Category Archives: Longridge

GHOST TOWN.

 
Last evening I took my first walk, my permitted local exercise, for nearly a fortnight.  It was a warm sunny evening and I just strolled around Longridge to see what was happening.  Precisely nothing as there was hardly a car on the roads and I only passed maybe half a dozen people.
The rather boring photos below show empty streets but note the large proportion of stone houses for which the village was renowned before all the new developments which bear no connection architecturally to our heritage.
 
 
Not quite as bleak as the one depicted by The Specials which was in my ear as I walked around.
 
 

 

 

The road to Chipping.

Inglewhite Road.

Halfpenny Lane.

 

Whittingham Rd heading to Stonebridge roundabout.

Abandoned Housing Development.

Stone Bridge Roundabout, a local bottleneck.

Kestor Lane.

Market Place with Palace Cinema – will it survive?

Market Place with our local cobbler.

When will this Sale end?

Empty Pub – The Dog.

Higher Road going up onto the fell.

Berry Lane, the main shopping street.

Our local hardware shop.

Derby Road.

Abandoned road works.   

This won’t be my regular walk as it is all urban and crossing the road to avoid oncoming pedestrians is awkward. People of my generation are extra careful but I find a minority of youngsters pay little heed to distancing. I personally am not convinced that 2 metres are sufficient. Social distancing isn’t working as one can see from the steadily rising coronavirus infection figures. Next time I’ll head into the countryside or should I just stay safe in my garden, I’m privileged to have one and feel sympathy for all flat dwellers.

 
*****
 

FEEDING MYSELF IN ISOLATION.

I mentioned in my last post that I had ordered some fruit and vegetables to be delivered to me.

Disillusioned with the supermarkets home delivery services, or lack of, I phoned a local firm who normally distribute to the catering trade, pubs and restaurants. Obviously, their trade will have dried up unless they have hospital contracts. The lady on their phone was extremely helpful and explained they did a family box of vegetables and one of fruit delivered for £25. She suggested I try these first and then adjust my further orders to suit me. I set up an account there and then and paid by card, simple. She said to expect the delivery the next morning. Now that’s service.

[The firm, Ribble Farm Fare, is based in Longridge,  A family-run business specialising in fruit and vegetables. David Coulston founded the business in 1964, selling potatoes door-to-door. I remember when I came to Longridge in the early 70’s he was just becoming successful, he’d purchased a villa out in Lanzarote and named it Casa Potata.  His two sons run the firm now, with a substantial workforce, from a large warehouse in the village. Looking at their website I was amazed at the variety they provide, not only the raw products but an extensive range of prepared restaurant items. Obviously the latter are defunct at present.]

At 7am whilst I was making coffee the van arrived and the boxes were dropped off in my porch without any person to person contact. I was staggered when I saw the selection. She wasn’t exaggerating describing them as family boxes. It felt like Xmas and birthday all in one.

The fruits included 10 oranges, 10 apples, 10 pears, a large melon and bananas.

The veg box included generous portions of carrots, onions. large and small potatoes, cabbage, cauliflower, swede, red pepper, tomatoes, celery, lettuce, cucumber, mushrooms and for good measure 2litres of milk and a loaf of bread.

All the products were of very good quality and obviously fresh. What great value delivered to my door. The other box in the picture is bird food which cost me more than my own supply.

I set to make a large quantity of vegetable soup. I will struggle to eat all the fruit, certainly will be getting my ‘five-a-day’. When this lot is eaten I will definitely place another order but will have to be more explicit on the volume. I hope that with people like me in the area we go some way to supporting our local businesses, they need all the help they can get.

I’ve previously mentioned I have a daily milk delivery and he will supply eggs as and when needed so I feel less stress about food.

On the subject of deliveries, I had a bit of debacle trying to get prescriptions from my local chemist, part of a national group, so in discussion with my doctor I arranged for another fairly local chemist to supply and deliver my outstanding items. I know everyone is under pressure at the moment but some go out of their way to be helpful.

Sorry about all these minutiae but I suppose we are all focusing on the problems ahead. My heart goes out to any families directly affected by the coronavirus and I express my gratitude to any of you out there on the front line.

