View from Oban Bothy

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

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Hashing around Hale, Tuesday 21st February 2017

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The Cheshire Hash House Harriers (A drinking club with a running problem) always run on Tuesday evenings at 7.45pm. Except sometimes, Their website is a mine of information and is worth checking out. I’ve run with other hashes (they can be found all over the world) buth the Cheshire Hash are, in my humble opinion, the finest.

I used to run with CH3 fairly regularly – until my Tuesday evenings got so busy that something had to go….and that was the Hash. Things have quietened off of late and now that my Tuesdays are less busy it was time to get down to some evening running.

Around 15 runners and one doggy gathered in Hale, a fairly upmarket (posh) suburb of Manchester. After a quick speech from Andy, the trail-layer, the throng set off, much to the amusement of Hale’s gentlefolk.

The first mile or so was inevitably on tarmac, even so, every opportunity to run on footpaths was exploited to the full. Eventually we hit the path on the banks of the River Bollin. I’ve used this path in the past and I know that it gets horribly muddily slippy after not a lot of rain. We’d had not a lot of rain and therefore the path was very muddy in parts – I’m surprised that everyone managed to stay upright.

The trail led us alongside, and sometime across, parts of Hale Golf Course. We were on a public footpath but the golf club members would have had a fit if they’d spotted us charging across there precious fairway.

Slipping and sliding our wobbly way, we passed under the M56 and hit even squelchier ground. My nice clean trail running shoes were no longer nice and clean. We were still running alongside the River Bollin.

Skirting the edge of Sunbank Wood, we gradually turned to head back towards Hale, leaving the River Bollin. More bits of tarmac took us over the M56 and then over another section of Hale Golf course, narrowly avoiding The Priory, the private hospital for those with lots of money. Or private medical cover. Whatever, charging back over the golf course would have upset the gold club members, big time. Oh well.

It was nearly all tarmac back to base now. There was the odd treacherously muddy path but nothing too challenging. Not for the Cheshire Hash anyway.

It was a good run, just what I needed – lots of fun and in very good company. There were some new faces, inevitable considering how long it’s been since my last Hash, but there were lots of old faces too Smile

No photographs I’m afraid, I just didn’t have the time. No beer either – I had to charge off as soon as we’d completed the run. This Tuesday evening ended up getting busy again!

Where we went (anticlockwise):

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6.45 miles with not a lot of up – maybe 350ft.

Thanks to Andy for planning and setting a really excellent trail, and the CH3 membership for making me feel very welcome….like I’d not even been away!

Monday, 20 February 2017

Trotting around Saddleworth, Saturday 18th Feb 2017

18 runners (well some of them were runners) gathered at the Cross Keys in Uppermill on a pleasantly mild afternoon in order to drink lots of JW Lees go for a run around some of the hilly bits of the area.

Only 17 runners actually set off on the trail, Merciless deciding to go home when he realised he’d be better off putting his feet up in front of the telly.

I set off with Whitworth and Bell, always good company, and after a good 10 minutes of faffing about trying to locate the route we finally set off in a muddy direction, sort of northerly.

Running parallel to Running Hill Gate (a misnomer if ever there was one) through Running Hill Head and then by Big Rough (about right) our trail led us to Diggle. The ground wasn’t too bad, being only a bit incredibly muddy, but there you go. My tastefully coloured brand-new pair of La Sportiva Raptors (yellow & black) will never be the same again.

We tried to run but the ground wasn’t too good here-abouts.

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No idea, it just seems to be an odd place for a statue (about a mile E of Diggle)

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In the middle of nowhere…situated almost directly above the Standedge Tunnel

Built in 1859, this building may have had something to do with the reservoirs, Brun Clough Res is just to the east.

The route became moderately runnable, the mud wasn’t as squelchy as on our last little outing 2 weeks previously – although there were some quite bad bits. Hon Pres Park came into view, he’d set off 10 minutes after us and was making good time.

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Whitworth & Bell keeping their distance from Park

The running on Standedge was good. We were afforded excellent views over Delph, Oldham and Shaw. The breeze was quite chilly on the tops, it was good to keep moving. The edge was popular with walkers, we met a goodly number – all going the other way.

Park stopped to chat to a sweet young thing at the trig point, obviously attracted to the pack of egg sandwiches she was trying to hide from him. Foiled by her determination not to share her lunch, we continued on our way – still heading north, and still not always too sure that we were on our route. Nowt new there then.

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Millstone Edge, Standedge

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Marsden Moor, Castleshaw Reservoirs in the distance

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Park burning off the opposition

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Still keeping to the high edges, and still enjoying good ground, were began changing direction – bearing over to the west. We kept Park in view for quite some time but he was determined to avoid our company (wise man that he is) – at least we didn’t have to worry about going wrong as long as we could see him….assuming that he was on the right trail.

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Castleshaw Reservoirs

No photos, but the faster runners were now coming into view. It would be a while before the caught us but spotting them spurred us on. But only a bit.

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Oldham Council Waterworks stuff at Castleshaw

According to the O.S., Castleshaw is the site of a Roman Fort. Interestingly, when I lived in Newhey, a few miles to the west, locals often referred to a local footpath as being a Roman Road.

We were now heading south, downhill too, on Moor Lane. This was (is!) a very good track although the trail we were following wasn’t always that obvious, the trail-layers were probably yakking and had forgotten to put sufficient sawdust down for us to follow. Oh well.

The trail-layers were Taylor & Wells, Wells being a stand-in for Old Markham who needed to stay at home to deal with ill-health in his family.

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Daisy

Faster runners now caught us up. Wilson and Burston being the first. They stopped to chat, we stopped to chat….and then the Fast Pack caught up with us. And still we chatted. Well, it had been two weeks since we last saw them, there was a lot of catching up to do.

Downhill and more downhill, eventually reaching the Huddersfield Narrow Canal and Standedge Tunnel. The running now was very easy….having said that, Bell took a tumble at one point. Being the finely honed athlete that he is he was soon back on his feet.

Standedge Tunnel is over 3 miles long, running from Diggle to Marsden – the site of the tea stop on the Point-to-Point route from Newhey to Holme a couple of years ago. The tunnel was dug over 200 years ago which means it’s even older than Taylor and Wells’s ages combined. Just.

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A bit of muddy up and downery needed to be traversed before we got back to the Cross Keys….and because we weren’t, er,  the fastest runners, the bath water was a bit gritty. I needed a shower when I got home.

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Riley relaxing. That’s what he said he was doing anyway.

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Chillin’ after the run…and waiting for dinner.

We were relegated to the barn, not only for changing and bathing, but for dining too. We were served meat & potato pie, or more accurately patato and a bit of meat pie and chips. Apple crumble & custard finished the job. It would have been nice to have our meals served on real plates and to be allowed to use real knives & forks. Perhaps they don’t think we’re ready to eat like the grown-ups yet. Plastic utensils and polystyrene chippy-type plates aren’t brill.

Whatever, it was cheap, and the food was warming and plentiful. The JW Lees MPA was on fine form.

Around 9.4 miles with 1450’ of ascent. 

Tally Ho Uppermill 2017

It would have been less than 9.4 miles, but some silly sod laid a nice clump of sawdust right by the way we normally leave the venue. We wasted a good bit of time trying to find the right way.

This was a really excellent route, hard enough but without being stupid = very enjoyable. We missed the company of Old Markham of course, he probably had more than a little influence on the route choice – being as wot he lives in the area. Thanks to Whitworth & Bell for their very entertaining company, Taylor & Wells for laying a damned good trail (even if we couldn’t always find it!)…..and John Willie Lees for his Manchester Pale Ale.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

A Berwyn Bimble, 15 - 18th August 2016

 

A bit out of order….

Lucky, Mike and Dawn invited me along for wander in the Berwyns – my first trip to this area. There can be no excuse for this lack of attention, it’s remarkably close to JJ Towers…and what a wonderful area it turned out to be.

A train whisked me from Timperley to Chester where I met up with my three fellow defendants. Another train journey to Ruabon and a short bus ride took us to Llangollen – and the start of the expedition….although a visit to The Llangollen Pie Shop delayed our departure ever so slightly.

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The River Dee (no, not THAT River Dee)

It was tricky navigating through the back streets of Llangollen, my 1:25k OS map of the Cairngorm Plateau proved to be useless. My rule of thumb ‘if in doubt choose uphill’ proved itself once again – the stiff climb out of the town was so steep that it just HAD to be the right choice. It was. It was also very hot. Seriously very hot. It was so seriously very hot that it took ages to get to where we wanted to be, although I’m not sure where that was.

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  Beer is Good.

Vivod Mountain loomed, a blue squiggle on the map suggested water was available, a potentially good pitch then. It was actually better than that, water was piped into a make-shift settlement tank so we had an abundant supply of clear water. I still filtered it though. 

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Our clear water supply

A nice flat spot was located and our three tents were erected. This was the first outing for my Luxe HexPeak V4, up until now it had only adorned my back garden.

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First night’s pitch on Vivod Mountain, my HexPeak in the foreground

Dawn is very au-fait with the HexPeak. Her advice, and that from Andy, proved invaluable – I’m not saying I would have struggled without their input but life would certainly have been harder without it.

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Vivod dusk

The evening was hot and completely still. There was water close-by and loads of vegetation & trees: midge heaven, and we were on their menu. Dawn had come prepared. No DEET for her,oh no. Something far better: citronella burny stick things. These things burned for a good few hours, stuck in the ground by the tent door they kept the midges at bay. These things are The Way Forward for camping in midge-infested areas.

It was a peaceful and thankfully highly midge-free evening – thanks Dawn!

 

To Llyn Lluncaws

It was a leisurely start the next morning, we were on our jollies, no rushing about thank you very much.

