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, 29 June 2017

A Cilcain, Coed Du and Gronfoel Round 29th June 2017

On a new to us path between quarries.
The Trim Rock Quarry.
An unusual tree sign.
An unusual lunch spot.
A Melton Mowbary pie - but to be shared!
Some have already escaped from the dreaded by-way that leads South east from Siamber Wen.
looking across the fields towards Moel Evan.
Walk stats: Distance: 5.7 miles. Climb: 761'.
Time: 3hours 43 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.1 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.5 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Sue and Michel, Phil, Jim and David S.
We arrived at the parking place West of Cilcain with a distinct dampness in the air, so we all donned our waterproofs right from the start. Although we had them on for the whole of the walk, it wasn't much more than dampness and the absence of any wind meant that we never felt cold.
 The nearby tops of the Clwydian Hills were all in low cloud, so we decided the full walk going round Moel Plas-yw would not be a good option.
 Consequently we decided to shorten the walk and took the option of exploring  a section of path that started South of the Trim Rock Quarry and then went North along its Eastern side to join the path that we usually take from Nant Alyn.
 Choosing a lunch spot was always going to be a problem today with everywhere being wet after the continuous rain of the last few days.
  Unexpectedly we came across a few stones under trees along the track that we were able to take advantage of, as well as shelter from the dampness. We weren't the first to have had lunch at this spot as they had left sweet wrappers behind - they are no longer there!
 Later on we saw some youngsters on their D of E that weren't exactly sure where they were on the map. we pointed out where they were on their maps and left them heading for Moel Famau via Cilcain.
 As we were leaving we saw them again, but this time one of their teachers had caught up with them.
 The uneven by-way leading South west from Siamber Wen is not one of my favourite tracks, but today is was the most obvious one to take on the way back to the car.
 Birds seen or heard today were few and far between, but included: House sparrow, Barn swallow, Woodpigeon, Carrion crow, Common blackbird, Winter wren, Common chaffinch, not forgetting David's Kestrel.
 We arrived back at the car having had an enjoyable walk despite the weather and agreeing that our shorter than usual walk today was the right one for today.
 The only problems we encountered was the many wooden stiles that had very wet slippery wooden steps. Avoiding wet tree roots and one or two limestone rocks  were two other things we needed to step carefully around.
 After walk drinks were enjoyed by some at the Glasfryn at Mold, where Prple Mooses brews Snowdonia Ale and Dark Side of the Moose went down well.
 I was a little disappointed that they had run out of teapots and only brought me a single cup of tea when I was looking forward to one or two more!

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Around Aled Isaf and More (Maggots) 24th June 2017

Llyn Aled from the North west side of its dam.
Llyn Aled from its Western moor.
"Does the description tell you what it is written on the boundary stone?
A clearer view - Hiraethog Esgynfa Gwgan it is even labelled on the OS map.
 Heading for the sheep pen across the western flanks of Moel y Gaseg-wen.
"Bird watching again at Hafod -gau! I might as well stop and have a rest."
Back on moorland heading for Ty-nant.
On road to Aled Isaf.
Eurasian curlew that accompanied us as we walked on the road on the East side of Aled Isaf.
Walk stats: Distance: 8.5 miles. Climb: 842'.
Time: 4 hours 48 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.3 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.8 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Mike and Ed.
We set off from Llyn Aled, expecting to get showers at some time during the day, but with fairly strong winds around we anticipated that any showers would be brief. In fact we were luck enough to complete the whole walk without putting on our waterproofs. We did get a little rain on the last leg of the walk with Llyn Aled is sight and we did think about putting waterproofs on, but it wasn't even enough for Ed to put his umbrella up!
 As ever across this moorland, following the exact line of the "path" wasn't easy and we ended up going through some quite long reedy grass - thankfully skin dries quicker wet trouser legs!
 Distant views weren't very good, with clouds hiding the higher peaks of Snowdonia described in the walk description.
 Throughout the morning Skylarks were singing over the moors. Skylark numbers may be declining, but here on the Denbigh Moors they seemed to be everywhere. There seemed to be plenty of Meadow pipits. We were lucky enough to see a Brow hare at it raced across the moorland.
 Lunch was taken on the track side, just before we took the path leading to Hafod-gau. The Sun came out briefly, but soon disappeared and encouraged us not to linger too long.
 As we crossed Foel Lwyd we heard the call of Eurasian curlew for the first time on the walk and from then on there seemed to lots of them.
 It was well after lunch before we saw anyone, and then it wasn't a walker. In fact it was a farmer checking his sheep for maggots, the very hot weather of last week had made them very vulnerable to attack by certain flies. If not removed and the sheep treated we were informed that the sheep may not survive. We were then treated to  being shown a ewe that had been attacked - not a pretty sight- I'm glad I wasn't having lamb for dinner tonight.
 We arrived back at the car having had a really good walk across relatively wild moorland and still dry!
 Birds seen or heard today included: Skylark, Meadow pipit, Eurasian curlew, Pied wagtail, Carrion crow, Raven, Lesser black back gull, Barn swallow and Common buzzard.
 After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Blue Bell Inn at Halkyn where one of the ciders went down well.


