PIKES AND PITS.

I suppose hill is the commonest term used  for a summit in England. [lets for the sake of this post forget Wales and Scotland]. But there are regional varieties, in the north fells are prominent, further south there are  moors, downs and plains.                                                   

Pike is another version, which in the dictionary comes from from the Old English pīc or point,                                                                                                                                                             So –   a pointed or conical hill, a point,  a spike or fish with reference to the shape of its jaw – you get the idea.                                                                                                                                           [Which is the southernmost pike in England? I don’t know the answer, somebody will.]

Today I visited Rivington Pike which fits the dictionary definition perfectly. The weather however wasn’t perfect, overcast for much of the day.

Meeting The Rockman and The Teacher at Lower Rivington Barn at 10am seemed no problem until well on the road there I realised I’d forgotten the OS map, back on track I seemed to be lost in the lanes out of Chorley, how come I ended up in Morrison’s car park?                                 It was fortuitous that I had returned home for the map as those two didn’t possess one. However we didn’t need a map to follow all the tourists up the marked tracks through the Terraced Gardens in Lever Park, constructed by local Bolton boy Lord William Lever of Port Sunlight soap fame and fortune. What a benefit to Bolton these green spaces have become. First stop was the Pigeon Tower and then onto the Rivington Pike, crowned by an 18th century hunting  tower built on the site of an ancient beacon.

We were the only walkers who ventured further across the peaty wasteland to the Winter Hill, 456m, with its communication towers one at over 1000ft dwarfing the trig point. The views were only average as the sky was still overcast. The Bolton Football stadium was prominent but the Pennines and Welsh hills were there.

A decent track goes SE down Smithhills Moor to a path above a deep clough [another Northern word]. We found ourselves in Brownstones Quarry for lunchtime sandwiches. A lad bouldering on Ash Pit Slabs, including the thin Digitation, gave us entertainment. We came down Coal Pit Lane and emerged onto Colliers Row. As well as gritstone quarries this whole area is riddled with coal pits. These were worked from the 18th century on both small and medium scale. Filled in shafts are found and many spoil heaps occur, a look at satellite maps details some of these. We walked along a paved lane used for access to pits, the stones were grooved from the coal trucks of the last centuries.

A diversion over Two Lads, confusingly there are three stone cairns, possibly a Saxon burial ground. We found little paths, unmarked on the map, down deep wooded cloughs and were soon back with the crowds on the long tree lined drive in Lever Park.There was an excellent display of Foxgloves by the path.


 

 

 

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