The Club’s Hon Sec has been a bit under the weather of late so it was deemed that this year’s Turkey Trot be run close to his home so he could come out to see us, drink beer and join us for the post-run nosh.
The chosen venue was the Olde Number Three pub in Little Bollington, a pub that has had mixed fortunes of late but now seems to be well and truly back on it’s feet, serving good beer and good food at very sensible prices.
As a local lad, and having some knowledge of the countryside around the pub, I volunteered to plot, plan and lay trail. This entailed a 9am start….not the best plan for the day after Boxing Day….but there you go.
The route headed south following footpaths that crossed the odd stream and muddy patch. So far so good.
At the M56 the sawdust trail was laid East to pick up farm tracks, the tarmac of Reddy Lane and yet more tracks and tarmac…it’s a good job that the TT isn’t a candidate for Trail of the Season!
The trail led across fields and some seriously gloopy man-eating fetid swamps to the the familiar sight (for those who did the P2P a couple of years ago) of the Swan with Two Nicks.
The pub was closed (Boo!) and the paths leading north into Dunham Park were quiet. The River Bollin weir was roaring well, testament to the recent rainfall:
A couple of National Trust warden types were curious as to what I was up to, I explained and they seemed happy enough….actually they were mildly amused by the whole thing. It’s good to leave folk smiling!
Continuing NE through the now busy deer park (busy with visitors and deer) the trail eventually crossed Charcoal Road by the gated lodge entrance to enter the Dunham Golf Club which is conveniently criss-crossed by a number of footpaths. Laying trail here was a little difficult, I was trying to be inconspicuous….I don’t think my efforts were successful.
We went the other way….
Emerging in Dunham Town the sawdust led northwards to pick up the Duke’s Cut and then into Dunham Woodhouses. Just short of The Vine (Sam Smith’s, £2 / pint) the trail went south….well it turned left anyway. The ground was a bit soggy and damp here, the route crossed a couple of streams (Agden Brook being one of them) and the River Bollin – by way of a footbridge.
At Agden Bridge Farm the route again joined the Bridgewater Canal towpath, this time heading east.
It may have been a little disconcerting to the hounds to be passing the Olde Number Three on the opposite bank of the canal and with no apparent means of crossing to it…..not without getting feet and other bits wet.
A solution to this little problem soon presented itself close to Little Bollington, a tunnel under the canal.
Splodging (uphill….please note!) through a field of horses the hounds were soon racing (?) westwards along the opposite side of the canal and the final run in to the pub.
Big Ian, camera in hand, was waiting at the pub……he’d not been out on the run but wanted to join us for lunch.
Only one hare today
Runners began appearing – Hon Prez Park being first man in, no doubt driven by thirst and hunger:
Other runners appeared, running on t’other side of the canal but visible from the pub car park. Cameras were readied to record their auspicious arrival:
It should learn to calm down…
The Trail-Layer doing his post-run stretch
Whalley had collected and transported the Hon Sec to the pub where we all enjoyed a beer (maybe more), a nice meal and, far more importantly, good chat with Brian – who seemed to be on good form.
It was a good run. I measured it at 8.8 miles with around 300 – 330ft of ascent, so not the hilliest of trails. Having said that, looking through the Club’s history it would appear that the route covered traditional Tally-Ho! terrain and so it was considered to be acceptable.
Thanks to everyone who turned out to make it a successful day for the Club, and especially for Brian.
Photos by JJ and Big Ian