Pensioner Potter

For the young at heart

21 Jan, 21: Thursday's Potter: Holehouse Lane, Bollington.

Pilot: Turbo Pete.

Somewhere in stony Bollongton on a snow covered Potter morning. All appears calm, however a raging force is happening somewhere down below.

The recent rains have created havoc in swathes of the country and Bollington has had its fair share of the deluges, as is shown on this image where the troop are hopelessly trying to evade the influx and wet feet. One feels for them, but they're made of hardy stuff and will probably survive another day if the gods protect them?

19 Jan, 21: Tuesday's Potter: Over Alderley:

Chief pilot: Tucker.

Puddled on their way to the Edge. Who in their right mind would do such a thing on a crazy mission? Answers on a dinghy.

More of the same?: If one stare's enough, the rippling effect on the surface water induces a kind of trance, which, if one's not careful will entice them to its depths. Let's be grateful it doesn't appear to be too deep. Otherwise, someone would be in dire straits.

14 Jan, 21, Thursday's Potter, The Knot, Rushton:

Pilot: Tucker?

A scene from the Knot on today's Potter: no tangles here though, only an orderly procession on some tarmac, which suggests to one the segments, off-road would have been rather soggy, especially after the recent rains. Where were Pete and Grant? Somewhere in front, keeping a fair distance in not breaking any COVID rules? Or, perhaps, somewhere deep behind still coming to terms with the pandemic, lost in the vagaries of the guidelines? Enough to tempt any sane person to reach for a knotted rope?

7 Jan, 2021,Thursday's Potter, Lamaload Dam.

Pilot: Tucker.

This image displays two other potters as if they’re on a mission to the undertakers. The sky lies heavy with foreboding, its colour bereft of life, as if squeezed through a mangle. Just like the potter’s hands nearest on the photo. He, or she, appears slightly stooping. Could the reason be due to thoughts of more coved restrictions in the pipeline, or their mother in laws due to stay until lockdown finally ends?

5 Jan, 2021, Tuesday's Potter: Slade Lane, Over Alderley.

Pilot: Tucker.

A drag up an open field on a sunlit morn, casting long shadows from those lucky few who braved the chilly conditions. Jumbo's seen in the background bringing up the rear, but he appears to be on his lonesome with no other Spartan in this tree-lined scene.

Tucker had the decency to wait while Jimbo came Into close quarters before taking this captivating shot of one of our enduring Potter’s. Does one detect an expression of glee on that well defined bristled face, or is it a sign of despair that the coronavirus is still much with us and not yielding?

31Dec, 2020. Last Potter of the year.

Monochromatic image of Old Buxton Rd above Tegg's Nose.

Alice through the looking glass? Probably Tucker playing mind games.

A few of the troupe on a tricky descent having just passed Warrilowhead Farm- an awkward spot at the best of times. One can almost feel the tension in the legs as they make their way to Mac Forest.

29 Dec, 2020, Tuesday's Potter: Spuley Lane, Bollington:

Leader: The inveterate Tucker.

Tucker doing a Margo top of Spinds Hill. With not much flesh on display except ruddy cheeks from the troupe.

Cheeky Woody, a chip of the old block, focussing in on an imposing image.

Not so easy going in these sort of conditions. Jimbo taking advantage of treading footsteps of those that went beforehand.

At the top of the rise before drop to Bakestonedale rd. if it's not there, then I'd be lost.

22 Dec, 2020, Tuesday's Potter, Langley:

leader: Alex

A lonely Alpaca penned from its kin.

Tucker chatting like a local on the fence to the farm's owner.

The group milling in the yard with Jimbo taking a keen interest in what Tucker has to say.

Grant cutting a fine figure in the bright sunshine.

Bright, though chilly weather conditions greeted the 10 potterers, who met on the Quiet Lane of Cockhall Lane, Langley, for a pleasant saunter over the area's gentle, rolling terrain.

Pity the underfoot conditions spoilt an otherwise wonderful mornings activity. Recent rains had done more than needed to hamper progress over once lovely firm grassland into a mixture of sodden ground, mud and goo, especially near the stiles and gateways.

But enough of this whingeing and let's try and dwell on the positives of the outing. At least we were out in the locale taking in the lovely scenery and admiring its beguiling beauty.

There was beauty in the group, of course, with evergreen Dot setting the standard with a plethora of masculine masculinity to fall back on, if one so desires. God forbid!


17 Dec, 2020, Thursday's Potter, Wildboar Clough:

leader: Tucker.

Jacko enjoying miraculous views above the Hanging Gate PH on a glorious morning. Far from the madding Covid-19. Only the barbwire to tread carefully with.

Jimbo letting rip in the same spot having done the damage of climbing to savour the moment.

These winter days are so unpredictable with the weather changing to what seems an instant from bright sunshine to dismal rainfall in a blink of an eye.
It's the nature of the fickle English climate, so one has to make the most of these rarebits, or it's water under the bridge as they say.

It's mostly down to precipitation, you know.

You know, when I was a lad I could piss over a high wall, but these days I'm lucky if I make a nearby bucket.

15 Dec, 2020,Tuesday's Potter, Bollington:

leader: Woody.

Casting shadow on Kerridge Ridge. Wonderful morning to take high ground and do silly things to make your day.

A dash for the imaginary cheese? It appears the sheep beat them to it. What a glorious prospect.

A sally round our ally: Macclesfield Forest. 

Crossing Bottoms Reservoir in drier conditions.

And today's less than perfect prospect.

Ridgegate Reservoir in the wet and gloom. Normally this location is packed with cars and people with nothing better to do.

This lady in front was doing the business on presumably her daily activity, while this latent shirker toils in her wake.

Somewhere in Cheshire East.

A view to white farm across wet, open, early winter fields lined with varied leafless trees cloaked in their winter apparel under a sky of differing hues. The scene is typical of an English landscape this time of year when the firm ground softens and takes on its cyclical form and lays dormant until early spring when new shoots again begin to find their way into this strange, changing, troublesome world of ours. Moments like these are worth the time to absorb the rural surroundings and appreciate just how fortunate we are for having the insight what something like this means to some people like us.

17 Nov, 2020: Unofficial Pottering near Mac Forest. 

The view from Bottoms Reservoir up at the slag on Tegg's Nose. Not a pretty sight as hills go: more a landmark. The mosses topping the stone wall leads the eye towards a frisky Honza, suggests a time of recent periods of inclement weather. No rolling stone caries moss they say and, so that could now apply to Honza since his recovery from heart surgery and the amazing improvement its made to his health and stamina in general.

15 Nov, 2020: A Sunday preamble.

leader: lonesome.

A picturesque Gawsworth, on a lazy morning stroll, away from the breathing Corvids. It was a delight to saunter along in dry conditions and not be bothered too much about the weather, only the occasional dog and groups of humans to be wary of on this seven-mile hike One mostly liked.

Somewhere in the Lakes.

Here's a lovely, almost chromatic image, that Tucker took while in the Lake District last week on his preamble with a few other Potterer's attempting to navigate the Bob Graham Round over several days. Whether they managed to leave the comfort of an inviting hostelry is anyone's guess and, perhaps, we should leave it there and pretend the intrepid's had a very testing time.

While Tucker’s group we’re enjoying themselves, so were we in the area of Alderley Edge. Unfortunately, no images were taken. However, all wasn’t lost as the images archive provided us with this, blast from the past, from Stormy Point.

And another from the same place in warmer times. Where as it gone?

29 Oct, 2020, Thursday's Potter. Timbersbrook, Congleton.

Leader: Tatty.

The bare walls should suggest a tinge of austerity in this little Covid Bubble, as Grant temps to adjust the focus of his specks to enlarge the merge rations? The great man is noted for his gastronomic leanings, so anything that doesn't meet his high standards is relegated to the swill bin.

A worms eye view of a room without a good view for forlorn Potters. It appears like a doctors waiting room for a Corona jab.

8 of us arrived by the allotted time at Timbersbrook and welcomed Dot back to Thursday Pottering after her recent bout of injury. Given the awful weather forecast, I was surprised anyone would make the venue.

On the route, we got the hard work out of the way first by approaching the 980' high point of Pines Lane after about 1.6 miles. The way then descended to Troughstone Road, before crossing similar fields towards the Talbot Arms and a short stretch of tarmac on the Congleton Biddulph road. At this point, we had the choice of taking a mile of the Biddulph Valley Way, or a more challenging route, which would completely avoid the track.

Then, the troops were unanimous in favour of the ascent to Whitemoor Farm and the start of Congleton Edge, however, this decision brought on some whinging, which was widely ignored. We then retraced the road we trod earlier, heading by the Castle pub, then a flight of fields ending in a sheep farm, before arriving back from whence we came at Timbersbrook, precisely taking 1hr 45 mins, 6.4 miles, and 980 ft of ascent.

The weather proved favourable as only light rain came to trouble us.

Refreshments were again enjoyed at the well organised Chappell Centre, where the Covid-19 restrictions were ever-present, though it did feel closer to normal times.

David T ( aka Tat )

27 Oct, 2020, Tuesday's Potter, Standing Stone, Mac Forest:

Leader: Jimbo.

Jimbo feeling the pain of a tumble on his rumble on the wild side.

Leader: Jimbo in happier times, pre- COVID with Stan at Turner’s Towers.

Despite the nasty weather forecast for the morning ('rain and wind getting worse by the hour'), there were eight potters ready for action at Standing Stone car park, all attracted by Jim's route over to Lamaload and back, a neat six miles circular that had featured as a 2019 potter but this time in reverse.
We welcomed back Dot and Trevor after their recent absences through injury. As is the current practice, the 8 did not set off together, with Alex and Pete taking off individually at their different speeds before the main pack edged its way out of the car park and into the nearby woods over to Toot Hill. Not the whole pack, however, as it soon became apparent that Grant had immobilised himself and was nowhere to be seen. A short interval elapsed before the great man showed himself and we started up Charity Lane.

Tragically, the lane proved less than charitable to our leader, a devilish rock breaking the surface just in front of Jim's right shoe and over he went, rising slowly with bloodied knee and stiff elbow, and then being obliged to pose and smile for the snappy lens of Tucker, the Hurdsfield paparazzi.

That was as entertaining as it got and a more serious undertaking was soon to unfold. A meeting with Pete in the forest proved to be just that, he was not to be seen again, but over the Hacked Way Lane, we went, not pausing to question the origin of its strange name, and eventually down to Walker Barn.

The rain had stopped and what wind there was blew from the rear but all was soon to change. This stretch of the route might have been the best bit, affording a good running surface but it didn't last long. As we turned, so did the wind and with the renewed rain, conditions became challenging, to say the least.

Those of us in shorts wished we weren't. We wondered why we hadn't worn the waterproof socks and gloves that have waited patiently in our cupboards all summer, ready for a day like this. But nothing for it but to get on with it and this we did.

Over the two Buxton roads, old and new, we moved, through Greenways Farm, that remarkable epitome of neat and tidy country living and eventually up to Forest Chapel via undulating paths, sodden from days of rain. A bit like us.
A short run along the road, sweeping up Alex just as we turned into Standing Stone car park, brought an end to what had turned into something of an ordeal. No happy bunnies were to be seen. It was still raining. It was still windy. But we've had worse and will again.

Useful preparation for the winter runs.Perhaps.' 🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️🏃‍♀️


22nd Oct, 2020, Thursday's Potter, Blaze Farm, Wildboar Clough.

Leader: Tucker.

Unfortunately, there was only one image to prove people did make it to this venue. It's a telling image though, in that it's all down to the legs on a tricky descent. It appears nerves were frayed, judging by facial expressions, so perhaps worse things were to come? Jacko looks sensibly attired, as though ready for anything the weather could cast at him, while the rest have the air of abandonment about them.

While the main Potter group were living it up in the hills, Alex was taking an easy pace in Langley, where, surprisingly, he came upon Dot running towards him out on a recovery run. The last time she'd been out on a Potter was in early September, when out on Axel's birthday run, and, unfortunately, she'd come down with lower back problems, which had since plagued her, but now, hopefully, is on the mend, and will soon return to the Potter fold. They may have met and run only for a little while. Yet, that was enough to take the wind out of Alex's sails and left him to struggle back from whence he came, while Dot was looking forward to her Tegg's Nose climb and return home.

15th Oct, 2020: Thursday's Potter, Congleton.

Leader: Patch.

A Potter gathers above the tree line somewhere near Timbersbrook with social distancing in mind.

In glorious weather we started from a new Congleton meeting point- a lay-by in Moss Road to minimise running on roads. Unusually, Grant was a good 10 minutes early, whilst Jim was surprisingly late. Fortunately, a blast on his car horn at 10:01 stopped us in our tracks 50 yds into the Potter: it appeared he'd been held up by several slow-moving caravans.

Once gathered we headed towards Castle Farm and onwards to Nick I' th' Hill and Congleton Edge.

The Cheshire Staffordshire boundary runs along the Edge. With great relief, we entered a medium risk Covid -19 area having just left a high risk one. The group wisely kept to the left of the boundary path going in the direction of Mow Cop. The dark cloud of a virus on the Cheshire side of the path must have been seething not permitted access to us by giving their lightly populated relatives a chance to attack. We were too quick to be caught and then headed deeper into Staffordshire through Wilocks Wood and downhill to Gillow Heath.

Boris's (aka The Buffoon) Covid 19 boundaries are clearly correct. Buffoon 1 Scientists 0.
The return leg was a short stretch of the Biddulph Valley Way, an uphill section to Higher Whitemoor Farm before following the path below Congleton Edge, eventually turning right heading back to base.

Upon return, Jim, and Tony relived their childhood ways by scrumping apples from a nearby tree behind the lay-by.

Sadly, our plan to return to the Chappell Centre in different groups had been thwarted by the Buffoon. A few troops did visit, but only to be seated at separate tables.

Aka Tatty.

13th, Oct, 2020, Tuesday's Potter: Broadcar Rd, Old Buxton Rd.

leader: Alex.

Magnificent early views from Broadcar rd on a bright, chilly Potter morning.

The same view less than 2 hours later.

The weather forecast wasn't really promising, so it was a pleasant surprise to see sunbeams streaming through the nick in the curtains as this body lumbered off the mattress to begin a new dawn.
It was still present at the venue on Broadcar rd, with few clouds spoiling the magnificent view, which bode well for the morning's activities.

Three runners set off several minutes before the main group, heading in the direction of Tegg's Nose. The intention was for the bigger group to catch us up, roughly around the noisy dog kennels on the other side of Buxton old road: the grassy rise takes one eventually down to the main Macclesfield Buxton road via a stile in the wall but, on reaching there, the others still hadn't come into view, so we retraced our steps, hoping to see the boys before deviating onto a route that would have seen us all go via Marsh Farm and other places to visit along the way.

Unfortunately, this wasn't to be as the others probably did something completely different: sliding off the edge of the world?

So, as it worked out, our little Jolly had a nice little jolly, talking about things that probably wouldn't change the world, but may have just lifted the spirits.

The rain did eventually arrive, which we luckily missed by a cat's whisker, which suggested the gods were mostly in our favour. We wondered how the others had faired? 

With all this, never-ending and latest bother with the coronavirus it was suggested our little group would abandon any attempt of visiting the Tegg's Nose  Café.

And we felt the rain dampened anything to do with an al fresco.


8th, Oct, 2020: Thursday's Potter, Lapwing Lne, Lower Withington:

Leader: Tucker. 

Jacko appears to be surprised by something in the undergrowth and judging by his composure one surmises the object can't be of the poo type, or his nose would be under his arm.

A rare image indeed of Patch flashings his ever so perfect gnashers for everyone to admire. No doubt a recent trip to the dentist may have given him a ring of confidence?

Tucker finding his bearings amongst the unkempt hedgerows and fair head’s of hair.

6th, Oct, 2020: Tuesday's Potter, Bollington:

Leader: Woody.

A ghostly, opaque image,- no doubt influenced by the inclement weather- snapped by Woody in a wooded area near Savio House.

6 runners assembled at the Atax/BLC for yet another tour of Bollington. Alex, with prior route knowledge, set off early as a breakaway, so maintaining more than the required social distancing for the majority of the route.

The weather proved reasonably mild considering the forecast, so we were lucky to get around generally in the dry, apart from the last couple of miles which certainly made up for the dry start. The route headed out via the Kerridge cricket ground to Clarke Lane then went along the Middlewood Way, and a left turn brought us to the canal bridge.

We then took the trail leading to crossing paths which eventually brought us to the Apple Company and Swanscoe Hall. Passing Swanscoe Farm, the troops headed up to Windmill Lane, onto the Saddle of Kerridge/Kerridge Hill.  
At this point, Alex came into view but only because WE had gone off-piste from the published route: I considered the steps up to Victoria Bridge to be a bit dodgy in the damp, but, apparently, they were not.

It was then a steep descent to Stefans Bench, with Alex seen moving in the distance again. At this stage, I swear we heard the Elephant Rock beckoning us on, but we chose to ignore it on this occasion.

Then the route went past the back of Mellors Gardens towards Ingersley and Savio House, before that “magic” path dropped us down to the glass/pump place, along with the new house-building going on.

It was then a gentle run through Cow Lane fields, Hollin Hall fields, before the final drag home: As a matter of caution, 3 ostriches have free reign in the fields close to Hollin Road, so take care when you are in the area.
During the final stages, the weather turned for the worse with heavy showers, so it was unfortunate this time the outdoor café seating had to be abandoned.

Onon till next time.  


2nd Oct, 2020, Thursday's Potter, The Knot, Rushton Spencer:

Leader: Grant.

A dark silhouette of the Potter troop tentatively approaching a stile while semi brooding clouds move slowly on high.

A bout of hysteria appears to have gripped the troop on this particular Potter: maybe COVID-19 is finally taking its toll on the intrepid force? Perhaps a short stay with Blonde Boris will sharpen the minds of most of these activates?

Thursday started dull, with the prospect of rain. It turned out to be bright and sunny. Who knew? We were a baker’s dozen at the car-park, with Dave T arriving in the nick of time. Sadly, in the heat of the moment, Grant understood Dave to say he was ready to go, whereas he actually needed to change his shoes.
Grant set off with two groups following at a respectful/social distance behind. It was only after the first group arrived at the lane beyond the fields, that he found we were two runners short (Dave T and Harry S).

This has to be something of a record, and not one to be lauded. It was clear, after waiting a good minute for them to appear, that the local duo had taken the more usual route out. With no means of contacting them, we had to press on. We proceeded East, climbing gently up to Heaton, then East again to Hawksley Farm. This seemed a good point to muster, as we didn’t want to lose anyone else. Then, after a brief descent Northward along immaculate tarmac, we turned West and re-joined the familiar path from Heatonlow to Hollinhall and Gig Hall (though running in the less usual direction).

After another gentle climb to Whitelee Farm, Grant tried to follow the recce route from Monday (a short trespass), but the local landowner was not keen on that, so the official ‘right-of-way’ had to be followed. Back on familiar turf once again, we followed the Gritstone Trail, heading South to the canal feeder and another brief mustering of the troops, before setting off along the beautifully gravelled pathway alongside the still water.

After a good half mile, things went pear-shaped as the gravel ran out and we were quickly ankle-deep in mud. Fortunately(?) there were only two casualties: Tony slipped on a greasy stile and Taylor lost a shoe in the worst of the mud, but managed to recover it. Then Grant could only remember his last outing over this ground (it wasn’t included in the recce) and went off piste, thinking it was quicker. Big mistake — we would have saved time staying on the feeder path.

However, we soon found our way back onto the planned route and re-acquired the once-again familiar path to the car-park.

Altogether, a run with a mixture of delight and despair. That said, it included a footpath that Mike Lawrence remarked was new to him, a rare event indeed. And, to cap it all, the weather stayed fine to allow a smaller group to enjoy tea and edibles in the carpark.


29th, Sept, 2020: Tuesday's Potter. Rainow:

leader: Axel

An unusual partially inverted cloud formation above Macclesfield Town.

Tucker and John K enjoying the morning sunshine with Kerridge Ridge and White Nancy stretching out along the dry-stone wall.

Axel wheeled out a fair-sized group of Potter's on a what came to be a wonderful sunny day after a not so promising misty start.
One has to be careful in these days of coronavirus where strict rules have to be adhered to with numbers present. So, it was fortunate, less than 12 showed up to enjoy the fun, otherwise, if the number had been over, no-one would have known because they can't count higher than that. Best not let this out of the bag as it may prove embarrassing for some.

So there we were all in line, gently climbing a grassy field still wet with morning dew. It then shot up abruptly causing people to lean forward, some more than others to the extent noses were hovering just above the ground. It didn't end there, of course: there were other hills to negotiate and magnificent views to boot.

Turbo Pete was beyond himself and took off in another direction to seek the heights above Lamaload Dam. The man may have been possessed, intoxicated by the magical conditions, uncontrollable to the extent he needed to do something different, which was understandable really.

He wasn't to be seen again till the end of the run revealing a large grin  and, showing the demeanour of a satisfied wonderer.

It was then an al fresco by the cars and a strategically placed freshly painted bench.

Tucker did us all proud by providing tea and comfort, while Toe kindly dished out freshly backed Victoria sponge. Are we blessed, or what? 


Birds of a feather flock together. Christino setting a fair tempo for others to follow.

But the men in the group appear to have other ideas?

Grant taking thing's easy; thought's elsewhere as usual. Probably trying to contact his forebears: without luck, it seems.

Jacko has better fortune: he's managed to conjure up an image of Jimbo from the top of his head. The cheeky smile could imply he intends to transform Jim into a polliwog of sorts just for the fun of it.

22nd Sep, 2020: Tuesday's Potter, Cockhall Lane, Langley:

leader: Alex.

Grant taking the shade in Shades. A man for all seasons, who feels at his upmost when a plate of goodies are places in front him.

A pensive Tucker allowing an image to encroach on his being.

And here we have an Alpaca dressed to kill with it's top-knot and bushy tail looking in rude health.

Alex feeling the heat of the coronavirus upon his shoulders. Lost for words in a haze of uncertainties.

17 Sep, 2020: Thursday's Potter: Timbersbrook, Congleton.

leader: Jacko.

The hand of authority pointing out the difference between good and a much darker place for those who don’t tow the line.

Leader Jacko enjoys the moment on The Cloud while Grant takes in the air and Jimbo checks his watch for clarity.

It’s a grand life if you take it to the limit. Jude making the most of her birthday.

Grant making a spectacle at the Brides Stones.

Nine set off in good cheer from Timbersbrook car park, with Brian leading us (predictably) up Gosberryhole Lane to The Cloud trig point.

Fortunately, as it was a Thursday, the viewpoint wasn’t wall-to-wall with walkers, so the Potterers were able to maintain social distancing while mustering (waiting for me), before diving down a steep path from Red Lane, which crossed the fields towards the environs of Staffordshire.

Brian took us along a quiet, narrow lane, then plunged again down the Raven’s Clough gorge, which, for some strange reason, always reminds me of the jungles of Borneo, even though I've never have been there. Then, gathering on the field at the bottom, we set off across more fields towards the Macc-Leek road, stopping tantalisingly close to the highway before turning back. (We never actually set foot in Staffordshire).

Brian had advertised the run as ’50 minutes out and back’ and the man was true to his word, despite several attempts to turn him to the dark side of things by going off-piste. He resisted the siren voices and staunchly retraced his steps. However, once we returned to The Cloud woods, Kath managed to tempt him away from the hazardous path through the trees and setting off West to the Bridestones monument.

Grant then managed to persuade the stickler away from Gosberryhole lane, down onto the open grasslands, returning finally to Timbersbrook.

Back at the car park, it quickly became known that Tucker had not deliberately blocked Grant’s car in, but had craftily secured a suitably-sized space behind the cars for a picnic, once again, keeping to socially distancing  rules. We were then able to enjoy tea and cakes (some purchased but one deftly crafted by Brian’s fair hands ) all to celebrate Jude’s birthday, ending with a hearty song.

The girl of the moment still manages to maintain a ten-year difference between her youthful age and the next youngster of the group - it must be sleight-of-hand?

What a lovely ending to an unusually fine outing.


10th Sep, 2020: Tuesday's Potter: Lamaload Dam, Higher Sutton.

Leader: Tucker.

Best we can do! Dot crashed, I broke Jim’s flask, Grant missed us, Taylor didn’t make it. Otherwise a great Potter and Brian banded out the grenages. Grenages! Pray what are they by chance for an inquisitive mind, Tux? ( Ed )

7th Sep, 2020: Tuesday's Potter: Finlow Hill Lane, OverAlderley:

leader: Alex

A circle of potterer's enjoying cake and exchanging pleasanteries in a bucolic setting.

What has Alex done to deserve something like this? At least he’s holding the cake the right way up.

Happy faces had by all during this Tuesday’s Potter. A monumental step taken.

What a gay day to enjoy oneself if only heading for undulating countryside to capture the ambience of the great outdoors, twitching one's nose to ingress the stench of the farmyard smells to liven the mind.
So, there we were at Finlow Hill in cloudy but humid conditions. Far off could be seen the hill of Shuttlingslo, with its tip pointing to the heavens like an arrowhead: certainly not on our itinerary today, as being too far off an objective to reach.

No, our task was to have something more gentle in mind: a sally round the affluent, leafy parts of Alderley, where the horsey types reside. From the start, the largish group split into two groups, one leaving several minutes before the other, never did their paths coalesce till the end, which isn't surprising really, as they set off in the opposite directions to one another.

Suffice to say everyone enjoyed themselves immensely doing their little things and finishing the run feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, ready to fight another day.

One or two of those present were practically glowing, though not their faces, I might add, but their attire: Jimbo was wearing a vivid yellow top, so bright it could be intercepted from outer space if only someone out there had the mind to look.

Dot made a lovely Victoria sponge cake which disappeared in a flash by those who were lucky enough to be present. It appears some old sod had reached a certain age where 0's are all the rage. 


3rd Sep, 2020, Thursday's Potter: Buxton Raceway, Buxton.

Leader: Mike Laurence.

..... a woman?

Leader Mike chomping on a triffid like branch while Jacko prepares himself for something dramatic.

Is Jacko about to perform one of his magical act’s where he disappears into another dimension before talking his way back iagain?

1st Sep, 2020, Tuesday's Potter: Standing Stone CP,  Mac Forest.

Leader: Jimbo.

Potters in silhouette on the iconic Shuttlingslo.

Summit trig. Time to whet one’s whistle for the task ahead.

