Pensioner Potter

For the young at heart

10th, December 2019: Tuesday's Potter.

Haven't a foggy where this place was other than somewhere near Biddulph Moor. It was unexpected coming across this large rockery-like feature, pitted with replicas of wild animals. Grant could be seen ducking around a fence as if to greet a larger than life plastic flamingo; while a smaller elephant appeared to remonstrate with its outstretched trunk. An impressive looking Bengal tiger, ( so life-like ) stalked the scene, to the extent one could easily have imagined, if it had caught sight of the great man he'd have made a lovely meal for the feline, not that our hero had any intentions of cooking, mind, it was a matter of fact that he himself was going to be the lunch.

We'd just arrived at this small rocky outcrop when the dreaded rain arrived. So we didn't ponder up there too long for a piccie before we were off downwards out of the persistent wind and the wet stuff.

Kath led us a cracking route around the area of her place. The foul weather didn't turn out to be too bad after all, as did the so-called muddy fields, which were surprisingly dry in most places. Only 6 intrepid types made the Turner's Towers venue, which was rather good really as that meant more extremely fine food went further around the table. Grant must have felt overwhelmIngly ecstatic about this until the first steep climb we met, which started just outside the Turners place, so proving that one has to earn such delicacies before indulgence.
And so it came and passed, as did just under 2hours and weary bodies, the scribe's at least. It was a revelation to be revived by the flavour of mouthwatering sausage rolls wafting, permeating the kitchen and dining area.

Once settled banter of a higher-order took hold, and Grant, who was by this time mostly satiated, divulged some of his family histories, which, he said, goes back to Elizabethan times, and probably possesses a fair share of Spanish genes. Someone suggested whether his descendants fought with the Spanish Armada against the English fleet.

All this originated from the group inquiring about his unusual surname: Silk. Greg with his banter suggested from now on we should call him: El CID. El CID, of course, resided in the 11th century and whether Grant's lineage stretches back that far, who can tell? Maybe that granite jawline? Possibly that nose? Perhaps his sturdy frame?... Could they give us a clue? When El CID died they strapped his frame to a horse to give credence to his followers that he was still alive to fight in battle.

We'd better sign off here.

5th, December 2019: Thursday's Potter.

Jimbo leading the troop to higher ground. No real laggers at this stage, though there's pleanty of time for that to change the prediction: if one looks carefully, the last-in-line appears to be drifting off the pack. Maybe the wolves are waiting just out of sight, ready to pounce for an easy kill? Oh dear.

At least the majority made it to this well known accommodation, if slightly unhinged. A perfect resting places to relieve one's tensions.

Mya trying her best to control the troop but she appears losing hope and almost ready to abandoning her station and take the next train to Tulsa.

Last Sunday while many Macclesfield Harriers were labouring around the local hills on the annual club handicap event, I was heading in a different direction on a recce of the route I had chosen for Thursday's potter. One thing I shared with all those runners was the glorious weather on Sunday morning, sunny and an almost cloudless sky, affording rich views all around. I thought to myself that this was a route that seemed to offer everything that the area has to offer; ascents and descents, moors, rocks, grassy stretches with very little tarmac, and I felt confident it would be appreciated by those potters who joined me on this outing.
The starting point of today's run was Wildboarclough, in the small carpark provided by the old quarry near the Crag Inn, a spot rich in local industrial history being close to the site of the old calico-printing factory and the nearby village created for the factory workers. More details might be provided if I should choose to lead another run from this particular venue sometime in the future.
There were 11 of us in the starting frame plus one very energetic dog. We thought Pete might have set off ahead of us. The route led up to Berry Bank, initially through some wet and muddy ground which we had to navigate with care before emerging on to the sloping fields leading to the A54, good running ground for the fleet of foot among us. Then on to the side of Tagsclough Hill, which, after a short stony ascent developed into a lovely stretch of very runnable ground with increasingly fine views on all sides.

The potters were starting to enjoy themselves! Another road to cross and then the steep descent down to the old youth hostel at Gradbach, now a fine modern building with its facilities available to a much wider demographic (those with ample cash?) A steady climb on the road and then up the footpath that ascends behind the old chapel on the road that goes from Allgreave to Flash, and from thereon the views really did open up. Not as bright and sunny as my Sunday recce but there were clear skies allowing us to take in the panorama of the Roaches seeming not too far away. Most potters had not traversed these paths before so there was much to admire and memories were stored for future reflection. We went through Parks farmyard, the only farm to be seen for many a long mile and took the path that led over to the moors, not named on my map but needing some appellation in my view. Is there anything quite like running across open moorland? I think it is my favourite terrain. The lack of fencing and walls gave uninterrupted passage to the fleet of foot ( they were still with us!) but sadly these moors didn't last long and before long we were once again crossing the A54, on our final descent and back to the old quarry, where we came across Pete as he finished his individual journey.

After all this excitement it was time to chill out with Flo at Blaze Farm, the only customers but making as much noise as would a full house. It had been a good morning in the opinion of all.


3rd, December 2019: Tuesday's Potter.

A beautiful winter's day on the Peak Forest Canal. Tucker took this captivating image, and one presumes he took the others too.

At first glance we thought the one in yellow was Tucker, however it proved otherwise and turned out to be Jimbo. Now whoever would have thought that? There’s no-doubting Pete in the background, who appears to be reliving a previous experience and won’t let it fade. Dot realises this and seems to joins in the fun.

28th, November 2019: Thursday's Potter. 

Fresh faces were out in the maddening rain on the lower slopes of Crocker Hill, and all kitted-out, ready for almost anything?

An unexpective viewing in an area one wouldn't have expected to see. A Waterworld of a place where the stuff appears to leak everywhere.

A sluice gate's in situ but the elements appear to have it their own way as the waters pour down what was once thought a small stream.

A hidden gem of a place where it's possible to play with Poo sticks on this rather precarious foot bridge, though not while the torrent’s moving with haste, otherwise vertigo may swoop down, then it's possibil you'll be in the hands of the gods and heading down stream, like on a crest of a wave but without the surf-board.

9 hardy souls gathered for a wet, muddy Potter led by the intrepid Tucker. Alan left before the start so we were down to 8. Dave W decided it was too muddy so he departed. Then the group became 7. We wandered here and there, avoiding raging torrents. Fortunatly, no one fell in, which was just as well as rescue would have been difficult.

Alan rejoined us when he descended from Croker hill. The main party eschewed this delight. So 8 bodies returned to bridge 44. We met the ninth body at the cafe, said he had been up Shut.

Tony came for coffee, able to drive himself now. So, a jolly morning in jolly company but horrible weather.


26th, November 2019: Tuesday's Potter.

Hey Dolly, I didn't fancy going where those tossers went this morning. At least we’re out of the wind, dry and have some decent grass to mull over.

One could say the weather conditions on this morning's run were somewhat brutal with a tempest of a wind we had to endure almost from the start. Though this may not have eased we were fortunate in the forecasted rain hadn't materialised.

Not that the previous days' wet stuff hadn't left its signature along the route we had taken, with the soft ground so sodden in places it was difficult to stay upright in the unstable mire. Even the cattle, who helped make this horrid mess, looked troubled and probably wondered if this would be worse than their expected fate.

Six Potters managed the start and six completed the route, though not all as one unit: Pete had headed off towards Jenkins Chapel, in the wind and with a small troop of hardy comrades, never to be seen again, while Alex and Dave W stayed on the lower ground, seeking anything that'd ease the hard going. It paid off at times, though not often enough for our liking. But Hey, what does one expect while out on a weekly Potter? As it turned out no-one wanted to go for goodies afterwards. Maybe because of Dave and Alex arriving back at the cars some 30 minutes later than the others had? No worse for wear mind.

While all this sport was going on, Grant had sent word he was "suffering under a Roman sun and looking forward to the Olive picking from Thursday onwards". We shall say no more. 

21st, November 2019: Thursday's Potter.

