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

Saturday, 31 January 2015

The Little Orme and More 31st January 2015

Looking towards the Great Orme from the Craig-y-Don paddling pool.
Snow on the high peaks of the Carneddau - taken from the summit of the Little Orme Head.
Walk tstas: Distance: 6.9 miles. Climb: 800' (at a guess - 2002' wind assisted on the GPS!).
Time: 3 hours 43 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.2 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.8 m.p.h.
Arriving at the start point next to the Craig-y-Don Paddling Pool, we realised the wind was a little bit stronger than we had expected!  The waves rolling in were the largest that either of us had ever seen on this part of the coast and some seemed to reach more that 10' before crashing down.
  We set off for the Little Orme, hoping that the wind would ease a little, especially on the top of the Little Orme Head. Hope was all it was, we could hardly stand up by the trig point, and Roger realised he had lost his hat!  Thankfully he was reunited with it, as it was on the path as we descended from the trig point back to the coastal path.
 Alas we didn't see any Grey seals in Porth Dyniewaid, not surprising really as the water was quite high up the beach.
 We managed to walk along the beach in Penrhyn Bay as far as the golf course, but the old birds that were around were Oystercatchers and Herring gulls with a few Great cormorants flying Westward over the sea. In fact we saw more birds on the fields opposite our start point.
 We had lunch sheltering from the wind between the stone sea defences and concrete wall just East of the golf club towards Rhos-on-Sea. As is often the case we found a much better place just before the road heads up towards Penrhyn Side. This had about four bench seats overlooking the sea and in sheltered positions, hopefully we will remember this in the future. 
 On the return, the wind at times was so strong it was difficult to keep walking in a straight line, and at times the occupants in passing cars must have thought we had had a little too much to drink!
 Although it was just under 7 miles, it was enough for today, the walk had blown the cobwebs out of our hair, for those that still had any and the Sun had shone on us for most of the walk.
 Birds sen or heard today included: Carrion crow, rook, Pied wagtail, Jackdaw, Raven, Red-billed chough, Herring gull, Great cormorant, Woodpigeon, Pied wagtail, House sparrow, Common blackbird, Eurasian curlew, Oystercatcher and Common starling.
 After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Blue Bell Inn at Halkyn, where the Aspall's Suffolk cider "Cyderkyn"  went down well, especially a it was only 3.8%! We were even home by 15-00!

Thursday, 29 January 2015

A Circuit of Holywell 29th January 2015

On the path from the Old Holywell Road down to the coast.
On the path from the Old Holywell Road down to the coast.
Greenfield Dock, the last point that we reached on the planne walk!
Walk stats: Distance: 5.8 miles. Climb: 600'.
Time: 2 hours 45 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.4 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 2.1 m.p.h.
Group: Matyn, Annie, Phil, Wendy, Celia and Tim.
We arrived at Holywell, hoping that we would miss most of the rain, sleet or snow that was forecast. Unfortunately it wasn't to be and within half an hour it was sleeting quite hard and we were wondering why we were enduring such unpleasant weather voluntarily! However it kept on easing, giving us renewed hope. Just as we approaching the coast road at East of greenfield, it started to snow so heavily that I had to remove my glasses in order to see where I was going!
 As you might expect views weren't that extensive and I heard a few birds, but saw even fewer!
 They included: House sparrow, Chaffinch, Oystercatcher, Winter wren and Common blackbird.
 Arriving at Greenfield Dock, we had a decision to make, continue on the walk as planned or return via Greenfield Valley. Phil wanted to carry on, Celia was very reluctant, Tim didn't seem very keen and Annie as usual didn't mind either way.
 I decided that it was probably best to head up the Greenfield Valley and have lunch in the car.
 We arrived back at the car to find that the car park and our cars had quite a bit of snow on them, but it seemed to be thawing quite quickly.
 We saw several yellow school buses with children on, indicating that many local schools had closed early, anticipating worse weather was possible on its way.
  Two of the cars went straight home, but one car still went to the Britannia Inn at Halkyn. The car park there had a couple of inches of snow, but going down hill wasn't too bad. 
 Thankfully the Brit had fires at both ends, so it felt quite warm and we soon thawed out nicely. The Lees bitter wasn't bad either.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Walks and Dates January 2015

