About Me

When? Started: 1993 Who? Started with staff and friends from U H S, Chester. Organiser: Martyn Harris We walk every Wednesday and Saturdays, New Years day and May Day. How many walk? Walks take place as long as there are at least 2 wanting to walk on that day. More walk on a Wednesday than on a Saturday. Most ever: 29. Numbers walking: 2-12, a mid-week and 3-4 on Saturday. Where do we walk? Saturday: Anywhere in North and Mid-Wales, Peak District, Shropshire and the Long Mynd and as far North as the Trough of Bowland. Thursday: Anywhere within about 40 miles of Chester. Type of walk: Distance: 6 – 14 miles. Climb: up to 4000’ (but usually very much less!). Those involved in 2017:- Martyn Harris, Fran Murphy, Sue and Michel Pelissier, Annie Hammond, Sue and Dave Pearson, Mike Dodd, David and Anne Savage, Celia de Mengle, Wendy and Ian Peers, Roger and Margaret Smith, Tim and Carol Dwyer, Paul Collinson, Phil Marsland, Sylvia and Dave Jenkins, Sheila McNee, Ed Meads, Elaine and John Greenhalgh, Jim McCabe, Mal Pulford., Joyce Russell

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Walk stats 2010.

Once again walks on Thursdays and Saturdays and the occasional Bank Holiday have enable the group to clock up over a thousand miles, involving over 100,000 ' of climb.
Some of the group have clocked up considerably more by adding miles on holidays as well as additional mid-week walks.

Number of walks involved: 102.
Distance covered on walks: 1052.8 miles.
Climb:129, 710'.

Friends that have joined us on walks during 2010 are (apologies for anyone that I've missed out):
Martyn Harris, Dave and Sylvia Jenkins, Fran and Tito Ravazzolo, Richard Green, Sue and Michel Pelissier, Roger Smith, Tim and Carol Dwyer, Annie Hammond, Gordon McNee, Celia de Mengel, Catherine Murphy, Mike Dodd, Sue and Dave Pearson, Annie Ravazzolo and Mat Jones, Paul Collinson, Sue Powell and Georgie the Jack Russell, Phil Marsland, Nigel Taylor, Carol Herbstritt and Paul and Pippa de Mengel , Paul and Elaine Greenhalgh.

Knutsford and the Peovers 30th December 2010

Paul pointing out Elizabeth Gaskell's grave the grounds of Brook Street Chapel, Knutsford.
On one of the access tracks from Blease Farm.
Is it a Teddy bears' picnic in the woods by Peover Hall?
"I'm not sure I want to be your friend!"

Walk stats: Distance:11.7 miles. Climb:85'.
Time: 5 hours 22 minutes. On the move walking average:2.5 m.p.h. Overall walk average:2.2 m.p.h.
Group:Martyn, Roger, Sue and Michel, Paul C., Sylvia and Dave J. and Annie H.
Damp and murky it certainly was, but at least it wasn't cold, a polo shirt and shorts would probably more appropriate than overheating in Winter Paramo walking gear!
I thought that visiting two churches / cemetries would have been enough for Paul, but he insisted on visiting a third and taking us on a detour to visit Elizabeth Gaskell's grave in the grounds of the Brook Street Chapel!
Despite the guide book being more than 30 years old, route finding was relatively easy until we had to negotiate the path through buildings at Hillcrest Farm. Thankfully the residents of of the houses put us straight.
The houses and the number of horses pointed to this being a very prosperous area to say nothing of the magnificent Peover Hall.
Getting a little desperate we had lunch, sitting on two sets of tyres set out as part of an eventing circuit, but spirits were raised when Roger produced some of Margaret's homemade mince pies, just enough after Rhodri had raided the stock the night before!
As we approached Lower Peover the church bells rang out joyfully and about an hour later rang out again indicating the start and end of the Wedding service that was taking place. It's a good job that we didn't attempt to look in the church as we went through its grounds.
Birds seen or heard today included:Great tit, Blue tit, Carrion crow, Jackdaw, House sparrow, Mallard, Winter wren, Chaffinch, Pheasant and Blackbird.
After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Lord Elgan in Knutsford, where the beer of choice was Copper Dragon, Golden Pippin, but it ran out and some had to be satisfied with their second choice.

Monday, 27 December 2010

Dates and Walks December 2010.