All wrapped up near Harrop Fold Farm. At least the weather conditions were dry, if but cold. So, very little naked flesh being exposed to the elements, except for a pair of pale, knobberly knees, kindly provided free of charge by leader John k

 Nine of us gathered at Spuley Lane for the start of this Potter. It was nice to see a new recruit; Anne, that Christine had inveigled into joining us. After the trudge up the Hedgerow we turned off across the fields to Harrop Fold Farm. Crossing the road, we followed, in reverse, a route we have taken before – up to the ridge and along the permissive path to Charles Head. Along here we were exposed to the full blast of a strong, cold, easterly wind. When we dropped down again, we found some shelter and could stand upright and resume the usual banter.

Heading down to Harrop Wood, an optional extra loop up the steep climb to Sherrow-Booth Farm and a circumnavigation of Andrew’s Knob found no favour today. We will try again on a warmer and less blustery day. From here it was a straightforward trot along the valley side, across the packhorse bridge and back to the cars.

I am pleased to report that Nine of us finished together. Getting everyone back at the same time is a first for me as the leader. Afterwards, the Farm Made Café supplied most of us with hot drinks and sustenance.

John K

19th, November 2019: Tuesday's Potter.

This Picture has nothing to do with today's Potter, except we share a love of landscapes. In the Middle Ages Bruegel the elder painted them in abundance. He was very accomplished and, with a fertile imagination. One could evoke much on this Harvesters scene, if one had the time.

.A wonderfully clear, but cold morning greeted those few who'd turned out for this little shifty to admire the views above Hammerton Knowl and the surrounding prospects.

So it wasn't surprising rhapsodic feelings gripped the small party as they eagerly moved off up the hill to capture this iconic scenery only to be slightly disappointed on encountering Grant arriving in his bus from the opposite direction, late. Needlessly to say a slight pause was allowed in proceedings for the great man to collect himself and come to terms with the situation. In the meantime, Dot and Kath, being who they are, didn't hesitate and descended the hill to greet the enigma while this wily, old sod here stood his ground, not wanting to lose any of the advantages.

While this scene was being played out, Honza and Phil were walking the route in the opposite direction, with happy thoughts of viewing, en route a couple of " Newt Ponds" somewhere near the old "queer farm": a name we won't get embroiled with for fear of causing endless litigation.

Anyway, it just so happened that was the area where our two groups merged, and, unfortunately, no newt ponds were ever found, which, for Honza, would have been a great disappointment, as he's hoping to have a couple established on his land- thanks to the sponsorship of the Newt Conversation Partnership?

It's said, if all else fails he's so keen he's even willing to use his bathtub as a habitat. Oh dear; the things we have to bear.   

5th, November 2019: Tuesday's Potter. 

Jenkins Chapel: Not the first order of visitation but one of the highlights. It stands almost opposite the second Millennium Stone we attained. This spot was almost half way round the challenge that John had beset us. One thinks that was what the man implied?

The man thoroughly enjoyed himself, though thoughts of food must have weakened his resolve as the Sirens of the Tegg's Nose Café beckoned him forth to that cosy place where dreams often mutate to things more tactile.

A fine picture of Shutter's raising its pointed peak above the bleak, fallow wasteland.

Leader John checking his timepiece during a meanacing head wind that entered parts that only mothers had dared to go.

Tucker and Pete forging ahead to a point where the terrain rose giddyingly sharply.

At the penultimate Millennium Stone. Still a fair way to go though, with a few climbs to test one’s resolve.

Turbo Pete making a move up the left side (on the bank) while the remainder found the gully rather sqaggy.

A short compilation of previous Potters, each including an image of John K. Notice the fine weather we mostly encountered, compared to most recently

5th Nov Rainow Millennium Stones As a change from the usual Tuesday Potter routine of a gentle 1 ½ hr run with early starters setting off to walk, today we all set off together to walk. The other small difference was the route was 22km long, had 880m of ascent and was expected to take about 5 hrs.

