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

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Around Holy Island 31st May 2014

The start of the walk at the old harbour at Holyhead.
The coast looking South across Porth Dafarch.
Looking towards South Stack from our lunch spot.
Not the clearest of photos, but at least you can tell it's a Red-billed chough.
The Coastal Path as we head towards Holyhead Harbour.
Observing Dodd's 1st Rule of Walking!
Walk stats: Distance: 12.2 miles. Climb: 1292'.
Time: 7 hours 22 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.1 m.p.h. Overall walk average:1.7 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Celia and Grandad Mike.
A little dull to start with, but by lunchtime it turned in to a glorious day for walking, and with so many flowers to look at and birds to see and listen to, this was a walk not to be rushed!
 Once again we decided to get the worst part of the walk over, weaved our way through the Holyhead streets to the coast  at Port y Corwgi.
 Walking along the coast is always delightful, and especially so today we so much to see. The number of flowers seen to day included: Sheep's bit scabious, Squill, Meadow buttercup, Creeping buttercup, Daisy, Dandelion, Ragged robin, Sea campion, Red campion, Red valerian, Crane's bill, Sea mayweed, Thrift, Yellow rattle, Foxglove and many more that I've have forgotten.
 Birds seen or heard today included: Herring gull, House sparrow, Common buzzard, Barn swallow, Jackdaw, Carrion crow, Raven, Stonechat, Meadow pipit, Skylark, Oystercatcher, Red billed chough, Razorbill, Guillemot, Meadow pipit, Winter wren, Red breasted merganser, Linnet, Great cormorant and Common blackbird.
 A long walk, but a great day out.
 After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Britannia Inn, Pentre Halkyn, where the Lees bitter went down well and Celia enjoyed her tea and crisps.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Around Deeside and Moel Fferna Quarries 29th May 2014

In the wooded Nant y Pandy Valley.
Leading the way up the Nant y Pandy Valley.
Looking down the Nant y Pandy Valley towards Glyndyfrdwy.
At the start of the tramway at the Deeside Quarry.
"You didn't tell us that we should be wearing wellies!"
At one of the information boards at the Moel Fferna Quarry.
Coming over the top - putting the best foot forward.
Walk stats: Distance: 7.5 miles. Climb: 1057'.
Time: 4 hours 43 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.2 m.p.h. Overall walk average:1.6 m.p.h. (I must be allowing too much time for lunch!)
Group: Martyn, Roger, David S, Mike and Tim.
Once again we set off in our waterproofs, expecting the rain to start soon. In fact we didn't need to put on waterproofs until after lunch when we were heading in to low cloud around Moel Fferna Quarry. Despite the overcast nature, we did get good views early on in the walk and then as we descended towards Glyndyfrdwy. In fact we did get a good view of the steam engine as it left Carrog heading for Llangollen. To us it seemed like a blue Thomas the Tank Engine pulling five coaches.
 Lunch was taken quite early today, just before we climbed up the tramway to the Moel Fferna Quarry, going any higher would have meant that we would have been in cloud! 
  We missed out Moel Fferna today as everyone agreed that Moel Fferna in cloud or mist isn't any fun!
 Despite the fact that we had only done 7.5 miles, most thought that today it was enough.
 Birds sen or heard today included: Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Raven, Carrion crow, Chiffchaff, Willow warbler, Barn swallow, Mistle thrush, Common whitethroat, Meadow pipit, Stonechat, Greylag goose, Mallard and Cuckoo.
 After walk drinks were enjoyed in the warm surroundings of the Berwyn Arms at Glyndyfrdwy. The beer of choice was Banks's "Bog Standard Bitter". An enjoyable beer at only 3.6%.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Walks and Dates May 2014

