Category Archives: Longridge


A little inspiration.

Anyone who has been following my posts this year or anyone searching ‘climbing’ will have noticed there has been no climbing. For various reasons I haven’t done a route for the first time in 40 – 50 years.* My climbing friends probably think I’ve died. This was brought home to me the other day when I happened to be in south Preston with one of my now ‘retired’ climbing partners.

I think we are near Denham Quarry” I mentioned,  “let’s go and have a look in

Easier said than done as we drove arround in a maze of forgotten narrow lanes and kept crossing and recrossing the motorway. All of a sudden Holt Lane appeared and the name rang a bell, sure enough a short distance down the lane the familiar car park appeared and there was the quarry.

And there was that striking clean quarry face with the obvious groove line of ‘Mohammed’

In we went and peered up the classic groove which had a few chalk marks on it. When did we last climb this – one for the history books. Its real title is, wait for it, Mohammed the Mad Monk of Moorside Home for Mental Misfits. What’s that all about?

Moving right under the main face other routes were recalled, most of them scary on small holds and poor gear. We survived.

And there was that deep pool, with unknown monsters in its depths, and the lovely soloable Splash Arete above it. Memories.

Back home I reflected that I probably would be struggling on those routes now but my enthusiasm was fired and on a sunny afternoon I’m up at Craig y Longridge traversing around on familiar territory at the easy far end. The crag is bathed in warm sunshine and I’m the only one here so I can laze around as much as possible. I can do the moves but my hands have become soft and soon my skin is protesting, enough.

* PS. The following morning I had a brief visit up to Kemple End and soloed a couple of short routes to break the year’s zero statistics.



After the rigours of last week’s walk in the gales I’ve returned to my usual stroll around Longridge.

I was very aware of the fruits in the hedges as I walked up the lane to the farm. The best of the blackberries have gone but I started to count others and wondered about their edibility and uses.

Hawthorn.  [Cretaegus monogyna]                                                                                  

Very prominent were the red berries of the Hawthorn bushes. Apparently the berries contain potent antioxidants and have been used in herbal remedies for heart problems. Leaving that aside I have found some recipes for jelly and tea, but I’m not convinced as yet.



Rose Hips.                                                                                                                                                                                                           

Scrambling through the hedges were rose bushes with their characteristic red hips at this time of year. Now I know these do make a good jelly and also tea. The itchy seeds need to be removed first and apparently they are best after the first frost.


Rowan, Mountain Ash. [Sorbus aucuparia]

I’ve never before considered whether Rowan berries were edible but reading up about them shows they are, again mainly in jellies or jams.



Elder. [Sambucus nigra]

In past years I’ve made elderflower cordial but not used the berries. They can me used for wine making and also in pies and crumbles.



Blackthorn Sloes. [Prunus spinosa]

This year seems to have been good for the sloes on the blackthorn which grow commonly round here. I think their main use is for flavouring gin and other spirits.

So a short walk brought several possibilities of hedgerow fare, I will research a few recipes in more detail and return for some Autumnal pickings.

MY DAILY WALK, [well almost daily].

The weather has not been good since my return from France, I feel Autumn is upon us.

It’s noticeable how often I comment on the state of the weather at the start of a post. Is that a British trait, am I obsessed with the climate or does it just reflect the close connection of conditions with my pastimes?  I remember when I was younger and outdoor time at a weekend was precious we would sally forth on walks or climbs whatever the weather. That would result in a fair share of days with no views and a good soaking on the hill or gripping climbs on cold slippery wet rock. Many of those occasions are vivid in my memory, proof of the importance to me of outdoor adventures and the companionships they bring. Character building was a phrase used. Now I take more heed of the forecast and try to choose the better days for my enjoyment or more likely head abroad to avoid the worst of our winter weather.

I’ve rambled off the subject.  I intend, now I’m free of the PMR stiffness, to  do a regular local walk most days to build up my fitness once again. How often have I said that? I have a 4mile circuit on my doorstep that suffices. Not only does one get some healthy exercise but also some physic benefits thrown in.  There are countless literary quotations extolling the virtues of walking, one of the simplest  –  “I have two doctors: my left leg and my right leg.”  G M Trevelyan.

I complain a lot, and will continue to do so, about the housing developments in Longridge destroying the character of the town but I’m still able to do the walk above from the house into the country. Why drive anywhere in mixed weather when a walk can be accomplished from home.   A stroll down the road takes me past the cricket ground where today there was a match which I can stand and watch for a few overs. There’s something special about village cricket which makes it almost hypnotic to engage in, I think it is something to do with the enthusiasm of the players and the gentle clapping of the handful of spectators. Long may it be so. The lane I usually take up onto the fell gives a lovely view back across Chipping Vale to the Bowland Hills. The view is different with the seasons but gives a sense of space and nature within half a mile of leaving home. Today this was heightened by a pair of Buzzards wheeling and mewing above me. Time just goes by whilst you stand and watch. A glance over the reservoir at any other bird life – usually ducks and grebe. And a glance into Craig Y Longridge to see if anyone I know is climbing, not today with the damp conditions. My return down the town’s main street is more mundane but gives the opportunity for social engagement and grocery shopping.

