A meeting with ‘ the plastic bag man‘ was due. First draw a line between our abodes and roughly choose the halfway point, get out the map [West Pennine Moors] and devise a circular walk of reasonable length trying to avoid previous walks which is becoming increasingly difficult. At our 10am rendezvous in a car park off the Grane road it was good to see ‘the teacher‘ joining us. People were calling in at the cafe for breakfasts or coffee but few seemed to venture into the hills. We could hear loud bleating of sheep from the car park and as we climbed the hillside the reason became obvious – an industrious team of shearers were rapidly working their way through the flock and lots of silly looking naked sheep were running around. Above were whirling wind turbines, they seem to crop up on most of my walks now. We soon gained the waymarked Rossendale Way, RW, which traversed the hillside above a series of extensive abandoned quarries, two of which were water filled – nature parks in the future?Further on we must of passed above Troy Quarry, a previous climbing haunt of the three of us, so talk was of epics in the past. A massive worked out quarry was circumvented on the way down to Haslingden, ?Hutch Bank, where we had no knowledge of any climbing but there looked as though there were possibilities. The next few footpaths are best forgotten – unwaymarked, overgrown and unwalked, but we did emerge onto the road above Helmshore thankfully. A leisurely lunch was taken by the dam of Holden Wood Reservoir. Tracks led us back onto the RW and we enjoyed a fantastic traverse of the valley above Ogden and Calf Hey reservoirs. Is this really Lancashire? Some lovely stretches through woodland followed. Above us was Musbury Heights which is mainly quarried, at one point a steep quarry incline came down from the heights and uniquely our path went under it in a small tunnel. Old crumbling farmsteads were passed, a reminder of the marginal agricultural activities before the reservoirs. Many farmers supplemented their income with hand loom weaving, mining and allegedly whiskey distilling. Apparently a 1000 people lived in the valley at one time.
A short section of road walking unfortunately brought us back to reality.