Updated 27th December 2010.
Thursday 23rd December 2010.
Weather conditions and the road conditions in Flintshire are very dodgy to say the least, even the snow ploughs haven't had much success on the Broughton to Saltney A5104. I have decided to cancel the proposed walk from the Britannia Inn originally planned for Thursday.
However as an alternative I suggest that we do one of walks that we did last year in similar conditions. The walk proposed is the Chester to Eccleston walk (about 9 miles), along the river and back through the Duke's Drive. I suggest that we meet at the Band Stand near the Suspension Bridge at 09-30. Please let me know if you want to join me on this walk.
Wednesday 29th December 2010.
Roger and Margaret Smith have kindly invited members of the walking group to their "at home" between 15-00 and 18-00.
Thursday 2nd December 2010.
Wilmslow to Castle Hill and More.
Distance: 10 miles; Climb:800' at a guess.
Start: Twinnies Bridge car park, Wilmslow. Grid ref: SJ839822.
Leave Chester at 9-00 a.m.
This walk is taken from Graham Beech's book "East Cheshire Walks". he walk starts on Racecourse Road, but we will start at Twinnies Bridge. This walk may not be everyone's cup of tea unless you are into aircraft spotting! The walk goes very close to Manchester Airport and its runways. He describes the walk as "can be muddy after rain", not that that should deter plane spotters and stile connoisers!
Saturday 4th December 2010.
Chester to Queensferry along the River Dee.
Outward journey along the Southern banks and return along the Northern bank.
The walk is 14-15 miles.
Meet at the Suspension Bridge in Chester at 9-00 a.m.
The walk below has been postponed as road conditions to the start point are impassible due to snow/ice. This walk will now be added to the January list.
Errwood and Burbage Edge.
Distance:9-12 miles. Climb:2000'.
Leave Chester 8-00 a.m.
Start: The Street car park at the Eastern end of Errwood Reservoir. Grid ref:SK013757.
This is another walk taken from Graham Beech's book "East Cheshire Walks". This is another walk from the Goyt Valley and involves sections in Derbyshire and Staffordshire, if we take the longer route. He describes the views on the walk as being outstanding. We have walked in this area several times, but I don't think we have walked on both sides of Errwood Reservoir on the same walk.
Thursday 9th December 2010.
Greenfield Valley, Moor and Estuary as well as Pen-y-Ball.
Distance: 9-10 miles miles; Climb:1500'.
Start: Greenfield Valley Country Park on the A548. Grid ref: SJ197775.
Leave Chester at 9-00 a.m.
This walk uses two walks from Dave Berry's book "Walks Around Holywell and Halkyn Mountain". The first part of the walk goes through the Greenfield Heritage Park with its historic buildings and the remains of Basingwerk Abbey and on past St Winefride's Well before ascending Pen-y-ball Hill, not one of my favourite approaches to the Monument. On this occasion we will miss out the part of the second walk, leaving out the section around Pantasaph.
Saturday 11th December 2010.
Clip-y-Orsedd and Foel Lus.
Distance:11 miles. Climb:2400'.
Leave Chester 8-00 a.m.
Start: Car park behind the bank in Llanfairfechan. Turn right of Village Road. Grid ref:SH682747.
his walk uses two walks Dave Berry's book "Walks on the North Wales Coast." These two walks combine to make one of my favourite walks in this area as they explore the hills behind Llanfairfechan and Penmaenmawr. Hopefully we will visit the impressive Druids' Stone Circle and contour around the superb high level Panoramic Walk round Foel Lus.
Thursday 16th December 2010.
Graig Fawr and Coed yr Esgob.
Distance:9-10 miles; Climb:1500'.
Start: Prestatyn beach car park. Grid ref: SJ068840. There is a large car park by the toilet block, just before the beach car park, but we usually park on the one that overlooks the beach.
Leave Chester at 9-00 a.m.
This is a walk that I have done many times before and always enjoy. The route uses the North Wales Path and Offa's Dyke path to link the start point with a walk from Dave Berry's book "Walks in the Clwydian Hills".
Saturday 18th December 2010.
Bodlondeb Wood, Conwy Mountain, Alltwen and Cwm Gyrach.
Distance:9 - 10 miles. Climb:1600'.
Leave Chester 8-00 a.m.

Start:Park on Mount Pleasant (2nd turning on the left after going through the arch in the town's West wall. Turn left over the railway bridge, then bear right and park on the right adjacent to the wall. Grid ref:SH779776.
This walk uses two walks Dave Berry's book "Walks on the North Wales Coast." We have done our own version of the Conwy Mountain walk, but as yet we haven't included Bonlondeb Wood and Cwm Gyrach before. The first walk starts by exploring part of the magnificent walled town of Conwy and offers superb views throughout. The second walk explores the scenic hills and valleys around the Sychnant Pass with its ever changing views.
Thursday 23rd December 2010.
Halkyn, Limestone, Lead and Moel Ffagnalt.
This walk has been cancelled. See above for alternative walk.
Distance: 10 miles; Climb:1500'.
Start: Car Park at the Britannia Inn Pentre Halkyn (with the Landldy's permission). Grid ref: SJ211711.
Leave Chester at 9-00 a.m.
This walk uses two walks from Dave Berry's book "Walks Around Holywell and Halkyn Mountain". It has almost become traditional that the last Thursday walk before Christmas starts and finishes at the Britannia Inn. As everyone knows, this is one of my favourite walks in the Halkyn Mountain area. On a clear day we can expect superb views across the Dee Estuary and inland towards the Clwydian Hills. I never tire of exploring the mine ravaged limestone countryside around Halkyn Mountain or celebrating the walk afterwards at the Britannia Inn.
Saturday 25th December 2010.
No walk - celebrating the real meaning of Christmas at WEF church.