A perfect little circuit, I’m off to do it again today when things will be different.




I was thwarted a few weeks ago on one of my regular local walks by a completely obstructed path.

Well today I followed the same route to see if anything had improved.

I’m not sure if the local authority or the farmer have got round to doing anything but I’m pleased to find the way open. I suspect some local walker/activist, I know a few, has cleared the way – well done. I think that in future with financial constraints placed on local authorities and the ever increasing pressure put on rural societies that we will all have to take things into our own hands to preserve the footpath network.






I continued on my way back to Longridge on unobstructed and for the most part signed rights of way.



I set off in the cool of the morning to walk a circuit of fields and lanes which is on my list of regular local outings. I was looking forward to a 5 mile walk with an emphasis on photographing the current flora. A footpath sign points off the road down a green track which opens into fields. A plainly waymarked stile crosses into the next field and I happily wandered on to where it goes through a hedge by a pond. Today however I could go no further as a new fence topped with barbed wire blocked the way and it was insurmountable, even for me.  I checked either side to see if the stile had been moved but no there was no access on this Public Right of Way. I had no option but to turn around and head home in not the best of moods.How can a landowner just completely ignore a well used Public Right of Way? There should be much harsher penalties for this brazen obstruction. I will not let them get away with it.

Lancashire County Council have an excellent on-line reporting service for problems with Right of Ways, you identify the position in question on a map and click. You are then given chance to describe the problem and hey-presto it is reported with an identifying number. Of course that is only the start and one has to hope the council take the matter up with the landowners.,&type=default

I wonder if the obstruction miraculously disappears in the next day or two?




How to make the best of a sunny afternoon whilst I’m not able to climb the fells?

I have had in mind for some time a walk around my home town of Longridge visiting the buildings bestowed with a blue plaque. A quick piece of research of Longridge Heritage Committee information told me they had placed 15 in total – so off I went, camera in hand.

I intend to let the plaques give you the history whilst they are legible …


At the bottom of the main street, Berry Lane, is Booths Supermarket. From the front it could be any retail outlet but viewed from the side the telltale ‘saw tooth’ north-facing roof lights marks it out as an old mill, there were many such cotton mills in Longridge, spinning and weaving.           

No 2. Youth centre.

Across the road on the corner is an undistinguished building housing a community and youth centre with several notable past uses including the Bond Minicar developed in town.


No 3. The Towneley Arms.

A popular local pub situated next to the old station. An adjacent level crossing was used on Berry Lane where the line crossed to sidings for the mills and on its way up to the quarries.

No 4. The Old Station.

The station has been sympathetically restored as a Heritage Facility and a popular central cafe utilising the platform space as well as the station building. There is always a wealth of local information available in the heritage centre. Searches on the internet will soon provide more history on the Preston – Longridge railway and its unique branch to Whittingham Hospital which in its heyday was one of the largest Mental Institutions in Europe.

No 5. The Co-operative Building.

On the next block up is another imposing stone building previously holding our co-op. When I first arrived in town I would shop in the various departments of the large store. The plaque mentions the ballroom upstairs but I mainly remember the Polash Indian Restaurant up the stairs when the space had been divided – good old Ronnie was an excellent chef and I still have contact with his family in Burnley. The present co-op store has moved to a new building next door and the lower floor shops are now charity and betting – a sign of the times. The rest of the building is however used as semi affordable flats. Shame they didn’t restore the clock which is visible from most of the lane.


No 6.  Methodist Church.

This Wesleyan Methodist Chapel is now in private ownership having been sold off and the congregation incorporated into the United Reform Church down the road – now the thriving Christ Church. Needs must. I have never been inside it.

No 7. The Stone Quarries.

I hit a problem here – I couldn’t find the blue plaque! I presumed it was by the tunnel linking the railway to the quarries. In the past the railway line continued from the town centre through what is now John Smith’s Park and connected with a horse drawn incline up into the extensive quarries, Tootle Heights, producing high quality stone for many construction projects in the NW. Liverpool and Preston docks and many public buildings in Preston. The raison d’ètre of the line.

Tootle Heights Quarry in its heyday.

No 8. The Quarryman’s Arms,

Just below the quarries is this old pub building – now my favourite Thai restaurant.

No 9.  Club Row.

Walking back down Higher Road you come to a row of cottages on the left. They have an interesting history.

No 10. Cinema.

Unfortunately the cinema is under scaffolding at present, undergoing refurbishment with new owners who hope to continue operating it as private cinema. It has been a unique experience with ice cream usherettes, tea and coffee in mugs and the National Anthem, lets hope it continues to be.

Its noticeable how many properties in the old parts of town were previously involved with  hand-looming.

No 11.  Fell End.

Continuing down the hill there is an old building, now a funeral parlour, on the corner bearing the plaque. The Duke William pub opposite is now private housing.

