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, 28 February 2015

Prestatyn to Talacre and Back 28th February 2015

Looking West towards Prestatyn.
Looking East towrds Talacre.
video
Lots of noise from the wind, but you should still be able to hear the Skylarks singing.
Dunnock singing.
Dunnock at Presthaven.
Some of the many gulls seen on the sands North of Gronant.
The Point of Ayr Lighthouse.
Walk stats: Distance: 8.9 miles. Climb: (533', GPS wind assisted), probably nearer 200'.
Time: 4 hours 16 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.7 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 2.2 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn and Roger.
An early start, walking along Barkby Beach in glorious sunshine, and it wasn't long before jackets had to be discarded. The wind was at our backs and was hardly noticeable, and I was quite surprised at the sound it made on the recording of the Skylarks singing! The sea was well out, so most of the birds were too far away, but the singing Skylarks made up for the lack of birds near to us.
 Although it was only two weeks ago that I last did the walk, I never tire of walking by the sea along this stretch of coast. Hence the reason why it appears on the list two or three times each year.
 Once again an early lunch was taken, taking advantage of the picnic tables that overlook the marsh on the way towards Point of Ayr bird Hide.
 A 30 minute lunch break and we still on our return journey by 12-00!
 Our return route through the Warren Nature Reserve and the Prestatyn Golf Course made the route back to Barkby Beach easy underfoot for most of the way and a Little grebe in the Prestatyn Gutter defeated my attempts to photograph it!
 Birds seen or heard today included: Common starling, Pied wagtail, Oystercatcher, Herring gull, Common gull, Black-headed gull. Lesser black-backed gull, Great black-backed gull, Common redshank, Eurasian curlew, Linnet, Mallard, Mute swan, Common teal, Common kestrel, Black-billed magpie, Dunnock, Shelduck, Jackdaw, Carrion crow, Skylark and Little grebe.
 We arrived back at the car, having had a good brisk walk and for once with dry gear and clean boots!
 After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Blue Bell Inn at Halkyn, where Blue Bell Bitter went down well as did the Richard's Cider later on. We were even home early enough to see Italy beat Scotland at Murrayfield!

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Moel y Parc and Penycloddiau from Aberwheeler 26th February 2015

The French connection!
Near the summit cairn on Moel y Parc.
At the cairn on Penycloddiau, but who's that centre stage?
One view from our lunch spot on the South east side of Penycloddiau.
Looking towards Moel Fammau.
Catkins  Spring is here!
Michel getting to grips with his new GPS.
"We've done 17.45 km, no that's the time the Sun sets!!"
Aberwheeler on the left and Bodfari in the centre.
The view ffrrom our final descent.
Walk stats: Distance: 9.9 miles. Climb: 2485' (Possibly wind assisted, but it did feel like it!).
Time: 5 hours 32 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.2 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.8 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Sue and Michel, Phil, Wendy, Annie and Fran.
Travelling to the start point, we were in heavy rain, but as we turned towards Aberwheeler the rain stopped!  Optimistically we hoped that all the rain had gone through early and that the Beeb would be right and we could look forward to Sunny times ahead. We did up to the summit of Moel y Parc, but soon after the start of the descent and then the ascent of Penycloddiau we had an unpleasant 20 minutes when of hail/rain an strong wind when we thought Celia had made the right decision!
 Thankfully the final approach to the summit cairn on Penycloddiau we were back in sunshine and we had glimpses of Moel Siabod capped in snow. The views towards the Halkyn Mountain and Moel Fammau were much clearer.
 Lunch was taken on the South east side of Penycloddiau, where a little outcrop of rock sheltered us from the cooling "breeze".
 Fran had joined us today, and Tito as requested made contact the agreed time.
 Unusually today, the rest of the group had to wait for me to finish my after lunch cup of tea before we could continue the descent of Penycloddiau to the Llangwyfan car park!
 After lunch meant we were in more sunshine and after about an hour Phil and me had to take off a layer to be more comfortable!
 The views now towards the Vale of Clwyd were now superb, although surprisingly the high peaks of Snowdonia couldn't be seen.
 Birds seen or heard today included: House sparrow, Jackdaw, Rook, Green woodpecker, Wood nuthatch, Meadow pipit, Skylark, Raven and Mallard.
 Overall this was a superb walk, a mud free morning and glorious Spring sunshine in the afternoon, with catkins, primrose and snowdrops all putting on a display.
 After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Blue Bell at Halkyn. Several brews were sampled, including the ciders! No problems today about the Blue Bell being open, we didn't get there till about 16-00!

