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 in mid-week and 2-4 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, Wend and Ian Peers, 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, Nigel Taylor, Naomi Deynem

Thursday, 31 January 2013

Around Helsby Hill and the Nertheron Hall Meal 31st January 2013

Waiting for?
Waiting for these? Yes, but there were others!
Jacob's Ladder, but not at our age!
The metal steps is the only way for us!
Our first view from across the estuary.
On the Sandstone Trail again.
At the end of the "cake" stop!
At the trig point on Helsby Hill.
waiting for lunch at the Netherton Hall.
Waiting for lunch at the Netherton Hall.
Walk stats: Distance: 6.8 miles. Climb: 1395'.
Time: 4 Hours 53 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.2 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.8 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Sue and Michel, Phil, Wendy, Mike, Carole, Celia and David S., Carol and Tim, Sue and Dave P., Annie, Fran and Tito, Sylvia and Dave J., Margaret and Roger, Sheila and Gordon.
Another glorious day for walking, dry and sunny throughout, even the wind wasn't cold, although it was a little on the strong side when we were on Helsby Hill.  Good views across the Mersey towards Liverpool, particularly from Frodsham golf course and Helsby Hill.
The only downside was the fact that some of the paths at best could be described as rather muddy, and my boots for one had to be cleaned inside and out!
We had a short break for a drink and a piece of fruit cake at about 111-45, before the climb to the exposed summit of Helsby Hill!
Overall a good walk and with a superb meal. The manner in which the staff welcomed us (even opening up early to allow us the use of the facilities before the walk)  and the way that they served us during the meal, makes this hostelry well worth recommending to anyone. They had three good Lees brews on too. 
It is well worth considering a repeat for our next annual walk and meal.
Birds seen or heard today included: Common blackbird, European robin, Dunnock, House sparrow, Carrion crow, Mallard, Black-billed magpie.
Our best turn out for a walk in 2013, and even better for the meal!
Thanks to everyone who contributed to the cost of my meal.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Walks and Dates January 2013

See 31st January 2012 for the latest info on our meal at Netherton Hall.
Happy New Year

Tuesday 1st January 2013.
The Old Quay and Denhall Quay.
Distance: 5.5 miles. Climb: Not a lot!
Start: Wirral Country Park Car park. Grid ref: SJ284779.
Leave Chester at 09-30 a.m.
This walk is taken from Dave Berry's book "Walks Around Chester and the Dee Estuary". The walk is described as  a walk featuring two old historic coastal ports, delightful bridleways and an attractive section of the Wirral Way.  As the first part of the walk is along the estuary, it will probably be worthwhile bringing binoculars with you if you have them.
It is anticipated that we will  check out "The Architect" in Chester for after walk drinks, expecting to be there about 13-30.
Thursday 3rd January 2013.
Rhyl to Rhuddlan Riverside Walk with extensions to Rhuddlan L.N.R . , The Brickworks Pool N.R. and the Forydd.
Distance: 10-11 miles. Climb: 200'.
Start: Car park by the Marine Lake, turn right off Westbourne Avenue, if approaching from road from the Forydd Bridge. Grid ref: SJ001806.
This walk is an annual favourite, at least for those that like to birdwatch as well. It is a good time of the year as there are lots of Winter visitors that frequent coastal areas and river estuaries. Bring binoculars with you.  Last time we had lunch in the Rhuddlan L.N.R.  Hopefully the footpath on the Western side of the river will be open this time.
Saturday 5th January 2013.
Mam Tor, Blue John Mine and Winnats Pass.
Distance: 9 - 10 miles. Climb: 1900'.
Start: Castleton village car park: Pay and display. Grid ref: SK148829. North of the A625 , main road through the village.
Leave Chester at 08-00 a.m.
These walks are taken from Mark Richards' Book "White Peak Walks - Northern Dales."  It is quite some time since we walked in this area. The views from Mam Tor are superb, and have been described as some of the best in the Peak District.  The other walk passes through Cave dale and goes close to Pevril Castle.

