Thursday 26th November. 7.75 miles. Dunsop Bridge.
I thought I would incorporate some possible fish jumping into today’s walk, as I had failed on the Hodder awhile back, so I chose to walk up the waterboard road from Dunsop Bridge. First problem was the road through Whitewell was closed diverting me over via Cow Ark and backtracking from Newton. I was still early enough to get a free parking place. The mist was just rising as I started up the valley. This is a familiar track for me but I always enjoy the view up the valley with Middle Knoll centrestage, even though today he was slow to appear… I stopped at the fish ladders on the River Dunsop just below where the Brennand and Whitendale converge. No luck, no fish, so I carried on thinking I could spend more time later in the day. You are soon into the Brennand Valley with the farm down below and views into deepest Bowland. It is awhile since I’ve been on this lower track, last time I was here with JD we did a direct ascent up Middle Knoll to satisfy my curiosity of Blue Scar, which proved disappointing.
My route up to the col between the two valleys was as wet as usual. Views back to Brennand Fells were replaced with a bird’s eye views down to Whitendale Farm. It was a steep descent.
This is Duchy of Lancaster land owned by the Queen and yet United Utilities [NW water] seem to manage much of the land as a water catchment area. My way back down the Dunsop valley in fact follows a pipeline taking water to Blackburn. It is a good level track overlooking the valley and I make good progress. In the past I have cycled up the water board road and hidden my bike hereabouts before taking to foot up the rough Whitendale valley, a good tip for exploring deep into Bowland. Today I rest awhile at the river intakes where concrete steps control the waters. Still no sign of fish but it is always good to see the rural postie driving by.
The sun comes back out and gives lovely low lighting in the valley. I’m soon back at the car and a Covid takeaway coffee from Puddleducks Café. It looks like I’ve missed out on the fish going upstream this year but I’ve earmarked several possibilities for next season.
Did some of those pictures remind you of Scotland?
I followed part of that on my Wainwright’s Way link catching up with you. I noticed that path to the south of the R. Dunsop from my higher track to the north west and wished I had taken yours instead. Middle Knoll is a gem in amongst the Bowland hills.
Yes the little path on the true left bank of the Whitendale River is much better than the estate road. As you know upper Whitendale is rather rough going.
It is a wonderful part of Bowland.
I remember doing this walk many years ago now and first seeing the Brennand valley, tucked away and so unexpected. Very beautiful and fertile, amid otherwise shaggy hills. Pity there’s no route up the Knoll.
Whenever I look down into Brennand I recall Steinbeck’s rich description of the Salinas Valley at the start of his novel East of Eden. It must be a hard life down there amongst the greens.
Our route, JD and I, up the knoll was arduous, but rewarded with a unique viewpoint shared by few others.
Sorry, I missed the link to that walk – read that one now. I’m always afraid of getting shot in Bowland if I stray off the green pecked line. Is access to the Knoll Right to Roam?
No, I don’t think it is. I have my own right to roam and haven’t been shot – yet.
Good on you. I grew up on tales of intrepid ramblers outwitting the keepers in Bowland.
A thick mist was always a big help in visiting prohibited summits.
To be honest the tenanted farmers were friendly enough but the gamekeepers were a different breed. Many a story of conflict, which I should put to paper sometime. Most of them laughable on reflection.
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