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.

Sunday, 30 April 2017

Holywell to Flint Castle and More 29th April 2017

The chimney on the East side of the battery Pool dam.
Battery Pool, a little short of water!
The track bed of the railway spur to Holywell.
Basinwerk Abbey at the Northern end of the Greenfield Valley.
The ceramic art work depicting the route from Holywell to Bardsey Island.
Looking across Greenfield Dock entrance towards the Wirral.
Buoy on the River Dee reflecting the strength of the incoming tide.
Dock on the West of Bettisfield - gateway to the Dee.
The Bagillt Beacon.
Turnstones at the bottom of the sea wall between Bagillt and Flint Castle.
Flint Castle with the tide getting close to its walls.
Flint Castle from the East.
Bluebells, East of Flint Town FC's ground.
Walk stats: Distance: 9.2 miles. Climb: 496'.
Time: 4 hours 39 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.5 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.9 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn and Mike.
This was a repeat of the walk done on the 13th of this month, but this time we did use public transport from Flint to the start of the walk in Holywell.
The weather was almost perfect for walking, pleasantly warm, a little sunshine and hardly any wind.
 As we descended through the Greenfield Valley Heritage site we paused at each location to take in the information provided and even explore the grounds of Basingwerk Abbey.
 The walk from Greenfield Dock back to Flint Castle is always good, but today we could watch the incoming tide as it surged towards Chester.
 Lunch was taken at the Bettisfield Colliery / Bagillt Beacon Site where we took advantage of the large stone  conveniently placed overlooking the coast.
 After lunch as we were walking along the top of the sea defences, Mike saw what appeared to be a log moving against the tide, but it then moved a dorsal fin appeared! it was in fact a Porpoise, but after diving, it resurfaced too far away to photograph. 
  As Flint Castle came in to view, we quite surprise to see the tidal water reaching the castle wall in places.
 we extended the walk a little by following the Coastal Path past the Lifeboat Station as far as Oakenholt Marsh before returning, hoping that we might see the Airbus 380 barge would appear, alas it didn't.
 Birds seen or heard today included: House sparrow, Common blackbird, Blue tit, Great tit, Pied wagtail, Chiffchaff, Willow warbler, Mallard, Barn swallow, Little egret, Grey heron, Common whitethroat, European robin, Blackcap, Goldfinch, Skylark, Great cormorant, Black-billed magpie, Woodpigeon, Common chaffinch, Common starling, Carrion crow, Jackdaw. Herring gull, Lesser black-backed gull and Shelduck.
 Overall a very enjoyable walk, capped with the sighting of the Porpoise
 after walk drinks were enjoyed at the Bluebell in at Halkyn, where the Old Rosie cider went down well.

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Ffrith Mountain and the Alyn Gorge 27th April 2017

"You may not believe us, but we've just seen a Red fox."
On the track to Brithdir Bach. 
Beautiful flowering Gorse. Was this the best we were going to get?
Looking across the valley towards Cilcain from near our lunch spot.
Young lambs wanting a feed.
On the path (not a short cut as we thought) towards Cilcain.
Lambs in the right place, sheltering from the wind and the rain.
A few Bluebells, but the best were yet to come.
More Bluebells next to the path.
More Bluebells in the Nant Gain Valley.
A displaying Peacock in a garden in the Alyn valley. 
Not easy to photograph through the trees.
Mal on the Leet.
Early purple orchids or Purple spotted orchids?
Looking South from the wood South of Cefn Mawr Quarry.
More Bluebells as we approached Cadole.
Walk stats: Distance: 8.9 miles. Climb: 1174'.
Time: 5 hours 40 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.1 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.6 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Sue and Michel, Jim, Mal and Wendy.
The forecast for today wasn't too good, it was back to Winter gear with rain and cold winds on the menu - they weren't wrong. We managed to set off in the dry, but within about ten minutes and it started to rain, thankfully only very light, but it persisted up to mid-day.
 Almost as soon as it stopped we decided to take advantage and had lunch using a broken stone wall to sit on. We had views over the valley looking towards Cilcain.
 Despite the rain we saw good numbers of House martins as we went past Cae Madog and everywhere we went we were accompanied by singing Willow warblers.
 Despite what we thought, we din't take a short cut, the only deviation from the described route was near the end when we took the Cadole path from the Leet!
 As we approached Cilcain, we saw several very young lambs that hadn't been born very long, and two we could have been only a few minutes from the actual birth. One of the twin lambs got separated from its mother and Michel (founder member of the Lamb Busters) had to help to get it reunited.
 The next surprise of the day was the number of Bluebells, particularly on the South facing sided of the Nant Gain Valley, East of Pentre. Seeing our first orchids of the year was good too. 
 Although the signpost said Loggerheads was only 1.5 miles along the Leet, it seemed much longer and the climb past the Cefn Mawr Quarry to Cadole, just about finished us off! What joy it was to see the cars as we headed down the Cadole Road and we could see round the bend in the road.
 Nevertheless it had been a good walk and it always makes you feel good when you finish a walk in warm Sunshine and dry waterproofs.
 Birds seen or heard today included: Blue tit, Great tit, European robin, Blackcap, Common blackbird, House martin, Carrion crow, Rook, Goldfinch, Common pheasant, House sparrow, Common chaffinch, Common buzzard, Collared dove, Black-billed magpie, Eurasian jay and Woodpigeon.
 We also saw a Peacock displaying in front of a Peahen in a garden.
 After walk drinks were enjoyed by some of the group at the Glasfryn where Purple Moose's Snowdonia Ale went down well and we debated how the Purple Moose Brewery at Portmadog was described as being just over 44 miles away.
 New to us all was a new wooden walkway leading from the main Loggerheads Country Park centre to a new car park above on the Cilcain Road (still Pay and Display).

