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.

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Walks and Dates January 2018

Happy New Year
Hopefully we will be able to experience many great walks together.
Harris Hikers Annual Meal 2018.
Date: Wednesday 7th February 2018.
I have been to the Red Fox and booked our Annual Meal.
I have booked the meal for 13-00.
Venue: The Red Fox, Thornton Hough. 
The Red Fox is on the B5136, Liverpool Road, heading East from the A540 towards Thoughton Hough. Approximate post code CH64 7TL
This is another Brunning and Price hostelry.
The Red Fox is about 18 miles from Chester and will take about 25 minutes to get there.
The Red Fox publish a 5 mile walk (see their web site for details), which those wishing to walk will complete before the meal. 
If the walkers leave Chester at 09-00, and meet at the Red Fox by about 09-40, we should be able to complete the walk by 12-30.
Those coming just for the meal should aim to arrive at the Red Fox between 12-30 and 12-45.
Hopefully we can then all be in our place by 13-00.
The largest group that the The Red Fox can cater for around one table is 16, so it probably means that we will have have to be split into two smaller table arrangement as 20 people have already signed up and there may be more to come. 
Monday 1st January 2018
A West Kirby Round.
Distance: 5 (Missing out Grange Hill) or 5.6 miles (Including Grange Hill). 
Climb: 100 (Missing out Grange Hill) or 250' (Including Grange Hill).
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 (30.9'/9.4m) at Hilbre is at 11-54, 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.
 Fortified fruit cake will be provided, so please let me know if you intend to walk so that I know how many pieces to bring.
Wednesday 3rd January 2018
A Frodsham Round
Distance: 8.5 miles. Climb: 1100'.
Start: Frodsham car park (turn left by the Helter Skelter on B5152. Grid ref: SJ518778. Park at the far end.
Leave Chester 09-00 a.m.
This is the first of our Wednesday walks. Hopefully a few of the group will be able to make it as Phil is hoping to join us.
 Fruit cake will be provided, so it would be helpful, if you let me would let me know that intend to go on the walk.
 This walk is part of the Sandstone Trail walk that we last did in 2012, but that walk was nearly 12 miles, so I have adapted it to include part of a walk that appeared in the Liverpool Daily Post around 1955.
The the walk starts with a climb out of Frodsham to the memorial on Overton Hill which on a clear day gives superb views over Frodsham Marshes towards Liverpool.
 The next section follows a delightful section of the Sandstone Trail towards Woodhouse Hill with some of its ramparts intact. We may wish to explore the hillfort, but that can be decided that on the day when we arrive at the access point to the monument.
 The walk then heads South along the west side of Snidley Moor before turning East along the Ridgeway.
 After a short section of road walking, we will pick up the Eddisbury Way which is followed Northwards past Peel Hall and Hatley Farm to Bradley on the outskirts of Frodsham. Just North of Bradley we will leave the Eddisbury Way on a path that takes us into Frodsham.  The last part of the walk will involve weaving our way through the streets back to the car park.
 The return section from just outside Kingsley goes through a lot of farm land, so I anticipate that at this time of the year it could be muddy - gaiters might be a good option!
Saturday 6th January 2018.
A Llandulas Adventure Revisited.
Distance: 7-8 miles. Climb: 1200'.
Start Llanddulas Beach Car Park at the end of Station Road/Beach Road. Grid ref: SH906786
Leave Chester at 08-30 a.m.
 The route from Llanddulas is essentially South along the Afon Dulas Valley, heading for Cefn Fran Farm.
The last time we did this walk in July 2015 we encountered difficulties locating the route through the farm and fields heading North. Hopefully by now the farmer will have put up the  posts and footpath signs as he said he would when I saw him at a Farmers Market a couple of weeks later. Remembering that Mike took nearly half an hour with secateurs to cut the vegetation away around the stile so that we could cross the stile onto the road, I will make sure that I take my secateurs with me just in case they are needed again. Hopefully they won't and we can also use footpaths and stiles without hindrance as far as Llysfaen where we can pick up the North Wales Path back to the cars.
Wednesday 10th January 2018.
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 was new us when we did it for the first time last year.
