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Friday, 18 October 2019

Wainwright's Way - Blackburn to Whalley

Thursday 17th October 2019
Wainwright's Way - Blackburn to Whalley - 11 miles

I am walking this in daily sections with friend Bowland Climber; he has already done this section so here I am playing catch-up on this first section from Blackburn where Wainwright was born.

A long early morning drive down the A59 with the sun in my eyes had me at Whalley, the finishing point,  to catch the 9:29 am train to Blackburn. Waiting on the station I had interesting conversation with a chap who was a walker and also a motor sport enthusiast. The meeting of the Wainwright Society at Stavley recently had coincided with car racing at Oulton Park where he has a season ticket. Ouulton Park had won.

I knew what to expect walking out of Blackburn up the long straight Audley Range with terrace rows of small Asian shops, many boarded up, and at halfway a prominent purpose built mosque. One greengrocers in particular had a massive eclectic stock of vegetables, but predominant and in your face, and by far the largest stock was their display of brightly coloured onions (must say something about Asian cooking ingredients?)

It took a long time to get out of  the town. As I  hit the towpath of the Leeds Liverpool canal a darkly clad chap who I didn't like the look of was about fifty yards ahead of me (I had seen him closer just before descending to the path.) I found I was walking marginally faster than him. I didn't want to reduce my pace, but to speed up and overtake would need considerable effort, and then I would have to maintain that uncomfortably faster pace to stay in front. I did speed up and overtake at which point he offered no greeting and I pressed on marching hard. I didn't want to obviously look back too often. The canal passed through various industrial complexes and I hoped he would peel off which he did after about a mile, but being pressed like that spoilt a bit of my enjoyment of the pleasant canal ambience.

Leaving the canal by a farm track I was soon climbing hard and high on deep grass to the skyline to reach Tan House Farm, prominent and exposed as I approached.

Passing by the farmyard there was an old bath more or less on the path. I have been intrigued for years about the frequent use of these items by farmers as watering troughs for livestock in the fields. In normal domestic circumstances it is usually the lady of the house who natters for refurbishments and decorating and the like, but I suspect at farms it is Mr. Farmer who nags the wife - "don't you think it's time we had a new bath" with his thoughts on a water supply for a new field just acquired from Farmer Jones. I wonder if there are  statistics for bath purchase by occupation - I reckon farmers would come out on top.

The ridge took me to a short section of road and where I left this was a perfectly placed bench for lunch timed at 12:30, so I sat and had coffee, cheese with beetroot and horseradish chutney sandwich and some cake, all in the warmth of the sun with extensive views below a  cloudless blue sky.

An old bridleway continued to follow the high ground until it suddenly descended to reveal pretty Dean Clough Reservoir with distant Pendle Hill framed beyond.

I descended then traversed above the far side of the reservoir. A long quiet road section followed then tracks which opened out to give a wonderful view of Whalley far below. A steep descent on the road and a trek through the town with its posh shops had me back to the station and my parked car. This would be an excellent introduction to the walk and I envy somebody perhaps from abroad undertaking this with no prior knowledge.

Blackburn station now with a quality modern makeover

Walking out of Blackburn

Audley Range

Guess what is the Asian's favourite vegetable?

Onto the Leeds Liverpool canal

I turned left here to ascend to the skyline ridge

Seen on a farmyard barn - what I would have given for an AJS in 1959?

Dreadful stile. Preceeded by fifty feet of high nettles and brambles, then the whole thing was overhanging back towards me. 

Skyline Tan House Farm

"Don't you think it's time we had a new bath dear?"

Dean Clough reservoir and Pendle Hill

Whalley - it was along way down

Whalley railway viaduct. Opened 1850. 49 arches. Seven million bricks. 600 metres. Plenty of info. on Internert if you want to know more

Florist's fun in Whalley

Ignore trig point flag markers and pink horizontal

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Wainwright's Way, near Crook to Troutbeck

Tuesday 15th October 2019
Wainwright's Way - near Crook to Troutbeck (Limefit Park) approx. 8 miles

We thought parking may be a problem at the Troutbeck finishing point because access to the road from our path was limited. Limefit Holiday Park was the only realistic possibility. We rendezvoused there and all was quiet at this high class holiday chalet complex. The lady in the little shop had no hesitation in giving us permission to park, and off we drove to our previous finishing point, and we were walking by 9:20 am. The two car method should work ok on the next section but after that we may be relying on BC's ingenuity with logistics.

To Windermere and beyond we had delightful fringe of the Lakes walking on undulating cropped sheep pastures, with small outcrops of Lake District rock hinting at rock climbing days. 

It is an old cliché to say the camera doesn't lie when we all know it does. A mini tarn promised prettiness on the map but on arrival it was largely overgrown and not attractive, but I took a photo so I could grumble. but when I saw the result back home prettiness was undeniable.

