Spring into… Boggart Hole Clough

It wasn’t part of the plan. I was only in the Clough to take few photos and the next thing is I’m fly fishing. Well, learning how to cast. It’s a start!Me and a very patient Danny Williams

The week before I was at the clough for an event attended by Diane Modahl, Olympic runner and winner of a gold medal at the Commonwealth Games. I’m a cautious fairweather walker so I started gently on the 2K, then, accidentally, joined the 5K group and I ended up doing a random distance somewhere in the middle. I’m claiming it as a 5K anyway.The sun was out, it was a smashing turn-out with all ages from tots to totterers (aka me) and everything in-between. Runners, joggers, amblers and dog walkers were all welcome.

North Manchester Fitness, who organised the event, meet every Saturday. You can run with Donna, walk with Lorraine or just chat in the cafe. If you’re an early bird, Jason does a sprint session at 7:45am. I’ve never met Jason as I’m never early and don’t ‘sprint’ on principle but I’m sure he’s dashing(?).

Oh yes, back to the fishing. On 30th March the King William IV Angling Society hosted their annual event called ‘Spring into Fishing’. It sort of launches their junior season starting in April.I can do no better than share this information from their website:

King William IV Angling Society as a club hold special events in association with The Angling Trust. We also provide free junior coaching sessions every Saturday mornings from 9:30am-12pm April to the end of September all events are held at Boggart Hole Clough.

Once again the weather was kind. Individuals and families signed in and fishing coaches were on hand to help set up participants along bank and show them what to do.Danny Williams (Angling Trust Development Officer) and Duncan Mottershead (King William IV Angling) set up some fishing rods

The enthusiasm of everyone was contagious so when Danny suggested I give it try, I swapped my camera for a fishing rod in a flash. Bearing in mind my knowledge is limited to watching ‘Mortimer and Whitehouse Gone Fishing’ on the TV, I did my best. It was great fun and I loved it.

What’s better than sitting peacefully on a sunny day listening to water slapping gently to a background of bird-song and the hushed discussions of fellow anglers?A ripple in the water gives way to excitement as a fish is caught, photographed and then released back into the lake

I’d left my husband in the café but he emerged to take the pictures I was supposed to take. His ears pricked up. “Did I hear someone mention sea-fishing? Brilliant! When are they going?”

I think he’s planning something.

For details of all of North Manchester Fitness activities and events check out their website.

To read more about the fishing event at Boggart Hole Clough and the coaches read Danny Williams’ account here.

Information about King William IV Angling Society is on their Facebook page and there’s lots of information on the Get Fishing website too.A happy angler…

Christmas markets a la Moston: The Christmas Event

I’m a Christmas humbug at heart. A bespectacled ‘Grinch’. Winter’s for hibernating, staying in and keeping warm.  So I ask you: Christmas markets? What the hell are they all about? I don’t get it, never have.

To be fair it’s been a while since I went to one but this sums up my memory – drizzle, standing in muddy sludge, overpriced overheated wine, over loud people with overcoats on and over large feet, shoving and pushing, and me, tip-toeing away when everyone had their backs turned.I tried to swerve neatly past the Moston version. Maybe it’s not as busy or as much of a phaf to get to but you can’t turn up to these things in your PJ’s, slippers and fluffy dressing gown and expect to stay warm.

But the adverts kept coming. They looked really bright and colourful. “Mmmm, maybe.” I thought. “If I go to Asda I’ll just drop by for half an hour on my way back. Maybe.” At worst I could write a blog.

So, this is it….and never mind half an hour, I stayed half a day.

The weather was dull and overcast. It could have been brighter but at least it was fairly dry. Parking was easy, just over the road off Kenyon Lane. So far, so good.

There was plenty of food on offer, hot drinks, various stalls selling Christmassy things like cakes, home-made sweets, scented candles and other gifts, a tombola, a DJ and Father Christmas in a grotto. You get the picture.The hot chocolate was wonderful, not like the magma they serve in some well-known establishments. My dad will adore his rum truffles and I might just keep the vanilla scented soap for myself.

I didn’t win the raffle because I didn’t buy a ticket. Not on purpose, I’m just a bit dozy and missed them. I didn’t miss the glass of mulled wine and mince pie however. I was first in the queue for those. The children were giddy and polite; all the rubbish went in the bin and if there was any queuing to be done it was without everyone jostling for position.The singing group, or to be more accurate, young vocalists from North West Theatre Arts Company (NWTAC) were absolutely brilliant. The DJ picked just the right stuff and everyone was in a good mood.What was lovely about it all, more to the point what kept me there so long, was the atmosphere. It was delightful. I spotted a few faces I knew and chatted to a few people I didn’t.

We all cheered when the tree lights came on. We cheered louder when the organisers stood together and we raised our glasses to them. They’d worked hard for months to make it happen and well deserved the applause.It was dark when I tip-toed away. The volunteers were working hard taking all the gazebos down and packing equipment up. If they’d turned and looked towards Kenyon Lane they might have seen a bespectacled Grinch grinning, clutching a bag of Christmas goodies and a free mince pie.

Something’s going on in Failsworth

I’d hoped my local Tesco would be quiet on Saturday but the car park was rammed – how dare all these people shop when I want to!

There were droves of them – as in families with children. Children! Outside on a sunny Saturday! Milling about in all directions and curiously jolly, carrying bright balloons, multi coloured ice-creams and bags of stuff. And there was music in the distance.

“Something going on” I thought “and I’m missing it.”

Shopping plans on hold, I followed my nose around the corner to Lord Lane Playing Fields. Banners announced the event as ‘Failsworth Carnival’. It was only a quid to get in, so in I went. Can’t resist an ice-cream you see.

The ‘fields’ are quite big. There was a fun fair at the far end, an open space in the centre and scattered about were a mishmash of stalls, fast food vans, bouncy castles, a large stage and areas marked out with ticker tape.I wandered about amongst the crowd for a while. Felt like a wally on my own but once I had a ’99’ with strawberry goo in my hand I didn’t care.

There were singers and musicians on the stage, dancers rehearsing for a dance competition, keep fit ladies keeping fit, karate kids doing, wait for it, karate and not just one but several Carnival Queens. Carnival Queens aren’t something you see every day and they were just delightful.When I left about an hour later the lady at the gate said “Did you enjoy the parade?”

“Nope. Missed it.” She looked disappointed and I felt bad, like I’d let her down. “Come back again tomorrow.” She suggested. “There’s lots more going on.” So I did and there was.

Another ’99’ in hand and I settled myself by the stage on the grass. There was a Zumba display and routines by Diva Dance. Then  a group of youngsters performed Ed Sheeran tracks and hits from The Greatest Showman and Annie. The soloists were fabulous and one even sang her own composition. Such talent! Called Footlights if you want to find out more.  It was an absolute joy and all for the grand entrance fee of £1!Before I left I took another walk around the field and checked out displays by New Moston Scouts, Fostering Solutions, Love Food Hate Waste,  Failsworth Community Choir, Army Recruitment and Girlguiding (who are after volunteers), Blood Bikes and more.The start of the Bouncing Baby Competition was announced when I got to the gate but Tesco beckoned and I’d have ended up with no Sunday lunch. I’ll come back next year.