Water lilies in flower on Budworth Mere.
Budworth Mere from the West as we started the walk.
A Cootlet on Pick Mere just a few feet from our lunch spot.
A Great cormorant on the landing stage near our lunch spot.
Me and the kids.
Mute swan and cygnets on the shore of Pick Mere.
A Grey heron on the Trent and Mersey Canal.
Great Budworth church from the Trent and Mesey Canal.
Looking across Budworth Mere towards Great Budworth from Big Wood in Marbury Country Park.
Binocular testing with a bit of bird watching.
See below for was he looking at?
Mute swan with seven large cygnets.
Walk stats: Distance: 7.6 miles. Climb: 299'
Time: 4 hours 18 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.5 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.8 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn and Mike.
The day didn't start well, with Celia deciding that she wasn't feeling too good and didn't want to risk walking, particularly as high temperatures had been forecast.
We started by heading for Focal Point Optics at Higher Whitley so that Mike could look at a variety of binoculars with the hope of buying one as his retirement gift from the local authority.
Whilst testing out the binoculars we were luck enough to see a juvenile Great spotted woodpecker on the feeders just below us.
After about an hour, Mike eventually decided on the pair that suited him, so with new binoculars in hand we headed for Marbury Country Park to give then a real test.
We set off at about 11-30, wondering if we could cope with heat and exposure to lots of sunshine.
The first stop was at the screen overlooking the reedbed, where blooming Water lilies looked great and lots of Coots could be seen as well as a couple of Great crested grebes.
Our first trek across open country was on the path heading for Great Budworth, but thankfully at this point clouds blocked out the Sun to give us some relief.
We had a brief section of woodland to go through before taking the road to Great Budworth, but even on along the road we were able to walk in the shade of trees or houses for most of the way.
On leaving Great Budworth and heading for Pick Mere were in open countryside and had no shelter from the searing sunshine until we reached the mere.
We decided to have an extended lunch here, sitting in the shade overlooking Pick Mere and watching young people messing about in the water. It looked very tempting to take of my boots and cool my feet in the water.
After lunch the road section through Wincham, not the most scenic part of the walk, when once again we were exposed to the Sun's rays.
Thankfully once we were on the towpath of the Trent and Mersey Canal, we were largely walking in the shade.
Arriving at the footbridge over the canal, we decided to explore Big Wood, rather than visit the Anderton Boat Lift as again we could enjoy walking in the shade of the trees back to the car.
We finished the walk by once more visiting the screen overlooking the reedbed. On this occasion we saw a family of Mute swans, parent birds with seven large cygnets.
As we arrived back at Marbury Country Park, we he a lot of happy sounding children's voices and some squeals and wondered where it was coming from. We discovered that the Park had put up a giant pool - what a perfect day for for children to be splashing about in water.
We arrived back at the car, having had a good walk despite the heat, but thankful it wasn't any longer!
Birds seen or heard today included: Common coot, Mute swan, Great crested grebe, Woodpigeon, Carrion crow, Rook, Jackdaw, Blackbird, Blue tit, House sparrow, Great spotted woodpecker, Common blackbird, Barn swallow, Mallard, Mute swan, Common whitethroat, Reed bunting, Goldfinch, Great cormorant and Black-billed magpie.
After letting the car inside cool down a bit we headed home and refreshment at the Netherton Hall at Frodsham where Lees bitter and iced Coca cola went down well.
Overall a good day out with all objectives accomplished.