Category Archives: Lancashire.



You will have noticed we are moving from Summer to Autumn, although the seasons are not what they were. Heavy rain forecast for today and yes it arrived this morning. Soup and bread for lunch which will become the norm from now on, ditching the salads. I make lots of nutritious soups from cheap, out of date vegetables, from the supermarket and my freezer is full of them.

Come early afternoon it looks brighter. From my house I can view the westerlies coming in over the Fylde plain. Should be OK for an hour or so. I walk down past the cricket ground watching the clouds scudding across Fairsnape. It feels quite warm in the sunshine. 20230918_145655

Up Mile Lane (it is nowhere near a mile) meeting a few dog walkers on the way. We are all trying to dodge the showers. The spire of our village’s St. Wilfred’s Church always prominent on the horizon.20230918_151226

My mood is improving with every few more moments of sunshine. Exercise and sunshine are great healers, especially as we enter the darker months. By the time I pass through the park into the village I’m positively humming. Time to pop into our local Sainsbury’s for some more spinach destined for the freezer as soup. That’s nearly three miles under my belt before the next band of rain. Let’s hope tomorrow will give some breaks in the weather.

Now have I taken any photos on my phone?



Following on from my last post which described a half aborted climbing session, today we now have a walk that didn’t quite work out. I’m on a losing streak. Again I’m with Mike reconnoitring for walks he could lead with his monthly walking group.

Remember the stipulations  “should start at a place with toilets, not too much rough ascent, between three and four miles, the fewer stiles the better and finishing at a pub for lunch”  He thought he had found one in a book of short walks in Lancashire, I didn’t catch the title. This time on the outskirts of Blackburn, Pleasington in fact, incorporating Wainwright’s Memorial on Billinge Hill and the popular Witton Country Park. Sounded promising when he invited me to join him.

Things didn’t go well when we struggled to park near the Railway Inn, yes there is a station here for commuting into Preston or Blackburn. We eventually settled on roadside parking up the lane which wouldn’t be ideal. Shame that the nearby Butler’s Arms is closed. We set off, walking up the lane past the impressive Pleasington Priory. Pleasington Priory – Wikipedia We don’t even think to have a look inside, if it is open. DSC00478

Up a smaller lane past expensive building conversions to the gates of the Old Hall. DSC00483

A track goes left here, and we soon come to our next problem, a loose eroded bank leading to an awkward stile. Probably no go for those of his group not into mountaineering. I didn’t think to take a photo of the obstacle.

A wandering route through rough fields brings us out onto a lane I recognise from previous Witton Weaver Walks which we now follow up to the Yellow Hills, named from the abundant gorse that blooms up here – but not in September it seems. There are always a few people up here because of Wainwright’s Memorial plaque, a toposcope with a rather poor impression of Alfred in the centre. We gaze in all directions, but distant views are hazy, nevertheless a wonderful lookout. This ascent would have been better in reverse with the vista in front of you. Niggly. DSC00490

I never feel at ease through the next open field which always has cows and occasionally a bull. Today they all seemed very docile, perhaps it’s just my fears.

DSC00492Entering the woods of Billinge Hill we pay particular attention to the guide’s directions. There are paths everywhere up here, some I recognise, but mainly I am ‘lost’ blundering about in a hopeful direction. Using a bit of creative thinking we follow the steep and slippery paths down alonside a ravine. Mike is not happy, any of his group who may have made it this far would be now struggling. DSC00485DSC00493DSC00494DSC00497

We in turn struggle down to enter Witton Park and civilisation. Ice cream vans, car parks, sports pitches, dog walkers. DSC00498

We are lucky to have this rural expanse open to all on the edge of a major town. Witton Country Park covers 480 acres of countryside with pretty picnic spots, walks, nature trails, play areas, sports pitches and a visitor centre. The estate was once owned by the Feildens, a wealthy textile family, who built and lived in Witton House from 1800 and created the park at the same time. From 1900 the house was empty for long periods and during both world wars the house and estate were used by the army. Dry-rot set in. Witton House was demolished in 1952, after being sold to Blackburn Corporation in 1946 along with the estate. DSC00504

We join the crowds and follow the sluggish River Darwen down the valley to Butler’s Bridge. Now on a surprisingly busy road ahead are the gates leading to Pleasington Cemetery.  I’ve never ventured farther, but the notice board shows a vast complex of burial grounds. DSC00502

We divert to continue into the woods and up a sunken lane which eventually is captured by barbed wire into a most unfriendly narrow walkway back to the priory. DSC00508DSC00509

We have had 4 miles of exercise through an interesting environment. It took us for some reason three hours and Mike has ruled it out from his future itineraries.

Last year I did a similar, but better balanced walk , from Cicerone’s Walks In Lancashire, an excellent selection, which also took in Hoghton Bottoms in a seven-mile circuit.

Back to the drawing board for Mike.


 Witton (2)




I had arranged to meet Rod for a few climbs up at Kemple End, the quarry at the far end of Longridge Fell. Originally I had suggested it to him as a good option for afternoon shade in our mini heatwave last week. That didn’t seem to work out, so we found ourselves up there this morning instead – a good option for morning sun.

Autumn was in the air and the grass had a heavy dew, but the bracken was dying back which made access along the quarry rim somewhat easier. We backed up the top belays on the way in and scrambled down to the base. The rock was in perfect condition despite recent rain. 


I have been asked to rewrite the section on Kemple for the up-and-coming, maybe in a couple of years, latest Lancashire climbing  guide book. (On my bookshelves I have about five or six previous editions going back decades, all a little dog-eared) Hence, I was wanting Rod to re-climb a few routes to get an overall grade consensus, particularly where there has been some recent rock re-arrangements. Another climber’assessment can clarify your own jaundiced view.

I thought Rod’s sack looked rather small, I’d brought the rope and gear, and sure enough when he delved into it no rock shoes or harness came out. Probably on the kitchen table back home, it’s easily done. No problem I contrived a makeshift harness, and he thought he could manage in his stiff hiking boots. After all we had started our climbing days in ordinary boots, dedicated rock shoes had only just started to appear on the market, from France originally. My climbing shoes would most likely not have fit anyhow.

The first climb, Ribbled, went well, even I managed it with my dodgy ligaments confirming its easyish HVD grade. Birdy Brow has lost its flake and is no longer feasible, so we put a rope down Bird on the Wing, its replacement. This has a few reachy starting moves made worse by Rod’s boots, but he persevered and got up thinking it about VS 4c.

We sit and have a break in the sun, an owl is hooting somewhere in the hidden quarry bowl. There is the hum of bees around the brambles and heather. All very peaceful. All part of the climbing day.

Then over to Great Expectations, one of my favourites here. Another steep start brings you to a shallow sloping ledge in the middle of the wall, use this to somehow make farther progress. It wasn’t to be today. Rod’s boots skidding on the blank wall where rock boots would have just smeared. A potentially good day’s climbing marred by the wrong boots.


                             Not so ‘Great Expectations’ in big boots.



I’m idly looking at the OS map for something new on my home ground. I’m only looking for a few gentle miles and I think I have spotted a footpath I’ve not knowingly been on before, however unlikely that seems. The weather is on the change, and it has been raining this morning, I bide my time until after lunch.

Being lazy I drive my car to the top of the village to start the walk rather than tramp the streets. There is parking next to Craig Y bouldering venue, part of the defunct Green Bank Quarry complex, The BMC secured Craig Y whilst the rest of the site has been developed into a housing estate. Passing through it is a bridleway leading to an ancient sunken lane, Written Stone Lane, did some of the quarried stone exit this way?  Today I wander down it coming out near the site of the Written Stone about which I’ve visited many times before and linked to   The Written Stone of Dilworth  for a detailed history. DSC00431DSC00436DSC00437

On across the road to go down a quiet lane to where my ‘new’ path should be found on the right. There is no sign, but I know I’m in the correct place. Ahead doesn’t look very inviting – farm buildings and all the usual associated junk. I wonder whether the way will be blocked, but no after having to open one gate styles start appearing in the field boundaries, although I doubt few come this way. In the fields there are several small ponds probably Marl Pits originally,they are teeming with Mallard families.DSC00439DSC00440DSC00441



At one point a fishing lake has been created in Page Brook, here footpath signs are more evident taking you through and away from the private lake. All very civilised.DSC00446DSC00447DSC00448

I recognise Stonelands Farm in the distance from a different walk done three years ago. I am still none the wiser as to the origins of the carved stones, although the rounded one is definitely Roman. DSC00452DSC00457DSC00459

Crossing carefully the road on the bad bend by The Corporation Arms, one of many local pubs that did not survive lockdown and the continuing financial restraints. DSC00460

Soon off the busy road the Tan Yard track is taken back up into the quarries, what must Longridge have been like when they were all working. The caravan site is enlarging, and I notice some of the permanent vans have extensive views across the Ribble Valley – not a bad place to live. Pendle always manages to pop its head up. Himalayan Balsam is doing its best to obliterate the final stretch of path.DSC00462



The rain starts just as I arrive back at the car. That has been a pleasant afternoon’s outing, a new path found and plenty of interest along the way, all on the very edge of town. .

CaptureWritten Stone.


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Mike is looking for a walk for a group he leads from time to time. There are a few stipulations. It should start at a place with toilets, not too much rough ascent, between three and four miles, the fewer stiles the better and finishing at a pub for lunch. You can guess at the age of the audience he is catering for. After a bit of internet searching and my previous knowledge I come up with this outline suggestion. I know the area reasonably well as it is often a meeting up place with my friends from the Bolton area. The hottest day of the year forecast, maybe, a good day to be in the shade, so these woods could be ideal.


First some facts I learnt about the reservoirs…

Rake Brook Reservoir is fed by two streams, one being the  eponymous Rake Brook coming from Withnell Moor. It was constructed in the 1850s by a Thomas Hawksley for Liverpool Corporation Waterworks. The earth dam 85 ft tall and 1,490 ft long, with a capacity of 70 million gallons. A 3.75-mile channel called The Goit fed water through White Coppice into Anglezarke reservoir and hence into Rivington, from where a 17 mile pipe connected to Liverpool.

Lower Roddlesworth Reservoir was constructed at the same time as the above, again by Hawksley. Completed in 1857, 82ft high, 590ft wide holding 90 million gallons. It was fed by the River Roddlesworth coming down from Great Hill. This river subsequently ran into the…

Upper Roddlesworth Reservoir was completed if 1865. The earth dam 85 ft tall and 1,490 ft long, with a capacity of 70 million gallons.




We park opposite the Hare And Hounds pub in Dole Lane .which is already busy with cars, the area is very popular with dog walkers and fishermen. A walk that starts and finishes at a friendly pub. DSC00393DSC00424

Immediately the presence of the Victorian era is evident by the stately gates leading into the water board land, now United Utilities. They built things to last and to impress as will be seen in the engineering feats evidenced by the reservoirs. The proliferation of Himalayan Balsam is obvious from the start, it is getting worse by the year. Darwen Tower is seen in the hazy distance as we walk down the lane alongside the start of the Goit channel. Dropping down by an old waterboard cottage we cross the impressive outflow channel of the Lower Roddlesworth. I have never seen it so dry, it is usually a rushing curtain of water feeding the ongoing Roddlesworth Beck as it goes off to join the River Darwen. We are now looking across the lower reservoir’s dam, the surrounding area a forest of mixed woodland. Dogs are ‘unofficially’ paddling in the cooling waters. DSC00395DSC00396



That may be one of the problems with these tracks – too many dogs, not too many ‘doggy poo bags’, but lots of dogs rushing to say hello to you. I have grown more mellow to well-behaved dogs in recent years (I am a Cat person, but I know cats can be equally threatening to others, but you are unlikely to be savaged) At least today the ground is dry so any over friendly dog doesn’t cover you in mud. To be honest most are on a lead and the others are docile and under control. The few cyclists we meet are also considerate.DSC00409DSC00406

We cross the dam and for most of the morning we just follow well-marked forest trails, most with a decent surface, but mud can be a problem. The plantations are a delight of old beech and oaks, interspersed in parts by mature pines probably planted when the reservoirs were being constructed. Coppicing of ash and hazel give some variety. I am saying to Mike that if his walk is done in Autumn the group will be rewarded with the rich colours as the trees head towards winter. Or there again come in Spring when all is a carpet of Bluebells.


We climb steadily away from the reservoir on the main track, not too steep for his group’s needs and wide enough for the chatter that accompanies them. Down again to the Upper Reservoir dam where curious metal pencils act as a sieve to the overflow for any trees washed down in times of heavy rain. A small path shadows the edge of the water with some delightful picnic spots or just for stopping and perhaps meditating on the glory of it all. I’m sure the Victorians would have done that. DSC00402DSC00404

A bit more leg work takes one away from the water and into a long stretch in the trees. We have time to acknowledge the various dog varieties encountered, and occasionally to come into conversation with their owners. The turnaround point comes at a bridge crossing the River Roddlesworth. Time for a pause and rehydration, I did say it was the hottest day. As we rest dogs come and go, the most impressive being four generations of black and white collies.(only three caught on camera)DSC00410

If we had continued farther up we would have come to the ruins of Hollinshead Hall. It was demolished as the water board took over. I have visited it before and many of the old walls and gates are scattered around in the woods. But that is for another day.

