New Year, New Beginnings....

Wednesday January 25th. A trip round my town. Plodder walk. 10 miles. Leader:John Pickton.

10am saw 17 plodders and 1 dog ready to take a trip around Chorley - the leader's home town. 

Leaving the car park in bright sunshine we followed the Yarrow passing signs which warned us of the flood damage still evident from the storms of last winter. There was also plenty of mud! At Parkers i' th field John warned us of a particularly soggy bit - it wasn't really much different to what had been and what was to come.

Along the valley past the ongoing water treatment works and tip then up to cross the road to turn towards Astley Park. John had envisaged a look around the Hall but it was closed for Restoration work. The group felt it was too early for lunch so we pressed on through the town to join the canal south of Botany Bay. Here we did stop for lunch, but although the day was bright a cold wind did not encourage a lengthy break.

We then followed the canal to emerge nearly opposite Duxbury Park, walking through the woods here alongside the Yarrow again.

It was then a short distance back into the country park where the twitchers were out in force looking for Kingfishers but with no luck today. Some of the group went into the cafe, some went to the pub. A good day all round. Thank you John.



Sunday January 22nd. A Shoe for a Packhorse. 19 miles. Leader: Ken Noble.


21 walkers and 1 dog left The Horseshoe at Ringley, (giving the walk the first part of it's name) on the no longer visible Manchester, Bolton & Bury Canal before ascending through Ringley Wood and then joining the disused Clifton to Radcliffe railway to Radcliffe.

Soon we were back on the canal until it was time to leave it and head for Elton Reservoir for our morning break. We then joined another disused railway to take us to Bury.

We soon left the built up area and joined the banks of the River Irwell before joining yet another disused railway to Tottington, passing the start of the 2 Crosses Challenge Walk.

After a little road walking we began our ascent to the Packhorse at Affetside, the other part of the walk's name. Here we had lunch near the cross amid a little fine snow flurry.

This being the highest point of the walk, in theory, it should've been all down hill, but it never is.

We made our way across various fields, with some interesting encounters with horses and ponies, which, given the name of the walk, was quite appropriate, to arrive at our afternoon stop at Withins Reservoir and then, instead of following canals, rivers and railways, we crossed them as we made our way back to the Horseshoe.

The day was cloudier than it was when I did the recce as can be seen in the photos.

Thanks to all who came on the walk.

Ken Noble.

Click here for Ken's pictures.

Wednesday January 18th. Little Cracker Safari. 14 miles. Leader: Norman Thomas.


I had 25 walkers and 2 dogs start the walk with me from the Bay Horse in Adlington.  After having 2 or 3 days of wet, mist and mud it was a change to have good weather and very very mild for January (when I got home the weather forecaster said it was one of the warmest January days on record).  I’d said at the start of the walk that I would keep as much as possible on tracks and minor roads, which we did. 

We were soon at the bottom Barn and then through the gardens on to the Pike, onwards to the side of Wilderswood then to the wild animals in the grounds of Curley’s Restaurant.  We arrived midday and had a room to ourselves which I had booked in advance.  The food was A1 and even though they were very busy indeed the service was also A1, a big thanks to the team that looked after us.  After lunch we looked at the animals and took some pictures of them before continuing with our ‘safari’.

Onwards into the second half of the walk, we made our way to Heath Charnock, by minor roads to Limbrick, onwards down to the Leeds & Liverpool canal then through Hall O’th Hill Golf Course and back to the Bay Horse.  We sat in the snug with a truly roaring fire (I don’t think Derek the bar manager had been outside today), we were almost fried alive!

A happy day and I think all enjoyed.

Thanking you

Stormin Norman


Click here for Peter's pictures.


Sunday January 8th. Hunter's Hill Hike. 18 miles. Leaders: Dave and Alma Walsh.


