View from Oban Bothy

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

Saturday, 4 November 2017

A Right Royal Run .

Trotting around Tockholes

The day before Bonfire Night saw the Club’s annual gathering at the very fine Royal Arms at Tockholes near Darwen where 17(?) members met for a run over some of the lumpier bits of the West Pennine Moors.

Photo by Joe Park

(Photo: Hon Prez Park)

Rick Ridings and I set off from the pub at 11am to lay a sawdust & shredded paper trail along a route that had been (mostly) recced the previous day with another Rick – the Long Suffering one.


On the recce: Long Suffering Rick is NOT a fairy

We trotted north(ish) via the familiarly bovine excrement-perfumed Ryal Fold, splodging across fields to pick up The Witton Bloody Weavers Way….and some mud. Hours of persistent heavy rain the previous night had ensured we we would enjoy some rather squelchy ground.

Photo by John Wilson

Old Markham leading Eastwood and the Hon Sec through the fragrant Ryal Fold

(Photo: J. Wilson)

It was dry when we recced it. Honest.

Photo 4 by Ian Brown


(Photo: Ian Brown)

It was a slimy cobbled descent to Earnshaw Reservoir dam, although the dam-top path offered temporary respite from the slutch. The sun shone intermittently and was only a bit chilly.


Earnshaw Reservoir, the Jubilee Tower on the skyline.

Photo 1 from Ian Brown

Early starters Goulder & Lesser Ruddock

(Photo: Ian Brown)

A mix of uphill concrete tracks, diverted and concessionary paths led us south, up the eastern side of Darwen Hill and Darwen Moor, tantalisingly close to the Jubilee Tower.

Photo 3 by John Wilson

Jubilee Tower. So near yet so far.

(Photo: J Wilson)

Photo 3 by Ian Brown

(Photo: Ian Brown)

The route so far had been generally runnable…..well some bits were generally runnable, the other bits were generally, er, interesting. And a bit wet.

Dramatic clouds scudded overhead whilst a couple of light showers kept the puddles and fetid bogs up to Lancashire’s usual high standard.


A footpath…or a stream


Rick Ridings at rest

The descent from Darwen Moor led us to a short section of uphill tarmac at Duckshaw Brook. This short dry bit provided only fleeting relief from the tough terrain of the previous couple of miles before once again returning us to the rough ground of the Witton Bloody Weavers Way. For a few hundred yards anyway.

Photo 6 by John Wilson

Not So Fast Taylor going across the rough bit of path

(Photo: J Wilson)

Then the route became slightly more difficulter (that’s Timperley dialect is that) as we left the Witton Bloody Weavers Way. Turning right (SW) at a rotted signpost (the rot was probably down to the gound being slightly more moist than the surrounding terrain) we trotted cheerily and muddily across an incredibly lumpy footpath that was quite unrunnable in parts. Well actually it was completely unrunnably along quite a lot of it’s length. That length seemed to go on for miles but in reality it was less than a mile.

Photo 7 by John Wilson

There’s a path there – somewhere

(Photo: J. Wilson)

The path was mostly obscured by waist-high rushes and sedge grasses, consequently some runners disappeared into hidden holes in the ground – one may still yet be lost, there was definitely one runner missing when we sat down to dinner later. 

Photo 6 by Ian Brown

Winter Hill

(Photo: Ian Brown)

The wind was getting up on this exposed section and care had to be taken laying trail. It wouldn’t do for the runners to lose trail and go astray….they might end up getting back too late to enjoy the delights of the tin bath. Worse still, they might miss their tea.

Photo 5 by John Wilson   Wells & Eastwood relieved to be back on the DWWW

(Photo: J. Wilson)

Suitably soaked, muddied and bruised we rejoined that Damned Witton Weavers Way – at least the ground became more runnable. Wislon J had tumbled a grand total of five times on the rough section – surely a Club record. There are rumours that he’s going to receive the award of the Club’s Official Fell Fall Runner.

We were now on the return leg although it would be a while before Darwen’s Jublilee Tower would become visible.

Photo 8 by John Wilson

Only slight dampness on the WBWW

(Photo: J. Wilson)

What DID become visible were two of the Club’s runners coming up behind us. They were still a good distance away but they were moving quickly – obviously Fast Pack Runners. Rick and I, er, picked up speed to keep ahead of them for as long as we could. It’s frowned upon for Hounds to catch the Hares. Apart from anything else, the Hounds wouldn’t be able to follow the trail – because, as Trail Layers, we Hares hadn’t completed laying the trail.

Photo 9 by John Wilson

On final approach to Jubilee Tower

(Photo: J. Wilson)

We managed to keep ahead of the Fast Pack until they caught us up on Darwen Moor, just to the south of the Jubilee Tower. It turned out that the fast guys, Goulder and Lesser Ruddock, had set out at 1pm – rather earlier than even the Slow Pack. In fairness to them they both had to beat a hasty retreat after the run – not even stopping for dinner.

The route zig-zagged a little, now on more familiar ground. The Tower came into full view and it was a quite straight-forward matter of following clearly marked paths across the heather moorland.

More runners, including the Hon Prez, hove into view. They knew the route back down to the pub so after pleasanties were exchanged they continued their way back to the warmth and comfort of the Royal Arms.