Updated on 19th January 2015.
Thursday 5th February 2015.
Our annual "walkers" meal will be at the Wheatsheaf at Raby.
I have said that we will meet at the Wheatsheaf at about 09-30, have a short walk of about 5 miles to be back at the pub for 12-30.
As there are likely to be 15 of us for the meal, they have requested that we send them a list of our choices about a week before.
You can find a copy of their menus on their web site www.wheatsheaf-cowshed.co.uk
Their web site menues have changed, the lunch time menu has been removedand replaced by a set menu.  I suggest you make your choices from the on line menus other than the dinner menu. Please let me know your choices by Thursday 29th January.
This gives me a short time to chase up people that may have forgotten!
Thursday 1st January 2015.
Hilbre Island.
Distance: 4-5 miles. Climb: 100' at a guess!
Start: South Parade, West Kirby Marine Lake, near to the old baths and opposite the Lifeboat Station. Grid ref: SJ214860.
Aim to be at the start ready to walk at about 10-00.
It's a few years since we last did this walk on New Year's Day, but after looking at the Tide Guide, it looks like being a good option today. High tide is about 08-00, so we should be able to cross the sands following the tide as it goes out.
 Bring binoculars, their should be plenty of Wintering birds to see and hopefully seals too.
Fortified fruit cake will be provided, ssuming that it hasn't all been eaten by those on the last two walks in December!
Saturday 3rd January 2015.
Tegg's Nose and Macclesfield Forest.
Postponed - this walk is now planned for 14th February 2015.
 Distance: 9 miles. Climb: 1865'.
Start: Tegg's Nose Country Park Car park. Pay and Display. Grid ref: SJ950732.
Leave Chester at 08-30 a.m.
This walk is taken from the "Pathfinders Guide to Cheshire". It is described as a varied walk with good views from Tegg's Nose. We will visit Tegg's Nose first, rather than at the end of the walk. The walk is also described as an undulating walk exploring the countryside on the edge of the Peak District.
Thursday 8th January 2015.
Rhuddlan L.N.R ., the Rhuddlan to Rhyl Riverside Walk with extensions to the Brickworks Pool N.R. and the Forydd.
Distance: 10-11 miles. Climb: 200'.
Start: Park at the Rhuddlan L.N.R. car park. Grid ref: SJ02076. 
The car park is on the Western side of Rhuddlan. To get to the car park, from the A55, turn right on to the A525 (St. Asaph Road towards Rhyl and Rhuddlan), at the next roundabout take the 3rd exit onto Station Road (to Rhuddlan centre / Castle). The car park is on the right, opposite a derelict pub. If you get to the bridge over the river you've gone too far!
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.  We will probably visit the Foryd first, to see if there are any Snow buntings there this year.
Saturday 10th January 2015.
Garreg Fawr and Coedydd Aber.
Postponed -This walk will appear later in the year, at a time when the risk of ice on the roads is unlikely!
See below for the new walk.
Distance: 10 miles. Climb: 1800 - 2000'.
Leave Chester at 08-30 a.m.
Start: Forestry Commission car park (pay and display)at Bont Newydd. Grid ref: SH62720.
This walk combines two walks from Dave Berry's book "Walks On the North Wales Coast" , well all of one walk and part of another!
The Garreg Fawr walk explores the foothills of the Carneddau between Llanfairfechan and Abergwyngeryn, giving us contrasting views of coast and mountains. The second walk visits Aber Falls using paths on each side of the valley. All the recent rain could make the falls spectacularly at their best.
Moel-y-Gaer and Halkyn Moutain from the Blue Bell Inn, Halkyn.
Distance: 8-10 miles. Climb: 1000'.
Start: Common ground opposite the Blue Bell Inn, Halkyn. Grid ref: SJ209702.
Leave Chester at 08-45 a.m. (Always a bonus time to start for some!)
This walk attempts to combine two walks from the Blue Bell Inn's web site, but it isn't that easy to extend the walk beyond the 6 miles in the described routes! The route includes many of the paths that we have used on our regular walks in this region, but many are in the opposite direction to the usual way that we go. We will probably extend the route by visiting the trig point on Halkyn Mountain.
Thursday 15th January 2015.
Leasowe Lighthouse to New Brighton.
Distance: 9-11 miles. Climb: 200'.
Start: North Wirral Coastal Park car park. Grid ref: SJ257915.
To get to this car park, instead of turning left towards the lighthouse, as the A551 turns right onto Leasowe Road, go straight on (past PC block on right and cafe/snack hut on left). This car park has a good tarmac surface.
Leave Chester at 09-00 a.m.
