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, 30 January 2016

Teggs Nose and Macclefield Forest 30th January 2016

The descent from Tegg's Nose car park.
Metal hoist on Tegs's Nose seen from the path on its East side.
Sutton Common from Hardingland.
Tegg's Nose from Macclesfiled Forest, North of Trentabank Reservoir.
The steep climb up the "quiet lane" North of Trentabank Reservoir heading towards Chapel House.
The view from Tegg's Nose looking towards Shutlingsloe.
Trentabank Reservoir and Ridgegate Reservoir.
The Cheshire Plain from Tegg's Nose.
Walk stats: Distance: 7.8 miles. Climb: 2100'.
Time: 5 hours 0 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.1 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.5 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Mike and Celia.
This was a good day for walking, dry, sunny at times, but at times the wind made it feel quite cold and gloves were required for most of the day, hats and a snood came into play for some too!
 We explored one or two new paths through the forest, giving us new vistas to enjoy. It also resulted in us walking steeply up the road, making us realise what two chevrons on and OS map really meant. The photo on the blog doesn't do it justice!
 Lunch was take at the Trentabank picnic site, a location where the bird life was quite active.
After lunch we joined the Gritstone Trail for our route up Tegg's Nose and back to the car park.
 The views today were good, particularly from Tegg's Nose itself, where we could see across the Cheshire Plain to Bickerton Hill and Beeston Hill and beyond as far as  Moel Fammau.
 Birds seen or heard today included: European robin, Blue tit, Great tit, Common buzzard, Great cormorant, Mallard, Tufted duck, Chaffinch, Coal tit, Bullfinch, Long-tailed tit, Eurasian jay, Black-billed magpie, Goosander, Carrion crow and Wood nuthatch.
 Overall a good walk with more of a climb than we had originally planned.
 After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Stamford Bridge jsut outside Chester. The Hydes bitter went down well, next time we will have to see how the Piffle and Balderdash brews have changed now that they are brewed by Hydes rather than the Conwy brewery.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Rhuddlan to Rhyl and Back 28th January 2016

Rhuddland Castle from the footbridge over the Afon Clwyd.
One of the six swans seen on the East bank of the Afon Clwyd.
"Why does our"leader" keep on stopping to take pictures of birds?"
A Goosander on the Brickfield Pond.
The Marine Lake, Rhyl. Just one or two Grey herons on the island.
Mergansers on the Marine Lake, Rhyl.
New figures next to the Pont y Ddraig (dragon's Bridge).
What does the middle figure represent? Apparently it is Sir John Houghton a Nobel Prize winning Scientist  born in Dyserth and educatd at Rhyl Grammar Scool.
The figure on the right is Mike Peters a rock star with the band Alarm and hails from Rhyl.
The figure on the left is Don Spendlove who scored over 600 goals playing for Rhyl FC.
A few birds in flight above the Afon Clwyd.
Who's that setting the pace on the West bank path back to Rhuddlan?
Canada geese in the foreground with Godwits and Curlew in the air.
Walk stats: Distance: 8.5 miles. Climb: 651' on the GPS, but more likely about 150'.
Time: 4 hours 7 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.6 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 2.1 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Tim, Phil, Roger, Annie and Sue Pelissier.
We set off in glorious sunshine, but with a cool wind attacking us on our left side as we headed Northwards. It didn't trouble us much, but trying to keep  the camera steady when zooming wasn't easy.
 We saw impressive numbers of Lapwing take to the sky on several occasion both on the outward journey and on the return.
 We had our usual extension to the delightful Brickfields Pond Nature Reserve, where a local birder informed me that a pair of Kingfisher and a Water rail had been seen there recently - we didn't see or hear either!
 Lunch was taken by the Marine Lake at Rhyl, where we sheltered from the wind next to the Miniature Railway Starting point.
 After lunch we headed for Pont y Ddraig as Phil hadn't seen in it before. As we crossed it it was obvious that the tide was still rising. It was at this point that it started raining an most of the group added extra layers.
 Once on the west embankment of the Afon Clwyd, Phil decided that this wasn't the time to dawdle and set a cracking pace, hence the 2.6 m.p.h. overall average! Some of us still at to stop to look at some of the flocks roosting on the banks at high tide. There must have been close on a hundred Great cormorants at one point.
 Birds seen or heard today included: Common blackbird, European robin, House sparrow, Woodpigeon, Collard dove, Feral pigeon, Mute swan, Linnet, Mallard, Shelduck, Goldeneye, Carrion crow, Jackdaw, Great cormorant, Black-tailed godwit, Lapwing, Wigeon, Goosander, Tufted duck, Herring gull, Black-headed gull, Lesser black backed gull, Eurasian curlew, Canada goose, Greylag goose, Common starling, Grey heron, Oystercatcher, Red breasted merganser, Common coot, Moorhen and Redwing.
 We arrived back at the car just as it started to rain again, having walked the last mile or so in sunshine again.
 Once again we arrived back at the having had a good walk, but I for one felt more tired than I feel I should having done a walk under ten miles on the flat!
 On the return journey we were unable to get back on the A55 and ended up going through St. Asaph and Trefnant, but even with this detour we were a little to early for the Blue Bell Inn and it isn't cool to sit outside a hostelry waiting for it to open! Consequently our after walk drinks were enjoyed at the Britannia Inn at Pentre Halkyn and as ever the Leese bitter was in fine fettle.

