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 2016:- 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.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Cwm Conwy, Rhes-y-cae, Moel-y-crio from Rhosesmor 8th December 2016

"Do we really have to go in doors? It's much nicer out here".
On the path through the wood in Cwm Conwy.
Sunshine on Flint and the Welsh coast.
Looking East into the stone quarry North of Moel-y-crio.
Capped mine shafts on Halkyn Mountain.
Heading for Rhes-y-cae from Halkyn Mountain.
The Beluga circling before coming into land at Hawarden Airport.
The Sun starting to set over the Clwydian Hills.
The lime kiln on the South east side of Moel y Gaer.
Walk stats: Distance: 9.6 miles. Climb: 1250'.
Time: 5 hours 47 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.1 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.7 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Sue and Michel, Roger and David S.
Most forecast suggested that it would be raining for most of the morning, but would be fine in the afternoon and with temperatures in double figures it was definitely shorts weather!
We arrived at the start and the rain had stopped, so we were optimistic that the rain had come through early.
 Although it wasn't raining, many of the stiles were wet and quite slippy and we were all very careful crossing them. Unfortunately we didn't all take as much care on the stones next to the stile, and Roger decided that he wanted a closer encounter with the mud when he slipped over, hurting his shoulder. He soldiered on and completed the walk, despite a mishap with his sausage roll at lunch time!
 The rain started again as we went through the Coed Llys next to the Afon Conwy, so we all stopped to put on waterproofs, only for it to have stopped by the time we had reached the road. We kept our waterproofs on until lunch as the wind was a little on the cool side to say the least.
 Lunch was taken. just short of Berth-ddu, where we took advantage of a few stones along the fence.
 After lunch was much better and only laziness kept me from returning my waterproof top to my rucksack, However at Rhes-y-cae, the wind had eased, the Sun was shining and blue skies were all around.
  We had explored a few footpaths that none of us had used before, giving us different views into the stone quarry. This wasn't good enough for us and as we arrived at the quarry entrance we decided to follow signs say "Pedestrian Route". Unfortunately this was meant for quarry workers not us, and we had to be put right by one of the quarry men.
 One more path that we had hoped to explore wasn't possible as it had been consumed by the quarry, so another diversion was needed, but it didn't extend the walk at all.
 As the Sun was starting to set, and legs were flagging, we missed out the climb up Moel y Gaer and kept to the easy road route back to the car.
 Birds seen or heard today included: European robin, Winter wren, Jackdaw, Carrion crow, Rook, Wood pigeon, Common pheasant, Fieldfare, Redwing, Goldfinch, Meadow pipit, Blue tit and Common blackbird.
 After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Blue Bell Inn at Halkyn where Blue Bell Bitter and Green Valley Vintage cider went down well as we listened to Tom explaining a little about his Mudder adventure in the American desert.