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Walks and Dates February 2015

Thursday 5th February 2015.
Annual Walk and Meal.
Raby and More.
Our meal choices are found below. You may wish to check to see that I have entered the choices correctly.
I intend to forward our choices on Sunday evening, so you have until then to let me know of any changes are needed.
I will tell the Wheatsheaf that those walking will arrive at the Wheatsheaf Inn at about 09-30, for a 6 mile walk, expecting to be back at about 12-30, ready for the meal to start at about 
13-00.
Those coming for the meal only should aim to get there some time between 12-30 and 13-00.
The Wheatsheaf Inn at Raby is about 12 miles from Upton and 15 miles from Saltney, so it should take you just under 30 minutes to get there, providing there aren't any major problems on the roads.
The Walk.
Raby and More.
Distance: 6.0 miles. Climb: 100' - Very little - walk profile is almost horizontal.
Start: Wheatsheaf Inn, Car Park. Raby. SJ310798.
Leave Chester at 09-00 a.m
This walk is a variation of walks by Anthony Annakin-Smith, that we have done starting in Willaston. One point to note, at this time of the year, gaiters are probably a good thing to wear!
Saturday 7th February 2015.
Llanfairfechan to Aber Ogwen and Back.
Distance: 10 miles. Climb: 200'.
Start: Llanfairfechan Promenade Car Park. Grid ref: SH679754.
Leave Chester at 08-30.
We have done this walk many times, and on occasions have taken advantage of the picnic tables at Aber Ogwen car park or even sheltered for lunch in one of the hides at the Spinnies Nature Reserve.
This is a very pleasant walk at this time of the year, although in the past we have experienced quite bracing winds! Coastal walks are always delightful, especially when you can combine them with a bit of birdwatching! High tides is about 12-30. This should make the birds come closer to shore for much of the walk.
Thursday 12th February 2015.
A Walk Around Hoylake and More.
Distance: 9 miles. Climb: 800'.
Start: Royden Country Park. Grid ref: SJ246858.
Leave Chester at 09-00 a.m.
To get Royden Park, follow the A540 from Chester to Hoylake. After passing Thursaston Hill and Caldy Rugby Club, turn right at the roundabout onto Montgomery Hill (signposted Frankby). At the Farmers Arms turn right to stone gate post into Royden Park.
This walk is taken from Jen Darling's book "More Pub Walks in Cheshire and Wirral.
Thia is a new walk for me, although much of it has been covered in walks that we have done. Part of the walk follows the beach from Red Rocks to West Kirby and then goes around the Marine Lake. High tide is at around 16-00 and isn't a big tide either, so we shouldn't have any problems walking along the beach.
Saturday 14th February 2015.
Tegg's Nose and Macclesfield Forest.
Postponed.
It will appear next month after consulting with Celia!
The new walk will by a variant of the Thursday walk that we did last month called "A Circuit of Holywell."
 Distance: 9 miles. Climb: 1865'.
Start: Tegg's Nose Country Park Car park. Pay and Display. Grid ref: SJ950732.
Leave Chester at 08-30 a.m.
This walk is taken from the "Pathfinders Guide to Cheshire". It is described as a varied walk with good views from Tegg's Nose. We will visit Tegg's Nose first, rather than at the end of the walk. The walk is also described as an undulating walk exploring the countryside on the edge of the Peak District.
Thursday19th February 2015.
The Moor, Greenfield Valley and East of Holywell.
Distance: 9 miles. Climb: 1000'.
Start: Halkyn Street 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 21st February 2015.
Prestatyn to Talacre and Back.
Distance: 10 miles. Climb: 200'.
Start at Barkby Beach Car Park, park near the PC. Grid ref: SJ068839.
Leave Chester at 08-30 a.m.
This is a walk that is always on the list at this time of the year, as it is always a good time to see Winter visiting birds along the coast., so bring binoculars with you. As a change, we will complete the walk in the opposite direction to the one that we will normally take. The walk will start along the coast, on the beach if the tide permits, High tide at about 12-30  (33.8' / 10.3 m.). The return from Talacre will be through the Nature Reserve  and Caravan park and finally through the golf course.
Thursday 26th February 2015.
Around the Little Orme to Rhos On Sea.
Postponed - recent very high tides means that it is very unlikely that any seals will around Porth Dyniewaid.
See below for the new walk.
Distance: 8-9 miles. Climb: 700'.
Start: Roadside parking next to Paddling Pool and PC on Coast Road at Craig y Don, East side of Llandudno.
Leave Chester at 09-00 a.m.
This has become a regular walk at any time of the year, but it will be the second time that we have done it February. The views from the top of the Little Orme are always superb, but the main reason for doing the walk so early in the year is to see if there are any Seals around Porth Dyniewaid.
Moel y Parc and Penycloddiau.
Distance: 10-11 miles. Climb: 1800'.
Start: Layby in Aberwheeler on left opposite Bro Lleweni (road). Grid ref: SJ096694.
Leave Chester at 09-00. The last time we did this walk it took us nearly six hours.
This a walk that we have done several times before, and includes two walks from Dave Berry's book "Walks in the Clwydian Hills". He describes it as a walk exploring attractive and little known valleys along the slopes of Moel y Parc. Expect good views from the summit of Moel y Parc and Penycloddiau if the forecast is good. The route across the top of Penycloddiau is from North to South, another location for panoramic views.
Saturday 28th February 2015.
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, Low tide is at about 12-32!  From there, we will continue onto Vale Royal Park (where we in the past have had lunch) and onto Wallasey Gardens. Hopefully it won't be as windy as it was on the 15th January when the Thursday group last did the walk.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Prestatyn to Talacre and Back 21st February 2015

