Pensioner Potter

For the young at heart

17th,  September 2019, Tuesday’s Potter.

Several troops taking advantage of an “ Indian “ summer, benching outside St. John’s Church, Chelford. Jimbo’s even sporting a colourful flower to mark the ocassion.

Spot the difference? There are a few subtle differences between these engaging images. Can they ever be spotted? No prizes for the pedantic types.

It’s possible Pete’ll pen an appropriate report to enlighten us all on the day’s happening: Then again he may not, though we’ll still wait in anticipation, in the likelihood he puts pen to paper. 


12th, September 2019: Thursday’s Potter.

Margo with her “ entourage “ sitting pretty on high chair while all appears truly calm.

Once more in calm mood the troop’s are seen fronting a stretch of calm water, linking arms as they often do when the mood takes them.

Six runners joined Grant on a warm Autumn day, at Deepheye Country Park, in the depths of the Staffordshire countryside. It has been a while since the Potters visited the park, so we were split for choice over potential routes.

The path first taken lead to a muddy quagmire the last time we tried to run it, but this time it was an easy passage to the long footpath that crosses from East to West (or vice versa). After a gentle ten minute loosener, we came across a trio of donkeys corralled in a field and stopped to offer them some fresh grass. Grant, with his longer reach, was successful in this enterprise. Margaret, being of smaller stature was unfortunate to lean on the electric fence and found it live. Ouch!

Following a familiar path, we passed through a well-kept wood to arrive at the ‘Bridal’ footpath and on to a path junction, where an abrupt right hand turn led us along an overgrown path and back to open country again. Here Margaret found a ‘throne’ —carved out of a solid tree trunk — which could have been made just for her. We stopped for a photo, to prove that we were enjoying ourselves, then pressed on across mown fields and so to a decision point. Do we carry on (seven or eight miles) or turn back (not quite six)? It was decided to choose the softer option, so with one penultimate hill to climb (there is always one more hill), we headed back to the cars. We came past the donkeys still in their field, then headed downhill back to Deepheye.

One last photo for the record and six of us went off to enjoy the delights of the Foxlowe cafe.

Grant.


5th, Sept: 2019: Thursday’s Potter.

The troop Atop Hen Cloud with a poltergeist in their midst? Making the most of the situation while a brooding cloudscape looms in the background. Dark matter could be at work in these Brexit times... who knows?

A fine display of colour lightens this scene of frisky potterer’s encapsulated in a secure corral for protection.

... not particularly for them we may add, but for the unassuming public set at large,

A short report about yesterday's excitement to go with Dave Shoesmith's photo. Grant also took a couple of photo's showing Ramshaw Rocks and the Roaches. "Whilst some of our "core" members were swanning about the Sierra Nevada, 8 of the team assembled at the Lazy Trout, Meerbrook, for a 7 mile Potter.

Before we had gone 10:05 Margaret demanded the first stop whilst she enjoyed the Helter-Skelter at Titterswoth visitor centre kids playground. The expression on her face was a picture to behold. Pottering then continued following the Passing Cloud Fell race route via Upper Hulme before veering off towards Summerhill and Blue Hills, swinging round along the path which runs between the end of the Roaches and Hen Cloud.

At this point the troops rebelled, demanding they turn left to the summit (see picture). Outnumbered by 7 to 1 the route leader reluctantly consented, but he insisted they retraced steps, picking up the original route across to the Roaches Road. We then descended through Windygates, crossing fields to Frith Bottom, then we were home just within 2 hours.

Refreshments were enjoyed back at the Lazy Trout with the majority of the troop enjoying the Trout’s renowned ” chip butties."

David T, aka Patch


29th, August, 2019: Thursday’s Potter.

A magnificent 7 taking five somewhere out there in the wilds of stoney Hayfield. Pete leading the group to places not often seen on these pages. Tux has provided the lucid images of a little of what they encountered while on their travails.

Grant is seen here trying to keep up with Dotcom with trepidation: a slight hand quivering in display while dealing with the situation.

Toby on a downward trajectory in the company of Kav, who appears to be just stroling.

While Patch appears to be just finding his legs, which are, fortunately, still in situ.

A shady nook to rest and calm before the next challenge. Doe’s one detect Trev’s had some altercation or other? A blooded wrist perhaps, gives a twist to an unfortunate encounter?

