Author Archives: bowlandclimber

SKIPTON TO LONGRIDGE 2 – winter sunshine.

Barnoldswick to Chatburn.

Late sunshine under Pendle.

In Gisburn churchyard hidden in the long grass is the grave of Francis Duckworth, 1862 – 1941.  One of my recent diversions has been searching for significant gravestones with the help of a book by Elizabeth Ashworth – Lancashire Who Lies Beneath? and I’d recently found his. He is remembered as the composer of the hymn tune ‘Rimington’. Have a listen –

https://hymnary.org/hymn/SCM/56

We had found a bench in Stoppers Lane for lunch opposite the Rimington Memorial Institute and on a nearby row of cottages I noticed this plaque –

 

JD [now aka Doug} the Pieman and myself had started outside a Rolls Royce factory in Barnoldswick and wandered indirectly through the mill streets as close as possible to our Skipton to Longridge line. It was a perfect sunny winter’s morning.Until the 1974 local government reorganisation historic ‘Barlick’ was in West Yorkshire, as several of the other villages visited today. The rivalry/frienship between the two roses counties is continued today and highlighted on some benches in town. We spent the morning navigating fields and lanes past both old and renovated farmsteads, through the hamlet of Howgill and into the scattered Rimington village. We were in close proximity to streams which eventually become Swanside Beck that joins the Ribble near Sawley.

To the northeast were Ingleborough and Penyghent and to the northwest Longridge Fell, Beacon Fell and Fairsnape.

After lunch using back lanes we seemed to avoid one of Rimington’s famous features – Cosgrove’s fashion shop. We dropped down to Ings Beck and Downham Mill.Soon the Ings Beck Joined Swanside Beck and we were alongside the familiar packhorse bridge. The next bridge we were on was that high one crossing the A59…… from where there was our last view of distant Ingleborough before we stroll down into Chatburn before the sun sets.

*****

SD38. BLACKPOOL TO SINGLETON.

Lunch time, Poulton-le-Fylde suburbia and we are sat in reclining chairs in someone’s front garden,  This followed a trip by Sir Hugh depositing himself into the middle of the road with no serious injury but blood [as well as egg] on his face. It all looked dramatic to passing motorists who came to our aid and one particularly kind lady took us into her property for tea and sympathy. Spare glasses fitted and he was ready to continue on our walk along latitude SD38.

The day had started in a rather gloomy and wind swept Blackpool where we picked up the 38 at North Shore. There is nothing to recommend British seaside resorts in winter. Sir Hugh had a new hat that kept blowing away until he stuffed it into his rucksack and donned a more suitable beanie. At the start is a striking statue to our emergency services which I’d seen before on a trip along this promenade. 

 

 

Northing SD 38                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

We passed rows of basic guest houses, probably full of ‘social housing clients’ and then followed the pavement alongside a not too busy road out to Warbreck where the Ministry of Pensions and whatever else has an office. A colleague of mine worked here for many years in some secret role to entrap fraudsters.

Branching into housing estates we weaved around crescents and groves. You think that they could have created pleasanter address names than Block 50 although some of the street names had a familiar ring.

We were heading for a green space shown on the map and eventually a path was reached along the edge of the estate. I’d soon collected a fair amount of dog excrement on my boots although a responsible owner with two rescue German Shepherds was interesting to chat to. One of the dogs had cigarette burns inflicted upon it when he intervened but both dogs were now even-tempered. The border of the estate was a disgrace with every form of rubbish you could imagine thrown into the ditch, the mind boggles. Green fields took us into the outskirts of Poulton where the housing improved but the navigation was complicated by dead ends.

After our ‘sedate lunch break’ we headed into the countryside [for how long] with cows, hens and sheep.

Unfortunately our way further on was blocked at a closed level crossing and we diverted onto the busy main road and then had to negotiate a complex industrial estate which I didn’t think we would emerge from. Eventually we squeezed between groaning industries into the countryside.The country fields here are all recycled marshland and the draining ditches define the fields although the drainage is not always good.All day I’d been looking unsuccessfully for signs of spring, catkins etc but near a farm I saw my first lambs of the year.

We finished in Singleton just as the rain started so beat a quick retreat to the car, it looks an interesting village so will delve further when we resume the SD38.

*****

LATITUDE SD38. COAST TO COAST.

An email dropped into my box –

What about:
Longridge to the Sea – East.
Following the OS line 38. I have had a quick look and it appears more or less possible. Straight line 104 miles and interesting – certainly a lot of new territory for me.  Conrad. 
[Sir Hugh to those familiar with ths blog]

I ignored this for a day or so thinking it was too ambitious and I had better things to do; like finish off the GR131 in the Canary Islands and complete my protracted Land’s End to John o’Groats. But the idea gnawed at the back of my mind and I foolishly looked up the maps. The SD 38 latitude in question runs virtually past my house. My mind was in action now, why not start on the west coast and finish on the east 122 straight miles Blackpool to Aldbrough.

A bit of a pipe dream. Better do some gardening.

SKIPTON TO LONGRIDGE 1 – another straight line.

