View from Oban Bothy

View from Oban Bothy

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Tuesday 8th July 2014, LDWA Red Rose 100 recce, Day 3

Barley to Tosside

At 5.30am the bright sunshine on my tent woke me, Barley was waking up too. By 6am I was wrapped around my first cup of coffee of the day as the village dog walkers wandered by. The tent was once again wet through with condensation, both inside and out. I managed to spread it out on a wall so it could dry out in the sunshine – that was hot even at this early hour. As the tent steamed gently I used the facilities and managed a full top-to-toe wash down in the washroom of the public bog.
P1020127 Barley campsite park
First objective of the day was Pendle Hill, famous for black pussy cats, broomsticks and witches. This area is perhaps most famed for the Pendle Witches, a bunch of unfortunates who were tried and hanged for witchcraft at Lancaster Assizes in 1612.
‘The Lancashire Witches’, written by William Harrison Ainsworth is recommended reading for anyone wanting to know more. A more speculative work, but very readable, is ‘Mist Over Pendle’, written by Robert Neill.
End of Eng Lit lesson.
Back to the walk: I set out in the direction of Pendle Hill, passing the Pendle Inn, famous for good ale and brill pie & mushy peas. I may have mentioned that bit before, but it WAS good.
P1020129 Cobbled path leading out of Barley
It’s a bit of a tug up the side of Pendle Hill, but quite do-able. There’s a choice of a couple of paths up to the top, I’d suggest the zig-zag route – a bit further but much easier. Easier is A Good Thing.
Once on the top it’s easy to spot the trig-point, even if it’s dark a well-worn track will lead you to it.
P1020130Pendle Hill 
Another zig-zag path on the north slopes of Pendle guides you nicely through Downham Moor down to a road and then another path leads to the very attractive village of Downham.
P1020136Approaching Downham 
My first job was to locate the Village Hall, the venue of Checkpoint 5. It wasn’t difficult to find, on leaving the footpath you have to climb uphill and AWAY from the village and the general direction of the route. Oh well.
Checkpoint 5, Downham Village Hall.
It was still quite early and I hadn’t yet had breakfast – only a Mars Bar, an Eccles Cake and my compulsory two mugs of coffee. I found a rather good tea room on the edge of the village. Two pots of tea and a large BLT roll set me up for the next section of the day’s walk.
The next few miles weren’t without excitement – a herd of cowlets decided that I was worthy of following…perhaps they thought I was carrying their dinner in my pack!
P1020143    Disappointed cowlets
Then there was this nice little bridge (crossing Ings Beck?):
I was now heading for the River Ribble and the village of Sawley – that DIDN’T have a checkpoint, but it did have Sawley Abbey. Well it had it’s ruins anyway:
According to English Heritage, Sawley was a Cistercian abbey founded in 1148 and lasted until its dissolution in 1536. Monks were in possession until the execution of their abbot. Nice.
Sawley lies on the River Ribble, one Lancashire’s more famous rivers…..perhaps because we share it with North Yorkshire. That’s it with Lancastrians, we’re generous y’see.
P1020151River Ribble
The stretch alongside the Ribble and then Skirden Beck varied between highly walkable to thrashing through overgrown undergrowth. If you get my meaning. It wasn’t terribly difficult to navigate but I think it must have been a good year for triffids. I imagine that in May the plant life and general weedery will be much easier to walk through.
Checkpoint 6 at Bolton-by-Bowland Village Hall was one I didn’t photograph…..’cos I was hot and bothered…..and forgot.The Village Information Centre, loo and car park at SD785493 is a great spot to sit down, visit the loo, have a wash-down, fill up your Platy etc if you’re doing a recce. You might need this facility ‘cos there was bugger all open when I passed through. Not even the boozer. The actual Village Hall is just a little further to the east of the information centre and isn’t difficult to find.
Continuing north there was another navigational / Right of Way confusion. I’m easily confused, you may have noticed this. The turning to Green Ford Farm at Stoop Lane was quite overgrown. The signpost was difficult to spot – the Route Description does point this out. I ended up walking a little further north and taking the farm track at SD783509 instead.
