Martin on the TGO Challenge 2017

Martin on the TGO Challenge 2017

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

A Postcard from Timperley

This is just a ‘catch-up’ posting of a few recent pictures that many people might nowadays put on Facebook.

But here there’s no advertising…

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Autumn colours by the canal continue to delight.

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Saturday morning: parkrun number 315 at Wythenshawe, under Oliver’s watchful eye.

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Jeanette and Sue have taken to walking around the 5 km course in about 40 minutes. This protects them from injury and facilitates a good natter.

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Sunday: A visit from Jacob and Jessica.

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Mummy (Kate) has a birthday on Monday, so we’d better make her some cakes.

This is Jessica’s design masterpiece.

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Meanwhile, Jacob’s is ‘work in progress’ when a visit to the park intervenes.

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The trains at Walton Park were operating, but there was no sign of an ice cream van.

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Much time was spent on the swings.

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Then we returned home for Jacob to complete his masterpiece.

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Monday, 20 November 2017

Wednesday 5 July 2006 – A Slow Descent

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After a starlit night that I spent in my Nallo 2 tent with the door wide open, our great position saw the sun on us at 6.45, whereas on our pitch in Mayrhofen it's 8.30. By 7.15 the thermometer had rocketed from 9º to 23ºC. It was a lovely clear day and we enjoyed our lofty position whilst breakfasting and packing up in a very leisurely fashion.

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A 9.30 start had us ambling slowly along path 536, the Berliner Hohenweg. The path was excellently marked, but extremely rough, with long bouldery sections spliced with narrow vertiginous paths creeping through and around the crags that flank this Hauptkamm range of mountains.

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The difficulties were minor if we took our time, as M and J's town shoes are not really the best equipment.

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A steep drop led through the final barrier of crags to the farm buildings at Kesselalm, but not before a steep snow slope had to be negotiated. An ice axe, buried deep in my rucksack, but taken as a precaution, came in handy.

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Getting down to the snow was a bit tricky, but once there I renewed the path across the snow and then returned three times for the rucksacks. Then M and J went around the top of the bergschrund on a route I'd already reccied, and slithered down a bit of snow in which I'd made some steps. All good fun!

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By the time we got to the other side of the shepherds' hut it was 12.30 - time for a well earned lunch. We'd covered about two miles all morning, in excellent weather. It's slow going, especially for Julie. [But now, after another eleven years of 'adventures with Mark', she would float along such a route in no time at all.]

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After 45 minutes we escaped from some annoying flies by descending some 800 metres to reach the bus stop at Tulfer-Alp at 3.30. The bus, when it arrived (late) 40 minutes later was full, and only I got a seat.

On the descent we had seen a herd of goats scrabbling on high rocks and sheltering from the sun under an overhang. The wild flowers were tremendous - numerous different varieties adorned our scenic route that led through open meadows then down through fragrant pine woods. A superb if short overnight trip.

By the time we got back to Mayrhofen the weather was fresher, with quite a lot of cloud, and whilst shopping the heavens opened. So we adjourned to a bar next to Dave and Sue's pension and enjoyed a beer. They arrived within minutes (dry - they'd been on a bus) to join us, after which we dispersed for our separate meals (I had luxury mushroom soup with frankfurters, M and J had spag bol), showers, etc, before returning to rendezvous with D and S for another beer, after which David and I watched the rather dismal end to France 1; Portugal 0 in the World Cup, France being very poor despite winning.

Today we walked about 5 km with 250 metres ascent, taking a little over 5 hours, plus stops. It was very rough going.

Sunday, 19 November 2017

Tuesday 4 July 2006 – High Camp Day

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Another lovely day in the Zillertal Alps. We rendezvoused with Sue and Dave on the crowded 9.30 bus from the railway station up to Schlegeisspeicher. An interesting 1100 metre ascent, including a 15 minute wait at one tunnel entrance and 7 minutes at another.

We were soon heading up route 502 towards the Olperer Hut - a 600 metre climb taking from 10.45 to 12.45. The steep, zigzag path was well graded with a good number of people on it.

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We took an easy pace but made reasonable time. M and J's backpacks were lighter than on the previous attempt as we only had one day's food, and many other items had been discarded - left in Sue and Dave's room in the pension earlier in the day.

