View from Oban Bothy

View from Oban Bothy

Wednesday 27 December 2023

Tally-Ho! Whitworth Wander / Turkey Trot 2023

 Whitworth Wander – Turkey Trot, 27th of a very wet December 2023

In memory of the late Brian Whitworth, a fine man, my friend, and a former Hon Sec of Tally-Ho!

The run was intended to be a shade over 8 miles, but the combination of an injured trail layer and a brook that was doing it’s best to be a river, forced a last minute re-route….thankfully.

As in recent years we ran from Little Bollington’s Olde Number 3 (Timothy Taylor’s Landlord and Theakston’s Best), although this time we hopped straight onto the Bridgewater Canal towpath and headed, muddily, into Dunham Park, passing the Swan with Two Nicks en route. The track leading to the park’s rear entrance was ankle deep in floodwater in places.

Thankfully the tracks through the park were relatively mud-free, and because of the nature of the tracks, trail-laying was a simple task.

At Dunham Massey Hall, former seat of the Earl of Stamford, we turned to head SE down Langham Grove, past Island Pool, almost as far as the Scout campsite at Home Farm, when we turned to head north(ish) passing the Deer Barn on our left.

We continued to circumnavigate the park, exiting by a stile onto Charcoal Road. A short section of tarmac followed until, just by the Dunham Brewery, we followed not particularly muddy paths into Dunham Town.

Heading north, and back on tarmac, we crossed the Bridgwater Canal and continued until joining a TransPennine Trail by Grove House Farm.

Now heading west along the soggy track we passed walkers, no doubt keen to burn off some of the excesses of the season.

It was a bit of a scramble to get off the trail using the unofficial exit at the Barns Lane Bridge, but it was manageable.

Barns Lane is a narrow and thankfully very quiet country lane. Just beyond Sam Smith’s Vine Inn we left the tarmac and followed the farm track south, over the River Bollin.

It was just beyond here that the trail was to cross Agden Brook, but it was deep and flowing fast – the enforced re-route took us SE and back to the Bridgewater Canal where we re-joined the muddy towpath which delivered us back to the Olde Number 3.

A goodly number of club members attended and took part in the run, the pub, under new management, was no doubt pleased that so many turned out to drink their beer and eat their meals.

We ended up running a little over 6½ flattish, but muddy miles…but what else would they have done on a wet Wednesday at the end of December?

No photographs I'm afraid, it was too damp.

Wednesday 25 October 2023

Hallowe'en Ceilidh 2023: SOLD OUT!


It's official - we're sold out!

Thanks to everyone who has bought tickets, and to those who can't come, for your donations - you know who you are!

See you all on Saturday - in your finest Hallowe'en fancy dress!


Saturday 7 October 2023

Tally-Ho! from Chinley, 7th Oct 2023

Running from the Old Hall, Chinley

Unseasonably hot weather meant this was going to be a tough run for those who dislike running in such temperatures, and so it was.


The Old Hall, Chinley 

Trail consisted of either straw (or was it hay?), interspersed with the odd clump of the more traditional sawdust – whatever it was, in the bright sunshine it was often difficult to follow.


Ady and Geoff drew the short straw (see what I did there?) on this one, they set off from the Old Hall in Chinley, heading SE on the B whatever number it was….it was definitely tarmac.

The road crossed the A6, and was shortly after this, as the route left the tarmac, that some runners lost trail. Fortunately the more eagle-eyed spotted the trail as it headed up a bit of an embankment – the attached maps tells all!

Onwards, over Hall Hill and a precarious electric fence – that caused one runner to take a bit of a tumble. Fortunately the ground was soft and wet, so it was only pride that suffered damage.

A change of direction (SW) took us by the wonderfully named Sparkbottom, and on to Tunstead Milton.

It was soon after the route crossed the B5470 that things went ever so slightly awry. Via the wonders of modern technology (Whatsapp), news was received that a horse had taken an interest in the trail….so much so that some of it had been eaten by said horse. This caused some consternation, and more than a couple of sniggers.

