Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018
Showing posts with label Lancashire. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lancashire. Show all posts

Thursday, 19 March 2020

Sunday 15 March 2020 - The Two Crosses Walk

 
At the time of writing, social walks of this nature are a thing of the past for the foreseeable future. However, we were lucky enough on Sunday to enjoy a fine and superbly organised event - the 35th running of East Lancashire Long Distance Walkers Association's (LDWA) Two Crosses Walk. There's a 17 mile route, and a 25 mile route. I've reported on them before:
 
 
These reports include a history of the crosses, so this report is principally a pictorial review of Sunday's outing in the company of fellow TGO Challengers - JJ, Judith, Andy D, and 227 others.
 
A new venue, Greenmount Old School Community Centre, was where we checked in.
 
 
Then we assembled outside, with our quartet in no hurry to join the rush to the first stile, as that wouldn't have been good for JJ, who has only one working lung at present (though his one lung is equivalent to the average person's full complement).
 
Trail shoes were the order of the day for most participants, though JJ and I chose boots and gaiters. Despite some rather wet sections (I was knee deep in bog at one point) we were in a very small minority of finishers with dry feet!

 
The paths up to Affetside include a few bottlenecks where only one person at a time can cross certain stiles.

 
My shows Judith poised for a dramatic face-plant. Readers should be pleased to discover that she miraculously recovered her poise, leaving JJ in her wake.

 
Height was slowly gained on a cloudy day with occasional light mizzle. We made the best of it, in the knowledge that it may be our last social outing for a while.

 
There was mud, in which JJ is pictured soon after Affetside at the head of this posting, and even a pond to splash through at one point.

 
Affetside Roman Cross is the first of the Two Crosses encountered today, being on the ancient Watling Street between Manchester and Ribchester.

 
Jumbles Country Park offers toilets, before a stroll alongside the reservoir to cross its northern end with a good, if rather dull, view back down the reservoir, which has a Victorian feel to it. In fact it dates from 1971 and has its origins in an old quarry.

 
After a pleasant section along the Witton Weavers Way, the 25 mile route departs westwards and leaves our shorter route to potter down to Batridge Barn car park, where a giant tent houses a wide selection of foodstuffs, courtesy of Viv and her team of Master Chefs. This is JJ's favourite part of the walk, where he scoffs unimaginable quantities of Greek salad.

 
Here he is, remonstrating with Viv about today's lack of said salad. He was devastated. Viv had been too busy to make any. There were plenty of other goodies. "Calm down, JJ!"


This is where the 25 milers re-join the shorter route. They usually just grab a sandwich and keep moving. Many of them overtook us whilst we were lounging with full plates of food.

Then we set off again.
 
 
The Strawbury Duck was quiet today.

 
After a very boggy crossing of Holcombe Moor, correctly described on my map as 'Wet Moss', we reached Checkpoint 6 - 'Wall NE of Bull Hill' - together with a group of women who were cackling in the manner of a coven of witches. If you need water, this checkpoint disappoints. But it's not known as 'Naughty Corner' for nothing. I chose rum, but whisky and sherry were also on offer. Judith found all this so enticing that she nearly joined the coven and went round twice.

 
Around the corner from 'Naughty Corner' is the second major landmark of this walk - The Pilgrim's Cross, the site of an ancient cross, on which the present incumbent was placed in 1902. Peel Tower can be seen on the horizon to the right of the Pilgrim's Cross.

 
After waiting for JJ to lay an egg, we continued aimiably over Harcles Hill to the Peel Tower, erected in 1852 as a monument to local politician, Sir Robert Peel.

 
The LDWA are very proud of their contribution towards the cost of improving the path through Redisher Wood. It used to be a slithery descent, with tree to tree handholds.

 
Recent flooding has subsided at the foot of the descent.

 
The last section of the descent, after the new steps come to an end, is still a bit steep and sticky, so Judith and JJ needed to exercise extreme care to avoid dirtying their backsides.

 
From Redisher, there's a short steep ascent to the outskirts of Hawkshaw and the final checkpoint.
 
Then a stroll past a poultry farm then past a golf course at Greenmount saw us happily to the finish, with muddy paths almost to the very end.
 
