A wet Longridge Fell.

…dry by eleven.

This piece of optimism is presumably based on the weather in NW Britain, where early-morning rain could mean it has been raining all night. The front producing it may then blow through giving way to fine weather later in the day, though not necessarily by eleven. It had certainly been raining most of the night when I awoke this morning at six, and it still was at nine. A couple of coffees, a poached egg and the crossword later I wondered about getting out. I wasn’t in a rush, just going local, so let’s give it to twelve to be certain.

My previous foolproof method of forecasting the day involved looking out of my bedroom window. If I couldn’t see Longridge Fell it was raining, if I could see the fell it was going to rain. Such is life up here. But now Barratt’s have built some ghastly houses in front of me, so I can’t see the fell at all. What does that say about the weather?

Parked up at Jeffrey Hill to do my usual short round on this end of Longridge Fell. Why not incorporate a litter pick whilst I’m at it, haven’t done one for a few weeks and after Easter I expect a good collection. The clouds over Bowland still suggest rain but is that some brightness behind me coming in from the coast on the strong winds? We can but hope, and anyway I’m fully waterproofed.


Rain in the Trough of Bowland. 


Behind me brightening across the Fylde?

To my surprise, or should that be pleasure, there is very little litter heading up to the trig point. I suspect someone else is helping out. Apart from the phantom orange peeler all I find is the usual d** p** b**s, no surprise there. It is also no surprise to see, in the distance I’m afraid, a couple walking with their dogs off the lead. There are signs everywhere suggesting this is not a good idea due to ground nesting birds at this time of year. Tell me if I am becoming pedantic.P1000352

I splash on through the bogs, we have had a lot of rain, to the trig point, Bowland remains  gloomy. The wind is behind me but still has a cold bite to it. Families coming the other way are frozen, and the children look miserable. They have the time to thank me for my  litter efforts. Whenever I meet people whilst I’m in litter clearing mode, a conspicuous bag and a grabber, they all say they should do the same – if only 5% did that would be a success. P1000344

Approaching the edge of the woods I’m surrounded by a dozen barking dogs. All loose and followed not that closely behind by a couple of ‘professional’ dog walkers. I stand my ground, I’m getting more confident with the canine species these days – there are so many of them. Pleasantries over I suggest that on the fell the dogs should be on lead. Of course their guardians have come from a different direction and claim there were no warning notices. We walk along together, and I explain about ground nesting birds – lapwings, curlews, skylarks, grouse, plovers etc in this area. The dogs are a delight to watch as they know their way and jockey for front position. A diverse selection of breeds all getting on together. I begin to wonder that as they are staying on this side of the wall and not transgressing onto the open fell I may have been a little harsh on their human friends. Dog walking has become big business these days as people who bought dogs for companionship now need to go back to work. We part company as they go off down the forest track. Out of interest later in the day I drive round to their point of access onto the fell and there are no signs warning of ground nesting birds. Fair enough. P1000349

I’m soon back on the road and the weather, as prophesised, is improving  so I incorporate a loop around Cowling Brook Plantation. I had noticed some litter starting to appear in this woodland of late. There wasn’t much to be honest but my d** p** b**s  total now was above a dozen. I enjoy my ventures into this plantation and feel the need to preserve it. There is so much unidentified bird song in the trees today. It would be good to come here with a proper birder and learn to recognise the calls. Any offers?

The little Cowling Brook coming down from Gannow Fell is in full lively flow heading to Knowle Green where it used to power the bobbin and cotton mills. P1000355

On the short stretch up the road into the strong wind the carrier bag was getting heavier, and I was in danger of repetitive strain injury from the trigger on my grabber. P1000357

The sun was shining once back at the car and indeed we have just had an almost good red sunset. Red Sky at night  Shepherd’s delight, another ancient folk law.  A red sky sunset tells us the worst of the weather has now eased, with higher pressure and improving weather approaching from the west for the following day. Red skies appearing when dust and small particles are trapped in the atmosphere by the important  high pressure.


What will tomorrow bring?



18 thoughts on “RAIN BEFORE SEVEN…

  1. conradwalks.blogspot.com

    Rain before 12:00 for me today for my regular half mile there and half mile back from home. We have a cloudless blue sky this morning but the forecast, which is generally accurate, predicts rain by 12:00. So I was off about10:00. But what strange weather. Looking at this glorious morning I can’t believe we will have rain at 12:00 it now being 10:30. I started wondering about litter halfway on my walk but surprisingly saw none, although I wasn’t particularly focused on that task. I will look seriously next time.

    1. bowlandclimber Post author

      I’m sure the good folk of Arnside take a pride in their streets. It’s the visitors who will create a problem along the front no doubt.
      Rain here now, just back from the garage having taken my car in for its MOT. Had thought of a bike ride but changed my mind. Will let you know when I’m up your way.

  2. Michael Graeme

    It must be vexing to lose a view like that. There are plans afoot to take mine – open sky and an old ash tree. Greenbelt is delaying permission, but the owners of the land will get it passed eventually.

    I’ve encountered this new breed of dog walker. It doesn’t look particularly safe, especially with a pack of big dogs. I guess a problem with ground nesting birds and loose dogs is we’re losing touch with nature, and most people don’t even know they’re there.

    That’s sterling work, litter picking. I’m afraid I’m one of those who say I should be doing it myself but have yet to invest in a picker. Just a pity it’s become necessary.

    1. bowlandclimber Post author

      It’s satisfying and annoying in equal measures to fill a bag with rubbish from the fell. Get yourself a grabber and walk your country lanes – you will be surprised.
      I think there are regulations on the number of dogs one registered person can handle.

  3. Clare

    I’ve often thought I could do with a knowledgable birder to accompany my walks…..but have recently come across an app called Merlin ( free download) which is great. Not as companiable though!!

  4. Martin Banfield

    birdNET is an app that we’ve found. It’s helping us to recognise birds by their song. You record the sound, click ‘Analyse’, and it tries to identify, usually inserting ‘Eurasian’ before the common name, which is a bit annoying!
    Thank you btw for your donation. Much appreciated. M

    1. bowlandclimber Post author

      I don’t, or rather my cheap phone doesn’t, seem to get on with ‘identification apps’ Have tried several flora ones without being convinced. Maybe time to try a bird song one like you mention.
      Take it easy on the marathon – all the best.

  5. Eunice

    ‘Rain before 7, dry by 11’ didn’t work here yesterday, it was fine and quite lovely first thing then rain by 9.30 which never stopped all day. I hope those dogs were all well behaved and obedient, it’s never a good idea to walk so many at once especially off-lead. Well done on the litter pick, I did my bit this morning round the field at the end of my street – I hate it when kids are off school!

    1. bowlandclimber Post author

      Even today, Saturday, the official forecast didn’t work out. Sunny morning but then dull and cold until late afternoon. I think I will go back to bits of seaweed.

  6. Clare Pooley

    Well done for all the litter picks you do, John! We do litterpicks down our lane now and then and it is really surprising how much rubbish we collect. I see that the free Merlin app has been mentioned already. I have recently installed it not hoping for much but I am very taken with it and it could become addictive!

  7. ms6282

    Very public spirited of you to pick up the litter. It’s depressing to see it and I guess we’re not going to be able to stop it happening but at least can try to clear up. I suppose I should follow your example

    1. bowlandclimber Post author

      Yes I became annoyed seeing the litter up on ‘my’ fell a couple of years ago. I turned the negative into the positive by buying a grabber. Things are better than they used to be so perhaps the message is getting through to some people.


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