Monday, 25 January 2016

Walks and Dates January 2016

Happy New Year
Harris Hikers Annual Meal. 
Thursday 4th February 2016.
Reminder - can you send me your meal choices 
by Saturday 29th January 2016.
This would appear to be the best date for most of the group. I'm thinking of going to the Boathouse in Parkgate but at the moment I haven't booked anything.  I intend to go down on the 4th January, so if you plan to come to the meal, it would be helpful if you let me know, so that I have a rough idea of 
the numbers involved.
 If you know of anyone that might be interested in joining us for the meal, please pass on the details.
 I will try to keep everyone up to date by e-mail as much as I can as well as putting the details on the blog.
Friday 1st January 2016.
A West Kirby Round.
Distance: 5-6 miles. Climb: 500'.
Start: The Parade, West Kirby. Park near the old baths / opposite the IRB station. Grid ref: SJ213860.
Leave Chester at 09-30.
The walk starts by going around the Marine Lake, if the tide permits. High tide is at 15-21. It is quite a small tide, 7.7 m /25.0', so there should be no problem around the Marine Lake or walking along the beach to Red Rocks.  Red Rocks may be a suitable spot for refreshments before heading through 
Hoylake Golf Course to the Gilroy Nature Reserve.  Finally a short climb up Grange Hill with its 
impressive War Memorial with superb views in all directions. The return is via the Beacon on 
Column Road and down to West Kirby through Ashton Park. 
 Bring binocular with you if you have them.
 Fruit cake will be provided, as long as I know that you are coming!
N.B. This is one walk that I don't try to co-ordinate cars, so please make your own 
Thursday 7th January 2016. 
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 have done several times 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 09-51, it is a 28.3' tide (8.6 m). it should be OK to walk along the beach,  even if we decide to do the walk in reverse for a change. We should get good views from the top of Thurstaston Hill, assuming that it is nice crisp Winter's day!
Bring binocular with you if you have them.
Saturday 9th January 2016. 
Cancelled - I have had my arm twisted and am now going to watch my godson play hockey!
The Llugwy and Lledre Valleys.
Distance: 9 miles.Climb:1960''
Start: Station Car Park Betws-y-coed. Pay and display if we don't get in the section by the PC block. N.B. PC  are pay (20p for everyone). Grid ref:: SH:795565..
Leave Chester 8-00 a.m.
 This walk is taken from Dave berry's book "Walks Around Betws-y-coed and the Conwy Valley".  This is a walk that links the beautifully wooded Llugwy and Lledre Valleys following riverside paths and using Sarn Helen the former Roman road to Mid-Wales.  On this walk we usually include a complete circuit of Llyn Elsi, although it will involve completing a short section twice.
Thursday 14th 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, High tide is at about 13-57, 9.5 m, 31.2'. This is quite a large tide, so we will need to keep an eye on the incoming tide , and escape from the beach if we have to.  From Perch Fort Rock, 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 a little less windy than last year!
Hopefully there will be plenty of birds to see as the tide comes in, so bring binoculars with if you have any.
Saturday 16th January 2016.
Port Penryn, Its Railways and Rivers. 
Distance:7-10 miles. Climb: 600'.
Start: Car park on the right just before the main road bends left to the centre. Grid ref: SH595728.
Leave Chester 8-00a.m.
This walk is taken from a book by Dave Salter and Dave Worrall called "From Mountain Top to Valley Floor". The described walk explores the hinterland behind Penryn Castle. Last time we explored the grounds of  Penryn Castle. It do not intended to do so this time, but just in case we do, bring your National Trust Membership Card with you if you are a member.
Thursday 21st January 2016. 
Raby and Willaston.
Distance: 9 miles. Climb: 500', probably an exaggeration!
Start: Hadlow Road Station. Grid ref: SJ332773.
Leave Chester at 09-00 a.m.
