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Black Pudding Gaiters

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New boots, new app, new route.

Apart from a handful of walks and a couple of camping trips, I’ve hardly left the Wirral peninsula since early 2020, but, to quote Half Man Half Biscuit, “Everything I want is here, and everything I need is here”. I’ve become content with walks on the Oblong of Dreams.

Although still remaining on the peninsula for this walk, I was venturing across the border in to Cheshire. It is less than 15 minutes drive from my house to the starting point from where I’d planned a 12 ish mile route from the Hadlow Road car park further in to Cheshire, towards Burton.

It was a walk of firsts;
* I was finally getting to try out the Scarpa Crux approach shoes I got at Christmas. Lack of annual leave and several storms meant little opportunity to get them out of their box.
* Now that ViewRanger had finally been turned off, it was time to see what Outdoor Active could do.
* I was covering a number of new footpaths for me on this route.

I’d already planned the route on my laptop using the Outdoor Active website. It was easy to do and the ‘snap to’ function worked reasonably well for most of the walk, however, when I picked a path it didn’t recognise, I was sent on a long detour.
An easy fix is to click on the magnet button on the bottom tool bar (see image on left)
After setting this to be ‘route’ and not just a ‘plan’, it appeared on the phone app and I was ready to go (a plan being an initial ‘rough sketch’ of the walk) .

Sparpa Crux ladies shoes

After getting the car in the last parking spot, I changed in to the Scarpas.
I’d owned the Scarpa Epic shoes previously. They had lasted well but were not as grippy as other footwear I’ve owned.
The Crux were so comfy as soon as I put them on. They share a similar design to the Epic. The Epic shoes are very blue with bright yellow bits. whereas the Crux are a more subtle dark grey with sky blue trim and laces.
Sorry, ‘shark and blue radiance.’
The ‘Vibram Megagrip’ sole design was slightly different too and, I soon discovered, worked well in the slippery muddy conditions.

I fired up the walking route on my phone and clicked ‘Start’. The tracking started automatically. So far so good, although I still had the OS Map app running in the background, a paper map in my sack and tracking running on my watch, just in case.

I started down the easy to follow Wirral Way, past Leahurst Veterinary School then took a left on to Cuckoo Lane. The route briefly took me to the side of a housing estate before passing a playground on the path down to the Dee Marshes.

Once at the marshes, the path became slightly busier. It was a Friday morning in February so I expect it could get very busy on a summer weekend. I was soon turning off though, taking Station Road up to Burton, a lovely village filled with thatched cottages, an old church and woodland area. It gets a mention in the Doomsday book and apparently, back in the day was a rest stop on the journey between Birkenhead and London.

Burton village, Wirral


The Outdoor Active app was also behaving itself. On previous tests it would often display a black screen with no information on it. No such problems today. The tracking was accurate and the OS mapping clear. Maybe it was finally winning me over! *

Lake Burton RSPB

Looking at the map, I’d noticed “Burton Point”, the site of an Iron Age fort. While I was here, it made sense to go and check it out. There were paths just off the road out of Burton.
Entering the woods near Puddington Lane, I passed a ‘Welcome to the RSPB Reserve’ sign and continued on through to the car park.
From there I headed towards a building. Three people were sat outside.
“Hello” calls one, “Are you just here for a wander round?”
I was, and was charged £6 to do so.
I was rather taken aback, I was literally passing through and hadn’t noticed any other signs mentioning an entry fee, although it is mentioned on their website.

Everyone else here had binoculars, large camera lenses, tripoded monoculars or a combination of all three. They’d stop dead in the middle of the path and turn their gaze to a dot in the sky.
Three men were discussing a particular ‘spot’,
“I saw it first!”,
“Yes, but I identified it”.
I felt like an away fan in the home end.

The views over to Wales were lovely although there’s little to see of the fort now. I noticed another footpath out of the reserve but that was padlocked. I may have climbed over if it wasn’t for the older couple sat next to it. So, I turned and went back the way I came.

To be fair, if you go to look for wildlife it is worth the entrance but I wouldn’t recommend it for the walk to the fort. **
I retraced my steps to the village but took Mudhouse Lane to the A540. After crossing, it was footpaths right the way through to the Wirral Way and back to the car.

This route is available to download from Outdoor Active as a GPX file



*The love of Outdoor Active was short lived. The following week I took another walk. The route vanished three times and the tracking only recorded 5 of the 12 miles

** Sadly, shortly after I started to write this post the area was ravaged by fire causing concerns for the wildlife. The reserve probably needs all the support it can get – go visit!

Lockdown Continues

In March 2020, we began the Covid-19 lock down. As we got to April, it was clear than things weren’t going to change any time soon.
Back in March, it was a novelty working from home and spending the allowed exercise time discovering new paths a short walk from home. Now, the novelty was wearing thin.
A camping and concert visit to the Lake District was put back a year. A weekend football tournament in Crawley was cancelled. At least I got the money back from Premier Inn without any hassle. Big thanks to them!
We had to postpone the traditional Mother’s Day meal and a family birthday get together.

