The garage where I bought my car from last year lies on The Guild Wheel circuit. When I phoned to arrange the yearly service I was surprised the appointment, they have become very clinical in garages, was on Easter Monday, so rather than waste the day in went the bike. The receptionist, very clinical, was taken aback by my Lycra and helmet and doubted I would be back within the 2 hours the service would take. I set off on the Wheel in an anticlockwise direction and after a couple of miles I was investigating the lock gates from the Ribble into Preston docks when a familiar voice caught my ear and there was one of my sons and his partner cycling the opposite way. They were visiting from Manchester and doing a quick circuit before dining with family. I was invited to join them and soon was retracing my ride past the garage I had left a short while ago. I meant to mention that this garage is part of a multi motor showroom complex – there are cars and salesmen everywhere.
The day was cool and dry, we made good progress around the northern half of the Wheel. I managed to keep up with their youthful pace but was glad of a coffee stop in, say it quietly, Starbucks.That reminded me of a picture I took in Bethlehem a couple of years ago.
Onwards and down through the woods at Redscar where the bluebells were just colouring up. Now the fact it was Easter Monday hit home as all the way through Brockholes the path was thronged with families enjoying the sunshine. Slow progress. The pace quickened on the stretch by the river and after that my companions took a different route up into Preston. From here the crowds thickened again and I realised it was the famousegg rolling day in Avenham Park so it was simpler and safer to dismount and walk with the crowds. There was a great party atmosphere – egg-rollers, fair goers, music and dance entertainment and general family happiness. I tarried to absorb it all.
Even after leaving the park the route through the docks was thronged with people, the steam train was running. I arrived back at the garage after three hours to collect my car, complete with its clinical diagnostic sheet. I complemented the receptionist on their efficiency and enthused how easily I fitted the cycle into the boot.
Everyone seemed happy on this sunny Easter Monday.
There is a stream coming off Longridge Fell crossed by a small bridge. I often walk this way. When my two oldest grand children were young this was an ideal spot for a bit of ‘damn building’ and became a favourite of theirs.
This weekend I had staying my youngest grandchild and he was keen to follow suit. His father took a picture of us, then remembered back to previous times and low and behold there on his phone was April 2002.
Uncanny coincidence. Wish I had evidence of visits with my boys when they were that young in the 70s.
Yes it’s June but one couldn’t be sure.
1st. The first two days I was entertaining my youngest grandson. It hardly stopped raining and the wind was threatening to blow a six year old off his feet. Despite this we built a dam in a stream coming off Longridge Fell
Dammed good fun.
2nd. and we sailed pooh-sticks from a bridge on the turbulent Dean Brook at Hurst Green the next day All great fun and a great commune with nature.
3rd. At last today the wind has dropped and I’ve enjoyed a pleasant day. gardening has taken preference but by tea time I couldn’t resist a quick walk up Longridge Fell. Having parked at Cardwell House I took what I call the ‘balcony’ route onto the fell – it traverses above the Vale of Chipping with views to Fairsnape, round to The Trough of Bowland and the Three Yorkshire Peaks. Tonight was particularly clear.
The path was wetter than I had expected and trainers were not the best footwear option.Leaving the trig point I cut through the trees to the southern side of the fell where the view over comparatively more industrial Lancashire was a contrast. Wind farms seem to be spreading – lets hope the same doesn’t happen on the Bowland Fells seen to the north.
I heard that noted author, naturalist and environmentalist Robert Macfarlane was appearing on BBC’s Spring Watch Unsprung tonight. I was dismayed to find myself watching ‘Top Gear with Animals’ – the three presenters doing a good impersonation on a contrived set surrounded by an apparently amused audience. Not my idea of a nature presentation but maybe I’m out of date. Mr Macfarlane’s contribution was of little importance amongst the general hullabaloo. Shame.
A beautiful moon seen from my room completed the evening and bodes well for an improving start to June.
Since arriving back from La Gomera Christmas has come and gone, I’ve reacclimatised to the weather, caught up with family and friends, been walking and [indoor]climbing and now 2015 is upon us. So Happy New Year and here are a few random photos in the Bowland locality from this last week of mixed weather.
Pikefield Plantation, Slaidburn.
Hazelhurst Fell across Bleasdale.
Gliding past Parlick.
My boys under Fairsnape.
Fairsnape and Parlick.
Parapenting out of the mist.
Ascending Saddle Fell.
Light into Chipping Vale.
Parlick in evening sun.
What hope for Longridge in 2015?
My 13yr old grandson has wanted to climb Ingleborough since he saw it full on, a couple of years ago, whilst caving in Chapel le Dale. He was staying with me this week but the weather seemed to have taken a nose dive [the back end of hurricane Bertha] We bravely set off in high winds and rain but at the base of Ingleborough itself could see an ascent today would be unwise and futile.
Ingleborough under cloud.
Plan B – Ingleton Waterfall Walk. I’ve not done this for years. The price of entry has certainly escalated [I’ll not comment further] though I seem to remember we used to sneak in above the turnstiles without paying. Lots of families visiting today no doubt because of the weather, so there was a chatty, jolly atmosphere as we made our way around. You go up the River Twiss [the private part] and down the River Doe, both are impressive gorges. You walk through limestone, slates and sandstone so a good opportunity for a geology lesson. The bit in the middle connecting the two rivers over farm land usually boasts a mobile ice cream van parked in the green lane! I don’t ever remember seeing the money tree before in Swilla Glen – an old tree completely studded with coins making it look like armadillo skin.After all the rain we have had every fall today was full of peaty rushing water – very impressive.
Beezley Falls and Triple Spout.
And last but not least ….
My grandson thoroughly enjoyed the walk, and the ice cream, so the day was a success and Ingleborough can wait for a better day. If you haven’t been round this trail before or have in the mists of time pick a day to visit after heavy rain – you will appreciate. A little Switzerland.