View from Oban Bothy

View from Oban Bothy
Showing posts with label Rights of Way problems. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Rights of Way problems. Show all posts

Thursday, 21 September 2017

The Rain in Lleyn…4th Sept 2017

(Not) Backpacking

I’d prepared two dehydrated backpacking meals, different stuff to what I’d normally take so I was looking forward to trying the new stuff out:.

The main meals consisted of:

1) Remains of a Shepherds Pie. All mashed up and mixed prior to dehydrating. It was supplemented with 50gms of Smash.

2) Remains of a chilli con carne + rice. The rice and chilli were dehydrated separately and bagged separately.

3) This wasn’t all dehydrated, but consisted of some smoked Polish sausage, 50gms of Smash, and 1/3rd tin baked beans – dehydrated.

As things worked out the stuff didn’t get used. Read on….


In the beginning:

The Plan was for Lucky the Dog, Mike, Dawn and me to backpack a section of the Lleyn Peninsula coast in glorious sunshine.

Even the best plans fall apart sometimes.

The weather forecast was for a bit of damp followed by a few days of overcast dryness – quite acceptable backpacking conditions.

What ACTUALLY happened was that a huge amount of wind-driven wetness descended on Llanystumdwy….famous for Lloyd George and my dad. And a pub that only opens 3-4 nights of the week. It was quite a nice pub though.

We had two cars and with this in mind Plan B was quickly concocted: instead of backpacking through the wetness we’d go out for linear day walks. Plan B was put into action – it worked quite well. Mostly. Apart from getting lost.

Day 1

It was still raining. So we breakfasted hugely on egg, bacon & tomato butties – washed down with lashings of tea & coffee. After which it was still raining but not quite as much. The Afon Dwyfor at the back of the campsite had risen by about 4ft overnight – the roar of the water thrashing about was impressive.

Dwyfor in spate


That was supposed to be an embedded video but Open Live Writer and YouTube don’t seem to like to talk to one another. Kids, eh?

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If the video clip doesn’t work, this photo may illustrate the state of the river.

Some random photographs taken in Llanystumdwy:

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Anyroadup, we went to Llanbedrog and dumped a car there in the National Trust car park. Then we went to Abersoch and dumped another car there in the hugely expensive car park. Not having any more cars to dump we thought it would be a bit of a wheeze to walk back to Llanbedrog, and that’s precisely what we did.

The rain had stopped by this time but it was rather grey and only a bit miserable.

We walked east, often a good direction, passing the harbour / marina before dropping down to the beach.

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For Alan R:

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The tide was out and apart from a couple of dog walkers and a defunct jellyfish that resembled an enormous blob of lumpy wallpaper paste, we had the sands to ourselves.

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Anybody recognise this plant found growing on the edge of sand dunes? The leaves are hugely thick – perhaps to store water?

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Looking back over Abersoch

As we bimbled along eastwards the clouds lifted and the sun made a welcome appearance – Snowdonia appeared out of the murk:

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On the descent to the beach we came across this interesting sculpture:

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Aberdaron’s ‘Tin Man’ – it looked more like a woman with a babe in arms to me

I gather that the original statue was a wooden ship’s figurehead – but that suffered malicious fire damage many years ago.

The route down to the beach was seriously steep, it took an age to get down – ask my poorly L knee. It wasn’t too happy.

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Llanbedrog’s colourful beach huts

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Llanbedrog Beach

Then it was back to the cars and back to Llanystumdwy (via Pwllhelli’s Asda) for far too much to eat and a comfortably large amount of beer. Bottled Hob Goblin Gold seeing as you asked.

The pub was shut.

Day 2

Even though the weather had improved Plan B was still in operation: one car was left at the Aberdaron NT car park, the other at the Whistling Sands NT car park. We wandered off in a nominally south-ish direction, following the cliff-top path as much as possible. I was surprised to come across a young 80+ year old couple from Knutsford, just down the road from JJ Towers. This couple, clad in finest Paramo, were clearly made of the right stuff – it was a pleasure to stop to chat with them.

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Looking north over Whistling Sands

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Dramatic coastline, similar in character to the Pembrokeshire Coast Path and part of the the South West Coast Path.


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On Mynydd Mawr:

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The former Coastguard lookout at Mynydd Mawr.

The sun was shining brightly and warmly, good conditions for backpacking – apart from the lack of water. Running water was scarce, any that we discovered was decidely iffy. Much of the coast was used by cattle.

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Over the sea to Bardsey in the late afternoon sun.


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I’m still playing with my Lumix TZ70 camera – in reality the colours in the hedgerows were very vivid than is shown here. I must try harder.

Navigation was a little <koff> difficult, the paths on the ground often didn’t coincide with what appeared on the three different maps we were carrying between us. Being as what we were nominally following an official Long Distance Path this was all a bit of a poor show. You couldn’t even rely on the Coastal Path signposts – on more than one occasion we came across signposts that just pointed into either undergrowth or ground that was clearly impassable.

Whatever.

Back to the cars, Asda and the campsite – for lots of lovely grub (c/o Lucky’s Dad) and more beer. The pub was still shut.