Whatever the reason, it appeared that trail was light on the ground, consequently some runners ran rather further than others.

I was now in the agreeable company of Hon Pres Park – agreeable because, apart from anything else, he’s far better at spotting trail than I am!


The next challenge was to find a way out of the field by Randall Carr. A small tunnel-type railway tunnel, cleverly disguised as a bush (the tunnel, not the railway) was eventually located – and we even spotted some uneaten trail.

Uneaten trail

Our problems were only just beginning – but this is the Cheshire Hare & Hounds Tally-Ho!, nobody said it was going to be easy!


Holly, laden with berries

The next field was also rather lacking in visible trail – no horses here though. Eventually, after a lot of faffing about, Joe and I found a way out of this next field, onto a farm track by Meveril Farm.

After a bit of to-ing and fro-ing, we picked up trail by the farm but were advised by a man holding a rather large tool (an electric planer I think) not to follow the trail ‘unless you’re very brave’ The intended route, a rarely used green lane, was overgrown with triffids – or they may have been nettles.


A nice bit of wrought iron

We took his advice and followed a bridleway which, whilst it meant we ran a little further, our beautiful, shapely legs escaped the ravages of the man-eating undergrowth.

Fast Taylor and Skint Wilson caught us up, and after a brief exchange of greetings, they left us in their wake.

Fast Taylor, about to step on some trail

Reaching Long Lane, another green lane, we turned west, happily trotting though calf-deep puddles of muddy water. We gained the company of Burston, and we trundled on, soon catching up with Wells, that well-known photographer.

We are running, honest!

Going north now, and on tarmac, through Horwich End, and passing the eastern edge of Whaley Bridge we trotted on, as the sun continued to beat down on us – this is early October for heaven’s sake!

Time was getting on, we knew that the trail would take us up Eccles Pike, it was going to be touch and go if we want to sit down to dinner, planned for an ealier than usual 4.30pm.

I had to leave by 5pm, so I cut trail by Eccles Fold to head back to the pub. Joe continued to follow trail to the top of Eccles Pike. I’m a firm believer in the Club’s pack system, and I felt bad about leaving him – but he seemed happy enough to continue alone.

I got back to the pub just after 4pm, had a quick wash and change in the loos, and sat down at the dining table at 4.30pm, ready to eat – I was hungry!


The runners, eagerly waiting for their dinner

Joe was a bit late, but he joined us at the dinner table at around 4.50pm – dinner still hadn’t arrived.

 The runners, wondering whether they're going to get their dinner

Service here, in the past, has always been good. At 5pm I had to leave, cancelling my meal, I couldn’t delay any longer. I gather the meal wasn’t actully served until 5.10pm – it was a damned good job I didn’t wait!


Ady & Geoff had laid an ‘interesting’ trail – not a particularly strenuous one, but certainly one that threw a few challenges our way!

I covered about 8 miles, I reckon if I’d have done the full trail, including Eccles Pike, I would have covered around 8.5 miles, with around 1600’ of ascent.

It was hot, it was hilly, the puddles were deep, nettles were plentiful, the views were tremendous, the company even better….a good trail!

Where we went:


Paul’s photos can be found here:

Thanks to Ady & Geoff for the trail, and to Joe for putting up with me for much of the trail!

Thanks to Paul Wells and Mark Taylor for some of the photographs.

Wednesday 19 July 2023

TGOC2023 No15: Pt 3, Lochcallater to The End


                Bill...wondering what the hell just happened

I woke to rain rattling on the flysheet of my tent - I gulped a fast coffee as I packed, then I returned to the warmth of the lodge for a mug of Michael's excellent coffee...and a couple of mugs of tea. And a bacon butty. Or two.

Poor Tracy was in trouble. she and Mick had decided to stay another night anyway, but her feet were blistered to blazes, she just couldn’t carry on – she’d have needed a good few days for her feet to recover. I only found out some days later that she’d had to retire, there was no other option. Mick, being the great bloke that he is (did I tell you what his Dad did for a living?) opted to stay with his daughter and also retire.

 Leaving Callater Lodge

I didn’t leave Callater until far too late on the Sunday, I left Tracy with a load of antiseptic cream, but her feet needed a proper seeing-to.

My route, one of the trade routes out of Glen Callater, took me round Carn an Sagairt Mor and Broad Cairn. The weather was pretty miserable: raining and thick mist – thick enough to have to use the compass a fair amount. 

The top of Broad Cairn is very rocky, it’s very easy to slip and fall. I was on my own, so if I’d have taken a tumble I’d have been in trouble, so I opted to follow the path marked on the map that goes around the rocky summit and then descend eastwards.

Big mistake! The path may be on the map, but there’s very little evidence of it on the ground – it took me an age to contour round the summit on really rough ground. Eventually I picked up the very good track leading off the top and followed it down to the pony hut, and then down to Loch Muick. 

 Loch Muick....if you look REALLY hard


Looking back at Loch Muick

It was around here that I realised how hungry I was – Bill’s bacon butties had fuelled me well up until now. I found a flat rock with a stream running by….all I needed to rehydrate a meal, make a brew, and enjoy a restful dinner.

At the Spittal of Glenmuick I headed SE and uphill until I found a nice little spot to plant my tent, and so to sleep.

Shielin of Mark Bothy

Next morning I didn’t bother with breakfast, a couple of coffees sufficed. The yomp to Shielin of Mark is a good one to exercise compass skills – it was with some satisfaction that, by relying on walking on the needle, the roof of the bothy soon appeared dead ahead of me.

Breakfast time! Muesli and a brew – in the company of many other Challengers going my way.

Lindsay and Pierre

Another yomp, this time up and over Muckle Cairn, in the company of Sir Dave, Powerful Pierre, and Lindsay (famous for helicopter rides). We stuck together for the rest of the day – and what a fun day it was!

The sun had returned, big time. Sunscreen applied, knees were exposed, whilst other bits were covered up, it was hot.

The LRT by Glen Lee and Loch Lee is a well worn Challenge route for those heading to Tarfside, as we were. It was good to see Bernie Roberts again – he reckoned this was going to be his last Challenge….yeah, right Bernie, anything you say – see you next year then!

                    Pierre feeding Sir Dave the Beaver


Sir Dave, ready to roll

 Invermark Castle - in need of modernistaion

I'm fairly sure that tree shouldn't be there

This is always a sad bit of the Challenge for me – others too, I’m sure. The big hills are behind, from here on the terrain begins to lose it’s wilderness – slowly but surely civilisation returns.

Arriving in Tarfside we called in to St Drostan’s to report in – mobile phone coverage in Tarfside is non-existent.

St Drostan's, Tarfside

I resisted the temptation to head straight to the Mason’s for beer and a burger, instead I put my tent up, had a cuppa, a good wash, and THEN hit the Mason’s. To quote some of our politicians who delight in dishing out crap in the hope that the Gullibles will swallow it, it was ‘the right thing to do’.

The Tarfide campsite was as busy as ever I’d seen it, with a huge variety of lightweight tents, I managed to squeeze my tent in to a nice flat spot – not too far to walk to the Mason’s!


TWO delicious burgers and a couple of beers later, I was at last feeling human again. A very pleasant evening followed – it was good to catch up with Mole, my original plans meant it was unlikely we’d meet up.

Around 10.30pm we were turfed out of the bar – those running the place had homes to go to! The Mason’s really is a very welcome ‘pub’ – warm, dry, something to sit on….not much not to like. If Tarfside is on my TGOC2024 then you’ll certainly find me in there at some point.

