Marauding March?

Wednesday March 22nd. A Bit of Ruff. 14 miles. Leaders: Dave and Alma Walsh.

The title of the walk was a play on Rufford where the walk started, but it could have been to describe the weather which was coolish, windy & raining.
Eleven of us set off from Rufford church & crossed the railway line on route to Croston.The conditions underfoot were good despite the recent heavy rain. Barbara pointed out a kingfisher to us. We had a coffee break at the childrens play area in Croston where seating was provided. Viv distributed cheese biscuits left over from the Two Crosses to supplement our morning snack.
Conditions deteriorated somewhat as we encountered a flooded track on our way out of the village - wet feet for some. Over fields to the north of Croston we followed the River Lostock for a while eastwards before turning south to meet the main road through Ulnes Walton.
A bit of road walking for a while before various fields & dodgy stiles led us back towards Croston. On the outskirts of Croston we saw Old Croston Hall being renovated. It led to the question 'who could live in a house like this?' Through Croft Field with it's animal sculptures & masses of daffodils we reached the church where lunch was taken. The weather was now dry & lunch was followed by sweets & chocolate mini eggs.
In the afternoon further fields led us to the canal. After a quick drinks break, we followed the canal for a couple of miles back to the cars at Rufford. Thanks to all who attended.
Dave & Alma

Click here for Peter's photos.



Wednesday March 15th. 2XX's Marshalls Walk. 17 miles.

Ten members of the group checked the 17 mile route of the 2 XX's ready for the event on Sunday March 19th. Secateurs were taken and some brambles were cut down, some overhanging branches cleared and a troublesome nail knocked in. 

The day was glorious but some parts were very muddy underfoot. Still, this is the West Pennine Moors in March, it would be unusual to find anything else. See below for some pictures of the day.


Sunday March 12th. 20 Shades of Grane. 20 miles. Leader: Steve Clark.


Mild and spring like to begin with; overcast with fog and light rain towards the end of the walk.  21 on the walk including me.

So climbing out behind the visitor centre we started out east on the Rossendale Way (RW) before leaving the RW, dropping down to the Grane road and then below Ogden Reservoir.  Because on the recce it had been so muddy on the orginal route, we cut a corner and followed an old tramway straight up the line of the slope and onto Musbery Heights.  Most were stripping a layer or two by now.  Picking up the RW again we walked close to Alden Farm where coffee was taken in the shelter of a ruin.  Passing the “naughty corner” (familiar to those who’ve done The Two Crosses) we then crossed Wet Moss and down to Crowthorn.  Following paths and tracks we took lunch close to the top of Wayoh Reservoir.  The weather had by now started to close in and layers were once more being added.

After a moorland crossing we found our way on some of Spanners Round, passed Broadhead and crossed the Broadhead Road to climb close to Hog Lowe Pike.  Now in hill fog and some light rain.  Making our way across the moorland we dropped down once more close to Ogden Reservoir.  A final loop on the RW brought us once again to Clough Head visitor centre in sufficient time to finish before the carpark barrier was closed.  19.5 miles and thanks to all who turned out.


Click here for Steve's pictures.

Click here for Howard's pictures.


Wednesday March 8th. Wetlands and Waterways. 15 miles. Leader: Hilary Scott.


The route for this walk came from a notification in Strider and a leaflet produced by "Visit Sefton and West Lancashire", a series of themed walks. However one of East Lancs long standing members aka Stormin Norman soon claimed it as his own walk which has been walked since about 1990! Still. it was good to see Norman back in action after his recent health scare.

17 walkers and 2 dogs left Burscough Bridge Station to do "Norman's walk" in reverse. Heading out onto very flat countryside we crossed the railway line, followed the canal and turned to make our way to the morning coffee break by some fishing lodges. Leaving here it was onwards to skirt Martin Mere and over the road onto huge agricultural fields. We disturbed a large group of geese who noisily took to the skies at our approach, magnificent to watch.

Lunch was taken at Mere Sands Nature Reserve, a delightful spot. There is a room inside if the weather is bad but we didn't need that today, it was warm enough to sit outside and even the sun made an appearance! Onwards again, with a glimpse of Winter Hill in the distance and onto the Rufford branch of the Leeds Liverpool canal.

We stayed on this and then the main canal all the way back to Burscough Bridge, passing Rufford Old Hall and the nearby Marina on the way. The path was slippy in places but nowhere near as bad as some recent mud walking. The weather remained good, a tantilising glimpse of spring. During the day we saw snowdrops, crocus (a magnificent display at Rufford Old Hall) and many daffodils. Barbara was kept busy bird spotting but although there was plenty of variety she didn't report seeing any rare species today.

On returning to Burscough Bridge, half the group went into the The Hop Vine for a drink where the following conversation took place:-

Anon - "It's good to see you back in action Norman"

Anon - "It's been very, very quiet without you, you can hear yourself think on a walk now!"

Anon - "So that's why the numbers have been going up!!"

Norman's face was a picture, but he took it in good part. The rest of us had a right good laugh over it.

Thank you to everyone for coming and to Nick for his invaluable help in recceing the walk.



Wednesday March 1st. Blue Pig Plod. 11 miles. Leader: Mike Lee.


The weather on the day of the walk could best be described as changeable. Within the duration of the walk we had rain, hail and an amazing amount of sunshine.

It was overcast and drizzling when seven walkers (including a visitor from West Lancs) and a dog assembled in the car park of the Midgehole Working Mens’ Club, usually known as The Blue Pig.

We set off up the heavily wooded Hebden Valley, first to Gibson Mill and then through Hardcastle Crags to emerge from the wood at Black Dean. Whist we were in the wooded valley the weather had been a mix of sunshine and light showers, but as we left the shelter of the trees the rain started in earnest and we were grateful for our waterproofs. Fortunately, the heavy rain lasted for only about half an hour and we were able have an almost dry drinks stop on the old bridge over Alcomden Water.

We then joined the Pennine Way and followed it alongside the first of the three Walshaw Dean Reservoirs, before turning off to take the track over Wadsworth Moor to the hamlet of Walshaw. The weather had been improving all the time and we crossed the high moor in sunshine. However, as we descended towards Walshaw and our lunch stop we could see rain approaching us down the valley. The ‘rain’ turned out to be hailstones and we envisaged sitting in these for lunch. But the Gods smiled upon us again and as we approached the lunch stop the hail stopped and the sun came out.

After lunch, we followed the Calder/Aire link bridleway over the shoulder of Shackleton Knoll and down to Howarth Old Road at Grain Water Bridge. From there we headed to Lumb Falls.

At Lumb Falls a plaque tells that a photograph taken at the falls of six young men who went to the First World War and didn’t return inspired the poet Ted Hughes to write the poem “Six Young Men”. We could muster only six not-so-young men for our photograph.

Several streams come together at Lumb Falls to form Crimsworth Dean Beck and we followed it down Crimsworth Dean to the lower wooded stretch, crossing the beck on an old stone bridge on the way. The path through the lower part of the Dean weaves past a series of overgrown mill lodges, remnants of long abandoned industrial activity, before coming out close to the Blue Pig and the end of the walk.

Some of us took after-walk refreshments in the Blue Pig, after John had sprayed his boots clean.  

Thanks to everyone who came, especially Geoff from West Lancs.