The crowded Barkby Beach - heading towards Talacre.
The clouds above Prestayn.
Distant views towards Point of Ayr Lighthouse.
Point of Ayr Lighthouse - surrounded by water, but with new UPVC windows!
The panorama from our lunch spot.
A fast swimming Water rail, flushed by the incoming tide - hoping to find dry land soon!
The same water rail - happy to be back on dry land!
Mike at the new signpost at the Talacre Nature Reserve.
Note the time - this photograph was taken after lunch!
Walk stats: Distance:9.8 miles. Climb: 485' GPS wind assisted, but nearer 100' in reality!
Time: 4 hours 33 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.8 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 2.1 m.p.h.
Group: Just the "Tuffty Club Members - Martyn and Mike.
A very high tide was expected at about 12-30, so we decided to walk along the beach to Talacre. This proved a wise choice as one section around Presthaven Sands we were walking on the edge, with  just enough dry land left before we would have had to trek over the dunes.
 Although we were walking just after 09-00, in places the tide was quite close and by the time we reached the Point of Air Lighthouse we were walking along the water's edge, like school children trying not to get wet feet as that last wave encroached a little quicker than expected.
 Although we had been in warm sunshine all morning, the wind was quite cool, and we did wonder where we could find a sheltered spot for lunch.  Thankfully one of the pic-nic tables on the way to the RSPB Point of Air hide provided just the spot. We enjoyed an early lunch with warm sunshine on our backs watching the incoming tide eventually covering the whole of the marsh in front of us.
 The panorama view gives the marsh as we started lunch, the swimming Water rail gives it as we finished lunch.
 Just after lunch we thought we were going to get the start of a shower, but thankfully the  hail storm lasted a few minutes and the rain shower a little later was so short I only needed one handkerchief to ensure I could keep seeing where I was going!
 The return route through the nature reserve, Presthaven Holiday Camp and the Prestatyn Golf Course is probably best done in this direction, easy underfoot as legs are getting tireder (for some)!
 The highlight for me today was seeing the Water rail (a bird that I don't see that often, and have never seen swimming before!), with the added bonus of having been able to photograph it too. Having said that hearing Skylarks singing was a good second best!
 Birds seen or heard today included: Black-headed gull, Herring gull, Lesser black-backed gull, Oystercatcher, Dunlin, Knot, Common redshank, Great cormorant, Eurasian curlew, Carrion crow, Stonechat, Common snipe, Grey heron, Mallard, Pintail, Skylark, Meadow pipit, Shelduck, Black-billed magpie, European robin, Common blackbird, Moorhen and Water rail.
 It was good to get back to the car and not have to worry where all the wet gear would go!
 After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Blue Bell in Halkyn, where St. Austell's, Ruck and Roll went down well as did the Piper's crisps with Mike.
 Overall a great day out, even if my normal leisurely was exceeded considerably!