Skipton to Barnoldswick.Following on from the success of the straight line from Longridge to Arnside completed with Sir Hugh at the end of last year I have persuadedthe piemana resident of Skipton to undertake a similar scheme between our respective abodes.

The Pieman.

He is a lifelong friend, possibly blood related though I tend to ignore that, with whom I’ve shared many backpacking trips throughout Europe but recently we have not been able to meet up as much as required. So this was a good opportunity to get 2019 off on a better note. Thus I was drinking coffee in his house in Skipton early this morning before setting off on what could only be described as a drab day.

My local guide takes us across Aireville Park, where I used to play as a child, over the Leeds Liverpool Canal and out of town through an industrial estate with some interesting relics awaiting restoration.

Airedale Park.

We crept under a main road and crossed the placid River Aire on an old track into Carleton. This essential bridge for our route was just within the mile either side of our arbitrary straight line  The C19 mill in the village was originally for cotton-spinning but I remember buying carpets there in the 70s, apparently it is now luxury apartments.

Carleton.

Today we didn’t visit the village but took to unmarked footpaths through green drumlin fields. I have to concede that satellite tracking maps were a great help in navigating this section. We were going parallel to a disused railway [Skipton to Colne] and eventually we found ourselves walking along it for convenience until stopped by vegetation.Possibly we touched on a Roman Road leading to Elslack where there was a fort. Our priority was to find a picnic bench and there right in the middle of the hamlet was one in some sort of memorial garden. Having put his instant coffee powder into a cup he looked for the flask containing the hot water, unfortunately it was on the worktop back in Skipton. I had hot apple tea in my flask so he ended up with a strange brew.

We walked past the C15 Elsack Hall but at a discreet distance and then along the abandoned railway into Thornton-in-Craven joining the Pennine Way for a short stretch. The village has interesting old houses but no shop or pub and the heavy traffic deterred us from lingering.

Tree planted for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth.

?Millenium Clock.

On the edge of the village are Almshouses built for poor women, there is not much of that charity evident today.

By the church a sign guided us to a Holy Well in the grounds, dating from Saxon times it is covered by an octagonal structure erected in 1764 by the rector.

On a short stretch of golf course we joined The Pendle Way. It weaved around a church and graveyard where every grave was decorated with flowers, presumably from Christmas.

Rolls Royce have a large presence in Barnoldswick and we passed one of their factories before joining the Leeds – Liverpool Canal for the final stretch into town. My overall impression today was of green fields and a rich historical background.

*****

AROUND LONGRIDGE TO SEE WHAT’S NEW.

I was drinking coffee and debating whether to go for a stroll or even rescue my bike from the garage for a ride when JD phoned suggesting a walk, we chose a short one circumnavigating the village as I was interested in the changes taking place. On reflection if we’d had more time we should have climbed onto the fells to take advantage of the perfect weather.

Anyone who knows Longridge will be aware of the rash of indiscriminate housing developments. These are immediately obvious from the road where for some reason the football club have sold off a field within their grounds, previously used for youth training, for six houses. Already this is creating problems on match days as now their parking is limited there is dangerous parking on both sides of the busy road and footways, time will tell.  Across the road the cricket pitch is being surrounded by development. I was surprised to see this strange buiding practice…

Climbing up through the estate onto Higher Road was an alteration of a different sort, the local Thai restaurant’s entrance porch has been destroyed by drunken drivers badly affecting trade over the Xmas period.

There were however peaceful views from up here over the Spade Mill Reservoirs. The little the bridleway past the reservoirs is popular with dog walkers and leads onto Alston Lane. Once across we followed a farm lane and found our way into fields with occasional waymarkers, so we only lost our way once heading down to a bridge across a beck. The next farm, Alston Lodge, was a mud bath.

The path weaves its way between the Alston Reservoirs, built for Preston as it increased rapidly in size. A large group of Canada Geese had descended looking for food. Alongside the last stretch of water a wetland reserve has been created and there are hides to observe the birds. Today we saw mainly Mallards!

At the end of Pinfold Lane onto the main road all is changing with a large housing development on its north side and unfortunately a long stretch of hedging has been unnecessarily removed. Fortunately our onward footpath bypasses the development, for how long?  Mardale playing fields give us a bench for refreshments before we cross the old railway line into Shay Lane industrial area. An old path follows a small stream where one used to hop across on stones but recently a wooden bridge has appeared.  Green Nook Lane is usualy quiet but at he end are more new houses on the left and then even more being built across the road and guess what – an Aldi has arrived.

Round the corner is Halfpenny Lane whose fields will all be built on before my next walk round our previously lovely little community. So a day where the negatives outweighed the positives I think.

*****

CROASDALE/BULLSTONES WALK.

                                               Looking down a murky Croasdale.