Walks and Dates December 2016

Thursday 1st December 2016.
The Trent and Mersey Canal, Great Budworth and More.
Start: Marbury Country Park car Park (Pay and Display £2-50 last time). Grid ref: SJ652763.
Distance: 7-10 miles. Climb: 1000'.
Leave Chester at 09-00 a.m.
The main 7 mile walk is taken from the "Pathfinders Guide to Cheshire". This is described as a varied walk with plenty of historic interest, including the Anderton Boat Lift.. The extra mileage will be made by exploring the Anderton Nature Park, Marshall's Wood, Carey Park, Ashton's Flash and Neumann's Flash.  Bring binoculars with you if you can.
Saturday 3rd December 2016.
Ramshaw Rocks and the Roaches.
Distance: 8 miles. Climb: 1400’.
Start: Lay-by on West side of Hen Cloud, opposite the track to Windygates. Grid ref: SK006618.
Leave Chester at 08-00.
This walk allows us to explore Ramshaw Rocks seen so many times as we have walked over the Roaches. Ramshaw Rocks from a distance have always looked to be an interesting place in which to walk. This time Ramshaw Rocks will be our main objective with a North to South traverse of the Roaches a bonus towards the end of the walk. If time and legs permit, Hen Cloud may be included as an extension.
The route heads North and then North west leading to Well Farm. From Well Farm field paths are used to reach the Churnet Way near Naychurch. The Churnet Way is followed North over Ramshaw Rocks and then leaves the Churnet Way and heads North to visit Black Brook Nature Reserve, After a complete circuit of the Reserve the route drops down to the road South of Newstone Farm. The road is then followed North for about a mile before heading west across Goldstich Moss in to the Black Brook Valley. After crossing the brook on a footbridge the path then rises to Roach End. At Roaches End the main path over the Roaches is followed past the trig point and Doxy Pool back to the start.
Thursday 8th December 2016.
Cwm Conwy, Moel Y Gaer and Moel y Crio.
Distance:10 miles. Climb: 1200'.
Start: Rhosesmor. Parking area next to the children's play area. Grid ref:SJ214684.
Leave Chester at 9-00 a.m.This walk combines two walks from Dave Berry's book "Walks Around Holywell and Halkyn Mountain".  The Cwm Conwy walk is one of my favourite walks in the Halkyn area at any time of the year. The Moel-y-Crio will use only part of second walk, so we will have to take care that we are vigilant after going through Moel-y-Crio, otherwise we will be extending the walk more than we want to!
Saturday 10th December 2016.
Clip-y-Orsedd, The Druid Circle. 
Postponed - troops falling by the wayside, but not believed to be chicken flu!
This walk will appear again early in 2017.
Distance: 9 miles. Climb:2400'.
Leave Chester 8-00 a.m.
An early start as some of the group need to be back in Chester around 17-30.
Start: Car park behind the bank in Llanfairfechan. Turn right of Village Road. Grid ref:SH682747.
his walk uses two walks Dave Berry's book "Walks on the North Wales Coast." These two walks combine to make one of my favourite walks in this area as they explore the hills behind  Llanfairfechan and Penmaenmawr. We will visit the impressive Druids' Stone Circle, but on this occasion we will miss out Foel Lus.  On a good day we should get good views, especially towards the coast and Tal y Fan. As we need to be back in Chester early, we will only extend the walk as far as the Druids Circle.
Thursday 15th December 2016.
Marion Frith, Moel Hiraddug, Cwm and Coed Yr Esgob.
Distance:10.4 miles; Climb:1600'.
Start:Car Park at the Western edge of Dyserth on the A5151. Grid ref: SJ062793.
Leave Chester 9-00 a.m.
It's over a year since we last did these two walks together. Both walks are taken from Dave Berry's book "Walks on the Clwydian Hills - New revised edition". He describes the first walk as delightful and the second one as providing a fascinating exploration of the low hills North of Dyserth.
Saturday 17th December 2016,
A Plumley Rail Trail.
Distance: 6-8 miles. Climb: 225' (excluding stiles!)
Start: Plumley Railway Station Moor Road Car Park. Grid ref: SJ721753.
Leave Chester: 09-00.
This is a walk produced by East Cheshire and is one suggested as a suitable Winter walk by David S for our Thursday group. Not knowing the area at all, I thought that I would explore the  area on a Saturday when I know we will only need to consider parking for one car.
The walk is described as exploring the beautiful countryside around Plumley, taking you through magnificent scenery from streams to farmland through woodland and leafy lanes. We will probably explore Plumley Lime Beds Nature Reserve. At this time of the year some sections across farmland are likely to be muddy.
Thursday 22nd December 2016.
Halkyn, Limestone, Lead and Moel Ffagnallt.
Distance:10 miles; Climb:1000'.
Start: Common Land opposite the Blue Bell Inn, Halkyn. Grid ref: SJ209702. 
Leave Chester at 09-00.
We haven't started a walk from this location for quite some time. I thought that as this is the last walk before Christmas that it was a good time to do so. It combines two walks from Dave Berry's book "Walks Around Holywell and Halkyn Mountain". This walk combines two of my favourite walks in this fascinating area on our local patch and is our annual treat just before Christmas.
Saturday 24th December 2016.
No walk as I anticipate that most of the group will be busy getting things ready for Christmas.
However, if you are already organised and fancy a walk to relieve the boredom give me a call.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Ramshaw Rocks and the Roaches 3rd December 2016

