The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Monday 22 February 2010

The Alleyways Around Altrincham (Saturday 20 Feb)

Although it wasn’t an early start in the grand scheme of things, Saturday’s start was a touch earlier than that to which I have become accustomed over the last five weeks. That meant that it was still jolly cold out (-4, said our garden thermometer) as we left home, but also meant that the roads were quiet, allowing us to arrive in Timperley on time.

By a few minutes before 9 we were assembled at Timperley Metro Station to join a LDWA (South Manchester group) outing on a 17-miles route around Altrincham.

It was as a party of 15 that we set out in a timely manner to do battle with a bit of overgrown undergrowth on the non-towpath side of the (lightly iced over) Bridgewater Canal.

Leaving the canal a while later alleyways and streets became a definite theme for the day.


It was by no means all alleyways and tarmac, even if they did prevail. In between times there was woodland (the bit in the following photo featuring the only non-flat bit of the route):


And then there was a section alongside the River Bollin, where logs and banks were turned into makeshift benches whilst we all paused to sample some of Martin’s excellent Fudge Brownies (yum!)


which pause also gave us the opportunity to try to find a Geocache which should have been under this bridge:


We failed to find it, and I’ve since found that it proved illusive to the previous seeker too, so maybe it has gone walkabout?

The coldness had been persisting for some hours (although not quite cold enough to turn the mud completely solid) until a bit of day-time warmth won through (allowing me to finally divest myself of both hat and gloves, although not quite enough to remove a layer). That warmth melted the last of the frost, which in turn made the mud even softer. There was quite some mud in places too:

IMG_0045IMG_0046(Mick was kind enough not to photograph walk-leader John’s inadvertent bathing in this particular mud obstacle.)

Lunch was taken in the rather lovely surroundings of the grounds of Dunham Massey, which was made even lovelier by the clouds having been chased away by the sun.


The day had brought lots of people out to enjoy the grounds.

IMG_0614 More woodland

IMG_0615 and some cobbles

IMG_0616led us back to the alleyways and streets, which led us back to the Bridgewater Canal, which was by now back in a fully-liquid state:

IMG_0618It had been 17 miles of good exercise (no dawdling on this walk!), with some excellent company (the pace and the company explaining why the photos shown above represent the entirety of those taken between both Mick & I!).

With the main event of the day over, it was not straight back into the car to stiffen up as we headed home. Rather, Martin & Sue were good enough to entertain us with one of their excellent slide shows (I failed miserably on flower identification as always (and sadly will likely not cry ‘That’s a black vanilla orchid!’ if I ever see one), but equally predictably added more places to my ‘must go there’ list!). They then proceeded to serve us a truly delicious meal, which set us up nicely for the journey south. Thank you Martin & Sue!


  1. What! JJ navigating???

    And you all finished in the daylight? I hope Andrew is watching as he can throw away all those heavy maps on the Challenge now...

  2. Thank you, Gayle. Though I'm not sure that 'walk-leader John' will thank me for my explicit recording of his mud bath (no video I'm afraid).
    You may be a little early for the 'Black Vanillas' as you pass through the Peaks on your K2CW walk. You just need to remember two different words - 'Early' and 'Purple'.
    Alan - JJ wasn't navigating - that would never be permitted (when you read my report you'll realise why, and we wanted to finish in daylight). There were several Johns on this walk. JJ is however a genius, as demonstrated when he resuscitated various bits of our computer earlier today. Thanks JJ.

  3. They wouldn't let me navigate - they said something about elbows, backsides and due North.

    Too difficult for me to understand.

    This evening's word: conal. As in the Bridgewater Conal?