaunt:

imageThe power of camouflage

imageimageTaz, with Tryfan in the background

There were grins all around, what a superb day to spend in the hills. The views were just so good that were moving relatively slowly – we just kept stopping to gawp and take photos.

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Cathy, Chewie, Yavanna and Pete

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Lunch with a view

Glyder Fach presented itself as a good lunch spot: tremendous views and nice dry rocks to sit on. Whilst munching our butties we heard the ‘waffa-waffa’ of a helicopter, a Sea King was lurking around the top of Tryfan. The helicopter flew off after a short time, only to re-appear around 10 minutes later. It was circling the tops – the winch-man (winch-person?) was giving Cathy a cheery wave.

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Cathy, dead chuffed that the pillion passenger of the Sea King gave her a wave …....nobody else got a wave!

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The craggy, rocky outcrops really have to be seen to be believed. My limited photography skills can’t show the area off properly, but I’ll try:

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I’ve done very little walking in Snowdonia. It’s an area that I need to spend more time in, the scenery is really spectacular and it’s not too far from Manchester. I feel a backpacking trip coming on, a few days around here will really hit the spot.

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Anyroadup, after the excitement of the waving helicopter pillion passenger and the scoffing of butties, we trotted off westwards-ish along the ridgy-thing to Glyder Fawr and more spectacular rocky terrain. Our route off Glyder Fawr was by the side of the Devils Kitchen, a dramatic gash in the mountainside:

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Looking t’other way:

image Llyn Idwal with the Carnedds behind

A sometimes slippy descent in failing light slowed us down only a little and we were soon down at the car park by Idwal Cottage.

Back at the climbing hut we were surprised and more than a bit shocked to find that the helicopter we’d seen earlier in the day was on a call out. The group led by Maria had decided to go up Tryfan. Geoff (aka Major Cynic) took a tumble as he lost his grip on a bit of a scramble. A 75ft drop, punctuated by various ledges, rocks and other lumpy things had broken his fall – fortunately nothing else was broken, other than pride perhaps. Ogwen Valley MRT were out on exercise in the area and were very soon on the scene. Read all about it.

Geoff was whisked off to Bangor Hospital for his bits and pieces to be checked, X-rayed, massaged etc – all proved to be fine, if a little battered and bruised. He was kept in overnight for observation and was turfed out the following morning, stiff, sore, hungry and thirsty.

Sunday morning: Cnicht….not

image Not Cnicht….but Moel Siabod from the hut on Sunday morning

By the time we’d collected Geoff from the hospital and returned him to the hut it was getting late – thoughts of a longer walk had been ruled out. Cathy had a plan: drive a few miles down the road and wander up Cnicht – a hill that has the distinction of being a HuMP, Hewitt and a Minto Nuttall.

An expedition party of three: Cathy, Jim and me, set off from Blaen Nanmor, a very minor road to the north-west of Cnicht. Following a not very clear footpath up to a group of lakelet / tarny type ponds at around the 600m contour we headed south-ish, in the general direction of Cnicht. The ground was generally good although there were some tremendously sloppy, boggy bits. My brand new, no expense spared £3.99 Aldi short gaiters did a good job of keeping the crud off the bottom of my trousers,

image Llyn yr Adar

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Jim and Cathy

image Llyn Llagi

A mixture of failing light, yakking too much and not looking at the map properly meant that we were too late to do the ridge over Cnicht.

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it was dark by the time we got back to the cars. Still, we had a nice little walklet:

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5 miles and 1800’ of upness. And some boggy bits.

Apart from Geoff’s little mishap on (off?) Tryfan on the Saturday afternoon, it was a hugely successful weekend. Unfortunately not everyone was able to attend, some dropped out at the last minute, but hey-ho, that’s the way it goes sometimes. Thanks to Little Miss Maria for her efforts in making the weekend happen, and to everyone else for the entertainment  and making the weekend such a success - ‘twas great fun!