Tag Archives: coronavirus

THORNLEY-WITH-WHEATLEY.

                                                                                       Thornley School.

Tuesday. 12th January.    7.5miles.     Longridge

The main road from Longridge to Chipping, which is busier than ever, passes through the small parish of Thornley with Wheatley which you won’t have heard of. It is not a village but merely a scattering of houses and farms. Today’s walk came this way. I’m resigned to those local footpaths that I walked to death in last Spring’s lockdown, but I’m looking for variations. Yesterday it rained continuously, and I didn’t get out of my dressing gown such is the tedium of Covid-19 lockdown that brings inertia on me one or two days a week. But today the sun shone and I had roughly plotted this route the night before which gives a degree of impetus to get up and go.

I leave Longridge along a rather boggy Clay Lane, the snow has gone and the frost is dispersing. Back in the last century there were tile works hereabouts. I was soon across the fields to Gill Bridge over the infant River Loud, today running fast with melt water. I traversed the estate of Blackmoss owned by the Lord Derby family since the C18th. The Derby Arms in is just up the road as is Thornley Hall. Vague paths which I know well crossed over to The Knott farm which is lying empty since the farmer died last year. He was seeped in the land and always seen in his tweed jacket and wellington’s, you could always tell if he was in the local supermarket by a distinct manure odour. He would turn up at my house occasionally with either a tray of 36 eggs or a basket of field mushrooms if they were in season. His sort will be sadly missed.

The empty Knott Farm

I recrossed the Loud and took the little lanes past Wheatley Farm house, 1774, at the base of Longridge Fell. Down the road is Lee House RC church and the old Thornley School which I didn’t visit and wished I had.

Lane to Wheatley.

Wheatley Farm.

Eventually I had to commit to the climb past Dale House and into the woods before coming out onto the golf course above. I was then back on that road leading back to Longridge which I’ve used regularly the last few weeks.

Dale House farm.

Parlick and Fairsnape from the golf course.

Old gate post to Longridge Golf Course established with Preston Cycling Club.

A short diversion was taken to see if I could get a photo of that highland cow with its calf. I managed a better picture of the mother but the infant kept its backside to me. A friend was climbing at Craig y Longridge our local bouldering venue and others were out running up the fell, everyone taking advantage of the sunny weather. An extract from The Lancashire Village Book gives more history here  – http://www.visitoruk.com/Blackburn/thornley-with-wheatley-C592-V28146.html

*****

IN SEARCH OF GRIMSARGH WETLANDS.

Sunday 3rd January. 2021.        8 miles.        Grimsargh.

Last year I had a chance meeting with an old acquaintance from many years ago. He has always been a  keen amateur naturalist. I have on a wall in my study a collection of Mountain Butterflies he gave me 40 years ago, when it was still acceptable to stick pins through insects. When I met him last he told me about work he had been doing on some redundant reservoirs in neighbouring Grimsargh. They were being converted into nature wetlands, and he encouraged me to visit. So that was my plan today. I was halfway out of Longridge when I realised, too late, I’d forgotten my pocket binoculars!

There used to be a railway from Longridge to Preston calling at Grimsargh. It served the stone quarries in Longridge from1840 but also provided a passenger service [closed 1930] and a goods service for the cotton mills until 1967. I should write a post one day on what remains of the line in the area.  From Stone Bridge I followed close to the line of the railway down into the Shay Lane Industrial Estate, a fine way to start a country walk. There is a surprising variety of businesses along here hidden away from the rest of the village. Cheeses, timbers, metal shelving, builders’ merchant, fruit and veg supplier, JCB, as well as many smaller units.

There’s more than one way to decorate a tree.

At the end is Shay Lane Farm, always neat and tidy. From there I took to the fields alongside Savick Brook, they were sufficiently frozen to avoid wet feet. The contrast from Industrial to rural was sudden.

I came into Grimsargh at Dixon’s Farm where a branch railway line heading to Whittingham Hospital could be clearly identified. In 1889, a private branch line was opened northwards from Grimsargh to Whittingham Asylum two miles  away. As well as supplies, hospital staff and visitors were carried free of charge in converted goods brake vans. The line continued in use until 1957 connecting with bus services after the main line was closed to passengers.

The Whittingham  Hospital branch line.

J D 1736

The map below shows the railway lines as well as the Reservoirs.

1930map.                                                                                                                                    National Library of Scotland.

 

While I was at Grimsargh Green I visited the large garden of a friend to wish her a distant Happy New Year, strange times. I then took a footpath following the line of the railway towards the reservoirs, but they were securely surrounded by metal fencing and I ended up going a long way round to gain the path through them.

Line to Longridge.

There was no public access to the wetlands themselves and of course today there was no wet – just ice. The smallest reservoir has been developed as a reed bed. I now realise there is a viewing point over the two lakes from a different access point, next time. Not a bird insight except for a curious robin.

I was soon out onto the main road and Elston Lane. My footpath onwards was blocked by new development with a closure notice lasting until Feb 2021, but it looks as though this situation will continue for much longer, I hope the locals insist on the footpath being reinstated once the building work is completed.

Looking at the map I found other paths to circumvent the problem and was soon walking back to Alston and fields over to Longridge.

Next year?

I need to return to spend more time at the wetlands if we are allowed out. I’m hoping Boris will swiftly follow the sensible proactive steps of the Scottish and Welsh assemblies to keep on top of this Covid-19 crisis, and we must all do our part and act responsibly.

*****

THE FIRST STEP.

千里之行,始於足下

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”    so the Chinese saying of LaoTzu goes, seems fitting for a New Year’s Day.

A chance reading of a fellow  blogger last night about her 1000-mile challenge from last year had me totting up my own rough mileage for the year – it was just over 700. Given that it was a strange year, staying local and not completing my usual half dozen long distance walks, that wasn’t too bad a total. So I decided and have now proclaimed to you my desire to cover the thousand this year. No fancy app counting steps around the house or going to the shops, just ‘proper’ walks that I would normally write up in my diary. I may get distracted into cycling or if the weather is good into bouldering and climbing which could limit my progress.

This afternoon, January 1st, I did five miles from home – a good start. We are in Covid-19 Tier 4 lockdown at present, so I won’t be travelling far by car for some time, but I can reach the countryside easily from my doorstep.

I’ll share some of my walks here until I become bored with the same old ones around Longridge, I’ll need to be creative to cover the mileage with interest rather than just for the exercise.

SOME GOOSNARGH LANES.

Tuesday  29th December.       4 miles.       Goosnargh.

