After the Walk December 2021

Tuesday December 28th. "Ast Sin Mi Dad?" 14 miles. Leader: Hilary Scott.


A mega total of 25 walkers needed to burn some of those Christmas calories off and turned up for a history/social walk from Cutacre Country Park. The theme of the walk was the Pretoria Pit disaster of 1910 and we visited some of the main spots during the day. We were exceptionally lucky with the weather, no rain, odd glimpses of the sun and it was really quite warm. Certainly, many people shed those extra winter layers. 

Making our way across and out of Cutacre we followed in the steps of the miners and then visited the first memorial near the site of the pit itself. It is very poignant to see so many names and especially the ages - from just 13 years old. There were many wreaths still there from the service of commemoration which had been held just a week ago. Moving on, we didn't go up through the wood where the remains of the pit works are just about visible as it was so muddy, but the edge of the wood was muddy enough anyway. I'm in deep disgrace now as the recce really wasn't that muddy - honest! I said about 10% mud but it was far, far more than that. Oh dear, points lost. 

On through Hall Lee Park and to Ditchfield Gardens for morning coffee. There is another memorial here too. Past Tony Berry's memorial bench and into Westhoughton Cemetery to visit the mass grave and memorial there. Through the closed golf course and over to Borsdane Wood, always a lovely spot. Making our way over to Wingates where we had a late lunch in the Churchyard there. More graves to see here and the memorial to the Tyldesley family who lost 7 members that day. 

Turning for home now, and over to Chulsey Gate, Chew Moor and Hunger Hill. Up to Cow Mop reservoir with it's towers and the final few fields back to the cars. The sun was low in the sky but we made it back before dark. Thank you so much for coming folks, thanks to those who back marked and those who made some new walkers very welcome. 




Pictures from Jane and Hilary


Wednesday December 22nd. Three parks, a Wood and Swan Lake. 14 miles. Leader: Phil Chapman.




Sunday December 19th. Norman's 25th Christmas Cracker. 7 miles. Leader: Norman Thomas.


Stormin’ Norman Thomas, longstanding and intrepid East Lancs LDWA member, led his 25th and final Christmas Cracker walk on Sunday 19th December. Thirty four people turned out in festive hats on an absolutely perfect day, with sunshine and layers of mist making for some dramatic scenery. The morning’s walk took the group from Rivington near Horwich to Lead Mines Clough where a war memorial overlooks the valley, and we paused a while to remember those members who are no longer with us.

Looping back to Yarrow Reservoir, we then enjoyed views of the Rivington Reservoirs as we headed through the woods alongside the water. Other people were enjoying a different form of exercise in the treetops above our heads, on the ‘Go Ape’ facility – great fun!

Norman then led his merry band on to Liverpool Castle, a replica of the ruins of said castle, overlooking the reservoir, with great views, before heading back to the cars and on to Horwich Railwaymen’s Institute for lunch. The pasties and peas went down well, as did the cake, mince pies and Viv’s famous trifle. The occasion ended with speeches and presentations – Norman reflected on his years with the East Lancs group which he described as the best thing he’d ever done, and he’d compiled an album of photos of his life, including many highlights with the group. He was presented with a specially designed photo-card by the group, and other gifts.

As always, a charity collection was made, on this occasion for the ‘Cure Leukemia’ organisation, as Norman had lost a close friend to the disease. Several thousand pounds have been raised for various charities over the course of the Christmas Cracker events.

Stormin’ Norman, thanks a million from the East Lancs group for everything that you have done over the years!



Photos below from Caz.


Photos below from Barbara and Jane.


Sunday December 5th. 4 Villages Walk. 19 miles. Leaders : Jeanette and Paul Banks.

13 walkers and 1 dog completed the 19 mile Sunday Walk from Spring Wood in Whalley.  Despite the recent wet weather, we were blessed with a dry day throughout and only a little mud (dependant on personal opinion!).   The occasional sun brought beautiful views of the Ribble Valley landscape.


Everyone was in good form with lots of chatter and laughter to be heard during the walk.


The walk took us to the Nick of Pendle, Downham and Chatburn.   We then followed the Ribble Way to Eddisford Bridge before returning to Spring Wood via Barrow and Wiswell.



Photos below by Jeanette, Gallery by Hilary.





Wednesday December 1st. Barley-Barlick Circuit. 14 miles. Leader: Iain Connell.


On a cold but mostly dry day at the start of Winter, we did a moderately-paced figure of eight from Barnoldswick (Barlick, the locals call it) in Lancashire to the village of Barley and back. It was a 13 and a half mile version of several which I’ve led from Barlick, this one not including Pendle Hill (it looms over Barley like a beached whale with its mouth shut).


Being winter, we avoided the worst stretches of splodge by going round the back and along a minor road which hitherto has been very quiet but post-snow (it had all melted on all but the tops) had half a dozen vehicles on it. From above Blacko (and under its tower, which reminds me of the one in Monty Python And The Holy Grail) we took a longer route back, going through Malkin Tower (SD 867422), a place-name (the original was demolished) associated with the Pendle witches.


And talking of bovines thrown from towers (‘Fetchez vous la vache’, cried Cleese), the other very wet patch by Admergill Water has, according to a notice, recently been the home of water buffalo. The notice says they’re not dangerous but should be treated like other large farm animals, something I can’t attest to as they weren’t there on the recce and I’ve never encountered one in the flesh. If it’d been summer we’d have gone their way - a first for the group ?


Oh yes, the walk. It was fun while it lasted. We were joined by Sarah and Mark on their first ever LDWA social walk. The rest were the usual suspects, some of us at it - long distance walking - for rather a long time. The sculptures (see the photos) are a surprise if you’ve not been that way (SD 866447); they looked recently weather-proofed so should be there for a few more years. Time bandits ?


Iain Connell


Additional Information for those that were there.....

I forgot to mention on the walk that on the way back (before we turned left to ascend back to the Pennine Bridleway) we passed what would have been a farm at Malkin Tower (SD 867422), which, according to Simon Armitage in a documentary I discovered last week on Amazon Prime, was the location (or nearby; it was demolished after the witch trial) of the home of the Pendle Witches. In the 17th century Elizabeth Device, a girl of 8 or 9, denounced her own mother Old Demdike as a witch, one of an alleged coven at Malkin Tower  on Good Friday 1612. She  herself was outed as an alleged witch twenty years later.


 Also worth looking up on Prime is 'Whistle Down the Wind', a 1961 film directed by Bryan Forbes featuring a young Haley Mills (daughter of John Mills and  Mary Haley Bell,  the writer of the novel on which the film is based) and Alan Bates, who is an escaped prisoner accused of murder. The three children of a farmer at Downham, under Pendle Hill, discover the man hiding in their barn. ‘Who are you ?’ they say, waking him up. ‘Christ’, he says, startled. They then protect him from being captured, thinking he is Jesus Christ. The farm is so remote and cold that it looks like a third world; now Downham is a popular destination. (He’s caught, of course: as the little boy says, “He were only a feller”.) There’s a production company called Whistle Down.