 The link-up paths from Rhosesmor include many of the paths that we have used on Gwystaney walks from the same parking area.
Saturday 13th January 2018.
Pincyn Llys from Bontuchel.
Walk stats: Distance: 8.9 miles. Climb: 2187'.
Start Forest Car Park near Bontuchel Grid ref: SJ08165708.
To get to the car park at Ruthin follow the through route and at the rugby club roundabout take the B5105 road towards Llanfwrog. Just after passing the church and the narrow bend in the road, take the right turn signposted to Bontuchel and Cyffylliog. At Bontuchel turn left immediately after crossing the bridge over the river. Follow the road uphill. The Forest car park in about half a mile up the road on the left.
This walk is taken from Dave Berry's book "Walks Around Hiraethog Moors and Lakes." However his walk starts at Cyffylliog, but parking there isn't easy. Starting from Bontuchel allows to get round that problem, but does involve walking along a about a mile to link in with the described walk. The walk explores the undulating upland pastures and forest between Cyffylliog and Clocaenog as well as following open side valleys and forest around Pincyn Llys.
 This hasn't always been a favourite walk for the group, but I do like to include it now and again. It is five years since we last did this walk.
Wednesday 17th January 2018.
A Flint, Little London and Pentre Halkyn Round.
Distance: 9 miles. Climb: 1000'.
Flint Castle Car park adjacent to the Lifeboat Station. Grid ref: SJ247732.
Leave Chester at 09-00 a.m.
 This walk is one that has been adapted from a walk published in the Liverpool Daily Post in 1955. Much of the walk is along country roads and quiet lanes, especially around Flint. Much of the walk will be familiar to most of us, but some sections will be new too. At times we will get extensive views across the Dee estuary, especially from the highest part of the walk near Pentre Halkyn.
Saturday 20th January 2018.
Prestatyn, Talacre and The Point of Ayr. 
Postponed due to bad weather.
Distance: 10 miles. Climb: 200'.
Start at Prestatyn Barkby Beach.. I suggest that you park at Beach Hotel car park, (£2-50 less than the pay and display car park!) on the large parking area by the PC,  Grid ref: SJ068839
Leave Chester at 09-00 a.m. You will need to go into the hotel to purchase a car park ticket.
This is a walk that is usually done in June, but this time is alos a good time. Hopefully we will be able to walk along the beach as the tide comes in.
High tide is at about 12-45, and is about 9.1 m/29.1',  doing the beach route first may not be possible, although we should be able to walk along the top of the dunes. If not, we an always  go through the Golf Course, Caravan Park and The Warren Nature Reserve on the way to Talacre and the Point of Air, and return along the beach. We will take lunch using one of the picnic tables along the path leading to the Point Of Air. We will decide on the day whether to extend the walk as far as the RSPB observation point. 
Wednesday 24th January 2018.
Leasowe Lighthouse to New Brighton.
Distance: 9-10 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 115-9, 8.4 m, 7'. This is quite a low tide, so it should be no problem walking along the beach to Perch Fort Rock. 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 recent years, but if it is thjere is always the E Wind Shelters by the Marine lake to sit in as we have lunch.
Hopefully there will be plenty of birds to see, so bring binoculars with if you have any.
Saturday 27th January 2018.
Traeth Lafan and Its Foothills
Distance:7-8 miles. Climb:1000'.
Start: Abergwyngeryn Free Car Park Grid ref: SH 6527282. PC (opens about 09-30) nearby and a cafe at the outdoor centre that allows walkers to use the toilets (opens earlier than PC.)
This walk uses taken from Dave Berry's book "Walks On the North Wales Coast". The Traeth Lafan and it Foothills. This walk is an annual favourite and has in the past given us some wonderful experiences, especially in Winter trampling through soft fluffy knee deep snow that didn't stick or wet our legs.  You never know we may get some  snow, this time too. It should be worthwhile bringing binoculars with you as we may visit The Spinnies Nature Reserve on the way back to our car.
This walk is described as walk of contrasting coastal and upland scenery with good views from the higher points on the North Wales path.
 This time we may investigate a new path that avoids a path that goes through a farm yard near The Spinnies, a very unpleasant smelly muddy experience even in July when Ed and I last did the walk!

 High tide is at about 19-15 and is about 8.1 m (26.7'), so the coastal birds may be a little far off.
Wednesday 31st January 2018.
Rhuddlan L.N.R ., the Rhuddlan to Rhyl Riverside Walk with possible extensions to the Brickworks Pool N.R. and the Forydd.
Distance: 8 -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 do as little birdwatching 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 10-30, 9.6 m / 31.5'.
Last year we didn't do any of the extensions!  Extension, if any will  be taken at each appropriate point in the walk on the day.

Walks and Dates February 2018

Saturday 3rd February 2018.
Wem to Clive and Grinshill.
Distance: 9-10 miles. Climb: 700'.
Start: Wem centre car park. Grid ref: SJ514289.
Leave Chester 08-30.
This walk is taken from a series of Wem Walks and explores the area to the South of Wem. It follows the Shropshire Way as far as Clive and Grinshill. The walk will include exploring the Corbett Wood and Quarry Trail before climbing to the summit of Grinshill Hill at 192'! The described route is linear and use the bus to return to Wem, but we will make a circular route by following field paths and minor roads. This will be the first time that the group has walked in this area of Shropshire. It is always good to explore new area.
Wednesday 7th February 2018.
Harris Hikers Annual Meal and Walk.
Thornton Hough and Brimstage from the Red Fox.
Distance: 5 miles. Climb: 150'.
Start: The Red Fox, Thornton Hough. Grid ref: SJ298800
   The Red Fox is on the B5136, Liverpool Road, heading East from the A540 towards Thoughton   Hough. Approximate post code CH64 7TL.
 The Red Fox is about 18 miles from Chester and takes about 25 minutes to get there.
Leave Chester 09-00.
As long as we set off before 10-00, we should be back by 12-30, ready to sit down for the meal at 13-00.
The walk is the one that the Red Fox has produced and is available to download if you have the ifootpath app.
 The walk explores the countryside between Thornton Hough and Brimstage and follows sections of pavement, woodland paths and field paths (can be muddy after rain!). There are nine stiles and several kissing gates to negotiate. The route is described as passing several historic halls, manor houses and pretty cottages. 
I suggest that those coming for the meal should aim to arrive at the Red Fox between 12-30 and 12-45.
Saturday 10th February 2018.
Port Penryn, Its Railways and Rivers. 
Distance: 9-10 miles. Climb: 500'.
Start: Car park on the right just before the main road bends left to the centre. The car park is just after the entrance to the port. Grid ref: SH595728.
Leave Chester 8-30 a.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.
Wednesday 14th February 2018.
The Moor, Greenfield Valley and East of Holywell.
Distance: 9 miles. Climb: 1500'.
Start: Halkyn Street Pay and display car park, Holywell. (opposite the hospital). Grid ref: SJ18957548.
This is a figure of eight walk, combing one walk from Ron Williams and Elfed Jones' booklet " 10 Walks Around Holywell" and one walk from Dave Berry's book " Walks Around Holywell and Halkyn Mountain". The first walk explores the moor and valley to the North of Holywell and the other walk explores the undulating countryside between Holywell and Bagillt.
Saturday 17th February 2018.
Around Bosley Cloud.
Distance: 9-10 miles. Climb:1100'.
Start: Lay-by on the A523, South of its junction with the A54. Grid ref: SJ917657.
Leave Chester at 08-30.
This walk is taken from Jen Darling's book "Best Pub Walks in Cheshire", although we won't take her advice on the local hostelries! The walk takes us to the top of Bosley Cloud with its panoramic views over the Cheshire plain.. After visiting the trig point on Bosley Cloud, the walk heads West to meet up with the Macclesfield Canal, which we follow for an easy four mile stretch.
Wednesday 21st February 2018.
The Sandstone Trail. Primrose Hill And Pale Heights.
Distance: 10-11 miles. Climb:1260' .
Start: Gresty's  Waste car park on the A54. Grid re: SJ540686.
Leave Chester 09-00 a.m.
This is another walk on the Sandstone Trail.The main walk is a  route described in Carl Rogers's book "Circular Walks Along the Sandstone Trail". This includes the section as far as Fishers Green and returns via Utkinton and Primrose Hill Wood.  We will start with the extension that includes a visit the viewpoint on Pale Heights before heading to The Yeld and King's Gate where we pick up the described route.
I will probably reduce this walk so that it is under 10 miles rather than over the 10 miles that we did in March 2016.
Saturday 24th February 2018.
Caer Drewyn, Pen-y-Pigyn and an on to Cynwyd
Distance: 8 miles; Climb:1120'.
Start: Corwen centre car park next to the Public Convenience. Grid Ref: SJ080435.
Leave Chester 9-00 a.m.
This walk combines to walks from Dave Berry's book "Walks Around Llangollen and the Dee Valley".
The first part of the walk climbs South out of Corwen to the viewpoint and mast on Pen-y-Pygyn, where we should get some good views  over the Dee Valley.
 We will probably have lunch near Llangar Church, when we will decide if we want to complete the section towards Cynwyd.
 The visit of Caer Drewyn is described as enchanting and the second walk as being a delightful walk through the wooded hillside above Corwen and concludes with lovely walk alongside the River Dee.
 Lat time we attempted this walk, torrential rain set in just after lunch and we went straght back to the Corwen after having lunch at Llangar Church. Hopefully the weather will be kinder to us this year.
Wednesday 28th February 2018.
Halkyn, Limestone, Lead and More.
Distance: 9  miles; Climb:1000'.
Start: Common Land opposite the Blue Bell Inn, Halkyn. Grid ref: SJ209702. 
Leave Chester at 09-00 a.m.
We haven't started a walk from this location for quite some time. I thought that it was about time we did so to do so again. This walk combines two of my favourite walks in this fascinating area on our local patch. We used to start this walk from the Britannia Inn and finish the walk by going through the "Water buffalo" fields, but as we start near the Blue Bell Inn, we will miss out that part of the walk.
 After walk drinks will be at the Britannia Inn, hopefully open after its refurbishment five week starting in January.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