I felt honoured to have been asked to lead a run from Hayfield as my birthday bash. It is an area that I love, for its wonderful hills and valleys, all under the brooding presence of Kinder Scout. Not that we would have time to visit the high spots on a Thursday Potter, but at least we could explore some of the interesting history around the village.

So, as the Hayfield church clock struck ten, I led eight brave souls out of the car park and up onto the hills to the south. The first port of call was the old mill at Phoside, a defunct water-powered textile mill hidden in a steep wooded valley. Then it was over open fields to Peep O'Day Farm and its even open stone and glass eye staring eastwards. Crossing a main road we came to a wonderful view point of Kinder. A wide track descended for 500 or 600 feet down into the valley enabling some of the descent specialists in the party to break away.

We gathered troops again at the old drinking trough in the lovely hamlet of Hill Houses. A good set of paths then took us through Booth to the foot of the dam of Kinder Reservoir. The pace then dropped to a shuffle as we toiled up the side of the dam and onwards to the shooting cabin on Middle Moor. Running broke out again as we crossed the moor and descended steeply to Park Hall. Here the navigation was passed over to our trespass specialist who shall remain nameless.

Silence descended on the party as this intrepid explorer led us through woods and bushes around the old estate, now under unfriendly ownership. Eventually we arrived at the highlight of the day, the ruined outdoor pool in its pseudo-classical setting. A unique experience for many of us. The escape was over a barbed wire fence but a wonderful piece of teamwork got everyone safely over, including the birthday boy himself who is long passed such exciting activities.

The last mile back to Hayfield was tame in comparison with the rest of our run and we were soon changed and sitting in Millies Cafe. I was non-plussed to learn that they had forgotten to make the birthday cake that I had ordered but we made do with other items from the menu and were rewarded as we left with a couple of slices of newly baked cake by way of an apology.

A very pleasant way to spend a birthday potter.

Pete. 


27th, August, 2019: Tuesday’s Potter.

Sultry weather conditions didn’t dampen these intrepid types from what was in store: if only they had known the invasion of “ reed-like grasses” that would blight their progress later on they may have given the route a miss.

This image has nothing to do with today’s Potter other than it was a hot day and this bovine creature had the right idea in how to stay cool when all was around was wilting. Honze had managed to find which way the camera was facing before taking this impressive shot. The girl had even managed to vacate the pond for dry land and a second take but, by that time, Honza had lost interest so the shot was gone.


22nd, August, 2019: Thursday’s Potter.

All looking rather pensive, as if they do not what fate befalls them. Trev’s coyly monitoring the situation from his position.

An interesting aspect of fine stonework our fore fathers tooled while navigating.

All’s quiet on this line until rush-hour arrives.

The prospect of beasts in this field are extremely low.

10 good persons and true made it over to the outpost of Marple. It was a run full of history where we visited:

- somewhere where nothing happened on a day in the 18th Century

- the Marple Aquaduct

- the River Etherow

- the River Goyt

- Brabyn's Park

- the Marple flight of locks

- Samuel Oldknow's Lime Kilns

- the source of the Macclesfield Canal

- Marple Golf Course

- the source of the Middlewood Way

- the end of the line at Rose Hill Station.

And, then we all went back to Semitone Studios for strawberries, bananas and cake, all washed down by the World's strongest and tastiest coffee.

Thanks for coming everyone.

David.


20th, August, 2019: Tuesday’s Potter.


15th, August, 2019: Thursday’s Potter.

Party people full of expectation at Patch’s belated birthday bash. It apppears most have been on a stringent diet in preparation for the mighty feast.

Departing from the scribes abode after a Potter photoshoot a surprising number of troops set off, given the absences through holidays, "grandparent duties" and other commitments should have made the numbers far less than those troops heading off in the direction of Astbury.

The first incidence of note along the route was after passing some yards away from a large herd of cattle, they immediately stampeded over the path troops had seconds early vacated. We then proceeded to give the Park-runners their fix with a couple of hundred yards sprint around Astbury Mere. Then onward to the bottom of Lambert' s Lane, eventually reaching the bridge over a stream for the traditional marble throwing contest.

After eliminating Grant with his long reach, which enabled him to lean over and drop marbles into the box with ease, Tucker was declared the winner with his bullseye accuracy. The troops then proceeded along the canal, passing the front of the 3rd green of Astbury Golf Club and onwards to Glebe Farm, but not before running past the "donkey field," unkindly referred to as Macclesfied Town's defenders training ground.

Heading back towards the Brownlow area we stopped at the now-abandoned strawberry field on Brook Lane, where customers used to pick their own fruit for weighing until c. 2005. The demise of said fields was due to the enforcement of the EU weights and measures rules which meant the use of the old balance and brass weights method had to stop. The complexity of the replacement was too much for the landowner's son, who sadly had limited ability. Jimbo was not amused by this apparent "Brexit" supporting speech. (Note: the scribe is a remainer). Thereafter Jimbo sulked at the back of the pack.

The final 2 miles or so passed large fields of maize, the Bluebell Inn, and some grassy fields, without incident, which in total made for an 8.5-mile trek.

Refreshments ( which soon disappeared ) were provided by the lovely Mrs T (aka Moira)

Dave, aka Patch


13th, August, 2019: Tuesday’s Potter.

A sweep of exciting lanscape above Hammerton Knoll. The views appear endless from this advantage point.

Neil taking advantage of the passive group. A spot worth taking moments to savour.

Grant feeling well and truely bloated and ready to hibernate, while Rent-a-Dog’s avidly seeking some instruction.

Barry searching for some seclusion as nature takes it course. He say’s it was nothing of the sort, but we know better.

My 'chief sapient' brought me along to a thing called a Potter today and I really enjoyed myself. There were two sapients who arrived early (I think they were called Johnny and Phil) and they set off walking which was odd as I had been told it was a running group. I waited in the field and eventually some more sapients arrived all wearing multi-coloured outfits.

It must have been about 10.00 when the oldest sapient said it was time to go so we started on our route. I saw a pub, some walls, stiles and a strange looking bear in a farmyard. There were lots of fields with sheep and cows and a river to play in. As a sheep-dog I tried my best to keep the sapients together but one escaped near a pub and he was not seen again.

Eventually the older sapient made me stop and he got all the other sapients together so we could take a picture with all the views - it was very good and I hadn’t been on those paths before. I knew that we were on our way home but I was confused when the older sapient made us add an extra section to the route...he must have wanted to run in the rain as we all got wet.

We got back to the car and my 'chief sapient' made me go in the river to get clean...we then went to the garden centre for tea but I was not allowed in so I did not get chance to say goodbye.

I had a good time ...thank you.

Mya, aka Rent-a-Dog.


8th, August, 2019: Thursday’s Potter.

Here’s a probing image of leader Jacko prodding the undergrowth in Harrop Wood. It was taken a year or so ago when he led a lead in the same orbit as with this week’s Potter, though not reaching as far as Charles Head and above Ridge. Apologies for not showing any recent images. The reason’s quite simple, none were taken.

Gritstone Trail above Bollington.

Ancient track to Harrop Brook.

Harrop Brook

Combs was the venue but then the Todd Brook reservoir threatened collapse very soon our Potter in the upper Todd Brook Valley two weeks earlier. All convenient roads to Combs had been cordoned off so something West of Whaley Bridge was needed. Where better to start than from Spuley Lane – all 13 of us and on a lovely summer’s day?

Pete and the Webmeister formed the advance party, Neil and Alison peeled off towards Lyme Park just after Brink Farm on Bakestonedale Road. With the main party down to 9 we ran South along the dog free permissive path along the Charles Head ridge where we spotted Pete in fluorescent orange T-shirt making his way through the metre deep cotton grass. Heading West we get caught up in the long grass alongside the Moss Brook , leaving it to cross the Macclesfield Road and joining it again after it has renamed itself the Black Brook and just in time for it call itself Harrop Brook in the deep and shady wooded Harrop Valley.

Back after about 75mins. Time for tea and cake at the Farm Made tearoom. Some of us joined Trevor, his daughter and about half a dozen very small dogs at an outdoor table in the warm sun. Others preferred to protect their complexions from the beating sun by staying indoors.

My next leads - The Combs Potter has been re-arranged for Thursday 26 September, then it’s Wilmslow on 10 October.

BJ.


6th, August, 2019: Tuesday’s Potter.

Here’s a handsome picture of Grant enjoying the magnificent views from Tegg’s Nose, apres run and, fortunately, recovered from being spiked by a nasty thorn.