Our path now leads through a rusty gate and follows the River Roddlesworth back down the valley. Not sure if I have walked this section before, but I’m impressed.  A deep rocky gorge with alternate waterfalls and quiet pools. Delightful even when the water level is low. The path we follow is obvious on the ground, even if not shown on the OS map, up and down on steps and boardwalks bringing us back to the upper reservoir. Turn left, and soon we are passing fishing stations out into the waters. The angling club car park is entered, but I’ve no idea how the road reached there. DSC00414DSC00413DSC00420

We are looking for a gap in the fence which should have us on an ongoing path, I think we find the right spot and continue on a manufactured but well maintained route , courtesy of United Utilities. Duck boards and bridges see us through and there on the right is the gracefully arched wooden bridge bringing us back to the Lower Reservoir dam. We know our way back from here. DSC00421DSC00422

We are soon sat in The Horse and Hounds enjoying a pint of ale, all in the purpose of research for Mike’s walk. DSC00394

Well it was the hottest day.




Yes, when I look back to 50 years ago I remember well the walks we took along the Lancaster canal with our two young sons. The youngest on my back and the other in a buggy pushed by my wife. Happy days. Somewhere I may even have photographic evidence.

I wait in this morning for the recovery company to arrive and take away my estate car to a garage, I know not where or even care, for remedial restoration.

Later looking for somewhere flat and easy to walk in this heat I recall those far off days and decide to revisit the canal in the Barton area, west of the A6 and combine it with a little farther exploration. Parking on the narrow roads, now much busier with traffic, doesn’t come easy.

I eventually find a safe place near Moons Bridge Marina. I’m soon on the towpath which I remember as being very boggy a few winters’ ago. Today was all plain sailing, though that’s the last thing that some of the dilapidated barges moored alongside will be doing. DSC00353DSC00300

Leaving the canal at bridge 35 I take the lane leading to Bell Fold, an organic farm advertising free-range eggs, local honey and damsons. There didn’t seem to be an obvious shop, perhaps they were away for the day. As is common around farmyards there is an interesting collection of ancient and modern. Their collection of old tyres could grace The Tate. The ongoing lane must be one of the worst, I realise the muck I’m disappearing into is of animal origin rather than mud. I would imagine in winter it would be unpassable – very organic. Much, much worse than my photo portrays.  DSC00356


I’m looking for footpaths alongside Barton Beck. The bright yellow markers made it easy to follow even though the ground showed little footfall. As everywhere Himalayan Balsam is taking over, but I do like the aroma, especially on a hot day like today. The water is a little sluggish, but I spot shoals of ?minnows. DSC00315DSC00318DSC00320

I leave the field via an ornate gate onto a lane alongside the extensive grounds of Hollowforth Hall, I always admired this property without knowing anything of its history. (It is in fact grade II listed, mainly mid C19th but based on a much older farm building) There were always noisy peacocks strutting around. Over the intervening 50 years since my early visits most of the surrounding barns have been upgraded into country residences. DSC00324DSC00321DSC00326

I didn’t know whether I could use the ongoing unclassified lane leading to Park Head, but there aren’t any ‘No Access’ signs, so I walk on to reach the canal bridge where I drop down onto the towpath for the peaceful return leg. DSC00328DSC00329DSC00330


The canal has a healthy growth of a small yellow flowering water lily. Dragon flies were flitting around, but I never seem to catch them stationary for a picture, have a look at this blog for how to capture wildlife.

Along this stretch of canal one has a three arched aqueduct over Barton Brook as it winds through this rural Lancashire. I go down to explore and judging from the flood debris not a place to be after heavy rain. Farther on is an old swing bridge connecting farm tracks across the canal and then the extensive Moons Bridge Marina where I started.


DSC00364DSC00360All pure nostalgia and a pleasant way to spend a lazy summer afternoon – reassuringly not much has changed in this rural environment.




A nostalgic, even indulgent, look back at all those routes of old.

I used to climb in the gritstone Wilton Quarries, there are four of them above Bolton, regularly in the 80s and 90s, my climbing mates living in that area. We would drive down after work to tackle some of the classics. Our standard was for repeating the routes done back in the 60s and 70s, generally up to E1, but the quarries were buzzing with local experts climbing, often soloing, the more modern test pieces. After a midgy exit we would retire to one of the local pubs, Black Dog or Bob’s Smithy, for a pint or two to chew over the evening’s activities and plan for the next week. Wonderful care free days with like-minded individuals.

Well the Wilton devotees along with the BMC have for the last ten years hosted an annual festival of Lancashire quarry climbing to invigorate and perpetuate our unique climbing culture. The Wilton Fest.

I was always out in France for September at my friends’ house in the Lot Valley, a lovely place and a lovely time of year, so I had never attended the Wilton Fest. Unfortunately the house has now been sold, and I’m left in the UK at this time of year.  The upturn of this is that today I was free to drive down to Bolton and join in the fun. 

I have never seen as many cars parked up in the quarries and on the busy road alongside them, hope nobody gets a ticket. The good weather is a blessing to the hard-working organisers.

I drop down first into Wilton One, the largest of the quarries. Only the early risers are climbing. The prow is a unique feature of this quarry, left standing for whatever reason by the labourers. Inside is sunny and dry whilst the outer face looks forbidding as always. A couple of blokes, of my vintage, climb Rambling  Route a pleasant VD, whilst a younger couple tackle the impressive Christeena up the edge of the prow. I am beginning to wish I had brought my camera rather than relying on the phone which can’t cope with the contrasting light and has let me down today.20230902_11424520230902_120220

There is nobody climbing on the outside of the prow which I was hoping for Cameo, Flingle Blunt, Fingernail etc. Don’t ask me where some of these names come from. Nor was there anybody on the big lines farther left – Loopy, Wombat, Central Route. There were later in the day, apparently. I did however watch a pair on Leucocyte Right Hand. I remember the moves up at the start were bold towards a high prominent quarryman’s ironwork, but today’s climbers are able to place a camming device into one of the shotholes lower down, if only that had been my option 40 years ago.  20230902_112107

I move on past climbers on regular routes of old – Virgin’s Dilemma, don’t ask, and 999.  20230902_120910

I start climbing out of the quarry only to meet a friend from 30 years ago. He and his son are heading down into One to witness the 60th anniversary repeat of another classic, Black Out. There is promise of a good crowd and drone footage. The crowd is of a certain vintage and I recognise many old faces. Eventually Ian Lonsdale introduces the original protagonists,  Ray Evans and John Nuttall. (the truth is that they were led up the route in 1963 by a Dave Brodigan, so a lady from that era sat next to us expounds) Let’s just ignore some of the detailed history, and nobody blacked out on the climb. Ray climbs elegantly up the groove with little protection, the pegs are long gone, before the delicate moves left along ledges to the original belay of pitch one. John joins him and leads through the groove above. A masterful display from these pensioners.  20230902_13470920230902_13550220230902_14034320230902_140843

I eventually find myself up in Wilton Two where all the trade stands and facilities are. Only to be greeted by “geriatrics are not allowed here” from another old Longridge colleague. I obviously ignore him, and we proceed to where there is free flowing coffee.

After lots of chats and meetings up I make my way over to Wilton Three. (What you see in there are the ranges and huts of a gun club which shares access with the climbers.) This was possibly our favourite evening venue in the past. Lots of accessible routes of quality in our grade range. I’m eager to see someone climbing Shivers Arête, and just as I arrive there is a climber on the crux moves near the top. When we did it there was a rusty peg in a crack for illusionary protection. That has gone and now there is a bolt in its place – controversial in many climbers’ ethics.  20230902_15100520230902_151815

Times have changed and now there are as many boulderers as roped climbers. They seek out the hardest technical problems without hardly leaving the ground, or at least not a few feet above. I admire their sport. They are the recognisable turtles with bouldering mats on their backs. 20230902_132045

Back to Wilton Two and another coffee. Crusher Holds is there, along with his young family, on his trade stand. His children have their own little shop, so I purchase some wooden toys to enrich their day. (The cars are only allowed in for this special day)  .20230902_155948

My dodgy hip, that is preventing me climbing, has had enough of scrambling between venues. Time to go home. It has been good to catch up with friends, and I was impressed by the number of climbers all enjoying themselves. It has been estimated that 500 attended. I should have stayed for the talk to be given by Johnny Dawes, the original ‘Stone Monkey’. 



August Bank Holiday Monday.

For a change I park at the Crook of Lune, famous for its Turner painting. looking up to Hornby Castle and Ingleborough. That view is still there today. I rely on my phone’s camera rather than any artistic ability. 20230828_15165220230828_151617

And then I’m off cycling the old railway line to Halton. On the spur of the moment I decide to climb up to the Lancaster Canal to see me through the city. Once out the other side into suburbs I leave the canal before its towpath deteriorates and follow new-found narrow lanes to Aldcliffe and then descend back down to the rail track taking me into Glasson. 20230828_12460120230828_125402

It’s August Bank Holiday, but I’ve hardly seen a soul. Until now, the place is humming with motorcyclists and tourists around the harbour café. I make my way over to the other side of the dock to my favourite shop – coffee and cake, sat in the sunshine chatting to two ladies who have arrived on horseback. The sea lock gates still seem to be out of operation leaving the harbour unusually empty at low tide. The Port of Lancashire Smoke House still haven’t moved into their new premises. Things go at a slow pace in out of the way Glasson. 20230828_13591920230828_135134

On the way in I had noticed a summer fête at the little canal side Christ Church. I remember getting some delicious homemade marmalade here a year or so ago. I make it my business to call in on the way back. Wheeling my bike between the stalls I find the jam table. I come away with two jars of thick Seville marmalade, made by Beryl as before the vicar tells me.


The railways and cycle way take me all the way back to the Crook of Lune. They are packing up at Halton, it has been a busy day on the Lune and the cycleways. 20230828_152941

Time to visit my friends in nearby Over Kellet. John, an old climbing mate, has recently been in hospital with a bad heart. I go bearing marmalade. Tea and chat and it is getting late. Prewarned I drive down to the motorway bridge and see that the road is jammed solid going south. Time to find a quieter way home through the hills. Unfortunately my quick three point turnaround had me carelessly backing into a wall. A loud crash as the rear windscreen fell into the boot. Oh dear! I had badly dented the tailgate. I drive home in a more sombre mode and this morning spend an hour on the phone to my insurance company answering tedious questions and facing an expensive repair.

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CaptureGlasson. (2)

HEATHER – and other things.


Mid-August already. I’m losing this year somehow. I head up the fell for a short afternoon amble but find a grouse shoot taking place on Gannow Fell. Not the big ‘driven’ affair with lots of beaters, butts and toffs, but the ‘walked-up’ variety. A few guns walk up the fell hoping to flush out the grouse. To be honest I rarely see a grouse on this patch of fell and talking to one of the helpers they haven’t had a good session. No sympathy there from me.

I fall back on the haven that is Cowley Brook Plantation. I’ve mentioned it before as a pleasant place to walk around. An old plantation owned by United Utilities who cut some of the timber a few years ago and planted more mixed woodland species. At the same time they have opened up access to the public and paths have developed within it. I like the idea of spontaneous path generation, not all of them going anywhere in particular,that is part of the charm of the place. It’s good to watch the development of the different trees as the years come by. Normally the place is alive with birdsong, but today all is quiet, perhaps the guns from across the way have frightened them. At least the brook is gurgling away. P1020138


Mountain Ash.



Oh, I forget, I titled this post ‘heather’ because of the sudden blooming of the fells up here. Most of the heather flowering at this time of the year, in various shades of purple, is Calluna vulgaris. One can smell the semi sweet musty aroma from the roadside. In another week or so there will be a haze of pollen blowing across the land. Get out and enjoy it while you can – providing they are not grouse shooting.



It may have passed your notice that Alison Rose, the NW Bank CEO, resigned recently as a result of  ‘a serious error’ relating to leaking Nigel Farage’s account. Yet today I read that she will still be paid a £2.3 million compensation package. Maybe it is time to change banks – any suggestions?

This seems to be a recurring theme. Business managers, multi nationals and politicians profiting from their negligence at the cost to Joe Public. You and me.

My short walk has failed to put me in a good mood. Every thing should be beautiful.



My camera went into ‘frozen mode’ after a short time on my latest cycle around Preston’s Guild Wheel. Gone for now are the pictures of the Ribble in flood mode, the harmful Giant Hog Weeds and the cautionary notice to dismount on the steep descent to Brockholes. I had no reason to ignore the latter, I’ve been going from one injury to another in the last month, so caution was uppermost. I had parked in the Crematorium grounds after all.

Ospreys have been regular visitors to the nature reserve recently, but obviously not today. They do have a problem with Himalayan Balsam though. It was surprisingly quiet considering the good weather and school holidays. They must be all at Blackpool, not the ospreys just the crowds.

The rural ride from the reserve along the Ribble Flood Plain into town is unfortunately virtually the last of the green fields on the wheel, housing has taken over elsewhere  in the last few years.

My phone camera comes into action on the tree lined boulevard into Avenham Park. Miller Park is looking immaculate, although the former, now empty, Park Hotel overlooking the scene has run into planning and financial problems as have many civic schemes in these cash strapped days. 20230815_12370220230815_124108

Plenty of cash is being spent on flood defences along Broadgate. I manage to squeeze through wheeling my bike on the numerous diversions/obstructions which I should have or could have taken, I persist with the directissimo. It is all green paint for updated and complicated cycleways at the bottom of Fishergate Hill, I survive into Docklands. No steam trains today. And no more photos.


After the car showrooms the newly opened Western Distributor road linking the M55 with the western edge of Preston seems to be working fine, but at the end of the day is only there to link up with all the new housing developments. The traffic just keeps multiplying without any structured environmental planning. Planting a few trees alonside the new road fools nobody. I have never seen a boat on the Ribble Link – more money misplaced?  At least it is more carbon friendly if that makes any difference.

One now enters Lea, Cottam, Fulwood and Broughton or wherever. It is all housing, housing with a regulation 5 m square front garden often enclosed in the most unfriendly hedgehog fencings. At least the Guild Wheel has been preserved as a corridor to the other end.

I stop for a snack and contemplation opposite the war memorial on Garstang Road  and all I can hear are builders bulldozers in the land behind me. Nothing is sacred.

I’m flagging now through those green corridors, surprisingly lots of ups and downs. 21 miles is far enough, but I have guilded the wheel, even though it is becoming a little tarnished.



Following on from my recent cycle outing I feel empowered and keen to get out again. Empowered with a small p but powered nonetheless. I find myself back at the Halton Station parking by the Lune. But this time there is the bonus of the tea van lady, I have missed her sweet smile and eastern European accent. It transpires she only comes at weekends now – I celebrate with a coffee. Her prices have increase by 50% but who cares, this is better than any Costa outlet. (only £1.50 for good coffee here)

The chap next to me is ordering a bacon bap with his coffee having completed a morning cycle ride from Penrith, that must be 50 miles or so. He is of similar vintage to me, and we get into conversation of the cycling variety. His steed is a £7,000 German electric bike, no wonder he is here in quick time. Mine is a no frills, strong as an ox, been everywhere Dawes ‘Wild Cat’ from the 1980s. I don’t think he was impressed.


The talk somehow drifts to past climbing in the Lakes. He knows Paul Ross, a celebrated Lakes climber, again of a certain vintage, who has recently, since his return from living in the States taken up environmental matters in our National Park. Only this morning I was reading on his Facebook page of the considerable objections to Zip Wires proposed across the old road alongside Thirlmere, which had even  been shamefacedly supported by the head of the Lake District National Park Authority! That whiffs of corruption. Thankfully the planners threw it out.  But we need the likes of Paul Ross to keep abreast of Disneyfication of the Lakes.

By now it was raining, so time for another coffee and time to let the Marathon athletes pass on the track. I became caught up in a similar race last year and found cycling through the racing runners trying. I have time to let them go by today.


Bidding farewell to my cycling friend I find I’m faster than his batteries, I’m crossing the Millennium Bridge as he heads for the station and home. Being a little wary of a dodgy stretch into Morecambe since I was almost assaulted earlier in the year (a Cassius Clay/Muhammad Ali duck and dive saved me that day) I’m happy today to see there are lots of people out and about, so I feel somehow safer.


Millennium Bridge.  


St. George’s Quay.

I make it on to the seafront, the tide is well out. For maybe half a mile I have to navigate around dogs on long leads and teenagers, head down, plugged into their phones. Modern times. Once past Eric’s statue the holiday crowds thin out, and I  can relax and admire that famed Morecambe Bay panorama. I realise I have not been into Happy Mount Park or The Winter Gardens on my visits through here. The latter is only open on Saturdays and Sundays, so I missed an opportunity today.


Children’s play on the site of the up-and-coming Eden Project.


The yacht club lookout.


My way back along the familiar canal towpath seems effortless, and I’m soon back onto the Lune Aqueduct where I finished the other day from the opposite direction.P1020725


That’s two of my ‘tried and tested’ cycle routes covered, look out for the next two – Blackpool Promenade and Preston Guild Wheel.

Later, in Arnside, tea and cakes were waiting for me at Chez Hugh’s.





With difficulties sailing up the Lune into Lancaster, Glasson became an important  port in the late C18th and was originally connected by canal to the Lancaster Canal, opened 1825. This has survived to this day, though only as a leisure facility.  A railway line from Lancaster to Glasson Dock opened in 1883, closed to passengers in 1930 and to goods in 1964. Time moves on and a cycleway has been created from Lancaster to Glasson on the bed of the old railway.


The above photo shows that abandoned line heading to Glasson. And that is where I’m heading. I’ve not been out on my bike since May, two months ago when I visited, you guessed it, Glasson. Yes, I know I’ve done this cycle ride and written about it many times, but it is good to have a ready-made, tried and tested itinerary to fall back on. Force of habit indeed.

I do however wander off the tried and tested, as is my wont. After my coffee and snack at the shop in Glasson, cycling back along the line I notice a sign to Stodday off to the right. I’ve not been there before, a quick look at the map and I can see little lanes leading back to the Lancaster Canal on the outskirts of the city. Perfect. That’s how it turns out with narrow paths and quiet lanes lined by hedges full of flowers. I’m not sure if I found Stodday, but I do cycle past the few houses that constitute Aldcliffe.P1020681P1020682

Then it is all downhill to join the canal. There is a good towpath all the way through the heart of the city, well-used by local residents and the student population. What a fantastic facility and the canal side pubs busy with tourists.



Farther on it was good to see the family of swans who nest every year in the same spot. The six youngsters, almost as large as their parents, spent a lot of time upside down feeding on the plant life.  P1020707P1020696

I drop off the canal just before the aqueduct across the Lune, and I’m soon loading my bike into the car. Job done and a new variation added.P1020710

The lady in the tea van has not reappeared at the Halton car park this summer, sadly missed.

CaptureGlasson. (2)

“both the water of life and the river of death”


The walking  and even the gardening has been put aside, and I’m spending a lot of time reading whilst it rains outside. My cousin has just published a comprehensive history of the parish of Bolton by Bowland. (Spot the B connection). He has lived there for many years and has spent much of his time researching the history, geology, genealogy, ecology and everything else interesting relating to the village and surrounding area. I’m already well through my complimentary copy and have learnt so much more of our nearby neighbourhood and English history in general.

(Our Craven Parish. Bolton by Bowland.  John Pallister.  ISBN 978-1-911138-39-6.  Amazon doesn’t stock it. When I see John next week I’ll find out where it is available.)