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Walks and Dates April 2017

Updated 26th April 2017 
New start point for the walk on Thursday 27th April 2017
Saturday 1st April 2017.
Lymm and Thelwall.
Distance: 9-12 miles. Climb: 500' at a guess.
Start: Spud Wood Car park, Stage Lane, Oughtrington, Lymm. Grid ref: SJ702874.
Leave Chester at 08-30.
This walk combines two walks from Jen Darling's book "Walks in West Cheshire and Wirral". The walks are linked using a section of the Trans Pennine Trail and the Cheshire Ring Canal Walk / the Bridgewater Canal Walk. We have only done this walk once before, so I thought that it was worth giving it another go.
Thursday 6th April 2017.
Abergele and Moelfre Isaf.
Distance: 10.4 miles. Climb:1349'.
Start: Pensarn Beach Car Park. Grid ref: SH944787. Park near the PC block as we will be heading South towards the centre of Abergele.
Leave Chester at 09-00 a.m.
Abergele and Moelfre Isaf.This walk is bt Debbie Hamelton and starts in the centre of Abergele, but we will start on the coast. This will extend the walk by about 2 miles. The main walk is described as exploring the beautiful North Wales countyside South of Abergele. The outward rout passes a well preserved watch tower. The last time we did this walk in March 2010 we had a superb day weatherwise and excellent views from the top of Moefre Isaf. Hopefully we will be as lucky with the weather this time too.
Saturday 8th April 2017.
Another Walk On Conwy Mountain.
Distance: 9-10 miles. Climb:1800' at a guess!
Start: Long stay car park on the B5106 at Conwy. Pay and Display. Grid ref:SH781773.
Leave Chester 08-30 a.m.
This walk is taken from Carl Rogers's book "Walking in the Conwy Valley". Much of the routes as far as Conwy is the same as we have done on the last two occasions,. It goes through the harbour, follows riverside before passing the school and then climbing to Conwy Mountain along he North Wales path. The return route goes South towards Henryd. It is similar to a route we used many years ago, but appears to miss out much of the road walking. we shall see!
The last time we did this walk was in March 2012 where we clocked up 11.4 miles and over 2000' of climb, a little more than on the described  route!
Thursday 13th April 2017.
Holywell, Bagillt and Flint.
Distance: 10 miles. Climb:430' at a guess.
Start: Flint Castle Car park adjacent to the Lifeboat Station. Grid ref: SJ247732.
Leave Chester at 09-00 a.m.
This walk uses three walks from Dave Berry's book "Walks Around Chester and the River Dee."  This is essentially a linear walk, so we will have to arrange enough cars to have cars at both Flint and Holywell or use the bus to take us from Flint to Holywell. (Leaves Flint McDonald's on Holywell Road, at 10-14) .
Last time we all caught the bus up to Holywell, so we will probably do the same today.
The last time that we did this walk was in 2012, and we enjoyed it then., hopefully we will today.
Saturday 15th April 2017.
Tegg's Nose and Macclesfield Forest.
Postponed I'm having a day off!
Distance: 9 miles. Climb: 1000'.
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. This is a walk that we have come to like and regularly appears on the list. Birds are often seen on the reservoirs we walk around, so it is useful to bring binoculars just in case.
Thursday 20th April 2017.
Penycloddiau and Moel Arthur.
Distance: 8-9 miles. Climb: 1200'.
Start: Llangwyfan Forestry car park: SJ138668
Leave Chester 09-00 a.m.
This walk combines two walks taken from Dave Berry's book "Walks in the Clwydian Hills".  This area of the Clwydians has so much to offer, and Moel Arthur and Penycloddiau are particularly good.  On a good day the views from both hill forts is superb.
Saturday 22nd April 2017.
Gwydir Forest from Llanwrst.
Distance: 8-9 miles. Climb: 1800'.
Leave Chester at 08-30 a.m.
Start: Llanrwst Riverside car Park. GRid ref: SH795617.
The walk is taken from Carl Roger's book "Walking in the Conwy Valley. It is described as a
 moderately strenuous route exploring the Eastern sectrions of the forest with its many lakes.
It follows mainly good forest tracks and paths.
Thursday 27th April 2017.
Ffrith Mountain and the Alyn Gorge and More.
Distance: 8 miles. Climb: 1300'.
New Start Point
Start: Lay-by on the  Cadole to the Pantymwyn road. Grid ref: SJ205627. Approaching Loggerheads on the A549, Mold to Ruthin Road and after passing the former Rainbow Inn (now a building site), take the next road on the right just before the newsagent. The lay-by is almost immediately on the right by the telephone kiosk.
This walk is taken from Dave Berry's Book " More Walks in the Clwydian Hills" He describes it as an excellent walk exploring beautiful valleys and foothills. We usually start at Loggerheads, but as it is £5 to park for more than 4 hours we will start up the road in Cadole.
Saturday 29th April 2017.
New Walk : Holywell, Bagillt and Flint Castle.
See Thursday 13th April 2017 above for details.
The Lawley and Caer Caradoc. 
Postponed until later in the year, probably July or September.
Distance:10-11 miles; Climb:2000'.
Start: Church Stretton centre car park (pay and display). Grid ref:SO454911.
Leave Chester 8-30 a.m.
It's Dotterel time again, so this is another walk that may give us the chance of seeing them again. The walk combines two walks taken from Ian Jones' booklet "20 Walks From Church Stretton".It is a walk that we first did in 1998 and have done several times since then. This is a superb walk, especially on a good day. It is the nearest that you can get to a ridge walk, particularly along the Lawley! In the past time we were lucky to see an Osprey near the fisheries, almost as good as a Dotterel.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Gwydir from Llanrwst 22nd April 2017

