Chatsworth. Friday 17th June 2022 Another very warm day was predicted. On entering the grounds up to the car park the first of the Burning Man exhibition can be seen which has created more visitors than usual. We set off on our morning route up the steep hill into Stand Wood behind Chatsworth House. The rhododendrons were out on either side of the path up to the Hunting Tower where we had our coffee break to admire the views over the countryside and to rest in the shade from the warmth of the day. Before setting off again we had 2 photo calls one of the whole group and another with just the experienced and new MSU towers which is a first to have so many in one place altogether. We continued to the lake, which feeds the Emperor fountain and passed the Swiss Cottage on our way back down the hill through the trees to lunch in the shade at the car park. We sat close to the Wings of Glory, a horse which is lit up and does not move until on the hour, then it starts moving its wings in an attempt to fly away. In the afternoon the route went across the open fields, passing more of the displays including a large Mermaid. The deer and sheep were keeping cool under the trees as we passed, we then continued to the Golden Gate for more photos. Returning alongside the river towards the House we passed close to the Burning Man and back into the car park. Judy & Bernard
Cromford Wharf to Middleton Top. Thursday 16th June 2022. Another lovely start to the day with sunshine and a good-sized group of members and friends. We set off along the canal to High Peak Junction before climbing the first of the 2 steep 1 in 8 gradients. We had several stops on the way under the trees to the coffee stop overlooking the village of Cromford where we could see the cable car working at Matlock in the distance and the scenery was breath taking and well worth the climb. We continued along the flat part of the trail passing Black Rocks to the start of the final climb up the last 1 in 8 hill to Middleton Top. Just a little way up the second climb one of the trampers developed a problem and had to go back to wait for us to return to the Stone Centre café. Two other scooters followed suit and developed problems on the way up, mainly because of the heat and steepness of the climb. After a leisurely lunch to allow the trampers and helpers to cool down we set off back down the hill and visited the Stone Centre for a well-deserved ice cream at the café. We continued to the end of the High Peak Trail and stopped for drinks again at High Peak Junction just before they closed before completing the day’s very enjoyable ramble back at Cromford Wharf. Judy and Bernard
Hulme End, Manifold Valley, Derbyshire 14-06-2022. With lovely blue skies and a little cloud, we met at Hulme End Visitor Centre and were immediately joined by a robin (a new member?) who settled on one of the trampers inspected it and then brought his ‘friend’ to look inside MSU before flying off. The same group of members and friends as yesterday minus one member, set of along the trail which was an old railway between Leek and the Manifold railway which carried milk and cheese from the isolated dairy at Ecton. Today it was extremely busy with horses, cyclists and other walkers enjoying the lovely weather. At the tunnel we had to wait for a van driver who said he would love to join us if he hadn’t have been working, and then we stopped for our coffee break overlooking the beautiful scenery around us to take photos. Further on at Wetton Mill we had a relaxing lunch alongside the River Manifold where we joined many walkers and motorcyclists. After lunch our route continued along the opposite side of the river back to the tunnel and continued back to Hulme End where we enjoyed coffees, teas and ice creams at the end of our very enjoyable ramble. Judy and Bernard
Parsley Hay Monday 13th June We met at Parsley Hay for our first ramble of the week to grey overcast skies but fortunately no rain came all day. We were a group of 10 scooters and 9 walkers including 2 of our new towers Duncan and Anne Allan. We set off along the High Peak Trail towards the village of Hurdlow with splendid views for miles of rolling hills and fields. We stopped for coffee at Hurdlow just before leaving the trail to cross the road and down the lane passing Hurdlow Hall and the old Bakewell -Longnor-Leek turn pike road. After a couple of miles, having thankfully not passed a single vehicle along this narrow stretch of road we turned right onto a loose stony path and then returned to the High Peak Trail where we stopped for our lunch break. After lunch we continued along the High Peak Trail having several interested members of the public chatting with us and cyclists passing by. We had a short break before returning to Parsley Hay for a group photo call and teas, cakes and ice creams. Judy and Bernard
