Plodders Jan to June 2015

Settle Loop plus Two – 12 miles,  Wednesday 24th June

15 walkers and 1 dog set off at 10.00am on a sunny morning from the main car park in Settle to walk an extended (at the eastern end) version of the Settle Loop. The Settle Loop is a 10 mile circuit which was the first section of the Pennine Bridleway to be opened in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
For the first two miles or so of the route there was a steady climb out of Settle passing Langcliffe (below on the left) to reach firstly Clay Pits Plantation and then Jubilee Cave. A short detour was taken so that some of our party could venture inside the cave.
After Jubilee Cave there then followed several miles of open moorland with superb views into the distance on the left; the distinctive shape of Pen-y-Ghent and Malham Tarn being particular features. Along this stretch we stopped for our coffee break although we didn’t hang about for too long because, by now, the sun had disappeared and a cool breeze had developed.
Eventually we reached Langscar Gate and turned right onto the minor road to Malham which we followed downhill for about half-a-mile before going right again onto Ewe Moor. At this point Malham Cove was just below us on the left – although out of sight!
The climb to the highest point of the route (at just under 500m) via Fair Sleets Gate was quite steep and everybody was ready for lunch at the top. In warm weather this is a good place to stop but the cold breeze had persisted and it was decided to descend to a more sheltered spot.
After lunch the next stretch of the bridleway was more rocky as we descended, with Rye Loaf Hill on the left, to pass the recently-extended Stockdale Farm. On reaching Stockdale Lane a photo opportunity presented itself with Settle Scar and Attermire Scar in the background.
It was downhill all the way now and Norman was tempted to set his ping-pong ball rolling! After turning off Lambert Lane and encountering our first stile of the day(!), we came across a small reservoir which seemed to be in the process of being re-constructed.
Finally, the lane though Upper Settle led us back into the town centre and the main car park. The day was rounded off in the Talbot PH where a good selection of real ales were available to us.
Ian Pickup

Photos rom Don Watson 


Plodders Dales Way Part 2, Burnsall to Kettlewell, June 10th

Twelve Plodders met at Burnsall on a fine Wednesday morning at 10.30am.

It was a gentle stroll along the course of the River Wharfe towards Grassington the Way being relatively flat and a detour was made to look at St Michael and All Angel's Church at Linton (more Mouseman carvings), some risking the stepping stones while others taking the longer route over the bridge, by which we returned to the "Way."

We had a three-quarter of a hour break at Grassington where the walkers did their own thing.

The exit from Grassington was too early but we were soon back on the correct route.

We had now left the Wharfe and headed for the high ground and what should have been a nice peaceful stroll with lovely views, however, the pleasant sound of nature was broken by the boisterous noise of children on a field trip, however, it was good to see them enjoying nature.

The limestone outcrops and dry stone walls where a feature of this stretch with a brief stop at a limestone kiln before heading off towards Conistone Pie for lunch (more limestone in the shape of a pie).

The views here good across the dale towards Kilnsey Crag and the Wharfe. As we sat there we saw numerous walkers, some of which where obviously doing the whole of The Dales Way with large packs on their back.

It was downhill from here through a wood and down to the road passing below Scargill House, a Christian retreat.

We left the road further down, returning to grass under foot and numerous stiles which took us eventually into Kettlewell.

Here we all stopped for a refreshing drink before heading for the awaiting cars, a good day having been enjoyed by all.

The next stage will be from Kettlewell to Oughtershaw on Wednesday, 23nd July. Contact Allan or Neil if you intend going so they arrange transport back from Oughtershaw.

Report: N Woodcock; Pictures P Woodcock

Photos from John Rattray 


Plodders Dales Way Stage 1, Ilkley to Burnsall, May 27th

Ten Plodders met at Burnsall on a fine Wednesday morning at 10am. Some of the early arrivals calling in at the local tea rooms for a cup of tea before setting off in two cars to Ilkley and the start of the walk.

Progress was good with a gentle stroll along the course of the River Wharfe leaving and joining it all the way to Bolton Abbey.

A brief stop at Addingham Parish Church where the walkers tried to find mice (the church had been renovated by "Mouse Man" Robert Thompson some years ago and he had left his trademark mouse on some of the pews.

Further down the track we came across Farfields Friends Meeting House which some of the walkers ventured into.

After crossing the Wharfe at Bolton Abbey, some venturing across the stepping stones while others choosing to use the bridge, lunch was taken near Cavendish Pavillion at the side of the Wharfe.

The next section took us besides the Wharfe and past The Strid a very narrow but extremely deep part of the Wharfe.

Onwards to Bardon Bridge where Bernard treated us all to an ice cream before continuing along the edge of the river there where plenty of birds to be seen and some of the walkers spotted a kingfisher. Around this time the rain started but did not deter the ramblers and did not spoil the days walk.

Some of the walkers got ahead of the leaders further along the track and took the wrong track up towards Appletreewick instead of keeping low besides the river, as one of the leaders carried on along the correct route the wanderers had to backtrack down to the river.

Now with only a mile to go one of the leaders started to have problems with cramp which resulted with him having to stop at a farm with only half a mile to go and the others carried on and one returned in their car to pick him up.

A good day out was enjoyed by all  even by this limping leader. Thanks to John for coming back for me at the farm. The next stage will be from Burnsall to Kettlewell on 10th June.

Report: N Woodcock; Pictures P Woodcock

Photos from John Rattray

Occidental Chipping Walk, Wednesday, April 29th

Eighteen Plodders (and Millie the dog) assembled on the car park in Chipping on a day of promised showers and sunshine and the group was pleased to see Jim who has been out of plodder action for some eighteen months. A sharp shower just at 10 am saw us set off in waterproofs.

We left the village by the fields towards Fell Foot for the ascent up Parlick, our major climb of the day. A combination of a faulty GPS unit, and paper map being blown away in the high winds on Parlick, could have led to major navigational complications but the situation was rescued by Peter’s athletic map recovery and Ken’s digital mapping expertise.

We continued along the ridge towards Fair Snape Fell, enjoying panoramic views along the way, and took a drinks stop at Paddys Pole.

After a little scrambling over the peat hags on Holme House Fell we found the fence line we wanted and seventeen plodders climbed the fence to put us on a very wet and boggy path. By some strange sense of intuition Mike (and Millie the dog) stayed on the “wrong” side of the fence but they were soon marching along a paved highway that appeared out of nowhere over the fell. The rest of the party soon decided to join them!

We arrived at Fiendsdale Head and began our descent on a firm dry path that lead to our lunch stop by the cairn under Winny Bank. By then the sun was shining and we enjoyed fine views taking in Winter Hill to the south and the Fylde coast, with Blackpool Tower prominent, to the west. After a very pleasant lunch Norman remarked that only one thing could have improved the stop, and that was to have done the walk in August when the whinberries would be ready for harvesting.

We continued our descent, passing through the farmyards at Holme House and Higher Fair Snape, where fortunately the noisy farm dog that had been loose when the walk was reccied was chained.

We continued on to Blindhurst then crossed the fields on the lower slopes of Parlick in the afternoon sunshine back to Fell Foot, where we took further drinks and the opportunity to adjust clothing for the suddenly warm weather. We then made our way back to Chipping over the fields.

The group took refreshments in Tillotsons bar in the village (highly recommended) and in the convivial atmosphere the navigational issues earlier in the day were soon forgotten!

We covered some 12 miles with gains of some 1,300 feet and luckily we had more sunshine than showers through the day.

Final word on the day to Jim who said “In the last eighteen months it is clear that Plodding has moved to a different level” . We knew what he meant.

Thanks to Don for acting as official photographer for the day and to Ken and Peter for map assistance.

For anybody who fancies some plodding, look out for details of Alan’s upcoming Dales Way plod, over the rest of the year, and John’s continuing 36 Degree epic.



