My trip up to the north to walk St. Cuthbert’s Way with my old schoolmate has been cancelled unfortunately due to a family bereavement. I have had a hectic week and was glad of the opportunity to join three good friends for a walk on Sunday in the Silverdale area. My walks in this beautiful area in the past have usually involved the coast and Arnside Knott. Phil today had organised something different.
A mediocre start along a busy road, past a BT box, lead to a bridleway through old coppiced woods onto Wharton Fell. Whilst we were lost a meeting with a lady and two Corgi dogs put us right – sadly she wasn’t the queen. The top of Wharton Fell has a trig point and a beacon, used in the millennium celebrations. We passed it several times as we searched for the correct path – so technically we were never lost.
The morning disappeared and soon we were lunching next to an old lime kiln, common in this upland limestone area. Blueberry muffins from ‘Sainsbury’s bit bin’ were particularly enjoyed. Phil’s meanderings then turned into brilliance as he took us down into the hidden world of a mossy dell, Deepdale Pond. Bluebells, Wood Anemones and Early Purple Orchids were in abundance. Magnificent!!! Go there.
We were now close to Trowbarrow Quarry, the venue of many happy climbing days in the past. Despite its size and close proximity it was not easy to access. Eventually we found ourselves below the main wall, looking more unstable than ever! Teams were climbing ‘Cracked Actor’ and ‘A Touch of Class’ for our entertainment. Nobody on the classic Jean Jeanie.
Memories of climbing Major Tom after a torrential downpour and my second swinging away across the face when he lost contact. Memories of taking my ‘old’ climbing partner up Jean Jeanie on her last climb and celebrating in the pub afterwards [?The New Inn] at Yealand Conyers. Memories of climbing Sleeping Sickness with a young, light, second belaying! Brilliant.
The geologist in our party spent some, unsuccessful, time looking for a one-inch coal seam in the upended limestone strata. The track out of the quarry featured an unusual gate mimicking a climbing carabiner.
A detour through the edge of Leighton Moss nature reserve made us feel inadequate without extra large binoculars. This is an extremely popular venue compared to the footpaths we have been following. NATURE, in capital letters, is the name of the game around here.
A relaxing pint in the Black Bull [sorry – The George Washington – one should not be allowed to change old pub names!] completed a great day with old friends in some unusual and unfrequented scenery.
My toe coped with the 9 miles and the disappointment of the cancelled walking holiday was partially forgotten.
Back to the dark world of solicitors and undertakers tomorrow.