Pensioner Potter

For the young at heart

13,th June, 2019: Thursday’s Potter. 

A climb worth the effort though the views were marred by inclement weather.

A short climb from the Hangging Gate pub brought the troops onto high ground.

Trev performing an impression of himself while Jude looks on in amazement. Leader Jimbo’s seen it all before so passively draws on his lips.

Having guided the Tuesday group safely round the area it fell again to Jim to see if the feat could be repeated, this time from Clough House CP in Wildboarclough.

By way of a change, the weather looked to be half decent but the leader had done his homework and warned about incoming rain and consequent discomfort. He was minded to take a slightly longer route than the one initially proposed as that might provide better shelter and less exposure to the elements but there was some mild dissent. Some fancied the shorter of the two routes but Jim hadn't tolerated any protests on Tuesday and was in no mood to do so today so off to Shutlingsloe he sped, closely followed by 11 potters and Bernie the dog.  

The early part of the run was processional as we focused on the great mass of our biggest hill looming closer. A choice of routes was offered, the leader going round the hill followed by most of the group but Dave earned good bonus points by going straight over Shutlingsloe. It was then a downward trajectory, pausing only for a brief photo stop on Nessit Hill before eventually picking up the Gritstone Trail. It was to be a long trek along here on the way to the Hanging Gate and Oakenclough but the rain was still holding off and we were rewarded for our efforts by some pleasing views.

One or two were feeling the pace as we moved past the 90 minutes mark but generally all was well with the world and at least 12 of its inhabitants. Group discipline crumbled slightly when we came down to Wildboarclough. Jim had decided on a little cultural treat to finish the run but some 'did their own thing'  and carried on to the car park so only five of the group heard how the little chapel in the village was connected to the Indian Raj.

The rain had started now in earnest so after two hours out in tough terrain most of the company headed to Blaze Farm where we reflected on the morning run, tried to agree on how many miles we had completed (8? 8.61? 9?) and commented (favourably) on the quality of the scones. 


11th,  June, 2019: Tuesday’s Potter.

Leader Jimbo smiling the rain away while Kav’s peeping through the window of desire.

'It was a morning of weather at Standing Stone as a number of potters assembled at this familiar venue high above Macclesfield Forest, whether to get out of our cars or not, whether to trust leader Jim who was looking far too springy and cheerful and whether to just head down the hill again and look for someplace more agreeable.

Mind you, there's always weather up at Standing Stone, there's often drizzle or wind even on the sunniest of days. This was not a sunny day, and of drizzle and wind there was plenty. Jim's words of encouragement ("you'll feel great when we've finished") were failing to have the desired effect but when he sped off across the first field there was nothing else but to follow him.

Six potters went off on the guided run with Sir Alex five minutes ahead as is his wont. Two others had departed ten minutes earlier as is their wont and Grant was also on his way. This pattern of staggered departures is becoming a feature of the Tuesday potter and makes for good story-telling later on over tea.

The run promised to be a bit 'up and down' and there was no disappointment on that score. By way of Forest Chapel, Lamaload, Walker Barn and Hacked Way Lane, the group covered six miles or so in good time, and everyone felt relieved that the rain had not affected our peace of mind too drastically.

At times the wind was a bit strong but the temperature remained bearable and in many ways the conditions were good for running. Whether anyone felt great at the end was not at all certain but at least we stayed together and parted on good terms, ready to do it all again though hopefully in the dry'.


6th, June, 2019: Thursday’s Potter.

Primary colours, as well as an assortment of shades, take shade from intent sunshine in a small corner near the famous Old Man of Mow. Of course, this moniker doesn’t apply to the day’s leader, Geoff, who may be getting on a bit in years but isn’t quite there just yet, but an exposed craggy rock set like some giant monolith from the distant past: mind you Geoff is a big lad.

The Old Man of Mow.

A Potter threesome being raped in a tall field of rapeseed...notice the agony they’re enduring?

Everyone arrived at Geoff's house on top of the hill in glorious, if slightly cool, weather without losing car exhausts or other bits of their vehicles which were a bonus. There was a slight delay as one car navigated to its final destination.

A big welcome to a new junior member, Steve Dunn, who many Congleton based athletes will be familiar with.10 hardy souls were in attendance, and one dog (Whisky). The route was a reverse of the last run from this venue. Grant and Pete were eager to get started and the former dashed off at breakneck speed, only to be caught about three miles further on.

Pete preferred a more steady pace, his years of experience role modelling the Tortoise in the well-known parable as told by Aesop, with Grant the Hare. A knee crushing descent through the woods to Ackers Crossing was followed by a brief regroup and headcount - 9 and a dog present with Grant the Hare 7 min miling by the canal in front of us only identifiable as a cloud of dust ahead. In the Cheshire lowlands, the temperature was substantially warmer and we continued south along the canal for a couple of miles before bearing left and eastwards through woodland with early summer flowers evident and, apparently, a dead vole evident. The Tortoise (Pete) caught the Hare (Grant). The Hare, very Aesop like pronounced that he was knackered.

An interesting, if unusual, walk/jog through Cheshire (if not the world's) tallest and most overgrown oilseed rape field necessitated a regroup and headcount as several members of the group (all those below 5 foot 8) worryingly disappeared completely for a period of time. The Hare broke loose from the group once caught, whilst the rest of us jogged through the Rookery on the outskirts of Kidsgrove and then tackled first Brieryhurst hill and then the infamous and forbidding Mow Cop, by its south ridge, which is rocky in parts.

The temperature increased yet further such that the host felt the need to remove clothing and, stripped to the waist, like a veritable gladiator (lol) did slay the beast of Mow Cop. The tortoise, not to be outdone by the Hare, broke loose and drove to the Chappel Centre whilst the rest of us slipped into something more comfortable at 29 Woodside Cottages.

We enjoyed the usual fare of tea, bacon butties and cake galore served by smiling ladies. A grand day out.

Thanks for coming and see you all soon!!


4th, June, 2019: Tuesday’s Potter.

On the lower slope of Sutton Common where unearthly gravel wasn’t expected and Rent-a- Dog’s full of expectation at Neil’s imminent command.

Leaving Foxbank in a sunny spot for the reaches of Croker Hill.

Grant cosying up with Dotcom while Woody’s grappling with the camera’s controls.

This morning was meant for rain, but after a couple of splatters and spurts, the wet stuff died a sudden death so quickly evaporated Into the ether, leaving the troop to enjoy the run in moderate conditions.

Some walked, talked, some jogged, while others just ran. Such is the diversity of the Potter these days that anything goes except murder or nudity: though one suspects the former may have crossed minds at some stage or other: certainly not those partaking in today’s activity where everyone behaved impeccably so, so much so that they must have left their combative knives back home in the kitchen draw.

So a fine morning was nicely had without the usual summer bugs to plague us. Though, perhaps, this was at the expense of not having contact with any of the hawks we know live in the area.

And then it was a short drive down the lane to Fairways garden Centre for tea and goodies where sometimes we have to fight in line with the local overweight punters for service, but today musn’t have been a problem because Pete even stayed to taste the fayre.   

30th, May, 2019: Thursday’s Potter.

A striking image of leader Pete illuminating this brooding scene on Lantern Pike in the Peak District. Fired up like his red blouse, leaving the troop in his wake as he strives towards the summit of the hill.

At various stages of the outing.

New Mills, 30th May 2019 This was a new venture for the Thursday Potter, an exciting exploration of Darkest Derbyshire. The weather certainly could not have been darker with a dreich morning turning into a persistent drenching drizzle.

The run started quietly enough with eleven runners slipping out of Torr Top car park in New Mills and down into the Torrs. An easy run along the Sett Valley Trail ended at Birch Vale where the mighty climb of Lantern Pike began. Up cobbles at first and then a grassy track, ever upwards and out onto wild and desolate moors. We shinned up the steep path beside the top wall and along the ridge to the summit cairn.

After a brief gathering for photographs, we descended into this remote bowl of hills, circumnavigating the village of Rowarth on high and little-used field paths. At one point we depended on Tucker's amazing phone GPS mapping system to find a footbridge hidden under a thorn bush. The rain it was a raining as we turned back towards New Mills on a three mile stretch of field paths, now all thoroughly soaked and miserable. Rather than wimp out down the road, the consensus was to put in the last climb and approach the town on a high ridge with spectacular views (on a nice day). The GPS was used again to get us down through the housing estates and back to the cars.

Refreshments were had at the Butterfly House Cafe, a community venture in a lovely old pub in the middle of town. Lovely food, fabulous cakes, friendly and welcoming staff. Now we were warm and dry, we decided it had all been worth the effort of making the longer than usual trip. 8 miles exactly in 2hrs 9 mins. Slept all afternoon.


28th, May, 2019: Tuesday’s Potter.

Here’s a curious image, taken not too far from from the end of today’s run with only three turning up to experience the verdant, wet in some places route. Tow and Woody set the moderate pace initially before it tumbled to a level Alex could endure without busting a gut.

The conditions were perfect and the air felt slightly moist as if one had just had a drink of something rather nice and it lingered there a while on the palette until the glowing sun intervened. It was quiet too with not many people milling about other than those trying their hand at playing golf on Mottram Hall’s greens, and a couple of young-ish runners who’d passed us once and returned for some more only to be outfoxed on a section of ground we knew better than they: there’s more to running than just running.

After the workout the trio retired to Henry’s where much fayre was on display but we plumbed for something light and simple to mirror the morning’s run.

Woody took the fetching Selfie...his first to be precise. It just goes to show one’s never too old to learn something new. 


23rd, May, 2019: Thursday’s Potter.

Under a prickly hawthorn bush a core of smiley Potters bask happily in the morning sunshine.

Here is a Patchwork of organic and inorganic material strewn for all to see in a wooded clearing. Grant spotted the place and took this arresting picture for the sole purpose of recording the bluebells for Patch.

14 troops gathered at Rushton Spencer for the delayed Bluebell run. The route was in a Clockwise direction via Wincle. Outward we crossed the Gritstone Trail and inward we hugged the River Dane before veering off towards Heaton and back to the start.

The leader didn’t feel up to the task during the early section of the run, by way of leading most of the troops wrongly through nettles and hawthorn bush, as  Pete wisely kept to the correct line further down the hill. This incident was followed shortly by a mass trespass instigated by yours truly but, once again, the Wiser One found the correct line to follow.

Along the route, a decent display of Bluebells could be seen in shady places, especially towards Wincle end.

Comments regarding the route were generally quite favourable, with several of those present saying how parts of the course were new to them. Refreshments were sampled for the first time at the Royal Oak, where plates of various cakes were on offer alongside tea and coffee. With prices not to be sniffed at, at less than £4 a throw.


21st, May, 2019: Tuesday’s Potter.

Hawthorn blossom provides a fitting backdrop for this Potter photo-shoot: slightly prickly cores with ample, colourful exteriors.

Cool water’s flooding the weir on the river Dane, Wincle.

A not so weary troop posing above the weir in this lovely leafy backwater where the river Dane flows by a famous trout farm which gives its name to a local fell run.

To: Pensioners' Potter From: Wincle Community Police:

It has been brought to our notice that today, during one of the aforementioned 'potters', a car was left in a 'no parking' zone, in fact the only 'no parking' zone for miles, thereby blocking the delivery dray from accessing the local brewery and endangering the economy of the village. Our lines of inquiry have led us to a group of runners, last seen jogging down the River Dane, a group of 8 or 9 reprobates, not in their first flush of youth, who must have crossed the Dane at some point as our CCTV monitors (Photo attached) showed them on the weir.

