Thursday, 19 November 2009

Windy walk

Seeing as I'm going out of my tree with not riding this week I opted for a walk today regardless of the gales and the threat of torrential rain.

I chose a portion of a walk I've done frequently that I knew wouldn't be too hilly or too muddy in the current crap climatic conditions.

I set off from mine with a beanie on as despite it being mild out the gales were supposed to make it much colder. What the weather forecasters failed to note was that the wind was actually rather warm, so before long the beanie was off and replaced with my baseball cap to shelter my eyes from airborne crud. By the time I'd passed Millstream Animal Shelter my waterproof jacket was getting unzipped as I was already beginning to get a sweat on.
Before long I'd reached the steepest point of my walk with a brief 14-20% section to enter Woodhouses. Directly opposite some gorgeous cottages is a road that for several years I thought just led to some expensive looking houses off the main road. It wasn't until a year or so ago that I actually paid attention whilst walking past and saw the weathered finger post sign letting the world know that it led to Medlock Vale and was part of the Oldham Way.
I headed down this road which led past some stunning houses before reaching an old cobbled section (maybe a century old?) that led steeply down to a gorgeous farm in the valley with a stunning vista of woodland all around it. Once past the farm and along a muddy track (with some deep tractor ruts in it) and I was at my desired location of the bridge over the Medlock itself. My aim of coming here was to see exactly how much the river had risen with the influx of rain we've had recently. Further downstream I'd seen the river so deep that there wasn't much of the archway left to be seen in the road bridge - pretty sure the river had risen at least 4 or 5ft. Up here the river was lapping over the banks and had breached them at one point. Luckily the banks of the river here are actually 10ft or so below the pathways - kind of a valley in a valley. However there didn't seem any imminent danger of it breaching fully.
Once I'd had a rest I set off back through the muddy tracks to the waymarked entrance of a field and tramped my way through until I reached Vale Lane again which brought me alongside fishing ponds and back out onto the main road, where I pootled back down the hill to get onto Edge Lane again.

From here I climbed back up the hill in another direction to the level crossing and the start of the Clayton Vale circular route (a portion of the Vale I'd not walked along for many many years) alongside the train tracks until the Culcheth Lane entrance and the trail led down into the valley here where again the river was so swollen and fast flowing that even the ducks had huge problems. Crossing the old bridge and climbing back out of the valley I startled a bunny - my startle saved it's little fuzzy life though as soon a Sparrowhawk came swooping about looking for lunch and he'd have been the meal if he hadn't have hopped away into the undergrowth.

Now I'm at my mom's place and my knee is swollen internally (horrid squishy feeling) and kinda dead, so I'm glad it was only a short walk and it's something more I can tell Doc when I see him.

Temp: 11C with a real feel of 11C. Winds 29mph S.
Miles: 4.2
Climbed: 296ft

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