As I arrived at the summit of Nicky Nook, a modest 215m, the wind was strong enough to make photography difficult. It was mid-afternoon, I hadn’t set off very early and Storm Ciara is on her way. This hill, I don’t know the reason for its name, is just across the fields from my walk to Calder Vale the other day.
There were crowds coming up Nicky Nook from Scorton, or rather from cars parked everywhere on the lanes leading up to the fell, all to save half a mile of uphill. Traffic chaos prevailed. If this was the lakes these lanes would have double yellow lines to preserve peace and quiet for the local residents. I’d come a different way creeping round the back. A little lane off the main road gave sensible parking and I set off walking by St. Peter’s Church, the one with the pointy spire seen from the motorway heading north.
[Squire Peter Ormrod, who had made his money from the Lancashire cotton mills, there was one in Scorton, built Wyresdale Park in the mid-C19th. He died in 1875 and his brother James built the Church in his memory. All the family are buried here. The architects were Paley and Austin of Lancaster, who designed many beautiful local churches. Interestingly the cut sandstone came from Longridge quarries.]
The road leading south from Scorton is narrow and busy and as a Millenium project a raised pathway was constructed to avoid the traffic. You feel rather hemmed in but I made good use of it today between the road and the River Wyre. Soon I was crossing fields with the prominent westerly stone tower of Nicky Nook visible above.
Footbridges crossed both the rail line and motorway giving close up views of the speeding trains, now in a new livery, and the traffic on the motorway with that well-known view of the spire of St. Peters.
A vague path crossed more damp fields to the complex of houses at Throstle Nest. Signage was poor and one had the feeling of being unwelcome close to the expensive properties. Even the stile leading to the road was low key and not signed from the highway. Normally most paths in the Wyre District are well marked. Feeling grumpy I was distracted and set off along the lane in the wrong direction!
After correcting my mistake I arrived at the entrance to Grizedale, a deep wooded valley coming out of the Bowland Fells. I made good progress up the well-used track, most people were coming the other way having already descended from Nicky Nook. A seat in the valley took my attention – one wonders about the stories behind these inscriptions.
The fell above was cloaked with rhododendrons which seemed at odds with the birch and oak forest I was walking through. A reservoir was reached, Grizedale Reservoir built in the mid – C19th along with others nearby to serve the Fylde with water from the Bowland Hills.
The steep climbing started up steps and a made-up path, it is a very popular hill. On the way up a tower was seen to the left and I went to investigate, probably for surveying when the reservoirs were constructed.
As I said the wind was already troublesome on the top and I didn’t linger long. Since I was last here Lancashire Red Roses have been stencilled on the trig point. Views to the Bowland Fells, towards the Lakes and Morecambe Bay were a little hazy. The most obvious visible features were man-made – Morecambe power Station, the motorway and several large caravan parks.
A wide track set off down towards Scorton but my attention was taken by another tower off to the west. It turned out to be a memorial to Queen Victoria’s Jubilee and gave a birds-eye view of Scorton. Its makeshift pole has gone askew.
A pleasant two and a half hours’ exercise. Storm Ciara came and went but little did I realise the storm to come, Covid-19.