Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018
On the Archduke's Path in Mallorca
Showing posts with label Lancashire Trail. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lancashire Trail. Show all posts

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

The Lancashire Trail

Descending towards Abbey Village, with recently refurbished Darwen Tower on Stage 4

This posting is by way of an index for the Lancashire Trail walks with East Lancs LDWA (Plodding in Mud Section) which took place between October 2011 and November 2012, should anyone want to look at all the postings or at any specific section or slideshow.

Stage 1 - 12 October 2011 – St Helens to Abbey Lakes (slideshow)

Stage 2 - 9 November 2011 – Abbey Lakes to Coppull Moor (slideshow)

Stage 3 - 13 December 2011 – Coppull Moor to Horwich (slideshow)

Stage 4 - 18 January 2012 – Rivington to Abbey Village (slideshow) [Joe’s Cup]

Stage 5 - 22 February 2012 – Abbey Village to Mellor (slideshow)

Stage 6 - 28 March 2012 – Mellor to Whalley (slideshow) [Episode 2]

Stage 7 - 13 April 2012 – Whalley to Barley (slideshow)

Stage 8 - 14 November 2012 – Barley to Thornton-in-Craven (slideshow)

For the record, the total distance covered was about 120 km (75 miles), and we ascended around 2,700 metres during the course of the walk.

Thanks go to Reg Kingston for organising these outings, and to all the Plodders for your excellent company.

Happy Days!

Wednesday 14 November 2012 - The Lancashire Trail – Part 8 – Barley to Thornton-in-Craven

LDWA Plodders setting off from Barley on Stage 8 of the Lancashire Trail

We started on the Lancashire Trail in October 2011, and most of the Plodders had finished it by May of this year.  I’d missed both the recce and the actual walk, so Reg kindly arranged another outing on the same route.  Eleven people turned up.  Most had been on the earlier walks.  There is an attraction hereabouts that is much stronger than the Lancashire mud we encountered today – the fish and chip shop at Kelbrook!  Sadly I had to leave before that delight, so yet another walk in this vicinity will have to be arranged…

After setting off from Barley at around 11.15am, I soon realised that Reg had omitted to take the traditional group photo, so I deputised for him – see above: Martin, Paul, Ann, Neil, Bernard, Nancy, Allan, Jim, Phil, Alan and Reg.

There appeared to be a fungal epidemic as well as a mud fest as we wandered through the leaf litter that concealed a deep gooey brown substance.

Whilst it was a good, sociable walk in fine if cloudy weather, there did seem to be quite a bit of this goo.  Mud and trail shoes (the chosen footwear of many LDWA members) don’t go together too well, so whilst my footwear allowed me to stroll dry-shod along the muddy tracks, others diced with barbed wire fences in a futile effort to keep the mud below ankle height.

A herd of water buffalo looked on in amazement.

Luckily, Don was not with us (still recovering from his broken ankle - ‘hello Don, hope it’s getting better’) so nobody fell in!

Mudbath near Admergill

“That’s a 'Poor Quality Tractor'” announced our resident Tractor Expert, as we passed the remains of a piece of machinery called David Brown.  “But that’s a 'Class Act'” he asserted as we encountered a dilapidated three wheeler called Fordson Major, a little further down the hill.  He even offered a plausible explanation for the missing wheel!

The route, shown below, took us through pleasant woods then through fields near gently trickling streams, in a north eastern direction to Admergill.

Then we slithered up a hill to a rather exposed row of rocks that provided an excellent spot for lunch, if rather cool.  One major shortcoming was the proximity of the Moorcock Inn, a few metres along the A682 but inaccessible from our nearby path.

The lunch spot afforded a distant view of Stansfield Tower (aka Blacko Tower) which the original route of the Lancashire Trail visited.  We had walked in view of this landmark all morning.  The tower overlooks the village of Blacko.  It was built around 1890 by a local grocer, Jonathan Stansfield.

Lunch near Peel's House

A little further along our route, two gents  were evidently enjoying the view from the garden of Peel House Farm - 3 beds, 8 acres, on sale for £495,000 - so these chaps may soon disappear.

Laurel and Hardy

It was a pleasant stroll over White Moor, where we encountered a couple who enquired as to our destination but looked completely baffled when we said ‘Thornton’!  Perhaps they had never been to Yorkshire…

The Leeds and Liverpool Canal was crossed at Barnoldswick, after which we found even more mud, but a considerate farmer had spread a bale of hay over the offending area.  Well done that man!

