Freezing in February

Wednesday February 21st. Botany Bay Circular. 13 miles. Leader: Tracey Parton.


Wow, a great start for my first walk with East Lancs group, 24 people and 6 dogs met at Botany Bay on a lovely sunny February day.


First we started with a Singalong Birthday Wishes for John, Happy Birthday. We started the walk along the canal and then headed up to Healey Nab, it was very muddy underfoot. Across another muddy field, a nice new platform over the swamp was a most welcome new addition into White Coppice. 


We had our morning break at the cricket ground. I thought at this point after the mud I would get some brownie points by handing out chocolate brownies and flapjacks!! We made our way upwards past the waterfalls where a slight debate was made by Norman, telling me I'm on the wrong path. Well it's my walk and we will go the scenic route up onto Wheelton Moor; thumbs up from the rest of the group.


Along a good gravel path towards Brinscall with great views. Into the railway park and nature reserve at Withnell. We then had our lunch with good clear views looking at Darwen Tower and beyond. Norman gave us a talk at the memorial for VC holder James Miller who tragically died at the age of 26. We carried the walk down into Withnell Fold where we had a photostop and put John into the stocks for a birthday treat ha ha.


Norman took us into the memorial park for another talk on James Miller. We then made our descent down onto the canal for a leisurely walk back. Norman called for an afternoon break where Hilary kindly gave out sweets to the group, thank you Hilary.


Who nudged Fudge into the canal? The poor dog went in for a cool down and got caught in the brambles, good job we had the retired firemen heroes on the walk who got him out, well done boys.


Great walk back to Botany Bay and a well deserved drink in The Malthouse.

Thank you for supporting me on my 1st walk and hope you will let me do another one soon, glad the sun shone all day and my apologies for getting the mileage wrong, it was 13 miles not 11.




Pictures below from Tracey

Pictures below from Hilary


Sunday February 18th. Knotty Bowland. 20 miles. Leader: Peter Smith.


A healthy group of fourteen set out at 8.30am from Tosside Car Park, on a grey, fine and calm Sunday.
Making our way through sodden fields to Grunsagill, Higher Gill and Beckfoot.
Along by the stream to Butterfields and across moorland to Shays, Meadow Top and onto the Slaidburn/Long Preston road to Higher Stony Bank.
Yomping down rough fields to Hammerton Mere via Brook House Green and briefly into Gisburn Forest and out onto the Stocks road, to reach Dale Head Church and our first refreshment stop at 11am.
Continuing briefly along the road, off left to access the footpath around to the valve tower and dam of Stocks Reservoir, with excellent open views over and around the water.
Progressing nicely at this point around the opposite side of Stock Res’ passing the fishing jetty, until eventually reaching Copped Hill Clough.
Turning right here and down to the River Hodder, crossing by the substantial footbridge, then a short steep climb up to New House and our lunch stop at 12.50pm
Refreshed, we now faced our long steady climb up onto Bowland Knotts and into the mist.
Some hesitation and confusion encountered in the murk at this point, for our leader Pendle Pete, but members where quick to reassure with GPS and not much time was lost.
It was apparent everyone wanted to reach the Trig Point, despite the prospect of zero views and enjoyed the rocky terrain, lichen and moss in abundance.
Along the ridge of the Knotts now for almost 3 miles to the Resting Stone and aptly our final refreshment stop at 3.10pm, passing Hanging Stone, Knotteranum, Rock Cat Knot and the top of Gisburn Forest, with a view of Whelpstone Crag over the top of the trees.
More yomping on the homeward stretch across Gisburn Common to Owlshaw Farm and onto a very welcome track. Passing more farms at Whelpstone Lodge, Higher, Middle and Lower Brayshaw.
And coming out onto Longtons Lane for the final mile back into Tosside at 4.45pm, with the weather happily keeping fine all day.
Thank you all for coming along and your company,
Peter Smith.
Thank you to Peter for the pictures below.



Wednesday February 7th. Preston South End. 13 miles. Leader: Nick Halford.


On a bright and clear day, feeling warm despite the frost, 20 people and 2 dogs met on the Penwortham bank of the Ribble and headed downstream, past the dock entrance on the opposite shore, and into fields at the start of the estuary. 

Rather than continue to the Dolphin and the end of the Ribble Way we struck inland through muddy fields, fortunately frozen, and back to the start via Hurst Grange park.

This time we headed upstream and across for lunch in beautiful Avenham park, by the Japanese gardens.  At this point Caroline decided to go to work for her late shift.  

A diversion south followed, via disused rail and tram ways before regaining  the river at Tram Bridge.  Moving  upstream once more, we crossed the Darwen at it’s confluence, then the Ribble itself at the A6.

Now returning on the Preston side, over the site of the two Battles of Preston and round the back to Miller park and it’s landscaped Cotton Famine railway embankments.  With only a quarter mile or so to go almost everyone enjoyed a drink in the Continental pub.  Sorry I kept forgetting to take any photos, and thanks to everyone that came.


Thanks to Nick for the pictures below

Thanks to Caroline for the pictures below


Sunday February 4th. Gin gin gin er, Resting. 18 miles. Leader: Michael Bushby.


Interesting ginger hinge... no.  Right engine string... no.  These anagrams of (The) Singing Ringing Tree really did keep me awake, so the gin gin gin one was the best I could do before I drove myself nuts. 

Being a Burnley lad (have I mentioned that before?) it's bugged me that I haven't visited the town's most recent landmark, it's very own panopticon, so Sunday was the opportunity to put that right.  A hale and hearty group of 14 headed the short distance from Crown Point Road across to the pile of 'musical' galvanised steel tubes.  I'm not aware of anyone that's ever heard even a faint breathy moan from the contraption, never mind the deep Andean panpipe symphony that it looks capable of.  Instead, Alma and I improvised demented cow noises through it, which seemed to be appreciated by all.  CDs available on request.


Poster by Eric Jackson, Statement Artworks.


The panorama out across Burnley to Pendle, Ingleborough, Turf Moor, Boulsworth Hill, Studley and Thieveley Pikes was marvellous and we could see the wintry showers below that briefly caught us once we'd descended to the Calder Valley.  Otherwise we did pretty well weather-wise, and it proved to be a great day to be out on the hills.  The Pennine Bridleway took us up to the Long Causeway, then we were on and off the Burnley Way for the rest of the route.  Looping around Cant Clough and Hurstwood reservoirs, through Worsthorne (thanks, Frank, GPSs can be useful) and Hurstwood we reached Towneley Hall for lunch.  Surely, there can't be many finer mid-walk stops, especially when several ladies say the loos are 10/10.  Strangely, no blokes commented on the facilities.

It was a bit of a pull through the golf course, and Hilary decided to give in to her bug and take the escape route to the car (accompanied by Nick), depriving us of her heavy breathing and husky tones.  A circuit of Clowbridge Reservoir rounded things off, and back at the car park I was delighted that my laser-like map-measuring card edge gave me my most accurate mileage yet, as the clouds closed in.  A satisfying walk, I think it's fair to say. 

PSpecial thanks to Hilary for the great photos, since I forgot my camera.