Thursday 10th January 2013. 
Moel Famau - Twice!
Distance: 9 miles. Climb: 1600'.
Start: Moel Famau Forest Car park (pay on entry. £1 last time we used this car park), just East of the PC block.
Leave Chester at 09-00 a.m.
This walk combines to routes from Dave Berry's Books, one from "Walks in the Clwydian Hills" and one from "Walks in the Clwydian Hills - New Edition."  It is quite a while since we visited Moel Famau from this car park, and I can't remember visiting the Jubilee Tower twice on the same walk before!  The walk is like a figure of eight, with the summit being the link point. Let's hope for a calm, windless day with plenty of warm sunshine!
Saturday 12th January 2013. 
A Coastal walk from Llanfairfechan to Aber Ogwen and the Spinnies L.N.R.
Distance: 10-11 miles. Climb: 200'.
Start: Llanfairfechan Promenade / Coastal car Park. Grid ref: SH679754.
Leave Chester at 08-00 a.m.
This is essentially a linear there and back walk, but if the tide allows we will walk along the beach on the return route from the Aber Ogwen pic-nic site (lunch spot the last time we did the walk). There should be plenty of birds to see on the coast, and we will probably visit at lest one of the four bird hides on the route. Bring binoculars with you if you have them.  High tide at about 10-40 a.m., quite a big one at 32.2 ' / 9.8 m.

Thursday 17th January 2013. 
Raby and Willaston.
Distance: 9 miles. Climb: 500', probably an exaggeration!
Start: Hadlow Road Station. Grid ref: SJ312773.
Leave Chester at 09-00 a.m.
This walk combines two walks from Anthony Annakin-Smith's book "Wirral Walks". The two walks are  liinked along minor minor roads and field paths. The walk passes a former racecourse pretty woodlands, the Wirral's largest windmill and even a Glow-worm site, not that we are likely to see one!
An easy walk, although at this time of the year, paths can be waterlogged!
Saturday 19th January 2013. 
Postponed due to the weather. 
It will probably appear later in the year when there is no chance of snow or ice on the roads.
Hartington Old Station Aleck Low and Minninglow.
Distance: 12 miles. Climb: 800'.
Start: Hartington Old Station Car Park. Pay and Display. Grid ref: SK149612.
Leave Chester at 08-00 a.m.
This walk combines two walks from Mark Richards's book "White Peak Walks - Southern Dales". Slightly longer than usual, but much of the walk will be easy going as it uses the High Peak Trail and the Tissington Trails along disused railway tracks.  If I remember correctly this walk proved delightful, with plenty of things of interest on route and good view, particularly from the High Peak Trail.

Thursday 24th January 2013.
Halkyn Limetone, Lead and Moel Ffagnallt.
Distance: 9-10 miles. Climb: 1500'.
Start: Britannia Inn, Halkyn Car Park. Grid ref: SJ211711.
Leave Chester at 09-00 a.m.
This is walk that we complete at least once a year, and often several times as there are several variations around Rhes-y-cae and Moel Ffagnallt.  The exact route taken after leaving the the summit of Moel Ffagnallt, will be weather dependent and decided after we have had lunch!
Saturday 26th January 2013. 
The Point of Ayr RSPB Hide and Talacre to Prestatyn.
Distance: 10 miles. Climb: 200'.
Start at Talacre Beach Car Park, on the right just before the Smugglers Inn. Grid ref: SJ124848.
Leave Chester at 08-00 a.m.
This is a walk that is always on the list at this time of the year, as it is always a good time to see Winter visiting birds along the coast., so bring binoculars with you. As a change, we will complete the walk in the opposite direction to the one that we will normally take. The walk will start with a walk to the Point of Ayr RSPB hide, and then set of through  Nature Reserve on the inland route to Prestatyn. Our return route will then be along the coast, on the beach if the tide permits, hopefully the tide will be on the way out by then. High tide at about 10-30 a.m. 28.8' / 8.7 m.
Thursday 31st January 2013.
Helsby Hill.
Distance: 6.5 miles. Climb: 1000'.
Start: Netherton Hall on A56 just outside Frodsham. Grid ref: SJ512770.
It is planned that we have our annual meal together after the walk.
I have been to Netherton Hall and have booked us in for our meal. We can leave our cars in their car park, parking in the area opposite the side entrance.  The manager said he will arrange that we can use the facilities  before we set off on our walk. Netherton Hall are going to send me a copy of their menu, which I will distribute as soon as I can, so that everyone can let me know their choices which I can forward to the pub on the Monday before the walk.
Please send me your meal choices by 13-00 on Monday 28th January 2013.
It is anticipated that we would start the meal at about 13-30, assuming that we start walking by 10-0 a.m.
The walk is taken from Jen Darling's book "More Pub Walks in Cheshire and Wirral.".
This walk includes one of the better part of  Sandstone Trail, and is linked by field paths and country lanes.  We have completed many sections of this walk on previous occasions, but we have never started a walk from Netherton Hall before.

As we are eating after the walk, there is no need to bring food, although I will provide fruit cake to keep us going, as I anticipate having a short stop for drinks at some point on the walk (about half way round).