Once again I was chosen to lead the occasional excursion from the Standing Stone car park. For some reason, Alex associates me with this venue, and whenever I volunteer my services for a Tuesday potter this is where I'm placed.
Still, it's a fine locality on a summery morning like today. How pleasing to find the sun shining brightly, picking out the clear outlines of the surrounding hills. If only we didn't have to climb them! We were not the only visitors to this splendid spot, however, and latecomers were obliged to park on the road. Strangely, as we left the car park three drummers were setting up their equipment on the grass alongside, a regular Tuesday occurrence according to Chuck who knows a drummer when he hears one.
Three potters (Alex, T, Pete, and Phil), unable to contain their excitement had already departed. The seven runners included Kath, who's returning to the potter fold after a long Covid summer proved that her absence had not diminished her fitness, as we were soon to discover. We made good progress over to Shutlingsloe and climbed the grassy flank with mounting confidence.

As usual, a milling crowd surrounded the summit trig, so with no further ado, I led the party down the steep shoulder and into Wildboarclough: Incidentally, a new bookshop named Shutlingsloe has opened on Sunderland Street in Macclesfield. I've not visited it yet but, with a name like that, it must be worth a trip.

Past the Crag Inn the path up to Piggford Moor beckoned, we covered the ground surprisingly quickly and, in what seemed to be no time at all we passed Oakenclough, the old youth hostel, before dropping down to the Hanging Gate; soon to reopen as a hostelry. It was then a simple matter of following the Gritstone Trail down to the Heronry, but mutterings of tiredness were beginning to reach my ears, neatly chiming with my thoughts that perhaps we'd tackled a route that was a step too far. And then there was that climb back to Standing Stone to be undertaken!

All that needs to be said from this point on is that everyone returned safely, although by a variety of routes. I decided to take the main tourist track via Buxtors Hill to the finish, trying to prove something to myself (that I'm knackered!) while others explored the myriad of paths in the forest.

By the end, nobody showed any interest in going for tea: even Grant had forsaken the opportunity of a good lunch. So, an interesting morning with perfect weather and a good run in our favourite hills. Perhaps next time we'll do one or two climbs fewer?'


27 August, 2020: Thursday's Potter: Spuley Lane, Bollington.

Leader: John K.

Another time another place: Airo John almost consumed by the colourful rapeseed.

Hare today, gone tomorrow.

Another Thursday and another gathering at Spuley Lane. Some inconsiderate people had arrived earlier than our group, so parking was not easy. After some creative blocking in and shuffling about most of us were accommodated but Pete and Dave W had to park at the Poachers and run up an extra hill before we could all set off.
Alan led off, followed a few minutes late by another 11 (soon reduced to 10 as Jude had a phone call and had to return – best wishes from all).

Our route explored the Harrop Valley, going up the Southern edge, dropping down to Harrop Brook, downstream to the newly refurbished xylophone (from which Taylor managed to produce a belated Happy Birthday for Pete) and then going back up the other side of the Brook,  then making our way back down the valley (but climbing up to the Northern side).
There were occasional murmurs of “I have a feeling of deja vu” or “I am getting dizzy” as we kept on finding ourselves within metres of where we had been not so long before.
I like to think that this was observational rather than critical!

We left out the intended circumnavigation of Andrews Knob and managed just 8.8km in 1hr 37. However, the sting in the tail there was the 400m of ascent (the last climb was at 38%). Ouch! ( Ed ).

Thanks all,

John K

25 August, 2020: Tuesday's Potter: Prestbury.

Leader: Pete.

Pete trying to keep abreast of an inform Jude. Age appears to have slipped-by for this old trooper.

Back to the future for these three colourful musketeers?

20th August, 2020: Thursday's Potter: Brownlow, Congleton. 

Leader: Patch.

Leader: Patch guiding the troop through a gladed area where the sheer ambiance of the place necessitates a pause from running.

Mike's pondering whether the troop's got lost or a "straggler's " been left behind to fend for himself? .....sometimes life can’t be easy on a Potter.

9 troops set off from D.T 's garden to the nearby footpath leading to Wallhill Lane. 2 miles into the Potter we reached the Congleton Parkrun route at Astbury Mere, and then onto Lambert's Lane, which leads to the "marble throwing bridge" (see photo).
We then took a 1-mile loop around part of the perimeter of Astbury Golf course, crossing the 8th, 9th, and 10th fairways in advance of returning to the marble contest: I think local lad Harry won the challenge.

The route then continued past the Donkey Field ( aka Man United's defence field), through Glebe Farm, crossing a very busy A34, where a bus driver shook a fist at Tony for jaywalking, and all before returning to the Taylor residence for refreshments after 7 miles of Pottering amid excellent weather conditions.


18th August, 2020: Tuesday's Potter: Bolly Circular:

Leader: Woody.

The troop assembled by the iconic landmark of White Nancy in uncertain weather conditions.

The “Overshot waterwheel” in the Cotton Tree pub.

Two of our delightful ladies posing by a gushing weir.

10 runners assembled at Atax in somewhat uncertain weather conditions to head out towards Ingersley/Sowcarand beyond.
The route passed the new bowling green at Kerridge to Clarke Lane then after a brief road section across the fields to the “rally” road or old tramway. The route then crossed the field and followed the brideway up to Dawson Farm and the Kerridge road. A slight detour over grassy areas, then past the once Redway pub we reached the steep steps to Nancy Top (photo).

A brief stop for the photoshoot and on to the infamous Elephant Stone which appeared as ever in reasonable shape. Dropping off the side of Kerridge ridge the troops next passed through Waulkmill woods and then viewed the waterfall and clough pool. A brief discussion followed on the water route from the pool to the old Clough bleach works via the “mill race” leat which drove the once amazing overshot waterwheel (photo from the wall in the cotton tree pub).

Following the trail to the Poachers pub then Sowcar fields brought us to Shrigley road. Next climb was up Cockshead Hey on to Green lane, parallel to this was once a ropewalk in Beeston Quarry- umm? more research there.

Over the fields to Long lane where 4 deer were spotted nearby. After a short road climb, we reached the stile for Sugar lane. Another “deer” viewing of 4 more animals and we were onto the home stretch via the Middlewood way.

The picnic was attended by 6 folks and fortunately, the weather held dry throughout. Onon.


13th August, 2020: Thursday's Potter: The Carr's Wilmslow.

leader: Jacko.

The leader posing in his prime

A part or the troop behaving themselves as they lineup for body inspection: Jimbo takes the opportunity to prod his proboscis to make sure it's still in place.

Dot making a dash for freedom while the others struggle in her wake.

Taking five apres run with Margo holding attention still while some succumb to the deck.

A pilgrimage to St. Olaf’s Chapel, Wilmslow. A recce the day before in stifling hot humid conditions led to the abandonment of any idea of heading out to the airport, so we stayed largely near to trees and shade. The Carrs provides plenty of space to picnic but the ticket machine is tediously slow and had a massive queue.
We started over 10mins late. Out of the Carrs, through the ginnels and across the Carnival Field, straight across Lindow Common and we were into the Peat Bogs or Lindow Moss. Wonderful dry bouncy peat to run on, dodging tree routes on nettle and bramble lined paths under shady trees to one of the causeways that led us to Saltesley Hall.
It was the bog near here that gave up the body of Lindow Man in 1984. Around the fishing lake, over the side of Wilmslow’s Eiger, aka the Old Tip, and along the green lanes skirting the Southside of Morley.

Here we decided to re-lengthen the route and headed to Styal Mill via the somewhat abandoned lane that provides that an invaluable bypass to cyclists trying to avoid the dangerous chicane on the nearby main road to the Airport Tunnels, and via a now dry and well-engineered track that passes through the now NT owned Bank House Farm, and which used to be such a mudfest.
On through Styal Woods along the Bollin and back into the Carrs but not taking the easy Parkrun route. We climbed the South escarpment of the valley through fallen trees and marshy patches along a narrow informal path to reach a gloomy grove of yews, at the centre of which lies the remains of St. Olaf’s Chapel built by Henry Boddington in 1888. He was then owner of The Carrs and living in the nearby Pownall Hall.

More evidence of Henry is a large oak tree planted by him as a seedling grown from an acorn that he had put in the first sod cut for the Ship Canal in 1889. This is commemorated by an inscribed boulder nearby*. We continued along with this rather badly maintained path under some magnificent beeches till we were blocked by a tree gang busy chain-sawing their way through a tree they had felled across the path. It was easiest to simply retrace our steps. However, Tucker and John M tried the direttissimo down the scarp and into the unknown fight and bog. They arrived after we had started to assemble for the picnic where we were delighted to meet up with Margaret who had cycled over to see us – first we’d seen her since Lockdown.
Almost 7 miles and most of us were out for 1hr-50 in hot but cooler conditions than the previous couple days. St. Olaf is best known as the first Christian king of Norway. Evidently, He gave up his day job of indulging in the usual Viking activities around the coast of Britain and then dedicated himself to a more pious way of life.

However, after our excursion on the densely wooded slope on which his chapel is located, perhaps he should be known as the patron saint of orienteering.