Alpaca looked on curiously as we rose on a good path to the final 187 metre hillock of the day, before wandering down to Thornton Hall Farm Country Park.  Little Ann’s eyes lit up as we approached – she would surely gain access to the swings on a child’s ticket … – but sadly the park was closed.

That left us with little option but to run a border patrol of attentive donkeys to conclude the walk just inside Yorkshire, at the Church of St Mary the Virgin.

Church of St Mary the Virgin

There was probably a Saxon church here, but the first recorded resident priest was William de Byrley in 1280; the building, therefore, dates back at least to the reign of Henry III, but most probably a good deal further. It was rebuilt some 200 years later during the reign of Henry VI, and was modernised and extended on numerous occasions, up to 1998 when two extra bells were installed.

Here’s the route we took - 14km, 300 metres ascent, in a little over 4 hours.

Our route - 14km, 300 metres ascent, 4 hours

There’s a 31 image slideshow here, for anyone interested.

Alan R, in his excellent ‘Blog on the Landscape’, reported in more detail on this walk here, some time ago. His report seems to have stirred a debate about the merits of the trail straying into Yorkshire, and the rearrangement of the ‘Roses’ boundaries.  Not being from either county, this correspondent can only cast an amused smile over that debate.

Reg’s more accurate report on the walk is on this page.

Back to Lancashire Trail Index

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Friday 13 April 2012 - The Lancashire Trail – Part 7 – Whalley to Barley

Near the start of the Whalley to Barley section, near Whalley

This penultimate stage of the East Lancs LDWA’s Lancashire Trail ‘Plod’ will officially take place next Wednesday 18 April, but those of us who can’t get to that event enjoyed the privilege of joining Reg on his ‘recce’ of the route.

In the event, the original route from over thirty years ago was proven to have stood the test of time, unlike some of the earlier sections that had needed adjustments following Reg’s recce’s.

We started from Whalley in a jolly mood - Nancy, Jim, Norman, Reg and Martin, as pictured above on the ascent of Clerk Hill, on a rather overcast day that had the pessimists reaching for their waterproofs and the optimists (Reg and me) ignoring any moisture and relying on our fleeces.

A boiler with a big chimney was reminiscent of the early days of steam.  Norman, clearly the only person amongst us who was old enough to cast his mind back to those days, announced "I'm a Master Plumber, I can get this going."

"Press the button, Norman" said Jim.

Boiler men

A hasty retreat was made from Wiswell Moor Houses, from where the nearby hills to the south east were lounging under a light haze.

Did this fine sign herald the time for a decision?  Not really, the Nick of Pendle was our clear and easy objective.

Footpath sign

A good path led towards the Nick.  Suddenly, Norman and his cohorts turned on their leader - "It's gone eleven, why haven't we had a tea break?"


"Ok" replied Reg, and we all sat down.

From beyond the Nick of Pendle, expansive if dull views drew the eye far beyond the cement works of Clitheroe.

There was a good path by Ogden Clough, where the sun made a brief appearance.

The ascent of Pendle Hill beside Ogden Clough

Pendle Hill - 557 metres – was eventually summited.  The summit plateau was gained via a superb stone pathway, a great improvement over the eroded bogland that I recall from my youthful visits to this hill.  There were fine views in all directions, albeit a bit hazy, with the distinct outline of Ingleborough hiding behind Norman’s vast bulk.

On the summit of Pendle Hill, 557 metres

Norman (The Clown) tried to fly. "Oops" he exclaimed "I think I’m too heavy for this!"

Norman tries to fly

We met two reprobates with china mugs and large lunch boxes.  I hadn't seen Dave since I bought his old mountain bike from him last year, so we joined the jovial duo for lunch and a chat.

Lunch, with Dave and Alan

Norman and Nancy were tickled by Dave and Alan’s choice of crisp manufacturer.

A ticklish time with Lancashire Crisps

These two jokers were soon seen descending to Barley, hand in hand, with Clenched Buttocks (it’s a long story).

We passed a stream whose banks were loaded with Primula.

Primroses in Barley

Looking back to Pendle Hill, it seemed quite small to me, but I suspect it is the high point of this route.

A fine cobbled path led inexorably to the fleshpots of Barley – a restaurant and a pub, and a cafe…where we all enjoyed a coffee.

Coffees at Barley

Here’s our route - 12 km, 500 metres ascent, taking around 3-4 hours.

Our route - 12 km, 500 metres ascent, 3-4 hours

What a pleasant day.  I hope the actual ‘event’ proves to be as enjoyable for those who go along next week.

My photos from the day can be viewed as a slideshow, here.

