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.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Knutsford and the Peovers 27th June 2013

The route through Knutsford?
A pleasant path through the woods.
One of the many wood sculptures.
Not quite blue skies, but at least it's dry!
"Are these really mine?"
That was a quick change from the waterproof!
One of the smaller residences on route.
It's good to smile.
Report and photos thanks to Phil.
Walk stats: Distance: 11 miles. Climb: 100'. (I'm sure it must have been more than  metre!).
Time: Just over 5 hours 18 minutes (the time between the first and last photos).
Group: Phil, Tim and Annie.
The weather forecast was for rain later in the day, alas it came sooner than expected and by lunch time the spots were beginning to fall, and as the photos show they turned into a little more than spots by the time we got back to Knutsford.
11 miles after a wrong turn and a detour around a jungle. Started at about 64 metres and climbed at the highest to just over 65 metres. Annie, Tim and Phil walked for 5 1/2 hours including a lunch break. It was a walk in two parts- a very pleasant morning walk of 3 hours in shirts followed by a very very wet afternoon walk. You can see the difference in the before and after photographs. The start from the middle of Knutsford was very different from our usual starts in the countryside. We encountered  some birds, especially of the large wooden variety, and some very interesting scarecrows and a bear! Some of the houses we saw were interesting but we decided that they would take too much looking after.
The usual standard of report will be resuming shortly when Martyn is once again walking.

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Walks and Dates June 2013

Updated 20th June 2013.
Harris Hikers goes Harrisless.
I had the operation on my left hand at  the Countess on Wednesday 19th June. I anticipate that I will be unable to walk for at least 2 weeks and maybe up to 6 weeks.
My recovery schedule starts with a visit to the hand physiotherapist on the 27th June and then have the sutures removed on the 1st July, followed  a visit to   Prof. Harrison's clinic on the 2th July.  I will probably think about walking again after that.
I hope that Thursday's walks will continue in my absence. 
 I will be able to co-ordinate the walk and provide route descriptions, providing someone is able to call round and collect them.
As so few walk on Saturday it looks as though Saturday's walks will cease for the time being, and will resume as soon my hand has recovered enough for me to cope with putting a rucksack on.
Saturday 1st June 2013.  Postponed
Deganwy Castle, Conwy and Morfa Conwy.
Distance: 10-11 miles. Climb: 800'.
Start: Conwy Morfa Car park. Grid ref: SH762787. To get to the car park, leave the A55 at Junction 7, follow signs for the Marina and then Aberconwy Park. (PC also there).
Leave Chester at 08-30 a.m.
This walk combines one walk  from Dave Berry's book "Walks on the North Wales Coast and two walks from his book "Best Coastal walks in North Wales". The Deganwy walk we have done several times before, but never at this time of the year, so hopefully it won't be so muddy underfoot as our usual Winter excursion! The other walks explore the coastal area North of Bodlondeb Wood and are both two new walks on the list. It may also give us the opprtunity to explore the Conwy town walls.
Thursday 6th June 2013.
A Three Churches Walk - Llandyrnog, Llangwyfan and Llangynhafal.
Distance: 10-11 miles. Climb:1200'.
Start: Roadside parking in Nant Glyd, Llandyrnog. Grid ref: SJ 109651. To get to Nant Glyd, at the cross-roads in the centre of Llandyrnog, go down the road towards Llangynhafal (Gladstone Terrace) and Nant Glyd is the first road on the right. Park next to the football field.
Leave Chester at 09-00 a.m.
This walk uses two walks from Dave Berry's book "walks in the Vale of Clwyd." One walk is described as a delightful walk exploring the attractive countryside between the River Clwyd and the lower slopes of the Clwydian Hills. The other walk meanders through  delightful countryside and skirts the edge of th Clwydian Hills.
Saturday 8nd June 2013.
Around Holy Island.
Distance:12-13 miles. Climb:1326'.
Start: Roadside parking opposite PC by the Old Harbour in Holyhead. Just before the turning to South Stack. SH245831.
Leave Chester 8-30 a.m.
This is another walk that has become an annual favourite. Much of the walk is along the Coastal path, but we will probably make a detour to visit the summit of Holyhead Mountain. A good chance of seeing Choughs, Guillimots, Razorbills and even Puffins. Bring binoculars if you can.
Thursday 13th June 2013.
Eglwyseg Escarpment and Trevor Rocks.
Distance:9-10 miles. Climb:1400'.
Start: Off road parking on the Panorama road just East of the monument. Grid ref: SJ247426.
Leave Chester at 09-00 a.m.
This must be one of the best walks in the Llangollen area, especially on a sunny day. a walk that makes you feel like you're  on top of the world with superb views in all directions, including the Dee Valley, Dinas Bran, the Llantysilio Mountains and the Berwyns.
Saturday 15th June 2013.
Rowen, Llanbedre-y-cennin and Caerhun.
Distance: 10-11 miles. Climb:1500'.
Start: roadside parking opposite the post office in Rowen. Grid ref: SH761719.
Leave Chester 08-00 a.m.
This walk combines one walk from Carl Rogers's book "Walkng in the Conwy valley with one walk from Dave Berry's book " Walks Around Betws-y-coed and the Conwy Valley". One walk is described as a walk exploring the attractive undulating countryside between two attractive villages with a possible extension to the top of Moel y Gaer.  The other walk is described as an easy walk, visiting a Medieval church and a the site of a Roman fort. Both Llanbedr-y-cennin and Caerhun are known locations for Hawfinch.  Will we be lucky this time! Bring binoculars, just in case.
Last time we attempted this walk, two of us chickened out of the Caerhun part as the weather wa so bad, hopefully the weather this time will be a little better than on that January day!
Thursday 20th June 2013.
Around Minera Mountain.
Distance: 9-11 miles. Climb: 1000'.
Start: Mineral Lead Mine Centre Car park. grid ref: SJ276509.
Leave Chester at 09-00 a.m.
This wlk is taken from Dave Berry's book "Walks Around Ruabon and Hope Mountain". The walk is described as being quite demanding, especially on the open access moorland. A walk for experienced walkers only - do we count? Can be boggy underfoot! In May 2013, Minera suffered from suffered from a landslide of mud that cut off part of the Mineral Mountain road, hopefully by the time that we do this walk there won't be any problem.
Saturday 22nd June 2013. - Postponed.
Higher Poynton to Furness Vale By way of Lyme Park and the Dipping Stone.
Distance: 12 miles. Climb: 1800'.
Start: Nelson Pit Car park, Higher Poynton. Grid ref: SJ945832.
Leave Chester 08-00 a.m.
This walk is taken from Graham Beech's book " East Cheshire Walks". It is described as a moderate/strenuous walk. I think this reflects the section of the walk that climbs from the Macclesfield canal up to the Bow Stones.  The moorland section can be quite boggy underfoot, but at this time of the year there should be no problems! good views of Kinder, Bleaklow and Shutlingsloe from the highest point near the Bow Stones.
Getting to the start will allow us to experience the new road junction in the centre of Poynton, a cross roads that even with traffic lights was always a place where you knew you would be delayed. Is the new system any better!
Thursday 27th June 2013. 
This walk is still going ahead. Phil has the route descriptions.
Knutsford and Several Peovers.
Distance: 11-12 miles; Climb: 200'.
Start: Long stay car park on Tatton Street, Knutsford. This is a pay and display car park, £3-50 for over 6 hours according to the Knutsford web site. Grid ref: SJ750789.
Leave Chester at 8-45 a.m.
This walk is a little further away than usual, so to ensure that we are walking by 10-00 a.m., I thought it would be better to leave a little earlier than usual.
Annie of course will be able to have a longer than usual lay in this morning!
This walk is taken from Jack Baker and Jack Hanmer's book "Walking in Cheshire". This book was published in 1974 and updated in 1978, so following the directions may prove challenging. They describe the walk as a walk over fairly level, but pleasantly wooded country, although places can be muddy in Winter. This will give Annie another chance to leave home a little later than usual to meet us for a Thursday walk!
The last time that we did this walk in December 2010, everyone said that it was well worth repeating, so it's on the list again.
Saturday 29th June 2013. - Postponed.
The Stipperstone Ridge and Green Hill.
Distance: 9-10 miles. Climb: 1500'.
Start: Stipperstones Car park, East of The Bog, East of the A488, South of Gavels. Grid ref: SO369977.
Leave Chester at 08-00 a.m.
This is another of the walks taken from Steve Goodier's book "Walks in the Shropshire Hills". I know the popularity of this little ridge means that walking here isn't everyone's cup of tea, but when viewed from the Long Mynd it always looks inviting. We haven't completed a walk on the Stipperstones for over 10 years, so I thought it was worth giving it an airing. The Stipperstones walk is only 6 miles, so we will extend the walk Eastward to include Green Hill. Oak Hill and Castle  Ring Fort.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Around Minera Mountain 20h June 2013

"If only I could speak".
Cuckooflower.
A Southern marsh orchid - Minera Mountain.
Lunch on in the spoils on Minera Mountain.
At the remains of the lime kiln on Minera mountain.
Minera Lead Mine Centre, seen on the final approach.
Walk stats: distance: 7.8 miles (12.5km). Climb: about 1300' (390m). 
Walking Time: 3 hours 16 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.3 m.p.h. (3.8 km/h). 
Group: Tim, David, Phil, Annie, Sue and Michel (leader back home 
enjoying his cricket)
Another day when BBC weather and Metcheck’s forecast should have meant “DO NOT walk!”,had they been accurate.. As it turned out, we had very little rain for the first hour and a half and then it was time to put on over trousers. 
The walk itself was not at all as Dave Berry had led us to believe “ quite demanding for experienced walkers”, nor was it as boggy as we expected. No sign of a landslide either. In fact the only problem we encountered was after Ty Hir when we had to get a GPS location to confirm that we had not taken the path nearest to Llandegla Forest but the one just before that. A quick check with compasses and we were soon at the junction with the road to World’s End. Time for lunch in a sheltered spot.
The weather then picked up and the rain stopped, giving us good views across the moor of Minera Mountain. As we approached the Old Kiln, a hooded Goth joined us briefly and then we stated dropping down to Fron Deg, New Brighton and back at Minera Lead Mines Centre.
As old habits die hard, we could not resist the attraction of the Pant yr Ochain where as always the beer and the welcome were excellent.
Birds as seen or heard by the amateur ornithologist: Cuckoo, European robin, Carrion crow, partridge, Skylark, Eurasian curlew, Sparrow hawk… and several little brown birds on the moor (pipits?)
Flowers: Orchid, Bluebell, Honesty, Welsh Poppy and a many more that, only Martyn, Dave or Richard could have identified. Sorry!
Report and pictures thanks to Michel.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Rowen, Llanbedre-y-Cennin and Carehun 15th June 2013

Our first view of Tal-y-fan, but not our destination today.
A Yellowhammer, heard by Martyn, spotted by Mike.
An unexpected Bluebell wood, North west of Llanbedre-y-Cennin.
St. Mary's Church Caerhun, but alas no Hawfinches again.
You won't believe it, but heis not in a world of his own, he's looking at a butterfly!
Conwy Mountain in the background and the last image, hopefully of bent fingers on the left hand!
Walk stats: 10.0 miles. Climb: 1485'.
Time: 6 hours 19 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.1 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.6 m.p.h. (Mainly my fault as I kept on stopping to take photographs of flowers or look at birds, and we did seem to find a few locals that that enhanced our walk by sharing their local knowledge.
Friday's forecast for this area not too good, but thankfully they got it wrong, we didn't get any rain and Mike's only regret was that he didn't put his shorts on and take his sun blocking cream!
This turned out to be a delightful walk in almost ideal conditions, both in terms of the weather and in the conditions underfoot, a marked contrast to the last time we did this walk, when the rain was so bad that half of the group abandoned it half way round!
The birds seen and heard today included: Cuckoo, Red kite, Common buzzard, Common pheasant, Woodpigeon, Jackdaw, Carrion crow, Mistle thrush, Yellowhammer, House sparrow, Common blackbird, European robin, Willow warbler, Chiffchaff, Barn swallow, House martin, Mallard, Mute swan, Chaffinch, Great cormorant, Herring gull, Lesser black-backed gull, Grey heron, Little egret, Mute swans with cygnets, Shelduck, Pied wagtail and Black-billed magpie.
Flowers seen today included: Greater stitchwort, Lesser stitchwort, Red campion, Meadow buttercup, Creeping buttercup. Welsh poppy, Herb robert, Green alkernet, Yellow iris,red clover, White clover, Trailing tormentil, Cow parsley, Foxglove, Germander speedwell, Field forget-me-not and many more that I haven't as yet identified!
A Rabbit, Grey squirrel, Large white and a few unidentified butterflies were also seen.
We arrived back at the car, still in glorious sunshine and looking forward to a pint off Lees at the Britannia Inn at Halkyn. I did enjoy my Lees bitter, but Mike ended up driving and had enjoy his J2O!

Thursday, 13 June 2013

The Eglwyseg Escarpments and More 13th June 2013

On the path above Trevor Rocks.
Stepping out just as the rain started.
Tiny daisies - less than 1 cm across.
"I wish I'd stayed in bed!"
Trailing Tormentil?
Heading for the trees -  exploring a new area of the escarpments.
Another new path explored today - and the rain has stopped.
Walk stats: distance: 9.2 miles. Climb: about 1000' (the 1800' on the GPS was wind assisted!)
Time: 4 hours 48 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.3 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.9 m..h.
Group: Martyn. Sue and Michel, Sue and Dave P, Celia, Carole and David S.
With showers expected, we set off in sunshine wearing sun hats! 
This was the first time that I wore only one shirt for the whole walk,  and didn't need to change it at lunch time! One might think that it must have been the perfect day for walking. However this wasn't quite true as by mid-day we were all wearing our waterproofs, and the last trek across the moors was against driving rain that at times felt more like hail, and no-one suggested "it's time for lunch".
At one point we thought our best option was to keep as high on the escarpment a possible and retrace our route from the Scots Pine tree on the top path. However the rain did stop, after over an hour and did stop for lunch, most of us thankful that we had a hot soup or a hot drink to warm us up. 
  After lunch the weather was much better, although at first the gusts of wind were still quite strong, but by the time we got back to the car, it was quite warm and the road seemed to be steaming"!
Birds seen or heard today included: Chaffinch, Willow warbler, Common buzzard, Common whitethroat, Yellowhammer, Carrion crow, Meadow pipit, House martin and Skylark.
Flowers seen today were few but included: Gorse, Common dog violet, Trailing tormentil, a variety of very small Daisies, Dandelion, Buttercup, Speedwell and a few tiny white flowers.
This is always an excellent walk with superb views across the Dee Valley and beyond and today was no exception, even if we didn't see much of it for a couple of hours around mid-day.
After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Pant yr Ochain, where the welcoming roaring fire made you want to linger nearby as we waited for our drinks. Purple moose, Snowdonia Ale went down well, as did the coffee, and other unmentionable drinks too!
Home early, boots washed, waterproofs and rucksack were soon outside drying in the warm sunshine. All completely dry by the time I had finished my dinner and settled down to watch the cricket!

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

In Search of Birds and Flowers. Talacre to Gronant 10th June 2013

Sea campion.
A Pyramidal Orchid.
A few more orchids.
A Meadow pipit collecting food for the family.
An Oystercatcher - possibly on a nset.
A Ringed plover on Gronant beach.
A Little tern on Gronant beach.
A Reed bunting near Presthaven Sands.
Not a bird or a flower, but the iconic picture for this walk.
Walk stats: Distance: 7.3 miles. Climb: Not a lot!
Time: 3 hours 52 minutes. On the move walking average: 1.9 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn.
The forecast was for this to be the last really good day of the week, so I thought it would be a good day to visit the Little Tern colony at Gronant. In fact it was a little overcast and cooler than expected as I set off through the Nature Reserve, but it wasn't long before the Sun was out and blue skies appeared.  The tide was well out as I approached Gronant, so it was difficult to see any of the birds on the water's edge, but there was the delightful sound of Skylarks and the entertaining parachuting of Meadow pipits around the dunes.
Birds seen or heard today included: House sparrow, Woodpigeon, Black-billed magpie, Common whitethroat, Jackdaw, Carrion crow, Raven, Meadow pipit, Skylark, Mallard, Mute swan, Grey heron, Little egret, Chiffchaff, Sedge warbler, Reed bunting, Great black-backed gull, Lesser black-backed gull, Herring gull,Shelduck, Oystercatcher, Kestrel, Ringed plover and Little tern. 
Flowers seen today included: Early marsh orchid, Pyramidal orchid, Yellow flag, Red clover, Whte clover, Red campion, Meadow buttercup, Creeping buttercup, Bird's foot trefoil, Ribwort plantain, Sea campion and many more that I saw but failed to identify.
The surprise of the day was a small Sand lizard that ran across the boardwalk on my way back from the Little tern viewpoint.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Around Holy Island 8th June 2013

The start of the walk, through the centre of Holyhead, first rather than last.
It could have been an epitaph for a fantastic walk.
Approaching Porth Dafarch.
A natural rock arch on the West coast of the island.
Sea Mayweed.
A Skylark.
A Rock pipit?
Caterpillars emerging from their silk protecting web.
Are these same as the Lackey Moth caterpillars we saw in a few years ago.
South Stack.
A fishing boat off the North coast of the island.
Resting at the explosive stores.
An unknown flower and insect.
Walk stats: Distance: 12.3 miles. Climb: 1276'.
Time: 7 hours: 33 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.2 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.6 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn and Mike.
Today was a really glorious day for walking, blue skies and sunshine all day and the occasional light breeze.
In the past we have always completed this walk in an anticlockwise direction, but this time we decide to do it in the opposite direction and get the delights of Holyhead town centre over with at the start. This proved a good choice, and we saw views that appeared to be new to us as we approached from a new direction. I think we will have to do a few more walks in the opposite directions as to our normal routes.
The sea looked superb and I suppose the only down side to the day was that we didn't finish the walk at a beach that would allow us to cool off in  swim in the sea.
Birds seen or heard today included: Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Meadow pipit, Skylark, Rock pipit, Rock dove, Common swift, Barn swallow, Oystercatcher, Puffin, Great cormorant, Pied wagtail, Chiffchaff, Willow warbler, House sparrow, Herring gull, Black-headed gull. Lesser black-backed gull, Greylag goose, Razorbill, Guillemot, Common blackbird, Goldfinch, Raven and Chough.
The flowers today were again superb, and included: Creeping buttercup, Meadow buttercup, Cow parsley, Foxglove, Heath spotted orchid,, Greater periwinkle, Red campion, Sea campion, Bird's foot trefoil, Sheep's bit, Thrift, Spring Squill. Common milkwort, Brookweed, Red clover, Gorse and Sea Mayweed.
After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Britannia Inn at Halkyn, where the Lees bitter went down well, a much needed drink after over seven hours in the sunshine.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

In Search Of st Cynhafal 6th June 2013

One of the many Buttercup Meadows seen on the walk today.
St. Hychan's Church South west of Gellifor.
Cows with unusual shaved sections on their back and rump, some with numbers.
The first time that I have seen cows marked in this way.
On one of the bridleways, now shaded by the foliage on the adjacent hedges and trees, but still with plenty of Bluebells in flower.
Obviously a time to enjoy relaxing in the glorious sunshine to let lunch go down.
St Cynhafal Church, with its roof and external walls now beautifully restored.
Open to the public, se we were able to see inside too.
It was nearly "off with his head"!
New Llangynhafal Stocks replaced a few years ago .
Distance: 7.9 miles. Climb: 614'.
Time: 4 hours 32 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.2 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.7 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Tim, Annie and Phil.
Instead of parking in Nant Glyd, we parked just around the corner on the Llangynhafal road, which we thought was much better, as the road was much wider and not near any bends!
What a glorious day for walking this turned out to be. As forecasted it was sunny all day and temperatures must have reached into the twenties.  the route had sections of shaded bridleways and  minor roads, as well occasionally we were exposed to a very pleasantly cooling breeze.
Our slower than usual overall walking average was largely my fault as I kept on stopping to look at many flowers and the occasional butterfly. Flowers seen today included: Cow parsley, Pignut, Creeping buttercup, Meadow buttercup, Dandelion, Red campion, White campion, Lucern, Bluebell, Spanish / hybrid bluebell,  Daisy, red clover, Common dog violet, Hawthorn, Herb robert, Cowslip, green alkanet, Red dead nettle, Common nettle, Primrose, Honesty and Forget-me-not.
There were plenty of different grasses as well as one field of quivering Red fescue.
The field of quivering Red fescue, very close to Llandyrnog and our start point.
We also saw a few butterflies, mainly Large whites and Small whites, although we did see a Speckled wood and a Green veined white.
Birds seen or heard today included: Barn swallow, House martin, Common buzzard, Blue tit, great tit, Carrion crow, Rook, Jackdaw, House sparrow, Song thrush, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Goldfinch, Black-billed magpie, Dunnock and Common pheasant.
Overall this turned out to be a superb walk in almost perfect weather conditions, just right for the day, and leaves much better memories of the route than the first time that I did in continual rain!
After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Britannia Inn at Halkyn, where as usual the Lees bitter was the beer of choice.