View from Oban Bothy

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

Friday, 22 February 2019

A 12 mile Plodders Walk

The good folk of the East Lancashire LDWA have recently re-started their 'Plodder' walks, shorter walks of around 12 miles.

This particular walk kicked off from outside a pub (obv) in Ringley, to the west of Prestwich / Whitefield.. The pub, The Horseshoe, was a Thwaites house, just in case you were interested....which you probably were.

18 walkers, well it was 20 walkers if you counted the dogs, gathered at the appointed hour and we trundled off at a brisk pace.

It always surprises my how easy it is to follow 'green' routes, even in well populated or industrial areas, and so it was.

We crossed the River Irwell and then walked through Clifton Country Park, heading in a south-easterly direction, through a lovely green corridor, to Clifton Junction and then to Prestwich Forest Park. All really quite nice.

The route passed some interesting features relating to the mining history of the area.

It was good to catch up with East Lancs once again, they're a great bunch. There were a few new faces in attendance, the group doesn't have any problem attracting new members. It's a very friendly and active group. I really should get out with them more often.

The lunch stop was in a park where we had the luxury of park benches to sit on. Nice.

Suitably fed and watered, we were off once again, now on the return leg, heading.through Philips Park and then picking up the Irwell Sculpture Trail which followed the course of a disused railway for some distance.

Then it started to rain. Oh well.

We were soon back on tarmac and within a few minutes the Horseshoe pub hove into view. This suited many, the rain was properly raining now and many dived into the pub for beer and shelter. Not me though, not this time. I needed to get back home.

Thanks to East Lancs for a nice little walk, I'll be back for another one soon.

Where we went (anticlockwise):

 Around 12 miles.

Monday, 9 July 2018

Afoot in Two Dales: The Event

A Warm Wensleydale Wander: 50 miles in 24 hours.


8.15am, Harmby Village Hall, the event centre

Even at 7.30am the sun was beating down hotly (very hotly) on Harmby, near Leyburn in the Yorkshire Dales.

200+ walk entrants were liberally slathering their bodies with Factor50 in an attempt to ward of the effects of the strongest sunshine we’ve seen in a long while.


Pep Talk Time

At 8.30am a whistle was blown and we were off, heading to Castle Bolton, CP1, 8 miles away.


8.30am and we’re off, 50 miles to go. (Julie S in the foreground – I didn’t see much more of her until the end!)

I teamed up with Michael from Nidderdale LDWA and Izabela from West Yorkshire (?) LDWA. Michael and I were amongst the 20 entrants who had also taken part in the first Afoot in Two Dales in 2004. Izabela clearly thought that Michael and I really shouldn’t be allowed out in the hills without a responsible adult…she was that person. 


Bottleneck at Stile No1


Michael and Izabela posing at SC#01, Redmire

We were now comfortably very close to the back of the field, given the very high temperature we were happy with this – as long as we could complete within the 24 hours allowed. No point in blowing a gasket trying to finish in a daft fast time.


Approaching Castle Bolton, CP1

The first checkpoint was at Castle Bolton, 8 miles into the route. We arrived just after 11am = 3.2mph. The checkpoint was to remain open until 3pm so we were well within time. We were offered snacks, drinks (incl Dandelion & Burdock!), a loo, and the opportunity for a sit down….in addition to the loo. The marshalls looked after us well.


Me with Eileen G. at CP1: two cool dudes!

Suitably fed, watered and refreshed we continued on our merry way to CP2 at Haverdale House, 7 miles away.

It was getting hotter, I’d glugged 500ml of SIS Go Hydro electrolyte drink at CP1 – I’d needed it.


Apedale Road in the heat

We arrived at CP2, Haverdale House (15 miles), at around 1.30pm = average speed (including stops) 3mph, quite respectable. The checkpoint was a tent. There was plenty of food and drink to refresh the hungry & thirsty walkers – and runners. Much of the food was sugary: cakes, biscuits, sweeties etc, I think the runners and faster walkers must have snaffled most of the savouries – although the pork pies and salted peanuts on offer were certainly welcome.


Haverdale House, CP2

Izabela, who was on her first 50 miler, was moving very well indeed – she’d been a bit concerned that a long challenge like this would be a walk too far.

She was cool. Michael and I were, er, perspiring. Gently.

The Beeb had under-estimated the temperature. They’d forecast a max of around 25degC, it reached over 29degC – think walking into a hairdrier. Hot.

We left the checkpoint and headed west, following the course of the R Swale to click ourselves into SC#02 at Marble Scar, just west of Gunnerside.




Michael, having passed through a stile, single file. Obv.

Minor roads and footpaths led us to yet another Self Clip, SC#3, at Rampsholme Bridge.

It appeared that a football match of some national importance had taken place – ‘We won!’ was a cry we heard frequently over the next hour or so. 

