New Year's Resolutions

Wednesday January 30th. Plodder Walk. A City United by Canals. 11 miles. Leader: Don Watson.


Ten hardy Plodders braved the elements on arguably the worst day of snow this year. The group met at Victoria Station, but due to adverse weather conditions the trams were not running on schedule. This did help as there were a couple of latecomers.

Apologies were phoned or texted from would-be walkers who couldn't make the rendezvous.

Anyway half an hour later than planned a tram arrived to take us to the start of the walk at Stretford. Viv and John had planned to meet us at Stretford but alas, the weather took its toll.

We then took the snow-covered tow path along the Bridgewater Canal passing the attractive Stretford Marina and then the less attractive Old Trafford Theatre of Dreams (sorry, red team fans). The walk linking the two Manchester Football Clubs had now begun.

We walked at a gentle Plodder pace into the City centre where we stopped for lunch at Castlefield Canal Basin. The snow had now started to disappear so it was better under foot.

We then exited the Basin on the Rochdale Canal and passed through the Gay Village on Canal Street. We couldn't get back on the canal tow path as the police had put a padlock on the gate. This wasn't on last week when I did the recce. Anyway, no problem, we walked for a couple of hundred yards at street level to visit Jutland Street, believed to be the steepest hill in Manchester.

From here we then joined the Ashton Canal and progressed through Piccadilly Village, now on our way through Bradford to The Etihad Stadium where we stopped for a couple of photos and made the decision on whether we went back to town on the tram as we had lost a bit of time with the late start. Two Plodders decided to catch the tram and the other eight carried on the planned walk through Phillips Park and the Jewish Cemetery and onwards to join the Rochdale Canal and the final couple of miles back to Victoria Station and our onward journey home.

On talking to yesterday's walkers the general consensus was that there should be more Plodder Walks and there were quite a few volunteers willing to lead future walks, maybe one Plodder Walk per month. The Plodders are alive and well, long live the Plodders!



27th January 2019.     Ambleside to Tarn Hows Circular.


11 walkers left The Old Vicarage on a cold, blustery but sunny morning to Tarn Hows.

We hadn't gone far before one of the walkers decided to return to Ambleside because her boot was aggravating her ankle bone. Soon after, a call from the back alerted me that she had changed her mind. She decided it was better to put up with a little discomfort, rather than miss a walk on such a beautiful day with such pleasant company!

After a gentle start, mainly on quite lanes, we ascended Iron Keld Plantation before descending to cross the A593.

After crossing the road, we climbed again, past High Oxen Fell and down to the disused quarry.

Turning south, we climbed past Holme Fell and descended once again to the A593.

After following the A593 for a short distance, we turned east ascending to Tarn Hows, where we sat in the sun, sheltered from the wind for our lunch.

After lunch, we had another short climb before descending to Knipe Fold and a gentle walk back to Ambleside, passing close to Belham Tarn.



Click here to see Ken's pictures of the day.


Ambleside to Tilberthwaite & back - Saturday 26/1/19


Thirteen of us set off from the Old Vicarage on a damp morning, including Kim & Hazel who were up for the weekend but not staying at The Old Vicarage & a lady called Jackie who originated from Bolton but now lives in Windermere (lucky lady). Heavy rain was forecast from lunchtime so we set off at a good pace to try to cover some miles before it's arrival.


Through Rothay park we then climbed the steep hill which took us over Loughrigg Fell, hard work after a full English breakfast. We made our way to Skelwith Bridge & after viewing Skelwith Force waterfall we then crossed the River Brathay & followed a path through the woods to meet the Cumbria Way.


We followed this westwards to High Park & then followed another track to Stang End, Viv was "gutted" here to find the Café was closed. Undeterred we headed south & had a quick coffee break while it was still dry & then continued on to Low Tilberthwaite after passing a deep quarry. We then took a path over fields to High Tilberthwaite & followed a track northwards on the other side of the quarry.


After crossing a stream via an old stone bridge we arrived at Little Langdale. No shelter here from the heavy rain that had now started, as promised, so we made the decision to continue on to Elterwater for our lunch stop. Viv had earmarked a café & whilst she & half the group went in there the remainder of us cheapskates ate our lunch in a bus shelter.


