Monthly Archives: March 2014

BACK UP THE FELL.

LONGRIDGE FELL FROM THE NW.

                                                                  LONGRIDGE FELL FROM THE NW.

The weeks are slipping by, not sure whether we are into Spring or not yet. I have a deadline at the end of April to walk the St. Cuthbert’s Way with my old school mate, we get out every year. Have been getting fitter on the bike but need to put some mileage into the recovering foot.  My daily trips to the shops, all of half a mile, have felt painful but I’m trying not to walk with a limp [read wimp]. So decided to get back up onto Longridge Fell [350m] for the first time this year. Fortified with Brufen, other painkillers are available, parked up in the usual lay by.

Whats new up here?  The first thing that struck me was the amount of damage caused by the storms of last month, lots of trees down.

  Good to be walking in the countryside again even though I was mainly on forest tracks. We are so lucky to have this on our doorstep.

  The weather varied from sun to hail and was exhilarating along the ridge with views down both flanks of the fell.. Clouds flashing by with rainbows following.

                             Storm brewing, Pendle in the distance.

Sudden hail storm.

                                                            350m

Great views down into the valley with the hamlet of Walker Fold prominent below.

                                            Diminutive Walker Fold.

I must have walked this route a hundred times but always find something different, today it was a Red Kite looping effortlessly over the cleared forestry. No photo!

Next I met a young man from Estonia planting Sitka Spruce saplings into the ground recently harvested. He can plant 3000 a day on good open ground but here he is only managing 1000. Looks hard work to me. I also wonder why he bothers as young trees germinate all over the area, maybe they are not in straight lines. Shall have to find the answer to this.

                                                Hard Work Planting.

Nature's Way of Planting.

                                           Nature’s Way of Planting.

Out of the trees and down through a favourite little dell full of light and back to the car before the next shower.

  Only four and a half miles, but an  enjoyable tramp and such good exercise for my foot and my mind.

PRESTON GUILD WHEEL – PRACTICE CYCLE CIRCUIT.

River Ribble.

Preston Guild Week takes place every 20 years – I’ve witnessed three. It is an ancient tradition celebrating the Merchants Guilds who traded in the town, now city.                                                 In 1179, King Henry II granted Preston the right to have a Guild Merchant and awarded the town its first royal charter. The Guild was an organisation of traders, craftsmen and merchants, who had a monopoly of trade in the town.  Gatherings for renewing membership were infrequent, from 1542 Preston Guild took place every 20 years. In 1790 there was freedom of trade in the town, which abolished the need for a Guild.  But people continued to celebrate the Guild, as its festivities had developed into prestigious social occasions, which continues to this day.

The Guild Wheel has been created as a lasting legacy of  the 2012 Preston Guild. The 21 mile route makes the most of the different landscapes that surround the city, creating a rich and varied environment for people to enjoy on foot and cycle.                                                                      For more information and downloadable maps visit http://www.lancashire.gov.uk/corporate/web/?siteid=5989&pageid=34335

GUILD WHEEL IN RED.

This was therefore an obvious challenge for my new found cycling enthusiasm.  Cometh the moment cometh the man. Unfortunately the man made two predictable mistakes .                      1   I didn’t have a map, expecting my local knowledge and the way marking to be ample.    2   I strangely decided, despite being out testing road bike for a week, to use my    ‘Mountain  Bike’ which had not been out of the garage for years.

Anyhow parked up and ready to go on a blustery cool day. The route has a start outside the Pavilion Cafe in Avenham Park, which today, a Saturday, was quite busy. The route is punctuated with mile posts giving the distance in either direction.

Start and Finish.

I opted for a clockwise circuit. I set off confidently whizzing along the riverside track and soon arrived at the old bridge in Lower Penwortham.

The wrong way!

I was distracted by all the cyclists coming over this cobbled way and intuitively went the same way and on to a good cycle track, only after some distance, as I headed up into Penwortham, did I realise this wasn’t the ‘Wheel’. My pride was too much just to turn around and go back, so totally disorientated I did an irrational loop into housing estates, cul de sacs and parks before having to ask a group of teenagers the way back to the river.   Great start!   By now I had also noticed my second mistake – my aging cable to the rear derailleur had snapped so I had to cycle the rest of the route in one gear!!!

Safely back over the bridge I was able to follow the correct way along the north side of the Ribble past the docks railway, no steam today but I will return to check out their locomotives. Passed one in need of care and restoration.

Onwards through the docks area [one of the largest in Europe in the 19th century] another cafe at the Marina, and onto the seaward section of the Ribble, complete with seagulls and cormorants. Next there was a stiff incline [in the one gear] heading west into the wind alongside Riversway until a bridge took me over the busy road and back along a canal – The Ribble Link, the only canal constructed in the last century – connecting the Lancaster canal with the rest of the system via the Leeds Liverpool.  This looks miniscule and I wonder how many canal boats make the passage.

