Pensioner Potter

For the young at heart

8 June, 21. Tuesday's Potter: Finlow Hill.        10 June, 21. Thursday's Potter. The Knot. 

Geoff Pet leading the troop on a downward trajectory: if all races went like this, he'd win hands-down every time. The great man had a reputation for his hair-raising descents, which left people in his wake. Mind you, once the gradients levelled off, things would mostly turn out somewhat different.


3 June, 21, Thursday's Potter. Lyme Park.

Leader: Tucker.

All present and correct outside The Cage, Lyme Park. A momentary pause for the niceties and admiring views before moving on to the next port of call, which would probably be to the nearest bushes to relieve the pressures of nature, for want of taking in the waters, due to the thirsty weather we’re experiencing at this time.

A soft-shoe shuffle, no doubt, is in play here by the indomitable Jimbo with bonce bandidoed, hinting, perhaps, where his roots were. A pirate past, maybe? And now free from the Cage in the background, fleeing with his cohorts to wreak havoc on other unsuspecting gophers. Life on the high sea has its reward for these renegades, with Booty in abundance. Now, where's that Jolly Roger?


1st June, 21, Tuesday's Potter: Prestbury:

Leader: Tucker.

King's School revisited. A new heap for learning, where cows once grazed on prime farmland, tewing the cud until the sun went down; not realising their days at this idyllic location were numbered, replaced by a different breed of animal that prefers to devour knowledge and energy than safeguard the ever-diminishing countryside we like to frequent.


27 May, 21. Thursday's Potter, Glebe Farm, Congleton:

Leader: Patch.

Patch strutting his stuff among the bluebells, donning a pre-covid T-shirt displaying the "Ascent of Man" from his humble beginning to a fine specimen we have like the T-shirt wearer. Boldly going where others fear to tread in case a dog had made its mark.


19 May, 21. Thursday's Potter:

Dot's Birthday run.

A worm"s eye view from under the gazebo. Patch demonstrating a slice of Birthday cake he could dispatch, if fortunate enough to be offered one. While Grant, in pensive mood, hugs his cup of Horlicks, as Dot looks on, diplomatically; though, perhaps, in deep thought, pondering whether they're actually going to go home or not.

The Party in full swing with Jimbo casting an eye over his tablet, just in case he had won the sweep-stake on offer of a fine brace of walking sticks, especially engraved with the Potter logo: Finders Keepers.

Under gloomy skies enlivened by a quickening moist breeze, 13 Potters gathered at Dot’s estate on the semi-rural fringes of Macclesfield. And then we were off over the Buxton Road, picking our way through various snickets from suburban street to suburban street until we reached the golf club and semi-rurality again, into the Pennine foothills we know so well.

Dot’s bad back persuaded her (along with Grant) to return early from near the top of Tegg’s Nose, from where we decided by quiet rural lanes down to Hurdsfield where we made a surprise appearance on Tucker’s CCTV camera (not seen the video yet).

Just a jog along the canal and we were soon back to Dot’s where the rain and wind were just about to get into top gear. Fortunately, Grant had brought along his super-gazebo, otherwise, there could have been an enormous number of cakes and cups of tea left over.

We all huddled under the lifesaver whilst Dot brought out the most wonderful cakes and never-ending pots of tea, all supplemented by Margaret’s Victoria sponge and millionaire’s shortbread.

A very jolly and scrumptious time was had by all, so much so that I did not eat a thing until my evening dinner.

Many thanks, Dot, and Many Happy Returns!

Jacko.


18 May, 21. Tuesday's Potter, Bollington:

Leader: Woody.

Here's a couple of intriguing images kindly taken by the day's leader Woody. The first captures Jimbo and Butch larking about down Ingersley Vale, inspecting a plaque informing people of the local history, which, unfortunately, is in desperate need of attention. So, two elderly organic specimens displaying themselves amongst an ancient wall of inorganic matter. Well, what could make one's day any less captivating?

And, this heady second image drops away down to a tiny hamlet of expensive accommodations affronted by an attractive pond. The inorganic stone structure at the head of the picture appears like a heap of rubble, though one assumes Woody would think it's more worthy than that and probably heaped in antiquity. Sheep graze lazily, seemingly oblivious to their surroundings, concentrating on the task at hand.


13 May, 21, A Thursday's Potter. Gradbach.

Leader: Jacko.

Blissful faces in tranquil settings. Why would anyone prefer to be elsewhere? It’s said, the rain’s never materialised.

We presume Patch had taken the other image, so we couldn’t neglect our duty and find a place here to show off his fine features.