A Flint and Halkyn Round 17th January 2018

Steps up a tree, but this is far a I'm going!
A tree house or a bird hide in the wood South of April Rise Farm.
Looking back down the path we should have taken and others did!
Snowdrops nearly out adjacent to Wat's Dyke Way.
A path junction on  Wat's Dyke Way - our route is mthe one that descends to the footbridge over Nant-y-Fflint.
On the road bridge over the A55 from Plas-isaf to the Brittania Inn at Halkyn.
The Britannia Inn being refurbished.
Lunch time in the old cemetery at Halkyn.
Lunch time in the old cemetery at Halkyn.
rossing the A55 again, headi9ng for Snwodrop Hill and Halkyn Road.
The Cenotaph in Flint.
Flint Castle in the sunshine as we arrived back at the cars.
Walk stats: Distance: 8.3 miles Climb:  1320' (GPS wind assisted, probably more like 850').
Time: 4 hours 34 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.2 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.8 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Sue and Michel, Jim and David S.
A cold windy day with over 20 m.m.h gusts, temperatures feeling close to zero  and showers in the morning all in the forecast, some of us were doubting the wisdom of even thinking about walking.
 Thankfully we did as it was no where near as bad as the forecast. It felt pretty cold at first as we put our boots on and everyone put on full Winter gear, good gloves being essential.
 We set off in warm sunshine and as we headed through the centre of Flint it felt quite warm as the building shielded us from any cooling caused by the wind.
 After passing Flint Cemetery we headed up the access track to April Rise Farm, but just before getting there, we crossed a stile on the left to take a path through the wood parallel with the access track. I thought that in the past the path went through the middle of the Gorse, so that I headed that way, but I was wrong, I should have followed Michel who had the 1:50000 OS Map on his GPS. I kept to the higher ground, passing a tree that had wooden steps in it trunk. I can only assume that it was the farmer at April Rise farm making it easy for his children to climb it. Yes an indulgent father - we came across what looked like a superb tree house.
 Thanks to mobile phones and the fact that we had signals helped us to soon reunite and be back on track.
 Even the fields on this section weren't a muddy as we had anticipated, and it wasn't long before we were back on the road again heading for Nant-y-Fflint.  A few hundred yards down the road, Michel realised that he had left his Leki behind, so he decided to retrace his steps as we waited. Thankfully it was near the last stile we had cross as we joined the road.
 It wasn't until we were getting near to Wat's Dyke Way and Nant-y-Fflint that it clouded over and we felt our first few drops of rain, but a few drops was all we got.
 Along the path through Nant-y-Fflint there was a bank with abundant Snowdrops just showing through and a few plants were not far from being in full flower. There will be a delightful show of Snowdrops here in a few weeks time.
 After climbing out of the Nant-y-Fflint valley past Plas-isaf to the road, it was a chance for some of the group to cross the "Britannia" bridge over the A55 for the first time.
 As we passed the Britannia Inn, we looked through the widows to see how the renovations were going on - I don't think we will recognise the Brit when it reopens in the middle of February.
 It was still a little breezy, so we took shelter in the old cemetery at Halkyn to have lunch, and as has been the case for the last few walks a European robin decided to check us out.
 Although marked as a road on the OS Map, much of the route to the Halkyn Road was really just a track, very pleasant at times.
 After lunch was largely downhill, and it was except for a little climb on Halkyn Road as we approached Flint. 
 We arrived back at the cars in glorious sunshine, having had a really varied walk without being blown off our feet or ever feeling too cold. Now some of us were looking forward to refreshment at a nearby hostelry.
 Birds seen or heard today included: Oystercatcher, Herring gull, Jackdaw, Carrion crow, Raven, House sparrow, European robin, Blue tit, Great tit, Common chaffinch, Fieldfare, Woodpigeon, Grey wagtail and Bullfinch.
 After wak drinks were enjoyed at the Wetherspoons Central Hotel in Shotton, where locally brewed Hafod's Hopper went down well.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Pincyn Llys from Cyffyliog 13th January 2018