At Jubilee Tower we littered our way south-westish for half a mile or so on a very good and flat path. The views over Sunnyhurst Hey Reservoir out to Blackburn and Preston were excellent – on a clearer day you would be able to see THE tower, the one at Blackpool.

Then it began to rain, fortunately it didn’t last long. A steep and rocky descent was the last of the difficulties for the runners, in the wet it was a bit hairy. All survived and were back at the pub by around 4pm – in good time for tea.

Photo 10 by John Wilson

Doggy Burston at the finish

(Photo: J. Wilson)

The pub, as always, really looked after us and made us very welcome. We were served with really excellent food: a very tasty lamb hotpot followed by apple crumble and custard. The beer, as ever, was superb.


The Apple Crumble Demolition Squad in action

Photo 1 by John Wilson

The Royal at Tockholes.

(Photo: J Wilson)

The Royal is probably my favourite pub – anywhere. I feel very fortunate being able to lay trail from here every year. It’s a great venue set in really rugged running country.

Thanks to Long Suffering Rick for helping with the recce of the route, and to Rick Ridings for letting me have one of his bananas – and helping to lay trail so very well. Hardly anyone got really lost – and that can’t be bad. 

Tally-Ho Tockholes 2017

Tally-ho Tockholes 2017 profile

8.5 miles and 1300ft of ascent and wetness

More photographs are here

Most of the photographs were by Ian Brown or John Wislon Wilson.

Other photographs were taken by me using my old but very weatherproof Olympus mju410. This camera is okay but doesn’t perform at all well in anything like low light. It also takes a long time to boot-up from ‘switch-on’  - especially when the memory card has a couple of hundred images stored on it.

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

Sunday, 8 October 2017

Mersey Run, Sunday 8th October 2017

Around 6 miles of river bank flatness

A nice post-wedding run along the banks of the River Mersey towards Stockort. I didn’t record the route….’cos I forgot to switch the damned GPS on when I started. It was a flat run in lovely conditions: cool and dry – ideal for running.

Just a few photos from the run:


River Mersey near Heaton Mersey


Autumn colours


Remains of the bridge that once carried a branch of the Cheshire Line 


Remains of the bridge that once carried Manchester Central to Buxton trains


On approach to Ringway


B5095 road bridge

This was just the job for the much-needed brain reset. Weddings are stressful!

The photographs were taken using my old Samsung S3 Mini. The reason for taking it with me wasn’t for photographic purposes but to use the Viewranger app & GPS….which I didn’t use after all.

It’s an age thing….

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Frodsham Frolics Saturday 9th Sept 2017

The first trail of the season

The Prez wasn’t quite firing on all four so I volunteered, along with Intercontinental Wells, to litter around 8 miles of Cheshire countryside.

At 10.30am on the dot we left Forest Hills, armed with bags of sawdust and strips of paper….at 10.50am.

Joe’s route took us left out of Forest Hills and down hill to pick up the path that we followed south, skirting the eastern side of Beacon Hill. The sun shone and the birdies sang….but the clouds looked ominously April-like.

Sure enough, some very heavy rain-showers were encountered – but we weren’t downhearted much at all. Well not very much.

Note to self: Bring (old) weatherproof camera in future.

A sharp turn to the east took us by Crow Mere and then downhill to the B5152 close to Newton Hall. By this stage of the game both Intercontinental Wells and I though we had a pretty good idea where the Hon Prez was going to take us. We were almost right.

Then we got wet. Very wet actually. The rain shower, albeit only lasting a few minutes, was very heavy.

There followed a couple of miles of wet and nominally downhill ziggery & zaggery, some of which coincided with the North Cheshire Way.


At the Weaver Navigation we trotted in a sort of NNW direction, scattering a mixture of sawdust and the smallest of strips of paper for the runners to follow. We followed the muddy path alongside the Weaver Navigation and the Frodsham Cut as far as Frodsham Lock where we turned west for about 546 yards 500 metres.

Apples (windfalls) and blackberries were collected around here. They made a very fine apple & blackberry crumble* the next day.


Turning south and gently uphill along a section of Eddisbury Way we littered our way through Bradley, and then on the North Cheshire Way, back to cross the B5152, approximately 546 yards NW of where we crossed it earlier. Blue sky had appeared and it was quite warm.


This area must be well populated with giant moles. Or mayber badgers.

More uphill followed, this time back to Beacon Hill. A short section of the return route coincided with the outward section – we had to be careful not to confuse the runners (some are easily confused) so trail had to be littered carefully. I think we succeeded.

A final bit of an uphill tug on tarmac took us back to Forest Hills where coffee and butties were enjoyed (well I enjoyed mine).

Runners arrived back in dribs and drabs – I think there may have been a couple of packs out:


Early Taylor


Ding Dong, smiling. Always smiling


Goulder cruising in, well ahead of the main pack

Nobody complained, not even about the nettles, so I reckon Joe did a good job with his route.

A good meal was enjoyed by all, shame about the beer but there you go.

Where we went, anti-clockwise:


7.6 miles with around 820ft of ascent. And descent. It was decent.

Thanks to Joe for dreaming up the route, and to Joe and Intercontinental Wells for their excellent company on the trail-laying expedition.

* The Apple & Blackberry crumble….well the remnants of it: