Last weekend i was invited by Martin, Phreerunner, (whose blog "Postcard from Timperley" can be found here, to join a walk with the East lancs section of the Long Distance Walking Association.
Website Here. That he and some friends were taking part in.
It was to be Wednesday 23rd Feb and it would be about 12 miles long. A route map of the walk can also be found on Martins blog.
1. I have never walked with a “long distance walking association” before.
2. I have never walked with a large group of people before.
3. I knew nobody, i had only “met” Martin on the blog.
4. The "Long Distance" bit of the title was scary.
5. I had no idea where the Salford Trail went.
However, the 2nd stage of the trail started in Clifton, Swinton, Manchester which for me was only 4 motorway junctions away or 10 minutes in time. It seemed an ideal opportunity so i decided to go.
I checked the website and found that the location of the start was a 6 figure grid reference. It was a bus stop outside what used to be Clifton Park hotel. Now apartments.
I made my way to the bus stop and found that there were lots of small groups of people spread out along a 200 metre length of Manchester road. I thought to myself, “I hope that their map reading is a bit more accurate than this”.
Eventually the main group formed and it wasn’t at the bus stop but on the opposite side and a little further along. A number of people asked me if i was doing the walk, which i was and if i had done the first leg, which i hadn’t.
Martin was obvious in his bright orange peaked cap so i introduced myself and was then introduced to others.
The walk leader explained that the 1st hour would be quite noisy as it was in close proximity to the motorway. He was dead right.
It was a rainy morning and it didn’t let up as we set off towards Clifton Common.
Crossing the M60 the path came to Wardley Hall where we had a brief stop to be told that it was the residency of the Bishop of Salford. Moving on swiftly a hundred yards further to the Cemetery and toilet stop.
Again our leader showed us the grave stone of Joe Gladwin an old character in The Last of the Summer Wine TV show.
Our path led us on to Roe Green where we had a quick stop for a coffee before being shown a plaque on the church wall commemorating Michael Vaughan (the cricketer) and his baptism. Passing Ellesmere golf club and a few muddy miles later we came to Blackleach Country park where it had been planned for us to have lunch in the visitor centre. Tea, coffee and biscuits had been laid on, so thank you to the Wardens for that.
The country park used to be derelict and overgrown and looking at the pictures a great deal of work has been done by locals to end up with what is there today. A creditable achievement.
Post lunch we headed off to join the old railway track down towards Monton. The path was a pleasure to walk on after the miles of muddy track and thankfully the rain had now stopped. The pace quickened considerably and at one point i thought it might break out into a yomp.
On a number of occasions the leading group sped ahead only to be shouted back having missed a turn off.
The Thirlmere aqueduct was walked under and the old station of Little Hulton was passed. There was a stone commemorating it with a date of 1875 - 1954.
We eventually joined the Leigh to Monton loop line and headed for Worsley. A little further on and passing some lovely houses we entered the grounds of Worsley golf club and Marriot Hotel and the end of this leg of the trail.
In the car park was the coach of the Aris Football team who were due to play Manchester City in the European tie.
I had had a good day and although i knew nobody i felt i had been accepted. Some names i remember and some i have forgotten. (not on purpose you understand).
But i would like to say a big thank you to Martin for the invite.
To Rick for the lift back.
To JJ, Viv, Vi, Hillary, Maude the well behaved Staffi.
To Normon, Reg, Ruth and Anne and every one else who took the time to talk to me along the way. Thank you.
Sorry, not many photo’s were taken as a result of the inclement weather.