In which they do not discover a boggart

October 12, 2007 at 12:40 am 2 comments

by Liam

I recently became aware that Rosie, who I used to work with, has an unusual hobby. She goes A to Zedding with her boyfriend Doug.

It appears that they invented this hobby entirely themselves, or at least no one else has a website about it. They describe it pretty well on their site:

‘A-to-Zedding is much more than just a hobby. It’s an intellectual, spiritual and deeply personal pastime. The A-to-Zedder’s dream is to visit and gain a deep understanding of every “square” in their chosen A-Z map.’

Marie and I decided to give it a go, giving us a convenient excuse to explore Manchester a bit more thoroughly. If it doesn’t turn out to be a passing fad for us, we’ll make it a proper blog of its own, but for now I’m hosting the words and she’s hosting the pictures.

So we started last Sunday, by looking through the A to Z for somewhere to visit. (Discovering in the process that my A to Z is 15 years old, and narrowly avoiding heading out in search of a mill on the Mersey that no longer exists. I now have A to Z envy, since Marie’s is both spiral bound and was made in this century.)

From a number of places chosen principally for their amusing names, we narrowed it down to Boggart Hole Clough, a park in Blackley, a northern suburb of Manchester.

Here it is:
boggart hole clough

It’s a bit of a bus ride out of town, especially on a grey Sunday. On the way, we saw:

Pigeons John Swift Conservative Club
– pigeons having a meeting on the roof of a smart old building;
– evidence that Conservatives, who must be in a bit of a minority in northern Manchester, are banding together for safety.

Clough gates
Then we found the clough, which is basically a mix of a country park with a city park. Country because it has a ravine running through it. (‘Clough’ is a local word for ravine, the helpful signs told us. They also said it was a ‘semi-wilderness’, which was stretching things somewhat.) City because it also has sports fields and a boating lake and graffiti and stuff.

Do not fail to keep a dog on a lead
We were rather alarmed by this. However, we failed to keep a dog on a lead, or to remove any faeces, at any point during our visit, and didn’t get into any trouble.

It’s very pretty and, OK, a bit wild:

Boggarty woods Fallen tree 2 Buried fence

Our mission wasn’t just to look at the pretty woods, though. We’d been charged by to take a picture of a boggart. We took the search for signs of boggarts very seriously. (That’s me inspecting a suspected boggart-proof fence up there.)

We found several bridges, which looked like potential boggart holes (”look under the bridges that’s where they hide”):

Boggarty bridge Very boggarty bridge Boggart Hole Clough stream Dark boggart bridge Bogghart's home

We looked for boggarts under the first bridge and found none. When we found the bridge on the right, though, we realised no self-respecting boggart would have lived under the first one.

More to the point, though the boggart wasn’t home, we found some boggart leavings. Clearly, boggarts share a taste in cider with tramps and students (click for a bigger picture):
Boggart leavings

Then there was some more pretty:
Red plant Autumn leaves Autumn leaves 2 Pretty tree

We walked for a while up the clough (well, along the side of it to be fair, but it sounds ruder this way). And we came to a boating lake with pointy-headed ducks on it, and a very ugly building beyond it (Marie thinks it looks like a comprehensive school, but the A to Z disagrees and the A to Z Does Not Lie (or hers doesn’t, anyway)):
Boating lake Pointy-headed duck Ugly building
We had a little rest and a smackerel of something. Bizarrely, the smackerel came wrapped in a treatise on love: Strange chocolate wrapper

And the bench we sat on triggered my inner punctuation Nazi:

“Linda”. Allegedly.

But this is an A to Zedding blog, not an excuse to join these fine people and start up a quotation marks protection society, so I shall desist. So, walking around the lake, we found a little boathouse, because finding things from the A to Z is the point.
Boathouse

Then came the best bit. There’s an athletics track with a big fence around it, which is clearly not a rabbit-proof fence:
Rabbits 3 Rabbit Rabbits again

There was even a little babby one!
Babby rabbit with friend
Someone had put out bits of carrot for them, and once they realised we were just going to make high-pitched cooing noises and take photos from the far side of a fence rather than eating them, they went about their business as normal.

Shortly afterwards, there were some steps that went to nowhere. Or perhaps it was an amphitheatre for boggarts:
Steps - or boggart amphitheatre?

We climbed a very steep hill, then saw some boggart boys taking the easy way down:
Extreme skateboarding

At the top was a war memorial. There were lots of very Northern names on the side of it:
War memorial names

and some rather more unexpected names:
Victor Pomfret and Plato Postlethwaite

On top was a statue:
War memorial lady 4 War memorial lady
who turned out, on closer inspection, to be very scantily clad and smuggling peanuts:
War memorial lady 5, note smuggled peanuts
Well, it was a bit nippy. Should have put a jumper on.

On the way back to the bus stop, ms_lilith decided that she wanted to live here:
Nice house
It has very steep steps to keep boggarts out.

We had a debate over whether it’s best to do some research about a Zedding destination before or after attempting it. We did it afterwards this time, and found some interesting stories about boggarts. And cloughs. And beer:

Wiki on Boggarts
Wiki on Boggart Hole Clough
Boggart Hole Clough at Mysterious Britain
Beer and Boggarts

So, that was our first Zedding trip. Watch this space to see if we can be arsed to do it again. I hope we can.

And do tell us if this is a self-indulgent ramble and we need to restrain ourselves when blogging our Zedding in future.

Location: Boggart Hole Clough, Blackley, Manchester
A to Z: page 83 squares G1, H1, G2, H2
Google Map: 
Getting there: bus numbers 17 and 118 from the rochdale road. Use public tranport, plan your journey: www.gmpte.com

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Entry filed under: zedding trip. Tags: , , , .

In which they discover a Victorian mansion and a mill that isn’t there

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135 squares

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