Martin on the TGO Challenge 2017

Martin on the TGO Challenge 2017

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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Thursday, 16 November 2017

Saturday 1 July 2006 – Dodgy Path Day, and Tick Trouble

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A slow start. I lay in bed until 7.30 then brewed up and ate muesli bars before shaving and slowly decamping. Meanwhile, Mark and Julianna went in search of food for our backpacking trip, which promised to involve a big ascent in the heat of the day.

We eventually got going at 10.45, past Kranebitten station and up path 214. Julie struggled a little to keep up. Frequent rests were needed. Mark had a huge load for the two day backpack, even after leaving stuff at the campsite. We did however ascend at a reasonable pace and reached 1100 metres, from 650 metres, after about two hours. But the path, already a narrow, steep single track, now skirted crags, with big drops. I went ahead to suss out whether it was suitable. Mark had sturdy trainers and Julie had town shoes. It was unfair to expect them to walk on very narrow shale above steep drops, so we decided to return to camp, stopping for lunch on the steep hillside, and picking up a few ticks for our trouble.

So by mid afternoon we were back at base*, having walked about 4 km with 450 metres ascent, in rather less than four hours.

The rest of the day was spent in camp, and we even watched some of England's ignominious World Cup defeat to Portugal (0-0, 1-3 on penalties).

The path we failed on was marked 'Nur fur geubte', so M and J are not 'geubte'...

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* This brought back vivid memories of an ill-fated attempt to continue an Alpine Pass backpack out of Kandersteg on 31 July 1982, when we were turned back by a snow storm and finished up re-pitching our tents in exactly the same place as they had earlier been dismantled, to puzzled looks from other campers as by then the weather was glorious.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Friday 30 June 2006 – A Fishy Interlude starting at Innsbruck

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It's the summer of 2006, a busy time for me, with back to back trips around Europe in between a bit of consultancy. This little interlude slotted in between a trip to the Pyrenees with the Aberdeen Hillwalkers, and a camping trip in the Dolomites.

Now, in 2017, I’ve finally edited and indexed some of the pictures from this 'Fishy Interlude', and have typed out my diary and produced a Photobox album. This is the first of a week long series of postings by way of recording the trip for digital posterity.

Friday 30 June

I used Airmiles for the last time to get me from Manchester to Innsbruck, via Frankfurt. Leaving Manchester at 6.45, I arrived in Innsbruck on the "Austrian Arrow" Dash 8 plane in time to walk up to the campsite at Kranebitten and meet my companions for the week at 3 pm.

Mark Fish and his girlfriend Julianna were taking a short break from a tour of European cities. I shared a house with (amongst others) Mark's mum for a while in the 1970s before she emigrated to Canada, and I was pleased with her suggestion that I might accompany Mark and Julianna in the mountains for a few days.

My tent was soon up, and the three of us enjoyed a stroll into Innsbruck along path number 8. Camping gas was acquired and beers and a meal were sourced at Weinhaus Happ, where Sue and I had eaten the previous year. Service was slow, perhaps because Germany were engaged in a tense penalty shoot out in beating Argentina to reach the semi-finals of the football World Cup.

It was a lovely evening, with a fine crescent moon. An easy bus ride saw us back at camp for an early night and a long, deep sleep after a welcome shower.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Canada – Summer 2017 – Costs Summary

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Following requests, I promised to summarise the costs of this trip. They are shown below. We could have spent more. We could have spent a lot less. But we don’t have a budget and basically we spend whatever we like. Having said that, this was the most we’ve ever spent on a trip of this nature, but on the other hand Canada is the most expensive place we’ve chosen to visit, so what would you expect?

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The photo is from Day 15, when we enjoyed an excellent meal in Sechelt before returning to camp.

Monday, 13 November 2017

All’s Well in Timperley

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I like these images, so it seems a shame not to share them. The top two were taken last Wednesday, the bottom one on Friday, when I just missed capturing a potentially prize winning image of a cormorant emerging directly towards me from the canal with a fish in its beak. Then I spotted a rather shy Little Grebe or Dabchick – I’ve not seen one of these before on the canal, though they are common in the region.