One seldom meets another person in upper Croasdale but today the Salter Fell track was busy with contractors making repairs to a steep section of the road above New Bridge. The road, also known as Hornby Road, dates from Roman times – Watling Street that ran from Manchester to Carlisle.  It was along this road that the Lancashire Witches were taken from Clitheroe to Lancaster and in fact the last time I walked it was following a long distance walk called the Lancashire Witches Walk from Barrowford to Lancaster. Back to today I was with JD, both of us needing some exercise. A lorry was taking stone up to the repairs and the driver told us of the cost to Lancs. County Council who apparently are obliged to maintain the highway, for whose benefit I’m not sure. An awful lot of potholes around Longridge could have been repaired for less. The repairs were extensive and thorough but not lot of work seemed to getting done today. More stone was being extracted from the higher quarry which in the past had been used for the construction of Stocks Reservoir dam in the thirties.

Track repairs with one of the Lancashire Witches Walk tercet waymarkers.

It took longer than usual to reach the top gate where we left the track and headed uphill through the heather. Looking westwards are views of upper Whitendale and remote Wolhole Crag, this is wild Bowland country. I found the tiny sheep trod that traversed to the first group of Bull Stone boulders where we had our refreshments. The day was rather dull but there was no wind and silence prevails up here. Looking down the wide valley of Croasdale a misty Pendle rose in the distance. I had resisted bringing up my rock shoes but now regretted it as the conditions were perfect. Big boots would not have stuck to the friction slabs.

Sketch of the same scene from the Bowland Beth book mentioned below.

For a taste of the bouldering up here have a look at  https://vimeo.com/183222521

We wandered on below more rocks, all bringing back memories to me though JD had never been here. So it was a great pleasure to show him the massive stone trough carved on the hillside.

We found the little trod heading down valley and at the ford we decided to continue down rough marshland to look at the bothy and surrounding sheep-pens. About ten years ago I spent a couple of nights here with my teenage grandson whilst we explored the surrounding fells. In those days Hen Harriers were a common sight on these Bowland fells which were an important breeding ground for these beautiful birds. Things have gone downhill since then with more and more persecution of raptors on grouse moors where the shooting lobbies run roughshod. I have just been reading a little book about the short life of Bowland Beth, born near this spot. A thoughtful analysis of the plight of wild life on shooting estates.

Bowland Beth. The life of an English Hen Harrier.   David Cobham.     William Collins.

The bothy was unlocked but the flagged floor had been soiled by animals. It did not look an attractive proposition for an overnight stay now but would soon clean up.

Onwards down the valley with a few stream crossings and then we climbed back up the road passing on the way the remains of the House of Croasdale, a 17th century farmhouse built on the site of an ancient hunting lodge. It would have witnessed the witches being taken across the fells.

Remains of House of Croasdale.

An interesting circuit as usual although a little sunshine would have helped with the photos.

 

 

*****

 

 

THE WAY OF THE CROW. Seventh day. Carnforth to Arnside.

Was today going to be anticlimax of lane walking  into Arnside?  No, with Sir Hugh’s local knowledge we weaved our way through unknown woods, nooks and crannies. Our plan a few week’s ago was to walk between our residences, they sound grand, as close as possible to a straight-line drawn on the map. We have actually kept it to within a kilometre of said line.

The road from the Carnforth/Warton marshes was busier than we had hoped so at the earliest opportunity we took a hidden path up onto the higher lane. We knew this area well from climbing on the  numerous limestone crags. Warton Main Quarry was a place to fill you with fear but the higher outcrops were far more attractive. We had met up at Warton Pinnacle Crag before.

Warton Main Quarry.

Passing on we dropped down to Crag Foot where there is a distinctive chimney, the remains of a pumping station for the low-lying fields that now are abandoned for the reed beds of Leighton Moss Reserve made famous for its Bitterns. The other chimney seen across the marshes at Jenny Brown’s Point is related to copper smelting works dating from the end of the 18th century.

Crag Foot Chimney.

Jenny Brown’s Point

Saltmarshes.

Soon we were crossing those saltmarshes towards an RSPB hide named in honour of Sir Eric Morecambe. We had no binoculars so we bypassed towards the wooded Heald Brow where a limestone track wandered through the woods towards Silverdale. This was all new to me and I was enjoying the atmosphere. Devious lanes and paths were taken around the edge of Silverdale through various National Trust Properties and despite a basic navigational error, not knowing which road we were on, we arrived at Waterslack Farm where I remembered a garden centre and cafe in days gone by. On the way we passed several wells, Lambert’s Meadow, Ancient woodlands, lots of limestone outcrops and The Row of houses. This whole area is worthy of detailed exploration.

Limestone pavement.

Burton Well Scar.

Lamberts Meadow.

Burton Well.

Dog Slack Well.

The Row.

 

The Black Dyke runs parallel with the railway into Arnside but we first had to have a look into Middlebarrow Quarry, a large abandoned limestone site where there would be climbing possibilities if it wasn’t on the dreaded private Dallam Estate land where any public access is unwelcome.

We heard shots in the distance and were wary of this guy with a high-powered rifle.

Black Dyke.

A final sting in the tail was when Sir Hugh launched up a steep slippery track to arrive into the village next to his house.

Mission accomplished before the end of 2018.  Happy New Year for 2019. What next.

 

*****