View from Oban Bothy

View from Oban Bothy
Showing posts with label LDWA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label LDWA. Show all posts

Friday, 9 September 2016

A Breath of Fresh Air, 7th Sept 2016

…or Norman’s Birthday Walk



Norman’s got this thing about lighthouses. If there’s even the slightest chance of including one in a walk it’s a dead cert that he’ll incorporate it somehow. This has led to many a sorry tale of navigation gone wrong, too many miles etc.

But today we decided to humour him, he’d just had his birthday y’see and advancing years are taking their toll on the old bugger.

‘A Breath of Fresh Air’ is a route that Norman devised when he was a young whippersnapper of 70, Each year, around his birthday, he leads this walk in the (vain) hope that fellow members of the East Lancs LDWA will buy him lots of beer at the apres. Fortunately the members are wise to his ways and he always ends up having to put his hand in his pocket. It’s tough being a retired plumber.


The Wednesday Chapter of the East Lancs LDWA in all their finery and glory

After a quick pre-flight check and photo call we left Conder Green’s Pay & Display Car Park (which was free ‘cos the ticket machine was jammed) and walked north along a disused railway track

The sun shone strongly and lashings of ginger beer sun cream were (was?) being applied to bare bits of flesh in an attempt to avoid nasty sunburn.


Norman sped off, leaving us in his wake. It was a devil of a job to catch him up.


Norman checking that his followers are, er, following him.


At Aldcliffe a call for elevenses went out, it was only 3 miles or so into the walk but it was hot and I don’t think anyone objected to such an early stop. A convenient wall provided seating, trees provided a little but much needed shade.



The Lancaster Canal, our view from the elevenses stop.

Suitably rested, fed and watered, Norman once again sped off – now heading south along the western bank of the Lancaster Canal.


After four miles of fast-ish flatness our leader decided it was time for his troops to lunch at a lovely lock-side spot, just south of Galgate. This was a very leisurely affair – there was plenty of time to catch up with all the current LDWA scandal and gossip…..but I’m sworn to secrecy – so no boddice ripping tales will pass my lips. Well not until the dust has settled.


Norman in Lunch Mode

Our route left the canal towpath and we headed towards St Michael and All Angels Church in Cockeram, a fine bulding if ever there was one. I’ve been this way on other walks and have always wanted a peek inside. Bits of the building date back to 1589, there’s little doubt that parts are considerably older. Today a service was being conducted so once again my plan for a quick church explore was foiled. Curses.


  St Michael and All Angels Church, Cockerham

A couple of miles further and another stop beckoned, this time for cold drinks and ice creams – very welcome in such high temperatures. The venue for this much needed stop was the airfield at Cockerham, home of the Black Knights Parachute Team. As with previous visits to the airfield, the team were in action – and what a glorious day to be pushed out of an aeroplane at 15,000 ft.




Doggies weren’t allowed close to the airfield, so whilst we enjoyed our cooling refreshments and watched the aerial display the pooches were left tied up in the airfield’s car park.


Eschewing NORM1, our leader takes to the hoof ….Barbara looks on in amazement

Leaving the airfield by the tradesmen’s entrance we were marched towards the coast – and a fine example of salt marsh:


The next point of interest, Cockersand Abbey, looks nothing like an abbey – it looks more a little chapel / church, a fine build nonetheless:


Cockersand Abbey

Just visible from the abbey is Plover Scar Lighthouse, set off the coast, in the River Lune estuary. Although the lighthouse is small and isn’t normally manned, apparently it offers some very basic accommodation and a fireplace – presumably in case lighthouse staff were marooned because of bad weather.


Plover Scar Lighthouse (Black Combe in the distance?)

The lighthouse suffered a bit of a prang earlier this year, a passing vessel barged into it causing some damage to the cast iron structure. It still works as a lighthouse but is currently undergoing repairs by a specialist welding company.

Northwards now, heading towards the fleshpots of Glasson Dock, world famous for it’s docks. Although still officially a working sea port, it seems to be more suited to leisure craft these days – it has quite an extensive marina.


Following the coastal path to Glasson Dock





One for Alan R



Glasson Dock Marina


Nearly back!

16 miles from the start:



Norman in Rehydration Mode:



So that was that. A flat 16 mile walk in excellent company, stories told, beer drunk….and then we all went home for tea.

Thanks to Norman for leading the walk and everyone else who walked the route – you all made it a grand day out. Thanks!

Where we went:

Breath of Fresh Air route 

16 miles of flat niceness.


More photographs here

Route details on ViewRanger

East Lancs LDWA ‘Breath of Fresh Air’ webpage

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Sunday 20th March 2016, 31st Two Crosses Circuit


Tottering around Tottington

I try to enter this event each year…apart from being a good excuse for a walk in good company it means that I don’t need to make my tea when I get home, the catering on the East Lancs LDWA Two Crosses Circuit is legendary. Judith took part with me last year, but the thought of having to walk with me for another day was enough to put the poor girl off. Anyroadup, in a moment of absolute madness, Alistair agreed to join me on the day’s walk.

