Martin on the TGO Challenge 2017

Martin on the TGO Challenge 2017

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Friday 10 October 2014 – The Big Macc Ramble (A Bike Ride)

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I’ve reported on this route and variations to it before – here – so whilst there’s a map below, no detailed description beyond that given is warranted.

I’d been planning a visit to the Cat and Fiddle for some time, the bike ride being a training ride for the Calderdale Mountain Bike Marathon (CMBM). As that takes place tomorrow, I suspect this Big Macc Ramble will have tired me out more than it got me fit!

The day was warm, with sunny periods. I encountered just a handful of pedestrians on the quiet paths. A long ascent to Macclesfield Forest is followed by a gentle descent to the chapel, where I enjoyed some tea and a sandwich on a familiar and much loved bench before tackling the technical descent to Bottom-of-the-Oven – not so easy on the old steel bike that I traditionally take on the CMBM.

Here are views to the Stanley Arms, and to the Cat and Fiddle, from Bottom-of-the-Oven.

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It’s a long haul up the road to the tea rooms, especially for one whose cycling these days is mainly along canal towpaths. Above the tea rooms I paused to regain my breath and take snaps towards Shutlingsloe and back to Macclesfield Forest, where my route along Charity Lane follows the edge of the forest on the horizon.

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After a productive meeting with Adam, the Cat and Fiddle’s chef, during which the menu for our Christmas lunch on 14 December was finalised – details will be available here shortly – I continued on along Danebower Hollow.

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After a short road section, there’s a lovely descent to Cumberland Clough and a final stream crossing over Cumberland Brook after negotiating some increasingly sized rocks.

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Then it’s back up to Macc Forest, Nessit Hill, and the final exhilarating descent at over 30 mph on the swooping gravel track above Trentabank. Brilliant!

Here’s today’s route, described basically here, but note that at the end, beyond Nessit Hill, a designated cycle trail now leads steeply and directly to the road junction near Trentabank, slightly shortening the route to 14.2 miles with about 700 metres ascent - allow 2-3 hours.

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Thursday 9 October 2014 – An Evening Walk to Stretford

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We just didn’t feel like traipsing to Peckforton for a walk in the dark. We weren’t alone, as we would have been alone on that planned walk, if you get my drift.

Instead, Sue and I enjoyed a leisurely supper and set off down the newly resurfaced Bridgewater Canal towpath on a 50 minute jaunt to Stretford, from where we caught the tram back home.

The full moon illuminated our progress, though the ambient light would have been sufficient. Cyclists were also enjoying the newly laid surface, which replaces a very muddy section between Timperley and Brooklands. Some of the cyclists could benefit from lessons in courtesy, but it’s good to see them using this much safer alternative to the main Chester Road. If walking along the towpath at night, a torch is handy, if only to alert cyclists of your presence.

A couple of watering holes were passed, one being The King’s Ransom in Sale, which we didn’t visit on this occasion, just pausing to take a couple of snaps with the Lumix FT4.

Temperatures remain warm, with two layers being sufficient to give rise to some overheating.

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Our next evening walk is around Styal on Thursday 13 November – meet at the Ship Inn, Moss Lane, SJ 838 835, at 7.30 pm for a woodland saunter. All are welcome 5 – 10 km, depending on weather and what we feel like doing.

The Four Heatons

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Last Wednesday evening’s session at Hazel Grove Civic Centre with SWOG (Stockport Walking and Outdoors Group) was devoted to an inspirational presentation by Ian Littlechilds and Phil Page. ‘The Four Heatons’ was the subject of their presentation, but it was channelled more towards ‘how the book was put together’ than a detailed review of its contents.

Former schoolteachers Ian and Phil related how they had accumulated information for the book, including the purchase of numerous postcards, which before the days of the telephone were often used as a primary means of communication, thus revealing much about the life and times of the authors of such cards, which apparently sell for up to about £25.

[Author pauses to rummage through postcard collection – the oldest I can find is of the Royal Pavilion, Brighton, in 1937, with a message ‘we are having a lovely time’. Conclusion: not a very valuable collection. But yours may be if you have some older cards. Note for Dot – “Look after those old cards!”]

The book appears to include many annotated comparisons between the old photos with new ones taken by the authors, who were surprised at how much foliage there is nowadays compared with Victorian times. Old images were obtained from various sources, including libraries, and the authors had spent some time familiarising themselves with the complexities of Copyright Duration. (Far too complex to go into here!)

They also explained how easy it was to persuade Amberley, the publisher, to publish a book that fitted into their ‘Through Time’ series. This really is something from which anyone with a few basic skills could gain a lot of satisfaction. So, if you are interested in picking up a book on the local history of a particular area, have a look at Amberley’s website, and if the book isn’t there… you have a possible project.

