Another day out walking with the lads from Bolton was planned with a 9am, we enjoy a lie in these days, rendezvous just off the M6 junction. To ring the changes I had planned a round of the fells from Tarnbrook and was in sole charge of navigating and the map.
To my horror, as I drove to the motorway, I realised the said map was still on my kitchen table — necessitating a rapid turn around and subsequently a ribbing for the delayed start. The twisting lanes leading from the next motorway junction north seemed to go on forever, more than my memory of them. The hamlet of Tarnbrook thankfully hadn’t changed at all, though. (PS, Parking here has recently become a problem.)
We were greeted with a warm sun and clear skies, which promised well for views on the fell tops. . Most of the land around here is now open access from the CRoW act of 2000. Prior to that we were evicted several times whilst climbing on the rocks up at Thorn Crag, lying high above Tarnbrook. This is grouse shooting land previously strictly restricted. A sad observation is that the estate has now built several ugly ‘roads’ through these remote hills. The other observation is that one doesn’t see the Hen Harriers or Peregrines any more.
I came across this interesting article and debate about raptor persecution in the area…. http://raptorpolitics.org.uk/2014/01/06/politics-is-still-undermining-raptor-conservation-in-lancashires-forest-of-bowland/
Getting back to the walk we headed off in an Easterly direction on what is marked as The Wyre Way past a few old farms and onto rougher, virtually, trackless ground leading up onto Brennand Hill. Slow progress necessitated a coffee break in a clough on the way.
Eventually we reached the stoney outcrop marked on the map as Millers House. Here we found the odd abandoned millstone hewn from the gritstone — what a life it must have been up here chipping away.
Noticeably there were far fewer gulls in the area than before, I think culling by the NWWB has reduced the upland breeding population.
Onwards brought us to the fence on the broad ridge and a diversion for a lunch stop at Wolfhole Crag. This must be one of the most remote bouldering venue in England, but there was some chalky evidence of recent ascents of the harder problems. http://www.lakesbloc.com/guides/wolfhole-crag-guide.pdf
Our own clumsy ascents would be better not recorded.
The day had changed and was now dull and cold, so views to the Three Peaks and the Lakes were poor. The never ending plod westwards along the boggy ridge didn’t have much merit in these conditions. Crossing one of the aforementioned, incongruous estate ‘roads’ we came across several areas of heather reseeding and stabilisation of the peat bogs. Respite came at the first trig point on Ward’s Stone, 561m. We realised that we had been walking steadily uphill for the best part of 4 hours to reach this point! A welcome flat area led to the next trig point, 560m. The views to Morecambe Bay were sadly limited but the Wyre estuary was clear, that’s where all the water from up here goes.
Our planned route continuing westwards to the more interesting Grit Fell and Clougha Pike was curtailed to another day as we dropped off the fell and down the endless lane into Tarnbrook.
12miles over this rough territory was enough for us today. We saw only two other walkers all day and that on a Bank Holiday weekend! We will be back for Grit Fell and Clougha Pike.