An image Grant could see of Macclefield Forest and Shuttlinslo in the far background.

If one looks carefully at the image, part of today’s route travered from right to left: a sunken path can be viewed heading north then turning left to Hardingland Farm.

Called in as a last-minute substitute to find an alternative to the planned visit to Poynton now said to be underwater, and also to divert Pete from his ambition of leading the potters through Macclesfield cemetery, Jim took the reins for a second successive Tuesday. He hoped for a better turnout this time and was not disappointed as he led out six resilient potters from the leafy confines of Teggs Nose bottom car park, three walkers having already departed on their various routes.

The destination was Rainow with a return on a different path. Hopefully. The towering flank of the Teggs Nose massif drew admiring glances from the runners, even the two recently returned from the Dolomites, full of tales of adventure and enjoyment as they were but complaining of sore arms and shoulders.  The rest of us couldn't compete with such story-telling but at least our upper limbs were in good trim. An early trek through nettles did not deter too much and soon the party had left Hardingland and were heading for the heights of Macc Forest, striding through the long grasses over to Walker Barn. From here it was but a short passage to Horden Farm (as usual nobody visible) and then down to the waterworks road.

Jimbo’s little library. A place that couldn’t possibily exist, in, say, Toxteth, or Hackney; for reasons of social unrest.

Grant's unfortunate 'thorn in the shoe' moment had slowed him down somewhat so Jim cut off the intended loop down to Rainow village and directed everyone up to the ridge for the return journey. There were no protests so clearly the right decision. We then met Alan, striding along like a good 'un, but no sign of the other two walkers. From this point it was a clear run over to Teggs Nose along the Gritstone Trail, the runners revelling in the warm breeze blowing sweet summer scents into the smiling faces. For a bit of fun at the end of the run, Jim decided to take everyone to the library. Yes, there is a library at Teggs Nose. Tucked away along a side path this is a borrow and return service in an elevated box containing a small supply of books to suit all tastes and run by volunteers. What s delight! Trevor settled down on the nearby bench with a cricket book but was not allowed to settle as Jim ushered everyone downhill to the finish. It proved to be a tricky descent, however, for though this had once been a decent path it had clearly not been used for a long time. So, the run ended as it had begun, with scratched legs but satisfied smiles and contentment all round.

No, I'm not available next week!

Now now Jimbo, don’t take it like that. Ed.


Ist, August, 2019: Thursday’s Potter.

Colourful, spontaneous, happy faces fill this canvas like a sitting for an oil painting: rich colours applied to intensify the scene while grey brooding clouds tries to mimic Jimbo’s encoutenance but fails miserably to the task.

With the link road construction finally started, it seemed like a good idea to run out to see what was happening. Sadly all the footpaths that crossed the route of the road were closed for the duration, so a zig-zag run was put together.

We started with an easy route across the park, avoiding the flower beds, and out past Siemens, over the footbridge, and along to the Buglawton playing fields. Unfortunately the footpath alongside the River Dane was under several inches of water, so most of us retreated to the football pitch to run there, leaving Sandre to enjoy the paddy field experience.

At Havanna village, we stopped to view the weir where the hydro-electric plant is planned, before climbing up to the Macc road. Grant, who was leading from the back, had to call the eager runners back, as, instead of taking the route to Eaton village, the plan was to run out to the Giants Wood Lane construction site. The footpaths that were still open circled the old quarry workings, passing the residence of John Amies, the famed veteran runner. As it happened, the great man emerged as the last three runners were negotiating the stile by his house and old friendships were renewed before they continued the run.

A photo opportunity by the still-under-construction roundabout was taken, before taking the lovely footpath through the woods back to the top of Giants Wood Lane. From there we dropped back down to the A34 Wilmslow Road, before returning to Havanna village. We weaved our way through a few streets of houses, before finding the canal and retreating back down the hill via some forgotten paths at the edge of Congleton. It was impossible to resist the temptation to stretch our legs down the road back to the Leisure Centre.

The Loft cafe was as welcoming as ever, with eight of our number enjoying the food and drink on offer. When the link road is completed, we shall be able to revisit the footpaths that were denied to us today. However most of our group were content to keep our feet reasonably dry for a change.

Grant.

 


30th, July, 2019: Tuesday’s Potter.

Forest Chapel, just a stone’s throw away from Standing Stone. The high ground that predominates this part of East Cheshire. St Stephen’s is the church where rushbearing still takes place each August. No need to rush as it doesn’t happen till mid month.

Here’s another stunning picture taken not too far from Standing Stone from where Jimbo led his troops on the Tuesday’s Potter.

At last, my memoirs!

You know what it's like, looking ahead to a busy week of domestic chores and leisure activities, unsure if the weather will allow much of what you've planned, the mind a bit frazzled so not sure what day of the week it is, then suddenly, a text comes in saying you're leading the morning's potter! From Standing Stone, not everyone's favourite departure lounge given that's it's high up and surrounded by other 'high up' places.

What to do? Where shall we go? And I have a doctor's appointment beforehand which might mean I'd be late so adding an extra uncertainty to the mix. As it turned out, I was the first one there....and almost the last one! This was not a potter where counting the numbers was going to take very long. Phil and Johnny set off walking then there was a bit of a wait until the runners appeared.....Barry and Chris. Just the three of us. I decided to take us on the route I'd led from this same venue a few weeks earlier but in reverse. It turned out to be a masterful decision with some stunning views over the Forest and out towards Shining Tor.

Although many of the paths were familiar, by going backwards (not literally, silly!) we had a very different perspective on our surroundings. Chris thought there was more climb involved this way round but he carried on, teeth gritting furiously. Barry was in clover while I felt a bit knackered but stoically presented the brave face of leadership whenever anyone looked. We met the walkers halfway round.

Walker Phil told a tale of a barn owl flying inches over his head while he was being photographed outside a barn by walker Johnny. No owl can be seen on the photo so make of that story what you will. The runners stopped for a chat with Farmer Sid at Greenways Farm on the old Buxton Road. Sid is an garrulous old man of the hills, possessing the finest pair of eyebrows this side of Dennis Healey. He and Barry exchanged various good-natured insults before we set off again in the direction of Forest Chapel.

This fine place of worship is now being dwarfed by the adjoining Chapel House, no longer a farm but more of a luxury residence with what could be a helipad under construction at the rear. Catching the walkers once more we all finished together, carrying plenty of stories for later re-telling.

The rain had not disturbed our activity and even Chris had enjoyed his morning with nature (although he wasn't admitting it). The walkers had their departures delayed by two dray lorries ascending the steep narrow road up from the Heronry causing them to reverse uphill while uttering a series of vindictive oaths. As someone might say, such is life on a potter.'

Jimbo.


25th, July, 2019: Thursday’s Potter.

The troupe looking somewhat fresh before the challenge ahead...

and when they were taking a light breather somewhere along the way. Could this be a spot above the famous Thoon Stone ?

Leader Jacko at Farm Made soaking in the day’s high temperature while Honza listens intently to Brian’s revealing narratives.

The remainder of the troupe taking much relief in the comfort of Made’s cool interior.

Thursday 25th July promised to be the hottest day of the year. A daunting prospect on a Thursday but 10 Potters set out from Pym Chair car park spot on 10 am, quite undaunted but fully focussed and ready to be tested in the furnace that was the Todd Brook valley that day.

We started with a nice flattering descent past Windgather rocks and down Taxal Edge, turning West into the valley. Here we found that the cattle churned mud of winter had baked as hard as bricks and more difficult to run over. Now South up the valley through meadows carpeted deeply in tussocks of cotton grass which betrayed few signs of having been walked on much in recent month. Beautiful, tranquil England disturbed only by the occasional plane making its descent of Manchester Airport and the gentle chatter of a gaggle of happy Potters. The heat builds but the Potters are equal to the challenge and pass through Hollowcowhey Farm and Green Stack before reaching the public road leading back to Pym Chair. Here, I offer the team the chance to take the short but steep route back to the cars or to continue South past the old fans read of Howlersknow and the climb the steep escarpment below Cats Tor. Everyone took the tough option and we hit the ridge below the summit which we soon reached. All that was left was a nice gentle descent to Pym Chair where we were just about changed when Kath Turner arrived to tell us she had arrived just as we had set off.

All manner of shouting hooting and general caterwauling had failed to make any impression on the 10 determined Potters.

We should have been 11. She had arrived in the car park to the sound of the Greenwich pips on the radio at 10.00am. I checked my watch later. It was 53 secs fast. Sorry, Kath. A grand day out.

Temperatures reached the mid 30s that afternoon. 

BJ

And we dare say, Jacko, Kath’s temperature must have registered off the scale that morning. Ed.  

 


23rd, July, 2019: Tuesday’s Potter.

An ample gathering apres run tasting the delights at Tucker’s pad where plenty of goodies were on display for all to gorge on if one so desired. The great man himself behaved impeccably as mein host and wouldn’t have looked out of place dressed as a waitress though his bonce would have probably given the game away. The day proved hot so this sumptuous oasis was blessed relief from what went before in those sticky climbs and long grasses.

Here’s a Bonny, lucid picture taken in a clearing by Bonny snapper Grant, who’s done justice to this image. No fakery here just pure unadulterated enjoyment: not even a twinkle of madness in their eyes to blighted this Potter occasion, though one could, perhaps, have a sneaky feeling Dave Walker’s been to the dentist recently and had a new sett of nasher’s fitted. Proving there is still life after tooth decay.


18th, July, 2019: Thursday’s Potter.

We were at this location today but we didn’t take advantage of this little puffer. Please don’t ask us why.

Here’s another mode of transport we declined today, but this location was a little out of our reach.

Kinder weather conditions drifted in to make this Potter addition more bearable without the blistering sun of late. The slight rain overnight may have dampened the long grasses though they still proved difficult making headway on the overgrown paths.

Honza and Alex left a fistful of minutes before the main party that including leader Tux from the lake at Rudyard. Those useful minutes allowed the getaways enough time to dawdle here and there, get slightly lost and still be back at the venues before they arrived. That didn’t mean we never set eyes on them: they must have moved reasonably well during the earlier stages though that may have been to good fortune on seeing where we had trod before and taken advantage of the paths we had made through the long pastures.

But then there must have come a time when the wind left their sails and their boat drifted somewhat: the rocks must have morphed into dilapidated stiles covered in seas of nettles, brushing the legs as they passed by. Hot work indeed!

And this torture must have proved too much to take as Honza never stopped moaning throughout the adventure and it seemed to contine forever.

Though calm did sett in at the Cafe back at Rudyard Lake, where the accommadating lady who served tea and home-made cakes made us feel indeed at home.

And, to top that, Kav produced a selection of small tea cosies his dear wife had made for us: to keep the tea warm on some of those beastly days we know can happen from time to time. What a nice thought.    


16th, July, 2019: Tuesday’s Potter

A worms eye view of part of the Tuesday’s Potter group before it wriggled away to quieter meadows.

Pete pointing a crooked finger in the direction of progress while Jimbo’s feeling remorseful the run’s nearing its conclusion.

This image has nothing in common with today’s Potter other than showing an attentive Tux amongst his lesser comrades who are exhibiting an air of slight melancholy at his fortitude and ability to snap a piccie.

Ten men and women met at the Bridge End venue in very different circumstances to the last occasion when Grant led a run from there. Gone was the driving rain and cool temperature, to be replaced with warmth and humidity. And double figures turning out to take part.

The run started at a gentle pace, taking a foot-path leading West, before a steep climb took us out of the valley and on to the trail to Horton village. The path was a little tricky in places, with some ill-used stiles to be negotiated. Luckily, we had a source of local knowledge, in the shape of Kath, our friendly ‘First Response’ representative. However, from Horton, it was ‘plain sailing’ down to Rudyard and the water-sports centre. The main group also found our ‘hare’, in the form of Alex, who was given a five minute head start and kept it until then.

Once across the dam, there was another steep climb onto the gently rolling moorland pasture. From then on, with only a stop for a photo to commemorate the run, we followed the foot-path to Poolend, with a short jog along the road to the end of the path back to Bridge End. There were two schools of thought about the strict definition of where the path began, but all parties agreed on the same route back to the cars.

After the slightly difficult running conditions (high humidity and warm temperature) most elected to cross the road to the nearby garden centre cafe, whereas Peter and Grant chose the Lions cafe in Leek. I think everyone was happy to get their tea or coffee and begin the recovery process.

Grant.


11th, July, 2019: Thursday’s Potter.

Here’s a lucid picture of the group on side of Kerridge Hill with Rainow village in the middle background. Overcast the weather may be but the conditions were just perfect for running and trecking. Happy faces and pursed lips suggested a mixture of dry-mouthed and utter contentment.