Back to Lancashire Trail Index

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Wednesday 28 March 2012 – Lancashire Trail – Part 6 – Mellor to Whalley (Episode 1)

Walkers on the Lancashire Trail near Dean Clough

On a lovely sunny March morning some 16 Plodders and Maude congregated at Springwood Picnic Area in Whalley, before transferring to Mellor and setting off from the point at which we arrived in the rain on 22 February.

Setting off from Mellor

We soon reached an orientation point at 223 metres on Mellor Moor, the site of an Underground Nuclear Monitoring Post, now sealed.

Pendle Hill lurked almost unseen on the horizon, through the March heat haze, as we passed by Midge Hall and the course of an obscure Roman Road, before reaching the site of Norman’s latest addition to his property empire, foolishly purchased on the basis of an agent's particulars.

Norman - lord of his estate

Norman toasted his success and proudly offered the property as a base for club weekends.

A capped reservoir was passed, so well fortified and equipped with security cameras, that we decided it must be a fuel store rather than a ‘water store’.

A very pleasant descent led to the village of Wilpshire, from where a hot rise to the golf course had everyone gasping, and annoyed some golfers who had to wait for all sixteen of us to cross through their line of fire.  Grumpy old men, they should have appreciated the break, on such a hot day.

It was time for lunch, taken from a hollow in the grass (Roger), or a comfy bench (Reg), and much in between.

From there, good turf led towards Snodworth, and the approach to Dean Clough Reservoir.

Walkers on the approach to Snodworth

Reg skilfully guided everyone past the reservoir and through a dense forest of gorse, before lingering at the rear with Norman as a sort of test to see what would happen next.

The long road to Whalley

It's best to stay behind Reg and Norman - they usually know the route.

Luckily for the rest of the group, as soon as a decision had to be made, Roger collapsed like a Granny’s jelly, preventing the need for any guesswork before our esteemed leader arrived on the scene.  Reg (‘The Butcher’) started to salivate at the sight of Roger’s collapse, but the victim suddenly revived at the sight of the scalpel.

The foothills of Pendle Hill loomed ahead – perhaps that had caused some to falter, but after reassurance that we would not be going much further today, everyone ambled gently down to the pleasant village of Whalley, and the River Calder.

There’s a fine viaduct here, but we by-passed the village by taking a ginnel to a riverside path.

The viaduct at Whalley

Norman performed some of his usual antics in the weir, as illustrated in Episode 2 of this report (which being more timely may be more accurate than this poorly recalled Episode 1).

Leaving the riverside, Reg’s well recce’d route passed a display of classic cars.

Ford Capri - a design classic

Having made it back to Springwood picnic area, just beyond Whalley, we then returned to Mellor to pick up transport and enjoy a beer and a planning session.

Outside the pub at Mellor

Thanks as always go to Reg for organising the 'Plod', and to Norman for his excellent 'clown' impersonations.

Here’s today’s route, approximately 14 km with 340 metres ascent, taking us just about 4 hours.

Our route - 14 km with 340 metres ascent, taking 4 hours

Reg’s (more accurate as always) report is on this page, and I’ve uploaded a few more images here.

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Friday, 30 March 2012

Wednesday 28 March 2012 – The Lancashire Trail – Part 6 – Mellor to Whalley (Episode 2)

Norman demonstrates his plumbing skills at Whalley Weir

Time permits only a brief report on this walk just now.  Episode 1 will follow after Easter.

Towards the end of the walk, on another lovely summer’s day, Maude asked Norman, our resident ‘Plumber’, if he would be kind enough to demonstrate the skills of a ‘Master Plumber’.  When he had returned from his dunking, and Reg had dried him out, Norman looked at Maude with a puzzled expression.  “I said ‘Master Plumber’, not ‘Mad Plumber’” barked Maude “you stupid man!”

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Sunday, 26 February 2012

Wednesday 22 February 2012 – The Lancashire Trail (Part 5) – Abbey Village to Mellor

Maude inspects the residents

After a couple of weeks in monochromatic, if sunny, Ottawa, it was nice to be out on a warm day in the bright green surroundings of the English countryside.

14 Plodders and Maude set off from Abbey Village at around 10.30, on this fifth section of the increasingly popular Lancashire Trail series of walks.  As you can see, Maude was soon distracted by some friendly locals.

Stiles frequently hindered our progress on this walk, which took the Witton Weavers Way at times where the old route of the Lancashire Trail has fallen into obscurity, so keeping up with Reg’s cracking pace wasn’t too arduous today..

It was muddy...

Don splodges through the mud

...and raining...and slippery ...