After lunch we followed the well made path along the River Brathay back to Skelwith Bridge. We then followed a different route back up Loughrigg Fell before rejoining the path we had walked out on.


The hot tub & swimming pool at The Old Vicarage were most welcome after a very wet afternoon.


Dave & Alma


Wednesday January 23rd January. Chapeltown Circuit. 12 miles. Leader: Kim Shaw.


Not the most auspicious start to this social walk: the ground was covered in snow, and Alma and Dave, followed by Norman and Neil, telephoned to say they couldn’t make the walk because the traffic was so bad due to the weather conditions. Surprisingly when I arrived at the start point I was delighted to see 15 friendly walkers keen to get going.

Ground conditions were a bit treacherous but at the top of the hill near Chetham Close; the sun was shining and the scene looked glorious, so picturesque. The only problem was that I couldn’t see the tracks due to the snow. This led to my first error and I took a slightly longer route round Egerton to Bromley Cross.

I had anticipated that we would be at Affetside for 12.30 to 1.00ish for lunch. We were still at Dimple at just gone 11.30am, where Lynne begged for a break in order to get some breakfast. I was so busy trying to keep calm I had forgotten about breaks. We finally arrived at Affetside at 2.00pm, having lost Lynne along the way as she endeavoured to put on and take off her crampons to best meet the prevailing weather conditions. The group had soldiered on without complaint to Affetside and readily savoured lunch.

Much refreshed, we made good progress walking via Hawkshaw to Turton Bottoms. By this time, the sun was trying to penetrate the misty atmosphere. It was stunning.

I was privileged that so many kind LDWA friends came on this walk. It was a joy to do, despite all the mistakes I made. I apologise to all the kind hearted, patient stalwarts who participated in the first walk I have lead and I will ensure that I don’t make the same mistakes again. I look forward to seeing you all again on the second, but you can rest assured you will get a lunchbreak at a more appropriate time. Thanks all.



Click here to see Ken's pictures of the day.


The pictures below are from Jane.

The pictures below are from Hilary.


Sunday January 20th. Firstly Worsley then Whitefield & Kearsley. 20 miles. Shared Leadership with Michael Bushby,


"Fry it and they will come".  The film Field of Dreams was on my mind as I sat on my lonesome in Parr Fold Park at 8.45am.  Accompanied by a bag of warm bacon butties to welcome the day's walkers, I wondered just how many takers there would be.  Then, out of the murk appeared Caroline, Nick and Alfie soon followed by a steady flow of LDWAers that grew to a throng of 22.


Leadership was shared out over the day, with yours truly taking us past Walkden's finest abodes down to Worsley, where Hilary pointed out the significance of the place in the Industrial Revolution.  Caroline took over from here, while Nick took over doggy duties.  We headed via the hidden gem of the lake at Old Warke Dam across Roe Green's green then on paths skirting the M60's north western arc to reach Clifton Country Park.  The area triggered mining memories for Neil and a sign proved him right that it had been Wet Earth Colliery.


After a break, the leader's baton was passed back to me.  Onto the Kingfisher Trail by the River Irwell (little pause/paws by the bear statue - well, it amused me) we looped up through Philips Park and back down to the Irwell Sculpture Trail.  Lunch was taken at the remnants of a station near Outwood, from where Jane and Suzanne took over.


They hit the Manchester, Bolton, and Bury Canal, following it for a couple of miles to the amazingly steep locks - sadly dry now - at Nob End (no sniggering, please) for a quick stop at a couple of meccano tables.  The path through the woods at Clammerclough proved muddier and slippier than when they'd reccied it, claimed J & S.  Then through the industrial units of Kearsley, and past an unexpected Buddhist temple/retreat (cue Buddhist pizza joke - can you make me one with everything? - met with a mix of groans and confusion).  The weight of responsibility was lifted from J & S at the super-long footbridge that crosses the M61/A666 and it was back to me to return us to Walkden via Blackleach Country Park.  