Martin's Mini-Plod, Thursday April 23rd

Martin Banfield's report is available here on Martin's blog



Todmorden Beach Plodder Walk, Wednesday, April 8th

Leader: Don Watson
Thirteen Plodders and two dogs (Maude and Millie) met at Todmorden Sports Centre on a glorious Spring morning for a walk up to Todmorden Beach and Stoodley Pike via The Calderdale Way and The Pennine Way.
After the leisurely saunter through Centre Vale Park, passing Todmorden Cricket Club we entered the town through the narrow streets, crossing the Rochdale Canal at the Golden Lion which is open again after the flood damage of 2012 (did anybody spot Matt Baker and the Country File team? See the walk photos).
We then made the steep climb up Shoebroad Lane passing the Quaker Cemetery and continued up to Rake End and then the steady climb up to Gaddings Dam which we walked round to the golden sands of Todmorden Beach which was voted to be better than Bolton Beach by all but one (guess who). Here, we had our first stop, enjoying a drink and a bite to eat in the beautiful sunshine. Nobody dared go for a dip in the icy water except Norman who wanted to go commando, but the Plodders restrained him from going skinny dipping as he had forgotten to bring his Speedos.
From here we carried on over the moor to meet the Pennine Way and the path up to Stoodley Pike passing many walkers who were out in force.
At Stoodley Pike, the half way mark, we sat down on the rocky outcrop and enjoyed our lunch and looked on as David, Bernard, Alan and Peter climbed the dark, circular staircase up to the Pike balcony to enjoy the view.
From here we kept to the Pennine Way down to Callis Wood where we joined the Rochdale Canal and saw quite a bit of boat traffic using the locks.
There was a man dressed like a Rastafarian on a boat to match moored on the canal. I'm sure I got a whiff of something that I last smelled walking past a café in Amsterdam.
We soon arrived back in Todmorden where we made our way through the market and had a photo shoot at the Lancashire/Yorkshire border stone. From here it was back through Centre Vale park and back to the cars. A few of us finished the day off by having a welcome drink in the Wetherspoons White Hart pub in Todmorden.
Thanks for your company on this 11.2 mile walk on a beautiful Spring day.




Norman’s Ingleborough Plod, Wednesday, April 1st

The Magnificent Seven: Bernard, John P, Paul, Heather, Mike, Peter B, yours truly and Millie the dog.
What a day, Wednesday April Fools Day.  I got Bernard early doors with the salmon leaping on the lake!
We had to decide low or high level – we decided high level over Ingleborough – let’s go for it!  Next big decision was do we go through the estate gardens or up the pack horse route?  It was 65p to take the easier route, big decision – we decided on the easier one when we saw the pay machine was not working!
We got to Gaping Gill. The weather was bad – snow, hail and very strong winds.  I saw two men coming off Ingleborough so decided to ask them what it was like.  They were from the regiment in Hereford S*S, they knew me instantly.  They said in army terms it was crap – snow, ice, very strong winds and total mist.  I took their advice and decided to keep lower, still very severe conditions indeed.
We made our way to Sulber Nick then Crummackdale, Norber, Austwick and finally into Clapham, 11 tough miles we calculated at The New Inn Pub in Clapham which is very good indeed.  The owner is Australian and he is a Rugby Leaguer like me so we got on very well.

Final words from Bernard “The Plodders who missed it, missed a cracker of a walk”
Thanks, Stormin’ Norman

Photos to follow


Rossendale Quarry Heritage Walk, Wednesday, March 18th

We organised this Plodder walk on the same day as the Two Crosses Marshals’ Walk in the belief that some members would prefer a shorter, more cultural walk than the Marshals’ Walk. This proved to be true for the ten walkers who set out in spring sunshine for the Rossendale Quarry Heritage Walk.

Quarrying was a major industry in Rossendale throughout the latter half of the nineteenth century and the early part of the twentieth. This industry owed its existence to the peculiar stone lying below the Rossendale hills. This is a sandstone almost as hard as granite and extremely hard-wearing. This property made it ideal for paving flags and kerb stones and thousands of tons of these products left Rossendale on the newly built railways to pave the streets of expanding Victorian towns and cities throughout Britain.

The industry declined during the first half of the twentieth century, leaving behind a legacy of abandoned quarries lining the edge of the moorland plateau above the Rossendale valley. This 11 mile (ish) walk visited some of the more spectacular of these remains.

We started by ascending to Lee Quarry, now being promoted by Lancashire County Council for use by mountain bikers. This contains the remains of crane bases, loading platforms and narrow-gauge railways, but the most spectacular features are the high rock faces and deep pits from which stone was quarried. We stopped for a group photograph at a partially restored saw-shed, where in the past large pieces of stone were sawn into flagstones.