If I have your e-mail address, I have sent you  a copy of the Winter Menu from Netherton Hall. If you haven't received it let me know,  and I will send one to you.  If you know that I don't have your latest e-mail address and you want me to send you the menu , text me your e-mail address. Alternatively you could go to the Netherton Hall web site and access it from there via the "wine and dine" section and then the menu. (I did have to try a couple of times before the menu downloaded).
Their web address is : www.nethertonhallpub.co.uk.

Currently there are 20 coming to the meal.
Those walking are:
Martyn, Sue and Michel.
Mike D, Carole H, Celia and David S.
Annie H.
Tim and Carol.
Those joining us just for the meal are:
Dave and Sylvia.
Roger and Margaret.
Fran and Tito.
Gordon and Sheila.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

Point of Ayr and Talacre to Prestatyn 26th January 2013

The well known lighthouse on Talacre beach.
The beach route towards Prestatyn.
Ringed plover on the beach between Presthaven and Prestatyn.
On Barkby Beach.
Windmills off Prestatyn.
Walk stats: Distance: 11.5 miles. Climb: 365'.
Time: 5 hours 54 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.4 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.9 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Mile and Carole.
This turned out to be a superb day for walking and after the heavy snowfall around Chester yesterday, this was positively barmy weather! Warm and sunny, I should have been in my shorts and I wouldn't have lost yet another right mitt!
It was anticipated that we would see lots of wild birds quite close as the tide came in, but in reality most of them were still a little to far away if you were only using binoculars.
However the birds seen or heard today included: Shelduck, Common teal, Pintail, Oystercatcher, Common redshank, Eurasian curlew, Jackdaw, Carrion crow, Mallard, Knot, Great cormorant, Lapwing, Chaffinch, Black-headed gull, Herring gull, Great black-backed gull, Blue tit, Great tit, Dunnock, Woodpigeon, Collared dove, Common blackbird, European robin, Ringed plover, Little egret, Little grebe, Moorhen, Tufted duck, Linnet, Twite, Black-tailed godwit, House sparrow, Stonechat, Common starling, Pied wagtail and Common kestrel.
We had lunch, using a bench at Barkby Beach, where Carole kindly provide us we a piece of her superb apple and raising cake.
Overall a good walk, but there is always something special about walking beside the sea.
After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Britannia Inn at Halkyn, where the Lees bitter went down well and real fires were again burning at both ends of the room, the sort of warm welcoming you appreciate when ice and snow is still on the ground.  I didn't dare park in the car park after Thursday's experience , and neither did anyone else!

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Moel Ffagnallt, Halkyn, Limestone and Lead 24th January 2013

"Can't you see I'm on me bill?" 
It's cold outside!
At the trig point on Halkyn Mountain.
Walking above the Pant-y-pwll dwr Quarry.
Part of the Pant-y-pwll dwr Quarry.
At the Millenium Cairn on Moel Ffagnallt.
Christ Church, Rhes-y-cae.
Phil with his two snowmen.
Obviously him and her snow persons as one has washing up gloves on and the other has a spade!
Walk stats: Distance: 9.1 miles/ Climb: 935'.
Time: 4 hours 53 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.2 m.p.h. Overall walking average: 1.9 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Annie, Phil, Tim and David S.
A good day for walking, but it didn't start too well, I arrived at the Britannia Inn and manged to slide on the icy/compacted snow on the car park and started to slide down hill. Thankfully two Council workers about to set off with rock salt rescued me by putting salt underneath the front wheels and I was able to get traction and get back onto the road, eventually being able to park at the top end of the car park.
However from then on, everything was great, walking on familiar terrain, that under the blanket of snow, at times quite thick, was like walking through pathless countryside.
Views weren't particularly good, as the estuary seemed decked in mist and even the Clwydian Hills had an air mystery about them.
Work at the Pant-y-pwll dwr Quarry was quite intriguing, with bulldozers and lorries tipping fresh earth at the Western end. It will be interesting to see the end result of their efforts in a year or so., and see if the quarry has been extended Westward.
Lunch was taken at the Millenium Cairn, where we took advantage of the stone seating available. We didn't linger too long as our hands soon got cold and seemed to be begging for warm gloves/mitts to be put back on.  After seeing two cyclist go down the steep North side, we decided to take the track around the Western side which was a  much gentler slope, a more sensible route for conditions underfoot.
On this occasion we actually went through the village of Rhes-y-cae, past the old Jones Brothers Bakery and Grocers shop. sadly now empty.
Near the primary school we came across the two snowmen for the second time, and on this occasion Phil restored the eye of the larger snowman, so that it again looked as though it was smiling!
Birds seen or heard today included: House sparrow, Great tit, Carrion crow, Long-tailed tit, Common crow, Common buzzard and Jackdaw.
We arrived back at the Britannia Inn  a little earlier than usual, and thankfully they had real fires at both ends of the room, always welcome on cold days like this. The Lees bitter is always good, tasted even better as we thawed out!
We all made an easy escape from the top entrance to the car park.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Willaston and Raby 17th January 2013

