About Me

When? Started: 1993 Who? Started with staff and friends from U H S, Chester. Organiser: Martyn Harris We walk every Thursday 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 Thursday than on a Saturday. Most ever: 29. Numbers walking: 2-12, and usually about 8 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.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Pen-y-Gaer, St., Celynin's Church and Caer Bach 25th February 2012

Hexagonal Basalt rock formation on our approach to Pen-y-Gaer Hillfort.
A welconme opportubnity to rest an pretend that you'r checkinmg the route!
On the summit of Peny-Gaer Hillfort.

The inside of St., Celynin's Church.
The Conwy estuary from Caer Bach Hiklklfort.
Walk stats: Distance: 12.6 miles. Climb: 2621'.
Time: 7 hours 22 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.0 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.7 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Roger, Dave J., Mike and Celia.
Another superb day for walking, it should have been another shorts day, but alas I believed the weather forecast of temperatures around 8 Celsius!
Although we have been to Pen-y Gaer quite a few times, the approach from North-west was new to us. An enjoyable approach, except for the challenge of several stone stiles and on this occasions a couple of mobile phone calls from a complete stranger!
The views from Pen-y-Gaer were superb, especially towards the Carneddau and the Conwy Valley.
Lunch was taken, after few claims of hunger desperation, just after exiting the Gorswen Nature Reserve.
The second walk headed for St. Cenynin's Church, a route that we have done at least twice before.  However on this occasion the church was open, and we were privileged to see the treasures within.
The second part of the walk was new to us all, as we headed for Caer Bach Hillfort, a site that just about lived up to its name!  However the views of the Conwy Valley from Caer Bach Hillfort were superb.
At this point we met a young couple with two young children, and persuaded them that their best option to get back to Rowen safely was to retrace their steps and follow us.
We arrived back at the car, having had a superb walk, tired and relieved that that steep descent along the road from the YHA to Rowen was over, and that Dave had move the car to save our legs a little!
Birds seen or heard today included: Dunnock, Blue tit, Greenfinch. Jackdaw, Carrion crow, Raven, Kestrel, Common buzzard, Eurasian jay, European robin, Common blackbird, Common pheasant, Collard dove, Great spotted woodpecker, Nuthatch, Great tit, Song thrush and Mistle thrush.
After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Britannia Inn at Halkyn, where the Lees bitter tasted better than ever, but that might have been because Wales had just won the Triple Crown at Twickernham!

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Sandstone Trail - Larkton Hill - Rawhead - Maiden Castle 23rd February 2012

Is this the best advice that we have ever seen on a farm gate?
"A Tito moment" early in the walk!
An early view towards home!
Proof that it really was a shorts day.
The French connection.

At the highest point on the Sandstone Trail - Rawhead trig point.
Walk stats: Distance: 10.0 miles. Climb:1450'.
Time: 5 hours 24 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.2 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.9 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Roger, Phil, Gordon, Sue and Michel, Celia, Annie H, Carol and Tim.
What a superb day for walking this turned out to be, almost perfect whatever the time of the year. (remembering of course that perfect can never be achieved).
Almost the whole of the walk we were on sunshine with very little wind and superb views in all directions, depending on which side of the sandstone ridge we happened to be.
As expected this was the best section of the Sandstone Trail, and this particular walk should be repeated at least once a year, especially if we can park on Phil's drive at Brown Knowl.
Birds seen or heard today included: Green finch, Blue tit, Great tit, Dunnock, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Common buzzard, Nuthatch, Carrion crow, Canada goose, Common pheasant, Song thrush and Jackdaw.
After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Egerton Arms at Broxton, although Jean, Phil's wife, had kindly offered to brew up for us all on our return to Brown Knowl.
The brew that went down well was called Piffle, brewed by the Brimstage brewery for the Egerton Arms. However I still think that it is one that elsewhere it is Brimstage's Sandpiper bitter.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Walks and Dates February 2012

Updated on the 15th February 2012.

Wednesday 1st February 2012.
Congratulations to Elen and Nick on the arrival of their daughter Connie, born at 5 p.m. on the 1st February 2012.
Congratualtions to Sue and Dave Pearson on becoming grandparents for the fifth time.