I knew I should have asked to be cut some slack over the mileage, due to different people having planned sections separately, and we ended up doing 20 miles.  No-one mentioned it.  Hey ho!  It was a decent day, easy terrain and we were back just after 4 so it didn't seem worth taking short cuts just to hit the advertised distance. I think/hope people enjoyed exploring the green spaces and hidden routes so close to home.  Bobble hats off and thanks to the ladies who competently took up the offer to plan and lead.


Michael Bushby


Pictures below from Jane

Pictures below from Hilary


Wednesday January 9th. Little Cracker Safari. 12 miles. Leader: Norman Thomas.


We had 27 walkers and Maude, most were well behaved. I did explain the leader is the leader and do not go in front of me, one or two did but were told off!

The weather for the time of year was near perfect, frosty first thing then sun all day. We did a figure of eight starting from Curleys, we went up over the old tip which has been grassed over and many trees planted. Most walkers did not believe it had once been a very ugly tip some time ago.

We continued onto Matchmoor Lane then to the side of the quarry, onto a new footpath and over to Adams Hill where we had a group photo. Onwards then on good tracks over to Bolton Beach (still as lovely and peaceful as ever). We had a short break and then continued over to Burnt Edge with lovely views then down through the side of Montcliffe quarry to Curleys for lunch. I think everybody enjoyed their lunch. We dined upstairs in a really nice room and enjoyed good service and good food whilst taking in the fantastic views. Thanks Curleys, you did us proud again.

After dinner we had a photo shoot at the side of the hippo and then onwards to Wilderswood. We left out Two Lads hill because of time constraints and made our way back to Curleys just before 4pm.

A super day, thanks to all the walkers, we had a good laugh and banter.




Photos below from Jemma and Barbara.

Photos below from Hilary.


Sunday January 6th. Burrs Ramble. 20 miles. Leader: Steve Clark.


Arrive at 08:45 in a full car park and luckily a car is just leaving so grab the last space.  There is a good turn-out.  I’m identified as the leader of the walk to a woman who is part of a running event starting at 09:30.  She wants us to move.  She can’t alter her route.  Take a second or two to consider this and say I’m minded to stay put and she can vary her start time.  “Yes but I can’t alter my running route”.  Alter the time then, we were here first and leave it at that.


Asked what time we’ll be back and suggest 16:20.  Someone says this is ambitious and a 17:00 finish time will be more likely.  It’s sunset at 16:06 and I want to have the walk completed before it’s properly dark.  So off we set heading up the Irwell Valley from Burrs towards Rammy.  We’ve a large group – there are 33 of us (a record for the year so far!).  We soon become strung out but Sue’s acting as back marker for the first half having done the recce with me and I’m confident of not losing anybody by setting a reasonably brisk pace.  Stop for 10 or 15 minutes at Nutall Park while those that want to avail themselves of a proper toilet do so.


Continue up the valley and take a turn up to Edenfield where a drink stop was taken on the street leading down from the Rostron Arms (a frequent starting point for EL back in the day).  Here we had to head further north than I’d originally planned as on the recce we found that a bridge across the Irwell near Stubbins had been demolished.  


It’s been warm so far and even climbing out of the valley to the edge of Holcombe Moor didn’t cause us any problems.  The mist was down here on what was a rather grey and overcast day, with very little wind.  Not too much point from the view that would be missing but we swung past Peel Tower anyway.  Descend through the notoriously difficult Reddisher woods and along lanes to the army facility near Hawkshaw.  Lunch here.  Sue leaves us here and Peter and Peter take over as back markers for me.  


Continue towards Turton Bottoms and drop down to Jumbles Reservoir and walk with the crowds to the carpark and another civilised toilet stop.  Skirt above Bradshaw and some climbing now.  Stop for a gather up above a quarry and call a drinks stop while we regroup.  Through field systems and then follow Bentley Hall Road to Walshaw.  Slow the pace as we now go through a more complex part of the route with some twists and turns on the way to Elton – don’t want to lose anyone at this late stage.  Decide we have enough time to take in the full route down by the Irwell once more at Bury Show Ground.  Arrive back at the car park for 16:20.  GPSs suggested 21 miles and 800 metres of ascent.  My thanks to Sue and the two Peters for their support back marking and thanks to all who turned out on the walk.




Click here to view Peter's pictures