View from Oban Bothy

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

Friday, 13 October 2017

Friday 13th in Cheshire

What could possibly go wrong?

One of Sue & Martin’s walks. We met at Lindow Common (famous for Lindow Man) and wandered along bits of the Bollin Valley Way, over to Styal Woods and then to Quarry Bank Mill (NT) for a fast coffee before returning to Lindow Common.

I was in good company: we were five TGO Challengers: Sue & Martin, John B and Graham B….plus me of course.


Sue leads (!!) Graham through more slutch and clartyness

The weather promised to be a bit variable, and so it was: grey, wet, very wet and really very wet.

In between chatting with my fellow walkers, my thoughts drifted to what I should make for my tea, the possibility of fresh Rat-au-Van presented itself but was quickly discarded:




Martin, our glorious leader, leading from the rear


River Bollin in Styal Woods



Photos of the same bit of oak tree taken with my Lumix TZ70. The photo on the left was taken with maximum optical zoom, the photo on the right was taken with maximum optical zoom + (maybe) maximum electronic zoom.


Sue, being the ever-vigilant sort that she is, spotted this fungi


We’re Challengers after all….



Time was getting on, Sue & Martin had a lunch appointment in nearby Hale so the last mile or so of the route was coverered smartishly.

Where we went (clockwise):


7.5 miles with 700’ of up and downery…according to Viewranger.

A nice little walk in very agreeable company – just what was needed on a soggy Friday morning, thanks to Martin & Sue for inviting me along. And for the cake. And for the coffee.

You can read what REALLY went on here.


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….

Friday, 29 September 2017

Roundabout Ringheye Recce, Tues 26th Sept 2017

I’m due to lead a walk for the good folk of the East Lancs LDWA in October, and as with all such things a couple of pre-emptive recces are deemed important.

The route I plan to take isn’t original although there are a few tweeks and alterations chucked in to confuse the innocent and unwary, so here goes…


Sunrise from my bedroom window

I had foresaken my early morning run which was a shame because it was a lovely start to the day – but a 4.5 mile run followed by a 17 – 18 mile walk probably wouldn’t have been a good idea.

The actual walk will start in Hale, close to the River Bollin, but as friends Andy & Lynn had kindly offered to join me on the recce I drove to their home in Knutsford to start the circular route from there.

We set out around 10.30am and walked through the town, famous for Cranford, Knutsford Royal May Day…


….Penny Farthing races…..


…..the shortest river in England…


……and King Canute

Leaving the town we had to resort to tarmac for a mile or so but we were soon back on the wet, grassy field footpaths. My feet, inside NorthFace ‘Waterproof’ walking shoes, were soon wet through. I’ve had two pairs of these shoes now, they’re very comfortable but completely useless as waterproof footware


We walked NE out of Knutsford to skirt around the northern edge of Mobberley, there was a gloriously autumnal feel to the day.


We left the environs of Mobberley to continue NE alongside Manchester Airport’s main runway and then picked up the Bollin Valley Way which routed us under the runway via the River Bollin culvert – that never fails to impress me:


Our lunch stop at the southern end of the runway was a bit noisy but we had great views of aircraft taking off and landing:



Andy & Lynn at the high point of the route…a whole 60m metric metres ASL

It must have been a climb although we didn’t notice it….perhaps we’re just very hill fit. Although maybe not in my case.


Invasive species around the River Bollin, Himalayan Balsam abounds

Hale is the home to many large and expensive houses - particularly those that back on to the Bollin Valley. Not all blend in to the pleasant surroundings:



By early afternoon my feet had eventually dried out – perhaps my shoes are only waterproof one way: water can get in but it can’t get out.


More Bollin Valley invasive species: Giant Hogweed reaching for the skies


Not invasive

We head south past Rostherne, along a permissive path that’s not marked on the OS map. There are nice views over the mere, the autumn colours are glorious:




Rostherne Church…and a coffee & knee tablet stop


The next leg took us to Home Farm on the Tatton Estate. It’s a dead-straight ‘church path’ – well it should have been, but a large field was being ploughed and seed was being spread so we followed the field edge.


Home Farm amongst the trees


Hand-powered fuel pump at Home Farm


Andy posing with the piglets…and Mummy Pig


More autumn colours


Melchett Mere, Tatton Park


Tatton Mere


Not Very Nice Algae in Tatton Mere


One of Tatton’s residents, just chillin’


The one was more interested in pigging-out on acorns, he just wouldn’t pose.

We walked through Tatton Park towards Knutsford, keeping to the west side of Tatton Mere, exiting the park at it’s southern road gate. From there it was just a few hundred yards back to Andy’s house and my car.

‘Twas a good day out and a nice little stretch. I’ll be back next week to tweek the route a little further but in the meantime I’m fairly happy with the route as it stands.

If anyone fancies coming along on The Big Day, details are here

Where we went: Around 17 miles and a bit – it will be nearer 18 miles on the day. There’s some ascent but not a lot.


Note that the ‘proper’ walk doesn’t start in Knutsford, but in Hale at SJ773858 at 9am sharp on Sunday 15th October.

All the photographs were taken using my Lumix TZ70, any photo editing was with Photofiltre.

The route was recorded using my old Samsung S3 Mini with Viewranger installed. It has a far clearer display that my crappy SatMap 10 and battery life is similar if not better.

Thanks to Andy & Lynn for their company and very helpful suggestions on route tweeks. And the tea. They make very nice cups of tea!


It’s the old name for Ringway, the site of Manchester Airport.