The real thing..
A number of exploratory / recce trips to this area were needed in order to finalise this route, mainly due to the large number of illegally blocked Rights of Way (Right of Ways?), completely unmarked footpaths and generally difficult to navigate ground. An a lot of mud.
Anyroadup, this is what happened on the Big Day…
The Lord Raglan, Nangreaves
The choice of this pub as a venue for Tally-Ho! had absolutely nothing to do with The Leyden Brewery. Nothing at all.
First to set off from The Lord Raglan at Nangreaves were Ding Dong and Whitworth. They had arranged to meet at the pub at 12.30, thus ensuring an early start. After a leisurely tour around the lanes of South Lancashire, Ding-Dong arrived promptly at 1.30pm thus ensuring a not terribly early start.
Rumours of a collection in the pub to raise dosh to buy Ding-Dong a map are completely false….I think they want to buy him a SatNav so his navigation prowess could match that of Whitworth’s…..and he NEVER gets lost. Well, not very often – especially now he has a new Merc with a built in SatNav.
Whitworth and Prez Park left the pub in a blur (well that’s what the drunk outside the pub said), heading north along a short strip of tarmac. The money men (Ding Dong and
Mapless Taylor) ran together – leaving a little later than normal.
The dryness of the tarmac wasn’t to last long. Leaving the road, the extremely well-laid sawdust trail led our valiant heroes to a soggy path of a couple of hundred yards (around 183.44m). Damp grass drenched their running shoes comprehensively. Nice.
Other runners followed in their wake, all finding the extremely well-laid trail very easy to follow.
Whilst the hounds were enjoying (eh?) following the trail, the hares were taking great care to leave a clear sawdust & paper trail across some seriously rough and boggy ground.
First obstacle of the day was the illegally blocked footpath at Croston Close:
Next came the first ‘river’ crossing of the day. In recent weeks the stream that is Cheesden Brook had been a mere 2 – 3ft wide (609.6– 914.4mm….approx), the recent heavy rain had swollen the watercourse quite considerably. This ensured that many pairs of Innovates were suddenly mud-free. For a minute.
An uphill pull to a track led the hounds to Ashworth Reservoir. Once through a heavy metal gate the trail ran alongside a Water Authority-built wall to pick up a minor road at the east side of the reservoir.
The Trail-Layers were on the return leg of the trail and were able to watch some of the hounds, on the outward leg, as they ran along that stretch of road. Fortunately they were too far away to be able to hear the runners cursing, swearing and plotting sweet revenge.
Once across Edenfield Road, Knowle Hill came into full view. Curses were heard to be uttered as it slowly dawned on the hounds that the trig-point at the top was to be their next objective. And so it was.
Mud, bog, streams, windmills and sheep were just some of the hazards to be encountered on this uphill stretch. The sheep seemed intrigued:
A clear path off the eastern flank of Knowle Hill led the runners along part of the Rochdale Way, (thank-you Wiki!) in the direction of the Naden Reservoirs. The reservoirs only became visible after climbing a stile at Dixon’s Brow. The change of scenery was quite a revelation – so far the views were mainly of moorland, bogs and mud. To see the land open out in such a dramatic way almost caused some to stop and stare for a few minutes. It was either that or they were knackered after Knowle Hill and they needed a breather.
Clumps of sawdust and the Rochdale Way made for easy navigation as the route swung south and then west(ish) on the return leg.
Another stream crossing and on through Knowl Farm:
Re-crossing Edenfield Road gave temporary relief from the mud and gunge, in fact there was a good 10-15 minutes of relatively clean running. Until a particularly muddy, sludgy stretch of track that led to a particularly muddy, sludgy river crossing. It wasn’t long before Ashworth Reservoir once again hove into view, this heralded some nice running along only slightly horrendously waterlogged ground.
The Right of Way runs through Yates Farm but there was so much rubbish and detritus on the ground that a diversion was needed. It looks like the place is used as a scrap yard, a real mess.
Much nicer running followed once passed the farm: good tracks and paths, a short stretch of tarmac, and then a really gloopy farm track.
An uphill pull to a ‘notch’ on the horizon indicated the last stretch of the trail, although it was only once through the notch that it became clear the running was almost done. A stile and a short stretch of tarmac had us back at the pub.
The trail seemed to have been generally well received – although the beer at the pub got a better reception. It was rather good – just a shame I was driving.
Numbers were a bit low today, only 14(?) members sat down to a filling dinner of stewy stuff and mushy peas followed by fruit crumble. ‘Always hungry’ Blackshaw was unable to stay for dinner due to family commitments, this left Murray in a bit of a quandary regarding his pudding. He needn’t have worried though, help was at hand and his pudding vanished in the blink of an eye.
Layers of trail were Blackshaw and Jocys who had a thoroughly good day out – and even managed to beat all the hounds back to the pub.
This is where we went:
That’s according to Memory Map and my Garmin Etrex20. I felt I could do with a good laugh so I took my SatMap Active10 along too. According to that heap of junk we covered 16.75 miles.