View from Oban Bothy

View from Oban Bothy

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Sunday 6th July 2014, LDWA Red Rose 100 recce, Day 1


The East Lancs LDWA are hosting the annual 100 mile walk on behalf of the Long Distance Walkers Association, LDWA, in 2015.

This event is the LDWA’s flagship event. Held every year in a different part of the country, to coincide with the late May Bank Holiday,
This is a record of my recce of the route that I backpacked over 6 days in July 2014, shortly after the route had been publicised.

Adlington to Blackburn

My original plan of a morning start was tweaked for two reasons: firstly it was a hot day and I didn’t want to be walking into increasing temperatures, secondly I was planning a stealth camp that first night and didn’t want to be arriving at my planned overnight pitch too early, and thirdly I hadn’t got my backside into gear. Three reasons.
I’d arranged to park my car outside the house of legendary long distance walker Reg, a former Timperley resident. Reg now lives in Adlington, near Chorley which is perilously close to the official start of the main route and so it suited perfectly. I now owe Reg a substantial quantity of beer in exchange for his kindness. Thanks Reg!
Anyroadup, I left Reg’s at around 3pm in hot sunshine and headed off in a sort of Easterly direction. East is good you know.
P1020038 Rivington Reservoirs
I crossed over the dam that carries the road across Rivington Reservoirs to Rivington Hall, a favourite haunt of motorcyclists on sunny Sunday afternoons.
P1020041Rivington Hall 
There were loads of flashy bikes around but the one that caught my eye was a beautifully restored Greeves fitted with a modified Villiers 197 engine:
P1020043The Greeves from t’other side, and some of the other bikes 
Leaving the hustle and bustle of Rivington, the route climbed through Rivington Country Park, a legacy of Lord Leverhulme. The paths were easy to follow and quite busy, loads of folk were out and about for gentle afternoon ambles in the lovely sunshine.
P1020045An artist with his very clever French Easel….
P1020046   ….that packs away to this. Clever eh?
P1020049The Pigeon Tower where there were reet good views over t’Lancashire countryside
Looking ahead to the main event next May (which I shan’t be doing) some of the stony tracks are likely to cause the front runners a problem. I suspect one or two may take the odd tumble on the uneven surface:
The route went over Horden Stoops, down to the village of Belmont and then skirted the southern shore of Belmont Reservoir before joining the Witton Weavers Way and then to Slipper Lowe, the site of the event’s Checkpoint 1.   
Belmont Reservoir
P1020056The path to the site of Hollinshead Hall and Slipper Lowe

P1020058 The picturesque site of Checkpoint 1
Next point of significance was Darwen Tower, or more accurately Jubilee Tower. This rather magnificent structure, completed in 1898, was built to commemorate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee.
P1020063 Jubilee Tower
It’s not a difficult pull up to the top but I decided to eat my butties before, to paraphrase Julia Bradbury, ‘the final assault on the summit’.
India Mill Chimney, viewed from Darwen Jubilee Tower
The only navigational problem I had on this first day was from Tockholes, after descending from the tower. Both the map and the route description tallied perfectly, but the footpath signpost was completely contradictory – I suspect the signpost may have been deliberately aligned to confuse.
P1020070Footpath to nowhere 
I ended up going off-route – but not a lot. A tarmac detour did the trick and I was back on the proper route. Perhaps a 20 minute faff.
My planned stealth camp for the night was in Witton Park, Blackburn. ‘City’ stealth pitches are far from ideal and I wasn’t really relishing the prospect. Walking though a grassy field, just south of the M65, I spotted a lovely secluded and hidden corner – just the job. There was even a stream very close by. It didn’t think it wise to drink the stream water, even after boiling, I was glad to have brought my Travel Tap water filter with me.
Unfortunately the warm evening was quite still. And there were trees. And that stream. And therefore midges. Thankfully there was also Deet.
Overall this had been a very easy section to navigate and really quite pleasurable. The only fly in the ointment was the Tockholes Navigational Faff which will be reported to The Commitee for further investigation.

Where I went:

Route Day 1 A more detailed view of the route can be found on Viewranger.


  1. Greeves Rider14:52

    Nice pic of the Greeves motorcycle. Its a special with an alloy barreled engine as used in the Greeves scrambles & trials bikes. It was not used in the roadsters.
    Do you know who the owner is?

    1. Hi John,
      Many thanks for your message.
      I'm afraid I can't help with the details of the owner - other than I seem to recall he was from Leigh in Lancashire.
      I'm not sure where I got the 197cc from - perhaps I subconsciously related the bike to a Villiers 197.
      The Sunday gatherings at Rivington Barn are a regular thing, they've certainly been going on for the last 43 years at the very least....when I used to roll up on my Triumph T21.
      I'll have a dig around and see if I took any more photos - I'm sure I did, I was quite shutter happy on that walk!
      I'll report back.


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