This walk combines two walks from Anthony Annakin-Smith's book "Wirral Walks". The two walks are  linked 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 23rd January 2016. 
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 least one of the four bird hides on the route. Bring binoculars with you if you have them.  High tide at about 10-10 a.m., quite a big one at 30.0 ' / 9.1 m.
Thursday 28th January 2016.
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: SJ020776. 
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 new hotel. 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 by the Marine Lake, near the Foryd.  We have also had lunch on the beach at the Foryd. Although we didn't see Snow buntings on the Foryd last year, with a bit of luck we may see them this year. 
High tide at the Foryd is at 13-22, 9.0 m, 29.5'.
Saturday 30th January 2016.
Tegg's Nose and Macclesfield Forest.
Distance: 9 miles. Climb: 1000'.
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. This is a walk that we have come to like and regularly appears on the list at this time of the year. Wintering birds sometime visit the many reservoirs we walk around, so it is useful to bring binoculars just in case.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Llanfairfechan to Aber Ogwen and back 23rd January 2016

Is it really that cold - the temperature is in double figures or at least that is what the forecast said!
The bird of the day - A Common scoter - West of Llanfairfechan.
"Come on you are suppose to beenjoying yourself, it's only a bit of a breeze!"
A few lapwings in flight.
Oystercatchers waiting for the tide to go out.
Penrhyn Castle again!
Llanfairfechan seems a long way off!
Walk stats: Distance: 10.1 miles. Climb: 100' (956' wind assisted on the GPS).
Time: 5 hours 40 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.3 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.7 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Mike and Roger.
The forecast was for it to be warm (about 10 Celsius), windy but no rain until after 18-00. It was just about right, although the rain started just as we arrived back at the car just before 16-00. 
 This walk as most of the group know is a little indulgence on my part at this time of the year as it is a good time to see Wintering birds to our shores, and this year was know exception. As started the walk it was very close to high tide and the birds should have been close to us and easy to see. It started well, after about 30 minutes, we saw a Common scoter only  100 yards or so off shore. Another good area is the coastal region North of Glan-y-MorElias nature Reserve, but we arrived just after the local ringing group had set of their net (fired by explosives) over the roosting birds at high tide, so birds were few and far between. Apparently most of the birds trapped were Dunlin.
 Today conditions underfoot were good, even in the places where we would usually anticipate a little mud. It was pleasing to find that the difficulty usually encountered West of Cwrtiau had been addressed and slate chips had been used to make the descent to the beach a little less hazardous.
 until we reached Aber Ogwen picnic site/car park we had battled against the wind, but thankfully the picnic table we used was quite sheltered and we had good views across the estuary and beyond to Anglesey.
 The return route was a pleasant wind assisted stroll back to Llanfairfechan.  
 Views inland showed that there was still snow on the higher slopes, but views across the Anglesey were never as good as the weather forecast had implied they should be.
 Birds seen or heard today included: Carrion crow, Mute swan, Mallard, Jackdaw, Common blackbird, Skylark, Goosander, Common scoter, Teal, Wigeon, Pintail, Shoveler, Shelduck, Great cormorant. Oystercatcher, Eurasian curlew, Lapwing, Herring gull, Black-headed gull, Lesser black-backed gull, Little egret (Roger's bird of the day) and Dunlin.
 After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Blue Bell Inn at Halkyn, where the Ty Gwyn cider went down well.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Around Willaston and Raby 21st January 2016