The next little problem was negotiating Newhurst Farm at SD778512. According to The Map (OS Explorer 041) the footpath goes right through the middle of the farm….which doesn’t appear to be a farm anymore, rather a posh residence.
Click on the photo below to see the details of the alternative route by a concessionary path. What I find REALLY bloody annoying is that the original path has been blocked in spite of it not having been extinguished. I shall be on to the council about this and I suggest you do too. Try entering the details on Fix My Street – this takes all the hassle of reporting problems of Rights of Way issues. The website automatically sends your complaint to the appropriate local authority - it’s good.
If you intend having a whinge about this you’ll need the Post Code for the location of the problem…..Newhurst Farm, Forest Beck, Bolton By Bowland, Clitheroe BB7 4NZ. You can view my whinge here.
Enough whinging….for now.
I ended up using the concessionary path to get past the farm pretentiously posh residence.
Next came Witton Farm:
P1020159Welcome to Wittons Farm 
Easy enough to find, I used the farm track rather than the footpath through the field ‘cos the field was being fettled by an enormous tractory-thing and I didn’t relish the idea of being threshed, thrashed and baled.
Approaching the farm there’s a locked electric gate:
P1020160Just before this locked gate, in the dry-stone wall on the right, is a gate that allows you access into the farmyard.
Once out of the farm the route follows tarmac for around 4km. This allows for a decent turn of speed (Ho-ho!) – the surface is good and navigation is dead easy. This was A Good Thing….especially considering the sky was turning a decidedly dark shade of rain. The faster I went, the more threatening the clouds. A steep descent to cross Bond Beck meant an ascent towards Tosside, my goal for the day.
Looking at the map I could see a footpath off the road that would take my directly onto my intended campsite at Hartley’s Farm. This was COMPLETELY blocked by triffids, nettles, man-eating thistles and heaven knows what else:
P1020162Stile at SD770553 
This blockage wasn’t the end of the world but I do find this sort of thing irritating.  A couple of hundred metres on tarmac got me to the access road to the site….but even this wasn’t without it’s problems:
P1020163 At the entrance to Hartley’s Farm Campsite, Tosside
The rather expensive campsite (£15 for a solo backpacker) had a shower block, a loo, and flat, smooth grass. After a shower I wandered up the road to the pub in the centre of the ‘village’. It was closed….at 6.30pm!
Not only was this pub closed, I later discovered it only opened on Saturdays and Sundays between mid-day and 5pm. I don’t think they want the business.
Things got worse. The Old Vicarage Tearoom, a very attractive establishment with a stomach-rumblingly good menu outside along with signs advertising that they were ‘Now Open’ proved to be utter cobblers.
P1020173The very closed Old Vicarage Tearoom, Tosside 
Not only was the door locked, there was no indication of when the place might open. The menu listed a couple of nice breakfasty items so I rolled up the next morning, hoping for breakfast. Not a chance, it was completely shut. And I was completely hungry.
You may gather that Tosside didn’t endear itself to me. You would be quite right. I can only assume that business for both the pub and the tearoom must be so good that they don’t need to open very often.
On a more positive note, Checkpoint 7 at Tosside Community Hall looked nice:

The day’s route:


13.6 miles with 3500’ of ascent.

A more detailed view of my route on Viewranger should be available here. Be aware that my route differs from the route described on the LDWA 100 website ‘cos of my navigational problems.
If unable to open the link, just go to Viewranger and search for  LDWA Red Rose 100 Recce, Day 3


  1. The sheer joy and pleasure of not knowing what you will NOT find next. What happened to all those WI coffee mornings?

    1. I'm afraid I didn't come across one WI coffee morning - at times one would have been very welcome.
      There is indeed joy & pleasure at the pure unexpectedness of events on any trip - even more so when not on a recognised route.
      I must get on with Day 4!


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