Thursday 2nd February 2012.
The Sandstone Trail - Rock Farm to Birch Heath.
Distance: 10-11 miles. Climb: 500' At a guess!
Start: Tarporley. Car Park adjacent to the Rising Sun. Grid ref: SJ553628.
Leave Chester at 09-00 a.m.
This is the third in our walks along the Sandstone trail. It involves part of Walk 4 and  probably all of Walk 5 from Carl Rogers' book "Circular Walks on the Sandstone Trail".  Perhaps not the most inspiring section of the trail, but I'm sure we'll get the best out of it, providing it doesn't rain!
Saturday 4th February 2012
Mynydd Garthmyn and the Fairy Glen.
Distance: 10 miles. Climb: 1500'.
Start: Main car park at Betws-y-coed. Grid ref: SH795565.
Leave Chester at 08-00 a.m.
This version is taken from Carl Rogers' book "Walking in the Conwy Valley" and only varies a little from the walk that we usually do. Bothy walks are described as being varied walks with stunning views, especially to the West.
Thursday 9th February 2011.
Leasowe and New Brighton.
Distance: 10 miles.Climb:Vitually None'
Start: North Wirral Coastal Park Next to Leasowe Light house.. Grid ref:: SJ251913.
Leave Chester 9-00 a.m.
This walk combines two walks from Anthony Annakin-Smith's book "Wirral Walks". This will not be everyones cup of tea, as it is essentially a there and back walk from Leesowe to New Brighton with a few loops to explore parks and possibly the Ditton lane Nature Reserve. Hopefully this will be a good walk to see coastal birds, so bring your binoculars with you if you have any.
This is the same walk that we did last February. High tide is 12-00, so we may not be able to walk on the beach.
Saturday 11th February 2012.
Gwydir Forest From Llanwrst.
Distance: 9 miles. Climb: 1500'.
Start: Plas yn Dre Car Park, Llanwrst. Grid ref: SH796618.
Leave Chester at 08-00 a.m.
This walk is taken from Carl Rogers' book "Walking in the Conwy Valley". He describes it is being long and moderately strenuous, mainly along good paths and explores the Eastern sections of the Gwydir Forest with its numerous lakes. Several good viewpoints give panoramic views of the mountains to the West.
Thursday 16th February 2012.
The Sandstone Trail - Beeston and Peckforton.
Distance: 10 miles. Climb: 1000'.
Start: Pay and display car park at Beeston Castle. Grid ref: SJ540591.
Leave Chester at 09-00 a.m.
This is the fourth in our walks along the Sandstone trail. It involves Walk 6 and Walk 7 from Carl Rogers' book "Circular Walks on the Sandstone Trail".
This is another good section of the trail and has a good variety of terrains to enjoy.
Directions for 23rd February 2012 available on request.
Saturday 18th February 2012.
Around Stocks Reservoir.
Distance: 11 miles; Climb:1600'.
Start: Slaidburn village car park. Grid ref:SD713524.
Leave Chester 8-00 a.m.
This is another walk is taken from Terry Marsh's book "Fifty Classic Walks in Lancashire", starting at the picturesque village of Slaidburn.  We enjoyed this walk when we last completed it in September 2010, so I thought it would be good to experience it in a different season.
Thursday 23rd February 2012.
The Sandstone Trail - Burwardsley and Raw Head.
Distance: 10 miles. Climb: 1500'.
Start: Roadside parking on Sherrington Lane in  Brown Knowl. Be careful parking, Remember that large farm vehicles frequently use the road. Grid ref: SJ497537 (More directions available on the 16th)
Leave Chester at 09-00 a.m.
This is the fifth in our walks along the Sandstone trail. It involves Walk 8 and  Walk 9 from Carl Rogers' book "Circular Walks on the Sandstone Trail". 
Along with the first section from Frodsham, this is probably one of the best sections of the trail as it gains a little more elevation and consequently will give us better views across the Cheshire lowlands towards the hills of Wales and possible towards the Pennines.
Saturday 25th February 2012.
Pen Y Gaer, St Celynin's Church and Caer Bach Hillfort.
Distance: 11-12 miles. Climb: 1800'.
Start: Roadside parking in Rowen, near the Post Office/Store. Grid ref: SH761719.
Leave Chester at 08-00 a.m.
This walk combines a walk  from Carl Rogers' book "Walking in the Conwy Valley" with part of a walk from Dave berry's book "Walks Around Betws-y-coed and the Conwy Valley". Both walks explore the fascinating upland landscape of the Eastern Carneddau and includes visiting a hillfort that we haven't explored before.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Around Stocks Reservoir 18th February 2012