Wednesday 29th December 2010.

Roger and Margaret Smith's "At Home".
15-00 - 18-00.

Thursday 30th December 2010.
Knutsford and Several Peovers.
Distance: 10 miles; Climb:Not a lot expected'.
Start: Long stay car park on Tatton Street, Knutsford. This is a pay and display car park, £2-90 for over 6 hours according to the Knutsford web site. Grid ref: SJ750789.
Leave Chester at 9-00 a.m.
This walk is taken from Jack Baker and Jack Hanmer's book "Walking in Cheshire". This book was published in 1974 and updated in 1978, so following the directions may prove challenging. They describe the walk as a walk over fairly level, but pleasantly wooded country, although places can be muddy in Winter. This will give Annie a chance to leave home a little later than usual to meet us for a Thursday walk!

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Christmas Greetings 2010

Happy Christmas Everyone.
As the Pope said in his historic Radio 4
"Thought of the Day" broadcast
May you experience the Peace and Joy of Christmas.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

The Chester to Eccleston Round 23rd December 2010

The start of the walk at the bandstand by the Suspension Bridge.
A debate on which way to go?
Not really there wasn't any choice, I think doubts over a possible lunch spot was more of an issue!

The Duke's Drive.
The Chronicle Wheel from our lunch spot by the racecourse.
Chester icebergs, taken from the footbridge over the River Dee by the railway bridge.

Walk stats: Distance:7.6 miles; Climb:449'.
Time:3 hours 10 minutes; On the move walking average:2.8 m.p.h.; Overall walk average:2.4 m.p.h.
Group:Martyn, Roger, Sylvia and Dave J., Paul and Mike D.
A superb day for walking, cold but sunny and conditions underfoot good with the only slippy bit being on the compacted snow on the road from Eccleston Ferry to the village. Unusually for Chester much of the river had started to freeze over, giving the impression that some of the ducks were walking on water. This is a lovely walk in any weather, but with the ground decked with snow and the trees covered in snow/hoar frost glistening in the bright sunshine made it even more special.
Lunch was taken by the Racecourse with more than half of the group using the two of the many seats provided along this superb new footpath. It seemed quite warm as we had lunch in the sun and without and wind to chill us.
As we approached the weir we had the unusual sight of seeing and hearing one of the moored boats pretending to be an ice breaker as the tide pushed sheets of ice across its bows.
As the walk was shorter than usual and despite Mike trying to slow us down by mysteriously and not knowing how, managed to ring my mobile whilst we were walking down the Duke's Drive, we arrived back at the Bear and Billet just before 2.
Birds seen or heard today included: Pied wagtail, Woodpigeon, Collared dove, Blue tit, Great tit, Black-headed gull, Carrion crow, Jackdaw, Common starling, Tufted duck, Little grebe, Mallard, Wigeon, Pochard, Moorhen, Common Coot, Long-tailed tit, Blackbird, European robin, Grey heron, Mute swan and Goldfinch.
The beers enjoyed were brews from the Tatton, Saddlers and Wheetwood breweries, although Dave had a Jameson's and Sylvia had a cup of tea.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Point of Ayr to Prestatyn 18th December 2010

Point of Ayr lighthouse surrounded by sea and the snow covered beach.
Teal on the flooded area near Prestatyn gutter.
Looking along the dunes towards Prestatyn.
Looking towards the Great Orme from Prestatyn.

Walk stats:Distance:10.1 miles; Climb:100'.
Time: 4 hours 38 minutes; On the move walking average:2.5 m.p.h.; Overall walking average:2.2 m.p.h.
Group:Martyn and Dave J.
Heavy snow had fallen in North west Wales, so we decided not to risk the trip to Conwy and instead decided to go a little nearer home. The route chosen was to walk along the beach from Talacre to Prestatyn, returning through the golf course and sand dunes and then visit the site of the former RSPB hide.
The weather was good, although at times the wind was biting and I had to wear a hat for much of the walk. Even some of the sea water puddles had started to freeze over. At one point we could see mountains near to Conwy clearly decked in snow and looking magnificent in the sunshine.
It was a good day for birds, even if result in our hands getting cold if we stopped for any length of time. Birds seen or heard today included:Skylark (including a flock of about 50 near the site of the old RSPB hide), Little egret, Meadow pipit, Blackbird, Redwing, Fieldfare, Mistle thrush, Woodpigeon, Collared dove, Common starling, Shelduck, Mallard, Teal, Shoveler, Little grebe, Common coot, Chaffinch, Redshank, Common gull, Great black-backed gull, Black-headed gull, Ringed plover, Turnstone, Stonechat, Reed bunting, Snipe, Curlew, Black-tailed godwit, Bar-tailed godwit, Goldfinch, Mute swan, Carrion crow, Jackdaw, Rook, Black-billed magpie, House sparrow, Blue tit, Great cormorant, Oystercatcher and Linnet.
After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Britannia Inn at Pentre Halkyn where the wood burning stoves helped to warm us up as we downed the excellent Lees bitter.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Graig Fawr and Coed Yr Esgob 16th December 2010.