The field of around 190 walkers and runners were gathered in the event centre in sunny Tottington, drinking tea and scoffing the toast that the Club had thoughfully provided for the participants. It was good to see Martin, Steve B and his mate Steve at the start. They were doing the 25 mile route, Alistair and I had opted for the more leisurely 17 mile option.


L > R: Steve, Steve B, Martin, Alistair, ready for the off

At 8am the field set off. Martin ran off and the two Steves soon pulled away from Alistair & me – we were out for a more laid-back day. Conditions were perfect: it wasn’t raining and the ground was quite dry, within half an hour of starting out the sun came out to cheer us on our way.


Looking towards Egerton & Chapeltown




Jumbles Reservoir


A modern Peak & Northern Footpaths sign


T’Tower at Turton

Even though we were towards the rear of the field were making good time and arrived at the main food checkpoint with time for a good sit-down and chat with those manning (and womaning) the checkpoint. We probably stayed for 50 mins, long enough to see the first few runners (doing the 25 mile route) come in. We enjoyed firsts, seconds, and, er, thirds – the Greek salad was just delicious. As was the pork pie. And the fresh fruit salad….and all the other goodies.


Checkpoint 4: lovely food!

Very reluctantly we eventually dragged ourselves away from the cheery East Lancs folk and their feast of a feast. Trying to walk briskly after a slap up meal wasn’t easy – but it had to be done.


Turton & Entwistle Reservoir

Heading East now, our next objective was Bull Hill & Holcombe Moor, an area used by the armed forces so they can practice shooting at each other whilst covered in peaty mud. Very little mud today though, the recent dry spell had made walking across the normally evilly-squelchy really quite straightforward.

P1060333 Wind-up windmills decorate the moors & hills of Lancashire

Just to the north of Bull Hill is the infamous Naughty Corner, otherwise known as Checkpoint 6. All manner of naughty drinkies are available here: sherry, rum, whiskey….and other beverages too no doubt. Alistair and I resisted temptation but took advantage of the dry ground for a leisurely sit down in the warm sunshine and a damned good chat with those manning the check. Runners and walkers flew through as we chilled in the good company.


An orange cap came bouncing down from the direction of the top of Bull Hill, slightly off-route - it was Martin. After a nip of something or other Martin joined us for much of the rest of the walk.

Marching south now, our route took us over Harcles Hill, and on to Peel Tower. This was the last climb of any significance of the day. There were loads of day walkers out, this is a popular area – especially on a sunny day like today.


Pilgrims Cross, Holcombe Moor


Wind-up windmills and quarries of Knowle Hill and Harden Moor


Peel Tower


Peel Tower. And Alistair.


South over Bolton, Ramsbottom & Bury, Manchester and the Peak District beyond


Evidence of sheep literacy problems. It wouldn’t happen dahn sarf.

The next stage involves a steep decent through Redisher Woods, notorious for being slippy and slimy. If you got this far in the walk without getting covered in mud or sliding on your bum, this bit would ensure you finished splattered in the brown stuff (ask Judith). Not this year though. The ground was dry and we enjoyed a relatively quick and easy decent. 


Martin entering Redisher Woods


Alistair exiting the woods


Looking back at Redisher Woods, it doesn’t look difficult at all

The final checkpoint (7), manned by the ever cheery Sue & Steve, came and went. We were now on the final leg of the walk, easy walking over footpaths, across a golf course and a section of disused railway line.

Once on the disused railway Alistair increased his stride, eager to equal or even beat his previous time of 6hrs 37mins (he equalled it) and Martin jogged off to get a good time. I couldn’t be mithered – I was wearing boots so running really wasn’t on anyway. As it happens I came in at 6hrs 38mins. I’m sure we could have easily knocked 30-40 minutes off our time if we’d have shaped ourselves at the checkpoints, but we were out for a walk and not a race.

Good food at the finish - home made soups, butties, Manchester Tart (especially Manchester Tart!) and loads of other goodies, ensured that nobody would need their tea when they got home. The East Lancs Catering Corps strike again!

A great day out (again!), my very grateful thanks to Alistair, Martin, the Steves, my Mum, and of course the East Lancs LDWA for putting on the Two Crosses – it really is a fine event. Special thanks must go to East Lancs members Paul & Alison. They have organised the event for the last 6 years and are now standing down to do other stuff in the group. The new organisers, Cordon Bleu Viv & Caroline are taking over – I’m sure the event is in safe hands. If nothing else the food will be brilliant!

Where we went (clockwise):


17miles with around 2200’ of up and downery