Leaving the campsite next morning in glorious sunshine, I decided to have a look at the church at Cairncross. I'd walked past it many a time, but this time curiosity got the better of me:

My usual breakfast stop after Tarfside used to be the Retreat, a mile or so down the road. Unfortunately circumstances have changed in recent times (Covid related?), it just wasn’t cost effective for the place to open up with catering staff for a limited number of customers. Coffee and cake was all that was on offer. I had a coffee.

The Retreat has a museum with many interesting artefacts, it's well worth having an explore....even if you can't get your breakfast. Although the coffee was nice.


Google / Blogger continue to bugger up the order which photos are posted, heaven knows why.

I followed Andy and Martin, we chose the Blue Door route by Rocks of Solitude – a truly beautiful walk to Edzell. I’ve only done the route once before, I’d forgotten how spectacular and peaceful the path was.

Edzell can only mean one thing: the Tuck Inn….but it was closed! The good news, and something of a relief, was a rather nice café just across the road. A tasty, late lunch set me up for the last leg of the day to the campsite at Northwaterbridge…..henceforth known as NWB – because I can’t be mithered typing out ‘Northwaterbridge’ every time I want to mention Northwaterbridge. That’s going to save me loads of time. .

For those in the know, and that’s nearly every Challenger these days, there’s a quiet route which bypasses enough of the very busy Edzell Woods to NWB road to make the walk almost bearable.

A much needed ice cream was devoured on my arrival at NWB (see how much time I saved there?) before putting my tent up. The site was full of chatty Challengers, all sharing tales of their crossings – only one more day to go!

Another one for Dawn and Alan R

The Challenge village at Northwaterbridge campsite

The sunset that evening was quite spectacular, lots of oohs and ahs as camera phone were clicking away in a NW direction.

My last day was almost all on tarmac. I was away fairly early. The day was forecast to be a hot one, and the forecast was right - I was grateful to be plastered with Factor 50.


Hillside's War Memorial, always beautifully tended

One for Rob

                             Another Challenger

Brunch of decent coffee, an even more decent bacon butty, all followed by a strawberry meringue was more than satisfactory. The Charleton Fruit Farm’s café was full of Challengers – this place has taken over from St Cyrus as the place to finish, and with very good reason:

After all, who, apart from the Pieman, DOESN’T like strawberries?

It’s but a short 1km walk over the dunes to at last reach the end of my TGO Challenge: the North Sea coast.

The pebble I carried over from Oban’s sea shore was duly thrown into the briny – heaven knows how geologists will explain how all the non-native rock types found their way from the west to east coast!


Boots eventually came off, feet in the cooling sea – my tootsies felt deliciously fresh for the dunking in sea water.

I was in the company of an American Challenger. To my shame I can’t remember her name, and we walked, in bare feet, along the beach as far as Montrose’s golf course. We navigated our way, fairly successfully, to the Park Hotel where we were able to officially sign out, collect our certificates, t-shirts, & badges, and then guzzle biscuits and drink copious amounts of tea until the cows came home.

And then I had a bath – navigating to the allocated hotel remote bathroom was harder that finding my way across the Highlands!

Challengers have been using this bathroom for years, yet after all this time the taps are STILL jammed. Come on chaps, if I had my tools with me I’d have repaired it in 5 minutes, it’s not that difficult.

A number of Challengers escaped to the PictureHouse pub in town for our evening meal, cheap and cheerful, and it did the job.

A couple of beers back at the Park Hotel gave us the chance to catch up with other Challengers, renew friendships, hear their tales of woe – and discuss plans for TGOC2024.

Thanks to Sue & Ali, all the route vetters, and all the many folk who work, unseen, in the background to make this hugely popular event possible.  Without you lot the Challenge just wouldn’t happen.

That’s it until my 16th Challenge which, fingers crossed, will be in 2024.

Edited to add this map showing my (West to East) approximate route:



Tally-Ho! Whitworth Wander / Turkey Trot 2023

  Whitworth Wander – Turkey Trot, 27 th of a very wet December 2023 In memory of the late Brian Whitworth, a fine man, my friend, and a for...