Updated 18th May 2014.
Thursday 1st May 2014.
Coed Pen-y-Gelli and the Gorsedd Round
The First Bluebell Wood Walk of the Year.
Distance:11-12 miles. Climb:1050’.
Start: Roadside parking at Lloc. Turn left by the public house if approaching from Holywell on the A5026 on right if approaching on the A5026 from its nearest junction with the A55. Grid ref:SJ145765.
This is a annual Bluebell Wood Walk, and is effectively a figure of eight walk based on Lloc. This walk combines two walks from Dave Berry’s book “ Walks Around Holywell and Halkyn Mountain”.  The walk will probably nearer 10 miles as we will only complete a small section of the Gorsedd Round.
Leave Chester at 09-00a.m.
Saturday 3rd May 2014.
Mow Cop, Congleton Edge and More. 
Distance: 9-10 miles. Climb: 1500'.
Start: Mow Cop National Trust Car Park (Members only, bring your membership card or car park badge). Grid ref: SJ856573.
Leave Chester at 08-00 a.m.
This walk combines a walk from Carl Rogers's book "Circular Walks Along The Gritstone Trail" and part of a walk taken from the "Pathfinder Guide to Cheshire". This walk is a little shorter than the one that w did in 2008. Good views from the ridges.
Thursday 8th May 2014.
Marion Frith, Moel Hiraddug, Cwm and Coed Yr Esgob.
Distance:10.4 miles; Climb:1600'.
Start:Car Park at the Western edge of Dyserth on the A5151. Grid ref: SJ062793.
Leave Chester 9-00 a.m.
It's over a year since we last did these two walks together. Both walks are taken from Dave Berry's book "Walks on the Clwydian Hills - New revised edition". He describes the first walk as delightful and the second one as providing a fascinating exploration of the low hills North of Dyserth.
Saturday 10th May 2014.
The Lawley and Caer Caradoc. 
Postponed until September 2014.
Distance:10-11 miles; Climb:2000'.
Start:Church Stretton centre car park (pay and display). Grid ref:SO454911.
Leave Chester 8-00 a.m.
It's Dotterel time again, so this is another walk that may give us the chance of seeing them again. The walk combines two walks taken from Ian Jones' booklet "20 Walks From Church Stretton".It is a walk that we first did in 1998 and have done several times since then. This is a superb walk, especially on a good day. It is the nearest that you can get to a ridge walk, particularly along the Lawley! The last time we did this walk we were lucky to see an Osprey near the fisheries, almost as good as a Dotterel.
Thursday 15th May 2014.
Around the Old Horseshoe Pass, the Eglwyseg Rocks and Glen.
Distance:10.3 miles; Climb:2205'.
Start:Car park opposite the Ponderosa Cafe on the Horseshoe Pass. Grid ref:SJ193481.
Leave Chester 9-00 a.m.
This walk combines two walks from Dave Berry's book "Walking Around Llangollen and the Dee Valley". These are two delightful walks, especially when the weather is good. An easy start heading down hill, a superb middle section with a challenging climb up the old Horseshoe Pass road at the end!
Saturday 17th May 2014.
The Stiperstone Ridge and Green Hill.
Distance: 9-10 miles. Climb: 1500'.
Start: Stipperstones Car park, East of The Bog, East of the A488, South of Gavels. Grid ref: SO369977.
Leave Chester at 08-00 a.m.
This is another of the walks taken from Steve Goodier's book "Walks in the Shropshire Hills". I know the popularity of this little ridge means that walking here isn't everyone's cup of tea, but when viewed from the Long Mynd it always looks inviting. We haven't completed a walk on the Stipperstones for over 10 years, so I thought it was worth giving it an airing. The Stipperstones walk is only 6 miles, so we will extend the walk Eastward to include Green Hill, Oak Hill and Castle  Ring Fort.
 Thursday 22nd May 2014.
Grindley Brook to Marbury. 
Postponed until the Autumn. See below for new walk.
Distance: 9 miles. Climb: 500'.
Start: Lay-by on the A41, East of Grindley Brook Locks Cafe, about 440 yards before the roundabout junction with the A49. The layby is near an old mill and telephone kiosk and is on the right coming from Chester.
Leave Chester at 09-00.
This is a walk that Phil saw in the Times and is a route described by Christopher Somerville. His walk starts at the Horse and Jockey, but we will start about half mile to the East and meet the described walk at the canal. He describes the walk as exploring the countryside through a maze of drumlin hills and kettlehole lakelets. He describes the walk as being boggy, but he did it in February, so hopefully it won't be too bad for us!

