Category Archives: Family

EASTER DISTRACTIONS ON THE GUILD WHEEL.

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.

Longridge Fell – then and now.

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.

2002.

2002.

2016.

2016.

A QUICK LAKES VISIT – Gummers How.

My son and grandson are camping in the Lakes this week. It has not been the best of summer weather but they have made the most of it. I arranged to join them this afternoon and drove up the motorway in low damp cloud, not exactly encouraging. However when we met up at Newby Bridge there was a hint of brightness in the sky so I suggested a quick ascent of Gummers How nearby. This is a relatively low hill, 321m, and is made even easier by starting from  Astley’s Plantation car park, itself at over 200 m. A Lakeland Fell in miniature.

Wainwright included this summit in his Outlying Fells book –  “it is an old man’s mountain, and  when ancient legs can no longer climb it know ye that the sad day has come to hang up the boots for ever and take to slippers”   So it was satisfying for our three generations to make the ascent together.  In the trees low down the path was rather muddy probably due to the Luing cattle, imported to maintain a balanced flora. Higher the path has been stepped with Lakeland stone in parts and there are bits of scrambling to keep the youngster [and oldster] interested.Before long we were standing at the trig point in the strong wind. The celebrated views over Windermere were there but with overhead cloud.

Coming down we found a different way through trees which were made for climbing especially if you are 7 year old. Back at the campsite there was more climbing on some glaciated boulders. The wind didn’t abate and it felt miserable, despite games of Frisbee, so I made my excuses and left them cooking supper. The joys of camping in an English summer. Back home to my slippers.

THREE DAYS IN JUNE.

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.

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.

South.

South.

North.

North.

Postscript –

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.

A HAPPY BOWLAND NEW YEAR.

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.

Langden Brook.

Pikefield Plantation, Slaidburn.

Hazelhurst Fell across Bleasdale.

Gliding past Parlick.

My boys under Fairsnape.

Fairsnape and Parlick.

Parapenting out of the mist.

Parapenting out of the mist.

Ascending Saddle Fell.

Ascending Saddle Fell.

Light into Chipping Vale.

Light into Chipping Vale.

Not me!

Not me!

Parlick in evening sun.

Parlick in evening sun.

What hope for Longridge in 2015?

What hope for Longridge in 2015?

 

WATER EVERYWHERE. INGLETON FALLS.

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.

Ingleborough under cloud.

Plan B – Ingleton Waterfall Walk.zCapture.JPGfalls  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.

Pecca Falls.

Pecca Falls.

Hollybush Spout.

Hollybush Spout.

Thornton Force.

Thornton Force.

Beezley Falls.

Beezley Falls and Triple Spout.

Rival Falls.

Rival Falls.

Baxenghyll Gorge.

Baxenghyll Gorge.

And last but not least ….

Snow Falls.

Snow Falls.

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.

FAIRSNAPE FELL – ONCE MORE.

Parlick and Fairsnape across Chipping Vale.

                                                      Parlick and Fairsnape across Chipping Vale.

If I had a pound for the number of times I’ve climbed Fairsnape I  ….  so here I go again. I have one of my grandsons staying with me and need to keep him occupied and off his smart phone, certainly smarter than mine. He was keen to have a day’s walking and preferred reaching a summit rather than just rambling. So a circuit of the fells above Chipping was hastily planned, actually there was no rush, being a teenager he wasn’t up till well after nine. We parked at Chipping and walked up past the old Kirk Mill with its delightful mill pond and resident ducks. Soon we were into fields and suffering hay fever together from the long grasses – a family allergy. I displayed my knowledge of the area by getting slightly lost on farm tracks and then on rough ground before reaching Burnslack Farm. This isolated farm now seems to be converted into the formula country house or two, though an original well pump remains. Would be interesting to see how they would cope with a severe winter up here. As a child I lived on an isolated farm and in the exceptional winter of 1947 my family spent days trying to dig out the track to a road, have photos of 8ft snow drifts! No helicopter ‘rescues’ in those days. Soon we were up Saddle Fell and on to the good track leading to Fairsnape’s highest point 520m. This is now approached on a flagged path reminiscent of the Pennine Way. After several weeks of good weather the peat hags had dried up and were a joy to walk on making the short journey to the Fairsnape trig point, 510m, effortless.

The views across Morecambe Bay and back to Yorkshire’s three peaks was good. No sign of Wales though. Our onward walk to Parlick was accompanied by several gliders picking up the thermals at great speed. Then down onto lanes into a valley with old mills. By now the fit young grandson, who can easily cycle 100miles in a day, was fading and had to be refreshed with ice cream in the wonderful Cobbled Corner Cafe in Chipping. Made me feel what is 50 years difference if you are still keen and able. Home to watch the end of today’s Tour.

 

Nick's Chair Parlick.

                                        Nick’s Chair Parlick.