Somehow we seemed to have lost Michael – I’m not sure if he’d left a CP earlier than us – or t’other way around. Whatever, the separation wasn’t terribly long-lived.

The next checkpoint, CP3 (20 miles), at Muker, hosted too many temptations to ignore….an ice-cream shop, The Farmers Arms, a public loo…and the checkpoint itself. We took advantage of everything – apart than the pub. And there were Michael. And Eileen, resplendent in her floral dress. The checkpoint itself was excellent – we even had mugs of tea…although very refreshing I’m not convinced of the wisdom of having a hot drink in such high temperatures.

I don’t recall what time we arrived (or left) CP3 but we were making decent progress. Next stop would be Hardraw (CP4)….via Thwaite and Great Shunner Fell.


The Great Shunner Fell turn-off

L > R: Izabela, ?, Raj, Michael….all (still) smiling

Like so many hills, Great Shunner Fell looked like it would be a bit of a tug but in actual fact it wasn’t too bad at all. I recall that in 2004 I reached the top at 8.30pm, this time I arrived at the top at 6.45pm. I was a bit pleased, we’d not been pushing ourselves too hard yet we were comfortably ahead of time.

Two water containers (5 gallons each?) had been left on the climb. By the time we got there they’d been drained. We were okay though, having topped up at CP3.

Izabela and I left Michael, Raj and his mate on the way up to the top. They were moving well enough – just not quite as fast (Ho-ho!) as us.

About half-way up we came across a lady of slightly more advanced years than is usual on LDWA Challenge events, having a rest whilst sniffing drinking Coke. She declined our offer of energy bars (actually Annabel’s dynamite energy bars) and we left her – knowing that others were coming up behind.


10-15 minutes later I turned round to see this lady continuing up hill at quite a decent rate. I’ve since learned that this was Christine U, the, er, least young lady to complete a 100. What a woman!

Posing on the way up Great Shunner Fell:



P1050809Manned Clip at Great Shunner Fell Summit

Posing on the way down Great Shunner Fell:



Continuing on our way to CP4 at Hardraw, I turned to see….


…Eileen and her floral dress marching up behind us

The descent to Hardraw seemed to take forever. The track was well defined and easy to follow, but it was very stony – and so hard on the feet, especially after over 25 miles in such hot conditions.


A virtually dry tarn, testament to the lack of recent rainfall 

We were following a section of Pennine Way all the way down to CP4 at a bunkhouse in Hardraw. I was delighted to see that Jean Bobker, cheery as ever, was amongst those running the check. We were offered (and scoffed, in very short order) beans on toast and tea. It was a veritable feast!

Izabela’s feet were playing merry hell – she’d developed some large, painful blisters and she was in a fair amount of discomfort. She cleaned her feet up and I covered the tender bits with a double layer of K-Soft K4 bandage. This seemed to the trick and she was able to continue, relatively pain-free….as least that’s what she told me.

CP4 was at 29 miles, I didn’t clock the time but I was happy that we’d managed to maintain a fairly respectable average speed. We spent a fair amnount of time at the checkpoint: I managed an almost complete top-to-toe wash down which shifted most of the salt that was caked all over my body. I left the checkpoint, feeling almost clean, with Eileen the Floral Dress and Izabela. We marched off down the road in a most confident manner. The music session at the Green Dragon in Hardraw was bouncing….I’ve not played in that pub for nearly 40 years, I must do something about that. Soon.

Anyroadup, off we jolly-well confidently continued….it was almost as if we knew where we were going.

But we didn’t. Over-confidence can be a killer. As can yakking too much. We were guilty of both.

We SHOULD have left the CP and picked up a footpath to take us to SC#4 at Sedbusk. What we actually did was to walk down the road for rather too long. This wasn’t the end of the world though, a couple of footpaths marked on the map helped us back on route.

We self-clipped and carried on eastwards.

The light was starting to fade although it was still very warm.


Our route description directed us on to a disused railway line which made for fairly fast progress for the next couple of miles. It was now properly dark – although the horizon was to remain light all night.


Sunset viewed from near Bainbridge at 11pm

The leg to Bainbridge passed in a bit of a blur. I was a bit tired, didn’t take much notice of where we were going (thanks to Eileen the Floral Dress for taking over night nav duties – what a star!) and didn’t take any photographs….apart from this one:


For AlanR

Whatever. CP5 at Bainbridge (33.5 miles) was a tent and it offered  all that a chap (or gal) could possibly need: food, drink, loos, entertaining (and sympathetic) helpers…and something to sit on. It was good.

I reckon our average speed (including stops) had reduced to around 2.2mph – although our average MOVING speed was much higher.

The next section was a bit of a struggle, it was dark and the route was difficult to navigate – even with the help of a GPS.

I kept tripping over tree roots, so easy to miss, even with a head-torch. I didn’t ever hit the deck though.

The Red Planet shone brightly throughout the hours of darkness, it was a handy night nav aid.

This seemed to be a good time to sing a few songs (something I often do, especially when walking), and so I did. After a couple of stirring sea-shanties (great for marching along to) I discovered that I was walking alone.

I can’t think why…

Anyway, I shut up and my fellow walkers re-appeared, as if by magic. A blessed miracle.  

Thornton Rust came and went and we aimed for the next checkpoint at Thoralby (CP6).

A flashing light in the far distance was an invaluable navigational aid, even so we went wrong a few times. The route description mentioned a hidden step stile. It may have just been hidden in the daylight, in the dark it was all but invisible!


A red crescent moon rose in the east…quite beautiful

Izabela was noticeably less chatty – she was tired. This was hours after her normal bedtime and her body clock was trying to force her into sleep-mode.

I knew how she felt!


The horizon didn’t go fully dark all night

Arriving at CP6 at Thoralby Village Hall (39 miles) she lay down on the floor and had a 15-20 minute power nap. That seemed to do the trick. She drank tea, nibbled a few nibbles and she was once again firing on all four….still not talking much though!

Michael also had a quick kip, it worked for him too.

I should point out that CP6 was stocked with a huge lump of Wensleydale cheese…it wasn’t very huge by the time we’d left, although I wasn’t able to eat too much of the lovely stuff.

My digestive system was up the wall. I knew I needed food and drink but I was struggling to get much down me. I wasn’t alone suffering that problem.

Christine U. arrived (around 3am?) looking decidedly knackered – she decided to retire at that point. I hope I can move as well as Christine when I’m her age – I somehow doubt I’ll be able to, but what an inspiration she is!

Those manning the checkpoint were shiny stars – not only did they really look after us, but they were good fun too. We left the checkpoint smiling.


It was still dark when we left CP6 but the horizon was slowly getting brighter. We were now aiming for CP7 at Gallops, 5.9 miles away.

West Burton, with it’s happy memories, came and went.




The sun appeared over the horizon at about 4.45am, my selfies weren’t very successful. My hairstyling even less-so.

The Gallops checkpoint was a tent pitched at SE078874, to the west of Middleham. We arrived in full daylight and received the high level of hospitality that we’d come to expect from The Irregulars – sympathy, encouragement, food, drink, a good laugh…and something to sit on. Not much not to like really.

The next and final section of thje walk was a bit of a bugger. The first bit along tarmac was fine. The next bit, over Middleham Low Moor was damned hard work. We were walking on soft, deep grass, all nice and cushioned, but it was so soft that it was almost like ploughing through sand. I was glad once we were over it and we could walk through the village of Middleham.


Middleham bicycles

Just one more self-clip remained, SC#5, about 1km NW of Middleham. I can only imagine that this section of route was there to avoid a short road section. It was a section we could have done without, especially considering that we were just avoiding very quiet lanes – even the fastest entrants wouldn’t have encountered much, if any, traffic.


Middleham Bridge over the River Ure

The final stretch of any walk is always the longest and hardest. My legs, which had felt absolutely fine up until now, felt like lead. I was weary….Izabela and Eileen the Floral Dress were bouncing along!


We arrived back at Harmby Village Hall at 7.25am to unexpected applause – what a lovely welcome!

We were offereed a lovely meal of delicious local sausages, baked beans and Yorkshire pudding. It was seriously yummy – unfortunately my stomach wasn’t able to cope with too much. Ho hum.   

So that was it. We’d covered 50 miles in less than 23hrs = average speed of 2.17mph, including stops.

My Etrex20 GPS measured the route at 51.92 miles and told me that our average MOVING speed was 3mph and overall average speed was 2.2mph.

Thanks to The Irregulars for re-introducing the walk, it was great fun, you were all brilliant and I hope to be back next year. I enjoyed myself so much that I’ve just applied to join The Irregulars.

Thanks to my fellow walkers – we made a great team and we supported one another superbly…..sorry about my singing!

Full photo album here.

Event details are here.

Where we went:


51.92 miles with around 5,500ft of ascent

Nav Notes:

I downloaded the GPX onto both my SatMap10 and my Garmin Etrex20. After waiting 20 minutes for the SatMap to acquire satellites I just dumped it in the boot of my car and used the Garmin. The Etrex20 may not have the best display in the world, nor does it have 1:25K mapping, but it WORKS. The battery life was good, a pair of AA alkaline batteries lasted the full walk with ease.

That definitely wouldn’t have been the case with the SatMap…even if it had worked.


Friday, 6 July 2018

Afoot in Two Dales

A walk in the warm..


The fine folk of The Irregulars have revived ‘Afoot in Two Dales’ , it could be more of a challenge than I was anticipating:


Still, it’s only 50 miles.


Entries are still open….

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.

Socially distanced music session. 24th June 2020

…with cake! Ed kindly offered the use of his back garden to sit and play music whilst maintaining a safe and sensible distance from one...