Sunday, 24 February 2013

No 12 Sandstone Way

Again- not all of it, but enough to get me an ultra from when I was dropped off in Frodsham. I had to be back in Delamere to find the vehicle and have time to recover before night orienteering. Bob came to go mountain biking and would think about the night O. I had found a free guide and maps on the internet and picked what seemed to be the most interesting bit starting at Middle Walk. This meant I was straight into the woods with no tarmac. I did make a quick stop for a photo and to admire the view at the war memorial.

 It was an interesting woodland with lots of undulations and outcrops of sandstone cliff. I had a great view over the Mersey and out to sea as I climbed and ran along the edge. I could almost see Crosby and the end of my Sefton run. It seemed well signed and I had no need for the map or guide- yet.

As I ran through Manley the owner of the B+B was setting up tables and chairs with an advert of soup! I hoped I would find something similar in a few hours time. I arrived in Delamere in no time and soon recognised where I was. I kept a look out for Bob, but our paths did not quite coincide, and took note of the car park for tonight adventure. The walkers thinned out a bit after Old Pale and suddenly I was crossing the A54 and admiring horses on the gallops.

As I shot down a lovely sandy path I missed the sign off to the right at the bottom and so did an extra loop around Primrose Hill Wood. It didn't matter and I knew I was still heading mainly south. With just a little help from the OS map, which Andy Splatcher had wisely told me to take, I used some local footpaths and joined back up with the Sandstone Way.

 After the A51 I had a short break admiring some hedge laying and then it was into the muddy fields. Actually they were not bad at all - mainly sticky rather than wet and only once just before Crib Lane did I nearly get wet feet. By now I could see Beeston Castle which looked superb perched up high on the cliff edge. It was an easy run across the canal and railway line to arrive at the Castle entrance. It was pay to enter and the cafe was closed so I kept running towards Peckforton where a quick check of my garmin told me it was time to about turn.

From here back to Fishers Green the weather deteriorated with dark clouds and flurries of snow. Still, that was better than rain and I did not even stop to put my cag on. The trail markers were numerous and very visable so I am not sure how I missed one but suddenly I got that odd feeling of ' I should have seen another one by now...'  Oh well, nevermind just head northish and keep moving. This by great luck brought me out within metres of where I had exited Primrose Hill Wood earlier. It meant I retraced my steps 'off-route' but in certainty of where I was heading. I even spotted the sign post that I had missed in the morning. The gallops were now deserted and the car parks were starting to empty. I debated an ascent of Old Pale but decided against it as the weather was showing no signs of improvement and the views would probably not have been at their best. Having seen the photos from the top I will make sure I go up next time.
                                                                                                        The run through the woods and down the big track back into Delamere was a delight and I made good time. That just left the final mile on easy tracks back to the cafe and visitor centre. It all looked familiar and then I realised why- Chris, our youngest, won his first ever British Schools Orienteering event there as a slightly underage Yr5.  I found Bob and the car with no trouble and the cafe was still open!!! Lots of tea and some real food to recharge the batteries. I did at this point miss our van. The time would have passed more quickly cuddled up with a pot of coffee and a book on the bed and with the diesel heater chugging comfortingly.  A really enjoyable day and another 28 (27.8) miles done.  The night O did not go too badly either. I made mistakes but then I always do. I also ended up with wet muddy feet- something that the first 28 miles of the day had not given me.

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