Somebody asked me a couple of days before the walk if the route was particularly muddy. Following  the recce done just after Christmas where I had changed the route to avoid some muddy fields I was fairly confident in telling them it shoudn't be too bad. Famous last words, what a difference 10 days made, even the car park was muddy.
Anyway after squeezing our cars into the small car park 18 of us & 4 dogs set off down the road. At Bannister Farm we turned off up a track over a stile where a particularly muddy track took us past the old windmill at Harrock Hill & over sodden fields to the road.
After a brief respite on tarmac we turned east over further fields towards the High Moor Restaurant on High Moor Road. Across the road over more fields we reached the main road at Sparrow Hill & entered Fairy Glen woods for our morning coffee stop.
After our break we continued on to Appley Bridge where we picked up the Leeds Liverpool canal & followed it to Gathurst. Turning west we reached the 'Fifteen at the Fox' public house at Roby Mill, crossed the road & took lunch on the former golf course. A group of gun dogs were being put through their training paces by their owners.
After lunch we continued on to Ashurst Beacon which was shrouded in mist, no views unfortunately. Continuing on through various tracks & fields we again picked up the canal & after a brief drinks, liquorice allsorts & jelly babies stop we reached Parbold. From there a route uphill took us back to the cars at Hunters Hill Quarry.
Some of us then made the brief drive to the Rigbye Arms for a quick drink. Thanks to all those who attended, sorry about the mud, at least no one took a tumble.
Dave & Alma

Click here for Howard's pictures.

Pictures below from Hilary


Wednesday January 4th. Wainwright's Viewpoint. 15 miles. Leader: Barbara Shelton.


There were lots of New Year’s resolutions being fulfilled on this walk, judging by the bumper turnout! The sun shone gloriously all day on the thirty four walkers and five dogs who took part in this 15 miler, the first walk of the East Lancs 2017 calendar.

Leaving Roddlesworth Information Centre and café at Tockholes we followed the Witton Weavers Way and dropped down to Roddlesworth reservoirs then Rake Brook reservoir near Abbey Village. A missing footbridge beyond Bradley Farm meant that the road had to be followed for a mile. I’m informed by the Rights of Way officer at Blackburn Council that a new bridge has been ordered to replace the one destroyed in the Boxing Day 2015 floods, and it should be completed in March.

After passing under the M65, we took our first break by the Leeds Liverpool canal before joining the River Darwen through Hoghton Bottoms. I came a cropper en route due to tripping on some wire and fell forward into the mud – Norman and others were very gallant in extricating me and dealing with the hazard. I wasn’t the only one who took a dive that day due to the boggy conditions, but, as they say, it goes with the territory!

Swinging east we headed for our objective, Wainwright’s memorial plaque on the Yellow Hills near Billinge Hill, where we had our lunch break, with splendid views over the surrounding countryside (and Blackburn and Preston too). The Lakeland fells can be seen from here, though binoculars would perhaps be handy. I advised people to look east, below the crescent moon, to the place where Wainwright was born on the outskirts of Blackburn. We had already paid homage to the great man on a previous walk there.

Below Billinge Hill we headed south, into Witton Country Park, then a bit of urban stuff before crossing fields and lanes to pass back under the motorway. During the afternoon break we encountered the Rossendale Ramblers, a cheery bunch, and one of our party knew several of them.

On the return to Tockholes we passed an archery club premises where, on the recce, Viv and I had chatted to a friendly archer with a life-sized plastic badger over his shoulder which is used for target practice – it’s a rich and varied world out there isn’t it! There was nobody about this time so we passed nonchalantly through the wooded valley they use.

The final point of interest was Higher Hill Farm, an imposing Grade II listed 17th century property with an interesting feature at first floor level – a garderobe – basically the nearest thing they had in those days to an en-suite loo! Darwen Tower was prominent on the home stretch, as it had been frequently today, looking grand with the backdrop of blue skies and sunshine. The real fire and selection of real ales at the Royal Arms rounded off a pretty good day.

Thanks to Viv for her invaluable sweep efforts – not easy keeping such a big group together, and for doing the egg run at the end (real eggs!)

Barbara Shelton.

Pictures below from Barbara

Thank you to Peter Smith for the pictures below.

Click here for Peter Steckle's pictures.