Point-to-Point 2017I was all a bit last minute, but I volunteered to help plotting a little running route, the Hartley Folly, the Cheshire Hare & Hounds Tally-Ho! end of season run – always a bit longer than the Club’s regular fortnightly runs.
Tim, the original plotter had been inundated with so much work (the sort of work that people go out to) and family stuff that he was rendered unable to get stuck in and sort the job.
I had the following parameters to work within:
Start point: The Griffin in Bowdon (a rather posh part of already posh Altrincham)
Finish point: The Swan with Two Nicks, Little Bollington (a lovely pub in a lovely hamlet)….around 1.5 miles from the start
The route should be a long(ish) one – and definitely be predominantly cross-country.
There must be a tea stop.
If you’ve been keeping up and not fallen asleep (yet) you’ll have noticed that the 1.5 miles between the start and inish doesn’t constitute ‘long’. Or even ‘long-ish’.
Tim had come up with good start and finish points, so that was something I didn’t need to worry about – it was just the bit in between.
After much studying of maps and loads of recces I settled on a pleasant 19 mile route that took in some interesting bits of local countryside.
The recces, and there really were many, were carried out with the invaluable assistance of Mssrs Coatsworth, Banfield and Normanand Mrs Fairley who provided much in the way of (constructive?) criticisim. Atcherly, having those extra pairs of eyes proved invaluable in tweeking the route and it’s description – thanks guys….and gurl.
Anyroadup, the route wasn’t particularly original, more a tweek of a route I’d walked / run in the past.
19 miles of clockwisery:
On the day itself I set out alone but armed with a bag of sawdust to mark bits of the trail where runners could have lost the intended route. I was probably the first to start – I wanted the extra time to drop sawdust where I thought it might be needed. And I’m a bit on the slow side. Rather a lot on the slow side actually.
The route left Bowdon and so did I, initially on quiet suburban roads and paths before heading down to follow the River Bollin upstream. The river passes the back gardens of some enormously expensive and expansive houses on one side and the uber-posh Hale Golf club on t’other. Apparently the odd famous footballer / manager can often be seen walking their doggies on the river bank. I wouldn’t know an odd famous footballer or a manager if they bit me.
I dropped a few clumps of sawdust along the way, nothing conspicuous, but enough that runners following me would spot the stuff.
The weather was ideal for trotting along, dry and bright but not too warm – a hot day wouldn’t do at all for a 19 miler, however slow I was.
It was still early in the year so whilst undergrowth was quite verdant, the trees were lagging behind – few were in full leaf.
The River Bollin proved a bit of a problem to the contractors charged with extending the airport with the addition of Runway 2. The problem was solved by culverting the river under the new runway:
Doggy walkers were walking their doggies and birdies were tweeting in the hedgerows, it was only the occasional roar of aircraft taking off that spoiled an otherwise very pleasant trot alongside Runway 2
There was just a bit of tarmac beyond the airport (sorry guys, even the best trails often have SOME tarmac!) but the trail was soon back on field paths that skirted the north side of Mobberley. It was on this section that the first runners caught me up (and passed me…of course), I was beginning to wonder if anybody had turned out to follow trail.
Tim’s wife and family had provided a very splendid spread for us, it was easy to eat and drink too much – Not A Good Thing To Do when there’s still another 9 – 10 miles to run.
As we guzzled and slurped our way through the feast more runners appeared:
More tarmac followed, although it was less than a mile and along very quiet lanes before once again getting onto the (slightly) rough stuff. The ground was generally quite dry although the odd bit of wetness muddied the legs – giving just a bit of credibility to our cross-country run.
Once over the M56 on the footbridge to the east of the Lymm roundabout we were on the home leg. We once again met up with the River Bollin, now on the outskirts of Bowdon….home to the Club’s esteemed legal advisor.
Taking our lives in our hands we crossed the very busy A56 and continued to follow the River Bollin along another concessionary path to the Swan with Two Nicks and the end of the run.
I took about 5 1/2 hours to complete, I was quite happy with that considering I’d spent around half an hour at the tea stop and spent additional time laying trail.
The pub was unable to provide bathing facilities – or even a room to change in. The Club’s tin bath was once again pressed into service in the pub car park. Pretty Quick Riley opted to cool his legs off with the pub’s hose pipe before diving into the bath. At least that what he said he was doing:
Tim & Co had arranged for a gazebo to preserve the dignity of the runners and to spare the blushes of the pub’s customers.
Thanks to all who helped with recces and planning the route, in particular Tim, Andy, Martin and Joules. Your inputs really were invaluable.
Thanks also to Tim’s family who fed and watered us so very well, to everyone who ran the route – and to The Club for letting me plan the route.