On a lighter note, some of you thought I was becoming morose, I enclose a link my son sent me to a funny comedian, Stephen Cookson, I’d never heard of.

One line for Sir Hugh – I’m thinking of switching my energy supplier, from Red Bull to Lucozade.

All the best.

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOW NOT TO ISOLATE.

I don’t think I’m going to be very good at this. I don’t have a regular routine at the best of times – get up when I feel like it, eat at odd hours, read and listen to the radio through a lot of the night. Should I keep to my non-routine or change to the ones recommended everywhere at the moment?  The best I’ve seen was a video from an ex submarine captain who was used to months underwater in very confined conditions.  Worth a look…

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-england-hampshire-52085862/coronavirus-submarine-captain-s-advice-on-social-isolation

It may work for you but a couple of weeks in and I haven’t changed so it looks likely that I’ll plod on as I am.

I wake at maybe 8 o’clock, come downstairs to make coffee and feed the cat. Now I have an extra job – bring in the milk from the doorstep and wash the bottles in soapy water. Don’t believe I’m writing this, what hope for people with OCD? My hands are already getting chapped with all this soapy water washing. I never thought when I started this humble blog site about rock climbing and walking that I would be posting a picture of milk bottles.

I take my coffee back to bed and have a look at what’s happening in the world and in my Emails on the computer. I get distracted by some climbing videos on youtube, you know how it is. One often links into another and another, better make another coffee.

Once up and about I go into the garden. I’m slowly working my way around the beds weeding and clearing up. I tend to do about 2-3 hours until my back has had enough, there are plenty of days left for more. I’ve a good selection of all the common weeds as well as some plants I introduced and wish I hadn’t. This is the first year for a while to have the time to do a thorough job and try and catch the weeds before they become established.

Common weeds…

Bittercress. Seeds early and everywhere.

Cleavers. Sticks to everything.

Dandelion. Deep tap root, worse in lawns.

…Herb Bennet, Nettle, Buttercup, Rosebay Willowherb, Chickweed, Ivy, Bramble  – the list goes on.

Plants I introduced by mistake…

Dog Violet. Tenacious little b…..

Cuckoo Pint. Bulblets and seeds proliferate out of control.

Welsh Poppy. Orange variety has a deep taproot.

Yellow Variegated Dead Nettle. I wish it was dead, suckers everywhere. I was a sucker to plant it.

And then there is my lawn in amongst the moss. Need to buy some lawn sand, I will have to look online.

Lawn in my moss.

I could write a whole post on weeds, I almost have. When is a weed a flower?  Catch them early before they flower. They’ll all be back tomorrow.

The cherry blossom I pictured in my last post a week ago is shedding petals like snow in today’s breeze, it’s such a shame they only last a short time, rather sad really.

The fields opposite my house are earmarked for development and in the last few weeks the bulldozers have been in and stripped the hedges and destroyed most of the trees. They had started on the drainage and access roads but now the site is closed down leaving the whole place in a mess. I used to see deer and hares in those fields and the hedges were full of birds, what now for wildlife? Anyhow, I’m straying off the subject but this has prompted me to build a few more bird nest boxes which are now in place around my garden.  The sound of bird song is very noticeable this spring as there is little traffic noise.

The day passes quickly and cooking my evening meal is something to look forward to. Normally I shop up in the village every day and buy what takes my fancy for that evening’s meal. That’s all changed of course and now I delve into my store cupboard for inspiration, tonight I used rice and lentils to make dal bhat. Dal bhat is a traditional popular meal from Nepal consisting of rice and spiced lentils.  It is a staple food in these countries so as I have a good supply of rice and lentils I should be able to see out many weeks of isolation. I learnt to cook it fairly authentically whilst travelling in Nepal and I still have some spices bought there which are difficult to get in the UK.

What I’ll miss most are fresh fruit and vegetables. I’ve tried to book supermarket deliveries but all the slots are taken so I’ve turned to a local fruit and vegetable firm who normally supply to the catering trade. I’ve just phoned them and they couldn’t have been more helpful, I’ve a box being delivered tomorrow. Maybe picture then and give a plug if they are up to scratch.