The weather forecast wasn't good, and by the time we arrived at the Prestatyn Coastal car park, the rain was torrential. We sat in the car watching the waves crashing on the shore with a few waders feeding on the water edge. The offshore wind turbines at this point couldn't even be seen. After about half an hour, the rain eased slightly and the wind turbines came into view. However this wasn't enough to encourage Martyn, Gordon, Celia and Annie to don their waterproofs and set off.
Undeterred Tim, Sylvia and Dave J set off on the planned walk, whilst the rest of us went home. I even got wet walking from the bottom of the steps to the door at the Britannia Inn in the hope that it would be open, but alas it wasn't and Gordon had to miss out on his bowl of chips! This convinced me to conclude that it was the four dry "chickens" that had made the right decision to eat their packed lunches in front of the fire at home!
The birds seen on the shore as we waited included:Black-headed gull, Redshank, Oystercatcher, Herring gull and Carrion crow.
A report from the three (must have got wet) walkers may appear later!

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Clip-y-Orsedd, the Druids Circle and Foel Lus 11th December 2010

An early view of Llanfairfechan with Anglesey and Puffin Island in the distance.
Wild ponies on the slopes of Clip-y-Orsedd.
Foel Lus with the Great Orme behind.
The Druids Circle.
Lunchtime on the Jubilee Path around Foel Lus.

Walk stats:Distance:10.9 miles; Climb:2035'.
Time: 5 hours 56 minutes; On the move walking average:2.3 m.p.h.; Overall walk average:1.8 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Dave J and Carol H.
A good day for walking, and temperatures rising to 9 Celsius, it's almost shorts weather again! Overall this was a superb and varied walk, with ever changing views and vistas. Rapidly rising out of Llanfairfechan we soon had fantastic views across the sea towards Anglesey, then came the outline of the Northern Carneddau before we could see our first objective, Clip-y-Orsedd.
The next point of interest was the "Druids Circle", a circle of stones that never fails to impress. Finally we traversed the superb Jubilee Path above Penmaenmawr and were able to enjoy our lunch on one of the benches, just as the wind subsided for 20 minutes or so.
Our return route, almost a stroll, gave us the opportunity to debate the identity of Common gulls and Black-headed gulls and that of a very light coloured raptor.
Birds seen or heard today included:Blue tit, European robin, Jackdaw, Raven, Great tit, Long-tailed tit, Kestrel, Buzzard, Treecreeper, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Starling, Lapwing, Common gull, Black-headed gull and Herring gull.
After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Britannia Inn at Pentre Halkyn, where once again the Lees bitter was superb.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Valley, Pen Y Ball, The Moor and Estuary 9th December 2010 - A boys walk!

What do I do now? Put your best foot forward of course, but carefully!
Part of the Pen-y-Ball inscription - Roger's Welsh homework.
At the Pen-y-Ball trig point.
Lunchtime in the Sun.
The Duke of Lancaster with the A380 wing on the barge just to its stern.

Walk stats: Distance:10.1 mile, Climb:1229'.
Time: 5 hours 27 minutes; On the move walking average:2.2 m.p.h.; Overall walk average:1.9 m.p.h.
Group on this boys walk:Martyn, Roger, Michel and Dave J.
The temperatures were set to rise and reach positive figures, but this made conditions underfoot quite treacherous at times, and bringing our walking pace down considerably. In fact the worst conditions were in the car park at the end where ground was like glass and we had to cling to the side of the car to ensure that we didn't slip over!
This is always a good and varied walk, with two CADW sites on route. Michel with his bad ankle thought it might be worthwhile visiting St., Winefrede's Well for a cure or at least borrow one of the many walking sticks left behind!
We were very fortunate to have good view across the estuary with Liverpool bathed in sunshine, and later the mountains of Snowdonia came into view.
We were in bright sunshine for only about half an hour, but thankfully that was while we were having lunch.
As ever at the Granges we were greeted by four barking dogs whose owner assured us that there bark was worse than their bite!
Birds seen or heard today included:Blue tit, Great tit, Common starling, House sparrow, Bullfinch, Mallard, Great cormorant, Tufted duck, Little grebe, Mute swan, Moorhen, Common coot, Snipe, Black-headed gull, Herring gull, Common gull, Black-billed magpie, Jay, Buzzard, Redwing, Fieldfare, Curlew, Lapwing, Redshank, Grey wagtail, Oystercatcher, Turnstone, Woodpigeon, Collared dove, Carrion crow, Goldfinch, Siskin, Blackbird and European robin.
After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Britannia Inn at Pentre Halkyn, where the Lees bitter was superb. Thankfully the change of management has cellar skills to maintain the quality of the beer.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Both Sides of the River Dee 4th December 2010