Somewhat to the surprise of the leader, 10 hardy souls prepared to set off from Teggs Nose Café, most of us arriving early enough to get a fortifying hot drink before we started. The intention was to visit the five Rainow Millenium stones, placed in and around Rainow in the year 2000, each one named for its location with a small picture engraved relevant to its position.

Our first stone was at Walker Barn (querying tools) then off onto our anticlockwise circuit to Saltersford/Jenkins Chapel (Saxon cross), Harrop Farm (a valley scene), Ingerlsley Vale (waterwheel), Rainow Village (a raven and a tower) then back to Walker Barn and the final trudge back up to Teggs Nose for more hot drinks and some sustenance.

Six of us completed the round in a little over 5 hrs: for various reasons, the remainder had dropped off earlier on to make their own way back to base.

The weather was kind to us for the time of year and we had more time than usual on a potter to enjoy the company and admire the many fine views and autumn colours.

John K

31st, October 2019: Thursday's Potter.

An interesting, obtuse image of Little Morton Hall, captured in its famous livery. No doubt Tux took this image to flaunt his flair in photo taking, contrasting the Elizabethan building with the modern merchandise adorning an ageing generation.

A candid report on the morning's activity would be greatly appreciated, if only for some text to fill this void.   

28th, October 2019: Tuesday's Potter.

A commanding prospect as the group pose for prosperity in the capable hands of Grant, who took this captivating image.

Margo sitting pretty while those in attendance make light of the situation. .

Spectacular, commanding views was had by John K and the webmeister above Lamaload Dam.

In the fore yard of 17th Century Withinlow Farm. A grade 2 listed building up near the old Highway Man PH. This interesting part of the outbuildings has character; to the extent jimbo took a keen interest in how the property manage to stay upright while other properties of the period succumbed to rubble. What the joke was between Margo and the webmeister is beyond yours truly.

It was a fine morning to dig out the old fell shoes and go a Pottering in the photogenic area of Higher Rainow, where, on a day like today the views were decidedly stunning. So it was no surprise to see a fair crop of potterers gathering at the venue in anticipation of what was forthcoming. And the suspense succumbed to a couple of those present for they departed up the lane at a canter, as though dinner had lain in wait on table. A couple of others had left before the mark as well, though in a different direction. This included the leader and a certain renegade as well, hoping to steal a march on those that were to follow. This worked rather well for a while, but as the steep terrain got steeper we were reeled-in till the pips squeaked.

Snipe House, above Lamaload Dam, allowed a teeny respite before an extra effort was needed to witness uninterrupted landscape of the outlying areas. Then, it went down a little to Brock Low, where a photoshoot conveniently took place. Margo, being Margo climbed a wooden stake there as though a monkey-  to the amazement of others.

It could have been a spot in the distant past where ancient people did what they did: commanded the high ground and most likely, respect: the men, clubbing about in their loincloths and generally making a nuisance of themselves, while the women nursed their sore heads and, in large crocks, boiled the local cretins who roamed Bollington at the time.

From there it was almost plain sailing back to the venue but, with a nifty short section before the run's end, where the persistent leader had to show those who'd thought they'd almost be back at the cars by then, to see this remarkable old farmstead, which is tucked away somewhere below the old HighwayMan PH.

When the run was done, people disappeared in their vehicles, off in different directions as a quartet made their way to the Tegg's Nose Cafe to delve into some of their delightful offerings. Unfortunately, there were no Boiled Bollington People on the menu so we had to makedo with some boring old stuff.

24th, October 2019: Thursday's Potter

Above Whaley Bridge: a safe heaven to be away from the rumblings of a suspect dam.

The remains of a near " Catastrophic" event that almost swept the town of Whaley down the swanny. So said the Doomsters.

The heaven's went down the tubes with such force the locals shat themselves. While the Emergency Services were in their element, throwing their weight about, upsetting those with a nervous disposition.

It appears the Canal and River Trust had been telling porkies, and if the Dam had burst, those who survived the tragedy would have lynched the perpetrators before stripping the skin of their backs for parchment to record the unforeseen drama.