Friday, 23 June 2017

Walks and Dates June 2017

Thursday 1st June 2017.
Llanarmon-yn-Ial, Eryrys and Moel y Gyw.
Distance:8-10 miles; Climb:1500'.
Start:Pistyll Gwyn Quarry car park. 1 mile north of Llanarmon-yn-Ial. Grid ref: SJ189574.
Leave Chester at 9-00 a.m.
This walk uses two walks taken from Carl Roger's book "Walking in the Clwydian Hills". We have completed both walks before, but have never tried to link them together before. The Eryrys walk is described as exploring the lesser-known limestone hills separated from the main Clwydian ridge by the Alyn Valley. Views throughout the walk are superb! The second walk involves the ascent of Moel Gyw which also has superb views of the Clwydian Hills to both the north and the south.
The last time we did this walk in November 2015, we had to negotiate a path that was partially flooded in order to get to a footbridge over a river in spate. Hopefully at this time of the year it shouldn't be to bad underfoot. Last time out we reduced the walk to about 8 miles, so there is agood chance we will do the same today.
Saturday 3rd June 2017.
Tegg's Nose and Macclesfield Forest.
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 8th June 2017. 
Postponed - heavy rain forecast for most of the day.
A Ceiriog Trail - Pontricket-Tregeiriog-Pont-y-Melbion
Distance: 8.5 miles. Climb: 1700'.
Start: Pontricket, Layby, Grid ref: SJ186343.
Leave Chester at 09-00 a.m.
This walk combines Pontricket Walks A and F.  It starts on a path on one side of the Ceiriog between Pontricket and Treceiriog and returns along the other side of the river. The walk then heads for open moorland and on to a drovers road, Sarn Sws (The Kissing Way).
The descent from the drovers road is on the South side of the River Teirw and eventually joins the riverside path at Pont Meibion. The return section is described as being via two tumbling valleys. This is a walk that Mike and I did in March 2017 and thought that it would be better done in Summer conditions, when open moorland is less hostile!
Saturday 10th June 2017.
Postponed - heavy rain forecast for most of the day.
 Mynydd Garthmyn and the Fairy Glen.
Distance: 10 miles. Climb: 1600'.
Start: Main car park at Betws-y-coed. Grid ref: SH795565.
Leave Chester at 08-30 a.m.
This walk was originally planned for February 2017, but had to be postponed due to bad weather. Hopefully this won't happen at this time of the year.
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. Both walks are described as being varied walks with stunning views, especially to the West.
Thursday 15th June 2017.
Prestatyn, Talacre and The Point of Ayr.
Distance: 10 miles. Climb: 200'.
Start at Prestatyn Barkby Beach.. I suggest that you park at Beach Hotel car park, (£2-50 less than the pay and display car park!) on the large parking area by the PC,  Grid ref: SJ068839
Leave Chester at 09-00 a.m. You will need to go into the hotel to purchase a car park ticket.
This is a walk that is always on the list at this time of the year, as it is always a good time to see Little terns, so bring binoculars with you. Hopefully we will see orchids too.
High tide is at about 15-30, and is about 26', so we go through the Golg Course, Caravan Park and The Warren Nature Reserve on the way to Talacre and the Point of Air.We will take lunch using one of the picnic tables along the path leading to the Point Of Air. We will decide on the day whether to extend the walk as far as the RSPB observation point. Our return route will be along the beach. 
Saturday 17th June 2017.
Marbury Country Park and More.
Start: Marbury Country Park car Park (Pay and Display £2-50 last time). Grid ref: SJ652763.
Distance: 8 miles. Climb: 500'.
Leave Chester at 09-300 a.m.
This is a later start than usual because we will be calling in at Focal Point Optics at Higher Whitley before we start the walk, and they open at 10-00 a.m. on Saturday mornings.
The walk is taken from an old Country Walking Magazine. It is described as a varied walk with exploring contrasting aspects of Cheshire's varied landscape.  Including the Meres and the Anderton Boat Lift.. The terrain is easy going, along field paths, back lanes and along the towpath, although it can be marshy around Pickmere.  There is a short section along the main road before picking up the towpath at Wincham. Bring binoculars with you if you can.
Thursday 22nd June 2017.
Eglwyseg Escarpment and Trevor Rocks.
Distance: 9-10 miles. Climb:1200'. Can be made shorter if need be.
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. Always a favourite walk and on the
list at least once every year
Saturday 24th June 2017.
Aled Isaf and More.
Distance: 10-11 miles. Climb: 1500'.
Start: Off road parking just before the dam on Llyn Aled. Grid ref: SH916579.
Leave Chester at 08-30 a.m.
This walk was originally planned for the end of last month.
This walk is taken from Dave Berry's book "Walks on the Denbigh Moors" or his slightly newer book "Hidden Heart of North Wales". The walk explores the expansive  tract of moorland and upland pastures around  Llyn Aled and  Aled Isaf. The route in part follows tracks not easily seen and is for experienced walkers only.  At one point the walk follows a delightful upland path via Llys Dymper, before returning South over the moorland top of Foel Lwyd. The extension allows us to explore moorland paths over Moel Bengam and Cefn Du along paths that I have wanted to explore for some time. Has been known to be boggy, but hopefully not too boggy at this time of the year. As an extra challenge we may complete this walk in an anticlockwise direction, the opposite way to the way we normally complete the walk!
The last time we did this walk in October 2015 we shortened the walk to 9 miles and a climb of just under 800'.
Thursday 29th June 2017.
Moel Arthur and Around Moel Plas-yw.
Distance: 8.0 miles; Climb:1250'.
Start: Car park area West of Cilcain. Grid ref: SJ170652.
To get to the parking area, at the crossroads in Cilcain turn right (Eastward), past the White Horse, Church and Village hall, at the end of a few houses on the right turn, left and the parking area is a few hundred yards further on on the right. 
This walk is one we did last year and includes most of  one of the walks from Dave Berry's book ""More Walks on the Clwydian Hills". The Moel Plas-yw walk impressed us last time with its excellent views and delightful woodland valley paths. I suggest a visit to the summit of Moel Arthur could be an extension at the end of the walk for most of us or maybe not!
Leave Chester at 9-00 a.m.