On the news today people from London, Tier 4, are  being turned away from the Brecon Beacons which happens to be in Wales. It beggars belief and I would hope that they are fined, but it is unlikely. We are in the most serious phase of the Covid-19 crisis and people are not heeding the advice never mind the rules. January is going to be bleak.

*****

My drive today was a safe three miles for a walk on lanes out of Goosnargh for some more exercise  and vitamin D.

I could have sworn from past visits that the lane down past Middleton Hall was well surfaced but no I was mistaken, it was muddier than my trainers could cope with. I carried on regardless. The views to the Bowland Hills and Longridge Fell were from a different angle to recent ones.

Middleton Hall.

Beacon Fell and Bleasdale.

Longridge Fell.

Westfield Brook was running swiftly below the little footbridge but there were signs in the fields of recent flood levels. On the far side was a dedication bench with the quotation –  Time is precious. Waste it wisely.” Attributed to a K Bromberg.   I wish I’d thought of that, but I’ve not even read any of her sexy novels. The lane did improve as I approached Goosnargh Lodge. In a field alongside is a magnificent Cedar Of Lebanon, it deserves a better setting.

The roadside lodge to the lodge has been renovated.  I was then back onto roads all the way to Goosnargh coming  into the village alongside Bushell House. Bushell House has been running as a Charitable Trust to care for the elderly since 1743. My mother enjoyed her last few years there.

Next door was the parish church, C16th St. Mary’s. I popped my head inside and ended up in a long conversation with a long-lost friend who is a church warden. Outside is a sandstone sun dial dated 1746 and the medieval base of a cross, sadly overgrown.

Two old inns completed the scene, Bushells Arms is now a private house and The Grapes is to let.

The Bushells Arms.

The Grapes.                                                                                                                                

I’ll finish with the pubs and a shot of the late December sky.*****

A SHORT BREAK IN THE WEATHER.

Saturday  12th December.    4miles.    Beacon Fell.

  I can just see Beacon Fell from my house so when Mike suggested a walk, if it stopped raining, I checked it out. Most of the morning it was in deep clag and at lunchtime it was still raining but about 1pm there was brightness coming in from the west.

We met up for our socially distanced walk at the Quarry car park which is usually quieter than the rest. The tracks were busy with families and dog walkers, this has become the norm during these lockdown days.  A quick obligatory visit to the trig point had us chatting to friends. There were a lot of fit looking people running around clutching maps, and we realised there was an orienteering competition in progress – South Ribble Orienteering Club one of the oldest in the country

Our way off the fell was through one of those woodland memorial grounds. We watched a roe deer at a distance, it had a very bright rump and seemed unable to escape the fencing. These are magic moments recalling J B Priestly’s classic 1949 book ‘Delight’ in which he wrote of the many joys to be found in even the simplest things. Worth a read if you can find it.

The path was only slippery at the bottom where we entered coppiced woodland. On the road was Fell Side Farm which I’d never really noticed with its date stone lintel,1707. Of course Mike had been inside in the past.

The normally quiet lane was busy with traffic which turned out to be from a ‘cut your own’ Xmas tree sale at Higher Lickhurst. Once past this we had the lane to ourselves around the base of the fell to pick up a farm track and a steep climb back towards the top. Down below a pheasant/partridge shoot was in progress and the shots seemed frighteningly close. No further comment.

It stayed dry for the two hours we were out and the minimal effort to get some exercise and chat paid off.  Here are a few random photos of the day.

A gloomy summit.

Last checkpoint.

Would this help?

Grade II Listed Fell Side.  [Rebuilt].

1709.

Will it fit?

Crow Trees Farm.  Strangely this made me think of  ‘A Message To You Rudy’…

 

  The sun was setting as I drove home for mince pies.

*****

BEST OF A BAD JOB – MOOR PARK.

Saturday 5th December.  1.5 miles.  Preston.

How can I put this, am I anxious or annoyed?

To start with I was anxious, Chris my son had arranged [24hours previously] to come up to Longridge at 12noon for a socially distanced walk up on the Fell. He never arrived. Phoning his house brought no reply, I know when he is on ‘nights’  he switches the phone to silent in the day. More phoning was to no avail and his mobile was switched off. At one o’clock I felt I had to investigate and drove down to Preston. His car was in the street and all his curtains drawn. No answer to my knocking on his door.

How quickly can someone die from Covid-19?  Images of police breaking down that door. I already had experienced a similar traumatic episode involving the emergency services at a friend’s house in Liverpool last year. Passers-by start looking at me suspiciously especially when I start throwing objects at his bedroom window. It took several objects clattering against the glass before a weary face appeared.

Anxiety over, I suppressed annoyance; he had slept in and was very apologetic. I thought of mentioning alarm clocks but didn’t. I marched off round the corner to get some spare keys cut whilst he surfaced and drank tea.

Sorry we are not cutting keys due to the pandemic

On my return to save the day, or was it just his face, he helpfully suggested a walk around the local park – ‘whilst I was here‘  So that is how I came to walk around Moor Park and thoroughly enjoyed it.

The last time I walked through Moor Park was when I connected most of the open spaces In Preston into one continuous trail – A Preston Ten Parks Walk  [At the time I was hoping to spark the curiosity of local walkers to follow in my footsteps, although lots have viewed the post no one has admitted to completing what I thought was an excellent outing.]

Back to this afternoon we arrived into the park at its Southern gate and walked clockwise, along with many of Preston’s residents enjoying the open space and welcome sunshine. Moor Park is Preston’s largest and oldest park, originally common land it became, in 1833, the first municipal park in the emerging Northern Industrial towns. In the mid-1860s the park enclosed some 100 acres of the moorland, landscaped by Edward Milner.  It was part of a scheme to provide work for those unemployed because of the Lancashire cotton famine. A series of walks and ‘drives’ for horses and carriages were created, including an avenue of lime trees which was known for many years as ‘the Ladies Walk’. This formed the southern boundary of the park where we came in.

On the south road are large houses now used for rooms for solicitors and doctors. Also, here is the old Park School, Preston’s grammar school for girls, opened in 1906 closed in 1969. I think it is part of the campus for Preston College now.

Passing the children’s playground there was a little café open and doing a good trade in takeaway coffees.

At the edge of the park was a granite stone [?erratic] commemorating Tom Benson’s world record In 1997  of walking the perimeter of the park, covering a total of 314 miles!

The path we took ran through sunken gardens with an ornamental grotto and rocky tunnel.

The Jeremiah Horrocks Observatory was built in time for the 1927 total eclipse of the sun. [Horrocks was a 17th century astronomer from Hoole]. The university now own it but light pollution and vibration from the busy Blackpool Road prevent it being used for serious scientific research.