The old Red Lion at Willaston.
St Lukes Church, Willaston.
The Old Mill at Willaston.
"Which way should I go?"
Splash sculpture, just outside Raby.
Lunch time.
"I wish was was back in nice warm Tunisia"
There's always one!
Walk stats: Distance: 10.1 miles. Climb: 201'.
Time: 4 hours 43 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.5 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 2.1 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Annie, Sue P (Michel absent, waiting in for R& B to come and fix the Central Heating, and claiming that he done all of the house work as well!), David S., Tim and Celia.
A nice cool Winter's day, but as yet none of the white stuff. However we did have plenty of icy terrain, a good thing as otherwise large sections of the walk would have been very muddy or even muddier that we actually experienced. At least it kept dry and the Easterly wind only showed up just before lunch, but many of the tree / hedge lined paths shielded us from the worst.
There wasn't a lot to make us want to linger, and even there were few birds to distract us, so the overall pace was a little higher than normal.
Overall a good walk on a day like this, and as a bonus we were back in the Wheatsheaf at Raby  a little earlier than expected. A bonus as they have real fires that makes this a superb place to visit on a cold Winter's day, the beer was good too. Brimstage's  Sandpiper and Trappers Hat both went down well.
Birds seen or heard today included: Common blackbird, Winter wren, Lapwing, Black-headed gull, Jackdaw, Carrion crow, Blue tit, House sparrow, Great tit, Chaffinch and Common buzzard.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

A Walk From Llanfairfechan 12th January 2013

The good shepherd.
Some sheep got left behind.
One of the Brent geese seen in the bay.
How many different species of bird are in this picture?
A few more birds to include.
A better picture of the Eurasian curlew.
Walk stats: Distance: 8.0 miles. Climb: 200' at a guess, the GPS'a wind assisted 1300' was a little out!
Time:  4 hours 8 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.5 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.9 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Mike, Celia and Carole H.
A dry, but cold day was forecast, and that was just what we got. It was a little colder than we expected at times and the cold wind was much stronger than anticipated, but at least we manged to get some shelter from it at times. even if it did mean taking lunch in a hide!
As expected the tide was at its highest as we set off from Llanfairfechan, which meant that we had superb views of lots of birds quite close up. There were impressive flocks of Oystercatcher, Eurasian curlew, Common redshank, Lapwing and Eurasian wigeon, but the bird of the day was undoubtedly the Brent goose.
The sunlight at times made the views towards the sea and the birds near the shore stand out brilliantly.
We didn't quite make it to the Spinnies Nature Reserve as the tide was too high and crossing the stones above the beach was thought to be a bit dodgy! we retraced our steps and took an early lunch before taking a detour along the road to Pentre-du to avoid the flooded area east of the mouth of the Afan Aber, that resulted in at least one member of the group getting a wet foot on the outward journey.
We arrived back at the car having had a good walk, sufficient to blow any cobwebs out of the hair, and just long enough to make it an acceptable distance for us to call it a day and head for an early pint at the Britannia Inn.
Birds seen or heard today included: House sparrow, Jackdaw, Mute swan, Black-headed gull, Herring gull, Mallard, Feral pigeon. Common starling, Song thrush, Oytercatcher, Pintail, Eurasian wigeon, Common teal, Eurasian curlew, Shoveler, Shelduck, Brent goose, Lapwing, Common blackbird,, Carrion crow, Common redshank, Meadow pipit, Winter wren, Black-billed magpie, Black-tailed godwit and Common snipe.

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Mole Famau - Twice 10th January 2013.