Day 3

The day began with more egg & bacon butties. The eggs came from the farm where we were camping – they were a bit tasty.

It was a windy morning, and that was just the weather. We parked up at the NT car park at Plas yn Rhiw and proceeded to wander off, up what we took to be the coastal path. We had it on good authority that we really were on the coastal path, the Coastal Path signposts should have aroused our suspicion.

As it happened we only got a bit misplaced a few times.

Mist and clag descended a few times, severely curtailing our views.

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Hell’s Mouth

Foolishly(?) following signposts we passed a lovely little hamlet overlooking the sea. We  suspected that we were on the right path – but there was always a nagging doubt.

Even more foolishly I suggested a change in direction of travel. This change entailed a bit of a scramble. Okay, a LOT of a scramble. I’m not very good at scrambling. Oh well.

Eventually, and blindly following Lucky, Dawn & Mike, I got to the top of an Everest of a hill, Mynydd y Graig I think. There were signs of a Hill Fort and a Standing Stone. I didn’t look too hard, I was more concerned in not falling off this mountain of a, er, little hill.

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Lucky & Mike, climbing without oxygen

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The Tenzing moment

Once at the top the walking was much easier, we even had some views when the cloud lifted.

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Another hill beckoned. This was either a Munro or a Marylin or something. Whatever it was 177m ASL and Mike needed it for His List. Penarfynydd was actually a bit non-descript, but what the hell. It would probably be better on a sunny day.

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Time to turn round and return to the car. More misleading signposts successfully misled us. In spite of this we managed to find our way back to the car and a far easier navigate to a nice little car park at the east end of Hell’s Mouth.

Dawn had planned a dip in the sea at Hell’s Mouth but the wind was far too strong and the sea currents looked a bit perilous.

Instead she rolled up her trouser legs and went for a paddle with Mike. Lucky didn’t play with a ball very much. I flew my kite, the one I use to support vertical aerials when I play radio. The wind was so strong that I began to wonder whether the line was going to be strong enough to hold on to the kite. It was, but I’ll be more careful in future.

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Once back at the ranch more lovely grub followed, again c/o Lucky’s Dad. Dawn had an early night, so did LTD, Mike & me, but our early night involved a visit to the pub which was now open. The beer and the welcome were both good.

There were only half a dozen customers in the pub that evening. It’s good that it stays open, even if it’s only for a few evenings in the week. I hope it survives, we’re losing too many pubs.

We had a good few days away, it wasn’t what we’d planned but it worked out well in the end. Thanks to Lucky, Mike & Dawn for a fun time…we must do it again soon. Next time we’ll do it in an area with less confusing paths.


More photographs are here.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Trotting around North Cheshire, Sat 29th April 2017

Point-to-Point 2017

I was all a bit last minute, but I volunteered to help plotting a little running route, the Hartley Folly, the Cheshire Hare & Hounds Tally-Ho! end of season run – always a bit longer than the Club’s regular fortnightly runs.

Tim, the original plotter had been inundated with so much work (the sort of work that people go out to) and family stuff that he was rendered unable to get stuck in and sort the job.

I had the following parameters to work within:

Start point: The Griffin in Bowdon (a rather posh part of already posh Altrincham)

Finish point: The Swan with Two Nicks, Little Bollington (a lovely pub in a lovely hamlet)….around 1.5 miles from the start

The route should be a long(ish) one – and definitely be predominantly cross-country.

There must be a tea stop.

If you’ve been keeping up and not fallen asleep (yet) you’ll have noticed that the 1.5 miles between the start and inish doesn’t constitute ‘long’. Or even ‘long-ish’.

Tim had come up with good start and finish points, so that was something I didn’t need to worry about – it was just the bit in between.

After much studying of maps and loads of recces I settled on a pleasant 19 mile route that took in some interesting bits of local countryside.

The recces, and there really were many, were carried out with the invaluable assistance of Mssrs Coatsworth, Banfield and Norman, plus the Ms Fairley who provided much in the way of (constructive?) criticisim. Atcherly, having those extra pairs of eyes proved invaluable in tweeking the route and it’s description – thanks guys….and gurl.

Anyroadup, the route wasn’t particularly original, more a tweek of a route I’d walked / run in the past.

19 miles of clockwisery:

Tally-Ho Hartley Folly 2017 full map Rev4

On the day itself I set out alone but armed with a bag of sawdust to mark bits of the trail where runners could have lost the intended route. I was probably the first to start – I wanted the extra time to drop sawdust where I thought it might be needed. And I’m a bit on the slow side. Rather a lot on the slow side actually.

The route left Bowdon and so did I, initially on quiet suburban roads and paths before heading down to follow the River Bollin upstream. The river passes the back gardens of some enormously expensive and expansive houses on one side and the uber-posh Hale Golf club on t’other. Apparently the odd famous footballer / manager can often be seen walking their doggies on the river bank. I wouldn’t know an odd famous footballer or a manager if they bit me.

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I dropped a few clumps of sawdust along the way, nothing conspicuous, but enough that runners following me would spot the stuff.

The weather was ideal for trotting along, dry and bright but not too warm – a hot day wouldn’t do at all for a 19 miler, however slow I was.

