View from Oban Bothy

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

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Good Friday 2015, Cycling the Eight

It’s Good Friday so it must be the Mobberley 8

Every Good Friday there’s a bicycle ride around the pubs of Mobberley. It all started in the 1970s and has continued ever since. It’s not organised, it just happens every year. Apart from last year, when I was walking a section of the South West Costal Path, I’ve done the M8 continually since the mid 1980s.

Whilst most cycle around the route, although in previous years there have been some on horseback, a couple of runners, the inevitable walkers….usually those who have a bike that’s let them down – punctures etc.

In the early days the challenge was to get around nine pubs, starting from the Plough and Flail at twelve o’clock midday, and finishing 2 hours later at the Railway. Why nine pubs? Well, the parish of Mobberley has 8 pubs but the route takes you out of the parish to pass another pub. And it could be considered rude to pass the pub by without calling in for a swift one.

In these days of extended pub opening hours the Mobberley Eight still starts at mid-day, but it’s finish is far more relaxing. Many don’t leave the last pub until 6pm.

This year the event was supported by those fine young ladies (?) of the Macclesfield W.I. Well that’s who they said they were. The contents of the teapot were ever so slightly suspect.

At the first pub, The Plough & Flail:





The Frozen Mop:P1040168


 Some ladies appear to have taken a wrong turning – in more ways than one


LJH (on the left) engineer and carpenter extraordinaire‎. He built the machine below.

The ‘8’ always attracts some real feats of engineering contrivance, this year was no exception:

P1040171Front wheel drive: a 24v motor powered by 2 x 12v GelCells. the motor had a reduction drive and further gearing was via a cobbled-together derailleur mechanism hanging off the front forks. It worked but the lack of a soft-start on the motor made for some interesting standing starts.

P1040172 Slightly damp conditions kept many away this year, numbers were definitely down

Two pubs were closed this year, the Stag and the Roebuck. This meant other arrangements needed to be made. One substitution was The Mobberley Victory Hall, purveyors of very fine ales indeed:



 The Victory Hall’s very tasteful dedication to those who fell

The Route:


From Timperley it’s around 25 very gentle miles

A very jolly day, some folk were jollier than others :-)

More photographs here.

Until next year then….

Thursday, 26 March 2015

18 – 21 March 2015, A Llangynllo to Caersws backpack

Day 1, Llangynllo to Beacon Hill

On Wednesday afternoon Mike and I got off the train at Llangynllo station, a tiny station, secreted in someone’s back garden. Very odd.


The Plan for the day was to walk a few miles and pitch for the night, which is exactly what we did. Clear skies and a cold breeze ensured a cold night’s camp. Fortunately we’d come well prepared: woolly undies, thick socks, pies, and lashings of whiskey hot chocolate.

This trip was planned by Mike and he’d researched the area well. He wanted to tick some tops and the route was put together with this in mind. Potential pitches were checked for potentialness by studying his maps of the area and one of the Cairngorms. This certainly paid off, we now know there’s a brilliant place to camp by the Cairngorm Club Footbridge, close to the Lairigh Ghru. Oh, and some lovely pitches in this sparsely populated area of Wales.

This area really is beautiful. Okay, the weather couldn’t have been better, but really, this area is stunning. There’s loads of interesting features: ditches, dykes, tumuli, windfarms and loads more. Better still, it’s quite unspoilt. Apart from the windfarms.

P1040037The first hill of the trip was Pool Hill which had a little pool to the SW of it’s top. This hill was incorporated into the few miles of tarmac, Land Rover tracks and footpaths, including Glyndwr’s Way, to our first overnight stop. Our pitch had decently flat ground, running water close(ish) by, and a fine chorus of croaking frogs and froglets.

P1040039  First night’s pitch, close to Beacon Hill


GPX route 1Our route for the day, very clearly defined (eh?) by a purple squiggly thing.

Starting at the bottom right and finished at the top left of the map. 4.4 miles, 900’ ascent

It was a damned cold night, lots of hot chocolate (and other stuff) was consumed in the interest of warding off the coldness. Once in our sleeping bags we stayed put until the morning, it was too chilly to be sociable. Thanks heavens for the ‘I’ newspaper and BBC R4. My new toy, a Thermarest Neoair, did the job well.

Day 2, Beacon Hill to Kerry Hill

An early night meant an early morning, or it should have done. It was better to stay in my cosy sleeping bag until around 8am, it being so very cold. Even the Akto’s built-in shower was only able to provide a shower of ice crystals.