The start of the walk, the Bandstand in the Groves.
The Chester Chronicle Big Wheel from the Suspension Bridge.
The blue bridge at Queensferry and the crossing of the River Dee.
Saltney Ferry footbridge - the parting of the ways, Dave and Mike head for Chester and Martyn heads for home!

Walk stats: Distance:Martyn, 13 miles; Dave J. 17 miles; Mike D. 21 miles (unless he cheated and go the bus home!). Climb:160'.
On the move walking average: Martyn (2.9 m.p.h.), Dave J. and Mike D. 3.1 m.p.h.
Overall walk average: Martyn (2.8 m.p.h.), Dave J. and Mike D. (2.9 m.p.h.).
Group:Martyn, Dave J. and Mike D.
The severe weather conditions forced us to change our plans and complete a walk on our local patch using only public transport or shank's pony to get to the start. Consequently each one of us clocked up a different mileage, with Mike taking the prize at over 20 miles for the day!
The walk along the Southern side of the Dee was the most treacherous underfoot where all three of us slipped on the compacted snow as we went through Curzon Park Golf Club. Nevertheless progress was good and without too many stops to look at the wildlife, we reached the blue bridge at Queensferry avergeing 2.8 m.p.h.
However as we set off back towards Chester on the Northern side of the Dee the rain had set in and unfortunately didn't stop throughout the rest of the walk. We enjoyed lunch on the banks of Dee, sitting on a bench in the rain. Lunchtime was pretty short!
After lunch the pace was upped slightly and at times we were walking at 3.6 m.p.h., no wonder I wanted to go home when we reached Saltney Ferry footbridge! Dave and Mike continued Chester and I went over the bridge back to home.
Birds seen or heard today included: Mute swan, Mallard, Grey heron, Black-headed gull, Great cormorant, Teal, Long-tailed tit, Blue tit, Great tit, Kestrel, Buzzard, Chaffinch, Long-tailed tit, Moorhen, Redshank, Lesser black-backed gull, Herring gull, Common gull, Redwing, Fieldfare, Robin, Winter wren, Meadow pipit, Peregrine falcon, Sparrowhawk, Stonechat and Chiffchaff. The bird of the day was probably the Peregrine falcon, but at this time of the year the Chiffchaff takes some beating!
Despite my best efforts and catching a bus pretty quickly, they got to the Bear and Billet in Chester before me! The beers enjoyed today included brews from Cwrw Conwy and cider fro Cheddar valley.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Twinnies Bridge to Castle Hill via Runway 2 2nd December 2010

There's a time for everything!
Who hasn't got a Leki then?
Heading under Runway 2.
Manchester Airport open for business!
One step forward, here we go!

Walk stats: distance:11.0 miles; Climb:358'
Time: 5 hours 31 minutes; On the move walking average:2.4 m.p.h.; Overall walk average: 2.o m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Roger, Sue and Michel, Annie H., and Dave J.
This was a good day for a Winter walk, but we didn't anticipate the amount of snow that we would encounter. Nevertheless this didn't spoil the walk, although at the end of the walk our legs were a little more tired than usual.
Throughout the walk we had plenty of sunny spells and the strong cold North-easterly winds didn't really bare their teeth.
This was a far more interesting and enjoyable walk than we could have expected, especially around the runways of Manchester Airport. We did see several planes landing and taking off, but if the daily A380 landed at all, it did so when we weren't looking!
Our lunch spot was OK, but sitting on snow covered grass without wearing "hot pants" isn't the best position to be to enjoy Welsh cakes, even when they are provided by Margaret S, and today's batch were superb, possibly the best ever!
Birds see or heard today included:Blue tit, Great tit, House sparrow, Winter wren, Black-headed gull, Blackbird, Redwing, Mistle thrush, Nuthatch, Mallard, Great cormorant, Woodpigeon, Pheasant, Lapwing, Snipe, Black-billed magpie, Jay, Common starling and European robin.
After walk drinks were taken at the Lord Eldon at Knutsford, where the Tetley bitter just about quenched the thirst of some, but the Bass bitter went down well with one member of the group!