A slippery descent

For more, you’ll have to go to the slideshow link at the end of this posting, but the picture above shows clearly the gentleman from BT who latched onto us – he seemed to be walking backwards for much of the day, perhaps in search of wonky poles to Roger his way up and repair the ‘phone lines.

Here’s a stalwart of these excursions, Don – 'Mud Man' – a nickname for which he can thank today’s ground conditions!  Maybe if he didn’t have the invaluable stick he would be ‘Roly-Poly Man’?

'Mud Man'

This was one of the drier sections of the walk - we've just crossed (underneath!) the M65 motorway.

By the M65 near Riley Green

Looking ahead from the site of the previous picture, we could see down to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, with Hoghton beyond, on what turned out to be a rather murky day.

A view to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and Hoghton

Reg cracked on along the towpath before slewing to a breezy halt for elevenses in the shelter of a bridge.  Fudge brownies seemed to go down well.  They are so popular that some participants have started to make their own, hence some additional ‘cooking’ hints in the above link!

Reg with his flock, by the Leeds and Liverpool Canal

We then forsook the canal and headed to the River Darwen, where a massive weir was built during the industrial revolution in order to slow the pace of the river.  With today’s rain it looked a bit like Niagara.  R Norman (61) felt that it needed a human presence along its length to present the viewer with a sense of scale, so, being an obliging sort of soul (with a brain the size of a pea – he doesn’t read these reports – don’t tell him I said that!) he strolled over to oblige.

Norman takes a stroll across the weir

“Don’t do that at home” he announced, after being fished out of the river.

After drying Norman out, we passed under this magnificent viaduct that houses the railway line linking Preston with Blackburn.  The old brickwork shows no sign of deterioration.

Viaduct at Hoghton

Hoghton Bottoms is home to a businessman who has a selection of commuting vehicles.  Amongst his 4WD vehicles is a Microlight aircraft that he uses for commuting to work in the summer months.

It was good to see large swathes of snowdrops in flower at Hoghton Bottoms, though the delicate flowers were sheltering tightly from the rain.

"Hello, my name's Alan” announced the BMC Nuffield 10/60, in a rather weary voice. “I live in a cave."

Alan, a lonely BMC Nuffield 10/60

“At least I’m out of the rain” he commented, positively.

Muddy fields featured strongly in today's walk.  The weather was 'driech' – laying siege with cats and dogs at some points, like here, near Billinge Hall, where we should have had views to the suburbs of Blackburn.

Our path took us past the suburbs of Blackburn

Perhaps it was just as well that it was misty!

I found it impossible to keep the rain off the lens.

We lunched on a wall outside a pub.  Anne went in, but came out again.  A long lunch wasn’t on the agenda so we made do by exchanging stares with diners in the posh dining room just the other side of our wall.  The pub has recently been expensively refurbished.  Clogs and the billycock were the favourite attire of a landlord who took over this 150 year old pub in the early 20th century. Clogs were also worn by local mill workers, and their boss or charge-hand was always identifiable by his lowcrowned wide-brimmed felt bowler hat - the billycock.

the clog and billycock

Eventually our destination, Mellor, with its distinctive spire of St Mary's church, came into view - up a final, laboriously boggy hill.

Approaching Mellor

After a short lecture from the font of all knowledge on the art of passing through slurry, we consulted the back of his hand and took evasive action.  There was still one little ‘hop’ that some found challenging … but help was on hand, so to speak.

A 'slurry' incident

Anyway, we soon reached the pleasant village of Mellor, which is full of enticing pub signs.  Some carefully positioned cars were soon located, and after a short drive to reunite others with their transport, we were back at the Hare and Hounds in Abbey Village – by coincidence the same Hare and Hounds that we had to leave so abruptly after stage 4 of this epic adventure.

Anne proudly advertised her new sponsor, whilst the rest of us nipped in to sample the Black Sheep, etc.  Very nice it was, too.

'Bag Lady'

We had walked about 16km (10 miles), mostly in the rain, climbing a modest 400 metres or so, but no particular hill as such, in around 4.5 hours.  Here’s the route we took:

Our route - 16km, 400 metres ascent, 4.5 hours

Apologies for the delay in this report.  I have excuses.  And I have a poor memory and a dodgy camera, so I also apologise for any minor factual inaccuracies and insults within the text and the images.  Reg’s factual and timely report can be found on this page, and my 32 image slideshow is here.

See you next time, I hope.  The date for stage 6 is currently a closely guarded secret in an attempt to control the ever burgeoning numbers of folk coming on this excellent (whatever you may infer from the text) series of walks.