That brings me to that other subject – my aversion to Amazon. I don’t like to be controlled by some giant all invading corporation.  I have no wish to subscribe to Amazon Prime when I try to order a paperback. Can one control the internet?  I suspect not. Unfortunately all of us are hooked, even by innocently reading this post you are being tracked. I use the independent Blackwell’s or Abe books wherever possible. I now find out that Abe, even though they support smaller suppliers, is connected to Amazon!  What is the future for independent bookshops? They need the internet to sell their hidden volumes and yet Amazon must be contributing to the physical bookshops closing every week.  “both the water of life and the river of death”  is a quote from Simon Armitage, our current Poet Laureate

I’m presently into Simon Armitage, with an ongoing project to visit the Stanza Stones, his poems carved into Pennine rocks by Pip Hall.

Walking Home by Simon, his journey on the Pennine Way back to his home in Marsden. is a book I have just finished. A modern troubadour paying his way by poetry recitals in a variety of venues along the way. I found his writing engaging and romped through the volume. So it was back to Abe for the follow-up Walking Away. a similar trip bringing to life the SW Coastal Path. All Points North is a gritty and amusing  predecessor. He certainly does have a passion for observation and words.

It’s still raining, so I will start on something different, the next book.  A Celebration of Lakeland in Winter by a John Pepper. A recommendation from George at  Lakeland Walking Tales ‹ Reader —  That’s the value of blogging and linking into far more professional sites than mine.

My simple reading list is endless, and maybe I have added to yours.


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Those aren’t my walking boots, they are on hold for the moment, but my gardening shoes. I have a habit of leaning them upside down, to keep them dry, outside the backdoor after what is usually a short session of weeding or mowing. There they remained for a few days whilst we had an onslaught of continuous rain. You may recall the sad end to the Ashes Test at Old Trafford last week.

This morning I thought I would do a spot of rose deadheading, a relaxing activity unlikely to put a strain on any of my ongoing injuries. I shoe horn my right foot into the shoe, tying the laces. The left foot comes up against something soft and mysterious. Had I left a sock in there? Putting my fingers in I can’t dislodge the obstruction, but tapping the shoe on the floor brings out a toad to my surprise and amusement. He, they always look like a ‘he’, sits there unconcerned. I check the shoe for his mate but only find a slug presumably his lunch. Gardening is delayed whilst I retreat for another coffee. 20230725_095908(0)20230725_095903

Toad in the hole – the story relates that on an unspecified golf course a player’s ball was pushed out of the 18th hole after which the offending toad poked his head out to the amazement of the players. The chef at the golf club devised a dish immortalizing this episode; a sausage, the mole, poking its head out of the batter. This is how legends are born.


Jamie Oliver’s Toad in the hole.



If I look back, I do that too much these days, I climbed all the routes in this delightful Bowland limestone quarry way back in the 70s and 80s. That is when I was climbing nearly every day. The routes were scary for the grades, slopey holds, not much gear and loose topouts. All very adventurous – my style of climbing. Our post climbing pints were taken in the Inn at Whitewell, they put up with us back then, I’m not so sure if they would now.

I looked into the quarry whilst passing on a walk a couple of years ago. Apart from a few more trees it didn’t seem much different. I took a blurry phone picture, I remember that my camera proper had  packed up earlier that day up on Whins Brow.

In a mad moment a few nights ago I volunteered to help write up this quarry for the upcoming new Lancashire Rock Climbing Guide Book. Today I took a ride out to assess the task.  UKC Logbook – Trough of Bowland Quarry (

I found a small space to park right next to the metal gate giving access to the track which heads into the quarry above Losterdale Brook. Not many people have been this way recently. It was just after lunch and the sun was coming round onto the face. The cliff was higher than I remember as I sat and traced the routes up it. Some really good-looking lines. Compact limestone with ramps running across it in places, lines of weakness when climbing. Trees growing on ledges. It is all steeper than it first appears. Areas of white crystalline rock embedded in the limestone, must ask The Rockman what they are. I could see the loose rock at the very top where your heart was beating in your chest as you pulled as carefully as possible to reach the safety of some tree roots. Looking again some of those summit trees seem to have expired, that could make setting up an abseil more difficult. I’ll worry about that next time when I bring a rope. P1020489



I couldn’t remember which side of the crag we walked off. Today the forest of head high bracken made investigation more difficult. The left side was rather exposed, and I was very much aware of my presence alone here, I retreated. The right-hand side was easier, despite the bracken, and the top was reached. There are some sturdy trees up there but not in the centre of the crag. As I said I’ll worry about that next time. P1020456P1020455

From up here I looked out over the valley to the Bowland Hills surrounding The Trough. Down below is an old limekiln – probably the raison d’être for this quarry. Limestone being converted to lime for the land and early mortar. But directly across on the other side were signs of mining, a cave/adit and spoil screes. I must scramble up to that cave one day. What mineral were they looking for? I have just found this useful resource which points to it being lead.  Sykes – Northern Mine Research Society ( A mine of information if you will excuse the pun. This page also talks of a mine being driven on the east side of the valley probably under where I was standing. Thinking about it, I suppose there was a clue down the road at Smelt Mill Cottage, home of the Bowland mountain rescue team.





It was then that I heard the crying of a Peregrine falcon. I couldn’t see it, but I was concerned I could be disturbing its nesting site. I retreated once again to the quarry floor. Scanning the crag more carefully I spotted the pile of sticks on a ledge which is typical of a Peregrine’s nest. Normally the young fledge in early July. I shouldn’t be here, I leave as soon as possible, let’s give them another couple of weeks or so. P1020471

I couldn’t resist stopping at Burholme Bridge on the drive home for that classic view along the River Hodder into the heart of Bowland. P1020492

I’m left wondering about the quarry  – have I bitten off more than I can chew? Think I will need some help and encouragement.


P1020382It is good to meet up with Sir Hugh again. He has been out of action but keen to get going once more, I plot a fairly easy level route from Levens of about 4.5 miles, characteristically he promptly suggests extending it farther. We made the wise decision to cancel on Friday, it rained non-stop. We will take our chances today.

He knows where to park and off we go through Levens Hall Deer Park above the River Kent. I’ve been this way before but struggle to remember when. Just found it here and guess what it was with Sir Hugh, his memory is no better than mine. That day we had good views of the Bagot Goats and the Black Fallow Deer, not so successful today. We admire the ancient trees as we slowly gain height, there is no such thing as a level walk, Sir Hugh doesn’t seem to notice or let on, (re the height not the trees)


River Kent.




Sweet Chestnut.

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How insignificant we are.