8th June 2022: New Brighton to Seacombe Ferry Terminal and Return Five scooter riders and four walkers, including new member Tina and husband Roy, joined Michael Moore on his first regional ramble along the Millennium Trail from New Brighton to Seacombe. Starting on the promenade in New Brighton we rambled to Perch Rock Fort, a former defence battery built in 1825 to defend the port of Liverpool. At this point some scooter riders took advantage of the low tide and detoured towards New Brighton Lighthouse and the beach before returning to the promenade. Our route continued along the bank of the River Mersey, passing the impressive Wallesey Town Hall, on our way to Seacombe. At Seacombe we stopped to admire the famous Liverpool waterfront, with the Norwegian Star cruise ship docked for the day, and the ferry crossing the Mersey! Our lunch break was in Vale Park where there is a fascinating collection of small sculptures made from natural and reclaimed materials known as the Fairy Garden. From here we made our way back to Perch Rock Fort before stopping at the side of Marine Lake near the car park to watch an intrepid water skier unsuccessfully trying to master the art of jumping! Thank you to Michael for an interesting and very successful ramble. Marian & Barry Andrews
9th June 2022. Wonderful regional ramble on the Quantock Hills AONB. Many thanks to Bill Jenman of the AONB who was our erudite guide, and to Steve and Sally for helping out at critical moments. An intrepid group of ramblers - Paula Brunt, Anne Webber Jones, Phil Dunn, Jeffrey Slade, and Alasdair Gordon Guest - made for a special day. We did a beautiful and varied route from Ramscombe, up to Crowcombe Park, along The Drove to Triscombe Stone, up to WIlls Neck and then a lovely drop through the woods back to the car park. This was part of the Quantocks Walking Festival - many thanks Lynne Abbott.
Malvern Hills. All Saints Church to Chase End Hill and Bromsberrow Place. Saturday 21st May 2022. A delightful ramble with a great mix of ancient lanes, woodland and open views across Worcestershire, Gloucestershire and Herefordshire. Chase End Hill is the most southerly of the Malvern Hills. The area is much more peaceful than the northern hills. Soon after leaving All Saints Church we followed The Dingle, an ancient sunken lane which was rather rutted at the start. Emerging at North Lodge, a thatched cottage, we entered the Bromsberrow Estate and followed the old road leading to Bromsberrow Place. After crossing an open field, we followed the path through a canopy of deciduous trees and rhododendron bushes which were in flower. Soon we were climbing to the summit of Chase End Hill where we were delighted that the earlier mist had cleared giving views across to Bredon hill, May Hill, Eastnor Castle and, nestling in the valley below us, the hamlet of White Leaved Oak where the three counties of Worcestershire, Gloucestershire and Herefordshire meet. After descending the hill and breaking for lunch, we re-entered the parkland of Bromsberrow Place, home to a herd of the ancient and rare White Park cattle. The estate is owned by Gilbert Greenall CBE DL. He is a senior adviser to both the UK government and United Nations on humanitarian emergencies and the welfare of civilians during and after conflict. Greenall was born the second son of the 3rd Baron Daresbury. His elder brother is Peter Greenall, 4th Baron Daresbury. He has kindly given us permission to go anywhere on his estate. John Cuthbertson
Along the Tyne – Friday 13th May. There is an excellent car park at Prudhoe; plenty of room, toilets, café and free! Once a coal mining town, Prudhoe was also home to an ICI plant manufacturing fertiliser. The spoil heap from this is chalk now turfed over and called the Spetchells. This steep-sided hill formed one side of our view with the river on the other for the first mile. Then came Hagg Bank Bridge and the start of the old railway bed that runs as a shared-use path all the way to Newburn via Wylam. Just after Wylam is George Stevenson’s birthplace, a small cottage where his family would all have lived in one room. Looked after by the National Trust it was still closed as a precaution against spreading COVID. Opposite the cottage is a gate through the hedge giving access to a picnic area by the Tyne. This made a lovely lunch stop before we returned the same way. John Cuthbertson
Souter Lighthouse and the Leas – Thursday 11th May. Built in 1871, Souter Lighthouse was the first in the world to be designed to use alternating current and was amongst the most powerful in the world. It sits on Lizard Point but was named after Souter Point, a mile to the south, to avoid confusion with the Lizard lighthouse in Cornwall. Our ramble took us first to the south to Potters Cove then north along the Leas. This was once an area of farmland which was bought by the local miners for their recreation field. The coast of Magnesian limestone cliffs is peppered with rock stacks giving plenty of nesting sites for sea birds and great views for us. Half way along we made use of the public toilets next to Marsden Rock. This once had a staircase allowing locals and tourists to climb to the summit. Although this has gone, the Grotto and Restaurant are still open at the foot of the cliff and can be accessed by a lift or steps. Our turning point at Trow Point still holds a WW2 gun. Returning across the Leas, we finished our ramble with cream teas at the National Trust café.