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 Little terns, so bring binoculars with you. Hopefully we will see orchids too
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. High tide is about before six in the morning, so walking on the beach should be no problem.
Saturday 24th May 2014.
Bluebell Woods Around Parbold. 
Postponed,see below for possible new walk
Distance: 10 miles. Climb: 800'.
Start: Hunter's Hill Quarry Nature Reserve. Grid ref: SD503123
Leave Chester at 08-30 a.m.
This walk is a walk that we did for the first time last year. This walk is on the East of Parbold, and visits up to ten different woods, so hopefully some will still have Bluebells on show.  The walk also includes part of the Leeds - Liverpool Canal as far as Appley Bridge. This walk is one that a friend from WEF did last year, but there is no description, just the OS map, so our map reading will have to be up to scratch and hopefully better than last year when we had an unplanned extension of about 4 miles!  The walk includes a section around Anderton Mill and High Moor. Bring binoculars with you just in case.
A Walk Around the Great Orme.  Cancelled
Distance: 8-10 miles, but will be decided on the day as we need to be back in Chester by 17-30.
Climb: 500'-1000', depending on the route we take.
Start at Llandudno West shore. Roadside parking near the boating lake. Grid ref: SH771820.
Leave Chester at 08-30 a.m.
Thursday 29th May 2014.
Moel Fferna and Nant-y-Pandy.
Distance: 9-10 miles. Climb: 2000’.
Start: Lay-by adjacent to the Butterfly Man Craft Centre on the A5 Llangollen to Corwen road near Glyndyfrdwy. Grid ref:SJ11584360.
Leave Chester 9-00 a.m.
The described part of the walk is taken from Dave Berry’s book “Walks Around Llangollen and the Dee Valley”. He describes it as a fascinating walk through the wooded Nant-y-Pandy with its old slate works.  The extension takes us to the summit of Moel Fferna, let’s hope for a good day so that we can linger on the top and taken in the excellent views.
Saturday 31st May 2014.
Around Holy Island.
Distance:12-13 miles. Climb:1326'.
Start: Roadside parking opposite PC by the Old Harbour in Holyhead. Just before the turning to South Stack. SH245831.
Leave Chester 8-30 a.m.
This is another walk that has become an annual favourite. Much of the walk is along the Coastal path, but we will probably make a detour to visit the summit of Holyhead Mountain. A good chance of seeing Choughs, Guillemots, Razorbills and even Puffins. Bring binoculars if you can.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Talacre to Prestatyn and More 22nd May 2014

Common whitethroat in the Warren.
Wheatear in the Warren.
Still wearing waterproofs buts it stopped raining ages ago!
Flag iris on the shore near Presthaven Sands.
Sedge warbler on the reeds on the shore near Presthaven Sands.

Just a selection of snails seen today.
Point of Air lighthouse, but where has the man looking out gone?
Walk stats: Distance: 9.0 miles. Climb: 212'.
Time: 4 hours 22 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.6 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 2.1 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, David S. and Roger.
If we had believed any of the weather forecasts today, then we would have stayed in Chester and got on with house chores! Thankfully we didn't and the rain encountered was minimal, in fact I could have probably got away without the discomfort of wearing waterproofs at all!
 This is always a very good walk at any time of the year, but today we saw lots of flowers and more birds than I had expected.
 Birds seen or heard today included: House sparrow, Common starling, Collared dove, Woodpigeon, Mallard, Carrion crow, Jackdaw, Grey heron, Stonechat, Greenfinch. Wheatear, Herring gull, Lesser black-backed gull, Shelduck, Oystercatcher, Little tern, Great cormorant, Sedge warbler, Barn swallow, Common swift, Meadow pipit, Skylark and Common blackbird.
 Flowers seen today included: Herb robert, Flag iris, Pyramidal orchid, Red campion, Red clover, Dandelion, Bird's foot trefoil and Meadow buttercup (any many more to be identified later!)
 Lunch was taken using seats, with our backs to Pontins and facing the old pitch and put site, not a lot to see but a few golfers playing at best with skills maybe a little better than any of us professed to have!
 After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Britannia Inn at Pentre Halkyn, where the welcome as usual was excellent and the Lees bitter was top notch!
 Overall a walk that surpassed our expectations and I didn't have to eat my packed lunch for my tea!