Five Potters celebrated a final Lockdown walk from Gradbach before the Covid number restrictions are relaxed. The promised rain failed to arrive, so we revelled in a run on some of the open fell country of the Roaches, with the secure frictional qualities of gritstone under our feet and views towards rainier conditions over the Cheshire Plain.

We ran as far as Doxey Pool and then retraced our steps back to the nick before continuing along the ridge, then diving down into the mossy coated chasm that is Ludd’s Church.

It must have been well over 12 months since I had been in the area last, and after the descent from Ludd’s Church, I missed the turning back to the mill. We had made substantial progress back up the wooded valley towards the Roaches when Margaret said: “haven’t we been this way before?”

and we dropped back into Gradbach and had tea and cake as in the new traditional DIY picnic format.

Jacko.


11 May, 21, Tuesday's Potter, Gawsworth.

Leader: Tucker.

A bucolical setting at the heart of Gawsworth is where the remainder of the Potter group found themselves pitching table and chairs to enjoy the last of the day's Potter activity.

What could be more befitting than to relax in a tree-shielded meadow and sup hot tea and chomp on a variety of nibbles till the cows come home as it were?

Thankfully, the potent odour of farmland wasn't present to entice absent insects to descend and swarm the proceedings with their annoying habit of being where they shouldn't.


6 May, 21, Thursday's Potter.Bollington.

Leader: Birthday Boy, John K.

Phil, the thrill, Walker, has kindly provided this presentable image of a few of the active potterers straddling a footpath over a shallow ravine, somewhere above Lamaload Dam, and Wickenshaw Farm?

It's nice to see some smiling faces out with the troop: maybe it's because the Covid pandemic seems to be ebbing away, and Summer's just around the corner, which, hopefully, means warmer weather to enjoy in short's and short sleeves so, exposing pale, sagging flesh that may frighten those with a delicate disposition. But who cares?

It's good to see Dave Parry was out with the group: It's quite some time since he mingled with the party. Mind you, it's said, he's still working and having to earn a crust, so it's not surprising.

Perhaps the thought of goodies and things were too great a temptation to miss this bash of Kav's?


20 April, 21, Tuesday's Potter. Standing Stone, Mac Forrest.

leader: Jimbo.

Since no imagery was forthcoming to augment Jimbo's Potter report, we've delved into the Potter archive and eyed a couple of specimens that may fill an otherwise vacant space. So, here we have an impressionable image of Jimbo in the flush of youth with a flashing smile that would please the cockles of many a sober dentists heart. Sitting next to a stern-looking Stan who appears to be waiting patiently for a tasty nibble but, if it's not forthcoming soon, Jimbo's infectious smile may disappear under the strain of Stan's powerful jaws gripping a somewhat vulnerable leg.

This image captured sometime in 2019 by Tucker of a selfie-taking Harry of an eager-looking group. It just shows how little we have changed in the in-between years, unfortunately, dominated by this dreadful Coronavirus. Does one wonder what Chris is trying to express? Positively something worthy of pondering. Even Cynthea could see a joke was in play? She's sorely missed. It would be just lovely if she could join us again, even if it were just for a walk. 😀

For some reason, only known to the webmaster, I am always designated to lead when the venue is Standing Stone.

Although a spectacular setting this starting point has two key disadvantages. It invariably attracts bad weather whenever Potters gather there, and its height means there is an unavoidable ascent back to the finish. Maybe Alex thinks I have the authority or perhaps the charisma to overcome such problems? Who knows?

Whatever the inside story maybe, this morning's events proved that there may well be an exception to every rule. The weather was glorious, and the finish did not feature a tiring climb. Do you want to know more? Let me explain.

In temperatures well into double figures, two walkers set off ahead of the main pack. Phil and Grant were appropriately clad although Grant's walking stick may well have given him the edge when it came to elegance. The six runners then set off on a route I'd previously used although nobody remembered it as that had been a day of rain and swirling mist. Today could not have been more different.

Conversation rarely moved beyond the twin subjects of fine weather and fine views. For those who were not there, I can now disclose the route so that you can slip away one fine day at your leisure and relive our experience:

From the start, the route went down through the woods to Toot Hill and then up the road to the Forest Chapel. There was brief conversation as to the availability of the chapel car park as a future venue before climbing up Charity Lane and into the Forest. Following the main path through the trees we then ascended to and crossed Hacked Way Lane at Ashtreetop, then the ups and downs of moorland to Warrilowhead Farm and Walker Barn. It was then a case of following the Gritstone Trail towards Lamaload but bearing right before the water we climbed up to the Buxton Roads, both old and new, through Greenways Farm (looking rather tidier than usual) and finally back to Forest Chapel. Following the lanes round to Standing Stone, no climbing of note was noted.

It was the journey's end in little over an hour and a half. Three of our number climbed a wall and did a little trespassing - they know who they are - but no damage was done and it proved to be a longer way back anyway. Just a few minutes later the two walkers returned undamaged and reporting on an excellent morning.

Then out came the flasks and tea and conversation flowed mightily. All was well with the world.

Part of the previous sentence is a bare-faced lie.

Jimbo.


15 April, 21. Thursday's Potter. Actually, two venues this time, a rare event indeed. One from the safety of the Knutsford area, and the other from the heady wilds of the Goyt Valley.  

Here's a captivating image taken by woody above the Goyt Valley. Could be anywhere which makes it more alurring.

ERRWOOD:

With the lockdown beginning to show signs of loosening its grip there was a new mood in the air as a small number of potters assembled in Errwood car park at the bottom of The Street, the Roman road leading down to the Goyt reservoirs. Clear skies and an emerging sun compensated in no small measure for the cool temperature and our anticipated route promised true satisfaction....but there was a but. The expected leader, Tucker had phoned in sick (only one of his feet was working) so, plans had to be redrawn. Easier said than done as Pete was operating on only half a turbo after feeling some reaction from his second jab, and others amongst us were still recovering from various ailments. An agreement was swiftly reached that something shorter and slower was required. More sightseeing than usual perhaps?

The first stop was the site of Errwood Hall, the erstwhile home of the Grimshawe family, its ruins still able to stimulate the imagination with pictures of how this busy community would have lived. We looked in at the family burial ground, situated on one of the highest points of the former Errwood estate and containing the graves of members of the Grimshawe family and some of their servants. A peaceful spot.

A steady climb up to the Shining Tor/Cats Tor ridge then followed, and we ran and walked along the path that leads to Pym Chair, admiring the sweeping panorama over to Buxton and the hills of the Peak District. Beautiful views indeed. Although the main path was paved some years ago in a bid to defeat the erosion caused by weather and tramping feet it was noticeable that new paths have emerged on the grass to either side and, in bad weather, this route can still be a muddy experience for everyone.

But not today. We enjoyed an easy descent down The Street before turning off onto a downward path, taking us to the shrine, built-in 1889 by the Grimshawes in memory of Miss Dolores, the Spanish companion to old Mrs Grimshawe. The family's resident priest periodically conducted services there attended by the servants from the hall. The shrine is a popular stopping place for walkers and is well-maintained.

By the time we finished, a little more than an hour and a half later, the car park was noticeably busier, but we were satisfied with what we had done: a good morning's exercise when the valley was at its most welcoming.

Our flasks of tea were a suitable reward.

Jimbo.


Knutsford:

Grant strike’s one as being much larger than life- literally. It’s an illusion, of course. It’s that, or the others are shrinking diminutively.

A lovely spread of tasties: exceedingly presented sausages, waiting to be devoured. With not a bottle of red sauce insight, which would have upset the missing Tucker, who, unfortunately, had to miss this relish due to an ankle injury.

6 Potters left my house for a run over the fields around Mobberley, spotting famous footballer mansions.

We started by visiting a Scheduled monument around the corner from here- St Helena’s burial ground. It contains headstones from the 17th century and, surprisingly, in good condition.

In past times the original Chapel (14th century) was torn down with parts of the old stonework used in constructing a new one. The group then proceeded within the Covid protocol, behaving as one would expect of a true Potter.

We returned via Booths Hall and along the pretty Lime walk: this particular path through the woods with trees on either side is a beautiful location. It was where the kind passer-by had taken the group photo pictured above.

It was then back home for refreshments in the comfort of the leader's garden.

Margaret.


13 April, 21. Tuesday's Potter. Over Alderley.

Here is a striking picture was taken by Alex on Tuesday's Potter. The weather was unusually heavenly beautiful.

Tucker, who was so taken back by these conditions, leapt onto a nearby gate, seemingly balancing on his nuggets, before taking an image of the attractive localé.

And, happening in the presence of several Potterers including Turbo Pete sporting an admirable silver bonce, seen to the bottom right side of the photo, as if it were complementing the magnificent luminous skyscape in the background.

Dare one continues, or should one vacate the scene and leave Dot and Woody in peace to enjoy their much earned privacy?


8 April, 21, Thursday's Potter.

Grant in conversation with a bemused Margo, possibly with his impressive gesticulations: perhaps the banter referred to a mighty fish that got away while on a fishing trip- as the yarn would go. Maybe it had nothing to do with a fishy story and something no more mundane than expressing a Kung Fu movement, of which the great man is renowned...Or is that Tai Chi?

News from the Congleton, Wilmslow, and Knutsford Potter team:

Our team of 6 was reduced to 3 today through injuries. Mike (leg), Brian (calf) and Harry (back) were the suffering trio. So, Grant, Margaret and I set off from Glebe Farm heading over fields towards Watery Lane, turning right at possibly the filthiest farm in Cheshire, before crossing very rutted fields towards the canal. Instead of continuing down the canal, Grant unwittingly led us astray along Oak Lane for about 50 yards. This deviation warranted blackmarks for the leader for not paying attention.

We continued along the chosen route discussing various vaccinations, Covid, as-well-as politics and other such topical issues. The intended way should have left the canal at Ackers Crossing and then ascending through Hanging Woods to the Gritstone Trail by the Mow Cop Mast.

However, conversations were so interesting the leader took the troops a bridge too far, which was a good half mile past the intended exit point. Quickly an alternative route was planned to take us towards Little Morton Hall and along the A34, picking up the footpath network towards Smallwood, Brownlow and back to Glebe Farm.

Despite resistance from his colleagues, Grant decided to take a path leading off the A34 at Cuttleford Farm, which was not the intended route. It certainly deviates from The Potter Rule Book. So a 2-week ban for Grant from Pottering is highly recommended.

Margaret and I returned to the finish after a 7.15 mile and a 90 minute very enjoyable Potter. Grant finished before us, his route shortened by a good 1.5 miles.

"Roll on May 17"

DT (Congleton Branch)


April Fools’ Day Parallel Potter.

A classic sang-froid of Margo doing what she does best on this magnificent beech tree. Mike's struck with awe at Margo's tenacity at geting things done.

Whilst the main Potter was underway at Rainow, just the four Fools - Dave T, Mike L, Margaret and me set out on a chilly but dry April day.

Nearly 11km from Lindow Common along the boardwalk to the Bollin, to Styal Mill and into Styal Woods just past Oxbow Bridge where we could not stop Margaret climbing this splendid characterful beech tree, then back across the Bollin and the Altrincham road, round the back of Morley, over the old tip to the Peat Bogs and back to Lindow Common.

Afterwards, we chilled in my garden over the refreshments.

I should have produced soup!

Jacko.


30 March, 21. Tuesday's Potter. Glebe Farm, Congleton.

And a small group from Mac Forest.

Tucker provided this colourful image for the website. A host of daffodils blowing a fan-fare: perhaps ending the COVID lockdown and for a new beginning? But where are the potterers, you may ask? Yes, where are they indeed: Some people are missing the quirky images of seeing another old folk nimbly climbing knobbly thing's to the delight of their knobbly comrades with anticipation of them coming a cropper and so dislodging their crest in the swirling action.

Here's a gateway to many destinations, and all pointing to inviting places with interest at heart. All one needs is strong lungs, sturdy limbs and the desire to explore. Pertinacity would be enormously helpful if one were to lose one's bearings in unfamiliar locations: it depends on how far one is willing to go. Star-gate? Now that would be out of this world.



9 March, 21. Tuesday's Potter: Wincle.

leader: Honza.

Here is a tranquil setting, deep in the heart of bucolic Wincle, showing Honza negotiating a difficult stile under a triffid-like tree. After all these years, he still finds them a swine to mount and must curse the day he set eyes on them for the first time: though one could probably guess he would have leapt them in his earlier days when his limbs were ripe for action and raring to go.

At least he can reminisce about those times when he ran on the track, country, road, and Marathons, without a hint of discomfort, which he often does without fail, and it appears he finds the experience as easy as throwing a log on the fire.


3rd March, 21. A Wednesday Wagslow Potterette.

Leader: Jacko.

Here is a charming picture of the indefatigable Margo, aka “85%”: this has some connection with Park Runs. Anyway, here she is, appearing sharp as a pin, all kitted out and raring to go on a sally with the irrepressible Jacko.

The elusive Margaret emerged from Knutsford on her bike and met me at the Lindow Common car park.

We then went for a similar run around the Wilmslow beauty spots that I did with Jim last month, namely – Lindow Common, Lindow Moss, Rossmere fishing lake, The Old Tip, Styal Mill and Woods, Twinney’s Bridge, and the Boardwalk. Getting on for 2 hours and very little mud to report.

Great to see Mrs. 85% for the first time this year. She claims that she will have to be, renamed when Parkrun starts again. However, I will still be a good 15% down on her.

Give me a shout if any of you fancy pairing up for another run.

It doesn’t have to be Wagslow.

Hasta luego,

BJ


Recollections:

Here is an appealing image of a Potter group kindly sent by the indomitable Tucker to remind us just how some things were before COVID showed it's suffering presence.
It was taken in Mac Forest sometime in April 2019 when the weather was suitable for wearing shorts and short sleeves: an air of enlightenment appears to pervade those present and thoughts of winter past behind and anticipation of a bright summer just to the fore.

How things looked honky -dory. How little did they know what was lying in wait just up the road that would eventually come to affect most parts of the world, and we're not talking about Brexit here: though unexpectedly that would come to play an important role, and in effect, still is.


18 Feb, 21, Thursday’s Potter, Lamaload Reservoir.

Leader: Tucker.

The Hidden Valley stretches below Shining Tor. Holds a scant footpath which snakes its way down past the mystical Thursbitch before arriving in the place of Salterforth and the peculiar but famous church of the same name. A point not to linger, they say in this mystifying locale, where wildlife seems to be vacant and the birds' almost none existent, except for the odd Raven or two, so cementing an assumption that this area is a strange place, Indeed. So, tread with care if you need to enter its domain.

Here is an overpowering image of Charity Lane, taken by the ever-minded Tucker, while out recently on a solo run. It's surprising how quickly the weather can alter here in the UK just within a few days, from deep snow to rivers of rain. It must have something to do with the elevation we are set here in the UK. Or, influenced, maybe by the Gulf Stream? It's said, without it, the UK would be 5deg colder, so bringing us near-freezing conditions most of the winters. Yuk!


12 Feb, 21, Thursday's Potter, Styal, Wimslow:

Pilot: Jacko?

Jacko, testing his aerodynamics above the river Bollin, in Styal Woods. Steady as she goes over the felled tree.

Jimbo, appearing happy with himself on his successful manoeuver on the same, “monument”. Considering the minus temperatures on Thursday, one would not have suspected that here judging by these images.

By way of a change, I decided to head over to Wilmslow today for a run with our learned friend Brian, not seen in these parts since we were locked down again.

Happily, Brian had lost none of his verve or vitality since he last pottered. Having been incognito for a few weeks with limited outlets for his views and observations it was a lively run in more than one sense.

Starting from the car park opposite the former Boddington's Arms (now re-emerging as Hickory's American Smokehouse - how long will that last?) we set off across Lindow Common, and then over to Styal Woods and the milling dog-walkers, before returning nearly two hours later to our starting point.

Where flasks were drawn and hot tea proved a fitting reward for our exertions on this cold wintry morning.

Jim


9 Feb, 21, Tuesday's Potter. Tegg's Bottom, Langley:

leader: Jimbo. 

Jimbo enjoying glorious sunshine above Mac Forest, where Toe an he covered 11. 5 miles of unadulterated time in the wilderness.

A brace of Potters exposing their dentals to the harsh, Cristal conditions

As I was down to lead today's potter from Teggs Nose bottom car park, an arrangement fixed in the olden days before anybody could spell pandemic, it seemed only right that I should start my morning run from there, today accompanied by Tony.

It was a gorgeous sunny morning, snow and ice on the higher ground with considerable drifted snow to wade through at regular intervals. Minutes after setting off we met Neil and rent-a-dog, just finishing their early morning excursion (an example to us all) and we then took a route following the Gritstone trail over to Hanging Gate, across High Moor to Oakenclough and across the field paths to the Crag.

Then it was a slog up to Shutlingsloe and over to Standing Stone. Beautiful snow sculptures decorated the way with the sun shining still and glorious views all around. It was so good to be out there that we took no heed of time and carried on through the Forest, up Charity Lane and over to Hardingland. Hardly a soul did we meet at any stage of the route although there were walkers around Teggs Nose, keeping to the regular routes.

If only they'd gone where we went, what a joyful morning they would have had. Tony and I were glad they didn't.


                                             Local Pottering

Here's a pretty image of South Park Mac under the influence of covid. Even the gulls appear to stand in-trepid isolation on serpent-like stakes for their much sought after corona jab. One can only imagine the mayhem if these miracle vaccines aren't as effective as one hoped, and people the length and breadth of the country take to the streets armed with things that would wreak havoc on those that deserve the stick. No doubt the gulls would like to have their say too, taking the full advantage crapping on anyone who happened to be tarred by officialdom who happens to be in their line of flight.


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?


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.

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.