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

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Holyhead Breakwater and South Stacks Country Parks 27th May 2017

Exhibits at Holyhead Breakwater Country Park.
Looking South east across Porth Namarch towards Holyhead Breakwater Country Park.
Heading towards South Stack along the Coastal Path.
Two of the local residents.
At the explosive stores and time for a rest.
One of several female Stonechats seen today.
One of many orchids seen along the Coastal Path. 
Heath spotted orchid.
Our first view of South Stack.
South Stack from Ellin's Tower.
Guillemots at South Stacks.
A few more Guillemots on the cliffs at South Stack.
The view from our lunch spot.
Glad not to be on Holyhead Mountain now.
Coastal flowers yet to be identified.
Celia identified it as a rare plant called Field Fleawort.
Dramatic coastal scenery in the South Stacks Cliffs Nature Reserve.
Walk stats: Distance: 11.1 miles. Climb: 1737' (wind assisted GPS reading).
Time: 6 hours 27 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.2 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.7 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Mike, Celia and Ed.
After the last two days of hot and humid weather, we were looking forward to a much cooler coastal walk, hopefully avoiding the rain forecast to arrive after 16-00. Alas the forecasters got it right and the rain arrived and accompanied us for the last hour or so. Thankfully it wasn't cold and I didn't even bother to put my waterproofs on - others did!
 On this occasion we decided to complete the walk in an anticlockwise direction along the Coastal path to South Stacks and return via the inland paths.
 This turned out to be a good choice as Holyhead Mountain disappeared in mist just after 14-00 and wouldn't have been very pleasant to cross.
 As ever at this time of the year the coastal sections had abundant flowers on display, with the Heath spotted orchids being particularly splendid.
 Birds seen or heard included: Jackdaw, Rook, carrion crow, Stonechat, Red-billed chough, Pied wagtail, Canada goose, Oystecatcher, Tern (Common or Arctic), Mallard, Herring gull, Meadow pipit, Black-billed magpie, Skylark and Common blackbird.
 After finding our way from Penrhosfeilw to Twr, we tried to find the path that went via Castell, but once more failed to find it. We have tried to find this path from both sides now and failed on each occasion. It would appear that we have no choice, but to stick to the road between Twr and Gorlan.
 We arrived back at the car having had and excellent walk, amazed at the number of flowers that we had seen and the number of foreign tourists around South Stacks.
 After dropping Ed off at Abergele, we headed to the Bluebell Inn at Halkyn for celebration drinks and a cider takeaway.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Coed Pen y Gelli and More 25th May 2017

Bluebells in Coed Allt-y-tywod,
More Bluebells in Coed Allt-y-tywod,
Bluebells in Coed y Garreg.
Not all flowers seen today in Coed y Garreg were Bluebels.
"There must be an easier way over this stile." 
Broken stile South west of Cornel-cae-celyn.
Which of these gates do we need to go through?
All of them!
Arrangements of Gates across the footpath after crossing the main road, South of Coed - Cornel-cae.
Bluebells in Coed Pen-y-Gelli.
More Bluebells in Coed Pen-y-Gelli.
Even more Bluebells in Coed Pen-y-Gelli.
Walk stats: Distance: 5.6 miles. Climb: 415'.
Time: 3 hours 55 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.1 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.4 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Celia and David S.
We set off from Lloc, heading for Coed Allt-y-tywod, usually quite good for Bluebells. They were there, but not at their best, not unexpected as we have had a very dry spell and today was getting warmer every minute! We did get some respite by staying along woodland paths as much as we could.
 Coed y Garreg still had Bluebells, but they too were rather sad looking and much of the intensity in colour had faded.
 We had a few challenges as we headed South past Cornel-cae-celyn, first a stile, then an array of "gates", lots of cows with calves, but thankfully we overcame them all!
 Lunch was taken North of Crown Wood, in exactly same spot that we used last week, again grateful that we were in the shade.
 By this time, the heat was getting unbearable and we were reluctant to set off again, and probably lingered over lunch a little longer than usual.
 The final Bluebell wood today was Coed Pen-y-Gelli, probably the best for Bluebells, but once more they were not at their best.
 As we approached Lloc, we were all in agreement that extending the walk to include the Gorsedd Round would be folly and heading for a nice cool refreshing drink would be a much better option.
 This we did, at the Fox and Grapes in Harwarden, where light beers from Weetwood and Hafod breweries went down well. We were able to sit outside, still in the shade and happy that we had cut the walk short.
 Birds seen or heard today were few, but included: Mallard, Woodpigeon, Rook, Carrion crow, Blackcap, Willow warbler and Common blackbird.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Congleton Edge and Mow Cop 20th May 2017

Getting ready to shelter from the rain.
On Congleton Edge.
Part of Congleton Edge.
A Buttercup meadow seen from a tree when we were sheltering from a heavy shower, 
North east of the Nick i' th' Hill.
Looking towards Beeston and the Clwydians from the Cheshire's Close viewpoint.
The Old man of Mow.
Our first view of  Mow Cop Castle.
Mow Cop Castle from the South.
Looking North east from the masts at Mow Cop.
Berwyn Sheep near our start point.
Walk stats: Distance: 9.1 miles. Climb:1041'.
Time: 5 hours 54 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.0 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.5 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn and Mike.
We started the walk from a lay-by on the Congleton Road North east of  Mow Cop and will probably use this on future occasions when we visit this area.
 We set off in sunshine, tackling the marshy area North of Cheshire's Close. At least  we got the difficult route finding and boggiest part of the walk over first. No problems here this time finding the way across, although we didn't follow the path as it was on the OS map, but it was the one where many feet had previously gone.
 It started to rain as we approached Nick I' th' Hill, when we decided it was time to put on our waterproofs. This heavy shower was enough for a young lady on a horse to invite us to shelter in barn by the stables. We declined her kind offer and headed across Congleton Edge.
 It rained gently on and off for the next hour or so, and as we started aong the Staffordshire Way, we were hoping for a sheltered spot preferably with a bench.
 Thankfully just before the Southern end of Whitemore Nature Reserve we came across a pic-nic table with views towards Congleton Edge. Even better the rain stopped and we had a pleasant half an hour having lunch in sunshine without having to have waterproofs on.
 After lunch, waterproofs were required as intermittent showers continued for about another hour before we could remove them for the rest of the walk.
 As we arrived back at the car the Sun was shining, so we continued the walk to visit Mow Cop Castle before retracing our steps back to the car.
 Birds seen or heard today included: Carrion crow, Common pheasant, Common buzzard, Willow warbler, Meadow pipit, Black-billed magpie, Collared dove, Common whitethroat, House sparrow, Common swift, Woodpigeon, Chaffinch, Blackcap, Goldfinch, Barn swallow and Winter wren.
 Overall this was a good walk and the weather was much better than most forecasts had suggested.
  We stopped at the Farmers Arms at Kelsall, where Mike enjoyed a pint of Weetwood Bitter and I had probably the worst cup of tea that I have ever tasted! Moral of the story - stick to the bitter!

Walks and Dates May 2017

Thursday 4th May 2017.
Pen-y- Ball Hill, Two Woods and the Coast.
Distance: 8-9 miles. Climb: 1000'.
Start: Holywell Halkyn Street Car Park. Grid ref: SJ18957548.
Leave Chester at 09-00 a.m.
This is a figure of eight walk around Holywell. It combines two walks from Ron Williams and Elfed Jones's booklet "10 Walks Around Holywell". We know the area around the Pen-y-Ball Monument quite well, but on this occasion, we explore again some of the paths around the Pets Cemetry. The other walk takes us down to the coast through Coed Pen-y-Maes, going quite near to the new Holywell High School. When we did the walk in May 2015 they had only just started to build.
Saturday 6th May 2017.
Pendle Hill – the annual search for Dotterel.
Distance: 8.0 miles. Climb:1900’.
Start: Downham Village Car park. Grid ref: SD785442.
Leave Chester:8-30 a.m.
This is a little shorter than our usual Saturday walks.  The route today is the one in Terry Marsh’s book “Fifty Classic Walks in Lancashire”. He describes it as “undoubtedly the finest ascent of Pendle Hill”. Let’s hope for a good day weather-wise, topped up with good views of  Dotterel as we did a few years ago.  Don’t forget to bring binoculars.
The last few times we have done this walk, the weather hasn't been kind.lets hope the weather is better this year.
Thursday 11th May 2017.
Bluebell Woods Around Parbold. 
Distance: 10 miles. Climb: 800'.
Start: Hunter's Hill Quarry Nature Reserve on Bannister Lane WN6 9QD. Grid ref: SD503123
It is 48 miles from Saltney, so should be a little less from Chester and should take just over an hour to get there.
Leave Chester at 08-45 a.m.
This may be a little further than usual, but it is mainly on the motorway, so it is pretty quick.
This walk is a walk that we have done for the last two years, but on a Saturday. each time the Bluebell have been superb, so I thought that it was time that the Thursday walkers could enjoy them too. 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 is a walk that we have done a couple of times now. There is no description, just the OS map.  The walk includes a section around Anderton Mill and High Moor. Last time the Bluebells and wild garlic in Fairy Glen were quite stunning. Bring binoculars with you just in case.
Saturday 13th May 2017.
Cwm Eigiau from Dolgarrog.
Distance: 7-8 miles. Climb: 2000'.
Start: Road side parking on the B5106 next to Dolgarrog Nature Reserve/Memorial Trail. Grid ref: SH769676.
Leave Chester at 08-30 a.m.
This is another walk from Carl Rogers' book "Walks in the Conwy Valley. This is described as  strenuous route, particularly in the accent from the valley. It is an interesting walk over quiet lower hills with good views of the nearby Carneddau. Good navigating skills needed on the upper sections of Moel Eilio where paths are feint. We have also had good views of Cuckoos on this walk in this area in past years.
 There is plenty of opportunity to extend the walk, if we feel the need!
Thursday 18th May 2017.
Maen Achwfan, Llyn Helyg, Crown Bach and Coed Pen-y-Gelli.
Distance:9-10 miles. Climb:1000’.
Start:Roadside parking opposite the church in Whitford. Grid ref:SJ147782.
Leave Chester 9-00 a.m.
This is a Bluebell Woods walk we first did in 2011.
The walk starts off by using one of the walks in Dave Berry’s book “ Walks Around Holywell and Halkyn Mountain. We have completed this one several times, including visiting the beautifully carved Maen Achwfan.  However this time we include exploring two new woods, Glol and Llyn Helyg woods.  Hopefully we will return through Crown Bach woods to Lloc and then return to Whitford via Twll Bach.
Saturday 20th May 2017.
Mow Cop, Congleton Edge and More. 
Distance: 9-10 miles. Climb: 1500'.
Start: New start Point. Cheshire's Close lay-by on Congleton Road, Mow Cop. Grid ref: SJ8673058565
Leave Chester at 08-30 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 we did in 2008. Good views from the ridges.
Thursday 25th May 2017.
Coed Pen-y-Gelli and More.
Distance:9-10 miles. Climb:700’.
Start: Roadside parking at Lloc. If approaching from Holywell on the A5026, turn left by the public house (now a private house) into St Asaph Road. Park in left. If approaching on the A5026 from its nearest junction with the A55 (Prestatyn junction), Turn right in front of the public house (now a private house) into St Asaph Road. This is just after the the Pant Y Wacco sign and the road starts to bear left. St Asaph Road is one way and can only be approached from then A5026.
Grid ref:SJ145765.
Leave Chester at 09-00 a.m.
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 will be near to 10 miles as we will only complete a small section of the usual Gorsedd Round. In fact we may investigate the path on the West side of Coed Mertyn that we couldn't locate from the golf course last year by trying to follow it from the road by the fisheries.
Saturday 27th May 2017.
South Stacks Cliffs Nature Reserve and More.
Distance:10 miles. Climb:1326'.
Start: Holyhead Breakwater Country Park (Pay and Display). SH225833
Leave Chester 8-30 a.m.
This is another walk that has become an annual favourite. Along the coastal section there should be  good chances of seeing Choughs, Guillemots, Razorbills and even Puffins. Bring binoculars if you can. 
 We will start at the Holyhead Breakwater Country Park. In the past we have completed the walk in a clockwise direction,  finishing the  walk along the Coastal Path, but as a change we will complete the walk in an anti-clockwise direction. This will probably mean we will arrive at South Stack in time for an early lunch.

Friday, 19 May 2017

A Bluebell Wood Walk Around Whitford 18th May 2017

A lake on the Downing Estate North of Whitford.
The waiting game - a Coot on its nest.
Bluebells in a wood North west of Ffriddoedd.
Interest in Maen Achwyfan.
Looking towards the Dee Estuary on the way to Coed y Garreg.
here is always someone looking to take a rest!
A Buttercup meadow on the way to Glol Wood.
Bluebells in Glol Wood.
Bluebells in Coed Pen-y-Gelli.
More Bluebells in Coed Pen-y-Gelli.
Walking through Coed Pen-y-Gelli. West of the Nature Reserve.
Orchids in the North east spur of Coed Pen-y-Gelli.
Walk stats: Distance: 8.6 mils. Climb: 640'.
Time: 5 hours 15 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.1 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.6 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Sue and Michel, Jim and David S.
This was the first of our Bluebell Wood walks on our local patch and with the considerably dry period we have had of late we weren't sure whether the would have survived. Thankfully they had, although many looked as though they would relish a bit of the wet stuff.
 I decided to take a few short cuts from our usual walk, but I we had lunch near Crown Wood, I realised that we were in danger of getting back to the cars a little too early! At this point I decided that we would explore Coed Pen-y-Gelli a little more than on the original planned route. This turned out to be a bonus as the Bluebells here were the best that we had seen, especially when the rays of the Sun infiltrated the trees and shone on them.
 It was good to see the Purple spotted orchids flowering in a part of Coed Pen-y-Gelli that we hadn't visited before.
 However it was after exiting Coed Pen-y-Gelli that we encountered route finding a little difficulty through a property that warned of Guard dogs and no route markers. The "stiles" weren't easy either!
 We arrived back at the car just before 15-00, having had a good walk and no more than a few drops of rain. This was very fortunate as just down the road at Halkyn they had had 20 minutes of very heavy rain.
 Birds seen or heard today included: Rook, House martin,Barn swallow, Shelduck, Mallard, Greylag, Common blackbird, Common coot, Common whitethroat, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Black-billed magpie and Common buzzard.
 After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Bluebell Inn in Halkyn, where Bluebell Bitter No.4 from Settle went down well, but the most popular drink awas a non-alcoholic ginger beer!

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Cwm Eigiau from Dolgarrog 13th May 2017

Part of the Afon Porth-llwyd seen on the Dolgarrog Memorial Trail.
Surf Snowdonia, seen from the zig-zag path through Coed Dolgarrog.
Not the best location for a footpath pointer!
The zig-zag path through Coed Dolgarrog
More of the zig-zag path through Coed Dolgarrog.
Following the pipe line.
In open country with views along the Afon Conwy as far as the estuary.
Moel Eilio and the Coedty Reservoir.
Stonechat  and Bluebells on the Southern slopes of Moel Eilio.
The green track leading to the Cowlyd Reservoir.
Our first views of theAfon Porth-llwyd Valley.
Looking back towards Cwm Eigiau.
More Bluebells as we descended the Afon Porth-llwyd valley to Dolgarrog.
A waterfall on the Afon Porth-llwyd - not at its best.
Emerging from the woodland path at Perthi onto the Dolgarog road.
Walk stats: Distance: 10.0 miles. Climb: 2000' (2500' wind assisted on the GPS) .
Time: 6 hours 34 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.2 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.5 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn and Ed.
We started off the walk by following the Dolgarrog Memorial Trail, but ended up retracing our steps when the way forward looked a little risky. This was the start of our route finding problem.
 Finding the exact start of the walk description and then deciding what to do when the paths we wanted were closed for safety reasons. Eventually we were able to decipher the suggested alternative on a path that went around the back of Taylor Avenue and we started what turned out to be a steep zig-zag path through the wood that seemed to go on for ever, but eventually joined the described route by the pipe line above the restriction. Route finding would be plain sailing from now, or at least we thought it would be!
 At least now we were in open country and could enjoy the views as we battled against the welcome wind that cooled us after that slog up the path through Dolgarrog Wood.
 Having passed Coedty Reservoir, we heard a distant Cuckoo calling as we headed around Moel Eilio towards the Cowlyd Reservoir. We left the reservoir, shocked by seeing it so low, and took the track heading towards the Cowlyd Reservoir. This started of as a stone track, but eventually turned in to a pleasant green track as it descended in to the valley, but became less distinct as we got nearer to to the pipe line  Having negotiated the pipe line we ended up taking the obvious track, but soon realised that we were getting too close to Cowlyd, and decided to take lunch behind a stone wall to protect us from the wind that had become pretty strong and felt cold by now.
 After lunch, rather than retracing our steps, we took another path that linked with the one we should have taken on the way to Cwm Eigiau.
 At last now, the route was easy to follow and again we could enjoy the views as the wind assisted us on the way back to the Coedty Reservoir.
 Soon afterwards we met a couple, who had been exploring a Medieval Township on Moel Eilio.  Ed knew then. They joined us briefly, but when they headed back towards Cwm Eigiau, as we headed back down the valley towards Dolgarrog.
 Although not planned as a Bluebell walk, we saw plenty, many of them in swathes across the hillside and of course hearing the Cuckoo three times was a bonus, although we didn't actually see one.
 Weather conditions were pretty good, not too cold despite the wind and occasional glimpses of the Sun towards the end of the walk.
 Birds seen or heard today included: Barn swallow, Common blackbird, European robin, Skylark, Meadow pipit, Winter wren, Stonechat, Common whitethroat, Willow warbler, Grey heron and Cuckoo.
 Conditions underfoot were good and firm and we only encountered one boggy patch which was easy to get round.
 Overall a really enjoyable walk with Ed having seen Cowlyd for the first time, but it won't be a walk that will be repeated, that climb through the woods from Dolgarrog is one to assign to "the don't do again" file!
 After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Blue Bell Inn at Halkyn, where Blue Bell Bitter revived my spirits before heading home.