An East Lancashire LDWA production…
Ringheye – the old name for Ringway, the site of Manchester Airport
.I collected fellow East Lancashire LDWA member and fellow ceilidh band musician Rick, AKA Long Suffering Rick, at 8.30am and we trundled off to meet fellow members of the LDWA in darkest, deepest Hale.
This was my turn to lead a walk for the East Lancs LDWA. I’ve done very little with the LDWA over the last couple of years and the Roundabout Ringheye walk was my mea-culpa.Eleven LDWA members gathered at the appointed time to endure my idea of fun….well, one of them. My absence from the LDWA scene was made very apparent (to me) – I only recognised 5 of the walkers. I need to get out more.
The weather forecast wasn’t brilliant: gloom followed by deeper gloom. At the least the gloom was forecast to be dry.
How wrong the forecasters were, we enjoyed warm sunshine virtually all day – I was more than glad I’d decided on wearing shorts.
The route was based on the ‘Jump in the Lake’ walk from a few years back – although there were some significant differences.
The walk coincided with the Manchester Half Marathon, held just a few miles north. Rather than setting off at bang on 9am we waited 5 minutes for any latecomers who may have been delayed by the road closures.
So, at 9.05am we wandered off, westwards, crossing the River Bollin (that river keeps cropping up on this blog) and then following the very well-surfaced farm track to Ryecroft Farm, adjacent to the M56.
By Ryecroft Farm: Preparations for ToughMudder continue
Here they come
It was here that we turned South-West, crossing the M56 and following a mix of tarmac and footpaths to the very pretty village of Rostherne.
There they go…heading towards Rostherne
At Rostherne we followed a concessionary path (not marked on the OS map) that took us close by Rostherne Mere. This was as close as it’s possible to get to the mere, it’s situated in a nature reserve with very restricted access.
Rostherne Mere (photo taken on a recce)
Autumn colours in Rostherne
St Mary’s Church, Rostherne – much photographed by me
From Rostherne we headed directly to the Home Farm entrance of Tatton Park by way of the dead-straight church path.
This was a leisurely 18 miler so we stopped for a good 20 – 25 minutes at Tatton Hall….where they serve rather nice coffee and cake. Rather nicely expensive too.
Rostherne’s church has strong links with the Parachute Regiment. Tatton Park was used extensively in WW2 for parachute training, the nearby RAF Ringway, now Manchester Airport, was home to No1 Parachute Training School. It only seemed right to include a visit to the training school’s monument, close to the landing zone in the park.
Long Suffering Rick and I had been at Tatton Hall on the previous Friday evening, playing a ceilidh. We’d noticed signs warning of the rutting – deer might not take kindly to us marching past their love nests. Care was to be taken.
As it happened the deer were generally away from our route so there wasn’t a problem. Even for Alma.
Leaving the monument, we walked south, keeping to the western shore of Tatton Mere to exit the park at Knutsford.
No apostrophe problem – but the spelling ain’t quite right.
A gentle wander through Knutsford, home to General Patton’s HQ in WW2, is always a pleasant experience.
Perhaps Joe Holt’s poshest pub
Our lunch stop was in Knutsford’s park. Conveniently vacant benches overlooked the lake – filled with Canada Geese and other birdies.
Rick has been suffering from a poorly foot so he’d chosen this point to bale out. A train would whisk him back from Knutsford to Timperley in double-quick time. Rick went one way and we went t’other, north-east towards Mobberley.
This next section was made up of a mix of tarmac and soggy fields.
Splodging through muddy fields
North towards the airport’s Runway 2 in hot sunshine
Double Decker to Dubai
The Plan was to follow quiet lanes to the east of the airport rather than following the unofficial and clarty, slutchy footpath that runs (?) alongside Runway 2. A last-minute change of plan was made after a lengthy (about 20 seconds) discussion with Frank – we would follow the runway mudbath. This shortened the route slightly but had the advantages of a) testing the grippiness and waterproof qualities of our footwear, b) allowing us very good views of aircraft taking off.
The River Bollin culvert under Runway 2
For those that complain that this area is flat – here’s proof that it just ain’t so:
The last couple of miles were very gentle indeed (they probably needed to be after visiting that trig-point), a pleasant riverside walk back into Hale and our cars.
The survivors were encouraged to pose before we finished:
I count two smiles…not sure about the others
We were done, dusted and finished by 4pm = a 7 hour bimble. We took 3 very leisurely breaks – this was a gentle 18 miler, not an eyeballs-out race. It was good.
Thanks to everyone who turned up, I hope you enjoyed it – I certainly did. I almost enjoyed Michael’s jokes….well maybe not.
Where we went (anticlockwise):
18 miles with 960’ of ascent + lots of sunshine and laughs.