Following on from my post of a few weeks ago we had unfinished business in the West Bowland hills.
A sunny Bank Holiday Monday found the four recycled teenagers [old gits] in the Rigg Lane car park above Quernmore. A quern is a grinding stone which, along with Grit Fell, gives a clue to the bedrock in these parts and there appeared to be lots of rocks visible on the hillsides above. As we followed the path up alongside Rowton Brook several old mills were passed, all now restored and converted into desirable rural residences. The brook was followed onto the open moor.
Soon we were sitting in one of the stone summit shelters on Clougha Pike 413m enjoying the extensive views over Morecambe Bay, ranging from Wales to the Lakes.
Onwards now towards the rather featureless Grit Fell on a boggy path, passing above some prominent boulders.
On the way I noticed some prominent stone structures to the North and recalled reading of Andy Goldsworthy installations for the Duke of Westminster’s Abbeystead estate. So a diversion over rough ground (hence the blip on the map) brought us to the three pillars set in an abandoned stone quarry.
Several photos later, we retraced our steps to eventually reach stone cairn on the rounded Grit Fell 467m. From here we looked over the heart of Bowland and Wards Stone where we capitulated last time, what a desolate yet strangely alluring area.
Turning North the path took us past many shooting butts, who would want to be a grouse up here, to a well-constructed estate road. Range Rover access for the rich assassins is obviously essential, but the road certainly disfigured the moors. We’ve had this argument before.
More uplifting were the stately outlines of Ingleborough and it’s neighbours, dominating the skyline to the NE.
The ‘road’ winds its way back towards the coast past many small stone quarries where the rocks were split to produce slabs and shingles. As navigator, I was relying on a 20yrOld OS version which had little detail of these new tracks and I failed to spot our path heading northwards Littledale. At one point we came within 100m of the Goldsworthy statues we had made an arduous detour earlier! Three tall stone cairns, more crudely built, dominated the skyline as we approached the sea.
Committed to, but becoming bored with, the hard surface, we followed it down to the edge of some woods. Rather than taking the easy option of a direct return to the car park, I tried a footpath eastwards into the valley of Littledale.
This indeed gave us some variety, only to become lost climbing walls, barbed wire and dilapidated bridges on non-existent paths through Cragg Woods. This was a lost world and clearly private. We staggered on passing what looked like illegal, short noose rabbit snares to emerge onto the road, at least there had been no man traps.
Again my map was wanting and concessionary paths through the woods back to the car park were ignored for a long tramp along the road.
I didn’t get many marks for navigation today. I made up for it though, the motorway was packed, so I took us through Preston to have a great curry at Bangla Spice just off the motorway near Leyland.
Off to buy a new map of the area tomorrow.