This is Post 1000!
Two for sale in Willaston or can I see third?
Willaston Windmill.
Anywhere will do for lunch - after the first place was rejected by the "leader"!
Lunch time with seating if desired.
Happily standing in  field after just escaping from what appeared to be the longest muddiest path on the Wirral!
Walk stats: Distance: 8.4 miles. Climb: 233'.
Time: 3 hours 49 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.5 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 2.2 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Annie, David S., Wendy, Tim, Paul and Phil.
The forecast was cold and dry in the morning with the likelihood of rain after 13-00. They were pretty well spot on, the wind was so cold I even had to put a hat on to keep my ears warm and it started to rain just after lunch at about 12-45.
 After leaving the village of Willaston with its few interesting old buildings, there wasn't a lot to make you want to linger any spot for any length of time. There were very few birds around to stop and look at and photo opportunities were rare.
 At the end of School Lane from Raby to Willaston, I didn't look at the map, spotted a "red blob" on the footpath opposite and headed in that direction. Alas it wasn't our "red blob" and we had to resort to the map to get back on track!
 Lunch was taken just outside Willaston taking advantage of the wall around the tree just after the Mill. 
 After lunch Paul decided that the school run beckoned and declined the challenge of the mud run which was successfully completed by the rest of us including Wendy!
 Birds seen or heard today included: Common blackbird, Woodpigeon, Black-headed gull, Herring gull and House sparrow.
 We arrived back at the car with the rain still falling and agreeing that perhaps the next time we do this walk we should try it at a time in the year when the chances of a muddy experience was less likely!
 After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Wheatsheaf at Raby where Purple Moose "Maddog Ale" went down well andthe roaring log fire was much appreciated.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

Port Penrhyn, Its Railways and Rivers 16thJanuary 2016

Looking across the bay to Port Penrhyn.
Port Penrhyn.
Some of the larger fishing boats at Port Penrhyn.
You wouldn't guess from the outside that this was once the port's super loo, flushed by the sea!
Snow capped hill on the skyline.
In deep thought?
Our view of Penrhyn Castle.
The Afon Ogwen.
A weir across the Afon Ogwen from the footbridge near Felin Cochwillan.
Walks stats: Distance: 9.6 miles. Climb: 457'.
Time: 5 hours 39 minutes. On the move walking average: Martyn, Roger and Mike.
The weather forecast was good, dry but cold and hopefully good views of the snow covered peaks of the Carneddau. Unfortunately the forecasters got it wrong and we had gentle drizzle for most of the day. Thankfully it did stop as we arrived back at the car at the end of the walk.  However it wasn't to cold and we were walking in sheltered wooded valleys at times when it was raining.
 We started the walk by exploring Port Penrhyn, having been informed by a local walker of this super loo flushed by the incoming tide. We felt compelled to locate it, even if it is no longer in use.
 The next part of the walk was along old railway line following Afon Cegin, a gentle stroll, just right for Mike after his forced absence from Saturday walks.
 As in the past we encountered a few problems with kissing gates, obviously built for thin people not wearing rucksacks. When Mike and Roger had to remove their rucksacks to get through, it's not my physique that was the problem!
 Lunch was taken near to one of these kissing gates, taking advantage of the fact that we had the need to remove our ruckacks anyway.
 In contrast to the tarmaced path at the start of the walk, the second part of the walk involved us crossing several muddy fields and regretting the fact that we hadn't put gaiters on!
 Birds seen or heard today included: Shelduck, Mallard, Mute swan, Wigeon. Goldeneye, Grey heron, Red breasted merganser, European robin, Common blackbird and Chaffinch.
 Overall a good walk, slightly longer than we had anticipated and with legs feeling the consequences.
 After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Blue Bell Inn at Halkyn, where we encountered lying snow still in the car park. A light beer from the local Hafod brewery went down well.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