Later cameras picked them up on the Gritstone Way, which we assume was their get-away route out of Staffordshire. They then disappeared from view and the only trace that we have is trampled grassland near Wincle Grange suggesting they had the audacity to trespass across private land to get back to their cars.

To confuse the situation, another group of older men, this time walking, were sighted heading out of Wincle Village towards the Wild Boar Public House. No CCTV images have been obtained from this group. Reports are coming in from Blaze Farm that a rather rumbustious party came in for refreshments later in the morning but no association between the various groups has yet been established.

Meanwhile the offending car has been removed and the beer delivery vehicle was able to gain access. Inquiries have now ceased and the matter is considered closed but we feel that your members should be aware of the incident.

PC Plodder, Danebridge Community Police Constable.


(ED), It’s been brought to our attention that the miscreant who dumped his small blue car in a most dangerous manner, so as preventing deliveries to the brewery is now know to us and, it may be in his interest to come clean, or we may have to spill the beans to the boys in blue.

In situations like these a delicate hand needs to be applied and a little silver would go a long way to relieve the situation. Unless, of course, the culprit proves somewhat difficult and unwilling to negotiate. In that instance we’d feed Phil to the lions and leave it to them to paw over. 

16th, May, 2019: Thursday’s Potter.

Patch studying a patch of bluebells under the bright morning’s sunshine somewhere not too far adrift of the Wizard Tea Rooms, Alderley Edge.

Leader Jude takes control of the lethargy within the group: the lack of urgency has split the troop, with at least one member in the background bolting for lack of some action.

14th, May, 2019: Tuesday’s Potter.

The troop in a hot spot above the River Dean. Fortunately, the flies were brewing else where but, be sure, they’ll have their moments of fame.

The Magnificent Seven: no gun tottering madmen around here, just madmen. Butch was about to kick the stone wall in because he’d forgotten his Stetson. High Noon? Could well have been; it was near lunchtime.

Carrion, said the wily fox to the leery crow.

9th, May, 2019: Thursday’s Potter.

Birthday girl Dotcom surveying her cake-filled table with an assorted number of potters in attendance. Each eyeing and eager to indulge in the ample offerings Our little wonder had on display. By the time the heavy gluttony had taken hold, the run must have become a distant activity, if it had ever materialised. One wonders what must have happened out there in the rural enclave of Lark Hall, on an unassuming morn in the month of May, when, presumably, people went out to play...though this may have been a cunning sleight of hand.

7th, May, 2019: Tuesday’s Potter.

The troop posing in a wooded glade somewhere in the realms of Redesmere. With the bluebells now almost passed and done.

A fair cop in a dry copse: a sweetened rose hemmed inbetween two indgenous thorns.

Wild Flowers Galore:

It was not so much a run as a wild flower extravaganza. The woodland paths around Capesthorne and Astle Farm were magnificent in their displays of bluebells, native ones of course. We were bowled over by the marsh marigolds in the boggy land now crossed by board walks. The red campion and wood sorrel bordered the path, the stitchwort bordered the roads.

The birds were singing and spring was in the air. It was a pity that it was so cold that we had to keep running. Which was a good thing because that's what we were there for. Not sure whether the photographs will be of the runners or the flowers.

The sojourn in the Flora Cafe was spend checking our identifications on the internet. The bacon breakfasts and oatcakes were secondary to our review of this most pleasant and interesting morning. The run was incidental, a little like this report in fact.


2nd, May, 2019: Thursday’s Potter. 

John K’s birthday bash up on Kerridge Ridge, with sibling Margo reaching greater height atop the hill’s trig. Braving the fickle weather.

Someone’s blooded hand: was it inflicted intentionally as part of some local ritual or other, or incurred by nothing more banal than falling down?

This sketch had nothing to link it to its neighbour other than that blood would surely flow.

25th, April, 2019: Thursday’s Potter.

Captain Kav reporting for duty.

Happy Jacko enjoying his time, up to his ears in rapeseed.

The group sauntering though the bluebells in some lush dell or other.