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Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Wednesday 18 January 2012 – The Lancashire Trail (Part 4) – Rivington to Abbey Village

Near Anglezarke Reservoir

The East Lancs LDWA’s Lancashire Trail series of walks is gaining in momentum.  An excellent turnout of 12 walkers on a dreich day stretched the skills of our car parking attendant as he strove to avoid conflict with neighbours and blocked drives.

Eventually Allan arrived and we started off from Reg’s house to narrowly miss the 125 bus to Rivington. Standing outside a shop that was selling hot pies and creamy cakes didn’t appeal to Reg, so we passed the time before the next bus by strolling along to another stop.

We started off where we finished on 13 December, past Norman's friend, the wet wallaby of Dryfield Lane.  It was a slow start.  Waterproof clothing was needed.  The paths were muddy.  Toilets at Rivington Lower Barn were … convenient.

A pleasant stroll alongside Rivington Reservoirs brought us out near Alance Bridge, where the picture above was taken.  Then Anglezarke Reservoir was our companion until a splinter movement, led by R Norman (60, and looking every day of it) saw Norman sloshing through a field and four others strolling along a dryish path, leaving Reg and his disciples to trudge through the deep mud of an alternative, newly laid, trail beside the River Goit. 

Our 'alternative' route to White Coppice soon crossed a marshy area where Norman was temporarily stranded on a pontoon masquerading as a footbridge linking two giant puddles.

White Coppice cricket pitch appeared – we enjoyed a quintessential English village scene from our lunch spot on the long bench under the pavilion’s verandah.  Just the sunshine and the players were absent.

White Coppice cricket pitch

Two other walkers sat miserably on a distant bench in the rain.  We would have embraced their presence had they asked, but they waited for us to leave before taking adjourning to the comfort of the pavilion.

Norman friskily led half the group up the direct route beside Dean Black Brook, but progress from now on was rather slow as Reg had failed to inflate his energy bank before setting off after lunch.  Clearly two fudge brownies were not enough (even though most others only got one!).

We spent a while at the ruin of Drinkwaters Farm, where Joe's Cup received a donation before being replaced in its home deep within an old dry-stone wall.  I recently wrote about this here.

It was a romp from the ruined farm to the summit of Great Hill (380 metres), where these old timers pottered around the X shaped windbreak whilst awaiting the arrival of their leader.

Martin and Norman reach the summit of Great Hill (380 metres)

Despite the dull day, the grassland was a lovely colour on the descent towards Abbey Village.  Our route went left past the trees above Reg’s head (see below), then right alongside the distant wall that leads towards the woodland.  Long-time readers of these pages may recall that the top of Darwen Tower blew off a while ago – it appears here in the distance, with a newly refurbished top (turret?) that I’ll visit soon.

Descending towards Darwen Tower and Abbey Village

Allan, Reg and I fell well behind as we sauntered down the hill towards Roddlesworth Woods, where moss covered exposed roots amidst a bedding of beech leaves make for a very pretty winter’s scene beside the River Roddlesworth.

Allan and Reg in Roddlesworth Woods

Norman’s power-crazed mind couldn’t restrain him from leading his group of nine around the north side of Roddlesworth Reservoir, whilst Reg, Allan and I enjoyed the colourful woods to the south.

Roddlesworth Woods

Soon we were on the last lap to the Hare & Hounds at Abbey Village, where the three of us could see Norman’s men outside, with freshly charged glasses.  “We’ve got a good five minutes before the 3.19 bus to Wigan” observed Reg, at 3.12, when the bus arrived.  Some frantic gulping was necessary, and some beer went to waste, only Peter having the presence of mind to slowly sip his pint to the dregs whilst waiting for the sudden queue for bus tickets to subside…

It remains a mystery as to why the bus timetable carried by the driver differed significantly from the one displayed at the bus stop.  Passengers need to arrive about ten minutes early in order to avoid missing the bus!

Here’s our route for the day – 18km, 400 metres ascent, in about 5 hours including stops.

Our route: 18km, 400 metres ascent, 5 hours

A short (27 images) slideshow is here, and Reg’s take on events is on this web page.

Two bus rides got us fairly swiftly back to ‘chez Reg’ where afternoon tea with scones went down a treat.  Thanks Reg, and Saro, for your hospitality for the second time in a month.

For anyone interested, the next stage of this trail will see our feet on Wednesday 22 February.  Let me know if you want details in due course, or get them from the LDWA website.

For completeness, here’s my Garmin Gadget’s version of today’s route:

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