Looking back down the red route?
The panorama as we reached the Offa's Dyke footpath for the first time.
Snowdonia from Moel Famau Jubilee tower  - first time round.
At the Jubilee Tower on Moel Famau  - first visit.
Looking Eastward from near the trig point on Moel Famau  - second time round.
At the trig point on Moel Famau - second time round.
Walk stats: Distance: 7.4 miles. Climb: 1801'.
Time: 5 hours 18 minutes. On the move walking average: 1.7 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.4 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Annie H., Sue and Michel, Phil and David S. 
Fran and Tito did their own 5+ mile walk around Moel Famau and joined us later to celebrate a great day for walking!
We all set off from home, carefully driving through the low lying fog and anticipating another not so good day on Moel Famau. How wrong we were, this was one of the best walks on Moel Famau that I have ever experienced. No fog, except in the valleys below us, wonderful views, and to be noted - no wind around the Jubilee Tower on Moel Famau, possibly a once in a life-time experience!
Just a little later another "once  in a life-time experience", we started lunch before 12, and after we had only covered 3.3 miles, not my choice, but before I could say anything most of the group had chosen their seats and taken their sandwiches out!
It's always good to be walking n an area when you are above any mist and fog, and the unusual view of note was the Padeswood Cement Works Chimney that was almost entirely below the mist, except for the very top few metres.
Birds seen or heard today were very few but included: Great tit, Common blackbird and Carion crow.
Overall a superb day walk, and surprisingly not feeling too cold for this time of the year, we even saw one walker in shorts, but we had no proof that he had gone any further than the car park with his knees exposed!
After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Glasfryn in Mold, where Snowdonia Ale went down well. Just as we were finishing our drink Fran and Tito arrived from their Moel Famau walk to join us by the wonderful real fire. I had no choice, but to have another pint!

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Mam Tor, Cave Dale and winnats Pass 5th January 2013

Pevril Castle from the Hollowford Road.
Panorama from the bridle path to Hollins Cross.
Heading for Hollons Cross.
Hollins Cross with Lose Hill behind.
Mam Tor from near Winnats Head Farm.
Pevril Castle and Cave Dale.
The lower end of Winnats Pass, Win Hill in the distance:
Walk stats: Distance: 9.9 miles. Climb: 1684'.
Time 6 hours 11 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.0 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.6 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn and Mike.
Another good day for walking, but it seemed as though everyone else thought so too, particularly around MamTor. Mam Tor was capped in a cloud, but thankfully it had cleared by the time that we reached the trig point.
We had good views all day and valleys like Cave Dale and passes like Winnats Pass are always impressive.
Birds were far and between today, but included: Blue tit, Mallard, Carrion crow, Raven and Jackdaw.
Lunch was taken at Castleton before setting off for Cave Dale.
After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Cheshire Cheese in Frodsham, where the only cask ale on offer was Theakstons Bitter, but even that tasted good. despite having to suffer watching West Ham v Man U. Alas Man U had equalised by the time we got home!

Thursday, 3 January 2013

The Foryd, Brickwork Pool and the Afon Clwyd between Rhyl and Rhuddlan 3rd January 2013

The start of the walk along the Marine Lake, Rhyl.
Spot the Snow buntings.
Another chance to spot a Snow bunting.
Looking across Kimnel Bay towards the Great Orme.
Rhuddlan Castle, but not visited today.
Walk stats: Distance: 9.8 miles. Climb: 260'.
Time: 4 hours 20 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.8 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 2.3 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Annie H., Sue and Michel, Phil, Paul, Mike, Sue and Dave P.
We started the walk by taking the path around the Marine Lake in a clock-wise direction, and after crossing the blue Foryd Bridge, we headed for the beach in search of Snow buntings.  We were luck enough to see about 9 in there normal location.
The next part of the walk took us along the western side of the Afon Clwyd, which thankfully was open again. Again plenty of birds along the river, especially Lapwing and Eurasian curlew, but just one Little egret.
Lunch was taken in the Rhuddlan L.N.R., where we took advantage of the many picnic tables provided.  It was even warm enough to bask in the warm sunshine in short sleeve shirts. 
We returned back to Rhyl on the East side of the river, where we saw huge numbers of Eurasian curlew and Lapwing, always very impressive when they take to the air in such large numbers.  However the best birds along this section of the river, were a pair of Goldenye and a flock of Twite.
We had a short detour from the described route to visit the Brickfield Pool, a pleasant nature reserve that is set out in a way to encourage young children to learn about nature.
Birds seen or heard today included: Snow bunting, Carrion crow, Eurasian curlew, Common starling, Common blackbird, Blue tit, Great tit, Common redshank, Shelduck, Mallard, Goldfinch, Siskin, Twite, Goldeneye, Great cormorant, Canada goose, Lapwing, Great black-backed gull, Black-headed gull, Common coot, Common snipe, Mute swan, Tufted duck, Grey heron, Long-tailed tit, European robin, Red-breasted merganser, Black-billed magpie, Herring gull and Greenfinch.
After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Britannia Inn, where the Lees bitter went down well, but most of us were glad that we had remembered to leave our fleeces on!
All together a very pleasant walk, surprisingly warm (above 10  Celsius) for this time of the year - we should have worn shorts!