Soon we are on the Lancaster Canal though no boats come this far. It is level now for the next couple of miles as we pass under the landlocked bridges. We look across to Sedgwick House and the nearby skew bridge below us, marvelling at the canal builders’ skills. P1020370P1020373P1020374

And who is this coming towards us? My cleaner and friend with dog. Pleasantries are exchanged , she has a caravan near here to escape to. P1020377


Some time is spent trying to capture on film young martins being fed. This is the best I can do.P1020397P1020405

Leaving the canal we go down the lane to Hawes Bridge and admire the limestone geology in the river bed. P1020413P1020410

A seat under a spreading oak is taken for lunch, we are sheltered from the only passing shower of the day. A delightful stretch of the Kent is followed, we spot a perfect pitch for a backpacking tent. Perhaps those days are over for us. P1020414

We change sides courtesy of a swinging suspension bridge. Along this lane there are tantalising views of some waterfalls through the limestone. And then under the motorway close up on the river, there appears to be access from the opposite bank, worth further exploration. P1020419P1020420P1020421P1020424P1020426P1020428

Here is the hill I was concerned about, Sir Hugh cruised up it, but he did stop talking for a while. Now back into Levens Park and soon back at the car. P1020432P1020436P1020438

Almost a picturesque walk in the Victorian sense.

Here is Sir Hugh’s alternative report.

Statistics. A good 6.4 miles and on my reckoning 260ft of ascent according to the OS app, his Memory Map app gave 550ft. So much for modern technology. I manually counted the contours and came back to the lesser figure. The debate goes on, but there is definitely no such thing as a level walk. The advantages of modern technology are that I can write this whilst listening to the BBC Test Match commentary (Duckett’s just out for 83), picking up emails and keeping an eye on the British Bouldering Competition in Sheffield. Who says men cannot multitask?


CaptureLevens. (2)


P1020312 (2)

Well there were JD and me, the three scientists doing a peat survey for some research organisation, the Three Stone Men who have been there for who knows how long, and a few others stone ones scattered around. The peat survey was interesting as we are just waking up to the importance of peat as an important carbon storage resort. We were happy to sit in the shelter of the Three Men as there was a distinctly cold breeze coming from the Northwest. A good opportunity to take a break and eat our sandwiches.

Our journey up the motorway had not been straight forward as I missed the turn-off to Caton and the Lune Valley. Another junction farther north and JD’s phone chose an alternative route over towards Kirkby Lonsdale, although eventually on the A65 we ignored the lady navigator and followed the sign up to the little hamlet of Ireby.  I shall not reveal where we parked, but there should be space by the telephone (book) box. Surely we are in Yorkshire by now, but no the Lancastrians have pushed a finger into Cumbria and Yorkshire.  We are in fact out to climb the highest (allegedly) hill in the Red Rose county, walk number 16 in Mark Sutcliffe’s Cicerone guidebook.

Up to now we have been walking on a distinct lane out of Ireby and then the tarmac road heading up the fell from Leck. All easy going, gaining height almost effortlessly, at least we could keep up a good conversation without getting out of puff. JD is super fit at the moment having recently completed a pilgrim route to Santiago, a Scottish trip and The Dales Way. I was hoping that his all-inclusive hotel stay in Menorca with his wife might have slowed him down. We are in limestone territory. P1020289P1020292P1020298

This road leads to a remote sheep farm. I used to park up along here for exploring the nearby Leck Fell potholes. Short Drop Cave was always a favourite, lowering yourself in with your feet dangling in fresh air in the darkness, dare you let go of the rock? Of course, you did and only dropped a few inches! You could explore the channel for some distance and then worry about getting out again. But today we were heading up to those stone men visible on the hillside above. Conversation dwindles on the steepest scrambling bit, look at the contours, and we are all too ready for that rest at the Three Men. P1020305


The Three Men.


The Three Ladies.


Lunch over we chat to the peat surveyors before strolling the last section to the lonely trig point on Gragareth, 627 m, the highest in Lancashire. Now this is where some debate comes in, farther north across the barren moor is Green Hill, still in Lancashire, and marked on the OS map as 628 m. We don’t fancy the two-mile boggy trudge up there. But help is at hand – in 2014 the Database of British and Irish Hills suggested  “Gragareth replaces Green Hill as Lancashire county top”.  Gragareth having a height of 628 metres, 100 metres east of the trig point, while Green Hill is 627.5 metres. Who knows?  P1020324

Anyhow, we slink off along the wall southwards. But I have forgotten to tell you about the views from that highest point. Morecambe Bay, Lakeland hills, nearby Barbon fells, all those rounded hills up to Dentdale, Whernside and of course stately Ingleborough, distant Pendle and the Bowland Fells, quite a collection.







On down along the wall and then a vague path down to the ‘Turbary Road’ above Kingsdale, a track used by peat cutters – yes we have been destroying the land long before climate change was thought of. This area is full of caves, potholes and dry riverbeds, but the way missed most of them out. On reflection a few small diversions to peer into these limestone features would have added interest. P1020331



Marble Steps Pot.


Twistleton Scar End.


Turbary Road.

Once on the lane we made good progress stopping only at a bench for a drink, out of the vegetation crept a giant dung beetle. P1020348

Masongill looked delightful.P1020349

Freshly cut green fields, and we were soon crossing the ancient clapper bridge into Ireby.


It was good to be back in Limestone Country, as you can see the weather improved as the day went on. Eight and a half miles with 1700ft of ascent – I’m still thinking imperial.


CaptureGragareth (2)


P1020180Sat alone on the isolated true summit of Fairsnape, deep in Bowland, I’m poking at one of my sandwiches, egg and tomato, made a month ago. They went into the freezer when hot weather and circumstances cancelled an outing at the last minute only for them to re-emerge this morning. there is a distinct unappetising taste.  Should you freeze hard-boiled eggs? I’ve just traversed some of the loneliest hills up here and am in need of some sustenance.  The morning has been misty on the fells, however with a welcome cooling breeze. Distant views are restricted from my lofty perch, most of you will never have been here. Only a few curlew and grouse share my space. I poke again at the sandwich and decide to toss it into the heather for probably the seagulls, who now also patrol these heights, to scavenge.

As I say the day started off murky and cool with low cloud, quite the opposite of the mini heat wave we have been enduring. Ideal for a tramp across these Bowland hills. For a start don’t take Mark’s advice to leave your car in the Delph Lane car park, it’s none too safe and leaves you with quite an uphill walk before you start. There are suitable lay-byes nearer Stang Yule. Walk number 2 in the Cicerone’s Walking in Lancashire  book.

The way starts at a gate leading onto open access land. Welcome. On closer examination a notice says ‘No open access – temporarily closed at the land manager’s discretion’ Not a  good start at all. But wait, the date is 2021. This sign has not been removed or updated for two years. So much for the land manager.