This is a walk along the beach to Perch Rock Fort, assuming that the water on the incoming tide is low enough. It should be, Low tide is at about 12-32!  From there, we will continue onto Vale Royal Park (where we in the past we have had lunch) and onto Wallasey Gardens. Hopefully the weather will be kind as it was last year.
On the return there will be plenty of birds to see as the tide comes in, so bring binoculars with if you have any.
I wonder if the drift wood ship is back to its former glory after being destroyed in the inter storms a couple of years ago.
Saturday 17th January 2015.
Fron Hen and Bryn Alyn.
Distance: 10-11 miles. Climb: 1800'.
Start: Layby on the A494 Mold to Ruthin Road, about 1/2 mile South of Llanferres. Grid ref: SJ187597.
Leave Chester 09-00 a.m.
This walk uses two walks from Dave Berry's book More Walks in the Clwydian Hill".  We have combined these walks on several occasions before and the section over Bryn Alyn is always good. It will also give us another opportunity to test our route finding skills through Nercwys Forest!
This good walk is usually a Thursday walk, but I decided that those that can only walk on a Saturday should be allowed to experience the challenge and delights too!
Thursday 22nd January 2015.
Thurstaston Common, Stapledon Wood, Caldy and More.
Distance:8-10 miles. Climb:1000'.
Start: Thursaston Visitor Centre Car Park. Grid ref:SJ239835.
Leave Chester at 9-00 a.m.
This is a repeat of the walk that we did on 1st January 2010 and combines two walks from Raymond Roberts' booklet "Wirral Walks - the West Wirral Six". This is a relatively easy walk with good views along the way, especially from Thurstaston Hill. We hope to walk back Thursaston along the beach, so bring binoculars with you. High tide is at 12-14, even though it is a 33' tide (10.1 m), it should have gone out far enough by the time we get to the coast. If not we have always got the Wirral Way.
Saturday 24th January 2015.
A Walk on Halkyn Mountain from the Blue Bell Inn.
Distance: 9-10 miles. Climb: 1000'.
Start: Common ground opposite the Blue Bell in, Halkyn. Grid ref: SJ209702.
Leave Chester at 08-45 a.m. (Always a bonus time to start for some!)
This is a walk devised by Steve at the Blue Bell Inn, Halkyn. It covers much of our regular walk that we do called "Halkyn Mountain, Limestone and Lead". However this route takes us in a clock-wise direction and around Moel-y-Gaer before heading to Rhes-y-cae. It also takes us  around the North of the Pen-y-Henblas quarry - we have only seen the quarry from its Southern side.
Thursday 29th January 2015.
A Circuit of Holywell.
Distance: 10 miles. Climb: 1200'.
Start: Holywell, Halkyn Street Car Park, opposite the cottage hospital: Grid ref: SJ18957545.
This walk is taken from a new booklet "Walks Around Holywell" by Ron Williams and Elfed Jones.
It is a variation of one of the walks we have done before, but includes some new sections too. This walk starts in the centre of Holywell. This walk includes many of the paths that we have used before when following Dave Bery's routes. The section along the coast is also done in the opposite direction. A special challenge for Roger - I'll provide a route description is in Welsh just for him!
I may include this as a Saturday walk as well, but it will be later in the year.
Saturday 31st January 2015.
Around Stocks Reservoir.
Postponed - see below for the replacement walk.
Distance: 11 miles; Climb:1600'.
Start: Slaidburn village car park. Grid ref:SD713524.
Leave Chester 8-00 a.m.
This is another walk is taken from Terry Marsh's book "Fifty Classic Walks in Lancashire", starting at the picturesque village of Slaidburn.  We enjoyed this walk when we last completed it in September 2010, so I thought it would be good to experience it in a different season.
Replacement Walk.
Around the Little Orme to Rhos On Sea.
Distance: 8-9 miles. Climb: 700'.
Start: Roadside parking next to Paddling Pool and PC on Coast Road at Craig y Don, East side of Llandudno.
Leave Chester at 08-30 a.m.
This has become a regular walk at any time of the year, but it will be the first time that we have done it February. The views from the top of the Little Orme are always superb, but the main reason for doing the walk so early in the year is to see if there are any Seals around Porth Dyniewaid.
Thursday 5th February 2015.
Annual Walk and Meal.
Raby and More.
Distance: 6.0 miles. Climb: 100' - Very little - walk profile is almost horizontal.
Start: Wheatsheaf Inn, Car Park. Raby. SJ310798
This walk is a variation of walks by Anthony Annakin-Smith, that we have done starting in Willaston. One point to note, at this time of the year, gaiters are probably a good thing to wear!