The Afon Clywedog East of Cyffylliog.
The delightful footpath through Coed tre'r-parc.
Escaping from Coed tre'r-parc.
The Clwydian Hills from North east of Tre'r-parc.
The Clwydian Hills from North east of Tre'r-parc.
This way to Pincyn Llys.
At the bagot Monument on Pincyn Llys.
At the trig point on Pincyn Llys with the Clwydian Hills in the backgound.
Heading for Cyffylliog at the start of the final descent.
Walk stats: Distance: 8.1 miles. Climb: 1400'.
Time: 4 hours 58 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.1 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.6 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Celia, Mike, Roger and Ed.
Our oriinal intention was to start the walk at the Coed y Fron-wyllt car park near Bontuchel, but arrived to find it full with 4 by 4s with people and dogs looking as though they were heading fo a hunt, although we didn't see any guns. We decided to relocate to Cyffyliog, the start of the walk on the route description.
 We arrived at Cyffylliog to find more of the 4 by 4s, some with trailers, but thankfully we found a place to park and didn't have to abandon the walk all together.
 The weather forecast was pretty accurate, overcast with a cold wind making it feel like bout 4 Celsius - it felt cooler than that at times!
 The walk started with a steady climb along the road to the entrance to Coed tre'r-parc. The first part of the path through the wood was very pleasant, but after crossing a forest road, it became a challenge with many bramble strands crossing the path, making it necessary to concentrate on where you were putting your feet.
 After escaping from Coed tre'r-parc, we hit open fields and the full force of the cold winds, but at least it wasn't in our faces.
 It was near here that we had good views of the Clwydian Hills, but looked pretty misty there. In fact when we arrived at Pincyn Llys you couldn't even see the outline of the Clwydian Hills, they looked as though they were now decked in low cloud.
 After visiting the Bagot Monument on Pincyn Llys we descended Westward along the designated path, and found a suitable spot in the woods to have lunch. We utilised remaining tree stumps as seats, at he same time being protected from the worst of the wind by the remaining trees.
 Roger provided everyone with one of Margaret's delicious mince pies which were much appreciated. 
 Most of the climb had been done in the morning, so we were all looking forward to a gentle stroll back to Cyffyliog, but didn't anticipate that it was along this section that we would encounter the most mud! 
 We arrived back at the car having had a good and varied walk, but all saying, that this walk needs to be repeated on a good clear day when the views would be better.
 Birds seen or heard today included: Common blackbird, Common pheasant, Herring gull Black-billed magpie, House sparrow, Raven and Common buzzard.
 After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Wetherspoon's Castle Hotel in Ruthin, where Ruddles and Gwynt-y-Draig's Black Dragon were enjoyed. I'm not sure that Celia enjoyed her cup of tea as more or having to serve herself!