The emu seen on a previous visit was rather camera shy on this occasion.

 
A good spread of tasty soups at the finish, with other refreshments, and another certificate for the file.

 
Here's the route - 28 km with about 600 metres ascent.

 
Thanks go to JJ for giving me a lift. It's a shame that the curling contest at Barton Grange that I was supposed to adjourn to was postponed until November.
 
Concluding this report on Thursday morning - the Two Crosses walk seems to be in the distant past, with many restrictions on movement and on congregations of groups having since then been imposed in an attempt to halt the spread of the C virus.

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

More Mud!

 
After in the mud around Ilam, this week was the turn of East Lancs LDWA's 'Two Crosses' walk to dump its 231 participants in some good old Lancashire slurry.
 
I'll report in more detail later, but the above picture of Judith, near the start (it must be, her shoes are not yet brown), gives an idea of the ambience as she tries valiantly to avoid a dramatic 'face-plant' in the mud near Affetside.
 
(Click on the photo to enlarge it.)

Saturday, 25 January 2020

Friday 24 January 2020 - Irlam and the Mosses

 
The last of my current series of Friday morning walks was due to start from Irlam Station, but Paul and I couldn't find any satisfactory parking there, and with nobody else expected on the walk we took the risk of driving round to the small car park at New Moss Wood (SJ 703 933).
 
The mizzle eased as we strolled up the lane by Cadishead Moss, along the route of the Salford Trail.
 
 
The fields looked lush with winter greens.
 
 
After crossing the M62, the path went past Ringing Pits Farm, then through woodland teeming with birds.
 
 
The peat beds of Great Woolden Moss and Little Woolden Moss were soon reached. The path around the mosses remains in good condition, but the willow arch seen in 2017 has been destroyed.
 
This frog dates from when the path was built a few years ago.
 
 
The mosses are being preserved, and form a nature reserve that's really close to the industrial sites of Greater Manchester. Lots of bird watching opportunities here.
 
 
Our path turned towards Moss Lodge Farm and Red House Farm, where discarded tractors litter the countryside.
 
 
 
 
Before reaching Glazebury, and the site of the first 'inter city' railway in 1830, we turned, still on the Salford Trail, to follow Glaze Brook in a southerly direction, enjoying a tea and cake break before passing Little Woolden Hall and reaching the Keeper's Cottage, in front of which is a carpet of budding snowdrops. This entire stretch is full of birds - we saw redwings, tits, a great spotted woodpecker, blackcap, and many more.
 
 
These places, through which the M62 motorway now carves, are full of history, with Great Woolden Hall soon being passed beyond the motorway.
 
 
We followed the Glazebrook Trail/Salford Trail routes, leaving them just after going under a railway. We then took a mildly incorrect turn down a pleasant stretch of dismantled railway as far as Liverpool Road, to which we descended through a hole in the fence.
 
Irlam station beckoned. In my haste to grab coffees and scones I forgot to take a photo, so here's one from 2017. The renovated station is a fine licensed café, with good food being served.
 
 
Outside, this old engine has been lovingly restored. The whole place is a museum piece. Worth a visit if you haven't been there.
 
 
Nearby, not everywhere is as prosperous.
 
 
An easy 2 km walk back to the car completed this 15 km circuit that took us three hours plus stops.
 
Here's the route:
 
 
Thanks for your company, Paul - I hope you enjoyed this 'new' location that is really close to home.
 
I've been here before, and indeed have reported in much greater detail that doesn't warrant being repeated today. Those reports can be found here:
 

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Happy New Year

 
For the second year running, we've started with a parkrun rather than a walk.
 
But first we celebrated the entrance of a new decade with our good friends, Chris, Louise, Lyn, Gerry and Robert. A lovely evening with a fine meal and some rather silly games whilst we awaited the witching hour. Worrying days are ahead though, now that we have a 'leader' who you wouldn't trust to post a letter, and who can't be impeached however far his right wing tendencies may reach.
Ho hum, I hope I'm wrong.
 
 
From Lyn's house in Adlington it was just a half hour's drive to Ormskirk, where we were joined by about a dozen reprobates from Wythenshawe (no parkrun there today) whilst we sheltered from the cool breeze  and awaited the sun to rise over another decade.
 