Craster – Tuesday 10th May. A small fishing village, Craster is famous for its smoked kippers – delicious if you can cope with the bones. The area contains outcrops of the Whinsill, a tabular layer of the igneous rock dolerite. One outcrop is now the Craster car park. The hard, angular, rock was crushed to make road chippings and was exported from the harbour. Our route took us across a flat area with the sea to the right and the low hills of the Heughs to the left. All the time our eyes were drawn to the dramatic ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle. Built when relations between King Edward II and his powerful baron, Earl Thomas of Lancaster, had become openly hostile, Lancaster began the fortress in 1313. The earl failed to reach Dunstanburgh when his rebellion was defeated, and was executed in 1322. The castle had been served by a harbour to the south side. This is still a marshy area today which caused us to climb the rocky and steep path up to the castle before descending a grassy slope. A narrow, bumpy, path took us around to the north side of the castle for our coffee stop. Sand dunes start here. These are used by the Dunstanburgh Golf Club so we made our way on the England Coast Path to the club house for lunch. Our return route took us on the other side of the Heughs which were brightly covered in flowering gorse. Finally, we climbed up and over the Heughs at Big Shaid pass giving us a grandstand view across the sea and to the castle in the north and Craster just to the south. John Cuthbertson
Druridge Day – Monday 9th May. From Cresswell in the south to Amble in the north, the whole of the coast just inland of Druridge Bay was once a series of opencast coal mines. These have been replaced by a series of pools managed to attract and sustain a wide variety of birds, mammals and insects. Most of the area is managed by the local Wildlife Trust. From the Trust we had the pleasure of being joined by Lee who provided a wealth of information about the way the area has been transformed and is being managed. He was very quick to spot and point out a number of birds to us. One pool, Ladyburn Lake, is owned by Northumberland CC and is run as a Country Park. We watched in awe as people donned thin wetsuits and proceeded to swim around the lake, escorted by a stand-up paddle boarder. At the end of the lake is a ford which provided great entertainment for those who like making a splash! John Cuthbertson
Nisbett – Friday 29th April Lovely blue skies greeted us as we set off for our ramble today in the large designed landscaped park and gardens of Monteviot. We rambled today through the woodlands, gardens and along the banks of the river Teviot to Nisbet. Our coffee stop was overlooking the river where we spotted 2 large herons who posed for photos for us. Onward we then began to climb the steep hills up to our lunch break at the Waterloo Monument passing cattle a sheep on the way. Just before reaching the top of the hill, we needed to change the towing tramper as it had begun to overheat. Once at the top the hill the 360 views of the surrounding hills were fantastic, and we spent a leisurely hour there in the glorious sunshine before descending back through the woods to the road. We returned to the visitor centre and stopped for teas and beautiful ice creams at the café. A fantastic end to our week in the Scottish Borders for which we thank James and Anne for all the hard work in organising the rambles for us under extremely difficult circumstances. Judy, Bernard and James
Bowhill – Thursday 28th April We started on a cold frosty morning with bright blue skies. Our group of scooters and walkers met at the main car park and set off along the Duchess Drive, so called as one of the duchess’s drove in her carriage along this route which climbs steadily for some considerable distance through the trees. We had our coffee break at a stone settee where the trees opened, and the views improved. The higher, we went the better the views became looking towards the Cheviots and the Eildon Hills. We stopped for lunch at the only bench at the top with fantastic views overlooking the hills around us which we were unable to see the last time we visited in 2019 because of the rain and mist. Unfortunately, were unable to set up the toilet tent there, so after we had eaten Bernard and I went ahead to set up the toilet tent a little further on to the relief of many. After a short stop we continued downhill now looking across the fields and then into the pine forest where we could see the damage which the storms had caused there a few weeks ago. We continued towards Newark Tower (a Peel tower). This was a look out for the clans and is steeped in history. On either side of this road there were horses, sheep and lambs in the fields before we returned to the grounds of Bowhill passing the Rhododendrons coming out in their many colours and back to the car park. Judy, Bernard and James