Monday, 29 November 2010

Cheetham Close, Jumbles Country Park and More 27th November 2010

Updated on the 29th November 2010.
Looking across towards Peel Tower on Holcombe Moor above Ramsbottom.
At the trig point on Cheetham Close.
At the trig point on Cheetham Close.
A large heron, modern art called "the Wader".
A very obliging Kestrel, just round the corner from the Strawberry Duck.
Icicles, a sign that it was still quite cool! Adjacent to the path from Turton Bottoms back to the Jumbles Country Park car park.

Walk stats:Distance:10.6 miles; Climb:1116'.
Time:4 hours 59 minutes; On the move walking average:2.5 m.p.h.; Overall walk average:2.1 m.p.h.
Group:Martyn, Roger, Dave J., Mike D., Carol and joined by Elaine and Paul for the last part of the walk.
Another glorious day for walking, a little on the cool side, especially if you forget your Paramo jacket! Despite the forecast of "partly cloudy", we seemed to have plenty of sunshine. The extension over Cheetham Close gave us good views towards Winter Hill and Holcombe Moor and the circuit around Turton and Entwistle Reservoir was a real bonus.You can see why so many of the locals enjoy walking around these reservoirs. We had lunch taking advantage of one of the many seats provided, three of us sat on the seat, and two sat on the wall alongside. Martyn provided some of his fruit cake for those daring enough to risk the alcohol present!
There didn't seem to be many birds on the reservoirs until we arrived at Wayoh Reservoir where Carol spotted some Goosanders, over a dozen in all, male and female in about equal numbers. The Goosander was definitely our bird of the day, but we did get some superb views of a Redwing and later on a Kestrel.
Elaine and Paul joined us for part of the return journey and were rewarded with a piece of fruit cake for their efforts to meet us before we got back to the car park! Attempts to communicate using modern technology failed miserably as mobile phone signals were absent for most of the walk.
Birds seen or heard today included:European robin, Blue tit, Great tit, Long-tailed tit, Blackbird, Mallard, Great cormorant, Pochard, Redwing, Buzzard, Black-headed gull, Herring gull, House sparrow, Dunnock, Black-billed magpie, Jay and Goosander.
After walk drinks were enjoyed at the King William Hotel in Bromley Cross where Thwaites Bombadier and Original went down well, but the tea wasn't the best brew that I've ever tasted.
The high point of the day for me was meeting two locals since one was a very special friend from more than 20 years ago. It really was lovely to make contact again.
This a superb Winter walk, preferably to be repeated knowing that sections around Cheetham Close would be frozen, otherwise it would have great potential for being on the boggy side! It would be lovely to meet up with the locals again as well.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

A Walk from the Crown Hotel, Llandegla 25th November 2010

A Christmas message from Sarah and Kelly at the Crown Hotel.
Starting off across the fields in glorious sunshine.
Enjoying elevensies!
Phil giving advice on how to cross rhe stream safely.
The Clwydians from a path on the return route to the Crown Hotel.

Walk stats: Distance:5.5 miles, Climb:723'.
Time: 3 hours 0 minutes; On the move walking average:2.3 m.p.h.; Overall walk average:1.8 m.p.h.
Group:Martyn, Roger, Fran and Tito, Sylvia and Dave J., Phil, Tim and Carol, Annie H., Sue and Michel and Sheila and Gordon joined us for the meal at the Crown Hotel.
This was a glorious day for a Winter walk, sunshine, largely blue skies, frozen, but thawing ground underfoot and a biting wind to remind us that the days for wearing shorts were over for another year.
It's not often that we follow a walk description exactly, but today we did, and the section contouring around the Western edge of the moor on the return half of the walk, gave us some superb views towards the Llantysilo Mountains and the Clwydians.
At about 11-30 we stopped for a snack that included fruit cake (provided by Martyn), cheese (provided by Fran) and Panettone (provided by Sue), a little too much had we known the size of our meals to come.
Birds seen or heard today included:Coal tit, Blue tit, Great tit, Chaffinch, House sparrow, Canada goose, Kestrel, Buzzard, Blackbird, Carrion crow, Raven, Black-billed magpie, Mistle thrush and Red-legged partridge.
We arrived back at the Crown a little earlier than planned, but Sarah spotted us and opened up for us.
As ever we were warmly welcomed by by Sarah, leaving Kelly slaving away in the kitchen. We enjoyed our drinks as we sat quite close to the wood burning stove in the main bar area. We didn't realise it, but Sarah and Kelly had set out the new restaurant area for our meal together and had put out Christmas crackers too.
The meals were superb, and one or two of us were impressed by the size of the bacon and black pudding starter, it could have been a main meal on its own! At last Tito had the Chef's Mega Mixed Grill, but he couldn't finish it on his own. Only Phil had a dessert, having not had a starter, but no-one else had inclination to join him, our eyes may have been willing, but our stomachs couldn't cope. Extra mega sized chips were provided, but alas we couldn't do them justice, and we did try!
The meal was finished by Sarah bringing out coffee and Mince pies for all those that could cope.
We all left very contented and looking forward to our next meal at the Crown Hotel.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Dates and Walks November 2010

Group Walk and Meal at the Crown Inn, Llandegla.
Please see below for details.
Thursday 4th November 2010.
Around Helsby Hill and Frodsham Marshes.

