When I phoned Sir Hugh and suggested Nicky Nook there was some hesitation in the air. Maybe he was tired from his daily walk, maybe he was tuned to Autumn Watch, maybe the forecast was dubious but most probably he had ‘done’ Nicky Nook too many times in the past. Of course, being the gentleman that he undoubtedly is, he agreed tomorrow – Scorton. 9.30am SD 503 485.
9.30 AM. I was stood taking pictures of my new boots when he arrived. It was several hours later that we met many other walkers at the trig point on Nicky Nook. Sir Hugh kept reminding me that we had been walking uphill all day, a slight exaggeration.
Lanes had taken us out of Scorton with a delightful stretch of old pathway into lower Grizedale. There is a footbridge which I’ve passed many times with an inviting path up into the woods on the other side. Today that’s the way we went. Delightful. The boggy field at the top was not so good, I was glad of my new boots with high ankles. We passed quickly through the grounds of Burns farm. Suddenly we were high above the coastal plain and could pick out various landmarks, notably Blackpool Tower although you can’t see it or much more in the picture below. Good waterboard tracks led us around the two Barnacre Reservoirs up to the three wireless stations. This was moorland walking on the edge of the Bowland Hills and I think we reached a point higher than our intended summit. We were still climbing.
We came out onto the fell road at a point where in the past we had followed the River Calder up to Arbour, of rhinoceros fame, as part of the straight line route linking our houses. Walking down the road we could see Nicky Nook from its far side. The car park at Grizedale Bridge was full and lots of walkers started appearing. More squelchy fields took us past the large and untidy Fell End Farm. Some drainage pipes served as seats for lunch when we had the only drops of rain all day. Rams were sparring and butting each other to try and win the affections of a passing ewe. At last, we set foot on Nicky Nook and slowly made our way to the top. What you think, hope, is the top turns out to be a surveying column from the reservoirs’ construction. There are always people on top and today was no exception. We studied the motorway trail up through Lancashire, picking out the Forton Service station tower and further on Lancaster University. The lakes were in cloud and I forgot to look for the Isle of Man. Whoever Nicky was he had superb views.
The track down has been resurfaced and stepped awkwardly. The lane at the bottom was busy but not as chaotic as earlier in lockdown, where does everybody come from? Some day I will have to walk alongside Wyresdale lake, the hall there was apparently designed by the renowned Lancaster architect Paley. The Priory, where I always stopped for a coffee when cycling the ‘Trough’, looked closed and the Barn busy, so we were soon back at the car close to the church with the spire that you see from the motorway.