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The order of the day was to be Moel Fferna (630m) > Cerrig Coediog (593m) > an un-named hill (621m) at SJ090369 > a few other un-named lumps en-route to Cadair Bronwen (784m) > Cadair Berwyn (827m). This made for a very nice day’s walking – great views, decent ground underfoot and nothing terribly steep. But it was still hot.

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Lunch, or some other excuse for a sit-down

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A Very Hungry Caterpillar

The three stages of doggy-stile (as opposed to doggy-style) negotiation:

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NOTE: No stiles were harmed in this process.

A bit of not very tricky navigation got us to an interesting memorial:

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We’d just missed Martin here, he’d been up Cadair Bronwen that very same day. Motorcycle trail-bikes were chugging around, the memorial was located on a very pleasant green lane.

Another lunch ensued, we couldn’t risk malnutrition, that would never do. Basking in the sunshine it was tempting to just sit and chill. Lucky had other ideas, we moved on.

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Cadair Bronwen (I think): Lucky with some bloke in a hat

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Late afternoon view from Cadair Berwyn

It was on Cadair Berwyn that we came across one man and his dog. They were sat, facing west, waiting for sunrise. I imagine he was going to face the other way at the appropriate time.

Onwards and downwards.

A very attractive ridge walk presented itself – it would take us gently and prettily down to that night’s intended pitch by Llyn Lluncaws. It looked lovely, Lucky thought so too.

Not so Dare-Devil Dawn. She spotted a rather more direct route…one that involved rather a lot of damned-near vertical steepness. I felt secure in the knowledge that I’d packed a spare pair of undies,

My descent was by derriere – the skidmarks on (the outside of) my shorts bore testament to that. There was no way I could get down otherwise. Mike’s shorts suffered similarly – although not quite as badly as mine. Dawn and Lucky, on the other hand, skipped down. Hrmph.

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Llyn Lluncaws

A nice flat-ish, midge infested spot was located and our overnight camp established. This time we had lots of vegetation, lots of warmth and stillness – and a large body of completely still water. The midges must have thought all their birthdays and Christmases had all come at once when we arrived. Their dinner had arrived – but they hadn’t reckoned with Dawn’s midge counter-measures. Once again we avoided the worst of the biting blighters thanks to the citronella smoke of the smelly, smoky, burny sticks. A restful night followed. Apart from someone who snored. Loudly.

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To Llanarmon Dyffryn Ceiriog…and a bit further

Next morning dawned a bit mistily but that soon cleared and a cloudless sky promised another hot day.

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We trotted off upwards – only because there was no downwards alternative. Up on the tops, we had some dramatic views:

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Looking south-ish, down the Afon Iwrch valley

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A brief trespass was called for in order to avoid a few miles of not particularly interesting ground. We thought we’d get away with it but as we crested a small hill we spotted a couple fencing contractors doing what fencing contractors apparently do: drinking tea.

The put us right – although their view was that there was no way we could get to Vivod Mountain that day. Well, they were right – but we could have done if we’d wanted. Honest. Anyroadup, we were ‘given permission’ to cross the farmland by the fencing contractors – and that was good enough for us, so we left them to their tea drinking fencing. and wandered off in a sort of determined way.

Our determination paid off – before too long we found a pub. Two pubs actually, but The Hand was the one we settled on, and what a fine choice it was. The process of rehydration began in earnest. All was well until Mike realised he’d lost a walking pole. A short retrace of steps failed to locate the errant stick, it could have been anywhere. Oh well.

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We wandered off, keeping an eye open for suitable camping spots. Eventually we found one – a patch of thistly, scrubby land with a trickle of water nearby. There was plenty of cover, a casual passer-by wouldn’t spot us.

Mike and Dawn were in quite low profile, small footprint tents. My Luxe HexPeak V4 is a much taller affair and has quite a large footprint, secreting it presented a bit more of a problem – even so, we weren’t spotted. Thinking about it, I’m not sure if anyone walked by anyway.

I didn’t photograph our pitch so I’ve had to nick this one from Mike’s blog:

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To Llangollen

A short and easy day.

We woke to a warm morning, it was humid – the sort of humidity that might suggest the coming of stormy weather. We packed and set off, Llangollen bound, as the humidity abated.

The moorland colours were really quite lovely:

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Our route took us past our first night’s pitch from where we retraced our steps back to Llangollen. Apart from the Pie Shop bit, we didn’t re-visit that. Instead we headed for Llangollen Railway Station where we watched steam locos, ate sausage, egg & chips and drank loads of tea.

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A lovely few days away – my grateful thanks to Dawn, Lucky and Lucky’s dad for inviting me along.

Where we went(ish):

Route

According to Lucky’s dad we covered around 30 miles – in a most relaxing and agreeable manner.

More incriminating photographs are here.

You can find out what really happened by looking here and here.

I’m going to go back to the Berwyns, you should too. It’s a brilliant area.