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We enjoyed a leisurely lunch on a high spot above the hut, before continuing on over fairly rough ground to Friesenberghaus at 2477 metres, after reaching a high point at around 2650 metres and descending steeply to the lake (in a rocky bowl, not suitable for camping) and fairly deserted hut.

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Drinks and apfelstrudel were enjoyed here, on the Berliner Hohenweg route. [Sue and I walked that route in its entirety the following year.]

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After the 40 minute break at the hut, Dave and Sue left us at 4.10 pm to descend by route 532 - 'a beautiful descent' they later reported, after getting down in plenty of time for the last bus at 17.55.

The three of us carried on for 50 minutes, admiring trumpet gentians along the way.

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We crossed the ridge that goes up to Hoher Riffler, with fine views.

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A small lake, Wesendkarsee, 2350 metres, was reached at 5 pm. The going had been rough but we were pleased to find some flattish spots for the tents. I had camped here before, on 9 August 1993. There is also a good flat spot, hidden from the path until further east, about 100 metres SE of the lake. [Now in 2017, these observations are sadly rather academic as wild camping is no longer permitted in Austria.]

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The weather was lovely. We lingered outside for an al fresco meal until a few drops of rain drove M and J into their tent, but well after the sun had vanished over the peaks to the west. It was very quiet. The high cable car on Gefrorene Wand was now hidden, and whilst Sue and Dave's evening in Mayrhofen was blighted by disappointed German soccer fans (they lost to Italy in the World Cup semi-finals) until 3 am, we had a lovely calm, quiet, starry night. At 9ºC it was a bit cool for Julie, who needed clothes on, and their superbly positioned site turned out to be 'a bit lumpy'. Never mind!

During the evening two oldish men hobbled past on their way to Friesenberghaus. They were absolutely knackered. When we spoke to them in English they just waved us away. It's obviously a long day from Gams Hutte.

Today we walked about 8 km, with 850 metres ascent, in a little under 5 hours plus breaks.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Friday 17 November 2017 – A Cheadle Circuit

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“You must be desperate” someone observed when I suggested that I wanted to explore some paths I’d not been on before and I was thinking of walking around Cheadle.

So I’d anticipated little interest in this walk. It was therefore an unexpected pleasure to set off from the foyer of John Lewis in Cheadle at 10am with four other takers.

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This was very familiar territory for Paul and Jeanette, whose schools we passed, as well as numerous other places of remembrance, and overall the route seemed to please everyone present.

Once we had escaped from the shopping complex, underpasses led us into Bruntwood Park, where vibrant autumn colours shone brightly on a day with sunny periods that degenerated into heavy cloud with spots of rain.

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After an hour or so, on joining a brief stretch of tarmac, we encountered ‘One Thirty’ on Hulme Hall Road. A moment of indecision drew a face from the doorway… “You will come in, won’t you?”

The coffee and cake was excellent. This was a great place to stop, even if it did result in late lunches for us all.

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After a few minutes on tarmac, with various points of interest to P and J, we entered Carr Wood, where a pleasant path leads through the wood next to Bramall Park Golf Course.

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As Lady Brook was approached, the colours were still great, despite the heavy cloud and spits of moisture.

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We diverted to admire the timber framed Tudor manor house, Bramall Hall, that dates from the 14th Century. It lies in parkland of 70 acres and has been owned by the local government authority, currently Stockport MBC, since 1935.

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The house is a museum. We must visit it.

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We exited the well groomed park, which hosts a scenic Saturday morning parkrun (we must do it), to join a sometimes boggy path alongside Lady Brook.

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The main line railway that we had earlier crossed by way of a footbridge, was now high above us as we approached Lady Bridge.

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Looking back, it was hard to discern that this was essentially an urban walk, with housing estates bordering the green passages we found between them.

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At some point Lady Brook mutates into Micker Brook, which drains into the River Mersey in Stockport. We took time to admire the colours; in a week or two the trees will be bare.

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It was a little surprising (to me, anyway) to find quite a large weir in the middle of a housing estate.

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“Look! It’s a weir!”