Approaching Windermere our route coincided with the Dalesway in places and also a pleasantly remembered day with BC during our campaign climbing all the hills in Wainwright's Outlying Fells back in February 2016.

We followed a number of folk up Orrest Head and I remembered granddaughter Katie walking all the way to the top unaided in January 2014 at age 2 years and 3 months:

Katie on the way up Orrest Head - Jan 2014 - note my shortened walking pole

Going back to the veracity of camera and photos I took two shots of Windermere from Orrest Head and when I saw the result decided they were not good enough, but then converted them to black and white producing what I think are quite attractive views.

The descent from Orrest Head was followed by Longmire Road, an old bridleway with superb views all the way of the Coniston hills and Weatherlam out to the west and our way ahead for the next section up the Troutbeck valley.

Definitely worth clicking first photo to see as slideshow

Off to a good start on cropped sheep pasture

School Knott

The photo makes this look much better than it appeared in real life

Windermere (town and lake)

Plodding up Orrest Head

Windermere from Orrest Head

Windermere south from Orrest Head. Original photo was not good but as b and w not bad - same with next photo - they look much better if click to enlarge

Zoom to Morecambe Bay from Orrest Head

Weatherlam and the Greenburn Horseshoe

BC looking down to our finish at Limefit Park holiday complex - see next photo.
Our route will continue up the valley ahead to ascend the distant Thornthwaite Beacon and High Street over to Patterdale

Blue route is a small diversion we took to avoid some of walking on main road
Correction to diversion om map below

Blue route shows our diversion from Nick Burton's route

Sunday, 13 October 2019

Wainwright's Way - Hawes Bridge to near Crook

Saturday 12th October 2019 - Hawes Bridge to near Crook - 12.3miles

All too often I find myself reminded of Rum Doodle in my own context.  The cliché about men not being able to multi-task was well demonstrated as I was driving us back to our start at Hawes Bridge after depositing BC's car at our destination. I was relating one of my anecdotes to BC, for the umpteenth time I suspect, and drove straight past the turn off down the narrow lane to Hawes Bridge and had to proceed on the dual carriageway to return via a roundabout thus loosing us ten minutes. Even so we were off to a good walking start at 9:15 am.

A combination of the River Kent in full flow and the pathway of the filled in Lancaster Canal took us into Kendal. Nick Burton, creator of Wainwright's Way obviously had to take us on a stiff ascent to Kendal Castle. We had splendid panoramic views of Kendal below and the castle with its formidable moat, albeit waterless, The castle still has structure to see and stands unassailable on top of its hill. We chatted to a couple of dog walkers amongst a scattering of other visitors and made our way down into the town through Abbotts Park and into the high street. The town hall where Wainwright was borough treasurer was sighted as we turned off to climb endlessly, first by road and then by steep limestone terrain to gain the ridge of Scout Scar.

Halfway up the road part there was a mock Norman arch gate in a high wall between stone buildings with a stonemason's plaque proclaiming "SCOTCH BURIAL GROUND - 1760 - 1855." The door was locked so our curiosity was un-satiated but I at least was left to my imagination, and dare I say it thought again about the potential excavation the size of an Olympic swimming pool filled with bottles of whisky, but would they be full or empty? Unfortunately I reckon the stonemason would not have had access to Mind the Gaffe - the Penguin guide to common errors in English by E. L. Trask, but there again that book does seem to refer to English and not Scottish.

Sod's Law prevailed as a violent rainstorm hit us during the comparatively short time we were on the most exposed part of our walk. We hoped for shelter at the Scout Scar gazebo structure towards the other end but it was well occupied and not offering much protection so we plodded off to cross the road onto the start of Cunswick Scar, and then a descent to the lower undulating levels for the rest of our day.

Worth clicking first photo to see all as slideshow

River Kent in fine form shortly after our start

Strange earthworks. I'm sure the archaeologists would have a fine time speculating about the  raison d'être,

Believe it or not that was a canal bridge in its day

Kendal on the way to the castle

Kendal castle and moat

Main street in Kendal. Wainwright's town hall prominent in distance

The mysterious entrance to an alcoholic treasure trove? See plaque below

Heavy shower on the way atop Scout Scar...

...and it's getting nearer as we approach the trig

Looking back - we declined to compete for shelter with other rain soaked visitors.
I converted photo to b and w for a bit of drama

Descending to the undulating plains for the rest of our walk

BC teeters round a tricky patch, I teetered even more - both of us ended the day with dry feet

As we approached this sorry sight I recognised it immediately even though It had succumbed even more since my previous visit in May 2010 - see next photo.

As at May 2010

St. Catherine's church  see plaque below and its replacement in following photo

The new St. Catherine's church. Shap fells and possibly to left part of Kentmere

AW's Way green - we took riverside footpath

AW's Way - green