No 12. St. Lawrence’s Church.

Opposite across the main road is the parish church in a prominent position approaching the town.

No 13. New Town.

Round the corner on the busy Preston Road is an area known as New Town which is now a conservation area. The water pump has been restored. As a bonus here we get a Red plaque.

As it was…

No 14.  Stone Bridge.

The busy roundabout at the end of Preston Rd is built on Stone Bridge where the railway entered town. Not the most salubrious environment – don’t hang around.

No 15.  St. Wilfred’s Church.

The prominent church further along Derby Rd is Roman Catholic, an important religion in the town.



So a walk of about 3 miles has included all the plaques but there are so many more interesting stone buildings in town that I feel I could produce another circuit.



Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that comes and goes in a seasonal pattern.
SAD is sometimes known as “winter depression” because the symptoms are more apparent and tend to be more severe during the winter. The symptoms often begin in the autumn as the days start getting shorter. They’re typically most severe during December, January and February.

Symptoms of SAD can include:

  • a loss of pleasure or interest in normal everyday activities
  • irritability
  • a persistent low mood
  • feelings of despair, guilt and worthlessness
  • feeling lethargic (lacking in energy) and sleepy during the day
  • sleeping for longer than normal and finding it hard to get up in the morning
  • craving carbohydrates and gaining weight.
The exact cause of SAD isn’t fully understood, but it’s often linked to reduced exposure to sunlight during the shorter autumn and winter days. The main theory is that a lack of sunlight might stop a part of the brain called the hypothalamus working properly, which may affect the:
  • production of melatonin – melatonin is a hormone that makes you feel sleepy; in people with SAD, the body may produce it in higher than normal levels
  • production of serotonin – serotonin is a hormone that affects your mood, appetite and sleep; a lack of sunlight may lead to lower serotonin levels, which is linked to feelings of depression
  • body’s internal clock (circadian rhythm) – your body uses sunlight to time various important functions, such as when you wake up, so lower light levels during the winter may disrupt your body clock and lead to symptoms of SAD                                                                                            
  •   Treatments for SAD

  • lifestyle measures – including getting as much natural sunlight as possible, exercising regularly and managing your stress levels
  • light therapy – where a special lamp called a light box is used to simulate exposure to sunlight
  • talking therapies – such as therapy.
  • antidepressant medication.


Why am I telling you all this – well most winters I disappear to sunnier climes as I’ve found over the years that it prevents all of the above. As well as the improved climate I am usually involved in some semi-challenging walk giving me loads of exercise. This year I’ve been grounded because of my hip problems brought on by excessive exercise. Recent posts will have shown how I’ve partially dealt with it, sorry for the maudlin tone to those. Why don’t I just go abroad for a couple of weeks you say – well I’m not good at ‘lazy’ holidays by the pool, would probably just eat and drink too much.

Thus I’m still battling on, physio next week. So when the sun shone this morning I needed to get out. Luckily JD, of GR131 fame, phoned and within 30 mins I was at his house with a plan to do a relatively easy walk to Ribchester and catch the bus back. Off we went with bus passes at the ready.

The watery sun shone, as planned, whilst we walked past the extensive Longridge reservoirs.

The stroll down the quiet Hothersall Lane was a pleasure, as it warmed up I could feel all that lovely Serotonin fighting off the nasty Melatonin. The usual  juxtaposition of irreverent [me] and intellectual conversation [JD] bowled us along and soon we were dropping down the steep escarpment to Hothersall Lodge an outdoor centre run by Lancs County Council. Nobody was about but signs of activity were everywhere, climbing wall, zip wire, grounded canoes, archery ranges, nature walks etc. A great place to introduce people to the outdoors. We were now following the Ribble Way, a flawed route due to private fishing interests unnecessarily diverting the path higher up stream.

Further on was Hothersall Hall, a Gothic style building refurbished and providing privileged accommodation to some persons.  I tried in vain to relocate the Hothersall Boggart – a slightly grotesque stone head in the fork of a tree with associated legends. No luck today but I know its there somewhere.

All was going well with the walking until now, a good surface and fairly flat going. I had forgotten the little hill to be crossed on muddy fields – it was not a pretty sight as I struggled to cope with the terrain. Thankfully I’d brought my tracking poles, not to be separated from them these days. There were good views down to the River Ribble.

That hill!.


We had time to look across the Ribble to the extensive Osbaldeston Hall on the south bank. A path led off towards it and presumably some ancient ford crossing. JD remembered wading the river here on some previous walk but not today thank you.After that it was a stroll to walk into Ribchester, were we on a Roman Road?

Eschewing the Roman artifacts and other attractions of the village we headed past the now closed White Bull with its ‘Roman columns’ to the friendly Black Bull where we enjoyed a quick slurp of Bowland Brewery’s Buster before catching the rattly bus to Longridge.

Needs must so SAD can SOD off.  I’ve plans for the next week or so if the weather is good.