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Rhosesmor Sychdyn and Northop 10th January 2018

looking towards the Dee Estuary as we leave Rhosesmor.
Moel Famau from West of Cefn-eurrgain.
Heading for Ram Wood,
Moel Famau above Coed Bryn-eithin - still on track, but not for much longer!
How bright is that Sun?
Enjoying lunch.
Approaching Northop across the golf course.
Walk stats: 8.9 miles. Climb: 590'.
Time; 5 hours 2 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.2 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.8 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Sue and Michel, David S., Celia, Ed, Paul and Scrumble.
This turned out to be a glorious day for walking, warm and sunny all day. I suppose our only complaint would be the fact that the Sun seemed to be directly in our eyes for much of the walk. I suppose I should be grateful for being able to walk in a short sleeved shirt at the beginning of January.
 Some of our views today were quite stunning, particularly towards the Dee estuary and to some extent towards Moel Famau.
 It must be our age, but every walk we seemed to stray off course at least once, but today we did it twice.
 The first time we should have headed South east through Coed Bryn-eithin, but ended contouring in a more Easterly direction, but strictly speaking not on a path and ended up passing just below Sarn Galed.  We then crossed a very boggy area supposedly on a path, and picked up our route again at Quarry Farm.
 All went well for the next few miles, eventually taking us through Sychdyn to a path running between Soughton Hall and Northop Country Park golf Club.
 It was along this path that we found a fallen tree that had been cut into smaller sections to clear the path, Luckily these smaller sections of tree trunk provided suitable perches for us to enjoy lunch in the Sunshine.
 Just after The Green, one man and his dog left the rest of to return to the start along the country lanes, while the rest of us decided to follow the described walk, but alas didn't so very well! Alas we soon picked up a track made from concrete blocks and followed all the way to the road and Wat's Dyke Way, but that was our mistake, we shouldn't have headed up the field in a South west direction and not followed the Eastern fence line as we did! This again was not on a right of way, but at least it was a path and easy going.
 We arrived back at the car, having had a very pleasant walk, but a little surprised that the climb was only 590', it seemed much more!
 Birds seen or heard today included: House sparrow, Woodpigeon, Black-billed magpie, Common pheasant, Rook, Jackdaw, Raven, Carrion crow, Black-headed gull, Common buzzard and Blue tit.
 As the Brit was closed for renovations and the Blue Bell wasn't yet open , we ended up at the Fox and Grapes in Harwarden for refreshments. Three real ales to choose from, but none very inspiring, but at least Celia had her sort of lager to enjoy! Unfortunately this meant that Ed missed out as he needed to head in the opposite direction. Normal service should resume in the middle of February.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