One of the features of Rossendale’s past quarrying infrastructure is a network of narrow gauge railways or tramways running for miles across the moorland plateau. These are now little more than convenient paths across the moors, with only the occasional remains of a wooden sleeper testifying to their original purpose. We followed one of these paths from Lee Quarry along the edge of the moor above Bacup, before dropping into the valley to follow the route of the main-line railway, now a cycle path, towards Whitworth. We climbed again to pass Facit Quarry and descended to the Cowm Reservoir to eat our lunch in the sun at the tables thoughtfully provided by the Watersports Centre. Cowm Reservoir lies in a steep sided valley, with quarry remains crowning the sides along most of its length.

After lunch we had a flat walk along the length of the reservoir, before climbing steeply to Ab Top Quarry. At Ab Top we stood on a man-made stone platform which once would have been occupied by a steam crane and gazed down the sheer drop into the deep quarry pit from which the crane would have lifted stone blocks. We left Ab Top by walking along a tramway contouring along the steep valley side and then crossing the moor to Thurns Head quarry.

Up to now we had walked mainly on dry, firm surfaces, but that was about to change as we walked up the moorland path towards Rooley Moor Road. This path had its fair share of mud and bog, but it was soon behind us as we reached the road. Then just a few hundred yards walking on Rooley Moor Road brought us to the new mountain bike path from Top of Leach to Lee Quarry. This path would complete our circuit and we headed down it and back to the car park.

Mike Lee

Photos by Mike Lee and Don Watson


Another Curry Walk from Heaton Park via the Irk Valley, Thursday, March 12th

Martin Banfield's report is here.


Silverdale Plod, Wednesday, March 4th

Here's my report on (Norman's) the Silverdale Plod. Please excuse any 'poetic licence'. (Surely there's none of that....I was the leader so it must be true.)

Martin Banfield


Piethorne Plod, Wednesday Feb 18th, 10 miles

It was on a cold, cloudy morning that 17 walkers and one dog met by the Ogden Reservoir in the Piethorne valley to start the Piethorne Plod. The Piethorne valley contains a number of reservoirs, the oldest and largest of which is the Piethorne Reservoir and it was to this that we headed first. After crossing its dam, we traversed the hillside above the reservoir before dropping to its head. Here morning coffee was taken, alongside a building once used for adding lime to the reservoir to neutralise the acidity of water running off the surrounding peat moor.
Suitably refreshed, we climbed out of the valley up a steepish track, accounting for a substantial part of the promised 900ft of ascent, and continued on into the next valley. Crossing the dam of the Readycon Dean Reservoir, we continued our ascent to the Pennine Way path on the moor top.
This was probably not the most sheltered spot to stop for lunch, but the National Trust had made it more comfortable by using a helicopter to deliver bundles of stone flags for us to sit on. Only the usual suspect complained!
After lunch, with most of the climbing behind us, we followed the Pennine Way path over White Hill to the aerial mast alongside the M62. From there it was more or less an easy descent back into the valley, although we found out why this area is known as the Windy Hills. Finally, we descended through the woods to the Ogden Reservoir and the car park.
Mike Lee

Photos thanks to John Rattray

More photos form Paul Woodcock


Moses Gate Plod, Feb 4th

On a beautiful, almost cloud free morning, 16 walkers left Moses Gate Country Park. Because of a path closure near the railway line, it was necessary to alter the route. This was unfortunate because the original route was much nicer. The new option did however stay on a more level course, although it was decidedly wetter. After passing one of the highlights of the walk (a power station), we arrived at Clifton Country Park. Unfortunately the visitor centre & toilets don’t open on Wednesdays, so we had to cross our legs.

Lunch was taken at the “Lookout” overlooking the lake, then we were off in search of the next highlight…..the water treatment works. This was easy to find as we just had to follow our noses! As we walked along the Outwood Trail, we came across an old steam engine funnel. John Rattray did some research and found out it is called Trinity. "Trinity is a memorial to the navies that lost their lives during the construction of the railway. The sculpture uses the symbolic language of flowers which was common during the Victorian period when the railway cutting was created. The column has rusted over time making the sculpture part of the natural environment, and a symbolic representation of a tree, at home in the surrounding woodland." Thank you John for the info.