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Lime Kilns and Quarries From The Blue Bell Inn 24th January 2015

On the ramparts around Moel y Gaer, Rhes-y-cae.
Pant y Pydew Lime kilns.
Pen yr Henblas Quarry.
At the trig point on Halkyn Mountain.
Walk stats: Distance: 8.9 miles. Climb: 950'.
Time: 4 hours 25 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.4 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 2.0 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Celia, Mike and Roger.
This was another good day for a "Winter" walk, much sunshine with the occasional cooling wind to remind you that seasonally this was still winter!
Although this was in an area that we had covered many times there were some sections that were new to us and one section West of Pant Stone Quarry can now be used despite the fact that some notices on the fence along the previous diverted route still say "Do not enter"!
  Although we have visited Moel y Gaer hill fort many times it isn't until you go around the ramparts that you realise how big it really is.
 The new to us section  was along the path from Waen-trochwaed, past the Pant-y-pwll quarry and onto the Pen yr Henblas Quarry.
 Distant views weren't perfect today, but they were there whenever we were at elevated  point on Moel y Gaer and Halkyn Mountain.
 Lunch was taken on the South side of the Pen yr Henblas Quarry, sheltering from the wind in some of the old spoil heaps, but still in the warming sunshine.
 The route around the Pen yr Henblas Quarry was a good addition, despite the section along the road, and enbaled us to have a few new views into the quarry.
 From the trig point on Halkyn Mountain, we were back on familiar territory, even though we doing it in the opposite direction!
 Not many birds seen or heard today, but they included: Common blackbird, Jackdaw, Carrion crow, House sparow, Great tit, Woodpigeon, Commn pheasant, European robin and Meadow pit.
 Overall a good walk, easpecially when you can combine it with a visit to the Blue Bell Inn at Halkyn, and  you are not driving!

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Thurstaston Common, Stapledon Wood, Caldy Hill and More 22nd January 2015

Walking on Thurstaston Hill.
At the toposcope on Thurstaston Hill.
At Thor's Stone on Thurstaston Common.
"His" and"Her" picnic tables?
One of several Mistle thrushes seen as we had lunch.
The final walk along the beach from Caldy to Thursaston.
Walk stats: Distance: 8.4 miles. Climb: 480'.
Time: 4 hours 39 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.3 m.p.h. Overall walk avderage: 1.8 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Annie, Sue P, Wendy David S., Phil and Paul.
We set off from the Visitor Centre on the long trek up the road towards the main road and on to Thurstaston Common. It was dull and overcast and there were no distant views from the top of Thurstaston Hill. Howver it didn't feel as cold as the weather forecasters had predicted!
  After going around the walled garden at Royden Park and then past the mere it was just about 12-00, so we could justify having lunch, atking advantage of the several picnic tables in the park.
  After lunch we continued on our route towards Stapledon Wood and Caldy, where PC had to depart to make sure he was home in time for the school run!
 It wasn't exactly planned, but we ended up exploring several paths on Caldy Hill, seeing many grand houses that we hadn't seen before.
 High tide (33') was just after mid-day, but when we arrived on the beach at Caldy, it was only just passable at one point.
 The only problem on this stretch was that the Sun was always in our eyes as we tried see the waders on the water edge or flying low over the water.
 Birds seen or heard today included:  Common blackbird, Blue tit, Great tit, European robin, Woodpigeon, Black-billed magpie, Carrion crow, Eurasian jay, Wood nuthatch, Mistle thrush, Eurasian jay, Common kestrel, Black swan, Mallard, Herring gull, Common coot, Moorhen, Mallard, Oystercatcher, Common redshank, Turnstone, Grey heron, Dunlin and Eurasian curlew.
 Overall an enjoyable walk despite the muddy sections!
 After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Wheatsheaf at Raby, where Trapper's Hat and the Oatmeal Stout went down well.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Bryn Alyn and More 17th January 2015

