Sandstone Trail – Part I

So the deed was done and I walked roughly 36 miles over 3 days (34 miles of the trail plus some detours). I survived and even came out of it relatively unscathed, the only injury being to my left ankle which is healing slowly … I hope so as my next outing is only 3 weeks away!

I took as many photos as time would allow and, although there weren’t as many opportunities as I’d have liked, it’s taking a while to work through them and get them looking as I’d like. Bearing that in mind I thought I’d create three posts to reflect each day of the walk … so in this first post I’m covering the walk from Frodsham to Tarporley (roughly 15 miles).

They’re in chronological order but I can’t necessarily remember exactly where each was taken, so don’t expect a step-by-step walk through … it’s also about quality not quantity! They’re all meant to either mark a certain milestone in the walk or to evoke the feeling of a location. Anyway, enough waffle … hope you enjoy and I’d love to hear any comments you may have …












Ground Zero

I know, a bit dramatic that title but what the hell, it’s my website!

I read and re-read the article in Hackspace and popped onto the Banggood website … good grief what a site, a veritable cornucopia of things you didn’t even realise you needed or wanted! The only down side with the site is the time you have to wait for delivery but the prices were unbelievably low so I wasn’t going to complain about waiting a couple of weeks to get my goodies.

The day finally arrived and this boring looking battered, black package arrived …

Quadcopter parts parcel

Like a little kid on Christmas morning I removed the packing and grinned at all the goodies within. They were soon laid out on the table for inspection …

Quadcopter parts

That’s pretty much all the parts required to build a fully functional quadcopter. The main missing part is the receiver for the radio control which I had to source from Amazon … Banggood is an excellent source of parts but their restocking can take quite a bit of time on some items in my experience. The LiPo battery on the left was also sourced from Amazon. Banggood had a massive selection but were unable to ship to the UK as the batteries are classed as hazardous cargo I believe.

Another site recommended in the article is written by a guy called Oscar Liang. It’s more biased toward FPV (First Person View) and mini quadcopters but a large percentage of the information relates to any size aircraft … generally it’s just a matter of scaling up or down. There are some excellent articles just for beginners which were very useful.

Hopefully this has whetted your appetite to follow me on my journey to completion and the final step of actually flying the thing!








Sandstone Trail – prologue

That period between the end of the summer holidays and Christmas has always been a drag for me … the days get shorter, the clocks go back at the end of October and after the glorious riot of colour at the beginning of Autumn it just feels like a long slog to the end of the year. My employer has a fixed shutdown pattern that leaves a number of floating holidays which I always save to the end of the year. Two years ago I had the idea of combining items from my bucket list (in that first case a long weekend in the wonderful city of Edinburgh) with using up some of my holidays. I got to visit a place I’ve always wanted to go and break the monotony of year end … win win!

Since that first trip I try every year to think of somewhere I’ve never been or something I’ve never done and arrange at least one long weekend away. This year is no different and I have two trips lined up … the first being a walk along the Sandstone Trail.

I’ve walked a few sections of the Sandstone Trail over the years. It’s a sandstone ridge that runs for a total of 34 miles through the heart of Cheshire from Frodsham at its most Northern point to Whitchurch in the South … and I thought why not? I’ve never done a walk over multiple days before so now’s the time to give it a go. Beginning next Saturday morning I’ll be getting a taxi to the railway station and a train to Frodsham. From there I’ll walk 14 miles to Tarporley where I’ll stay over night. Sunday will be an 8 mile walk to Bulkeley where I’ll stop over again. Then Monday will be the final, 11 mile leg to Whitchurch where it’s time for another train and taxi ride home.

The route is described in the wonderful book by Tony Bowerman – Walking Cheshire’s Sandstone Trail, which is the official guide.

Sandstone Trail official guide book
Walking Cheshire’s Sandstone Trail – Tony Bowerman















I’ll also be making use of a wonderful PDF guide which I stumbled across on the South Cheshire Harriers website. That’ll be the one that lives in the waterproof map bag should the heavens decide I need a shower or two! I live in hope that the weather is kind to me during the weekend and I’ll be able to post a few images after the walk. Wish me luck!

P.S. Things like this are also a big test of my anxiety as I can find myself trapped in thoughts of things going wrong … the usual “What if …?” thought patterns that so many people with anxiety suffer from. But they’re also an opportunity to push through the anxiety and come out the other side stronger and less willing to listen to that negative inner voice.









So it begins …

Before I start I think I’d better clarify a few points:

  • A quadcopter is a drone but a drone is not necessarily a quadcopter … much like a Hoover is a vacuum cleaner but not all vacuum cleaners are Hoovers!
  • According to the Cambridge dictionary a drone is “an aircraft without a pilot that is controlled by someone on the ground”. Unfortunately a lot of people see a drone as synonymous with an aircraft used for dropping bombs or for covert surveillance . However, a lot of people get fun (and enjoy the challenge of) racing drones, some people just enjoy flying them and I’m sure everyone has seen some of the stunning aerial footage that has begun to appear in films (without the use of CGI) and TV programmes courtesy of drones.
  • A quadcopter has four rotor blades (quad meaning four). Hexa (6) & Octo (8) ‘copters are also available, should you so desire.

S0 that out of the way, why build a quadcopter? Well, I’ve had a bit of a fascination for quadcopters for some time but they seemed to fall into two categories … toys or ridiculously expensive machines used by ‘professionals’. That was until I received issue 10 of HackSpace magazine and saw the image on the front cover …

… there’s that word again … drone!

I read the article and realised that it wasn’t as expensive or as complicated (Yeah right!  The basics are straight forward but dig a little deeper and you discover a world of acronyms and technology … right up my street then I guess) as I’d first thought and, to cut a long story short, I bit the bullet and ordered a bucket full of goodies online ready to start my new adventure ….












Just one foot in front of the other …

Sounds boring when you put it like that doesn’t it? But it isn’t, at least not if you pick the right places to walk. And what are the right places to walk? Anywhere that makes you happy, it’s as simple as that in my books.

Walking around a new town or city, discovering those seldom trod side roads and back alleys. Wandering along the many miles of canal tow paths … watching the barges slide slowly past, the anglers sat on the banks pitting their skills against the creatures of the (not so) deep. Discovering the beauties of the countryside along easy going paths, following the routes of long closed railway lines. A well prepared for, carefully planned route that takes you into what feels like the middle of nowhere and back again, along routes that are easier to see on a map than on the ground! Take your pick, they’re all valid.

My recent walks have tended to be in the Peak District National Park and the Shropshire Hills. Not only are they both beautiful and sometimes challenging areas, I don’t have to travel too far to reach them … which is a bonus.

I’ve a couple of outings in the pipework which I’ll hopefully post details and images of. Watch this space.