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Good News

Congratulations to Becky and Alex on the birth of their son, Noah James. 
He was born on the Saturday 17th May 2014 at 22-15, weighing 7 lb 12 onz.
Congratulations to Mike on becoming a Grandparent for the first time.
Mother and baby both doing well.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Stiperstones and Castle Ring Fort 17th May 2014

Don't forget to wash your boots and remove any trace of mud if you were on the walk today. Don't walk in any other area in any other area until your boots are spotless!
Below the Rock at the Southern end of the Stiperstones.
The Rock at the Southern end of the Stiperstones.
An expectant Grandad trying to contact the mum to be!
Leaving Niptstone Rock.
Mike at the trig point at Manstone Rock (Celia made it to the trig point too!).
At the entrance to Castle Ring Fort.
Walk stats: distance: 8.5 miles. Climb: 1110'.
Time: 5 hours 27 minutes. On the move walking average: 1.9 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.5 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Mike, Celia and Roger.
This was a superb day for walking, almost perfect, plenty of sunshine, a very pleasant cooling breeze, in fact as far as I was concerned it was a one shirt, one hanky day! The shirt being enforced as I had forgotten to put the spare shirts in my rucksack, but in reality it didn't matter.
Not a lot of climb today, but superb views even from the relatively low height of the Stiperstones.
As we approached the main Stiperstone ridge, we had several runners passing us. They were on the Apocalypse 100, a hundred mile challenge, as one said to us there wasn't much running on the mains section of the Stiperstones path, as the stony track made it a little on the tricky side to negotiate, I think Roger agreed!
 Two highlights today, it was yet another good day for Cuckoos, with several being heard and one seen and good numbers of Green butterflies that were later identified as Green hairstreak butterflies known to be in this area.
 The overall walk was a little slower than usual, as we had to wait for Mike and Celia to scramble up to the trig point on Manstone Rock!
 Our extension to Castle Ring Fort was a little disappointing as when we got to it there wasn't a lot to see!
 Birds sen or heard today included: Cuckoo, Common buzzard, House sparrow, Barn swallow, Meadow pipit, Skylark, Carrion crow, Blackcap and Common whitethroat.
 Spring flowers were good too, this is always a good time of the year to walk, making you realise just how wonderful nature is.
 After walk drinks were were enjoyed at the Pant yr Ochain near Gresford, where the Snowdonia Ale was in good nick, a vast improvement on the last time we visited this establishment!
 The extra bonus for today for Roger was Celia's suggestions about a possible solution to getting his mobile phone to work as you would expect!

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Around the Horseshoe Passes, Eglwyseg Rocks and Glen 15th May 2014

On the Clwydian Way, heading for the Eglwyseg Valley.
A fine tre in blossom (a cherry tree I think, but you may know better!).
A lamb born a few minutes old, still being cleaned by its mother.
Panorama as we approached the Eglwyseg Valley.
On the Offa's Dyke Path below Eglwyseg Rocks.
Pentre-Dwfr, decision time, but some of us need a rest!
Bluebells in a place that we didn't expect to see them, the Oernant Valley.
Walk stats: Distance: 9.1 miles (Roger did 9.3 miles), Climb: 1592' (Roger did a little less!).
Time: 6 hours 3 minutes. On the more walking average: 2.0 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.5 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Roger, Phil, Celia and David S.
The weather forecast today was superb, in reality its lived up to its name, but we didn't factor in the few spots of rain that we had as we were eating our lunch on the Offa's Dyke Path below the Eglwyseg Escarpments.
 This is superb walk with fantastic views all day, we even encountered a friendly labrador, but its owner was more of a problem!
 The bird of the day was without doubt the Cuckoo, we heard up to five different birds, alas not seeing any of them. Their call is always a joy to hear as is the singing of a Skylark that we heard as we contoured around Moel y Faen. The latter part of the walk was suggested by Phil as a better way than slogging up the Old Horseshoe Pass road from Pentre-Dwfr.
 Our surprise of the day was to see so many Bluebells on valley slopes, both in the Eglwyseg Valley and the Oernant Valley.
 Birds seen or heard today included: Red billed chough, Blue tit, Great tit, Pied wagtail, Willow warbler, Chiffchaff, Common pheasant, Black billed magpie, Wheatear, Stonechat, Common blackbird, Raven, Carrion crow, Jackdaw and Skylark.
 After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Red Lion at Penyffordd, where we were able to sit outside enjoying our drinks in almost perfect temperatures of about 20 Celsius and su hats still needed!

