View from Oban Bothy

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

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.

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

Friday, 29 September 2017

Roundabout Ringheye Recce, Tues 26th Sept 2017

I’m due to lead a walk for the good folk of the East Lancs LDWA in October, and as with all such things a couple of pre-emptive recces are deemed important.

The route I plan to take isn’t original although there are a few tweeks and alterations chucked in to confuse the innocent and unwary, so here goes…


Sunrise from my bedroom window

I had foresaken my early morning run which was a shame because it was a lovely start to the day – but a 4.5 mile run followed by a 17 – 18 mile walk probably wouldn’t have been a good idea.

The actual walk will start in Hale, close to the River Bollin, but as friends Andy & Lynn had kindly offered to join me on the recce I drove to their home in Knutsford to start the circular route from there.

We set out around 10.30am and walked through the town, famous for Cranford, Knutsford Royal May Day…


….Penny Farthing races…..


…..the shortest river in England…


……and King Canute

Leaving the town we had to resort to tarmac for a mile or so but we were soon back on the wet, grassy field footpaths. My feet, inside NorthFace ‘Waterproof’ walking shoes, were soon wet through. I’ve had two pairs of these shoes now, they’re very comfortable but completely useless as waterproof footware


We walked NE out of Knutsford to skirt around the northern edge of Mobberley, there was a gloriously autumnal feel to the day.


We left the environs of Mobberley to continue NE alongside Manchester Airport’s main runway and then picked up the Bollin Valley Way which routed us under the runway via the River Bollin culvert – that never fails to impress me:


Our lunch stop at the southern end of the runway was a bit noisy but we had great views of aircraft taking off and landing:



Andy & Lynn at the high point of the route…a whole 60m metric metres ASL

It must have been a climb although we didn’t notice it….perhaps we’re just very hill fit. Although maybe not in my case.


Invasive species around the River Bollin, Himalayan Balsam abounds

Hale is the home to many large and expensive houses - particularly those that back on to the Bollin Valley. Not all blend in to the pleasant surroundings:



By early afternoon my feet had eventually dried out – perhaps my shoes are only waterproof one way: water can get in but it can’t get out.


More Bollin Valley invasive species: Giant Hogweed reaching for the skies


Not invasive

We head south past Rostherne, along a permissive path that’s not marked on the OS map. There are nice views over the mere, the autumn colours are glorious:




Rostherne Church…and a coffee & knee tablet stop


The next leg took us to Home Farm on the Tatton Estate. It’s a dead-straight ‘church path’ – well it should have been, but a large field was being ploughed and seed was being spread so we followed the field edge.


Home Farm amongst the trees


Hand-powered fuel pump at Home Farm


Andy posing with the piglets…and Mummy Pig


More autumn colours


Melchett Mere, Tatton Park


Tatton Mere


Not Very Nice Algae in Tatton Mere


One of Tatton’s residents, just chillin’


The one was more interested in pigging-out on acorns, he just wouldn’t pose.

We walked through Tatton Park towards Knutsford, keeping to the west side of Tatton Mere, exiting the park at it’s southern road gate. From there it was just a few hundred yards back to Andy’s house and my car.

‘Twas a good day out and a nice little stretch. I’ll be back next week to tweek the route a little further but in the meantime I’m fairly happy with the route as it stands.

If anyone fancies coming along on The Big Day, details are here

Where we went: Around 17 miles and a bit – it will be nearer 18 miles on the day. There’s some ascent but not a lot.


Note that the ‘proper’ walk doesn’t start in Knutsford, but in Hale at SJ773858 at 9am sharp on Sunday 15th October.

All the photographs were taken using my Lumix TZ70, any photo editing was with Photofiltre.

The route was recorded using my old Samsung S3 Mini with Viewranger installed. It has a far clearer display that my crappy SatMap 10 and battery life is similar if not better.

Thanks to Andy & Lynn for their company and very helpful suggestions on route tweeks. And the tea. They make very nice cups of tea!


It’s the old name for Ringway, the site of Manchester Airport.