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

Friday, 27 January 2017

A Ceiriog Trail from Pontricket (Walk D) 26th January 2017

The Ceiriog Valley from West of Springhill Wood.
Heading for Pen y Gwely - almost the last climb of the day!
At the gate to Pen y Gwely - the highest point after lunch.
Pontricket East of Siambr-gerrig.
Not far to go now.
Crossing the ford with care!
Walk stats: Distance: 7.5 miles. Climb: 1215'.
Time: 4 hours 11 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.2 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.8 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Roger, Sue Pelissier and Phil.
A rather cold overcast day with strong South easterly winds making it feel much colder than the ambient near zero Celsius temperatures.
 Thankfully the low temperature meant that conditions underfoot were still pretty firm, a help in places that on warmer days would have been quite muddy.
 Low lying cloud/mist lingered round the higher tops, making distant views limited. However we never reached those heights and any dampness in the air was elsewhere.
 We arrived at our planned lunch spot on the Ceiriog Trail about 1 mile South of Llechrydau, a spot that had no shelter from the wind so we headed North west hoping for a suitable spot in the wood North of Pen-y-gwely Reservoir.
 We did find a suitable spot. siting on the side of the track sheltered by the trees.
 Just after lunch we encountered our first problem, the way ahead was blocked by a flooded section of track, but we were able to escape to another path to the West that we could see, care needed as we crossed few yards of rough boggy terrain between the paths. However  there was an alternative path that we could take that just diverted around the flooded section of path. Hopefully we will remember this next time we do this walk.
 Everyone agreed that the route from Pen y Gwely back to POntricket was a much better descent than the track that contained the enclosed water drain.
 Birds seen or heard today included: European robin, Dunnock, Pied wagtail, Meadow pipit, Carrion crow and Grey heron.
 We arrived back at he cars happy to have had a good walk in conditions better than we were expecting and having had to cross only one stile and that was an easy one!
 After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Pant-yr-Ochain, where Purple Moose's Snowdonia Ale went down well. However in the front bar were we were it was on the cool side and we were all glad that we had still got our fleeces on - perhaps we should all have been like Sue and had a hot drink!
 First signs of Spring - Sue spotted Snowdrops on the side of the road as we were stopped at road works traffic lights in the Ceiriog valley.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Walks and Dates January 2017

Wishing Everyone 

Happy New Yea
many memorable walks
Monday 2nd January 2017
A West Kirby Round.
Distance: 5.4 miles. Climb: 250'.
Start. South Parade, West Kirby. Grid ref: SJ214860. Park near the Life Boat Station and old Baths, towards the Southern end of the Marine Lake.
Leave Chester 09-30 a.m.
I know that we usually have a short walk on New Years Day, but this year this is a Sunday and some of the group have more important commitments on that day! After discussion with many of the group it was decided that the better day for the walk would be the Monday.
 High tide at Hilbre is at 13-20, so trip to Hilbre isn't really an option, so I thought walking along the beach to Red Rocks as the tide came in would be the best choice.
 We will start the walk by going around the Marine Lake before heading across the sands to Red Rocks. The route will take us through the Royal Liverpool Golf Course and along the edge of Hoylake Municipal Golf Course before heading uphill to the War Memorial on Grange Hill. The planned route then heads down hill to the main road (A540). After crossing the road we turn right towards West Kirby centre and eventually picking up the Wirral Way through Ashton Park. After going round the lakes in Ashton Park we exit the park on the West side and follow the roads through the houses down to South Parade and back to the car.
 The walk can be shortened by half a mile if we miss out Grange Hill.
 Despite rumours to the contrary, fortified fruit cake will be available, but it hasn't had time to mature as long as usual as it was only baked on the 10th December 2016.
Harris Hikers Annual Walkers Meal together will be on
Thursday 9th February 2017.
At the Glasfryn, Mold.
See February's Walks and Dates Post for further details.
Thursday 5th January 2017.
Rhosesmor, Sychdyn and Northop.
Distance: 9.0 miles. Climb: 1000'.
Start: Parking area next to playground, Rhosesmor. Grid ref: SJ214681.
Leave Chester at 09-00 a.m.
This walk includes the "Northop - Sychdyn" walk from the booklet "Rural Walks in Flintshire". The "Northop - Sychdyn" walk starts from Northop and is only five miles. The car park in Northop is very small, and when I went on a reccy it was full. Starting at Rhosesmor overcomes that problem and extends the walk by four miles.
The "Northop - Sychdyn" walk is described as including a traveller's resting place, grand houses, parkland and woodland. It is also described as a moderate walk with many stiles and some boggy places.
The "Northop - Sychdyn" walk is a new walk for us.
 The link-up paths from Rhosesmor include many of the paths that we have used on Gwystaney walks from the same parking area.
Saturday 7th January 2017.
Prestbury, Whitely Green and the Mottram Cross.
Distance: 10.0 miles. Climb: 500'.
Start: Sprigfields Car Park, Prestbury. Grid ref: SJ902773.
Leave Chester at 08-30 a.m.
The walk starts by completing the Whitely Green part of the walk that we failed to complete the last time we walked from Prestbury.
This is a varied walk, including gentle hills with good views of real hills to the East.
The second part of the walk will explore part of the Mottram Bridge walk that we did in November 2016. This will include walking through the grounds of Mottram Hall, visiting the Mottram Cross on the way to Legh Hall, but we will avoid the very muddy section South of Woodside farm.
Thursday 12th January 2017.
Wepre Park, Aston Hill and Northop Hall.
Distance: 9.5 miles. Climb: 860'.
Start: Wepre Park, South of Wepre Drive, Connah's Quay. Grid ref: SJ295684.
Leave Chester at 09-00 a.m.
This walk includes the four mile "Wepre" walk from the booklet "Rural Walks in Flintshire", but has been extended to explore the area around Northop Hall. The Wepre walk is described as a moderate walk and includes a wooded river valley and a ruined castle.
 The extension heads for Ewloe Green via Aston Hill on the way to Northop Hall. After exploring the countryside North of Northop Hall, it eventually rejoins the dismantled railway track shown on the original route that will leads us back to Wepre.
This is the first time that this walk has appeared on Harris Hikers.
Saturday 14th January 2017.
Clip-y-Orsedd and theThe Druid Circle. 
Distance: 9 miles. Climb:2400'.
Leave Chester 8-30 a.m.
Start: Car park behind the bank in Llanfairfechan. Turn right of Village Road. Grid ref:SH682747.
This walk uses two walks from Dave Berry's book "Walks on the North Wales Coast." These two walks combine to make one of my favourite walks in this area as they explore the hills behind  Llanfairfechan and Penmaenmawr. We will visit the impressive Druids' Stone Circle, but on this occasion we will miss out Foel Lus.  On a good day we should get good views, especially towards the coast and Tal y Fan. We will only extend the walk as far as the Druids Circle.
Thursday 19th January 2017.
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 15-30, 8.1 m / 26.5'.
Saturday 21st January 2017. 
Postponed - Billy no-mates again
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.
Thursday 26th January 2017. 
Another Ceiriog Trail Walk from Pontricket.
Distance 8.5 miles. Climb: 1700'.
Start Pontricket Lay-by on B4500 through the Ceiriog Valley, about 2 miles South of Glyn Ceiriog.
Leave Chester at 09-00 a,m.
This walk includes much of the walk that we did last time we walked from Ponticket, but this time we will take a route North of Pen y Gwely then follow the Ceiriog Trail around Pen-y-gwely Reservoir.
 We will also follow the Siambre-gerrig valley and in so doing miss out the unpleasant track with its concrete encased drainage pipes that we have used in the past.
Saturday 28th January 2017.
A Coastal walk from Llanfairfechan to Aber Ogwen and the Spinnies L.N.R. 
Postponed - forecast all day!
Distance: 10-11 miles. Climb: 200'.
Start: Llanfairfechan Promenade / Coastal car Park. Grid ref: SH679754.
Leave Chester at 08-30 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 11-0 a.m., quite a big one at 30.3 ' / 9.2 m.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Rhuddlan and the Clwyd Estuary 19th January 2017

Grey skies above Rhuddlan Castle as we crossed the River Clwyd.
A single Whooper swan in a field East of the river.
The Whooper swan wasn't on its own, but all fourteen  swans nearby were Mute swans.
A Raven, first heard croaking and then seen at the top of a power pylon.
Looking across the Marine Lake, Rhyl from the South.
A few of the several hundred Lapwing flying above the Marine Lake.
Trees and birds - reflections in the Marine Lake, Rhyl.
Group photo - no trig point today so this is the best that we could do!
On the South west side of the Marine Lake, Rhyl.
The masts of Pont-y-Draig reflected in the marine Lake, Rhyl.
Looking South towards the Clwydian Hills across the Marine Lake.
Distance: 7.4 miles. Climb: 103'.
Time: 3 hours 42 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.5 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 2.0 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn and Tim (all of the walk), Sue and Michel, Roger, Sue and Dave P (deserted after lunch!).
Slightly unusual arrangements today, as we needed one car to be left by the Marine Lake at Rhyl, even though the walk was starting at Rhuddlan.
 The weather forecast for today was generally overcast, relatively warm and very little wind and chance of rain was said to be <10 p="">
 That was pretty well what we got, although at times there was a "dampness" in the air.
 Five of us set off along the river path on the East side of the River Clwyd as we always do. Thankfully we are creatures of habit, as we had set off not realising that Sue and Dave P were joining us.
Fortunately there were plenty of birds along the first section of the walk that meant that we had made several stops to watch them and they manage to catch us up, although Dave said at one point he was almost running!
 The unexpected birds of the day was a Whooper swan and a Raven, both clearly seen from the footpath.
 Other birds seen or heard today included: Lapwing, Common redshank, Grey heron, Pied wagtail, Woodpigeon, Shelduck, Teal, Wigeon, Herring gull, Black-headed gull, Lesser black-backed gull, Great black-backed gull, Great cormorant, Canada goose, Eurasian curlew, Black-billed magpie, Blue tit, Mallard, Oystercatcher, Feral pigeon, House sparrow, Carrion crow, Common blackbird, Common starling and European robin.
 Arriving at the Marine Lake at Rhyl, the water could accurately be described as being like a mill pond. There wasn't much sun about, but the reflection in the water were superb, even those of the huger flock of Lapwings that circled above the water could be clearly seen.
Lunch was taken at the view point on the Foryd where benches had been provided. This was a bonus that we hadn't expected as the original plan was to sit on stones on the beach.
 Fruit cake was provided, despite the fact that only two of us needed an energy input to complete the return leg of the walk.
 The riverside path on the West side of the River Clwyd is more direct than that on the East side, and we were back at the cars in Rhuddlan by 14-00. 
 This wasn't good news as the Blue bell Inn at Halkyn doesn't open until 15-00 and Halkyn is only 30 minutes away from Rhuddlan even if you drive slowly!
 I arrived at Halkyn at 14-30, and sat in the car listening to the cricket for half an hour. It was quite good at at that time, and arrived at home just in time to see England collapse and India win the match and series.
 It's a good job that I waited for the Blue Bell Inn to open and I can look forward to enjoying some Gwynt-y-Draig's Black Cider as I watch the snooker on TV.
 As ever an enjoyable walk and if Tim hadn't made the trip from the Midlands to join us, I would have been Billy No Mates on the return leg!  I suppose I could have caught a bus back to Rhuddlan, but I didn't have my bus pass with me!

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Clip-yr-orsedd and the Druid's Circle 14th January 2017

Our first views of Anglesey and Puffin Island.
"Who do you think you are?" - residents of Idlewild Animal Sanctuary, Llnafairfechan,
Another resident of Idlewild Animal Sanctuary.
Our first hint of the white stuff on higher ground.
Clip-yr-orsedd ahead.
How did it get there? Answers on .....
guess who on the highest point on Clip-yr-orsedd.
"Why I am I here?"
On the highest point of the East end of Clip-yr-orsedd.
At the Druid's circle - well I think that is where we are"
Wild ponies near our lunch spot.
Our lunch spot with views towards Anglesey.
The tumbling river at Nant-y-Coed.
Our final back towards Penmaenmawr quarries and our outward route.
Walk stast: Distance: 7.6 miles. 1385'.
Time: 4 hours 30 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.1 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.6 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Mike and Ed.
We didn't know what weather we were going to get, but all of the forecasts suggested that it was going to be cold, windy with wintry showers. Most of the time it wasn't that cold,except briefly as we were at the top of Clip-yr-orsedd when it started to hail and taking just to photos with my gloves off made my hands unpleasantly cold. Our time around the Druid's Circle was unpleasant too,where we were walking in cloud and visabilty was down to about 50 metres - not the place to stop for lunch!
 Apart from that our outward journey had been good, a delightful zig-zag route giving frequent views towards Anglesey and the Menai Straights.
 It was surprising to see how far the Penmaenmawr quarry had encroached since our last visit and now it almost up to the tone wall below Clip-yr-orsedd.on the North side.
 we were very fortunate to be able to have lunch on stone adjacent to the North Wales path South West of Clip-y-orsedd when the clouds had lifted and the rain had stopped. 
 About twenty wild ponies had chosen to graze on this side of Clip-y-orsedd., so I suppose we were in good company.
 Approaching Blaen-llwyn we had our best sightings of the day a Red kite and  a Red billed chough.
 Birds seen or heard today included: House sparrow, Common blackbird, Jackdaw, Blue tit, Great tit, Rook, Raven, Common buzzard, Red-billed chough, Herring gull and Black-headed gull.
 Thankfully today we had three dry spells, just before we set off, lunch and just as we arrived back at the car and a bonus was the fact that it took me just five minutes to clean my boots when I arrived home.
 In a funny sort of way, I enjoyed this walk despite the often challenging weather conditions.
 After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Blue Bell Inn in Halkyn, where Sheppy's cider went down well and Desmond the rescue dog welcomed us!.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Wepre Park, Aston Hill, Ewloe and Northop Hall 12th January 2017

The start of the walk through Wepre Park, heading for Ewloe Castle.
Wepre Brook on the way to Ewloe Castle.
A Little egret in trees above Wepre Brook.
Climbing the steps to Ewloe Castle.
Ewloe castle from the South side.
Church of the Holy Spirit, Ewloe.
Lunch time in Northop Hall.
Savage legacies.
On the old railway line through Broadoak Wood.
Walk stats: Distance: 9.3 miles. Climb: 727'.
Time: 5 hours 40 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.2 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.6 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Roger, Sue Pelissier, Phil and David S.
We arrived at Wepre Park with a little rain still in the air and the  temperature just above freezing. The section through Wepre Wood up to Ewloe castle was a delightful. In fact the whole of Wepre Park was a surprise to us all, even those of us who had visited it previously. Much work has been done and is still being done to make park a real treasure with its reputation enhanced by its inclusion in Iolo William's  TV series on Welsh Parks.
 Just before climbing to Ewloe Castle we saw three possibly four Little egrets on Wepre Brook
 We explored Ewloe Castle before setting off in the direction of Aston Hill which gave us views over Deeside Industrial Zones. 
 It was to the West of Seaview Farm that we encountered our first problem, where a fallen tree block our way forward. Thankfully we saw a local dog walker taking a path that detoured around the wood and rejoined the path beyond the blocked section.
 Just after Aston Hill farm, David spotted what looked like a church tower in the distance, so we made a short detour to investigate. It turned out to be the Church of the Holy Spirit, Ewloe, built around 1937. As we were looking around the outside of the church, a lady spotted us and invited us to look inside the church, a bonus that we weren't expecting.
 After this little detour, we headed straight for Northop Hall, where had lunch on a bench by the bus stop.
 On the way to Northop Hall we could see Moel Famau with a snow covering, particularly on its lower slopes.
  Little did we know at that time what challenges lay ahead! Mud glorious mud, difficult stiles, overhanging brambles waiting to attack us (David's nose pays testimony to this) and finally a hail storm.
 We were glad to get onto the old railway track through Broadoak Wood and the last part of the described route.
 I'm sure the extension from Northop Hall to Northop Hall Farm and Merllyn will never be repeated, well at least not by us!
 We arrived back at the car, and once again it started to rain, encouraging us to change quickly and head for the Blue Bell Inn at Halkyn with its welcoming fire and excellent range of beers and ciders.
 Birds seen or heard today included: Blue tit, Great tit, Goldfinch, Common blackbird, Little egret, Grey heron, Woodpigeon, Wood nuthatch, Common pheasant and Common starling.
 Heading towards along the A55 from Northop towards Conwy, we went through a blizzard that only stopped as we entered the car park at the Blue Bell. By the time we left, even the dusting of snow on the tree branches had disappeared, the road was clear and there was even blue skies to see!