Distance: 11-12 miles. Climb:800'.
Start: Frodsham Main Car park (Turn right at traffic lights off Helsby Road and then left immediately after the Helter Skelter pub. Grid ref: SJ517778.
Leave Chester at 9-00 a.m.
The Helsby part of the walk is taken from Jen Darling's book "More Pub Walks in Cheshire and the Wirral". Her walk starts at the Netherton Hall, but we will start in Frodsham and use the Sandstone Trail to link with the walk by the golf course. After completing the circuit at Netherton Hall, we will return to Frodsham using some of the many tracks/footpaths that wind their way around Frodham Marshes. Frodsham Marshes can be good bird watching area, so bring your binoculars with you.

Saturday 6th November 2010.
Winter Hill, Rivington Pike and Lever Park.
Distance: 9 miles. Climb:1035',
Start: Car Park, Lever Park Grid ref: SD635229.
Leave Chester at 8-00 a.m.
This is another walk taken from Terry Marsh's book "Fifty Classic Walks in Lancashire". He describes the walk as a generally easy walk on good tracks throughout, and is a tek through history. Weather permitting, we should get good views of the Darwen Moors visited last month.

Thursday 11th November 2010.
Burton and Parkgate.
Distance:10 miles. Climb:500'.
Start: Roadside parking on Denhall Lane next to benches overlooking the marshes. Grid ref: SJ301747.
Leave Chester 9-00 a.m.
The Burton circuit is taken from Jen Darling's book "Walks in West Cheshire and the Wirral". The extension will involve some road walking through Neston to link up with the Wirral Way and onto Parkgate. The return route will use coastal paths as much as possible and pass Neston Old Quay and Denhall Quay on the way back to Denhall Lane.

Saturday 13th November 2010.
Around Anglezark Reservoir and More.
Distance: 8-11 miles. Climb: Not a lot expected!
Start:Car park and picnic site, Rivington Park. Grid ref: SD628138.
Leave Chester 8-00 a.m.
This walk is based on a walk from Terry Marsh's book "Fifty Classic Walks in Lancashire". His part of the walk is described as being on generally good paths and tracks, but can be muddy! The extensions will result in the whole walk going past 5 reservoirs. It will probably be worthwhile bringing binoculars with you.

Thursday 18th November 2010.

Lleweni Hall, Denbigh Castle and Goblin Fields.

Distance: 9-10 miles. Climb: 670'
Start: Layby/off road parking opposite the entrance to the Brookside Mill Tavern on the A525. Grid ref: SJ072658.
Leave Chester at 9-00 a.m.
These two walks are taken from Dave Berry's book "Walks in the Vale of Clwyd". One walk is described as a delightful walk that included a fine Medieval church, the historic Lleweni Hall and attractive riverside paths by the Afon Clwyd and Afon Ystrad.
The second walk is described as interesting and takes a "green"approach to a little known castle in Wales.

Saturday 20th November 2010.

Black Hameldon and More.
Distance:11-12 miles; Climb:2000' at a guess.
Start:Car park and picnic site at Hurstwood. Grid ref: SD883133.
Leave Chester at 8-00 a.m.
This walk is based on a walk from Terry Marsh's book "Fifty Classic Walks in Lancashire" with extensions to include Hoarside Moor and Shuttleworth Moor. The walk includes part of the Burnley Way and the Pennine Bridleway. This walk isn't recommended in poor visibility, so let's hope for good weather.

Thursday 25th November 2010.
Cyrn-y-Brain and Sir Watkin's Tower.
Distance: 7 miles. Climb: 800'.
Start: Car park at the Crown Hotel Pen-y-Stryt, Llandegla.
Leave Chester at 9-00 a.m.
This is the day we agreed to have a meal together following our Thursday walk, hence the reason for the walk being shorter than usual.
This walk is based on a walk produced by Denbighshire Country Services. It is described as a pleasant walk through varied landscape, and eventually rises to open moorland. The extension takes a little further across the moor to the summit of Cyrn-y-Brain and Sir Watkin's Tower. We will use the Offa's Dyke and Clwydian Way Footpath to return to Llandegla and the Crown Hotel, hopefully for about 13-30, in time for a meal around 14-00 hours. The walk may be shortened to ensure that we are back at the Crown by 13-30.