A Leasowe to New Brighton Round 14th January 2016

"Is this really what we want to be doing ?"
Enjoying a stroll on the beach, heading towards Fort Perch Rock.
Looking Northwards from the beach at Leasowe.
A large container ship heading for Seaforth docks on the incoming tide.
Now that's a better looking sky! Looking back towards Leasowe lighthouse.
Leasowe lifeguard lookout tower on the left of the picture.
The Seaforth to Liverpool skyline with the new container port cranes dominating the view.
Fort Perch Rock and Lighthouse with Formby beach in the distance.
New Anfield under construction.
Black Pearl as good as it has ever been.
All aboard the Black Pearl.
Looking towards the stern of the Black Pearl.
A few of the birds on the pontoon at New Brighton Marine Lake.
Waves crashing over the sea walls at New Brighton.
More waves crashing over the sea wall.
Rough seas!
Walkstats: Distance: 9.5 miles. Climb: about 100' (2002' if you believed the GPS win assisted reading!).
Time: 4 hours 1 minute. On the move walking average: 2.8 .p.h. Overall walk average: 2.4 m.p.h. Group: Martyn, Annie, Phil and Paul. Fran and a friend with aher collie Rosie joined us for part of the walk.
The forecast was for dry weather, 24 m.p.h. winds and temperatures feeling like -2 Celsius. Thankfully it never felt as cold as that, but gloves were still needed! After about twenty minutes of Walking the Sun came out and we had blue skies over us, even if Lancashire didn't look as though it was being as lucky with the weather. 
 The incoming tide was getting a little close, so we prudently climbed up to the promenade at the last set of steps before the final stretch of beach towards Fort Perch Rock.
 We saw plenty of ships heading out of Liverpool on the rising tide, but alas we didn't see a ship at the new mega container ship dock or the huge cranes being used.
 The drift wood pirate ship was still present and looked to be better than ever.
 Lunch was taken in one of the wind shelters adjacent to New Brighton Marine Lake. Unfortunately we only had views of the Floral Pavilion and the road, but at least we were sheltered from the wind and bathed in warm sunshine.
 The return route along the promenade back to Leasowe presented a different challenge than the sand storm encountered last year. This time it was the waves crashing over the sea wall that forced us to walk on the path on the other side of the road (about 50 yards away from the wall) to avoid getting wet. It didn't stop us getting sprayed every now and then and our glasses getting a deposit of salt on the lenses as the sea water evaporated.
 Approaching the golf course we bumped in to Fran who was walking with a friend and her dog. We nearly walked straight past them as the bright sun in our eyes made it very difficult to see ahead, we should have worn sunglasses!
 Birds seen o heard today included: Oystercatcher, Eurasian curlew, Common starling, Black-headed gull, Lesser black-backed gull, Herring gull, Pied wagtail, Common redshank, Great cormorant, Turnstone and Purple sandpiper.
 We arrived back at the car, having had a good walk, watching waves crashing onto the shore and over the sea defences is always special, providing you don't get wet!
 On this occasion we didn't call in at a local hostelry (nothing to do with the governments new advisory limit on alcohol intake)  and were back home before 15-00.