By way of example, here’s what the Amazon ‘preview’ says about the Four Heatons book:

“The Four Heatons (Heaton Moor, Heaton Mersey, Heaton Chapel and Heaton Norris) have a combined population of around 70,000 and each has its own history and character. Heaton Moor and Heaton Chapel grew as residential areas with the development of new road and rail links, Heaton Mersey developed as a community based on mining, bleaching and dyeing and Heaton Norris was a workers' community situated within touching distance of the industries of Stockport. Although there have been changes over the past one hundred years or so, much of the original architecture of the areas remains and links between the old and new photographs can clearly be established. This unique selection of old and new images and informative captions will be essential reading for anyone who knows and loves these suburbs of Greater Manchester.”

Thanks go to Pam for suggesting these excellent presenters.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Monday 6 October 2014 – the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum (and other stuff)

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Sue and I had planned a walk before returning home, after spending another pleasant evening in the company of TGO Challengers, of whom about a dozen remained at Crianlarich.

The rain in itself didn’t put us off, but it was so torrential that it was raining inside the hotel, whose staff were rummaging everywhere for more buckets.

Avoiding a soaking, we drove to Glasgow and arrived outside this museum (easy to find, £1 for 4 hours parking, entry free). It’s a great place and we only managed to explore a small section, so must visit again.

There’s an organ over the entrance, and a recital took place during our visit.

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There are some interesting displays, including a lot about Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868 – 1928) “Architect – Artist – Icon”.

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The interesting natural history displays include this rare item of taxidermy – the elusive and iconic Haggis, half bird, half rodent, that keen eyed readers will recall having seen dashing clockwise around Scottish hillsides. That’s because they have evolved to have two short legs on the right flank, with longer ones on the left, enabling them to speed along in a clockwise direction, thereby escaping from all known predators.

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Goggle-eyed, we then returned home.

I’ve now processed the weekend’s images, and there’s a small (41 images) slideshow here. (Click on the first image and then click ‘slideshow’ to view it.)

Here are some highlights, with links to the individual postings.

Friday - the Falkirk Kelpies and a guarded canal boat:0309Kelpie7
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Saturday’s ascent of Ben Vorlich:0403Vorlich30407Vorlichtrig20419Vorlichrainbow6

The route up Ben Vorlich - 12 km, 1000 metres ascent, taking 5.5 hours: 0499route

Sunday’s outing up Beinn Chuirn with Mike and Marian, where these three photos were taken at the summit:0513Chuirnsummit30516Chuirnsummitmike20517Chuirnsummitlunch

Our route - 16 km, 850 metres ascent, taking 5 hours:0599route

Don’t forget the slideshow!

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Sunday 5 October 2014 - Beinn Chuirn

"I've been up there before" exclaimed Sue after we'd returned to base following our ascent of this hill. Indeed she had - on 20 October last year, with Graham Brookes, from Glen Lochy.

But I had skipped that walk, and the hill suited Mike and Marian, who were happy to join us for a short day before driving home to Patterdale. It hadn't occurred to Sue that she might have been up a hill that was still on my unclimbed list!

Last night's TGO Challengers reunion dinner had been a great success. Sixty people attended and Roger Smith gave an excellent short address. He was on good form, as were Sue and Ali, the new coordinators. 

So we were all excused for our slow start this morning, it being 10.15 by the time Sue and I set off with Mike and Marian from the Information Centre at Tyndrum, along the easy track to Cononish. This is gold mining country and Marian recounted how yesterday she and Mike had seen a series of 'Saturday gold panners' leaving the glen in their Porsches.

Continuing along the track to well beyond Cononish farm gave us about 5 km of track walking which we filled with conversation on both the walk in and the walk out. As the Eas Anie waterfall approached we left the track and ascended slopes above the waterfall over easy grassy ground, zigzagging up the steepest section. We paused for elevenses and to admire the flowers. Lousewort, Moss Campion and the spent flowers of Bog Asphodel can be added to yesterday's tally. 

After some level ground and an easy stream crossing we continued easily up to the broad south east ridge of Beinn Chuirn, passing an impressive steep gully on the way. Cloud came and went, as did some drizzle, but it was calm enough to enjoy our lunch at the summit, where both of today's pictures were taken. We even had some views, notably across Glen Lochy to Beinn Udlaidh.

The way we came was the way we went, subject to a few variations that will be apparent when I download the weekend's routes. Cake was eaten, tea was drunk, crisps were crunched.

M & M headed home and Sue and I headed for another exquisitely hot bath at the Crianlarich Hotel, whilst the drizzle we'd noticed from time to time on the walk morphed into a storm. 

Today's route was about 16 km with 700 metres ascent, taking five and a half hours. 

The weather over the past couple of days has been comparatively benign compared with that during the usual timing of this reunion later in October, and I think the consensus of those attending was that this was a Good Thing. Expect a similar date next year.