Saturday, 29 December 2018

There and back again, twice. (Christmas 2018)
 It is Christmas, several gadgies are visiting friends, several gadgies are being visited by family. This gadgie and the gadgette, with daughter Kate, are staying with daughter Lucy and her family for Christmas. They live in Cheadle Hulme, which is in Stockport technically which is in Greater Manchester which is in the northern county of Cheshire, UK, Europe...…….

The Macclesfield Matterhorn.
 On Christmas Eve, Mark, Lucy's husband, was very busy helping Santa prepare gifts for children so the rest of us drove off to Macclesfield Forest for a country walk. We parked, being skinflints, on the side of the road at Ridgegate Reservoir although there is a car park close by. I have no idea how to get to the starting point.
Having walked about 100 yards down the road we entered Macclesfield Forest. There are several walks marked out in the forest and also some cycle tracks, both were very popular. 
The forest is alive with wild life, deer, badgers, foxes, rabbits, squirrels and bears. We knew there were bears nearby because Alex pointed out the sign which said quite clearly;
"Cyclists! Bear left in 100 yards"
All we saw was a squirrel. We chose a walk that climbed uphill through the wood until it emerged on to Moorland and took us to the trig point on Shutlingsloe. On the moor the footpath had been covered with flagstones from old cotton mills. Some of them were iced over and were slippy, the track alongside though was very muddy. The last few hundred yards were very steep and a bit of a scramble but well worth the effort when we summited. From the trig point It was possible to see for miles on a cold but clear day. Below us in the distance was the radio telescope at Jodrell Bank, looking like a large golf ball waiting to be teed off. Far to the north was the city of Manchester. We could see a plane taking off from Ringway (Manchester Airport). On other sides were the rolling hills of Cheshire and Derbyshire, a steady stream of cars was crossing the old road between the two.
By coincidence an extension of this walk was published as one of Christopher Somerville's 20 country walks in The Times today, Dec 29th. However, we turned back and retraced our steps down the track and through the wood.
Our walk was about four miles and thoroughly enjoyable.
Unfortunately nobody took any pictures apart from the one below taken on a phone. We should have used it more.

                                  Kate, Lucy, Alex me and a shadow

Contains OS data copyright. Crown copyright and database right 2018.

Quarry Bank and the airport.
On Boxing Day the family went for another country walk to work off some of the excesses of the previous day.
We drove to Quarry Bank Mill, a working mill and National Trust property close to Styal which has a museum of industry and a prison!
We chose not to visit the mill but took one of several marked walks in the area. We followed the river, having to make one detour for a small boy (the squiggle on the map). In several places steps had been built in to the steepish hillsides, especially as we approached Giant's Castle. The paths were also extremely muddy, causing one or two complaints. Beyond the castle the path levelled out, crossed a couple of fields and finished up alongside the runway at Manchester Airport. It was agreed that this was an ideal place for boys to watch the comings and goings of aeroplanes large and small so three of us remained at our observation post as the others bravely retraced their steps to bring the cars to the end of the road near our position.
For those who walked there and back the distance was about five miles.

 Contains OS data,

Contains OS data copyright. Crown copyright and database right 2018              

Friday, 21 December 2018

Christmas greetings from the gadgies.
For various reasons there is no walk today, the next is probably January 4th 2019.
I would like to thank all you readers for looking at the jolly adventures of a group of ageing Englishmen who hope to continue recording their walks for some years.
Looking too young and fit for us, lots of Herbie Food in those rucksacks.

Saturday, 15 December 2018

Trains and boats and battles. (Tyneside) December 14th.
 The days are getting shorter unless you are pedantic; seven of us are off for a flat walk on Tyneside. Starting from Wylam and walking the south bank to Newburn then back on the north bank. No need for a map but if you need one it's OS Explorer 316, Newcastle upon Tyne. Some of us last did this walk in late March this year (A wander round Wylam)
The not so secret seven are John x 3, Harry, Dave, Brian and me. Breakfast was taken at the Coffee Tree café in Wylam, friendly little place with all sorts of coffee including straightforward black filter.
Wylam is famous as the birthplace of George Stephenson, "the father of the railways" who was born in a cottage east of the village. William Hedley, another rail pioneer and locomotive designer was born in nearby Newburn village and went to school in Wylam. 
The church, dedicated to St Oswin, dates back as far as 1886.
The village does have a large and free car park, near the bridge and station so, not surprisingly we left our cars there.
Classis car park, near the bridge and from where we started.
Leaving the car park we crossed the river, turned left into the station car park and followed the footpath at the bottom, right next to the line. (Why not park there? They charge)
Another soldier silhouette

The Tyne from the bridge

Wylam station on the Newcastle Carlisle line
The footpath, the  Keelman's Way follows close to the bank of the river passing Ryton Golf course and an interesting area that is carefully fenced off. In several spots here smoke emerges from the ground, old mine workings presumably as this section of the river was once a hive of industry.
This smoke signal is for my friend Eileen Pete in Sakatchewan, it says "hi!"
Approaching the bridge at Newburn the footpath passes the headquarters of the Tyne United Rowing Club.

Nobody out on the river today.
Crossing the narrow bridge we were in Newburn.
Newburn village from the south side
Newburn was once larger and more important than Newcastle.  It was the first fordable point on the river and possibly had a Roman fort defending the area which is not far from Hadrian's Wall. The church, dedicated to St. Michael and all Angels was originally a wooden building which burned down. The new one was started in 1067 so it is sort of Saxon/Norman. Much has been rebuilt since then. 
Newburn Bridge

Newburn was the site of a battle in 1640 considered by some to be the opening scrap of the English Civil War. An army of Scots camped on the north defeated the English and then went on to capture Newcastle, by then larger and more important than Newburn.
As soon as we had crossed the narrow bridge we turned left, passing The Boathouse pub, and joined the Hadrian's Wall Path which follows the north bank of the Tyne for some miles.
Not far into the path we came to the memorial to the battle of Newburn.

Battle of Newburn explained at the memorial.
Initially a well built track Hadrian's Wall Path becomes a footpath close to the river, later widening again.
This column marks the westerly limit point of mayor of Newcastle's barge trips.Look carefully you can see the three castles from the city's coat of arms.                                                                            At Close House, golf course, rugby and soccer grounds the HWP leaves the river bank and, on a well posted path crosses the golf course, goes through a copse and arrives at Close House itself.
Here we left the HWP and followed a road towards the Close House exit, looking for a finger post on the left hand side of the road. Having found it we took the footpath through a wood, through Rift Farm and back down to the riverside path at George Stephenson's Cottage.

George Stephenson's birthplace, east of Wylam.
A short distance beyond the cottage we decided, at last, to call a Herbie. Feasting on soup, sausage rolls, biscuits, mince pies ,flapjacks and savouries from Mrs A. we spent a pleasant half hour in the wintry sun before heading on back to the car park at Wylam.
Once changed we went to re hydrate in the Boathouse, a familiar pub which boasts 14 hand pulled beers  and a noisy juke box today. Then we went home!

Contains OS data, copyright. Crown copyright and database right 2018.
Today's super matrix MMXVIII 12b
                                                                    steps                                    miles
NAK                                                           23915                                     8.68
OUTDOOR GPS                                                                                       8.33
iPhone                                                        18323                                      8.44
Dave's NAK 2                                            17014                                      8.05
""" USB                                                      17088                                     8.09
""" NAK 1                                                   17024                                    8.06
""" SM                                                        17636                                     8.07