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We enjoyed Wythenshawe parkrun number 314 on Saturday – a dull day with no photos taken, and for a change I didn’t have to leave early for root canal treatment, although Mark, a parkrunner and root canal specialist, didn’t let me forget about that routine.

Sue walked (sore achilles) and I limped round just behind old Ken. Then we took a couple of ‘Days Off’, though I seem to have accumulated nearly 20,000 steps today during the demolition and removal to the tip of our rather rotten garden shed…

This week may feature a ‘blast from the past’; you don’t have to read it but I know Dot will enjoy it.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Thursday 9 November 2017 – Burbage Edge

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This week’s short walk was out of range for the usual suspects, so it was just Sue and I who set off soon after 2 pm from the car park on Goyt’s Lane above the Goyt Valley. Surprisingly we couldn’t find a pay machine; free parking in the Peak District – surely not!

As is becoming customary on my walks, we set out at a 90 degree angle to the planned route, enabling me to take the above picture of the car park from the disused railway line that looks like a good path if you should choose to use it.

After returning to the start, we descended steeply down to Wildmoorstone Brook. A good bridge crosses the brook, beyond which a track leads enticingly down towards Errwood Reservoir. However, our route turned left, steeply up beside the wall on the left in the picture below.

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A short thrutch led us to good views on a hazy day across Errwood and Fernilee Reservoirs.

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The contouring path across Wild Moor to Goyt’s Moss was thin but easy to follow. Here the heather hadn’t suffered its normal ‘burn’, but instead had been coppiced. This method of securing fresh new shoots for the grouse seems less disfiguring than the ugly burn marks with which we are more familiar.

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Coppicing probably also provides some control over the bracken, which can be seen to the right of the next picture, taken in the afternoon sun as we made our way along the fine path up Berry Clough. No coppicing had taken place here.

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The path leads up to the crest of Burbage Edge, from where today’s view to Buxton looked, well, gloomy.

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A suitable trig point was found on which to rest the camera. We passed only one person on this walk, right at the beginning.

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From the trig point the sun was setting behind Shining Tor and the Cat & Fiddle.

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We lingered a little while, noting kestrels, rabbits, grouse, pheasants and various LBJs, whilst the sky prepared for sunset. I was surprised not to encounter any hill baggers, as the Hill Baggers’ website informs me that this is Hill Number 7732, a ‘subdewey’. Wow!

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A proper photographer would have had the patience to stay high, but we meandered down the edge towards Beet Wood before the best of the colours were concealed from our view by woods and moors.

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Below Beet Wood a ‘footpath’ leads to The Beet – a private house with posh cars and a public footpath running through the garden.

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Another footpath, a proper one this time, leads through Watford Wood to Watford Farm, the home of two rather sad looking tractors.

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The above picture was taken at 1/6 second at f3.3, so I’m lucky it came out at all. We got some lovely sky colours as we negotiated the bogs of Watford Moor and the even worse bogs by Longhill Farm, but by now it was almost dark.

Luckily there was very little traffic on Goyt’s Lane after we had left the wide verge of the A5004. Just as well, as Sue got delayed by a call from work that pinned her to a rare point of reception for quite some time.

Here’s our route – 10.5 km with 350 metres ascent, in rather less than 3 hours.

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A nice little outing, and despite the little bit of bogginess on Watford Moor our feet remained comfortably dry.

We adjourned for an excellent meal at Simply Thai, in Buxton, then an interesting evening at the Opera House with Paul Goldstein and Chris Packham. I felt a bit out of place in this gathering for long lens aficionados. The pictures in this posting would all have been deleted by this duo due to their intrinsic flaws, and there were condescending comments along the lines “if you don’t want to be doing this sort of thing you shouldn’t be here” – pointing to a row of freezing cold photographers snapping at some whales’ tails. Actually, I thought, I like looking at the pictures on the big screen at the Opera House, but I’m more than happy to let someone else endure the pain required to take them.