In the C18/19th the park was host to horse races  and there is a starting stone still present recalling those days.

The Serpentine lake is now looking rather unloved,  The supports and gates of a demolished  bridge were constructed from Longridge stone.

On this far side there used to be open air baths, they were filled in during the early seventies. There is no sign of them now.

During WW1 a hospital for the wounded was built.  After the hospital was closed in 1919 the buildings were used as an open-air school and then a prisoner of war camp in the second world war. When it closed some of the wooden buildings were moved to the docks for the Sea Cadets Headquarters. Only the interpretation board gives a clue to its position.

On the East side of the park  is the Preston North End football ground; they were a founder member of the English Football League in 1888. Today there was a league game being played, but due to Covid-19 rules no supporters are allowed so you wouldn’t know it.

That was an hour well spent with my lovely son.

*****

 Preston Council’s amateur map is reproduced below, by all means click on it to enlarge

 

GOING HIGH[ish] – FAIRSNAPE.

Sunday  22nd November.  7.5miles.   Fairsnape, Chipping.

A chance comment from Sir Hugh last week – “glad to see you going high, or highish” when I hadn’t really, up above the Hodder. Time to put things right with the highest fell close to me in Bowland, at 520 m, Fairsnape.  [Pendle Hill I climbed a few weeks ago is 557 m, Sir Hugh must have missed that one, but is now out of my self-imposed lockdown driving limit]

I pull in at a little parking spot on that lonely road heading into the hills above Chipping. This  used to my fell running circuit, up Saddle Side over to Fairsnape and down over Parlick. I decide today to do it in the opposite direction, something new. I play with my camera in panorama mode trying to catch the scene, the result is the header photo.

Walking down the lane I drop into Wolfen Mill, now a group of holiday lets. The Chipping Brook which powered the mill here continues down past several abandoned watermills above Chipping.

Chipping Brook.

Wolfen Mill pond.

As I follow the estate road a rainbow develops over the fells, more fiddling with my camera.

Wolfen Hall, now bypassed by the right of way, was once the old Manor House dating back from C13th. In those days it was said to be a lookout post for marauding wolves! It has been comprehensively rebuilt and the adjacent kennels are a noisy reminder of its present hunting credentials.

I reach Fell Foot and meet the crowds coming up the lane, I estimate well over 60 cars parked down there. Typical lockdown weekend.

As the majority stagger straight up and down the front face of Parlick I take the contouring path round the side but do make the effort to complete the climb to the summit. Everyone is enjoying the day, even the children, and glad to chat.

Around the rim I pace myself along the well-used track. There is nobody sat on Nick’s Chair today, most don’t even notice it.

As I arrive at the 510 m summit I’m trying to get a photo of the scene when along the ridge come three friends. We compare our routes and then pass on, they down with the crowds and I across the peat hags to reach the true summit.

Paddy’s Pole, shelter and trig point.

Visibility is good for this dodgy stretch where you can flounder into serious bog if not careful. I was the only one at the cairn but a man appeared from the delights of Fiensdale looking rather bedraggled.

The true 520 m summit.

On I went using the decent track eastwards and bump straight into Pete, a photographer friend who is compiling a new book on Bowland. He is laden down with long lensed expensive cameras and hasn’t come far. More catching up in these strange days when you don’t see your friends for months.

There are some well-used tracks down Saddle Fell, probably old sledge ways for gathering peat. I stray to look across at Burnslack Fell and down to the remote Burnslack ‘farmsteads’, this gives me the idea to extend my walk around the fell to visit this isolated spot.

Burnslack Fell.

Burnslack farms.

Burnslack Valley.

Burnslack Farm.

Pendle Hill and Longridge Fell.

As I wander back up the lane to my car hail showers blow in – winter’s coming.

*****

PONIES ON THE FELL.

Tuesday.  November 17th.  5 miles.  Longridge Fell.

What a gift for my ‘a new experience every walk during this lockdown’. Fell ponies welcomed Rod and I to the summit of Longridge Fell. I’ve never seen them up there before and I have no idea where they come from. Three healthy looking, sleek, black ponies. They were used to human presence and searched our pockets for food. It is not a good idea to feed ponies as I believe  they can become ill quickly.

We had arranged to meet on the fell road as we hadn’t seen each other for 6months. A little inventiveness had to be used to get parked amongst all the other lockdown ramblers. I warned Rod in advance to wear boots as everywhere off track is decidedly gloopy. Certainly on the last quarter of a mile from where we had left the forest road it was difficult to stay on solid ground.

The sun shone a little into the Vale of Chipping below us and the Bowland Hills looked – well just like they always look, majestic, if a little hazy. I steered a way through the woods along the ridge avoiding the worst of the mud and the fallen trees. We then made our way back on the solid ground of the main track and caught up with each other’s news, restricted as it is. Home in time for a late lunch before it rained. See you after Christmas Rod? Strange times.

*****

FAMILY DURING LOCKDOWN.

Friday.  November 13th.  5.5 miles.  Bleasdale.

Just spotted it, this is Friday the 13th, survived again.

As you may know I’m trying to get something new from each of my lockdown walks. When I say ‘new’ I’m encompassing new perspectives, new experiences and hopefully new encounters with nature or whatever.

I haven’t seen Chris, one of my sons, for about three months so that is something new for today. He is a baker and social distancing is not the best but his firm have had no cases, yet. There is talk amongst some of his workmates with friends who have tested positive but nobody has volunteered to self Isolate. I imagine that is quite a problem generally with people not wanting to lose their wages.  As he works night shifts there are not many afternoons when he is up, but today we arrange to meet in Bleasdale, a short distance drive for us both, well within the ‘rules’.

Social distancing is the order of the day. Since the last time I saw him he has grown a beard, fortunately I knew of that from telephone conversations otherwise it would have been a shock. Strangely half the hair growth is white, so he has gone grey without knowing it. We do the usual walk except the muddy bits. He thinks it is 20 years since he was last up here.

Here are a few photos from our walk.

The postman cometh.

The school master’s house now a desirable country residence.

One of those abhorrent vermin traps but open to any creature. Should be made illegal.

Is this Rhododendron flowering late or early?

Ever the gentleman.

 

Beacon Fell and a hazy Preston.

Pointing to Parlick

That wonderful beech hedge.

The River Brock on its way.

 

The afternoon is pleasantly sunny, and we enjoy the catch up. Not sure when we will do it again.