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It was still early in the year so whilst undergrowth was quite verdant, the trees were lagging behind – few were in full leaf.

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The River Bollin close to Sunbank Wood

My original route was to take me through Castle Mill but the previously good footpath had been illegally diverted through a mud-bath that really was quite impassable. The obnoxious land owner has been reported to the local authority who are taking action against her.

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Castle Mill’s mud-bath …and electric fence. Photo taken on a recce.

My alternative route bypassed the quagmire and entailed passing our local trig-point, looking a bit forlorn. I have a plan to brighten it up….


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The rather sad trig point at SJ796837 marking the dizzying altitude of 60m ASL

The sound of aircraft now became noticeable, I was approaching the end of one of Manchester Airport’s runways.

The River Bollin proved a bit of a problem to the contractors charged with extending the airport with the addition of Runway 2. The problem was solved by culverting the river under the new runway:

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Doggy walkers were walking their doggies and birdies were tweeting in the hedgerows, it was only the occasional roar of aircraft taking off that spoiled an otherwise very pleasant trot alongside Runway 2

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There was just a bit of tarmac beyond the airport (sorry guys, even the best trails often have SOME tarmac!) but the trail was soon back on field paths that skirted the north side of Mobberley. It was on this section that the first runners caught me up (and passed me…of course), I was beginning to wonder if anybody had turned out to follow trail.

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Here they come…

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….and there they go

Numbers weren’t great on the day. Excuses for absence were many and vairied, Hon Sec had the best one – he’d broken his arm whilst on the Lakes Weekend trail run.

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Approaching the tea stop

Whatever, it was good to catch up with Tim & Rob at the tea stop:

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Tim’s wife and family had provided a very splendid spread for us, it was easy to eat and drink too much – Not A Good Thing To Do when there’s still another 9 – 10 miles to run.

As we guzzled and slurped our way through the feast more runners appeared:

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Fast Taylor – going remarkably fast considering he was nursing an injury

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Hon Prez Park….say no more

Dragging ourselves away from the tea stop we plodded off along more tarmac to enter Tatton Park at it’s southern, pedestrian only, entrance. The trail now changed direction, turn north on the eastern shore of Tatton Mere. The run through the park was very easy running, we were treated to a toilet stop and a herd of curious onlookers.although they weren’t watching us at the toilet stop.Probably.

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The next point of note was the No 1 Parachute Training School monument in the park. Ringway Airport (now Manchester Airport) was the site of the training school and parts of Tatton Park were used as a landing zone. Tatton Mere was used to practice water-landings.

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Poseurs at the monument, L>R: Mssrs Taylor, Park, Bell, Jenkinson, Riley & me

Turning west(ish) towards Tatton Hall, Hon Prez Park was delighted to see that we’d arranged for his own personalised route out of the park:

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More northness followed, this time to Rostherne, along a church path – reputed to be the path used by the Tatton Estate workers to get to St Mary’s Church at Rostherne.

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Taken on one of the recces: Martin at Rostherne Village Water Pump


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The church grave yard had some interesting, er, features 

A concessionary footpath, not marked on the OS map, takes you nicely past the church and allows views over Rostherne Mere:

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Rostherne Mere

In the two weeks leading up to the run one of the field footpaths had seen a significant diversion to allow for ploughing. This lengthened the route – but just two days before the run the diverted path had been re-instated and all was well.

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More tarmac followed, although it was less than a mile and along very quiet lanes before once again getting onto the (slightly) rough stuff. The ground was generally quite dry although the odd bit of wetness muddied the legs – giving just a bit of credibility to our cross-country run.

Once over the M56 on the footbridge to the east of the Lymm roundabout we were on the home leg. We once again met up with the River Bollin, now on the outskirts of Bowdon….home to the Club’s esteemed legal advisor.

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River Bollin bailiff’s shed near Bowdon

We ran west along the north side of the river, passing the site of the Motte & Bailey castle at Watch Hill. It’s well worth watching this YouTube video.

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Taking our lives in our hands we crossed the very busy A56 and continued to follow the River Bollin along another concessionary path to the Swan with Two Nicks and the end of the run.

I took about 5 1/2 hours to complete, I was quite happy with that considering I’d spent around half an hour at the tea stop and spent additional time laying trail.

The pub was unable to provide bathing facilities – or even a room to change in. The Club’s tin bath was once again pressed into service in the pub car park. Pretty Quick Riley opted to cool his legs off with the pub’s hose pipe before diving into the bath. At least that what he said he was doing:

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Tim & Co had arranged for a gazebo to preserve the dignity of the runners and to spare the blushes of the pub’s customers.

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Our luxurious bathing facilities

An excellent nosh followed. Runners, helpers, guests and partners enjoyed a fine meal supplemented by beers from the Dunham Brewery. And I wasn’t driving.

Thanks to all who helped with recces and planning the route, in particular Tim, Andy, Martin and Joules. Your inputs really were invaluable.

Thanks also to Tim’s family who fed and watered us so very well, to everyone who ran the route – and to The Club for letting me plan the route.

Smile