Approaching Pont-fawr along the riverside path 
from the Glasdir car park in Llanrwst at the start of the walk.
Looking North west from Pont-fawr, Llanrwst.
Bluebells as we started the climb through the Gwydir Forest.
Llyn y Parc.
Our first view of Moel Siabod. from the forest track North of Coedmawr.
Our first view of Yr Wyddfa from the forest track North of Coedmawr.
Lunch at the Skelcey's Point trig point.
Llyn Glangors.
Tryfan and the Glyders from South West of Llyn Glangors.
The Snowdonia skyline from North of Llyn Glangors on the path to Llanrhychwyn.
Black sheep South of the Gower Suspension Footbridge.
Looking North to he Gower Suspension Footbridge from the Western bank of the Afon Conwy.
Walk stats: Distance: 9.5 miles. Climb:1340'.
Time: 5 hours 45 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.2 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.6 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Mike, Celia and Ed.
This was a really good day for walking, even better than the forecast. Throughout the day we had bright sunshine and only after lunch did we experience the cool Northerly wind.
 The track below Carreg y Gwalch through Gwydir Forest has changed a lot since our visit with most of the trees on the valley side having recently been felled, opening up superb views hitherto not seen.
 As expected footpaths through the forest can be a little difficult to negotiate and when we revisit this route we will probably take the easy option and use alternative forest tracks.
 After passing Coedmawr the track rises slightly and at the highest point the high peaks come into view and what a view it is, the walk is well worth doing just for this awesome view of Snowdonia, from Moel Siabod , Snowdon, the Glyder to Carnedd Dafydd.
 After Ed had pointed out a trig point, it was decided to go off route slightly to visit it. This turned out to be the Skelcey's Point trig point, a memorial to Frank a founder member of the Conwy Valley Ramblers.
 We noted plenty of perching rocks so decide to have lunch here, a good spot to rest in warm sunshine, so much so that we basked in the Sun for a little longer  than our usual lunch stop.
 After lunch we headed for Llyn Glangors where once more we had superb views of Snowdonia's high peaks.
 On the way to Llanrhychwyn, Ed pointed out a small hill that had a memorial plaque to at a Roberts couple.
 After visiting Llanrhychwyn Church, one of the oldest churches in Wales, we encountered our first unpleasant experience, first we had to get up close to a herd of heifers before having to cross a very muddy section that they had created - the end to any hope that any of us had that they wouldn't need to clean their boots after the walk.
 The final part of the descent through a forest had several fallen trees that needed to be negotiated, but Ed's local knowledge we given warning and advice on the best way round them.
 To avoid retracing our steps  we decide to return to the Gladir car park via the delightful Gower Suspension Footbridge and the fisherman's path.
 Birds seen or heard today included: Lesser black-back gull, Mallard, Barn swallow, Sand martin, Common sandpiper, Willow warbler, Long-tailed tit, Great tit, Blue tit, Winter wren, Common blackbird, European robin, Common chaffinch and Goldfinch.
 Overall superb day out in the Conwy Valley
 After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Bluebell in Halkyn where Old Rosie's Cider went down well as did Maggie's Perry.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Moel Arthur and Penycloddiau 20th April 2017

