ON LANCASHIRE MOORS – “WHEEREVER AW ROAM”

The quotation above is from Lancashire dialect poet Edwin Waugh  [1817 – 1890] he knew these hills well. before the wind-farms.

I had turned up at the Owd Betts inn, next to Ashworth Moor reservoir above Edenfield, on a bright and frosty morning to meet ‘the plastic bag man‘  and  ‘the teacher‘. They are locals and had planned a walk for my enjoyment.

Lovely crunchy ice on the paths straight from the car park, the temperature barely rose above freezing all day despite the sun shining continuously. First up was a quite steep ascent of nipple like Knowl Moor, a first for me. Winter Hill to the west was floating on a cloud.

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Immediately we were in a forest of mammoth wind turbines which seem to cover these hillsides and in today’s sunshine the glinting blades were hypnotic. So much so that we descended from the summit on the wrong path and  had to veer south, the first of many turnings. Then suddenly  we were on the lip of a previously hidden deep valley, Naden Dean with its reservoirs and opposite Rooley Moor our destination for later.  More zigzagging took us down. Crossing the middle dam was exciting as the path was sheet ice, I wonder how the teacher’s backside is today.

We climbed back up the other side and met up with the old track leading up the moor to the numerous quarries on high. Views opened up of the Manchester conurbation, tower blocks in Rochdale and the slightly more rural valley towards Bacup.   I vaguely remember coming up here on a backpacking trip through Lancashire years ago and walking up stone sets and stone runners worn by the quarry carts or sledges. Not to be disappointed we were soon following this ancient route and contemplating the rigours of the workforce in those days.

Christmas Cake and coffee were very welcome sat on a massive quarry block in the afternoon sunshine. Onwards into the extensive hill top quarries where mountain bikers were in evidence. There has been a lot of recent work up here to provide high standard technical riding.

We were now above our next panorama  – the Rossendale Valley in the foreground, Pendle Hill middle distance and a backdrop of the Bowland hills.  The moors here are like islands within the industrial waste lands, their wildness now unfortunately diminished by those turbines.

Heading back south we passed by Waugh’s Well an 1866 memorial to the aforementioned Edwin Waugh who spent time at nearby Fo Edge Farm [ demolished by NWWA in the 1970s]  His poems and songs in the local Lancashire dialect earned him the title of “the Lancashire Burns”

You should listen to the Oldham Tinkers rendition on  ==

 

Once over the last hill Knowl Moor reappeared and guided us back to the pub.

We were able to use the new tracks winding between the turbines. Stood below them we felt very small and fearful for their stability.

Therefore it came as quite a surprise to read this today — http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/550220/Giant-wind-turbine-mysteriously-collapses-in-light-winds

Thanks A and P for a top class short day’s winter walk. Much enjoyed.

 

 

 

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