Tweed Valley Forest Park Glentress – Tuesday 26th April We met Carola, a member of the Glentress Team and her colleague, who took a group photo on a drizzly day as we headed off along the forest tracks. The higher we went along the newly constructed paths the drizzle eased and eventually the sun began to shine. Our coffee stop alongside a small lake, where James demonstrated his prowess going down a steep, rocky slope towards the water whilst the rest of us watched. The ramble today was in the shape of a figure of 8 and after the middle section we began a gradual steep slope up to the top where we had our lunch break. We met another member of the Glentress team checking the many cycle tracks on his very impressive electric bike. We set off again, downhill, to the relief of the walkers, towards the central section of the route. After returning to the road we turned left downhill, and met a monster tractor pulling a road roller flattening the newly laid hardcore. We had a short afternoon toilet stop before heading uphill, through the trees to see fantastic views towards Peebles. Then downhill again through the woods we continued and back to the start. At the Wild Watch Centre there was a ‘live link’ to an Osprey on its nest, which was a delight to see. Judy, Bernard & James
Today we started our 2022 rambles from Mellerstain House in the Scottish Borders with 7 scooters and 4 walkers. With James in the lead, we rambled from the beautiful Georgian House, which is the home of the Earls of Haddington, around the estate where we passed the many fallen trees that had been blown over owing to the high winds earlier in the year. The weather today was good with bright skies but with rather a cold breeze. We were joined by Janet and John, our new MSU towers and helpers who joined us only last year. At lunchtime we returned to the café by the House. We set off again in the afternoon through the woods, around the lake passing the stunning landscaped grounds and formal Italianate gardens to the rear of the house where we came across ‘the house of the indifference fanatic’ which is a gravity defying structure suspended in mid-air by opposing forces, which was quite a sight at the rear of the house and in front of the lake with its wildlife. Thank you to James for a very enjoyable day. Judy, Bernard and James
29th March: Regional Ramble Marbury Country Park and Neumann’s Flash. A beautiful spring day for six-mile ramble! Three scooter riders and two walkers set off through a small mainly evergreen arboretum before reaching the tree lined carriageway leading to the former site of Marbury Hall. Continuing on our route we arrived on the path alongside Budworth Mere. Here there was an unusually large number of people with binoculars intent on studying the birds on the mere. The ramble continued through woodland, with numerous patches of wood anemone, before crossing the Trent and Mersey Canal and stopping for coffee. We continued on to Dairy House Meadows and down to Neumann’s Flash. The Flash was formed when a salt mine collapsed in the late 1800s and filled with water. This area was later used to dump lime waste from a nearby chemical works before being reclaimed in 1970s, creating unique soil and water conditions that now support an unusual habitat. The route at the southern end of the Flash is lined with silver birch trees which looked stunning in the sunshine against the water and the blue sky. Our lunch stop was back at Dairy House Meadows. After lunch, our route took us parallel to Trent and Mersey Canal and along the towpath, before crossing over the canal and re-entering Marbury Park. Many thanks to David James, the Countryside Officer for Cheshire West and Chester, for his support with this ramble. Marian & Barry