Little did we know it, but we were to explore this hill after visiting Moel Arthur.
At the highest point on Moel Arthur.
An unusual design now completed.
Lambs seen from our lunch spot.
Denbigh from our lunch spot with Moefre Isaf on the skyline.
On the move after lunch.
Not a Cuckoo, just a Raven.
At the Northern end of Penycloddiau.
Resting at the cairn at the North west end of Penycloddiau hill fort.
The descent of Penycloddiau to the Llangwyfan Forest Car park with Moel Arthur above.
Walk stats: Distance: 7.5 miles. Climb: 1318'.
Time: 4 hours 39 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.1 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.6 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Celia, Fran, Jim, Mal, Phil, Ed and David S.
This was a good day for walking, almost perfect weather conditions, pleasant temperatures and hardly any wind and no rain.
 The start of this walk is a pretty steep climb from the car park u the North western side of Moel Arthur. Unfortunately Celia decided that she wasn't quite ready for this and headed back to the car park and embarked on a more gentle exploration from the car park while the rest of us continued on the described route after having made contact by phone and Celia assuring us that she was perfectly OK. Nevertheless we did take a short cut back to the cars to see if Celia was still OK.
  After Moel Arthur Fran and Phil were on the road ahead of us and were lucky enough to hear a Cuckoo, the first one heard on our walks in 2017.
After leaving the car park for the second time we took the middle route to head for the Clwydian Way that contoured below Penycloddiau along its Western flanks.
 Lunch was taken as soon as we could find somewhere to sit. This turned out to be West of Penycloddiau where we were able to sit at the side of the track with misty views towards Denbigh and beyond. As this would be the last time Phil would be able to walk with us for about six weeks, I decided that it was an appropriate time to bring the last few pieces of my  2016 fruit cake.After today there are 3 pieces left, just enough for the walk on Saturday.
 At lunch time we were lucky enough to have a couple of Yellowhammers fly in front of us and start calling a few metres from us.
  After lunch the Sun came out and we had a very pleasant stroll over Penycloddiau back to the Llangwyfan Forest Car Park. The view from Penycloddia was still very hazy, but we could just about make out Tryffan on the horizon. Throughout the walk we heard lots of Willow warblers and Skylarks, always a good sign that Spring is in the air and an odd Barn swallow reminding us that Summer is just around the corner.
 Birds heard or seen today included: Willow warbler, Carrion crow, Raven, Common buzzard, Skylark, Yellowhammer, Common chaffinch, Great spotted woodpecker, Green woodpecker, Meadow pipit, Common pheasant, Woodpigeon and not forgetting the Cukoo and Northern wheatear.
 After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Bluebell Inn at Halkyn, where three of the brews were sampled and met with approval.
 The cider from Herefordshire went down well with my evening meal.