New Year 2012.
Were in Patterdale and among the many things that happened, they had loads of old copies of Trail magazine, which I was able to read.
In one article, it mentioned Saddleworth, and a walk around Greenfields.
I instantly remembered the place from my childhood/adolescence. All magazines have to be returned, but lets just say that his one, was light by a page.
The article mentioned how in the old days, they got the bus from Manchester to Greenfield, which set off from Piccadilly Gardens.
I instantly new what they meant. It was the 180 bus, which travelled up through Newton Heath.
In those days, if you were an East Mancunian and wanted to visit “the countryside” you jumped on the bus, and an hour later you were there.
I couldn’t find a photo of the actual 180. The bus above has a different number, but trust me, its exactly the same and almost in the same place.
I had a week in between leaving my old job and starting my new one. Whilst having dinner (curry obviously) with Glenn, we discussed my plans for the following day.
I was intending to get 2 trains, but Glenn was delivering furniture, was intrigued by the plan, so offered me a lift.
When we arrived, I was suprised to find loads of building work had taken place, and a brand new Tesco had been built, where I popped in, to buy a packed lunch and a drink for the days adventures.
Sadly, although trained to a high standard, photography remains outside the curriculum for Tesco staff, hence this appallingly bad photo they took of us.
My very first camping trip, I was 13 and it involved me leaving the soaking wet tent with Jon and Chris booth, and wandering back into town (I was picked up on the way by the police who believed I was a runaway, contacted my mother and put my on a bus back home).
On a later trip, I was out with my old mate Nick, a chap called Peter Barrand and another mate called Wayne.
Weather wasn’t good, and we had limited resources. We decided to light a fire, but with what.
Before the Lib Dems, there was a pact between the SDP and the Liberals. As I walked down the high street towards the lake, I passed the spot where Nick snook into someone garden and stole the Alliance sign, so we could use it as fuel.
In the end, it was so wet, we couldn’t do anything with it, and it went in the bin. Another of life’s experiences.
The road I normally took up to the reservoir was actually closed, which surprised me.
I took the path up through the Mill. Times have changed, and its an enterprise park, with web developers and all sorts of stuff going on.
In a local village like this, Football and Rugby are important matters and the local football team take the security of their pitch seriously.
From looking at this sign, perhaps too seriously.
After a long walk up the hill, I arrive at the main area, with the lake and mountains in the background.
My younger years come flooding back at this moment with 1000 memories (I remember standing on this very spot, asking a friend if I should ask a girl out (she’d later be my first girlfriend Mandy and we’d camp out here together).
Further along, the hills, and the famous Indians Head mountain (it was my friend Frank when I was 12 who explained that it looked like an Indian with his headdress, lying on his back).
I’ve climbed that hill more times than I’ve drunk pints in the Firkin.
There’s a relaxing circular walk around the reservoir. What a beautiful day.
All the more surprise, that instead of the usual boaters and yachters, the only people on the res were 2 windsurfers.
As I continue walking around, I remember this spot.
When I was 5, my dad took me out on the bus (he couldn’t drive) and we wandered around a reservoir to this point.
I was 30 when I drove up here to do a walk one time, and it came back to me. I didn’t know where it was at the time, but this is the spot, where I stood in the cold with my dad and had sausage rolls.
The final part of my circuit, and the most important.
I’ve built shelters in here with Caz, had crossbow practice with my brother and his school friends, constructed a tent shelter with Andy Mullen which we ended up abandoning, and constructed a log shelter with Darrlye here to name a small fraction of the adventures in this truly amazing forest.
It was lovely to see it in the sunshine, but trust me, I’ve been here in snow and driving rain, and its still amazing.
Something that made me really happy, was this spot.
Someone has set up a sensible fireplace and a sort of dual bench thing for people to sit around.
I’ve had camp-fires here in double digits. I cant help feeling that camp-fires (pardon the pun) are a pariah here in the UK.
But if your sensible, what’s the problem. There’s no more relaxing, engaging and team forming (hate the word team building) practice I can think off.
Head back, and to complete the day, at the Clarence, is Frank and Na. Frank and I have been coming here for nearly 40 years, so since he was only in the UK for 3 weeks, it was all the more special to meet him here.
We moved on to a pub near the Canal that’s been built recently called the Kingfisher.
After a few drinks, we wander up to Uppermill. A few more pints in country pubs, and I’m in a fine mood.
Nothing lasts forever, so after a nostalgic and revelatory day, I head for home.
To the train station, where the train is on time, and clean.
Why the hell did I get the bus so often ?.