View from Oban Bothy

View from Oban Bothy

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

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Favourite Photographs, 3rd September 2016



TGOC2004 (C25) – my first Challenge, in Ruigh Aiteachain Bothy.

L > R: Ben (Bob Lee’s Dutch son-in-law?), Stormin’ Norman, the late and much missed Bob Lee

Photo taken with my then new Olympus mju410, a weatherproof camera that has dreadful low-light performance….but it was, and still is, quite weatherproof.

Conrad was kind enough to put his considerable expertise to full use by tweeking the photograph which resulted in much improvement, see below. Thanks Conrad!

P1010083 JJGroup edit by Conrad

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