A Llanddulas Adventure - Not to be Repeated 6th January 2018

Craig y Forwyn from the Afon Dulas Valley.
Pen-y-corddyn-mawr  from the Afon Dulas Valley.
Ed using secateurs to make it possible to cross the style.
Barbed wire tares on jacket east to see.
The other side of the stile wasn't too good either!
Limestone escarpments to the South east of Llysfaen.
Panorama of the skyline to the South east of Llysfaen.
A Berwyn sheep South of Craig y Forwyn.
Llanddulas and Irish Sea - not much further to go.
The delightful North Wales Path along the East flank og Craig y- Forwyn.
Looking East towards Rhyd-y-foel and Cefn yr Ogof.
St Cynbryd's Church Llanddulas.
Celtic Cross St Cynbryd's Churchyard, Llanddulas.
Walk stats: Distance: 7.8 miles. Climb: 1455'.
Time; 5 hours 32 minutes. On the move walking average: 1.9 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.4 m.p.h.
I arrive quite early at the coastal parking area at Llanddulas to find a few birders looking for a Glaucous gull that had been spotted feeding on the carcass of a porpoise. I didn't spot it, but did manage to see a Common scoter out at sea.
  The weather was pretty good and never reached the low feel like 0 Celsius some forecasts had given. Even the North easterly winds weren't a cold or strong as we were expecting. 
 all was going well until we followed the wrong footpath and ended up on the Isallt Road heading for Llysfaen.
 This was the start of our morning MUD Challenge that has made this walk, a walk never to be repeated, at least the part around Cefn-Fran Farm. We had problems finding the way through the farm last time, it was even worse this time! We were directed around the East side of the farm building, only to be forced through six inch deep claggy mud that we tried to avoid by going close to the perimeter. Unfortunately Ed slipped and ripped his jacket on the  barbed wire. Se eventually ot back on track following the line of the path as shown on the OS Map, but as in the past we couldn't find a way of crossing the fence to the path that we could see beyond. We overcame this by using a nearby gate and eventually arrived at the stile leading onto the road. Once again secateurs were needed to cut away some of the Holly encroaching over the stile, before we managed still with a little difficulty to get over the stile and onto the luxury of the tarmac.
 Even though I reported the lack of footpath signs around the Cefn-Fran Farm and the difficulties presented, nothing has been done. This is an experience that I do not  want to go through ever again.  As far as I am concerned Cefn-Fran farm, Dolwen  will for ever be a "NO GO AREA".
 Cleaning boots when I got home took twice as long as usual, but it was a job that couldn't be left to the next day, removing the claggy mud. was hard enough without letting it set.
 Having escaped from the disaster area around Cefn-Fran, things started to get better, it was time to look for a suitable place to stop for lunch. We soon found a fallen tree that we could sit on as we had lunch, looking South, happy to know that we would never have to go on those paths around Cefn-Fran ever again. 
 After lunch we set off with Llysfaen  ahead of us and with good views of the Limestone escarpments to the South east of Llysfaen that the North Wales Path followed.  We would then be on good paths that we knew, all the way back to Llanddulas. This we did - we were able to enjoy the rest of the walk without having to think about claggy mud. Different thought now - how many times will we have to wash our walking trousers to get them clean! The answer - at least two maybe three times!
 Birds seen or heard today included: Common scoter, Great cormorant, Herring gull, Blue tit, Common blackbird, Mistle thrush, Carrion crow, Raven and Common buzzard.
 Arriving back at the car, thankful that our Llanddulas Adventure was over - time to look for as suitable hostelry to celebrate. In my case, the Blue bell Inn at Halkyn, where I called in for a take away of real cider. I should sleep well tonight!

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

A Frodsham Round 3rd January 2018

St Laurence's Church, Frodsham.
At the Memorial on Frodsham Hill.
There's always someone looking for a rest!
Looking over Frodsham toward the Weaver and Mersey.
On the sandstone Trail across Frodsham Hill.
On the sandstone Trail across Frodsham Hill.
Spot the raindrops on the camera lens.
Expecting rain soon.
Crow Mere.
We can see the Weaver and Mersey Estuaries.
Liverpool across the Mersey.
Walk stats: Distance: 9.2 miles. Climb: (GPS 2270' wind assisted reading) nearer 1100' in reality.
Time; 5 hours 16 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.3 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.7 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Roger, Phil and Jim.
This was the first of our weekly Wednesday walks, and only four of us braved the windy conditions. We started with the climb to the Memorial on Frodsham Hill, where picked up the Sandstone Trail. This was probably the best section of the walk, despite the muddy condition of the path. In fact we didn't get away from the mud until we reached the Manley Road after lunch.
 Lunch was taken along the Sandstone Trail, just after passing Snidley Moor Wood at a spot sheltered from the wind and unbelievably in Sunshine. We even had a fallen tree trunk to sit on.
 The worst of the mud was to come after lunch on a path that headed Eastward past The Royalty to the Manley Road.
 After our earlier mud experiences, we were reluctant to take any path that crossed muddy fields and ended up following minor roads until we picked up a footpath at the end of the road going West from Crow Mere.
 This path led to Beacon Hill where we followed a path labelled NCW and The Delamere Way until it came out on a road that led to St. Laurence's Church with less than a mile to go to the cars.
 We didn't see many birds today, but those we did included: Common blackbird, Carrion crow, Rook, Jackdaw, Herring gull, Woodpigeon, Great tit, Blue tit and House sparrow.
 Overall an enjoyable walk, especially in the morning, with a little too much road walking in the afternoon, but on this occasion it was probably for the best. after saying goodbye to Phil and Jean, we all headed home. I celebrated our first Wednesday Walk at home with a cup tea with a drop of whisky in it of course!