The evening is passed with maybe an hour trying one of the cryptic crosswords from my bumper book of TheTimes Crosswords. Then tonight I’m going to watch some films from the Banff Mountain Film Festival. Every year they normally host an adventure film festival and the organisers have selected a series of films to view free every Wednesday throughout this isolation period. Very good of them, thank you, my own little film festival – I’d get out the popcorn if I had any! Fell asleep halfway through the last film – just like the real cinema.

  Times moved on quickly and I don’t have much to show for it. That just about sums up my day. So don’t take any advice from me regarding isolation strategies as I don’t really have any except…

“Take one day at a time”

SOCIAL DISTANCING TO SELF-ISOLATION. Reasons to be cheerful.

It’s a wonderful time of the year with some exceptional weather, the blossoms are appearing and we’ve just gone onto British Summertime which I always look upon as a turning point.

My cat manages to sleep from dawn to dusk finding warm sunshine throughout the day. I’m jealous.

Last week I was going out for short walks from home Social Distancing as I went. Then this week I developed a sore throat, fever and headaches;  I’m sure, or almost sure, that this isn’t the coronavirus but the rules say if you have symptoms then Self Isolation is necessary for 7 days.

That’s no great hardship as I’m pretty self-reliant but I think I misread the rules and thought I was not to leave my house at all  [that is Shielding – we all have to get accustomed to these new terms]  So I’ve stopped going out altogether which is probably wise in any case. Hence no walking in this post.

I’m fine for food and medicines and have been pleasantly surprised by the offers of help in that direction. Thanks to those concerned.

My telephone line has never been so busy as I catch up with friends near and far.

And there is the bonus of a new friend who is almost hand tame after a couple of days gardening. On a larger scale, the night skies have been clear with a bright crescent moon and an even brighter Venus.

Lots of positives there.

 

SOCIAL DISTANCING WALK – Mark II.

I’m trying to exercise whilst social distancing and at the same time reduce driving to a minimum. Yesterday I was on roads all the way and didn’t really enjoy the experience, today I’ll attempt another walk direct from home but this time avoiding busy roads so I’ll need to get my boots dirty.

So off we go. It is another beautiful day, the Spring Equinox. I’m soon into fields, yes they are boggy but I’m enjoying the bird song. For the record, I see Deer, Hares, a Stoat and lots of lambs. The lambs photographed better than the rest.

 

All around me are hills – the Bowland Fells, Waddington Fell and Longridge Fell.

I pass a deserted country inn, the catering trades are having a hard time. Such a shame as everything is looking so good in the spring sunshine.

Towards the end of my walk, I use an old track to cut a corner off the road but wish I hadn’t as it was virtually impassible with mud and branches.

On the last stretch of road, I spot this beast waiting for restoration.

So today was more acceptable than yesterday but I still ended up with some road walking and the fields were very unpleasant in places.

Body count today, one pedestrian and one runner, both on the roads. Nobody was out in the fields despite the perfect weather. I think it is going to have to be all off-road but on decent tracks until the ground dries or we are all grounded.

*****

SOCIAL DISTANCING WALK – Mark I.

If you don’t meet it you won’t catch it.

Engaging in a healthy diet [if you can buy it in the chaos of our supemarkets] and exercising regularly are both recommended to keep a high immunity and a positive mental approach during this worldwide crisis. There are scores of articles out there detailing methods for survival. In my last post I shared the British Mountaineering Club’s sensible advice which may well change in the coming days. Today dawned the perfect walking day, bright sunshine and clear crisp air. Time to put my boots on – but where to go?  I thought to keep it local and risk-free – don’t want to put a burden on Mountain Rescue teams or ambulances and casualty.

So a walk around the roads from my house seemed sensible. I peer out to check nobody else about, I am highly vulnerable you need to know. I set off at a brisk pace down the lane and immediately bump into a neighbour who wants to chat, it is embarrassing trying to keep 2metres away.

At last, I’m out of the village but I hate the main road I’m on with cars and lorries flashing past within 2 feet never mind 2 metres – have they not heard the government advice.