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Marian Frith, Graig Fawr and Coed yr Esgob 8th May 2014

Wild Garlic near Gove Mill.
Gove Mill.
Wondering if we had made the right decision to get out of the car.
Moel Hiraddug
"Who said it wouldn't stop raining?"
At the trig point on Moel y Gaer.
Walk stats: Distance: 8.8 miles. Climb: 1000' at a guess as we had climbed over 500' at lunch.
Time: 5 hours 26 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.0 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.6 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Roger and Tim.
On arriving at the Dyserth car park, it was only raining slightly, so we donned our waterproofs we set off hoping that this was the worst we would get. The first part of the route was fairly sheltered, so the up to lunch wasn't too bad. In fact the rain stopped all together by mid-day and we were able to sit on the slopes of Moel Hiraddug enjoying our lunch in almost warm sunshine. The next couple of hours were enjoyed in the absence of any of the wet stuff, and several points on the route gave us good views over Dyserth towards Snowdonia.  Probably the best views were from Graig Fawr, particularly towards the Great Orme.  The section along the Offa's Dyke Path gave good views too.
 As we descended through Coed yr Esgob, the rain started, and gradually got heavier, at least it wasn't driving rain and didn't feel cold. I decided not to put overtrousers on, this was a mistake as my shorts got wetter and wetter, and its not true that water can't go up hill! 
 Birds seen or heard today included: Chiffchaff, Willow warbler, Barn swallow, Song thrush, Common whitethroat, House sparrow, Common blackbird, Jackdaw, Black-billed magpie, European robin, Goldfinch and Common buzzard.
 Flowers seen today included: Garlic mustard, Wild garlic, Bluebells, Dog violet, Cowslip, Red campion, Dandelion and Lesser stitchwort.
 After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Britannia Inn at Pentre Halkyn, where we were grateful for a warm welcome by the fire (helping some of us to dry out a little) as we enjoyed a good pint of Lees bitter.
 Overall a very enjoyable walk.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Mow Cop and Congleton Edge 3rd May 2014

Mow Cop as I've never seen it before in bright sunshine and blue skies!
Panorama from Mow Cop.
A surprise encounter as we crossed a rather boggy field.
A delightful Bluebell wood - bonus on this walk.
One of the many banks of Bluebells.
Another section of the Bluebell wood.
The original wooly-back sheep.
The path along Congleton Edge.
The Old Man of Mow.
Walk stats: Distance: 7.4 miles. Climb: 982'.
Group: Martyn, Mike and Celia.
Time: 4 hours 52 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.0 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.5 m.p.h.
This really was a superb day for walking. We arrived at the Mow Cop car park, with the sun shining and the folly with a bright blue background, the opposite to the last time we came when we could hardly see the folly from the car park. It was even warm enough for Mike to wear shorts!
 I had planned a short extension to the main walk, but this would have involved dropping down almost to the canal, and then a steep climb back up to the Old Man - no-one seemed keen on the idea, so only the main described walk it was to be!
  Most of the walk was dry underfoot, but one section through fields became a little boggy in places and the path seemed to disappear. This was when we came across a Highland cow lying in the reedy grass close to the path, so quiet that we could have easily passed without even noticing her.
 Although this route wasn't the best part of the walk, it eventually lead us through a small wood that had a superb display of Bluebells, certainly one of the best Bluebell woods that I have seen for some time. 
 Lunch was taken as we entered the last field before Congleton Edge. Initially we were in a field with two horses, but one of them was too friendly for comfort and crossed the stile out of reach of the horses attempts get up close!
 Although we hadn't intended to use the path close to the edge on Congleton Edge, we did end up using it rather than the Staffordshire Way. 
 This path is always a good option as it gives superb views towards Jodrell Bank, but a little hazy in the distance today.
 Birds seen or heard today included: Black-billed magpie, Jackdaw, Chiffchaff, Willow warbler, Common pheasant, Woodpigeon, House sparrow, Winter wren, Common blackbird, Chaffinch, Blackcap and Barn swallow.
 Flowers seen today included: Marsh marigold, Bluebell, Lesser stitchwort, Dandelion and Sorrel.
 After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Farmers Arms at Tarvin, where five different Wetwood brews were on offer. Cheshire Cat was the brew sampled, but I did have Old Dog as a takeaway!
 This walk will be repeated in the future, but not as a Winter walk. It will now be added to our Bluebell Wood Walks list.