After my last post about rain the summer-like weather has been around for a few days and I was tempted out bouldering one afternoon which left me with an extremely sore left big toe. So back on my cycle for a few short rides but I felt the need to get into the hills. Was tied up most of Saturday until tea time, but then a quickly packed sac with basic bivi equipment saw me strolling out of Longridge at 6pm.
I planned to follow the first stage of my Longridge Skyline Walk and spend the night somewhere on Beacon Fell. What a beautiful, warm evening as I walked through fields with lapwings tumbling overhead. The May blossom in the hedgerow was at its best, can’t you just smell it?
Cattle were out enjoying the rich grass and were being a general inquisitive nuisance, charging about, one just has to be aware of any possible danger. The sheep and playful lambs were easier to share a field with.
Onwards through Goosnargh Golf Club, with the fairways in prime condition.
Further on the building work on the old Cross Keys Inn seems to have come to a standstill. inside is a surreal builders’ dining table. Made me think ‘Hotel California’ somehow!
More troublesome cattle accompanied me up the fields into the woods of Beacon Fell. A few families were about in the car park, however the café was closed. I had planned to arrive at the summit for sunset, but cloud spoiled the scene.
A new owl sculpture has been installed in place of the ‘hanging bat’ and I stumbled upon a wooden carving of a crocodile to complete my collection of Beacon Fell sculptures to date.
As dusk fell, I found myself a comfy bivi spot with views of the Bowland Fells.
Roe deer were wandering about and barked noisily for a while, obviously I was on their territory. Sitting there, I was treated to a spectacular low flight of a Barn Owl looking for prey — spellbinding. And then the bats started their rapid flypast. Sweet dreams. I awoke at 5am as the sun came up but managed to doze off till 6.30, so I was away to a leisurely start by 7am.
I was impressed by the depth that the small river has carved for itself over the centuries. This is Dipper and Wagtail territory. The path was in a poor state, boggy and eroded, so progress was slow. Nothing much else stirred until I came across the tents of D of E teenagers near Waddecar Scout Camp, they were just stirring!
Soon I was at Brock Bottoms where a few early dog walkers were out. This area has been tarted up with gravelled paths etc. I just remember days with my kids hopping down the river and exploring the ruins of one of the many water mills. Now the ruins seem smaller with no sign of the wheel or any millstones.
Once out of the valley at Walmsley Bridge I followed field paths to emerge at the delightful thatched, old farmhouse of Scotch Green, I do wonder about the derivation of these names, but there was nobody about to ask.
A rest stop at the village cross of Inglewhite was prolonged by a chance meeting of an old friend out walking her dog.
The pub was closed for restoration, hopefully it will still have a bar for the locals who would keep it alive. The local chapel seemed to have a sizable congregation. On a wall was one of the old AA information plates — remember these.
That’s how I recharge my batteries and connect with the land in this beautiful area.