I try not to read too much into this as I stride boldly onto the access land. Nobody will see me in the mist. I’m enjoying the heather under foot, there is a path of sorts but not many come this way, put off by that notice possibly. Slowly I gain height and pull away from the plantation onto the open fell side, A track takes me across the slopes of Hazelslack Fell, a rarely visited spot. The last time I was up here was with Sir Hugh and JD on our straight line adventure between our homes. It’s as remote as I remember. P1020165


The views back to the Fylde are supposed to be good.


Approaching Hazelhurst Fell.


Looking back with the track skirting below the summit of Hazelhurst.

I don’t bother with the 429 m trig point this time as I’m probably going higher shortly. The track dips down and climbs the contours gradually onto Winny Bank. The raison d’être for this track becomes obvious with the appearance of shooting butts. Not only the butts but also the small mammal  traps, thankfully decommissioned. The highlight of my week, if not the month, was witnessing a family of Stoats crossing a road on Longridge Fell. Distinctive with their black tipped bushy tails. Who would want to trap and kill these beautiful animals?? P1020188P1020189P1020197

Along the way is a stark memorial to airmen lost on these hills in WWII, I have a book somewhere  listing all these crashes and giving their accurate sitings. P1020196

The track starts to descend, and I have to be alert to pick up the ongoing path to Fairsnape otherwise I would be floundering, I know not where. The path begins somewhat unlikely with a few steps leading off a turning place. The stone flags don’t go far and one is left following intermittent white posts through the morass of peat. You will be glad you came here in dry weather, preferably a draught, also not a good place to be in thick mist. Stick with it, and you will arrive at a fence corner euphemistically named  Webster’s Meadow. (if you miss it you would be in ‘Dickey’s Meadow’) This is also known as Fiensdale Head, the way through from Langden to Bleasdale. A partially flagged path shows the way. it’s a long time since I’ve been down Fiendsdale, a good spot to see ring ousels. No idea who Webster was or Dicky for that matter.


Turning spot.



The way down to Fiendsdale.

United Utilities have an information board explaining the work being carried out to try and reverse some of the peat erosion. When I was last up here they were helicoptering bags of stones in to be incorporated into ‘dams’, stopping further erosion from run off and re-wet the surrounding peat. Evidence of that work is all around with stone and fibrous matting in the peat cloughs. One does wonder how much we can do to repair the damage which must be on a vast scale in Bowland alone. Are you still able to buy peat based compost – I hope not? P1020204


A few more flags are encountered, showing a way down to Bleasdale and ahead to Fairsnape. Then you are on your own again with the fence for company. The book talks of ‘hard going’ in the peat hags – ‘hopping over to the other side of the fence may help’ Today that is not necessary as it is as dry as it is going to get, but there are still boggy morasses you wouldn’t want to fall into, perhaps the re-wetting is working. Knees are allowed for climbing out of the deepest hags. P1020213P1020208P1020221

Anyhow, I’m soon sat at the 520 m summit contemplating my lunch. There is another informative board up here telling the same story. Some of the funding came from the EU, pre Brexit. How much will our own DEFRA run by Thérèse  Coffey put into environmental schemes? P1020222

It’s a dry run over to the other summit of Fairsnape, the one with the shelters and trig point. I’ve not seen anybody all day so far and can’t believe I’m the sole person at this popular top. Only when I get closer to the shelter do two heads pop up – a young couple having some private time to themselves. P1020228

The mist has lifted a little allowing the gliders from the club down below to take to the thermals, spookily and silently sliding past out of the thin cloud. P1020226

The way off, by a cairn, is down some zigzags into Bleasdale. I have always assumed these to be part of a sledging route for bringing cut peat off the fell. Beautifully constructed and a joy to walk whichever direction, up or down. Few people used them as most are linking Fairsnape with Parlick along the ridge. But Mark knows this area well, covering Bowland in detail, the secret is out. P1020230P1020232P1020241



What a contrast from the northern side of the fells – endless peat and heather as far as the eye can see and down here in Bleasdale with the green pastures stretching to Beacon Fell. The guide book takes you on tracks that would give access to Bleasdale Circle, but I’ve been there many times and at the moment it is a bit of a mess following storm damage to the trees, so I take a slightly different route through Bleasdale, past remote farms, past the old reformatory school buildings and past Bleasdale Tower. North Lancashire Reformatory for Boys, Bleasdale, near Garstang, Lancashire (


That little lay-by.

The little blue car was waiting for me in that lay by, as a Duke Of Edinburgh group were going through, staggering in the heat under massive rucksacks. I wonder who had the better day?

***Capture Hazelhurst (2)


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It is a month since I have done a ‘long walk’. Health issues combined with all that heat kept me in doors. I’ve only managed a few walks of a couple of miles or so, enjoyable nonetheless in their own rights. Tomorrow I hope to take up the cudgel of another possibly strenuous Cicerone’s Lancashire walk. So I had better have a gentle warmer up to get my legs back into shape.

From my header photo you can see that the hawthorn flower has given way to the elderberry.

Juggling with the weather I need to get going before the afternoon rain comes in, our gardens need it. (it never arrived)

Let’s keep it simple and walk up the lanes from the village onto Longridge Fell. I’m only out for the exercise after all. Park at the little reservoir, Upper Dilworth, stop to watch the female tufted duck with her brood and then a brisk walk-up past the golf course onto Jeffery Hill. I can’t resist a look into Cardwell Quarry to see if the barn owl is still there. A couple of weeks ago I looked in and took a hurried photo of the roost which showed up the owl’s legs but nothing more! Today nothing at all. I sat for a while taking in the view over Chipping Vale and remembering all those summer evenings climbing up here with Longridge mates. It’s banned now due to some unfortunate contretemps between the landowner and some selfish youths. It doesn’t take much to destroy all the goodwill built up in the past. P1020112P1020115P1020128P1020130


Two weeks ago – spot the legs.

Close by here the Roman Road was thought to have come up from Ribchester before a turn to head through the hills towards Newton, and then over to Lancaster. It is marked on the OS map, and today I can make out the line of it just below the modern road. P1020119

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Surprisingly there is only one car parked up on Jeffrey Hill where the walk-up onto Longridge Fell starts. I never meet the occupants. Taking the ‘balcony path’ along to the spring and then heading towards the ridge, it is bone dry. I am tempted to carry on up to the trig point, but sense tells me to go easy and besides I can see rain coming in across the Fylde Coast. Back down alongside the wall, past the ‘grim up north’ tree. 



Straight across and alongside the upper trees of Cowley Brook Plantation. This plantation is becoming a favourite of mine for an evening stroll, and today I cut down through it meeting up with the brook where it disappears under the road. P1020137P1020138P1020140P1020143

This road takes me eventually, there are lots of ups and downs, back to the village, passing the lower side of the manicured golf course this time.



Job done, now let’s see what the forecast is for tomorrow.

CaptureLOngridge Fell.