My other son and family are in Manchester and have decided they will keep well clear of me for the time being which I appreciate.

*****

ANOTHER SIDE TO STOCKS.

Thursday 12th November.  6.5 miles.  Slaidburn.

My vitamin D is topped up as I’ve been in sunshine most of the day, a bonus for November and I made sure I got away a little earlier so that I would finish before dark. During the current lockdown I have imposed upon myself a maximum distance of 15 miles [30 minutes] car travel for the purpose of subsequent exercise, I hope that is reasonable particularly into the sparsely populated countryside north and east of me. Today I travelled a shade over 13 miles to Slaidburn. I had been expecting to park outside the village because it has been so popular recently but on arrival the car park was virtually empty. I’d joined some of those red dashed lines on the map to give a circuit to the east of Stocks Reservoir I hadn’t walked before.

Yesterday was Armistice Day and the memorial was appropriately decorated.

From the old bridge over Croasdale Brook I headed out towards Hammerton Hall.

An incident happened here many years ago but is still fresh in my memory. Alan and I were returning from a circuit of Stocks Reservoir and chatting away, arrived at the ford leading straight to a farm in the village. Without consulting the map we just waded through maybe a foot of water knowing we had dry gear in the car. The farmer was leaning on his gate watching us but said nothing until we were well through. A voice then boomed out “you can’t come this way, it’s not the path. It’s on the other side”  Sure enough we should have stayed on the far bank down to the bridge. He showed no compassion so back we trudged through the river certain we could hear faint chuckling.

Over an even older and graceful Holmehead Bridge, past the falls on Barn Gill.

And there was Hammerton Hall on a prominent position above the River Hodder.  It is a large three-gabled Elizabeth house [1600] standing on the site of a 12th century house and incorporating parts of it. Its south facade gives a fine display of mullioned windows. Once the home of the  Hamerton family, a wealthy medieval family who are reputed to have been able to ride from Slaidburn to York (approx. 50 miles) on their own land!
Unfortunately, they lost most of their wealth and power when Sir Stephen de Hamerton joined Abbot Paslew of Whalley in the Pilgrimage of Grace of 1536. This was a protest against Henry VIII’s proposed dissolution of the monasteries. Sir Stephen was executed for treason in 1537.

My arrival at the next farm, Black House, coincided with a window cleaner, for some reason I found it incongruous that he would be out in such a remote spot. We exchanged pleasantries, he was from Colne and had a large rural area to cover. Farmers down country lanes are vulnerable to theft, and he has taken years to build up their confidence. He went on to talk about churches that he works on, for free, again I never really considered the cleaning of all that stained-glass. I walked on whistling George Formby’s favourite – ‘When I’m cleaning windows’

Along the elevated farm lane I had good views of Stocks Reservoir and Bowland Knotts behind although this wasn’t the purpose of the day.

At the end of the farm lane I came out onto tarmac opposite the small Dalehead Chapel. When the reservoir was constructed back in the 30s Stocks-in-Bowland village was engulfed, On the lake bed are remains of cottages, shops, an inn and a school but the church of St. James was dismantled and rebuilt here above the waters on the edge of Gisburn Forest. I sat on the church steps enjoying the sun.

It was easy to walk past my turn off into the forest, so I had to double back along the road to find it. I plunged into the woods for a short distance but then followed a farm track past a barn down to another isolated farm Brook House Green. The usual collection of huts and rubbish surrounded an interesting house with a date stone of 1761.

 

I always meant to put the engine back in…

I’ll gloss over the next half mile of pathless, reedy and boggy ground to arrive at Higher Stony Bank, another 17th century house. Along the road a man was exercising his large Irish Wolfhound on his own rough plantation. He, not the dog, was eager to chat about how he had bought the land and was planting it up with wild flowers and trees. “Best view in Bowland“…

Asking where I was from and where I was going he also said he had bought Pikefield Plantation, my next destination. This is a  group of trees on a prominent hill in the heart of this countryside. His parents ashes were up there and as his mother had been an archaeologist he had constructed a tumulus. What will future historians make of that? I often do wonder about people who leave litter in the countryside but this had me baffled…

The way back to Slaidburn was complicated through small fields with awkward stiles and poor waymarking. I battled on. Slaidburn remained hidden in the folds of the hills until the last moments.

How much can you get from a 6-mile walk?

*****

RADHOLME and BROWSHOLME.

Tuesday,  10th November.   6.5 miles.  Browsholme.

My road to Whitewell was closed, so I hurriedly chose another route. I was on the way to complete another interesting looking walk from my bumper book of Bowland Walks by Jack Keighley. I found a different parking spot on the circuit which also meant I avoided some unnecessary climbing in and out of Whitewell. There was no reason to include Whitewell as I’m already well acquainted with it. It was nearly 12noon when I set off across the fields where there are some limestone craglets  and an old limekiln. When my children were small we used to come here for a scramble about. The views of the Bowland hills are not so good today.

The first farm was Radholme Laund. I got chatting to the farmer in the yard, and he told me that at one time Matthew Brown breweries leased it and spread their brewing wastes on the land. Matthew Brown started in Preston in 1830 and moved to Blackburn in 1927. In 1984, they acquired Theakston but were eventually bought out in 1991 by Scottish and Newcastle. I well remember their Lyon Ales and many local pubs were tied to them. Radholme goes back to the Domesday Book and was originally a hunting lodge, Laund usually denotes a deer park.  A large area of Bowland was set aside for deer hunting until farming took over in the C16-17th. The present house was built in the C19th and has an impressive southern facade.

Boggy fields took me down past woods which had lost most of their leaves. Longridge Fell was always in the background. The cattle are now all in their winter quarters [the best place for them did I hear you say?] at Higher Lees Farm.  Then I was in and out of a stream before coming out onto the familiar road at Middle Lees. I crossed the course of the Roman Road and followed the farm lane to the cluster of houses at Lees House. I already knew the awkward path going steeply down to a hidden footbridge over Mill Brook and then steeply up the rough ground on the other side where I disturbed pheasants galore. Sheep pastures were climbed to the barking dogs of Micklehurst. I met the farmer who talked of  Covid-19 and the fate of local pubs. Most of these hill farmers must live an isolated life and yet are happy, nay keen to engage in topical conversations  I missed the path further on and ended up with more road walking than necessary. Until now the day had been bright but I seemed to enter low mist and drizzle and yet behind me Longridge Fell and the Ribble valley were in brightness.

I entered the drive of Browsholme Hall by its elaborate gatehouse but saw nothing of the Jacobean house still occupied by the Parker family who were the ancestral owners since 1507. Most of the land I’ve been walking on today at one time was part of their estate.  I’ve added a photo of the hall courtesy of visitlancashire.com As I made my way went up the fields Pendle came into view, I was heading towards the prominent Browsholme Spire. It is said that its castellated folly was built as a landmark for shooters on the nearby rough fells. It has been adorned with satellite communication dishes in recent years no doubt earning rent from telephone companies. A case of selling one’s soul. On a good day up here the Yorkshire fells are seen but today it was just the rather murky local Bowland Hills. At the bottom of the hill in the trees a sulphur spa is marked on the map, so I searched it out but was disappointed  to find only a boggy spring with the water only faintly tasting of sulphur.

Crossing over that Roman Road once more I took the lane to Crimpton with its seven hand loom upper windows. After the reformation a wooden image of Our Lady Of White Well was brought to the isolated Crimpton for safety. Hence, the farm was well known to Roman Catholics as ‘Our Lady Of The Fells’. I found a seat for a snack looking out over Birkett Fell with Mellor Knoll and the Bowland Hills behind. I knew the next stretch through the forest was muddy and awkward but I couldn’t believe my eyes, most of the trees had been cut down and a machine was clearing up. The operator was able to grab a tree trunk in the machine’s claws, whizz it through stripping the branches and then cut it to length and place in a pile. Unbelievable – lift, strip, chop all in one go.

The day was getting on with all these distractions and I wanted to search out some caves in the limestone on the way back to my car. First was Hell Hole in a fenced off copse. There seemed to be two dangerous open deep shafts and a low cave entrance all connected to the same stream system.

Further on over more barbed wire was Whitewell Cave at the base of a rocky outcrop, a small stream disappeared underground leaving a dry cave entrance that would worth a crawl with a torch. There is another pothole down the road but that will have to wait for some other time.

By now it was almost dark, there was no sunset just a little light out to the coast, but I had only a short distance to go up the road.

Another shortish walk with plenty of new interest for me. I’ve just realised I never saw another walker – a perfect lockdown walk.

 

*****

ANOTHER HURST GREEN CIRCULAR.

Monday 9th November.  4.75 miles.    Stonyhurst.

In the current Lockdown one is able to meet one other person outside and travel a reasonable distance for exercise. So today I phone Mike and suggest meeting him up on Longridge Fell, I have a circuit in mind that will avoid squelchy fields and take us on some unknown lanes thus fulfilling one of my Lockdown commitments to find something new on each outing.  For Mike’s sake, he lost his wife to Dementia 2 months ago, it might have been better to have a jolly party of friends along, but we live in strange times so today it has to be me. We manage to park on the crowded lane, who would ever have thought that parking up here would become a problem. I chat away as we wander the quiet lanes down to Stonyhurst. Familiar landmarks are passed – the Pinfold Cross, Chapel, the college ponds, the long drive, Cromwell’s stone, the Virgin Mary statue,  graveyard, the Almshouses, the Bailey Arms [closed]. I’ve illustrated and written about all these many times.

Cromwell’s Stone.

Instead of our usual route up the Dean Brook valley we followed the lane down to Dean Bridge deep in the gorge almost under the rest of Hurst Green. I’m sure some houses down here must have been mills long ago. A steep pull up Shire Lane, some expensive looking houses in Ribble Valley’s executive belt, I’m only a little envious., Then a very pleasant  section of hedged track to the late C17th hunting lodge of Greengore. I have photographed the North and East sides many times but today I have lifted a  photo from the internet of the hidden south side.

The south aspect.

We were soon back at the cars just as the clouds gathered and it started raining for the rest of the afternoon. Just another rather sad day.

*****

UPDATED BMC COVID-19 ADVICE TO WALKERS AND CLIMBERS.

I have just received an email from the BritishMountaineeringCouncil giving advice to climbers and walkers during the forthcoming lockdown. As I found it comprehensive and clear I reprint it here.

*****

On Saturday, the Prime Minister announced plans for a second lockdown in England from 5 November. Lockdown 2 is likely to be different in a number of ways to the initial lockdown we saw in March, but how is it expected to affect climbers and walkers? Our access team take a look.

Before we delve into the detail, it’s worth highlighting that the key tactics that we all need to use haven’t changed: social distancing (2m where possible or 1m with extra precautions in place such as wearing a mask), using masks in indoor public places (including public transport) and properly washing your hands are all still crucial.

This article is based on current government guidance rather than legislation (which hasn’t been released yet) and will be updated as more information becomes available.

Can I still go climbing and walking?

Yes, you can. From 5 November, you can only leave your home for specific purposes. One of these is to exercise outdoors or visit an outdoor public place (which specifically includes countryside), with members of your household, support bubble or one person from another household.

As with the first lockdown, consider your choice of venue, as there is potential for increased numbers with indoor options removed. Whilst the likelihood of transmission outdoors is very low, large numbers of people in honeypot locations could result in further general access issues as seen earlier in the year: bad parking, sanitation, litter and drawing attention to sites where formal access has not been agreed. As always, have an alternative plan in case your destination is too busy and be considerate in your actions to make sure we don’t see further access losses.

Can I travel to go climbing or walking?

Current guidance ahead of the lockdown is that it will be OK to travel to exercise if you need to make a short journey to do so. The definition of ‘short’ is open to interpretation, of course, but the guidance also advises avoiding travel in or out of your local area so it seems the intention is to allow exercise near to where you live but not further afield. We’re trying to get further clarification on this, but it does mean that at least local parking is legitimate. Walking and cycling as a means of transport is also encouraged where possible in preference to public transport to avoid the risk of transmission.

However, do not travel if:

  • you are experiencing any coronavirus symptoms
  • you are self-isolating as a result of coronavirus symptoms
  • you are sharing a household or support bubble with somebody with symptoms
  • you have been told to self-isolate after being contacted by NHS Test and Trace  

Can I stay overnight away from home?

All overnight stays and holidays away from your primary residence will not be allowed. This will include camping, staying in vans (if not your primary residence), huts, self-catering, hotels and holidays abroad and in the UK. Exemptions apply if you need to stay away from home for work, education or other legally permitted reasons.

Can I travel from England to Wales, Scotland or further afield?

The guidance is clear that for English residents, travel outside of England is not allowed other than for very specific purposes (i.e. your work requires it or a few other very specific circumstances).

BMC Manchester  03/11/2020

WEATHER WINDOW ON A LONGRIDGE MISCELLANEA.

Sunday November 1st.  6.5miles.   Longridge.

Hurricane Zeta is chasing Storm Aiden across the British Isles this weekend. I get out this morning for a couple of hour’s exercise between the two.

My last post predicted or prayed for another lockdown, well Boris appeared on TV last night and announced one. I’m not getting into a debate about the why’s, when’s and how’s of our country’s attempt to deal with the virus. There will be plenty of time for that.

No, my walk today is probably going to be a regular one as we are told to stay home – but get exercise, no mention of distance travelled from home for said exercise, another fuzzy rule. So I walk from my doorstep. The diggers are having a Sunday rest on the latest building site coming to Longridge. Down past more new housing, then the cricket pitch and I’m in the countryside. Unusually ‘Mile Lane’ is empty of pedestrians, last lockdown it was busy most of the days with the good folk of Longridge taking their daily perambulation.

A delightful little lane along the track of the old quarry railway leads through bushes to the park. I have a painting of it on a sunny day by a local artist hanging upstairs.

The park is a magnet for dog walkers. There seems to have been an increase in canine ownership during the pandemic, unless I’m imagining it.

From Higher Road a track goes around the back of the old Quarryman’s Arms……and then through the quarries and down past the reservoirs, more new housing to the right, onto Lower Lane. Along here I spend time chatting, at a distance, to friends I haven’t seen for a while. I walk past one of my former homes, can’t believe it was so large. For the record…

Down by the church, a rather flooded Happy Alley, and round more reservoirs I come to Pinfold Lane. A pinfold was an enclosure for cattle or sheep that had strayed. The animals would be restrained in the pinfold until the owner redeemed them – normally by paying a small fine. Pinfolds were found in towns and villages from, at least, the Middle Ages onwards. I don’t know the site of this pinfold but it may have been at the end of the lane, here there is a benchmark and a substantial ancient cross base.

I stopped to put on my waterproofs as the first drops of rain were felt, but I was home before it became heavy. There was no temptation to save thousands buying a new house.

So in the coming lockdown weeks this little excursion, or variations on it, will probably be my go-to walk. Is ‘go-to’ an American expression? I don’t really like it and should have changed it to ‘regular’. I will no doubt come across other interesting Longridge titbits as time goes on.

*****

DEJA VU – LONGRIDGE IN LOCKDOWN?

Friday October 30th.  5.5 miles.  Longridge.

I’m stood at the entrance to Sainsbury’s giving my hands a good sanitising wash and wiping down the handles of my basket. Probably a half dozen other shoppers pass me going straight into the isles without even the most rudimentary hand sanitisation. The scientists say we have to go into stricter measures to combat the virus. The politicians vacillate. The public obviously can’t be bothered. Go back six months to April and I had stopped coming out to shop, home deliveries were the thing. People stepped aside to let you pass on the pavement. We clapped the NHS on a Thursday. What’s changed? The virus hasn’t, the scientific advice hasn’t – ‘way past the worst scenario’. Unfortunately the politicians have stopped daily updates, too much bad news – 274 deaths today. So the public have stopped listening.

I’m not sure I will be coming out to Sainsbury’s again, could it be classified as a superspreader?

*****

This afternoon as the sun came out I felt emboldened with my new boots to walk some sodden field paths around Longridge.  I used these in the height of lockdown for relatively safe exercise as one didn’t meet anyone. Time to resort to them once more as the local virus count escalates. We have been in the third tier restrictions for a while.

Back in Spring, remember that lovely weather when we were all frightened, these paths were well-used by locals getting their daily exercise. Today I feel I’m the only one.

I splodge on through the wet fields. I’m out in the open and free and get my fill of views to all the surrounding hills.

Longridge Fell.

Parlick and Fairsnape Fells.

One of the local pheasant/partridge shoots are relaxing at the inn, Ferraris Country House. Ironically another, The Dog and Partridge,  has closed under the stringent economic circumstances. Incidentally today DEFRA and the government have been dragged into some sort of legislation of Game Bird shooting. We do not know the effect of releasing millions of Pheasants and Partridges into local environments. And can you believe we are still allowing the use of lead shot?    https://raptorpersecutionscotland.wordpress.com/2020/10/30/licensing-scheme-for-release-of-pheasants-red-legged-partridge-in-england-following-wild-justice-legal-challenge/

I calm down and cross the road into Little Town Dairy who have continued to keep their shop and café open during the present crisis. Notice the clever use of milky flowers on their sign. I meet up with the matriarch of the family business, and we talk about past times. Somehow I end up in her kitchen where all the family decisions are enacted.

By the time I get to Sainsbury’s the sun is setting.

Sorry but I won’t be calling in to my local pub. The country needs an efficient lockdown now.*****

A BIT OF COUNTRYSIDE NORTH OF BOLTON BY BOWLAND.

I had to check the map this morning to ensure I wasn’t straying out of Lancashire on today’s walk, we are in Covid-19 Tier 3 after all. An extra mile and I would have been in Yorkshire but I don’t think anyone would have known.

Another route out of Jack Keighley’s Bowland walking guide taking me into the farmlands north of Bowland-by-Bowland. I have walked from B-by-B many times but this route promised some good riverside tracks unknown to me and probably unknown to any as I discovered.

After my recent rather long-winded posts I hope this will be more concise, it all depends on what I find.

There is a little car park in the village next to the bridge and surprisingly I was the first in this morning. I went south for a short while towards Sawley passing a sandstone cross base isolated in a field, I’m not far from Sawley Abbey. The last time I approached Bolton Peel from a different direction I had to ford the beck, so I was a little apprehensive of what I would face today after heavy rain. To my delight there was a footbridge alongside the ford, and I was soon up to the road at Bolton Peel. This is a sturdy C17th farmhouse with a preaching cross in front of it. From the original Peel family came Sir Robert Peel, he of police fame. There was nobody about this morning, so I had a sneaky peek into the adjacent barn with its cruck roof beams.

Now heading north I used a path by a lively beck into the little hamlet of Holden. There were some impressive waterfalls deep in the gorge. I have been visiting Holden Clough Nursery for years but now in younger hands it has become a thriving garden centre. Plants are still at the heart of the business, but they run a café and shop which I hoped would be open.  On with my mask and through the gift shop, I got their first brew of the day. The first time I’ve been in a café for 7 months – maybe the last.

Across the road is the exquisite Broxup House.

I knew the next stretch from a previous walk. It starts through the narrowest of gaps.  I was soon passing the C17th Hungril Farm and its posh barn conversion neighbour.

The next farm along was equally expensively renovated and yet round the back was the ubiquitous rubbish ‘waiting for Godot’

Muddy fields took me higher to the road at Broad Ing. Up here was expansive rolling farming lands with views to Pendle [in cloud] and Weets Hill. My heading photo depicts the scene and if you click to enlarge and look closely flocks of Lapwings or Redwings, perhaps both, can be made out above the trees. They were a common sight today.

Climbing higher I arrived in the farmyard of Wittons where a few waymarks wouldn’t have gone amiss. I blundered on into the next valley where some delicate barbed wire climbing was needed on the steep pull up to an old barn. Round the corner was an arrow pointing down a better route, one at the bottom pointing up would have been useful.

From Lower Flass my guide [admittedly 25years old] describes a permissive path alongside Monubent Beck, just follow the ‘white arrows’. A Right of Way took me down to a footbridge and it then climbed the hillside away from the beck. The permissive path was nowhere to be seen, so I just set off close to the water imagining I was on a track. A stile appeared and the odd footbridge but in between was jungle. It was obvious that nobody comes this way any more, there were certainly no white arrows. I was more concerned I might get shot if there was a pheasant shoot on. A bonus was that I glimpsed several roe deer running off through the trees. Every time I came to a stile I was emboldened to go further.

Eventually after this interesting trespassing section I came out the far end onto a road which I recognised from our cut through way to Settle and the limestone crags. By the bridge the Monubent Beck joined into Skirden Beck. This group of houses around the bridge is called Forest Becks and on foot I was able to see them better than when driving through. A lot of them have had recent facelifts.

A little further on the road I also Had a closer look at Stoop Lane house, 1703.

A familiar path above Skirden Beck led me straight back to my car at the bridge. I didn’t explore the village of B-by-B as I have covered it in a previous post.

*****

AMBLING AROUND ABBEYSTEAD.

*****

https://i0.wp.com/www.map-of-uk.co.uk/maps/map-of-lancashire.gif

The green area on the above map is the County of Lancashire which as you may well know has, as of this last weekend, gone into the highest Covid-19 restrictions – Tier 3.  So my wanderings in the foreseeable future will be solely in the Red Rose County. There are far worse places to be. As it happens I was already planning to visit Abbeystead today for a walk plucked out of Jack Keighley’s  Cicerone ‘Walks in the Forest of Bowland’  guide which seemed to have several points of interest. I’ve been following quite a few from this guide in the last weeks and have been impressed by their quality. The forecast is for cloud so a low level walk suits.

*****

I arrived at the carpark at 12noon to find it full, I’d half expected that. Fortunately a couple of early birds were just finishing their walk so I grabbed their spot. The River Wyre has two initial tributaries, The Marshaw and The Tarnbrook. I started my walk alongside the latter and soon came to the former. My curiosity had me bashing through the undergrowth to find the confluence of the two – a Dr. Livingstone experience. The two small streams meet and soon the River Wyre takes on a more majestic flow. Satisfied I go back to where I had started, it’s going to one of those days.

Marshaw Wyre bridge.

Meeting of the Waters

The Wyre flows on.

I took some photos of these large plants growing profusely along the banks – I don’t know their name? I thought the leaves were too large for Japanese Knot weed but I’m not so sure now.

My path left the Wyre Way and shot up some steep stone steps which kept on going. Eventually fields followed to come out onto the road at Hawthornthwaite with the fell road heading across to the Trough of Bowland just above me. All around were the Bowland Fells looking a bit dismal today.

The mole catcher has been working overtime.

A farm track took me past Marl House and then into open fields with no obvious track. For this walk the guide states “A somewhat complex route requiring careful reference to map and directions”  Well I was soon searching for the next stile and essential footbridge across a formidable little gorge, Cam Brook. Walking up and down my GPS didn’t seem to be helping. I persisted with my search and finally found a new looking bridge across but not where shown on my map. Anyhow, I was across and climbing fairly new steps but at the top where I should have gone right to an old mill a new pheasant fencing blocked my way and shepherding me upwards. I tried an open space in a hollow but at its end a high gate. I could see no path continuing, so I decided to head for a barn shown on the map and follow the track from there.   As I walked on I spotted three walkers coming the other way towards where I should have been. After pleasantries with them, I set forth or was that back, determined to find the mill ruins. After a couple of stiles I came across them in the woods, sad reminders of a bygone time. It had been a water driven cotton spinning mill until destroyed by fire in 1848. Associated workers’ cottages were disappearing nearby. That hollow I had been walking in half an hour ago was in fact the old empty mill pond.

Satisfied I returned to pass again the cheerful three sat on a log having lunch.

Last of the summer wine.

Now I knew where I was going – Little Catshaw 1763 and Catshaw Hall 1678. I passed through here before with Sir Hugh on our straight line walk from Longridge to Arnside in November 2018.

Little Catshaw.

Catshaw Hall.

The steep track led down over a sparkling side stream and to the Wyre in its heavily wooded valley. A sturdy bridge was crossed before stone steps went straight up the opposite hill to Lentworth Hall. These tracks must be centuries old linking farms and maybe going to the church where I was heading.

More stone steps.

A gate at the top of a field, suitably full of sheep, admitted me into the churchyard of Christ Church, The Shepherds’ Church.  [The gate has its own story which I thought was a joke at first] The church dates back to the C14th but was rebuilt in 1733 and a spire added to its tower later.  Its stained-glass windows depict Biblical shepherd scenes, these would have been better appreciated from the interior but it was locked. In the porch are rows of hooks supposedly for visiting shepherds to hang their crooks. Above the door is an old inscription –  ‘O ye shepherds hear the word of the Lord

I found a bench to sit on for lunch, it was 2.30 after all.  Next to me was a war memorial with a thought-provoking inscription perhaps aimed at the agricultural soldier.

My next objective was a Friends Meeting House and Quaker burial ground up the hill at Brook House. As well as the meeting house there had been a school and schoolmasters house in this little complex of buildings, now residential conversions. The graveyard with its simple uniform headstones was accessible and was a very calming place. Apparently the Friends Meeting House In Lancaster has use of it but there didn’t appear to be many recent burials.

I was now quite high on the northern flanks of the Wyre Valley but views were limited by the weather. More fields took me past Chapel House Farm with its barking dogs and over a rickety stile to the road at Summers House.

Then a walk across rough country in worsening light to Grizedale Bridge over the Tarnbrook Wyre. A cart track was followed back to Stoops Bridge.

Grizedale Bridge.

Stoops Bridge.

Before I got my car I had a wander into Abbeystead  itself. All the C19th buildings are now part of the Duke of Westminster’s vast estate and built in an Elizabethan style. The big house is hidden from view. The hamlet is named after an Abbey founded here in the C12th by Cistercian monks from Furness. It didn’t last long and was soon abandoned.

All I needed was a bit of sunshine to bring out the Autumn colours.

 

*****

A CIRCUIT OF PENDLE HILL VISITING A HIDDEN WELL.

                                                                              Evening light on Pendle.

As I lazed away this morning reading I came across a comment about Fox’s well on Pendle Hill.

George Fox was born in 1624 and was in his 20s by the time of the civil wars between the Royalists and the Parliamentarians. This was also a time of questioning the established religious ideas. Fox was travelling the country preaching an alternative simpler Christian message. By the 1650s he was in Northern England and in 1652 according to his journal…

“As we travelled we came near a very great hill, called Pendle Hill, and I was moved of the Lord to go up to the top of it; which I did with difficulty, it was so very steep and high”                                    “When I was come to the top, I saw the sea bordering upon Lancashire. From the top of this hill the Lord let me see in what places he had a great people to be gathered”                                                   “As I went down, I found a spring of water in the side of the hill, with which I refreshed myself, having eaten or drunk but little for several days before”

Hence, the name, Fox’s Well, in memory of his visit. He went on to found The Religious Society of Friends, the Quakers. Many parts of the North became Quaker strongholds and because of his vision Pendle Hill became a special place for Quakers.

*****

Well no time to lose.                                                                                                                                 The sun was shining but it was already 11am, I’m slow to get going these days.                          The well is not marked on the OS maps but I had a grid reference SD 80494200, I must have walked past it on my last visit here.                                                                                                          As I drove across I was planning a route in  my head, park in Barley and walk the hill on its steep side, the Big End. Coming down the road that cuts across the east side of Pendle I was astonished to see a line of parked cars stretching for half a mile, negotiating past them wasn’t easy.  Things were even worse in the village with the car park full to overflowing and lots of desperate drivers cruising about. So this is a Covid-19 day out for half of Lancashire. I curse myself – I shouldn’t have come to a honeypot on a Sunday.

Just as I’m thinking of going elsewhere I remember a safe and legal pull in on the road perfect for my little car. So Just after mid-day I’m walking back up the hill past all those badly parked cars. I then join the crowds along to Pendle House and then up the steep stepped path. Not really my idea of a day’s fell walking but I have an objective so it’s a matter of head down and grin and bear it.

As if by magic as soon as I cross the stile at the far end the masses disappear, they are on the way to the crowded Trig point which I can happily miss today. I pick up the track heading down the north side and before long I can hear running water. It becomes a gushing sound and there on the hillside is flowing water from a spring. Just above is the metal cover of the well and lo and behold when I lift it  there is the goblet to fill with the clearest of water to quench my thirst. The best water in Lancashire it is said, I wouldn’t disagree.

Feeling pleased with myself I ponder my onward journey. I have no intention of joining the masses on the summit, so I pick up a traversing path going west. This takes me to a stone shelter on the edge of the northern escarpment where I’d planned a lunch stop. Perfect. As I’m finishing a youthful foursome from Liverpool arrive. I share the seating with them and enjoy their banter. Onwards to the Scouting Cairn and then I decide to go over Spence Moor, Pendle’s little brother. I forgot to mention that the views are outstanding today in all directions. I have a birds eye view of Clitheroe in the Ribble Valley. Over towards Longridge Fell and Bowland parapenters are circling. The Three Peaks, Skipton and East Lanc’s hills, Winter Hill and the distant Welsh mountains complete the panorama.

I’m surprised to find a recently improved track heading my direction, probably coming from The Nick of Pendle. Reluctantly I soon have to leave it to maintain height to Spence Moor. There is nobody about and on the rough pathless ground I put up grouse, snipes and skylarks.

On the way across boggy ground I come across a sheep on its back – riggwelted.           Riggwelter takes its name from Yorkshire dialect with Nordic roots; “rygg” meaning back, and “velte” meaning to overturn. A sheep is said to be rigged or ‘riggwelted’ when it has rolled onto its back and is unable to get back up without assistance. You can experience the same by drinking a few pints of Black Sheep Brewery’s Riggwelter beer. Anyhow, I came to the rescue of this girl although she didn’t seem very appreciative.

There are no markers to announce my arrival at the rounded summit of Spence Moor. A little further and I pick up a soggy path going east. Down to my right are the East Lancs towns of Nelson and Colne. While over to the left is a different view of Pendle, my steep ascent path is clearly seen on the right.

I decided, perhaps wrongly, to drop steeply down to the two Ogden reservoirs, it would have been better in retrospect to have carried on high towards Newchurch.

A tarmacked lane descended to Barley Green where there has been a tasteful conversion of old Nelson Waterboard 1930 buildings to living accommodation. And then I was back into Blackpool, err no,  sorry – Barley. There were no-parking signs everywhere and I can only imagine the hassle that the locals have had during this strange pandemic when the world and his dog have to go walking. Normally this is a pleasant village to wander through.

I’ll come on a weekday in the future.

 

*****

 

 

 

HOW FRAGILE WE ARE.

Stop awhile this weekend in your Covid-19 angst, especially if you live in the north, and have a listen to Sting…

…now we have all calmed down lets look at the problem.

From the figures things seem to be getting worse. So what is the solution? Well the government will slowly, what’s the rush?, try and tell us next week.

Oh! And by the way where do all these ‘leaks’ come from?

 The above is just one example of ‘Brutal trading conditions’. Conditions repeated in the hospitality and drinks sector, the tourism and airline sector, the performing arts sector, the fashion sector and most other sectors you can imagine. Our economy has been allowed, nay even been encouraged,  to depend upon these honest but nebulous sectors. Where is the backbone of our economy?  In pubs or in industry?  Years of free enterprise and privatisation policies have led us down this cul-de-sac.

We can’t even rely in these Covid-19 pandemic times on a ‘test and trace’ system which has been put into unsuitable private hands.

So as the situation worsens by the day I don’t know the answers any more than you, the scientists or the politicians. But I do feel that we should never have been in this situation in the first place, virus or not.

No one wants to be one of those 87 or those millions out of work. A cleft stick situation.

How fragile we are.

BLEASDALE BIMBLE.

Bleasdale.

Today I do a short walk on the Bleasdale Estate lanes with Mike who has all too recently lost his wife to dementia.

I’m not the best of companions as I become as upset as him.

We have done this walk many times in the past before returning home to his wife’s excellent lunches.

Today I provide the soup and support, I hope.

The butterfly below brightened the day.

A Red Admiral making the most of the October sunshine.

*****