As we are having a meal after the walk, there is no need to bring any packed lunch. Martyn will provide fruit cake (the first from this years batch) for everyone, but please let him know that you are coming on the walk.
Saturday 27th November 2010.
Jumbles, Wayoh, Turton and Entwistle Reservoirs.
Distance:10 miles. Climb:1000'.
Start:Waterfold Car Park, off Bradshaw Road (A676), Jumbles Country Park.
Leave Chester 8-00 a.m.
This walk is based on a walk taken from Terry Marsh's book "Fifty Classic Walks in Lancashire". He describes the walk as a pleasant walk on good paths. The extension to Turton and Entwistle Reservoirs includes another section of the Witton Weaver Way and crosses Turton Heights and a hill called Cheetham Cross.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Black Hameldon and More 20th November 2010

Crossing the bridge over Hurstwood Brook.
A normal discussion on route finding - heading for the Burnley Way / Pennine Bridle Way.
Paul and Pippa on the Hare Stones.
At the trig point at Hoof Stones Height.
Looking across Shuttleworth Moor and Black Moor towards Gorple Upper Reservoir
and beyond to Heptonstall Moor.

Walk stats:Distance:11.3 miles (maybe more for some) ; Climb:1557'.
Time:5 hours 56 minutes; On the move walking average: 2.2 m.p.h.; Overall walk average:1.9 m.p.h.
Group:Martyn, Roger, Dave J., Celia, Paul and Pippa.
The weather turned out to be pretty good, some sunny spells, a cool breeze at times, but no rain. This was quite a challenging walk, especially if you wanted to keep your feet dry, not everyone succeeded! More than half the walk entailed trekking across boggy peat moorland. We now know why so many of the named areas have the prefix "black"! What a blessing it was to get back on the solid ground of the Burnley Way / Pennine Way Bridle Path near Gorple Gate.
Lunch was taken by the remains of a now empty reservoir just west of Hoar Moor.
Half the group decided to follow the Pennine Way Bridle Path all the way back to the car, whilst the other three decided to continue their bog trotting and follow the described route past Cant Clough Reservoir.
Birds seen or heard today included:Blue tit, Great tit, Mallard, Chaffinch, Meadow pipit, Snipe, Kestrel, Raven and Red grouse (they seemed to be everywhere.)
Overall an "enjoyable" walk, perhaps never to be repeated!
After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Kettledrum Inn at Mereclough where the best brew on offer was Deuchars IPA.
In the Kettledrum Inn afterwards Roger even admitted to "snorkeling" in Clegg Foot stream.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Denbigh Castle and Lleweni Hall 18th November 2010

An early star of the day and the bird of the day , a dipper on the Afon Ystrad.

The entrance to Denbigh Castle, closed even to CADW members!

All in single file, you can tell most of them must have bee teachers!

St Marcella's Church, the parish church of Denbigh.

"Do you know what that dog did? He left is mark on my boot!"
Who could have said that?

"Can you believe it? All this fuss about a "Royal" wedding!

Walk stats: Distance:10.1 miles; Climb:598'.
Time: 4 hours 55 minutes; On the move walking average: 2.4 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 2.1 m.p.h.
Group:Martyn, Roger, Phil, Sylvia and Dave J, Gordon, Annie H., Sue and Michel.
What a good day for walking this turned out to be. We had a good start to the walk when we saw a pair of Dippers just upstream from the Brookhouse weir. Later on we met a group of Denbigh ladies on their regular walk that informed us that it never rains on a Thursday! We were happy to confirm that even today for us it turned out to be true.
Lunch stop opportunities were somewhat in doubt one someone in the group had spurned the seats in grounds of St. Marcela's Church and raced ahead. Eventually we were able to take advantage of sitting on a wall on a bridge overthe Afon Clwyd just south of Lleweni Hall.
The return along the banks of the Afon Clwyd wasn't as wet as we were expecting, but it did have its "claggy" moments!
The return rout on the raised embankment along the Afon Ysdtrad was far more hazardous than was desirable to say the least! We encountered several fallen trees that blocked the path, and in one case we, despite being in the "wrinkly" group, had to return to a posture more appropriate to the under two!
Birds seen or heard today included: House sparrow, Chaffinch, Dipper, Carrion crow, Jackdaw, Raven, Common buzzard, Herring gull, Black-headed gull, Blue tit, European robin, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Redwing, Mistle thrush, Nuthatch, Mute swan, Great cormorant, Teal, Mallard, Grey heron and Winter wren.
We arrived back at the cars, more tired than we expected, but agreeing that these two walks combined well, especially heading for Denbigh Castle first.
After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Britannia Inn at Pentre Halkyn. The Lees bitter was superb, a credit to the new landlady, but we had confidence in her when we knew she was taking over the licensee from Sarah and Kelly.