Eglwyseg Escarpments and Trevor Rock 22nd June 2017

Treking through the bracken above Trevor rocks.
Our first view of Dinas Bran from the path above Tevor Rocks.
Smiling in the rain, well at least some are!
Not Brexit again!
Thistles by demand.
Lokingn back towards the Eglwyseg Escarpments.
The start of the walk on the top of th Eglwyseg Escarpments.
Exploring a new path across the top of the escarpments.
The Egwyseg Escarpments from a new vantage point.
Last look at the limestone cliffs  with clouds starting gather.
Walk stats: Distance: 9.3 miles. Climb:1694'.
Time; 5 hours 29 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.0 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.9 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Sue and Michel, Phil, Mal, Wendy, Celia, Paul, Tim and Carol.
We set off on the walk with very light rain, but enough to warrant waterproofs, although a few did stop a little later to put on their jackets. 
 Views for most of the morning were minimal and left much to the imagination, but at least the Skylarks were still singing.
 It was good to have Tim and Carol join us for the first time since relocating to the midlands. It was a pity that the weather wasn't behaving itself, although it was still more pleasant walking today than it would have been had we been walking in the heat of yesterday (.30 Celsius).
 Paul, Tim and Carol had other commitments later in the day and decided to make their own way back just before lunch.
 The rest of us continued on route and around mid-day the rain stopped and the clouds lifted and we started to get the kind of views we have come to expect on this walk.
 We stopped for lunch on our usual spot overlooking the Eglwyseg Valley, using suitable perches in the  limestone outcrops adjacent to the path. The Sun even came out briefly as we had lunch.
 After lunch we set off on our usual rout across the top of the escarpments, but decided to explore one of the higher paths to avoid one of the more awkward gully paths. This proved a good choice ands probably one we will use again in the future.
 We arrived back at the car, having had a superb walk, despite the initial poor weather, but in reality this walk rarely disappoints.
 Birds seen or heard today included: Skylark, Stonechat, Wheatear, Meadow pipit, Carrion crow, Raven, Common buzzard, jackdaw, Common kestrel and Common blackbird.
 After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Pant-yr-Ochain, Gresford, where some of us enjoyed a pint one of of our favourite tipples - Purple Moose's "Snowdonia Ale".

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Marbury Country Park and More 17th June 2017

Water lilies in flower on Budworth Mere.
Budworth Mere from the West as we started the walk.
A Cootlet on Pick Mere just a few feet from our lunch spot.
A Great cormorant on the landing stage near our lunch spot.
Me and the kids.
Mute swan and cygnets on the shore of Pick Mere.
A Grey heron on the Trent and Mersey Canal.
Great Budworth church from the Trent and Mesey Canal.
Looking across Budworth Mere towards Great Budworth from Big Wood in Marbury Country Park.
Binocular testing with a bit of bird watching.
See below for was he looking at?
Mute swan with seven large cygnets.
Walk stats: Distance: 7.6 miles. Climb: 299'
Time: 4 hours 18 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.5 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.8 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn and Mike.
The day didn't start well, with Celia deciding that she wasn't feeling too good and didn't want to risk walking, particularly as high temperatures had been forecast.
We started by heading for Focal Point Optics at Higher Whitley so that Mike could look at a variety of binoculars with the hope of buying one as his retirement gift from the local authority.
 Whilst testing out the binoculars we were luck enough to see a juvenile Great spotted woodpecker on the feeders just below us.
 After about an hour, Mike eventually decided on the pair that suited him, so with new binoculars in hand we headed for Marbury Country Park to give then a real test.
 We set off at about 11-30, wondering if we could cope with heat and exposure to lots of sunshine.
The first stop was at the screen overlooking the reedbed, where blooming Water lilies looked great and lots of Coots could be seen as well as a couple of Great crested grebes.
 Our first trek across open country was on the path heading for Great Budworth, but thankfully at this point clouds blocked out the Sun to give us some relief.
 We had a brief section of woodland to go through before taking the road to Great Budworth, but even on along the road we were able to walk in the shade of trees or houses for most of the way.
 On leaving Great Budworth and heading for Pick Mere were in open countryside and had no shelter from the searing sunshine until we reached the mere.
 We decided to have an extended lunch here, sitting in the shade overlooking Pick Mere and watching young people messing about in the water. It looked very tempting to take of my boots and cool my feet in the water.
 After lunch the road section through Wincham, not the most scenic part of the walk, when once again we were exposed to the Sun's rays.
 Thankfully once we were on the towpath of the Trent and Mersey Canal, we were largely walking in the shade.
 Arriving at the footbridge over the canal, we decided to explore Big Wood, rather than visit the Anderton Boat Lift as again we could enjoy walking in the shade of the trees back to the car.
 We finished the walk by once more visiting the screen overlooking the reedbed. On this occasion we saw a family of Mute swans, parent birds with seven large cygnets.
 As we arrived back at Marbury Country Park, we he a lot of happy sounding children's voices and some squeals and  wondered where it was coming from. We discovered that the Park had put up a giant pool - what a perfect day for for children to be splashing about in water.
 We arrived back at the car, having had a good walk despite the heat, but thankful it wasn't any longer!
 Birds seen or heard today included: Common coot, Mute swan, Great crested grebe, Woodpigeon, Carrion crow, Rook, Jackdaw, Blackbird, Blue tit, House sparrow, Great spotted woodpecker, Common blackbird, Barn swallow, Mallard, Mute swan, Common whitethroat, Reed bunting, Goldfinch, Great cormorant and Black-billed magpie.
 After letting the car inside cool down a bit we headed home and refreshment at the Netherton Hall at Frodsham where Lees bitter and iced Coca cola went down well.
 Overall a good day out with all objectives accomplished.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Prestatyn to Talacre and Back 15th June 2015

The Little Tern Colony at Gronant.
The Little Tern Colony at Gronant.
"Well it's like this".
Sea holly and orchid in Gronant sand dunes.
Sedge warbler in the coastal marsh off Presthaven Holiday park.
Ring plover on the beach off Presthaven Holiday park.
Ring plover on the beach off Presthaven Holiday park.
Blue skies above Point of Ayr Lighthouse.
What is this in the march grass at Talacre? 
Is it really a giant tortoise?
A Pyramidal orchid in the Warren.
Romance between crows.
Walk stats: Distance: 9.6 miles. Climb: Wind assisted 644' but in reality nearer 150'.
Time: 4 hours 22 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.6 m.p.h. Overall walking average: 2.2 m.p.h. 
Group: Martyn, Roger, David S, Wendy, Sue and Dave P.
Arriving at Prestatyn, the wind was a little stronger than we had expected, so we decided to head along the beach to Talacre so that the wind was behind us to avoid any sand being blown in our faces.
 The sea was well out all day, so we didn't see many wading birds up close, but we did see one Little tern looking for food over a pool quite nearby.
 Heading along the boardwalk we met two rangers from the local authority who gave us an update on future plans to extend the boardwalk to give a better view of the Little tern colony near the volunteer watch hut.
 Skylarks seemed to be everywhere, despite the notice saying that informed us the the Talacre Skylarks were in trouble.
 Just before the Lighthouse came into sight, two of the group deserted, and  headed back to fulfil grandparent duties.
 We saw very few people on the beach until the lighthouse was in sight, but even then there wasn't that many.
Approaching the picnic tables overlooking the marsh West of Point of Ayr, we felt heavy drops of rain, but thankfully they didn't last, so we could enjoy lunch being serenaded by singing Skylarks.
 Th return route through the Warren was uneventful, but as we approached the caravan site, three more disappeared into the distance never to be seen again! Well not until we got back to the cars.
 Wild flowers were in abundance adding to the delights of this gentle walk.
 Birds seen or heard today included: Herring gull, Lesser black back gull, Little tern, Meadow pipit, Barn swallow, House martin, Mute swan, Mallard, Coot, Sedge warbler, Carrion crow, Oystercatcher, Reed bunting, House sparrow, Linnet, Little egret, Grasshopper warbler and Common starling.
 After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Bluebell Inn at Halkyn where the Cheshire Brewery's Squirrel's Jump went down well.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

Tegg's Nose and Macclesfield Forest 3rd June 2017

Macclesfield Forest and Shutlinglsoe from Tegg's Nose.
Investigating the stone crusher in Tegg's Nose Country Park.
Bottom's Reservoir and and Shutlinglsoe from Tegg's Nose.
Cattle grazing in Tegg's Nose Country Park.
A delightful path through Macclesfield Forest on the way to Charity Lane.
Hang gliders over Shining Tor from our lunch spot near the Charity Lane entrance 
to Macclesfield Forest.
The path to Higher Ballgreave Farm.
Looking back towards Wickinford Farm.
Looking back towards Wickinford Farm from the re-routed path over Ely Brow to Snip House.
The informed finger post at Snipe House.
We went "This Way".
Field Forget-Me-Nots as we approached Tegg's Nose Country Park near the end of the walk.
Tegg's Nose and Sutton Common in our sights - nearly there!
Walk stats: Distance: 8.8 miles. Climb: 1740'.
Time: 6 hours 3 minutes. On the move walking average: 1.9 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.5 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn and Mike.
This is usually a walk that we usually do at some point during the Winter months, so doing it in Summer conditions was something new.
 In the main the weather was warm and sunny with a pleasant cooling wind at times, only clouding over for the last mile when we even felt a few drops of the wet stuff.
 Much improvements had been done along the route, with stiles replaced by kissing gates and duck boards put in one of the places that in the past were very difficult to negotiate without getting wet feet.
 As a change we decided to explore the path via Wickinford Farm and Snipe House, thankfully well signed as the path had been re-routed as it crossed a stream and went through the the wood and over Ely Brow.
 It was such a good day for walking that we really did dawdle, admiring the views and the flowers as we went.
 Lunch was taken near Charity Lane, where we took advantage of a bench with views towards Shining Tor and the Cat's Fiddle. Hang gliders performed over Shining Tor as we had lunch.
 Birds seen or heard included: Jackdaw, Carrion crow, Raven, Woodpigeon, Common chaffinch, Common blackbird, Mallard, Pied wagtail, European robin, Goldfinch, Common kestrel, Barn swallow, Rook, Skylark, Lapwing and Eurasian curlew.
 We arrived back at the car, having had an excellent walk and celebrated with a cup of tea and coffee at the Tegg's Nose Cafe before we headed home.
 Tegg's Nose and Macclesfield Forest will in future be a Summer walk and we can look forward dry mud conditions and clean boots at the end of the day!