Thursday, 19 February 2015

East of Holywell, The Moor and Greenfield Valley 19th February 2015

On the road heading towards Fordd-y-Dre.
The Coastal Dock North west of Bagillt - boats afloat, high tide.
Lunch spot for one -  but Mike pointed out if you (meaning me) sat there it ws so low that i would have difficulty getting up! Thanks Mike!
Who's piggy in the middle then?
"You don't say".
Lunch in the sunshine in the Memorial Park in Holywell.
The superb memorial bench in Holywell Memorial Gardens.
Walking in the rain, again. The final stretch along the old railway line from Greenfield to Holywell.
Walk stats: Distance: 9.8 miles. Climb: 1516'.
Time: 5 hours 3 minutes. Walking average: 2.3 m.p.h. Overall wal;king average: 1.9 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Roger, Mike, Wendy, Annie and Phil.
Today Accuweather got more of their forecast right, rain in the morning, dry for a few hours and rain late afternoon.  Thankfully the best weather was at lunchtime when we even had warm sunshine as we sat in the Holywell Memorial Gardens. This is one of the best Memorial Gardens that I have seen and the Memorial bench (see above) was a brilliant item to place in it, yet none of the group decided to sit on it!
 This was a little bit of a contrived walk on my part, trying to include one of Ron Williams and Elfed Jones's Holywell walks.
 This walk enabled us to find much mud, but I was surprised when I came to clean my boots that It only took me five minutes to wash them!
 This walk  had several sections where we were dropping down towards the coast, giving us chances of good views across the Dee Estuary. Today they weren't brilliant, but at least we could just about see as far as the Wirral.
 Walking on your own is no fun, but in a group it never seems that bad, and considering it is February, the rain didn't seem that cold!
 Birds seen or heard included: Common blackbird, House sparrow, Blue tit, Great tit, Song thrush, Jackdaw, Carrion crow, Tufted duck, Common coot, Mallard, Moorhen, Mute swan, Woodpigeon, Eurasian curlew, European robin, Oystercatcher, Chaffinch, Black-headed gull, Common starling and Herring gull.
 After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Blue Bell Inn at Halkyn, where the Blue Bell Bitter was OK, but the Richard's Cider was better!
 We even got back early enough for Mike to watch his team in the Europa Cup and they have just gone in to the lead (18-28), lucky again, another offside goal!  The best team in Liverpool of course plays later on this evening!