I didn’t reach a calm space until branching off up Back Lane and into Ashley Lane. Along here I caught up with another walker who crossed the road to avoid me, people have been doing that for years so I wasn’t surprised. Along this stretch birds were singing and some gathering nesting material, Buzzards were flying overhead, it felt great to be out in the open and worries disappeared.

At the road junction, the Bowland Fells appeared in the distance with Beacon Fell, Fairsnape, Parlick, Birkett Fell, Waddington Fell and Longridge Fell all lined up in a splendid panorama.

As I walked into Longridge the dismal sight of traffic jams caused by new developments greeted me. Gloom descended once more.

I won’t use this route again because of the traffic on the roads. I will endeavour to come up with a better alternative for tomorrow’s Social Distancing walk.

Potential viral persons encountered   5.

*****

 

 

 

 

LONGRIDGE RESERVOIRS.

I’ve had enough of splodging through waterlogged fields so today for my short walk I was happy to keep mainly to tracks and roads. Why not walk around the reservoirs in Longridge? There are basically seven, Dilworth Upper and Lower, Spade Mill 1 and 2, and Alston 1, 2, 3.

Preston originally had water from springs in the Alston area and a reservoir was built in Grimsargh in 1835. The first Upper Dilworth reservoir was built about the same time for water from Longridge Fell. As demand increased water was collected from the Bowland Fells and conducted to Longridge and its Alston [now no3] reservoir completed in 1842. Demand from Preston increased and the next to be constructed was Spade Mill [no 1], along with The Black Bull inn, see later as Corporation Arms. Some years of drought, remember them? lead to the purchase of Alston College on the edge of the village. Demolition of the college allowed a second Alston Reservoir [no 2] to be constructed in 1899. A second smaller Dilworth [lower] was opened in 1906. In the 1930s the aqueducts from Bowland were improved with the drilling of two tunnels, one out at Whitewell and the other through Longridge Fell from Jenkinson’s Farm in Thornley to Spade Mill Reservoir. A third large Alston [now no 1] was constructed about the same time.   The last of the Longridge Reservoirs to be built was Spade Mill [no 2] coming into use in the late 1950s.

That’s a lot of water.

Dilworth Upper.    1835.     24 million gallons.

Alston No 3.           1842.     86 million gallons.

Spade Mill No 1.   1862.    198 million gallons.

Alston No 2.           1899.    183 million gallons.

Dilworth Lower.     1906.        7 million gallons.

Alston No 1.            1931.    259 million gallons.

Spade Mill No 2.     1956.    212 million gallons.

The reservoirs have been under several different authorities, Preston Corporation, North West Water and now United Utilities.

Right, back to my walk, I parked up in upper Longridge and set off around the small Dilworth Reservoirs. immediately the strong Victorian stone architecture was visible …

Just above is the upper reservoir which is often a haven for waterbirds, Great Crested Grebes nested last year.  The lower reservoir has been decommissioned and I was under the impression that the upper was polluted from nitrate wash-off from the fell. Despite this, it is a popular angling spot.

Upper Dilworth with Beacon Fell in the background.

A footpath goes from here through an old quarry, Greenbank, now a housing estate. At the lower side of the quarry is a lake once a fishing spot for local youths. Above the houses is the well-known climbing venue Craig Y Longridge. From up here, there are views across the two Spade Mill Reservoirs and on to Alston. The lane I take goes past the WrittenStone which I’ve previously detailed here.

Walking along the main road I was outside the walls of the Spade Mill no 1 as I arrived at The Corporation Arms, the only inn uniquely owned by a waterboard.

Just past here I detoured up a bridleway to get a better view of Spade Mill No 2 the most modern of the reservoirs. Next, I was walking down to the Alston Reservoirs, both officially off track. The lane continues below the reservoirs and what was No 3 but now is managed as a nature reserve. There are hides to view the water and margins. With my naked eye today I saw very little, it was cold and windy.

Apart from the conversion of No 3 to a wildlife site, the reservoirs have a very sterile environment. There is some restricted fishing but one wonders why they couldn’t be opened up for some watersports. An interesting walk of about 6 miles on a breezy but dry afternoon.

Next up is storm Dennis – the menace.