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Prestbury and Whitley Green 7th January 2017

Wood carvings at Prestbury.
The River Bollin as we left Prestbury.
Walking in the mist alongside Dumbar Hollow.
On the access track to Mount Farm.
Approaching Lowerhouse.
Walk stats: Distance: 5.4 miles. Climb: 282'.
Time: 3 hours 4 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.2 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.7 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn and Mike.
Not a good day for walking, misty all morning and in reality it was accompanied by a very fine rain. Needless to say we didn't get the views opening up as we crossed Tytherington Golf Course or views of the Kerridge and White Nancy above Bollington.
 The described route suggested that it was only 4.5 miles, but in reality it was probably nearer five.
 Some of the roads used were quite busy, but the route description was pretty good on this occasion and we did the whole walk without referring to our OS Maps.
 Birds seen or heard today include: Wood nuthatch, Common blackbird, House sparrow, Jackdaw, Black-headed gull, Rook, Great tit and Grey heron.
 On arriving back at the car, I decided that I had had enough walking in the mist/rain for one day and that I would not be setting off on the afternoon extension.
 Mike declined the offer of me staying in the car while he did a "power walk" in the afternoon.
 We had lunch sitting in the car, listening to an FA Cup match on Radio 5, but that didn't cheer us up either.
 After lunch, we headed homeward, stopping at the Farmer's Arms at Kelsall for refreshments, where Weetwood's Cheshire Cat went down well as did the tea!
 In conclusion our next walk from Prestbury must be in the dry season, where at least we should be able to see where we are going!

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Rhosesmor, Northop and Sychdyn 5th January 2017

Our first view of Moel Famau.
A different view of Moel Famau.
Gwysaney Hall from Bryn-cae Tudur track. the path.
St Eurgain and St Peter's Church, Northop - our lunch spot.
Leaders in the making - no not the sheep!
Looking for a friend.
Roger's stile, but no Roger!
Walk stats: 8.8 miles. Climb 619'.
Time: 4 hours 37 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.4 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.9 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Celia, Sue Pelissier and Phil.
This was a glorious day for walking, bright sunshine all day, too bright at times! Cool at times whenever we happened to be walking in the shade. Much of the ground underfoot was still fairly frozen, an advantage on sections that had great potential for being somewhat muddy/boggy.
The only problem encountered was trying to find a suitable lunch spot, we didn't find one until we arrived at Northop, where most of us were able to use a bench, Celia chose to sit on the grass in the Sun.
We had completed over six miles at lunch, so hopefully a little fortified fruit cake helped revive everyone for the rest of the walk!
The walk through Northop village allowed us to see some of the old parts of the village when it was an important staging post on the London to Holyhead Postal route.
 After lunch we took a few short cuts by staying on the road a little longer than on the described route, but it didn't stop us using Roger's stile on the way back to Rhosesmor.
Birds seen or heard today included: House sparrow, Sparrowhawk, Common blackbird, Common buzzard, Common starling, Common buzzard, Woodpigeon, Red legged partridge, Black-headed gull, Rook, Wood nuthatch and Treecreeper (Thanks to Celia hearing then and Sue spotting them).
Special celebrations at the Blue Bell Inn at Halkyn today, enjoying Castle Rock's, Rum and Raisin, knowing that Michel now has his certificate of permanent residence.