And a few more pictures

Saturday, 8 December 2018

A walk in the park.( Or on the beach) (Northumberland) Dec7th
 The weather forecast is not too bright for the north east so seven of us are repeating another favourite walk in Northumberland; Hulne Park, the back garden of the Duke. (Not the Alnwick Garden which is in the front).
Today's team; John H., John C., Brian, Dave, Ben, Harry and me. The start is easy to find, A1 north, turn off and drive carefully through Alnwick, turn left at the castle gate and after a few hundred yards turn left to the entrance to his Grace's park. It is not permitted to take cars in but there is some parking on the side of the road.
A map is not necessary but the walk is covered by OS Explorer 332 Alnwick and Amble. It is also possible to download a map of the park using the magic of Google.
Before the walk we met in Barter Books, one of the largest second hand book shops in the UK, situated in the old Alnwick station. Apart from books, CDs and DVDs it sells food.
The bookshop does not usually buy books but values your offerings and gives you credit. You can't use credit to buy breakfast.
Bacon eaten, coffee and tea consumed we headed for the entrance to the park, only to find that for some reason it was closed. As we arrived a large truck carrying a full load arrived so the Duke must have been up to something.
Unfazed we headed for the coast, the  village of High Newton by the Sea. As you enter the village, opposite the Joiners Arms, there is a large and free car park.
For this walk you don't need a map, just keep the sea on the right but it is covered by OS Explorer 340 Holy Island and Bamburgh.
Large and free car park at High Newton by the Sea

I have no idea as to why this is here
Well wrapped against the south east chilly wind that was to follow us most of the way we set off down the narrow road to Newton Links House. Just beyond the house walkers may turn left and follow the Northumberland Coast Path/ St. Oswald's Way or do as we did and continue the short distance to the beach and head north.
We walked the gentle curve of another of Northumberland's glorious sandy beaches, this one being Beadnell Bay.
About half way up the beach the stream with the delightful name of Long Nanny enters the North Sea. Usually the water is shallow enough to walk across the stream but there has been a lot of rain recently and sensibly, as we are getting on a bit, we headed the short distance inland to cross Long Nanny by the footbridge.
Beadnell Bay on a cold but bright December day

Footbridge over Long Nanny

Long nanny heads towards the sea.
We continued along the sands until we reached the village of Beadnell, fishing village, holiday home centre and home to some fine lime kilns which, on previous occasions have been used for a Herbie, but not today.
Beadnell Lime Kilns, used as warehouses by local fishermen.
We walked on through the village but not too far beyond the houses we hit the beach again, settled down in the shelter of the sand dunes and declared a Herbie.
Herbie time. I had some delicious home made soup which included Quinoa and Bulgar wheat and was thus declared very middle class and hipsterish. We shared ginger biscuits made by Ben, mince pies, Kipling cakes, flapjacks and cheese and spinach scones from Mrs A. Harry is watching the birds and it was a good day for the ornithologists in the team. A wealth of waders and a glut of gulls, including redshanks, turnstones, sanderlings, eider ducks, stone ducks(ask) cormorants, ringed plovers and a variety of gulls.
Having feasted we continued along the beach towards Seahouses where we joined the road for a short time before  crossing the golf course, wandering through the town and  hitting the beach again as we headed for Bamburgh.
Seahouses harbour, very quiet today. Boats take tourists out to the Farne Islands from here. The islands are a nature reserve run by the National Trust. You can land for an extra payment or by flashing your NT card.

The Rescuer in Seahouses. He is holding a lifebuoy.
As we approached Bamburgh we had to climb off the beach and follow a footpath on the dunes,a bit like walking on Lauder Grass, you need to watch the view and your feet. At one point we walked on the road too before taking a footpath back down to the shore. We walked past the imposing castle and turned inland to the village cricket field. What a backdrop for playing!
Bamburgh from the beach

Castle from the cricket field. The dog is at silly mid on.

There is a bus stop by the field and a careful perusal of the timetable told us we had an hour to wait for transport back to High Newton. There was little else to do but retire to The Lord Crew hotel and bar. The pub offered two ales, Anarchy Blonde and Game Bird. Most of us chose Anarchy as it had a picture of Marilyn Monroe on the handle. Very nice too. Re hydrated we caught the bus, wandered through the dark to the car park and went home.
Contains OS data, copyright. Crown copyright and database right 2018

Matrix MMXVIII 12a
                                                                                steps                               miles
NAK                                                                       28927                               10.71
Dave's NAK2                                                          22015                               10.42
"" USB                                                                    22038                                10.43
""NAK2                                                                  21947                                10.39
SM                                                                          22859                                10.46
etrex        3h 11min walk   49min talk                                                              10.71
iPhone                                                                     23145                                 10.5
Brian                                                                                                                  10.2
OUTDOORGPS                                                                                                 10.48
And some pictures