Today is murky and damp, this morning I’m still in bed reading when the window cleaner appears on his ladder. He comes the first week of each month, and I have to pinch myself that we are into February already. I chat to him, standing in my dressing gown as he moves around the house. He reminds me that one or two of my windows probably need replacing, another job to put on the slow burner of my ‘things to do’.

I tend to go into slow motion in the winter months, particularly at the start of the New Year. Somewhere I have a SAD light, but significantly have not been bothered to use it. Past winters have been shortened by regular trips to sunnier climes, but that is a thing of the past for me in the present pandemic. Even my local walking is curtailed by the persistent plantar fasciitis. I have a list of friends to catchup with, many of them lying low. Parliamentary matters are not helping. Even my annual Big Garden Birdwatch didn’t go to plan. Oh well, it was good that yesterday I had phoned JD and arranged a walk with him to get out of the house and catch up with his news. The last time we were out together was in July last year!  There have been several times when his close family have been infected or isolating, touch wood I have steered clear of any forms of Covid.

A simple walk was planned around the Alston area, Preston not Cumbria. The little blue car was parked up on Alston Lane by 11am, it had been raining until then. Off we went along familiar lanes, through farms and down soggy fields, until we were walking alongside the River Ribble. No navigational decisions were needed, so we chatted away the rest of the morning, we share a broad church. A few mallards were spotted on the river, but otherwise any countryside life was keeping a low profile.

Opposite Balderstone Hall is an ancient ford crossing of the river, which JD has completed several times in summer conditions. Yesterday, he was upset that gates leading to the river bank on our side were obstructed and locked. The reason maybe the new development being undertaken here. A large “architecturally designed” property is slowly being completed, no doubt at significant cost. We wondered about the environmental impact of such a design on this rural riverside. Maybe it has already won an award. From there we made our way slowly back up the valley escarpment via rather convoluted field paths, I was trying to avoid the hard roads. In parts, we used the out of favour Ribble Way path and ended up on the wrong side of barbed wire several times. We almost had a Starling murmuration from these trees……but not quite.

JD always makes a good cup of coffee, so I was glad to drive back to his house for the rest of the afternoon. His wife, recovering from a hip operation, probably had walked farther than us on her daily exercise routine around the village.

I had not taken many photographs, due to the dull weather and too much conversation, so for a better impression of the scenery by all means look at a previous walk.

However, a couple of pictures, harbingers of Spring, probably will do more for me than that missing SAD light. Having posted this, it’s time for me to get out of the dressing gown and do something useful this afternoon. I believe in yesterday.


17 thoughts on “CATCH UP AROUND ALSTON.

  1. Eunice

    I’ve just had a look at your post about the previous walk, I like the photo of Old Alston Hall, it looks rather like an oil painting. I like your snowdrop photo, it’s just reminded me that I need to get to Lytham Hall soon to see the snowdrops there.


    I had heard of the SAD affliction before but had to do a search to remind myself what your acronym was. I hadn’t heard of a “SAD light” before. Do they have any scientific authentication ? You don’t seem to have much enthusiasm for the product.

  3. Michael Graeme

    That’s not an area I know at all. You have me consulting the maps. It always makes a difference when we see the snowdrops. Less impressed by the architecture, which I’d call “assertive”.

  4. leannedempsey

    We once tried to go a little “wild” and walk from Alston to the Ribble Way without a map. Went very off course, but did meet some splendid escapee hens walking the route too. Is the Ribble Way in good nick down that section?

    1. bowlandclimber Post author

      Unfortunately, The Ribble Way is prohibited by landowners/fishing interests from following some of the best stretches of the river. Defeating the object of a walk following a river.
      The way through Alston, through fields, is waymarked but not often walked. There is a bridge broken over Tun Brook below Grimsargh, involving a detour inland. So you don’t see the river from the crematorium until Hothersall Hall!

        1. bowlandclimber Post author

          It gets worse in the Chatburn-Gisburn section.
          Is it time for another right to roam demonstration? Perhaps if there is a change of government, there would be more pressure on the landed gentry to share our countryside.

          1. leannedempsey

            I think it’s topical. Our ideas of land use and land ownership need a rethink, i think, to be more sustainable. Not just gentry, anybody. A neighbour can move in a street, dislike the trees, chop ’em down, and a street can lose all its trees in 5 mins. Same with footpaths, fields. Bit too… Fast.


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