Hen Cloud from the pass between Hen Cloud and The Roaches.
The Roaches from the pass between Hen Cloud and The Roaches.
First views of Ramshaw Rocks.
Ramshaw Rocks ahead.
Hen Cloud and The Roaches from the road on the West side of Ramshaw Rocks.
Ramshaw Rocks.
Ravens and Jackdaws over Ramshaw Rocks.
Preferably viewed without sound as I haven't learned how to edit video!
Taking in the view from a high point on Ramshaw Rocks.
Near the trig point on The Roaches with light fading fast.
Ramshaw Rocks from The Roaches.
Sunset from The Roaches.
Walk stats: Distance: 9.0 miles. Climb: 1419'.
Tie: 6 hours 11 minutes. On the move walking average: 1.9 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.4 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn and Mike.
Arriving at the parking area below Hen Cloud, the temperature was just below 4 Celsius and as well as being somewhat overcast.  At least it was dry and we set off optimistically hoping for the Sun to break through at some stage.
 This was the first time that we had attempted to cross the Ramshaw Rocks ridge, but our first challenge was getting there. After making a couple of mistakes, we arrived at the start of the ridge about 40 minutes later than it would have been had we not taken the unplanned extension through Upper Hulme. As we crossed Ramshaw Rocks we were endlessly entertained by Ravens at least six of them displaying despite the attention of other corvids.
  Our second route change came just after descending Ramshaw Rocks, where the we intended to us, whilst on the map was no longer present on the ground so we decided to miss out Black Brook Nature Reserve.
 We had lunch on the roadside North of Harpersend, where I sat on the stile and Mike used the nearby stone wall. Thankfully at this time we had warm sunshine, but we were still glad that we had hot soup and drinks on our menus for lunch.
 We had hoped to avoid the worst of the boggy sections around Goldstich Moss, but even the track past Moss End farm ended being just as bad. 
 It was gone 15-00 as we arrived at Roach End. We reckoned that we had at least another hours of reasonable light left, so started the North - South traverse of the Roaches despite the fact that the light was starting to fade. We both had head touches in our rucksacks, but later admitted we hadn't checked to see if they were working.
 as we crossed the Roaches, the temperature dropped considerably and must have been pretty close to the -2 Celsius the Met Office suggested it would feel like in the cold North easterly wind
 Just as we arrived at the Southern end of The Roaches the Sunset was superb, adding memorable moment to the walk.
 Overall this was a really good walk, and will be repeated, but perhaps not exactly as today.
Birds seen or heard today included: Winter wren, Common blackbird, Red grouse, Common starling, Common buzzard, Carrion crow, Jackdaw and Raven.
 After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Wilkes Head in Leek, where the Hartington Bitter was in excellent form. The main bar was heaving as and the heat coming from the fire gave us a warm welcome. However the facilities could still do with a little updating!

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Marbury Country Park and Pick Mere 1st December 2016

Budworth Mere viewed from its Northern side.
The St Mary's and All Saints Church at Great Budworth and the stocks for sinners!
This is our lunch spot - on shore by a gull roost!
Looking over Pick Mere towards Great Budworth from our lunch spot.
One of the seven juvenile Mute swans on Pick Mere.
One of the adult Mute swans on Pick Mere.
On the towpath through the scenic part of Wincham!
Looking across Budworth Mere towards Great Budworth from the Southern side of the mere.

What can possibly be making this stick move in the still quiet waters of Budworth Mere?
Ignore any commentary by ?
Walk stats: Distance: 7.8 miles. Climb: 290'.
Time: 4 hours 19 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.3 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.8 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, David S and Paul.
This was the first of our Winter walks as today was the official start of meteorological winter. Taking that in to account this was a really good day for walking, quite crisp underfoot and pleasantly warm whenever we were in the sunshine. Budworth Mere had a thin layer of ice in places and in the morning very few birds were on the lake.
 The field on the North side of the mere had large numbers of Eurasian Curlew, more than we saw on our previous visit.
  Great Budworth village is a delightful picturesque village, although we only saw the parts West of St Mary's and All Saints Church and on along School Lane.
The section through the fields to Pick Mere is usually very muddy, but thankfully today the ground was still frozen, so cleaning boots when we got home didn't take long, a quick wipe on the uppers was all that was needed!
 Lunch was taken near the landing stage on Pick Mere, which at that time was bathed in warm sunshine. This was a delightful spot for lunch with superb views across the Mere towards Great Budworth and lots of birds on the mere to entertain us as we had our lunch.
 The section of the canal path from Wincham to the Lion Salt Works isn't one that stands out in your memory, but it does make you realise how important industry was in days gone by.
 Rather than visit the Anderton Boat Lift today, we explored Marbury Country Park by taking the path through Black Wood and Big Wood to join the path on the Southern side of the Mere. There were lots more birds on the mere at this stage.
 Just before the boat house our attention was drawn to first a submerged branch of a tree moving about and the just a few minutes later a post about 15' into the mere started to do the same. We watched it for several minutes hoping that we would see the perpetrator of the moving post. Unfortunately the identity of the "Marbury Monster" remains a a mystery. We would welcome any sensible suggestions or explanations for the moving post/stick.
 Birds seen or heard today include: European robin, Blue tit, Great tit, Wood nuthatch, Black-headed gull, Herring gull, Great crested grebe, Tufted duck, Mallard, Eurasian curlew, Carrion crow, Jackdaw, Common blackbird, Great cormorant, Mute swan, Wigeon, Coot, Moorhen and Lapwing.
 After walk drinks enjoyed today were locally brewed  Weetwood's Eastgate and Cheshire Cat as we sat in the pleasant and warm Farmers Arms at Kelsall.
 Overall a really good walk, just about the right length for this time of the year.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