Saturday, 14 February 2015

A Circuit of Holywell part 2 14th February 2015

"Here I go, route directions only in Welsh!"
Looking out to sea at Greenfield Dock, at first I thought it was  Roger making a protest about giving him the route directions in Welsh!
The Duke of Lancaster, now adorned with graffiti!
Starlings starting to gather near the Pen-y-Ball trig point.
Roger, showing that he knows where he is on his Welsh route map.
(Route Map from Ron Williams and Elfed Jones 's booklet "10 Walks Around Holywell".
A new section of the route for us, heading towards the "Pet Cemetery" at Brynford.
The first lambs of Spring that we have seen on a walk in 2015.
Our last descent towards Holywell and the start near to Holywell Town football ground.
Walk stats: Distance: 9.9 miles. Climb: 846'.
Time: 5 hours 40 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.1 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.7 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn and Roger.
The forecast for day we knew would be largely dull and overcast, and thankfully the Beeb were right in saying that the winds would be only around 6 m.p.h. In  reality I had the wrong gear on, Paramo gear was far too warm for today's conditions!
 We made good progress on a very familar descent through the Greenfield Valley to the coast and on the Coastal Path to the Duke of Lancaster - "Fun Ship".
 The tide was still well out, so the birds on the estuary were still a little too far out to identify, but a few were within sight using binoculars / monocular.
 The route from the Duke of Lancaster in this direction was new to us, and we anticipated a little bit of "dithering" on the rest of the route back to the start!
 As we approached the cottages by Llwyn Ifor Bach. we encountered our first problem, a jack Russell decided it wanted to follow us, and no matter what we said, it followed us past Mertyn Hall as far as Highbrook Farm, where thankfully we now found ourselves alone!
 Finding a lunch spot on this section was proving difficult, but thankfully Roger having to concentrate on his Welsh meant that we got until nearly 13-00 before he realised he needed food!
 We had lunch, sitting on a stone wall in Mertyn Lane, just North of Carmel.
 The next section of the walk to prove the most challenging, but Roger with his Welsh got us back to the start.
 Birds seen or heard today included: Common blackbird, Chaffinch, Song thrush, Mistle thrush, Wood nuthatch, Dunnock, Moorhen, Tufted duck, Common coot, Mallard, Common redshank, Oystercatcher, Eurasian curlew, Black-headed gull, Herring gull, Pied wagtail, Common buzzard and Common starling. 
 after walk drinks were enjoyed at the Blue Bell in Halkyn, where Roger could continue using his Welsh when talking to the barman.
 This was part 2 of the circuit described, but I'm sure this will be added to our regular walks around holywell as will part 1!

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Around Hoylake from Royden Park 12th February 2015

If youwant one in a hog roast it will cost you around £400!
Mergansers on West Kirby Marine Lake.
On the Wirral Way.
Still on the Wirral Way.
Long-eared owl at Burton Mere Wetlands RSPB.
Long-eared owl at Burton Mere Wetlands RSPB.
Walk stats: Distance: 9.0 miles. Climb: 217'.
Time: 3 hours 57 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.7 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 2.3 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Sue and Michel, Phil, Celia, Annie and Wendy.
 I nearly didn't make it to Royden Park, I hadn't looked at the blog for some time and was happily heading for West Kirby.Thankfully Wendy rang us and we quickly redirected to the correct start.
This was the first time we had started at Royden Park and most of the parking spaces had already been taken. This is apparently a very busy dog walking area!
 Part of the walk was new to us, especially the approach from Frankby to Station Road in Hoylake.
Although some of this was across fields, much of it was along quiet roads and tracks with fairly good surfaces and any mud was easily negotiated even by Wendy in her ordinary shoes, having left her walking boots at home!
 This was quite a pleasant route through the countryside to the East of Hoylake. On arriving at Red Rocks, the tide was well out so there were very few birds to be seen even with binoculars!
 It was good to see the PC next to the West Kirby Marine Lake was again open and gratefully patronised by several of the group!
 Lunch was taken at The Victoria Gardens in West Kirby where we could take advantage of the many benches overlooking the bowling green, and nicely sheltered from the cool wind coming off the estuary.
 The section of the Wirral Way from West Kirby to Caldy included a good stretch that was new to me. 
 On arriving by the church in Caldy we decided to divert from the original path as we knew there was at least one section that was very muddy and boggy and needed to be avoided if I was not to get plenty of earache from the rest of the group.  We ended up exploring a section of footpaths that took us back to Royden Park via Frankby Mere.
 Birds seen or heard today were few and far between, hence the Long-eared owl photos. The birds we did see included: Pied wagtail, Greenfinch, House sparrow, Common starling, Chaffinch, Common kestrel, Mallard, Black-headed gull, Herring gull, Oystercatcher, Jackdaw, Carrion crow and Common blackbird.
 After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Wheatsheaf Inn at Raby where Brimstage "Trappers Hat" went down well. I had to get a sub of Annie amd Michel so that I could have a take away, I'd forgotten to take my wallet with me!

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Llanfairfechan to Aber Ogwen and Back 7th February 2015

The way ahead from Llanfairfechan.
Still heading towards Aber Ogwen.
Just showing it was a "Dipper" day.
video
Spot the bird - not by sight, but by its song.
The singing bird - a Songthrush.
A few of the many Oystercatchers seen today.
A few of the many Wigeon seen today.
Walk stats: Distance: 10.1 miles. Climb: 150'.
Time: 5 hours 8 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.5 m.p.h. Overall walking average: 2.0 m.p.h. (Quicker for those that didn't stop to talk to other walkers and birdwatchers!)
Group: Martyn, Mike, Celia and Roger.
We arrived at Llanfairfechan to find it bathed in warm sunshine and bright blue skies - it could have been a shorts day!
 This was one of the best weather days we have had for this on a Winter walk. It just made you feel good to be out. Whilst the birds never came that close, despite high tide being around 13-00, but we did see a fair few. Celia's bird of he day was the singing Song thrush, Roger's was the Little egret and mine was the Dipper, although the Brent geese came a close second.
 Lunch was taken at Aber Ogwen, where picnic benches provided suitable perches for us, with a view over the sea towards  Puffin Island and inland towards Penrhyn Castle.
 Overall the bird count was good, but we didn't see a Turnstone!
 Birds seen or heard today included: Song thrush, Little egret, Dipper, Mute swan, Black-headed gull, Herring gull, Oystercatcher, European robin, Jackdaw, Carrion crow, Wigeon, Common teal, Moorhen, Common starling, Eurasian curlew, Shelduck, Common redshank, Dunlin. Brent goose, Goldfinch, Merganser, Common blackbird, Mallard, Pintail and Lapwing.
 After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Blue bell Inn at Halkyn where Fenynfoel and Bass brews were on offer and both went down well, and even better Roger chatted to the barman in Welsh.

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Around Raby and Willaston and a Meal at the Whaetsheaf Inn 5th February 2015

The start and end of the walk.
"Only eight of you? I've almost got as many mates as you!"
Time for hot drink and a use of the facilities at Haddon Station.
Pre-meals drinks and a warm by the fires.
Walk stats: Distance: 6.3 miles. Climb: 93'.
Time: 2 ours 40 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.7 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 2.3 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Sue and Michel, Annie, Ian and Wendy, Tim and Carol. It's always good see a good number joining us for the meal, even though they can't make the walk. Joining us today were: David and Anne, Celia, Paul, Roger and Margaret, Dave and Sylvia.
 Eight of us set off for the short walk around Raby an Willaston, knowing that some sections on the route had great potential for being muddy. Thankfully it wasn't too bad and my boots only took about ten minutes to clean when I got home.
 If anything, in our Winter gear, it felt a little on the warm side, more that the 6 Celsius on the forecast, but there was no wind to give any significant wind chill.
  This wasn't an exactly an inspirational route, but sections of the Wirral Way were pleasant enough and being able to stop at the picturesque Haddon Station with all of its facilities was a bonus. 
 As we were having lunch at the Wheatsheaf Inn in just over an our, most of us just had a drink, although it was noted, some in the group indulged in chocolate biscuits too.
  After our drinks break, we passed through the delightful village of Willaston.at thi point mud free as we had pavements to walk on! I did try to up the pace a little at this stage a I thought we may not get back in time for the planned start of the walk.
 Birds seen or heard today included: Common blackbird, Chaffinch, European robin, Comon kestrel, Great tit, Common starling, Eurasian jay, Grey heron.Common pheasant, Woodpigeon, Black-billed magpie, Redwing, House sparrow, Common crow and Jackdaw.
 We arrived back at the Wheatsheaf Inn at 12-25, five minutes before the time I had hoped we would be back from the walk.
  Most of the none walkers were already "cooking" by the fire opposite that bar and fifteen minutes before the meal was due to start we were able to go into the Cowshed Restaurant.
 They had put tables together, so that all sixteen of us were all together. This room as a delightful setting and it wasn't long before we are starters and our meal was on its way. The food and service was excellent throughout and the Brimstage "Trappers Hat" went down well.
 I do some times wonder why other people's choices always seem better than the ones that you have made!
 Thanks to everyone that contributed to money gift, that should keep me going in printer ink and paper for the rest of the year!
Apologies to those in the group that didn't feature on the pictures, My fireside photos didn't come out good enough.