P1040047Frosty tents

Beacon Hill has a trig point set on a tumulus, one of four tumuli on the summit if the 1:50K OS map is to be believed. This was our first objective of the day – if you didn’t count all the coffee I needed to kickstart my body.

P1040050 Mike on Beacon Hill

Heading north (and downhill) we came across a fenced-off area that at first glance appeared to perhaps be an open pit. On closer inspection we found a pile of rotting carrion, surrounded by snares – perhaps to catch unwary foxes:

P1040054Look carefully and you’ll see a snare. I’m not sure of the legality of such traps.  

Careful study of the OS map revealed the presence of a pub in Felindre, about 3 miles north of Beacon Hill. As our route took us through Felindre we decided that we could be considered rude if we didn’t call in the pub for cup of tea, and maybe a nice scone. The pub was easy to find but our beer tea and scones would have to wait:


P1040064Our fan club 

We continued, thirstily, to our next goal – Anchor. Anchor, for those not in the know, is the start point for the annual Across Wales Walk. I was more than a bit disappointed to find that the Anchor Inn at Anchor had closed down, a very sad sight (and site) indeed:

P1040066 A very shocked Mike, dazed by the realisation that beer wasn’t coming our way that day.

Not (very) disheartened, we continued our merry way to the Kerry Ridgeway, an ancient route running from Bishop’s Castle in Shropshire (famous for the Three Tuns Brewery) and Cider House Farm in Powys, which may or may not have been famous for cider.

P1040070Ceri Wood 

We joined the route at Kerry Pole:

P1040072 What I didn’t realise at the time was that Kerry Pole is the site of a megalithic stone circle. Had I known, I’d have spent a bit more time there. Oh well, onwards:


We were only into our second day of this trip but it was remarkable in that we’d seen very few people so far: the previous day we met a farmer who was curious to know what we were up to, on this day we saw a family out for a walk along with dad(?), a gorilla of a fat bloke, ill-treating his doggy. We weren’t at all impressed by this behaviour one teeny little bit. Some folk should just not be allowed to have dogs. Or children. It’s a shame, his children seemed quite nice.

This unpalatable episode was almost forgotten when we came a across another doggy owner walking his barmy labrador along the Kerry Ridgeway. This lovely bloke walked his doggy miles and miles every day. And he was a motorcyclist. The man, not the doggy. At least I don’t think so.


The Kerry Ridgeway was crossed by Cross Dyke, one of the many dykes in the area. Two Tumps was (were?) adjacent to where the dyke crossed the Kerry Ridgeway. I thought that the Two Tumps was me and Mike.

P1040087I photographed Cross Dyke but forgot to photograph Two Tumps. Worratump. 

More Kerry Ridgewaying took us to Kerry Hill and the search for a pitch for the night. A nice little spot, flat and grassy, presented itself and our two Aktos were quickly erected:

P1040076Akto Central, Kerry Hill

Kit failure

Another cold night followed. In my case it was a slightly worrying night too. I’d avoided buying a Thermarest Neoair for some years, simply because of the problems that other owners had experienced – namely delamination / internal baffle failure, and overnight deflation. I was more than a bit miffed to find that my brand-new Neoair’s internal baffles had begun to fail after just one night’s use. A small bulge was developing at the bottom end of the mat. Fortunately the bulge was in a position not to cause me a problem, but it was certainly a concern. The Neoair will be going back to Gaynor’s later this week. 

Anyway, the day’s travels:

GPX route 2b

The second bit: Felindre (of closed pub fame) to Kerry Hill

GPX route 2aThe first bit: Beacon Hill (nearly) to Felindre 

12.3 miles, 1900’ ascent


Day 3, Kerry Hill to Cobbler’s Gate…

….well it was very close to Cobbler’s Gate. With a name like that I just had to include it in the write-up. 

The RAF were out to play today. Fast jets were flying around, it looked like they were having great fun. A low flying Hercules trundled in front of us, the pleasant rumble of it’s engines wasn’t at all intrusive.


P1040093Then a funny thing happened. The sky darkened a little bit, the birdies stopped singing a little bit, it chilled a little bit, and then out of nowhere a mysterious flying object streaked across the sky – could this be the RAF’s new stealth fighter?

P1040083The picture quality is poor, I didn’t have time to set the camera up – it was literally shoot and ask questions later.

Oh, and then there was the partial eclipse. That was good, even though we couldn’t see it.

Mike wanted to whizz up some lumpy little hills so our route wandered around quite a bit. It was none the worse for that, in fact it just prolonged the sheer pleasure of being in this lovely area in grand weather.

The first lump entailed a bit of trespassing going somewhere where we weren’t supposed to. Never mind, nobody saw us climb the hill without a name at SO089852. Not even the farmer at Glog Farm. 

So busy were we yacking that we turned up a Land Rover Track at Bryn Dadlau that we should have walked past, it just seemed to go the right way – uphill. It was only a minor error and we were soon back on track.

Pegwn Mawr was next, with it’s broken Belfast sink, ancient cairns, and seemingly even more ancient (and certainly more knackered) windmilly generator things. At 586m ASL this top is very significant. Or something. Ask Mike, he knows these things.

P1040107  Posing at Pegwn Mawr’s trig point

P1040108Pegwn Mawr’s Belfast sink (broken) and the cairn – which appears to be a midge’s wotsit higher than the trig point. And a load of mainly knackered windmilly things.

The man at the Beeb warned of wet weather coming in from the west, it was certainly getting cloudy – still good walking weather though.

The rest of the day’s walking was on really good tracks, the best surfaced of which were windfarm service roads. We walked north, which the more observant of you will notice is NOT east. But this is Wales, not Scotchlandshire. And it’s not May either.

About 5 miles of really easy walking took us to our intended pitch for that night around Cwmffrwd at SO041876. Whilst it looked good on the map it was completely unsuitable – loads of dead bracken, boggy bits, lumpy bits etc. We eventually spotted a half-decent patch of almost grass-type stuff on only a bit very lumpy and only slightly very boggy ground. It was mostly out of sight of the road, and better still, it had a lovely stream running by.

P1040110A not so cold night followed. The cloud was well and truly cloudy by 7pm and we were ready for the promised rain, which didn’t actually arrive. One thing about wild camping in the cold, you get plenty of sleep – once in your tent you’re unlikely to surface until the next morning.

The day’s wanderings (right to top left):

GPX route 3

16.7 miles with 1700’ ascent


Day 4, Cobbler’s Gate to Caersws.

The cloud of the previous evening had vanished and the sun was shining brightly.

P1040112Catkins in the morning sun

It was a short and sunny walk into Caersws and it’s train station = the end of our trip. The tea room in the village provided mugs of tea and butties, very civilised. I even managed a quick wash and shave in the tea room’s wash room.

There seems to be some local resistance to the expansion of the local windfarms – a particularly effective poster was on display in the teashop:


The only pub that was open in the village at that hour had just the one handpump on, serving Feeling Foul Felinfoel - that was in worse than poor condition. Lager & Guinness were the only alternatives….beggars can’t be choosers.

P1040120 For Alan

The last day’s walk:

GPX route 4

4.1 miles and 580’ descent

I was expecting a good few days away, I wasn’t expecting it to be so good though. The area is superb for backpacking, I’ll definitely be going back before too long. Thanks to Mike for his great company, coming up with the idea and then putting it all together, it’s a plan I certainly wouldn’t have come up with.  I really enjoyed it!

More photographs are here.

Mike’s version of events can be read here.

Our route was tracked using my Garmin Etrex20 with 1:50K OS maps installed. The mileages and ascents were gleaned from both the Garmin and by loading the resulting GPX files to the very excellent WalkLakes (free) OS mapping website. WalkLakes is well worth a visit.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

15th November, Tally-Ho! from Nangreaves, Route v4.2

The real thing..

A number of exploratory / recce trips to this area were needed in order to finalise this route, mainly due to the large number of illegally blocked Rights of Way (Right of Ways?), completely unmarked footpaths and generally difficult to navigate ground. An a lot of mud.

Anyroadup, this is what happened on the Big Day…


The Lord Raglan, Nangreaves

The choice of this pub as a venue for Tally-Ho! had absolutely nothing to do with The Leyden Brewery. Nothing at all.

First to set off from The Lord Raglan at Nangreaves were Ding Dong and Whitworth. They had arranged to meet at the pub at 12.30, thus ensuring an early start. After a leisurely tour around the lanes of South Lancashire, Ding-Dong arrived promptly at 1.30pm thus ensuring a not terribly early start.

Rumours of a collection in the pub to raise dosh to buy Ding-Dong a map are completely false….I think they want to buy him a SatNav so his navigation prowess could match that of Whitworth’s…..and he NEVER gets lost. Well, not very often – especially now he has a new Merc with a built in SatNav.