Onwards on surprisingly rural cycleways in Cottam and through the UCLAN sports fields, all areas I had no knowledge of. Still lots of cyclists coming both ways and with all being   communicative it felt a very social day out. Somehow bypassed Eastway, past the ‘Hoppers sports ground over the M55 and ended up alongside the A6 in Broughton.

Quietness returned in Durton Lane with its speed bumps. Next I was going along the long neglected Longslands Lane and coming across the Asda superstore. Some steep inclines brought me onto the M6 motorway access at Bluebell Way [well not quite] and Roman Way.

Roman Way.

I was soon cycling  through the grounds of Preston Crematorium, certainly plenty of variety!

A lovely section through Bluebell Woods, too early for the eponymous flowers, and steeply down the escarpment……

…….. to enter the Brockholes Nature Reserve with lots of earnest bird watchers binoculars trained on the lakes. Another location to revisit.

Floating Brockholes.

Good flat cycling alongside the River Ribble all the way back into Preston and Avenham Pavilion Cafe.

Pavilion Cafe.

What a great trip out, though still stiff from the effort, and congratulations to Preston for making it all possible. Far too much interesting stuff for one post!

I’ll be back with a reliable bike, more fitness and a Map!

Next time I wonder about making a day of it and stopping at every single cafe en route – that would be quite an endurance trip.

T Dagnall’s’ Broody Duck’.

LIGHT AT THE END OF THE ……………..

Light at the end of the day.

Light at the end of the day.

Having a wonderful warm and dry few days. Getting fitter [and bored] on my cycle trips round the local lanes. The highlights yesterday were lambs frolicking in the fields, no doubt invigorated by the warm sunshine. Felt I had to turn down a climbing [or social] trip to Giggleswick today as I didn’t think I could manage the walk up never mind put a pair of rock boots on. The day turned out beautiful and sunny!

Pleased therefore to get a message from Robin suggesting a visit to Cronshaw Quarry on Longridge Fell in order to check out further bouldering possibilities. Went along really in a supportive capacity –  providing an extra bouldering mat, encouragement and spotting, This hidden old quarry is actually a pleasant spot for a few hours bouldering, especially on a lovely day like today.

Cronshaw Quarry.

Cronshaw Quarry.

There is one particularly steep and solid section of rock which we had highlighted for some hopefully good problems………………

Robin soon had dispatched a couple of traverses and the route up the right arete. All looked hard.

 

Low traverse.

Low traverse.

 

Up to now I had been happy just to be out in the sunshine but the nagging started in my mind and soon I was tentatively pushing my painful, scarred left foot into a rock boot. A few little excursions onto the rock proved relatively painless – the second eureka moment in a week – not only can I pedal a cycle but I can attempt, in my modest way, to get back on the rock!

Other problems for another day were spotted, may need a bit of Spring cleaning! All of a sudden I am reactivated and feel the batteries recharging. On the way home even pop into Craigy for a chat. Just miss out on photographing a really spectacular sunset over the reservoir.

So there is light at the end of the day and more importantly at the end of my particular tunnel.

OUT WITH THE BIKE.

Bike and Bowland.

Have not made much progress with my walking, go up to the shops for the paper and back in the morning, that’s about it. Not wanting to push the pain too far.  So for two months I’ve lived the proverbial couch potato and it’s not suiting my psychology. Didn’t think I would be able to pedal my bike with the post-op foot but last week out of desperation dragged my old trusty road bike out of the garage and gave it a spin around the village. Pleasantly surprised to manage with minimal discomfort, kicking myself for not trying earlier!

On the fair weather days I’ve pedaled around the flattish lanes  realising how unfit my old body has become.  Today was one of the better with lovely almost warm sunshine and little wind. So in late afternoon I cycled out to Chipping and back, feeling much invigorated by the gentle exercise. Chipping is a delightful village at the foot of Parlick in the Bowland fells. It was mentioned in the Domesday book and is a fascinating place to look around. At the cobbled entrance to the old part is the building originally used as Brabins School established in 1684 and round the corner is a shop/cafe, built by the same John Brabin in 1668, said to be the oldest continuously trading shop in Britain. Two of the three pubs are still open. The Anglican Church of St Bartholomew’s presides over the village. So lots to see. Sadly the last remaining wood turning mill has closed.

Brabins School.

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St Bartholomew’s

Another reason Chipping deserves its popularity for, especially with cyclists, is the  welcoming Cobbled Corner Cafe and that’s where I headed for today!

                                                                                                                                                                         All is not rosy for the cyclist in these parts – motorists use the lanes as race tracks and if they don’t get you the proliferating potholes might.

Potholes!!

      I need to readjust to two wheeled transport, somehow it doesn’t connect to the land as much as walking does for me. Still I may get fit and loose some weight.

The Preston Guild Wheel next.