Monthly Archives: August 2013

THERE’S WALKING AND THERE’S TALKING. [much ado about nothing]

Sunday’s walk definitely came into the talking category. i had been trying to arrange a trip with friends up to White Hill, in the heart of the Bowland Hills, whilst the dry weather lasted but had been frustrated by a few wet weekends. There is no point going up there in bad weather with no views. I can be flexible with the days to fit the forecast but my friends, having to work because of the dour pensions situation, can’t.

So plan B was devised to do a low level walk easily accessible to us all. Even so we cancelled the Saturday because of heavy rain – glad we did. Sunday dawned dull but an arranged leisurely [10.30 AM] meet at East Marton seemed perfect as the day improved and blue sky appeared.

The usual suspects were involved. A the salesman. D the adviser. H the pieman. J the navigator [unfortunately me].   B the rock man never appeared.

D H and J assembled at the rendezvous at the appointed time. No sign of the usually punctual A. The call came through – he had turned right instead of left and ended up on the far side of Skipton. Being benevolent we waited for him to reappear, at speed, along the A 59.  No mercy was spared on the comments on his navigational deficiencies.

A “raggle-taggle, beggarly crew” set off along the road to pick up our first bridleway. As this led off the main road there was obviously a problem with those people who, mistakenly, rely on their ‘sat-navs’

I dread to think what happens if you drive your HGV down this bridleway. It leads into the undulating back country on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales. This area was a blast from the past for me as I spent many childhood holidays with my cousins on a farm, Stainton House, not half a mile from here.  Great memories of a carefree time. The views today, despite our moderate elevation, were wide ranging… the Three Peaks, the Bowland hills, Pendle, Weets Hill and the Craven Fells… we seemed to be in the centre of them.  By now the banter was in full swing and we were catching up on our relevant  illnesses and life crises. So minor details such as finding the correct path away from the delightful Ingthorpe Grange were ignored.

Ingthorpe Grange

Ingthorpe Grange

Only much later did we realise our [or my, the navigator! ] mistakes.  Actually not that much later – we had only gone about a mile and a half  – mainly at right angles to our intended route. It was however ‘easy’ to cut up a field to a road in our direction – unfortunately there was a major problem as this was blocked further on by engineering works.

new 278Some barbed wire walking got us through and we bypassed the grounds of Gledstone Hall to reach a road at a known point. One of the problems was trying to navigate using a 1:50,000 map, 1:25,000 are almost essential for this type of rural walking. It must also be said that there was a distinct lack  of FP signing in this whole estate area but our lack of concentration due to chatting was the main problem.

Now on farm lanes we made better progress but with less than a third of the walk completed it was unanimously decided to stop for lunch, it was well past mid-day. H the pieman had the best sandwiches. D the adviser was rather gloomy about interest rates. A the salesman had no luck. J the navigator kept quiet in view of his mistakes so far. Shame B the rock man wasn’t present to explain what we were sitting on. We enjoyed the stroll through the hidden hamlet of Horton with its lovely spruced up stone properties.

new 280Crossing the busy A59 at Monks Bridge proved difficult with the heavy traffic flow. Back in attractive rolling fields gave good walking but finding the way and stiles was again difficult with our map and lack of any signing. It didn’t look as though these paths were walked often. The town of Barnoldswick was straight ahead and that is where I had planned to join the Leeds – Liverpool Canal at Greenberfield Locks  for the last few miles.

Yet again we circumambulated [big word for went astray] and arrived in a park in town from where we seemed to take back streets through the Rolls Royce Factory to eventually get onto the canal bank. Having checked we were heading in the right direction it was another mile before we reached the popular Greenberfield Locks.

From here the canal weaves its docile way through the rural land. More walkers and cyclists were encountered, a few canal boats drifted by. Everyone seemed cheerful in the warm sunshine. You know when you are back at East Marton by the double arched bridge, 161, over the canal.

This famous feature is a result of different road levels over time. Just above is the popular  Cross Keys pub which made a perfect end to the day. They serve Copper Dragon ales from the brewery in Skipton. We enjoyed a final chat over a pint of Sun Chaser, their limited edition light summer beer. On reflection maybe a ‘sat-nav’ would be a good idea.

For a detailed map view of our 12miles wander………………..


What can I say – the spell was against us today.

Convenience climbing.

Convenience climbing.

Drove [!] into the quarry on a beautiful summers afternoon. A couple of other teams in situ. Spread out the gear and set off up a starred easy route – Cracklap [HS]. Goes up a crack, surprise, surprise, on beautiful crystals. As I was nearing the top the thunder started rumbling  in the distance and as I reached the belay tree the heavens opened. Lowered off rapidly, pulled the ropes and retreated to the car.

Team on Cracklap.

Team on Cracklap.

  Witches’ Quarry has had a chequered history. Way back you turned up, parked on the road  and asked permission from Mr. Binns to climb.   “No problems lads”   Then suddenly there were problems – too many climbers, no respect for the hens and sheep, somebody dying.

  Result —  BANNED.

  It took years of patient diplomacy to regain climbing access, thanks to the Clitheroe climbers. Climbers are now allowed to park in the quarry itself!  Limited numbers though and no dogs. That’s what we did today- convenience climbing. Don’t abuse it and loose it.

The quarry is situated in the beautiful Ribble Valley countryside with views over to the Three Peaks.

Because the car was close by we were able to shelter from the heavy downpour and chat till the next patch of blue sky arrived. By now the rock was wet, in the upper parts, from the heavy downpour.  Whilst it was still greasy we resorted to top roping, from the in situ belays, Peel Off  [VS 4c] … a classy route with three distinct cruxes.  Then the hot sun was out again and our spirits up – so off to lead a good steep severe – Serenity. As the lower off was clipped the sky blackened from Pendle Hill behind and rain started again, the second [me] struggled up removing the gear.


Serenity – before the storm.

The spell was broken, we went home.

Storm clouds over Pendle.