A Ceiriog Trail From Pontricket 26th November 2016

Photo times are still on BST.
An old mill next to the Afon Ceiriog, West of Pont -y-Meibion.
Blue skies starting to appear out of the mist.
Doing what it says on the seat - "Lift up thine eyes to the hills".
Snoe on the hills on the North side of the Ceiriog Valley.
The view from our lunch spot on the Ceiriog TrailNorth east of Pen-y-gwely Reservoir.
Looking South east towards the Pen-y-gwely Reservoir.
Looking into the valley as the starts to set.
The same view without trees.
The Sun's rays showing some of the cobwebs in the fiels.
The path heading down the valley to Siambr-gerrig and onto Pontricket.
Emerging from the ford.
Autumnal colours East of Pontricket.
Walk stats: Distance: 8.5 miles. Climb: 1029'.
Time; 5 hours 39 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.1 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.5 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn and Mike.
We set off from the car with a cloak of mist in the valley and stretching up to the tops of the hills on each side of the valley, but we were optimistic that it would clear by the time we to the moorland around Pen y Gwely.
 It did indeed do just that and within 15 minutes of feeling the warm sunshine we were shedding fleeces and the views were superb. Views of hill tops decked in snow below blue skies what more could you want when out on an Autumn walk.
 The only problem we encountered was off road motor bikes with their high pitched engines speeding around a course set up South of Llechrydau. At least our quite solitude was restored once we had gone past them.
 Lunch was taken using convenient stones next to the trail that gave us superb views over the valley to the snow covered tops beyond. However we were not alone at our lunch spot, as Mike soon found out when he noticed lots of spiders crawling over him, at one point starting to make a web across his boots.
 Much later on we in fact we went across a field that seemed to be covered in cobwebs, only seen when the sun's light shone on them at a particular angle.
 As we approached Siambr-gerrig, we saw our bird of the day, a Woodcock flew towards us coming within a few feet before disappearing.
 Overall this was a really good walk and the Siambr-gerrig path is one we will use again to avoid the alternative track that we have used in the past.
 Towards the end of the walk as the Sun was starting to go down, we had superb views with unusual lighting. 
 Birds seen or heard today included: Common blackbird, Moorhen, Raven, Carrion crow, Common buzzard, Common pheasant, Fieldfare, Goldfinch, Meadow pipit, Stonechat and Woodcock.
 After walk drinks were enjoyed at Pant-yr-Ochain at Gresford where Castle Rock's stout went down well.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Moel Findeg, Deborah's Well and More 24th November 2016

First view of Moel Famau.
Ceramic art seen on the way to Cholomendy.
The Clwydian Hills seen from Cholomendy.
A Welsh mountain pony trying to hide in Coed y Fedw.
Another Welsh mountain pony, but one that is a little less shy!
An unusual road sign on the outskirts of Maeshafn.
Looking back towards our lunch spot.
Strolling through Tir-y-coed after lunch.
It's always good to see a new stile!
The monkey face of Moel Findeg.
Panorama from Moel Findeg.
Moel Famau from Moel Findeg.
Walk stats: Distance: 8.2 miles. Climb: 1012'.
Time: 5 hours 4 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.1 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.6 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Celia and Phil.
This was a lovely Autumn day for walking, bright warm sunshine, hardly any wind and just about cold enough to justify keeping fleeces on. The only problem we had today was the fact that the Sun was so low in the sky, much of the morning we were regretting not having a baseball cap with a large peak to shade our eyes from the glare of the Sun! Wearing sunglasses later on helped a little.
 As is our want of late we explored a different path through Coed y Fedw on the way from Cholomendy to Maeshafn, giving us the opportunity to spot a few of the recently introduced Welsh mountain ponies. I wonder if they are appreciating the less harsh environment of the Clwydian Hills, having been relocated from Snowdonia.
 Lunch was taken by the lake in Tir-y-coed, where six convenient tree stumps provided suitable seats and side tables for each one of us.
 As the title of the walk included "Moel Findeg", we decided that we must make the effort to climb to its summit to admire the views in all directions. We were glad to see that we appeared to be having better weather than anyone walking on the Sandstone ridges of Cheshire.
 As we were parked in Cadole we kept to the path on the edge of the wood that went directly from Deborah's Well to Cadole.
 Birds seen or heard today included: Wood nuthatch, European robin, Jackdaw, Carrion crow, Common blackbird, Woodpigeon, Canada goose, Common buzzard, Black-billed magpie, Common pheasant and Fieldfare.
 After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Glasfryn, Mold, where I was able to pick up a walk description that we will probably use before the meal on the day of our annual meal together.