Whitworth and Prez Park left the pub in a blur (well that’s what the drunk outside the pub said), heading north along a short strip of tarmac. The money men (Ding Dong and Mapless  Taylor) ran together – leaving a little later than normal.

The dryness of the tarmac wasn’t to last long. Leaving the road, the extremely well-laid sawdust trail led our valiant heroes to a soggy path of a couple of hundred yards (around 183.44m). Damp grass drenched their running shoes comprehensively. Nice.

Other runners followed in their wake, all finding the extremely well-laid trail very easy to follow.

Whilst the hounds were enjoying (eh?) following the trail, the hares were taking great care to leave a clear sawdust & paper trail across some seriously rough and boggy ground.

First obstacle of the day was the illegally blocked footpath at  Croston Close:

image A Concessionary Path is offered as an alternative route, but the path through the farmyard exists as a Public Right of Way – the landowner clearly has a different opinion.

Next came the first ‘river’ crossing of the day. In recent weeks the stream that is Cheesden Brook had been a mere 2 – 3ft wide (609.6– 914.4mm….approx), the recent heavy rain had swollen the watercourse quite considerably. This ensured that many pairs of Innovates were suddenly mud-free. For a minute.

An uphill pull to a track led the hounds to Ashworth Reservoir. Once through a heavy metal gate the trail ran alongside a Water Authority-built wall to pick up a minor road at the east side of the reservoir.

The Trail-Layers were on the return leg of the trail and were able to watch some of the hounds, on the outward leg, as they ran along that stretch of road. Fortunately they were too far away to be able to hear the runners cursing, swearing and plotting sweet revenge.

Once across Edenfield Road, Knowle Hill came into full view. Curses were heard to be uttered as it slowly dawned on the hounds that the trig-point at the top was to be their next objective. And so it was.

Mud, bog, streams, windmills and sheep were just some of the hazards to be encountered on this uphill stretch. The sheep seemed intrigued:


image The view south from Knowle Hill

A clear path off the eastern flank of Knowle Hill led the runners along part of the Rochdale Way, (thank-you Wiki!) in the direction of the Naden Reservoirs. The reservoirs only became visible after climbing a stile at Dixon’s Brow. The change of scenery was quite a revelation – so far the views were mainly of moorland, bogs and mud. To see the land open out in such a dramatic way almost caused some to stop and stare for a few minutes. It was either that or they were knackered after Knowle Hill and they needed a breather.

P1030208aNaden Reservoirs 

Clumps of sawdust and the Rochdale Way made for easy navigation as the route swung south and then west(ish) on the return leg.

Another stream crossing and on through Knowl Farm:

imageKnowle Farm, used for filming ‘Last Tango in Halifax’ 

Re-crossing Edenfield Road gave temporary relief from the mud and gunge, in fact there was a good 10-15 minutes of relatively clean running. Until a particularly muddy, sludgy stretch of track that led to a particularly muddy, sludgy river crossing. It wasn’t long before Ashworth Reservoir once again hove into view, this heralded some nice running along only slightly horrendously waterlogged ground.

The Right of Way runs through Yates Farm but there was so much rubbish and detritus on the ground that a diversion was needed. It looks like the place is used as a scrap yard, a real mess.

Much nicer running followed once passed the farm: good tracks and paths, a short stretch of tarmac, and then a really gloopy farm track.

An uphill pull to a ‘notch’ on the horizon indicated the last stretch of the trail, although it was only once through the notch that it became clear the running was almost done. A stile and a short stretch of tarmac had us back at the pub.

20141115_161112First runners in 

imageNext in, Paul and Les 

The trail seemed to have been generally well received – although the beer at the pub got a better reception. It was rather good – just a shame I was driving.

Numbers were a bit low today, only 14(?) members sat down to a filling dinner of stewy stuff and mushy peas followed by fruit crumble. ‘Always hungry’  Blackshaw was unable to stay for dinner due to family commitments, this left Murray in a bit of a quandary regarding his pudding. He needn’t have worried though, help was at hand and his pudding vanished in the blink of an eye.

Layers of trail were Blackshaw and Jocys who had a thoroughly good day out – and even managed to beat all the hounds back to the pub.

This is where we went:


Around 9 miles with about 1200’ ascent

That’s according to Memory Map and my Garmin Etrex20. I felt I could do with a good laugh so I took my SatMap Active10 along too. According to that heap of junk we covered 16.75 miles.

Impressed, eh?