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We followed Micker Brook until a path through Brookfields Park led us towards Bruntwood Park, where we reversed our outward route and returned to the John Lewis foyer.

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All in all, a very satisfactory outing on pleasant paths. Here’s our route - 16 km, with minimal ascent, in around 4 hours including breaks.

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We will reconvene at some point at Bramall Hall for a circuit to Poynton and back, followed by an optional visit to the house if it’s open.

After the walk we returned home via Alpenstock, my favourite outdoors shop, in Stockport (35 St Petersgate, Stockport SK1 1DH). Their lease expired some time ago and Jose has decided to retire rather than renew it. She will be closing the doors for good on 30 November. Meanwhile, whilst she has run down the stock, there may be bargains to be had if you care to pay her a visit. If you tell her you are there on my recommendation you could secure rather more than the usual 10% discount for items that are not on ‘sale or return’. Good luck, and happy shopping.

PS I hope nobody minds this interruption of my postings from 2006!

Monday 3 July 2006 – A Bad Nav Day

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It started fine. We were honest and paid for our bus fares into Innsbruck on a sunny morning, our day passes having expired minutes earlier. Julie failed to buy a dress, but the staff at Tourist Information were very helpful and we did get onto a correct train to Jenbach, for Mayrhofen. Unfortunately we soon thought it was the wrong train so we got off at Hall and returned to Innsbruck before getting another, 45 minutes later, train to Jenbach, passing 'Camping - Hell' en route. Had we been quicker, we would have recovered our schedule and immediately boarded the narrow gauge train to Mayrhofen.

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Anyway, we managed that half an hour later, and lunched and shopped in Mayrhofen before setting up at the excellent campsite (but keep away from the overhead lights) a ten minute walk to the north of the town.

The afternoon was spent lazily, with Mark and Julianna enjoying the pool despite the low flying wasps that avoided my lounger in the shade.

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Dave and Sue Emmett made an appearance in the evening. They are staying half board (B&B and evening meal) at a pension in Mayrhofen. We ate à la carte at the restaurant for which they had vouchers that got them a €6.50 discount on main courses that were about €10. [As I transcribe this eleven years later, those prices seem very cheap!]

Friday, 17 November 2017

Sunday 2 July 2006 – A Good Weather Day

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The backpacking 'trial' having failed, we decided on a day walk and purchased Innsbruck Day Passes. Leaving camp at 9.30, LK, then O, then J buses took us to Igls, where annoyingly we got off at the wrong stop. I'll never make a proper mountain guide! A walk back to Igls got us to the cablecar station where we joined hordes in ascending up the Patscherkofel from 870 to 1960 metres - two hours from camp.

Then we wandered around the very poor alpine botanical gardens - not a patch on the ones I'd seen in the Pyrenees on my previous trip. At least they were free of charge - it would be an insult to make people pay for viewing this unkempt meadow/woodland.

So it was 11.45 by the time we joined the crowds on a sunny saunter along the Zirbenweg path - route 350 to Tuffeinalm via Boschenen.

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There were summits to climb, but we eschewed these as M and J were tired after yesterday's exertions. It was a pleasant walk in the sun, along easy paths. However, an errant mountain biker did fall off the path ahead of us.

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A generous lunch stop on a lofty perch, then it was on to Tulfeinalm for drinks. Here there was no signposted route down, so we retraced some way back along the panoramic path, descending steeply by route 45. It seems we either missed route 42, just beyond Tulfeinalm, or it wasn't indicated.

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After meeting huge numbers of people on the high path, on our route down we encountered just one mountain biker. People must take the cablecar down. Not surprisingly, it was a long, hot dusty road. Eventually we reached Rinn, where we waited for over an hour for a postbus that refused to recognise our Innsbruck transport passes. Meanwhile we spent time with happy beers at a local pension. I called Sue - in the garden at home with a sick note for two weeks.

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Once the 7 o'clock bus came we got back to camp quite quickly, by 8 o'clock, and cooked our separate meals in the warmth of the Austrian evening.

We saw a marmot today, but they are very elusive compared with their Pyrenean cousins.

We walked about 16 km in 5 hours, with ascent of 300 metres or so.

Here’s a map showing where the last two days were spent. Click to enlarge (and a magnifying glass may be handy!).

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