Annoyingly, for a country with so few bank holidays, most of them occurred during lock down and the weather has been fantastic. I would have loved to have been in the Welsh hills with my tent, instead I was wandering the lanes, paths and bridleways of Wirral.

Some of my routes headed across Brombrorough golf course. Interestingly, on the first few walks, the route across the course was marked with a few small, wooden pointers. Later, large arrows were painted on the grass and tees. I suspect more people were walking and some were getting a bit lost!

This is a footpath. Benty Heath Lane
This is a footpath!

After the golf course, the footpath passes to the side of a crop field with the M53 motorway on the right.
Taking a right on the road at the end of the field brings you out on to Bentey Heath Lane, passing Hargreave House Cottages.
Walking from the golf course, this route is clear but if doing the walk the other way around it’s not so obvious.
From the road you see painted ‘Private!’ signs and the footpath sign have been removed.
The bridge over the motorway has a piece of graffiti saying “f*** the farmer”, I do wonder if it was written by a disgruntled walker!

One of my ‘new’ walks was around Raby. I’ve made this walk available to download but altered it to start and end at Merseyrail train stations. I’ll be doing this walk again post lock down and popping in to the lovely, thatched Wheatsheaf Inn for a drink or two!

Friday 8th May was a bank holiday marking the 75th anniversary of VE Day.
I used the day as an opportunity for a longer walk.
I had to alter my route as the footpath to the side of Clatterbridge hospital was closed. This meant taking a slightly longer route along roads, luckily they were still very quiet.
The route intended to take is available on ViewRanger. I’ve tweaked it slightly to start and finish at Bromborough Rake train station

June started off in much the same way as the previous months but with the added disappointment of the cancellation of the holiday to Zakopane in Poland. At least most of my money will be refunded, apart from the part I’d booked with LastMinute.com. I certainly won’t be using them again post lockdown and wouldn’t recommend any one else do either!

And now, well, it’s cold and it’s wet and there’s few signs of normality returning any time soon.
I’m looking forward to the time when we can pop to Primark to pick up our “I survived Covid-19” t-shirts….until that time, stay safe out there.

Walking Through Cwm

Yep, there is nothing like a rather rude sounding village to get me giggling like a stupid child but (surprisingly) walking through Cwm was a humorous coincidence. I was wondering where to walk, I opened the OS mapping on ViewRanger, found a place with some walks, check for car parking on Google Maps.
Dyserth ticked all the boxes, plenty of paths  and free parking. It was an easy drive there, M53, A55 then not far from the A5151. First impressions, Dyserth is a very hilly town!
I parked up in the waterfall car park. I had arrived early and there was only one other vehicle but I can imagine it can get very busy here.
After paying a visit to ‘Loo of the year 2009’,  I left the car park,  took a left and headed up hill. Following the road up to the traffic lights, I went straight across and joined Cwm Road (cue some giggles), a pleasant, hilly residential road. As I climbed up, I got some great views across to the coast below.
Shortly after taking a left on to Lower Foel road, I got on to the path through Foel woods.
Sign to Cwm North WalesAt the end of the woods I crossed a small road over to the farmland opposite, following the signs to Cwm.
Cwm itself is a small village containing a church and a nice looking pub, The Blue Lion The pub has extremely limited opening times (Thursday to Sunday from 18:00 to 24:00) and needless to say, was closed when I got there.

view from Mynydd y CwmLeaving Cwm, I took a footpath towards Mynydd y Cwm, one of the hills of the Clwydian Range  I skirted the base of the hill then joined the Offa’s Dyke path. This is a trail which is on my ‘Bucket List’. I’ve walked small sections of it many times but I’d love to do more of the 177 mile route. Today, I’d only be following the Acorn signs for a short distance initially to Marian Ffrith  where, on this lovely summers day, the views were fantastic. As with many of the hills in the area, this was once home to a hill fort.
Dropping back down the hill, I crossed the road and headed towards Marian Mill farm. Continuing on the Offa’s Dyke path, I crossed the A5151 road.
I left Offa’s Dyke when I reached the wide, tarmac North Wales Path. Initially I mistook it for a road given how wide and well surfaced it was. As it was school summer holiday, there were a large number of families walking and cycling. I felt rather over dressed in approach shoes, walking trousers and rucksack!
Dyserth WaterfallAs I got closer to Dyserth, I left the North Wales Path and took the path over the bridge through Maes Hiraddug nature reserve  and down towards the impressive 70 foot high waterfall at Dyserth.
After popping my 50p ‘entrance fee’   (Aug 2017 price)  in to the honesty box it was a short walk back to the car park.

The GPX file for this route is available to download.

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