Friday, 14 April 2017

Wirral Circular Trail - Day 1 Liverpool to Ledsham

Distance: 13 miles
Ascent: 120m
Weather: overcast, drizzle turning heavier
Goldfinches, cormorants, shelduck, oyster catchers, little grebe, tufty ducks, mallards, black-tailed godwit, heard woodpecker and chiffchaff.
Mr Squirrel 1

We got the train from Manchester to Liverpool last night and had a very comfortable night at the Indigo Hotel, cold germs aside. At 10am we caught the ferry cross the Mersey (expensive as it's a bank holiday) down to Woodside and set off walking south on the Wirral Circular Trail. The main aspects of today's walk were housing estates (the highlights being the very edge of Port Sunlight and Bromborough Pool) and industrial estates (highlights being Prestige pans and the smells coming from a Nestlé cereal factory.)

Along the banks of the Mersey we saw lots of wading birds (black-tailed godwits) and many spring flowers, including bluebells and cowslips.

We stopped for lunch at a very pretty little tea garden café in Eastham Country Park, and had a few stops for topping up the decongestant levels.

Along the disused railway line at the Hooten end of Wirral country park we didn't see any glow worms, but there were some bees and lots of flies.

As we turned off the route to detour to Inglewood Manor where we are staying tonight it started to drizzle. We would have made it to the hotel before it really got heavy if it hadn't been for a cow delay.

Nevertheless we made it OK and have been welcomed with cakes and prosecco.

Sunday, 26 March 2017

RSPB Conway

A warm, sunny spring morning at RSPB Conway at high tide.

Great crested grebes
Canada geese
Lesser black backed gull
Oyster catchers
Tufty duck
Little egret
Grey heron
Mute Swan
Reed bunting
Red breasted merganser
Barnacle goose
Sand marten
Blue tit
And last, but by no means least, a little grebe

Saturday, 25 March 2017

Great Orme, Little Orme

Distance: 16 miles
Ascent: 600m
Weather: blue skies and sunshine
The world's smallest yellow box junction
Jackdaws, buzzards, kestrel, bunnies, skylarks, pippets, goats, small green bird, guillemots, celandine, forgot me not.
Killer seagulls 1
Slightly aggressive gorsebush 1
Chuffing choughs 0

A visit to Llandudno for the weekend because we'd never been before, I wanted to look for choughs, and the weather forecast was good.

We needn't have worried about parking, there was plenty of on street spaces when we arrived at about 10am. We walked up the zigzag path to the summit of Great Orme, with beautiful views across the bay to Conway and the hills behind, to the visitor centre, where a leaflet was acquired. The nature trail route led us down and around to the toll road, above fine turreted houses, cliff edges complete with goats, and the site of a shipwreck.

Then we headed up over the headland, over grassy paths with limestone rocks, towards an old churchyard and along to the ski slope and down through a park into Llandudno. We walked out to the end of the pier and back, then along the promenade, where I was mugged by a massive seagull. Once I was patched up, we moved along to eat our lunch in a more stealthy manner further along (hoping that the family eating their McDonald's would draw their attention away from us.) Thankfully no more bits of fingers were lost (that we know of...)

We carried on the pavement up to Little Orme, a short steep walk up to the trig point and along the cliff top where there were lots of jackdaws and dog walkers.

We came back along a less busy road and footpath that led back to the promenade, then following the Alice in Wonderland statues across town and back to the car.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Manchester and Rochdale Canal

Distance: about 16 miles
Ascent: 350m
Weather: sunny, turning cloudier
Hungee canada geese, box for an electric meat grinder, coal tit, grey wagtails, moorhens in trees, squirrels, ferocious beast, mallards, lots o'sparrows, wren

We set off for a walk, finding ourselves on the tram into Manchester from Shaw, then visiting the memorial to Alan Turing in Sackville Gardens, before walking home via the Rochdale canal and Tandle Hill.

There were a lot of canada geese on the canal, when we stopped to eat our sandwiches they were most interested.

It was starting to rain as we arrived home.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Leighton Moss

A murky misty day at Leighton Moss. Highlight probably staying late at the Eric Morecambe hide and seeing the flocks starlings murmuring, not quite murmerating.

Marsh harrier
Canada geese
Little egret
Grey heron
Mute Swan
Marsh tit
Little grebe
Black-headed gull
Tufty duck
Great crested grebe
Great tit
Blue tit
Red squirrel

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Around Martindale Common

Distance: 15.7 miles
Ascent: 1200m
Weather: wet and windy, clag
Brief glimpse of a red squirrel,  toad, rooks and crows.
Mittens: wet
Glasses: wet
Everything: wet
New Tops: Brownthwaite Crag, Gowk Hill, Wether Hill (b & l gr whatever that means), Red Crag, Low Raise

We were set off not long after 9am,  filled with breakfast, and loaded down with lunch and my new expensive camera that didn't leave the cosiness of its waterproof bag due to the bad weather.

It was drizzling as we headed up to Bordale Hause, timing it perfectly so we ended up between two hordes. The thing about hordes is that they stop a lot, and one lot having just overtaken us, proceeded to stop. That was the last we saw of them. We turned left at Boredale Hause, leaving the coast to coast route,  and headed down into Boredale, along the valley dropping down to a farm, where we crossed into Martindale over Winter Crag. The paths were muddy, grassy and quite slipsome. They then got muddier and considerably steeper on the other side of the valley, heading up Nettlehowe Crag to the High Street path along the ridge - in the wind and clag.

Visibility was limited,  not helped by steamed up and wet glasses. At times along the way I even took my glasses off, which was different  but not necessarily any better. We wandered around looking for tops,  in the clag, and I got knackered clambering up vertical (ok maybe not vertical) grassy fellsides.

Lunch was had on wobbly rocks behind a wall by somewhere near Red Crag or thereabouts,  it was cold and wet and oniony.

The path down from Knott was clear and quite easy going,  which was a relief given  the strength of the wind. Before reaching Hayeswater, there was a lost dog and a sign telling us about a new bridge over the Gill so we aimed for that, although we'd dropped down below the cloudline here so could actually see something. From the bridge there is now a rough road for the building of a new hydroelectric system,  and we followed this steep track down into the valley by the side of Hayeswater Gill and its waterfalls.

From Hartsop back to Patterdale there are footpaths along the side of the valley edge, quite muddy in places but sheltered.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Brushes Clough in a Blizzard

Distance: about 6 miles
Ascent: 300m
Weather: cold, windy, snowy
Mallards leaving the ditch, a few pigeons.

A wet, muddy and bracing walk along the track and over Brushes Clough, up to the aerials and around the track along the northern edge of the hill.

Very windy, becoming calmer just as we got home.