The start of the walk, still a little wet underfoot, but at least it wasn't raining!
Our first view of Stocks Reservoir.
Stocks Reservoir from the North.
Where is this new bridge?
Walk stats: Distance: 11.3 miles. Climb: 1786'.
Time: 5 hours 28 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.4 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 2.1 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Roger, Dave J and Mike.
The journey to Slaidburn was almost entirely in rain, that seemed to be getting worse the nearer that we got to our start destination.  There was lots of surface water on the roads and at times a little deeper than just on the surface.
Some of us were anticipating sitting in the car for some time in the hope that the forecast better weather would come through.
In fact almost as soon as we arrived in the car park, the rain had eased considerably, encouraging us to put on our gear and set off.  The rain soon stopped completely and it wasn't too long before we were basking in sunshine!
However conditions underfoot were still very wet and at times muddy as we went across fields and moorland.
This area must have add a lot of rain recently as the fields were saturated, the rivers and streams in spate and the reservoir seemed very full.
Lunch was taken a little early, just 4.6 miles into the walk, but by so doing we were able to take advantage of a seat in the sun, and at the same time being protected from the cool wind  by large stone wall.
We arrived back at the with tired legs, but boots not as muddy as expected!
Birds seen or heard today included: Blue tit, Great tit, Coal tit, Chaffinch, Mallard, Common starling, Jackdaw, Carrion crow, Rook, Great cormorant, Common pheasant, Common gull, Lesser black-backed gull, Black-headed gull, Greylag goose, Canada goose, Barnacle goose, Goldeneye and Dave's Dipper.
After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Hark to Bounty in Slaidburn, where Martyn and Roger enjoyed a cup of tea or two. The only beer sampled was from the Tirrel brewery, an OK bitter, but on this occasion a little on the cool side.  This couldn't be said of the bar itself, the heat from the huge fire at one end of the bar could still be felt at the other side of the room!

Thursday, 16 February 2012

The Sandstone Trail - Beeston and Peckforton 16th February 2012

Beeston Castlw from the path heading for Peckforton Castle.
Still on course, but is everyone sure?
You wouldn't think an elephant and castle statue wouild cause so much chaos!
No way. Yes we're heading back to Beeston.
One of the best views of Beeston Castle seen today.
Fran and Tito doing a runner!
Walk stats: Distance: 10.1 miles. Climb: 608'.
Time: 5 hours 20 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.4 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.9 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Roger, Phil, Annie H., Mike, Paul, Sylvia and Dave, Fran and Tito, Sue and Dave P.
This turned out to be a really good day weatherwise for walking and except for the last few fields, conditions underfoot were surprisingly mud-free!
This walk eventually provided us with views of Beeston Castle from every angle (all 360 degrees), and those from the South gave some stunning views.
Overall this provided a very pleasant amble through the Cheshire countryside, and the section before lunch was delightful in every sense of the word.
Lunch was taken on the Trail near to the road that went round Peckforton Hill, not the best lunch spot that we have ever come across, but no-one complained!
After lunch was mainly through fields, one of which had a very large black bull as a resident! Thankfully he was lying down surrounded by his lady friends and didn't even turn his head as we went through the field!
This was a superb 10 mile amble, well worth doing again!
Birds seen or heard today included: Skylark, Yellowhammer, Common buzzard, Blackbird, Chaffinch, Black-headed gull, Woodpigeon, Carrion crow, Jackdaw, House sparrow, European robin, Blue tit, Great spotted woodpecker, Great tit, Collard dove, Common starling and Winter wren.
After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Yew Tree at Bunbury, a superb bar area with a real fire. Stone House and Merlin Brews went down well.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

LLanwrst, Gwydir Forest and Trefriw 11th February 2012

The start of the walk at Llanwrst.
One of the many views of Moel Siabod.
On the footbridge on a new path  down towards Trefriw.
Walk stats; Distance: 11.7 miles. Climb:1261'.
Time: 6 hours 28 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.2 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.8 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Roger and Dave J.
This turned out to be a good day for walking, no rain, little wind and temperatures that seemed to be well into positive numbers.  Overheating was still a reality, especially for those wearing thermal long-johns!
Much of the walk was through Gwydir Forest, but work is going on to thin the forest, so we did get some views and it wasn't very often than we couldn't see the sky above us.
Lunch was taken just after crossing the dam at Llyn Glangors, taking advantage of some suitable stones and not having to worry about it being a sheltered spot or not.
Our route from Castell y Gwynt towards Llanrychwyn towars Llanwrst/Trefriw was new to us and at the first attempt we failed to spot the stile that led us into the forest for a short distance.
This proved to be a pleasant route down, passing lots of old mine workings, until eventually arriving at the Trefriw to Llanwrst road.
A bonus of today's extensions was seeing several male Goosanders in brilliant plumage as we walked along the embankment and finding that we could walk along the East side of the river from the footbridge back to the car park.
Birds seen or heard today included: Greenfinch, Chaffinch, House sparrow, Carrion crow, Jackdaw, Mallard, Song thrush, Mistle thrush, Nuthatch, Common buzzard, Raven, Coal tit, Blue tit, Great tit, Long-tailed tit, Herring gull, Black-headed gull, Blackbird, Winter wren, European robin, Great cormorant and  Goosander.
After walk drink were enjoyed at the Britannia Inn at Halkyn where the Lees bitter was in good nick, however the two spaniels had the one of the warm spot in the house as the lay in front of the wood burning stove under the TV. Where we sat we were still glad to have our fleeces on!

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Leasowe Lighthouse to New Brighton 9th February 2012

Walking along the promenade.
A comment about the the local author Malcom Lowry.
The New Brighton Lifeboat crew having a bit a of fun at high tide!
A much appreciated lunch spot at New Brighton.
Wa\lk stats: Distance: 8.8 mi.es. Climb: 131'.
Time: 3 hours 56 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.7 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 2.2 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn,  Roger, Annie H., Michel, Phil, Sue and Dave P.
Not the most perfect weather conditions for walking, I know that at least to of the group decided to stay in the warm at home as a result of the local weather forecast, but I suspect that there may have been more (excluding thos baby sitting)!
Despite the many warnings that it could be icy underfoot, two of the group (both from WEF), managed to hit the deck in a way that couldn't be described as being a graceful descent. Thankfully both were able to continue with only pride hurt and possibly a bruise or two as reminders of the events!
The tide was a little further in than we had expected, so we only managed  short distances on the beach before and after lunch.
The unexpected highlight of the day was being buzzed by the local Lifeboat crew as they enjoyed an exercise on the Mersey at high tide.  The crew were happy to reciprocate waves both on the boat and when we saw them again at the Lifeboat Station later on.
Lunch was taken in a shelter opposite the Fort at New Brighton, but probably queueing up in the WARMTH of the New Brighton Floral Arena was appreciated more!
Overall the rain was minimal, the temperature on the cool side to say the least (with ice evident on the sea/river edge)  and providing you hands were warm it wasn't too unpleasant walking (however dog walkers in this area seem to be very reluctant to pick up what their best friend has left behind, and there were lots of them!)
Birds seen or heard today included: Common starling, Black-headed gull, Herring gull, Pied wagtail, Turnstone, Sanderling, Oystercatcher, Great black-backed gull, Lesser black-backed gull, Meadow pipit, Carrion crow, Lapwing, Eurasian curlew, Common redshank, Grey plover, Little gull,  ringed plover, Knot, Bar-tailed godwit, Great cormorant, Feral pigeon and Purple sandpiper.
After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Yacht Inn, where  green King IPA was the only cask ale on offer. Surprisingly it did go down well!

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Betws-y-coed, Capel Garmon, Garthmyn and More 4th February 2012

On the main road from London to Holyhead at least it was before the A5 was built!
Looking Northwards down the Conwy Valley, should have been one of the views of the day!
Capel Garmon Burial Chamber.
At the Capel Garmon Burial Chamber.
Walk stats: Distance: 10.8 miles. Climb: 1686'.
Time: 6 hours 1 minute. On the move walking average: 2.1 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.8 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Dave J and Mike.
The weather expected was snow changing to rain. We didn' get any snow, but we did get rain for most of the day. At least it was only very light and we didn't have any wind to add to our problems and it didn't seem particularly cold. Thankfully we weren't in the rain at lunch time, thanks to a superb new bus shelter at Capel Garmon!
The first part of the walk took us through a farm that seemed to have dogs running everywhere. I commented to a man at the farm that he must love dogs. He replied that he did. It turned out to be an animal sanctuary!
This walk had plenty of potential for being muddy on par with some of our Derbyshire walks, but today with much of the ground still frozen it was marginally better.
Distant views weren't very clear, but at least they were there!
The only problem that we encountered was going through a farm yard, where the access track was covered in ice, but we managed to get round it safely by clinging on desperately to a wall.
Birds seen or heard today included: European robin, Jackdaw, Carrion crow, Common buzzard, Treecreeper, Nuthatch, House sparrow, Blue tit, Great tit, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Grey heron, Fieldfare, Redwing, Mistle thrush, Eurasian Jay, Black-billed magpie and Blackbird.
After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Britannia Inn at Halkyn where the Lees bitter was in good condition.  The fires were lit at both ends of the room, but it still wasn't that warm at our end!

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Sandstone Trail - Rock Farm to Crib Lane 2nd February 2012

The picturesque village of Eaton.
A true statement above the door.
Lunch in the Sun, not everyone's ideal location of choice, but time was such that if we hadn't have stopped then and carried on in hope of a better place, our hope would have been fruitless!
At least we were in the sunshine.
Heading towards Beeston Castle, but thankfully not our destination today.
Walk stats: Distance: 10.8 miles. Climb: 632'.
Time: 5 hours 31 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.3 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 2.0 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Gordon, Phil. Roger, Fran and Tito, Celia, Sylvia and Dave J.
What a superb day for walking this turned out to be. We had glorious blue skies and sunshine for most of the day, and the frozen ground made our life easy to negotiate what in warmer times would have been unpleasantly muddy.  However that last few fields that we crossed had been in the sunshine long enough to defrost the top surface and remind us that this walk was potentially a very muddy section of the Trail!
The first part of the walk allowed us to pas through Eaton, a lovely picturesque village, with many houses reflecting that this was a very affluent area of Cheshire, but at least one house did have a staement of truth above that door that everyone should heed.
Unusually lunch was taken in an unusual place alongh the roadside, but we were running late and a few of us were getting hungry.  It was at tyhis point that Celia realised that the inner glove that she thought she had lost, hadn't been lost at all, and she had it all the time!
After lunch we set off along today's section of the Sandstone Trail, not a particularly noteable section, but at least we had good views of Beeston Castle ahead (part of our next walk on the trail), and saw quire large numbers of Fieldfar and Redwing in the fields adjacent to the footpath.
Birds see today included: Blue tit, Great tit, House sparrow, Pied wagtail, Carrion crow, Jackdaw, Great spotted woodpecker, European robin, Bullfinch, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Blackbird, Common buzzard, Nuthatch, Chaffinch, Woodpigeon, Dunnock and Mistle thrush.
We arrived back at the car, tired and in anticipation of our usual pint a the Rising Sun. Alas Fran had left a not on the car telling us that the Rising Sun had shut at 15-00 and it was now 15-30!  However anothe r hostelry in Tarporley came to our rescue, "The Swan". This turned out to be superb place, once you had got use to the heat generated by the open fires! A good choice of real ale, with Weetwood brews and Otter brews going down well. This is certainly a place that we will visit again!