Bryn Alyn from the slopes below Fron Hen.
Our first encounter with the white stuff!
Flowering Snowdrops and Primroses.
Moel Famau from Bryn Alyn.
Heading for Nercwys Forest.
Near the top of ryn Alyn on its approach from Eryrys.
Walk stats: Distance: 9.4 miles. Climb: 1998'.
Time: 6 hours 05 minutes. On the move walking average: 1.9 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.5 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Mike and Roger.
This was a superb day or walking, bright sunshine for most of the day with the occasional cooling wind and a sprinkling of Snow / very fine hail on some of the slopes. It was a little icy in places too, I should have taken my Trax with me!
 We even managed to explore a couple of new (to us) paths, always a bonus on any walk.
 Lunch was taken half way up our first climb up Bryn Alyn, where three stones provided suitable perching spots once they had been cleared of the white stuff.
 We came across lots of Rabbit tracks in the snow and also some unusual one that we thought could have been those of a Hare having a mad half an hour running in all sorts of directions! I haven't as yet been able to find any photos on the web that match!
 We didn't linger long at lunch as our hands soon got quite cold despite the fact that we were basking in warm sunshine.
  Once again we managed to negotiate Nercwys Forest without getting lost!
  Near the end we came across a group doing a bat count in near nearby old lead mine workings. They were about to head up the slippy / tricky path that we had extended the walk by about a mile just to avoid!
 Birds seen or heard today included: Common blackbird, Blue tit, House sparrow, Wood nuthatch, Jackdaw, Carrion crow, Raven, Goldfinch, European robin and Common buzzard.
 After walk drinks were enjoyed at the We Three Loggerheads Inn, where the only beer on offer was Black Sheep Bitter.  I made a mistake, we should have gone to the Cholomendy Arms at Cadole!

Thursday, 15 January 2015

A Leasowe and New Brighton Experience 15th January 2015

Heading along the coast towards Leasowe Lighthouse and New Brighton.
Ringed plover.
Blowing in the wind!
The only boat we saw leaving the Mersey.
The way head to Fort Perch Rock.
The galleon art made mainly from drift wood.
Liverpool Pier head from our lunch spot.
Common redshank and Turnstone on the pontoon at New Brighton Marine lake.
Walk stats: Distance: 11.5 miles. Climb: 150' at a guess (1883' wind assisted on the GPS!).
Time: 4 hours 40 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.8 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 2.4 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, David S., Wendy, Celia, Tim and Phil.
We were expecting it to be a little breezy with the possibility of showers, especially around mid-day. Thankfully it was sunny throughout and stroll along the beach was quite pleasant as the wind helped us on our way. There was plenty of birds for me to see and photograph, which meant that it wasn't long before the rest of the group were several hundred yards away!
 At times the wind gusted to over 20 m.p.h., creating a sand storm that raced across the beach.
 Lunch was taken near Victoria Park at New Brighton, where we could seats in a shelter enabled us to keep out of the wind and at the same time look across the Mersey towards Liverpool.
 The return journey back towards Leasowe became quite a challenge as for nearly four miles we were heading directing into a gale that seemed quite a lot stronger than the one that had assisted us in the morning. There wasn't much lingering done on the way back!
 We were quite grateful to get back to the start and sit out of the wind in the car.
 Birds seen or heard today included: Common starling, Common blackbird, Dunnock, Eurasian curlew, Lapwing, Ringed plover, Oystercatcher, Common redshank, Turnstone, Dunlin, Black-headed gull, Herring gull, Common gull, Great cormorant, Lesser black-backed gull and Great black-backed gull.
 After walk drinks were enjoyed at the enjoyed at the Wheatsheaf Inn at Raby. Trappers Hat went down well as did several others tried various members of the group.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

A Blue Bell Inn Walk - Hillforts and Halkyn Common 10th january 2015

On the ramparts of Moel y Gaer.
Lunch time - a sheltered spot on the Kame.
A panorama from the Millennium Cairn on Moe Ffagnallt.
Walk stats: Distance: 8.5 miles. Climb: 2100' (wind assisted on the GPS) but 1100'  is more likely!
Time: 4 hours 14 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.5 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.0 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Mike, Celia and Roger.
 I woke up with outside temperatures above 10 Celsius, making me wonder should I be walking in shorts rather than my Paramo Winter gear. Thankfully I stayed with the Paramo as at times the cooling gale force winds made sure I was glad that I wasn't wearing shorts. 
 My extension took us along a muddy/waterlogged section of Wat's Dyke Way and on the fringe of a Pheasant Shoot, seeing one bird drop of the sky and land in the field just to our North, followed by a couple of Spaniels trying to locate it - they failed as far as we could tell!
 Approaching Grouse Farm we encountered a gate that challenged our ageing limbs - it was leaning towards, couldn't be opened and the footpath sign was broken and lying to one side. Having overcome that the rest of the walk was a piece of cake!
 After walking on the ramparts of Moel y Gaer, the wind picked up considerably, and heading along the road to Moel Y Crio and Moel Ffagnallt we doubted finding a suitable place for lunch. The Kame came to our rescue and we managed to find a sheltered spot, where we could enjoy Margaret's excellent (some said 3 gold star) mince pies.
 After lunch we battled against gale force wind  and whilst at the Millenium Cairn, we almost blown of our feet. The views were superb in all directions, as they had been earlier from Moel y Gaer.
  Much of the walk across Halkyn Common, was for the first time, wind assisted, but we weren't at this stage complaining!
 We arrived back at the Blue Bell Inn, knowing that this walk had taken more out of us than we would have expected and as we went in the welcome feeling of warmth just hit us. The drinks went down well, especially the "Rubber Chicken" cider!  This Welsh cider is made by Palmers Upland Cyder, Newport.
 Birds seen or heard today included: Common pheasant, Common blackbird, Blue tit, Wood nuthatch, Common buzzard, Woodpigeon. Jackdaw, Carrion crow, House sparrow and Peregrine falcon (probably a pair).

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Rhuddlan to Rhyl and the Clwyd Estuary 8th January 2015

The Afon Clwyd from its East bank.
"We've always been a close walking group!"
A Red-breasted merganser on the Marine Lake at Rhyl.
An early lunch was declared!
Our last vies of the sea, looking towards the Great Orme.
Not easy to see, but there is a pair of Gossander as well as Wigeon on the Afon Clwyd.
One shot of the hundreds of Lapwing that took the skies above the river.
Walk stats: Distance: 8.7 miles. Climb: 100'.
Time: 3 hours 55 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.6 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 2.2 m.p.h (even with a nearly 30 minute stop for lunch!)
Group: Martyn, Sue and Michel, Tim, David S., Wendy and Celia.
We set off in warm sunshine, hoping that it would the rain forecast for around mid-day wouldn't materialise and the wind wouldn't get too strong or cold! We did get a few spots as we were having  lunch, but no more. At times the wind was a little on the cold side, especially on the coast and the return leg, but at least it was on our back pushing us along! Whenever the wind dropped it almost felt too warm for the gear we were wearing!
 The only disappointment of the day was not seeing the sections of Pont Draig being raised, but we did at least see them in the upright position and slowly descending, all be it from a distant.
 Although we didn't see any Snow buntings we did see a good number of birds. These included: Blackbird, House sparrow, Carrion crow, Raven, Black-headed gull, Herring gull, Great black-backed gull, Common gull, Mute swan, Jackdaw, Common coot, Moorhen, Tufted duck, Mallard, Teal, Wigeon, Kestrel, Goosander, Red-breasted merganser, Common redsahank, Great cormorant, Oystercatcher, Common teal, Eurasian curlew, Chaffinch, Feral pigeon, Woodpigeon, Collared dove, Grey heron, Black-billed magpie and Lapwing. I'm almost sure I saw a Chiffchaff, but it is a little early really!
 This is always a pleasant walk when it doesn't rain or you don't have to battle the elements.
 Afterwalk drinks were enjoyed at the Britannia Inn at Pentre Halkyn, where the Lees bitter went well and they lit the second fire for us as we went in.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Holywell to Flint Castle 3rd January 2015

Greenfield Dock - the start of walk along the Coastal Path.
A reminder that the boats in Greenfield Dock are fishing boats.
Looking West from Bettisfield towards Greenfield.
Looking West towards Bettisfield.
Our first view of Flint Castle.
Flint Castle in the sunshine.
Walk stats: Distance: 8.0 miles. Climb: 168'.
Time: 4 hours 9 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.4 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.9 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn and Roger.
The forecast was for heavy rain in the morning, gradually clearing and becoming dry in the afternoon. This was just what we experienced with it raining quite heavily for the first five miles up to lunch time  when the rain stopped and we finished the walk in bright sunshine.
 We didn't linger much as we walked from Holywell through the Greenfield Heritage Park and on to the coast.
 On the coastal section, the tide was still was still in  quite close and it wasn't until we approached Flint Dock that the tide had ebbed significantly.
 Birds seen or heard today included: Tufted duck, Moorhen, Common coot, Chaffinch, Common blackbird, Mute swan, Mallard, Black-headed gull, Herring gull, Little egret, Pied wagtail, Great tit, European robin, Linnet, Woodpigeon, Oystercatcher, Common redshank, Eurasion curlew, Great cormorant, Great black-backed gull, Grey heron, Common teal, Common starling, Jackdaw, Carrion crow and Shelduck.
 After all the Seasonal excesses eight miles was enough, so we were happy to head for the Blue Bell Inn at Halkyn. The wood burning fire gave us a warming welcome and the Snowdonia Ale went down well, as did the Sleighed Santa Cider.

Friday, 2 January 2015

2014 Statistics

2014 Walk Statistics.

Total number of walks: 76.

Total number of Thursday (mid-week) walks: 49.

Total number of Saturday walks: 27.

Total distance walked: 690 miles.

Total height climbed: 78,818'.

The largest number on any walk : 12.

Break down of Thursday / Mid-week walks.

Cheshire or Wirral : 8.

North Wales: 41.

Break down of Saturday walks. 

Cheshire: 6.

Peak District: 2.

Lancashire: 2

Shropshire: 2

North Wales: 15

Those involved in 2014:- Martyn Harris, Fran Murphy and Tito Ravazzolo, Sue and Michel Pelissier, Annie Hammond, Sue and Dave Pearson, Mike Dodd, David Savage, Carole Herbritt, Celia de Mengle, Wendy and Ian Peers, Roger Smith, Tim and Carol Dwyer, Paul Collinson, Phil Marsland, Sylvia and Dave Jenkins, Margaret Smith, Sheila and Gordon McNee, Nigel Taylor, Elaine Greenhalgh, Vicky Clarke, Catherine Murphy.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Happy New Year to Everyone.
Let's hope for many good walks in 2015 with not too much testing of our waterproof gear.

Hilbre Island and More 1st January 2015

A Red-breasted merganser on the Marine Lake.
Heading for Little Eye and on to Hilbre Island.
Heading for Little Eye.
Heading for Middle Eye.
Lunch on Hilbre Island.
Celia isn't the only one that needs to use a mobile phone on a walk!
Walk stats: Distance: 5.9 miles. Climb: 833' (wind assisted on the GPS) but nearer 80' in reality!
Time: 3 hours 3 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.4 m.p.h. (wind assisted!).  Overall walk average: 1.9 m.p.h. (Lunches are taking longer these days!)
Group: Martyn, Annie, Sue and Michel, Celia and Wendy.
 Weather forecast suggested temperatures to be between 12 and 14 Celsius, so this was obviously a shorts weather day no-one else in the group thought so!
 Not a lot to say about this route really, no problems in  terms of where we were heading and no difficult stiles to cross. The only problem today was the ever increasing wind strength which thankfully was at its strongest as we headed towards the car at the end of the walk!
 We managed to find a sheltered spot on the Eastern end of Hilbre Island to have our "lunch". Fortified fruit cake was provided, but when the Rangers stopped to chat to Michel, they didn't breathalyse him as he had two pieces of cake! He wasn't the only one!
 As the tide retreated a few Common seals could be seen on the sand bank to the West of Hilbre Island.
 There were plenty of birds to see. These included: Oystercatcher, Red-breasted merganser, Herring gull, Black-headed gull, Feral pigeon, Turnstone, Brent goose, Common redshank, Knot, Dunlin, Shelduck, Grey heron, Eurasian curlew, Carrion crow, Great cormorant, Great crested grebe and Little egret.
 After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Wheatsheaf Inn at Raby, where the wood burning stove always ensures you have a warm welcome - the Brimstage, Trappers Hat also went down well.