November - walking into winter


IMBY – “In My Back Yard”                                    Sunday November 4th 2012

15 people and three dogs          20 miles            Ldr : Andy “Pinocchio” Dobney


There are fibs, white lies, outright lies, misrepresentations, falsehoods and deceptions. Pinocchio Dobney ran though the full gamut of fraud on this walk. How many times did we hear “this will be the last hill”, “there is no more mud”, “nearly there now”? All afternoon we were threatened with “the sting in the tail” no less than 122 steps to finish the second loop. As we reached the top puffing and panting at least two people had counted 166 steps not 122. Another deception. By this time Pinocchio’s nose was so long he was stumbling over it!


Joking apart this was one of the finest and most enjoyable walks of the year aided and abetted by a still and stirring early winter day. The GPS at the end showed 20 miles virtually bang on and no less than 3,600 feet of ascent. We had climbed Mount Halifax, Mount Brighouse and Mount Rastrick!


The route - Loop 1, distance 12 miles.

We started at Clay House, a 17th century manor house and gabled barn before a trek through the autumnal woods to Copley and the admirable Gothic facade of St Stephens' church. On to Route 66 canal to the Salterhebble basin then the short Hebble Trail to the outskirts of Halifax. Avoiding the Shears Inn 1664, we were soon to plod up Trooper Lane - 570 ft in just over half a mile! On to Beacon Hill overlooking Halifax, and down to the Magna Via, a medieval packhorse route from Wakefield to the town. Unfortunately in the descent Alma took a tumble and hurt her lower back.

We walked on tracks and fields to emerge at Southowram Church, then past the cricket club and down through Park Road Woods, avoiding the nudist colony against stiff opposition. We then took the shorter main road route to Elland Bridge, and back to the car park. Dave and Alma sensibly called it a day and travelled back home. Here we had lunch.


Loop 2, distance 8 miles.

We headed up through Hullenedge, on to a track which ascended to the M62, a modest hill, past the farm shop, over the motorway, avoiding the old coaching house, The Wappy Spring. Under the M62 and down a pleasant road, then up and down two old bridleways, through woods and climbed up and down and up to Stainland. Through the fields, passing the golf course, we emerged at Holywell Green. After admiring the Shaw Park follies we continued through some well preserved double walled tracks and up a number of steps to Jagger Green, a 17th century village. We walked through the fields on recently discovered old flagged path, then the last wooded section. Down to the main road and back to the car park just as the light was fading.


Author’s note – Pinocchio wrote the route description. His phrase is “the light was fading” – reality is “it was dark!” Plus – have we ever had a walk report which featured the two words “up” and “down” so frequently? All credit to Pinocchio though this was a cracker of a walk. Andy did so well and just a fortnight since he was involved in a horrendous car crash!


John B.

 Thanks to Andy and John for the pictures




Wednesday November 7th. Lady and the Tram. 12 mile linear walk from Fleetwood to Blackpool.

Leader: Hilary Scott. 14 walkers and 3 dogs.


On arrival at Fleetwood It seemed that the ladies were going to outnumber the men by two to one as eight women and four men were near the ferry terminal. I had visions of a photograph of the twelve of us walking down the prom and every man with a lady on each arm. It was not to be as firstly Peter appeared out of nowhere and then Gerald joined us just after we started the walk.  The sexes were more evenly matched but it is not often that the women outnumber the men. Maybe it was the title of the walk that attracted them.

I did break two cardinal rules on this walk. Firstly, I didn’t recce it and secondly I didn’t have a map with me. Still, a linear prom walk from Fleetwood to Blackpool should present no navigational problems as long as you keep the sea on your right hand side! So after a group photo at the statue “Welcome Home” (where the wives and families used to wait for the Fleetwood Trawlers to return) off we went round the corner to be met by the bracing wind.  Well, more like a force ten gale really, the forecast was for strong breezes and we certainly had that. We must all have taken in more ozone than you can shake a stick at! Passing Rossall Point Tower we rounded the headland to get our first glimpse of Blackpool Tower in the far distance. At least two of the group had not been to this area before and whilst Fleetwood is rather run down, the sight of the impressive Rossall public school gave a better impression.

Pushing on – against the wind – we reached Cleveleys and stopped to look at the old TB Sanatorium which still retains external shutters. Apparently there were no windows originally so that the patients could fully benefit from the good clean bracing Lancashire coastal air. Needless to say todays’ owners have good double glazing! There has been a lot of work done on Cleveleys front and we paused for morning coffee at one of the stone shelters, all trying to get out of the wind.

Just along from here is a monument in named and dated order of all the wrecks on the Fylde coast. Riverdance, the RORO ferry was beached near here in 2008, the last name on the list up to now. Continuing along we passed the renovated Norbreck Hydro and the lift at Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The Tower was getting closer now but we made a stop at North Pier to walk along to the end. (It was free, the LDWA so love a bargain) The scene from Titanic on the prow of the ship was faithfully recreated by Peter and Barbara much to the amusement of nearby fishermen. The carousel is still on the pier but was not open today, the bar was though.

I was looking for somewhere to have lunch but a sheltered spot was impossible to find. The prom from here to Starr Gate has been improved and upgraded but all the old shelters and most of the seating has disappeared. Serves me right for not recceing the walk. We had to make do with huddling in front of some closed shops on Central Pier. A few braved the element on a nearby bench; Bernard said he didn’t know he would be having his lunch in such conditions. Stop whinging Bernard; people pay a fortune for a health cure, that wind will have got rid of any germs hanging around! Jackie and Barbara went and purchased some Blackpool rock as presents for home, the dogs enjoyed helping Gerald eat his chips. Don’t chips always smell so good at the seaside?

Moving on we walked over the new pavement which is a myriad of names, quotes, sayings, etc etc. You need a good hour or so on a warm day to read all that is there so we had to leave most of it and continue on. We passed the new registry office (a very nondescript building) on the promenade opposite the Tower.  A lot of the businesses have now closed for the winter and there were fewer people on the opposite side of the road as we approached South Pier. Just beyond the Sandcastle is the High Tide Organ which works on air currents from the water. The tide was coming in now and the organ played very nicely for us – fascinating. The sea was rough due to the wind; the beach patrol passed us several times on the walk, putting chains across many of the beach steps.

Passing some fancy sculptures we came to the Glitter Ball nearly at the end of the walk. Cue for much disco gyrating underneath but Viv and Alan take the prize for their dance efforts, move over Vincent and Flavia! The tram terminal was in sight but we paid a quick visit to the beach, the sand felt very soft after all the concrete. The sun was out as well now; the promised late afternoon rain did not arrive. There was a tram waiting as we got to the stop. One of the new super-duper modern ones with a conductor to take the very modest fare of £2.50 for all the way back to Fleetwood. Of course some of the party had the magic passes which meant that they travelled for free.  There was a couple who travelled with us back to Fleetwood where they were going for a meal before returning to Blackpool to see the Illuminations.  Pity they had finished last Sunday!! It was a very pleasant smooth ride back and we could see most of where we had walked. It was nice to be out of the wind as well. Still, the walk was as promised, no hills and definitely no mud! The advertised mileage was 12, Jim’s GPS said 12.7 miles but I hadn’t factored in the trip to the end of the pier, I think that was .35 each way!! Well, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Thanks to all who came, an enjoyable day.

Oh we do like to be beside the seaside......




Sunday November 18th. Aiggin Stone Amble.

20 miles from Todmorden. Leader: Andy Griffin.



It was ten years ago that I first walked this route when it was a challenge event run by the Calderdale Group. Originally it started from Todmorden Cricket Club. The route description is available as a download from the LDWA website. The route was easily followed on the recce with no major changes since it was written.




I was joined on the walk by fifteen walkers and three dogs. Starting from Stansfield Road car-park the route took in Todmorden Edge, Trough Edge End, Rough Hill, Crook Moor, Hollingworth Lake, Hoar Edge, Blackstone Edge, Light Hazzles Edge and Gaddings Dam. We walked 20 miles and 3200 feet of accent which included a diversion to the Aiggin Stone which is not included in the short version of the walk but was included in the 28 mile route.




The day started cold and icy but cleared to bright sunshine by 11.15. We stopped three times with lunch taken at Hollingworth Lake. Conditions underfoot were testing at times with deep mud and wet leaves. We were back in Todmorden by 4.00pm and everyone enjoyed the day.




Andy Griffin


Lunch with the birdsHoar Edge

Descending from the Aiggin Stone


Wednesday November 21st. Puffing Billy Explorer. 13 miles from Ramsbottom.

Leader: Peter Haslam. 25 walkers and 3 dogs.



This extended version of the Puffing Billy summer evening walk visits not only Grant’s Tower above Ramsbottom but also Peel tower, on the opposite side of the valley.


The initial climb up to Grant’s tower via Nuttall Park went quite well, the sodden ground was waiting for us further on.  The weather was clearing by the minute and the views all around were extending further as the day wore on.  By the time we said our goodbyes to Paul and Pat, who were doing the original route of six miles, we had glimpses of the blue skies promised by the BBC.  The Hamlets of Chatterton and Lumb had items of interest including stories of shot Luddites and a pair of magnificent garages, surely the highlights of the day.


A muddy climb to lunch was followed by a muddy trek past Ellen Strange’s stone to Peel tower, via a muddy path past Pilgrim’s Cross.  Down Holcombe Old Road to find an even muddier way back to Ramsbottom by way of Woodhey and Brooksbottoms and finally over the railway tunnels back to Nuttall Park.


Final mileage was 12.6


Thanks to all who came.