When I did the recce, I saw many different birds including lots of robins, a grey wagtail, a wren and a couple of pairs of swans. Unfortunately we didn’t see as many today, but we did see a heron! And it was before midday. However, I didn’t see Norman getting his hand in his pocket to give us all a pound.

Maybe he thought he’d spent enough when he bought me a packet of Lancashire crisps. I wonder if this was a bribe so I wouldn’t push him in the canal again. I reckon it worked, because he finished nice and dry.

After walking up the side of the locks at Nob End, we had a short break at the Meccano bridge. Then we were off on the nice level walk alongside the Bolton section of the old Manchester, Bolton & Bury canal before descending back to the car park.


Photos by John Rattray:


A City United by Canals, led by Don Watson, January 21st

Fourteen Plodders met at Radcliffe Metrolink Station on a wet, sleeting, snowing Wednesday at 10.00 am.
We boarded the first tram that came, only to realise it was going no further than Abraham Moss. Not to worry, we got off and waited a few minutes for the next tram which was destined for Altrincham and would drop us off at Stretford - the start of our walk.
We joined the Bridgewater Canal and immediately found Martin and Viv waiting for us under the first bridge, what a nice surprise, we now were sixteen Plodders.
We than started our walk towards the City Centre. We had to leave the canal just before Old Trafford as the towpath was closed to pedestrians. This wasn't a problem as we walked through the industrial estate with the smell of baking bread coming from a Polish bakery. We then came to Sir Alex Ferguson Way and the Old Trafford football stadium - we didn't hang around there. Our next point of interest was the twin Skyhook sculptures commissioned by Brian Fell and unveiled in 1995 as part of the regeneration of Trafford Park Industrial Estate.
We then were able to rejoin the towpath of the Bridgewater Canal as we walked near to the Pomona Docks on the Ship Canal. On arriving at the Cheshire Ring Canal we spotted a multi-coloured 'duck house' on the canal bank.
After having lunch at the canal basin, we then got on the Rochdale Canal towpath going under Oxford Road and towards the Gay Village where we cautiously walked along Canal Street to rejoin the Rochdale Canal. Shortly we came to where the Ashton Canal leaves the Rochdale at Ancoats and after having a look at Jutland Street (supposedly the steepest road in Manchester) we plodded towards the Etihad Stadium on the Ashton Canal passing numerous new build apartments on the canal bank.
When reaching Manchester City's stadium we left the canal down the sky blue painted Joe Mercer Way to Philips Park. On entering Philips Park we stopped for our final drink stop. We walked through the park where we crossed the River Medlock towards Philips Park Cemetery.
We then walked past the Jewish Cemetery and then left the park to walk a short while on tarmac to rejoin the Rochdale Canal and walk back on the tow path to the city centre and onwards to Shude Hill Metrolink Station arriving at 3.15 pm for our journey home.
Ken informed us that the distance covered was an easy 11.75 miles. Thanks to all for your company and turning out on a very damp day.



Thieveley Pike Plod, Wednesday January 7th

Leader - Mike Lee, 11 miles

Regardless of a weather forecast for heavy rain and high winds, nine hardy souls turned out for the Thieveley Pike Plod.  In reality the weather forecast was only half right: we got the wind, but the rain held off, allowing us fine views over Burnley and Cliviger on one side and Rossendale and beyond on the other.

We set off from Lumb following the Pennine Bridleway northwards. Turning off before it descends into the Cliviger Gorge, we kept to high ground and followed the path to the summit of Thieveley Pike. From there we took the Burnley Way path onto Heald Moor before dropping to the remains of Heald Town, where its walls provided shelter for our lunch stop.
Then it was up into the wind again as we followed the Rossendale Way to Deerplay and back towards Lumb. This part of the Rossendale Way gave us extensive views over Rossendale and the moors beyond, before we descended to Spring Gardens to pick up the route of the Round the Hills walk. This took us along the valley side towards Waterfoot, until we descended into the valley bottom to arrive back in Lumb at 3 pm.

To access the route please go to the getamap link

Mike Lee

Photos from Don Watson: