THE LANCASHIRE WITCHES WALK – Slaidburn to Caton Moor.

As we wandered up the Roman Road to Salter Fell I was expounding to Sir Hugh about the remoteness of this track and how one hardly meets another person when we glanced behind to see about 20 walkers bearing down on us. A charity walk was in progress, from Slaidburn to Lancaster on our route, they all seemed cheerful enough and we managed to keep our own solitude for most of the day. In truth they were going far quicker than us.

Charity walkers.

Charity walkers.

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This is a familiar way for me, I must have walked it dozens of times whilst approaching The Bullstones a favourite remote moorland bouldering area of mine. The extensive rocks were clearly seen across the valley and I scanned some of my favourites with binoculars. Below in Croasdale is a barn with unusual stone sheep pens, I have bivied there with my grandson and watched Hen Harriers before their demise. We soon passed today’s tercet no 6.   A good pace had us over the watershed and looking down into Whitendale, another remote valley with Wolfstones high above and the Chipping fells in the background. To add to the splendour the Yorkshire Three Peaks became hazily visible as our track stretched across the moors. This is the place to be on a summer’s day and we stopped for lunch.  Black clouds appeared and it was raining over The Lune Valley, but we stayed dry for now. Leaving the main track at Higher Salter we plunged into an unknown world of deep hidden cloughs at the head of Mallowdale. A roller-coaster mile or so past remote farms, wooded valleys and uncut meadows,. A haphazard route where we had to keep checking our navigation, the preceding charity group had left a trail that helped. Waterproofs were donned but by the final rise onto Caton Moor we were drying out and reflecting on a great days walking full of contrasts.

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