 
Over 450 people turned up, and it was a slow start for many of us around the perimeter of a running track. This was the 298th parkrun here, and the highest attendance other than NYD 2019. The course record was beaten today, with the first person coming home in 15.28. It's a two lap course, like many parkruns, and the first time I've been lapped except when volunteering as Tail Walker. And I set the third fastest VM70 time on this course - it would have been second fastest had someone else today smashed that record as well.
 
Considering she claimed to be injured, Sue finished only just behind me in a flurry of bird's nest hair.
 
 
The sun was in the wrong place for taking pictures of finishers, excepting their rear view.
 
 
 
Well, that was fun, and a great way to start the year. How about another one?
 
We weren't the only ones to think that, as a lonely convoy of cars made its way along otherwise empty roads to the centre of Skelmersdale. Not an obvious venue for a parkrun, but the Tawd Valley Park, adjacent to the town centre, offers a single lap over mixed ground, with a few hills, for those locals who want a bit of Saturday morning exercise.
 
Many of those running at Ormskirk migrated to Southport for their second bout of exercise, but we chose Tawd Valley's 10.30 run as it was on the way home. Sue and I were pleased to find Keith, from Crosby, in attendance today, and running quite impressively. I'd tried to contact him last night but my 'phone rejected his number. He must be psychic!
 
Only on special days, like New Years Day, do English parkruns take place other than on a Saturday morning at 9 am. I doubt there are many Run Directors who oversee more than one event in a day, but Ormskirk's trusty host had scooted over to Skem to repeat his 'speech', claiming it was his twin brother in action!
 
 
Jenn is usually a fair way behind me over 5 km, but after another slow start on a narrow path, I was surprised to catch her up after about 2 km. She explained that she was after 'a strong performance'. Perhaps I should have stayed around to help her, but despite slowing towards the end, she did manage a good sprint, only a little way adrift of me.
 
 
She was well ahead of Dan and Amanda, who are to be congratulated on their recent engagement.
 
 
Not far behind them, Charley found a fine sprint finish, with both feet at least 6 inches off the ground, to impressively whizz past a man dressed in pink pyjamas
 
 
The header picture, and the one below, are courtesy of a stranger with Jenn's 'phone. Thanks Jenn, what a happy looking crowd of tourists, and well done to Andy for two very strong sub 20 minute performances, coming 12th and first respectively in the age graded results.
 
 
Ormskirk's full results are , and Tawd Valley's are .

A great way to start the year.

Monday, 30 December 2019

Sunday 30 December 2019 - Around Rivington

 
We couldn't resist going out on such a sunny day. Al and Hazel and Andrew kindly picked us up for a trip to Rivington that replicated the one we made on 2 March, earlier this year. My report on that walk is , and it includes historical references regarding, inter alia, the Tower and the Pigeon Loft, so I won't repeat that information here.
 
Instead, just click on any of the pictures to luxuriate in Lancashire's winter sunshine.
 
 
 
 
 
Distant views were obscured by a haze that restricted the view to around Chorley, whilst on a completely clear day Blackpool Tower comes into view, as well as many more distant hills.
 
 
 
Today, Winter Hill, accessed by an eroded track, seemed very close.
 
 
Whilst mountain bikers, runners and walkers enjoyed the bright, warm day, we investigated the Pigeon Tower's recent refurbishment, described on a new information board. (Click on the image to enlarge it.)
 

The gaudy new door has now weathered to a more respectable colour!
 
 
The tower looked impressive under the cobalt sky.
 
 
After about 8 km, and rather less than two hours, we were happy to adjourn to the Great Barn for coffee/hot chocolate, before returning home to try to achieve some of the mundane tasks that have been obscured by the 'Christmas break'.
 
Buzzards were noticed today, and on the recent Tally-Ho walk, after a cacophony of owls had accompanied us towards the end of our 'Shutlingsloe at Night' walk. We've also been treated to long-tailed tits, goldcrests and blackcaps joining the regulars (great, blue and coal tits, blackbird, robin, etc) in our small suburban garden. What a delight!

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