Thursday, 7 November 2019
The hostelry had recently changed hands but there was little change evident with both fires blazing and the rooms dotted with dogs. We dragged ourselves reluctantly out to see what Ridings and JJ had produced for us.
They herded us across the road and down through the woods to the Upper Roddlesworth Reservoir and then headed along to the Lower Roddlesworth Reservoir.
A brief trot through Roddlesworth Woods and then it was Rake Brook reservoir. This was the last of the water we saw in organised areas, from here on it was liberally spread over the paths we were trying to run on.
The drizzle was continuous as we approached the Hare and Hounds at Abbey Village. We were too wet and muddy to pop in for a quick one so carried on over the road and out onto the open moor. We circled an old quarry then headed southish through ankle deep paths.
The going was pretty good and while the trail was a little sparse it kept us on our toes and all found their way round. We skirted the high moors here and eventually found our way to the road near Watson’s Farm.
There was a tricky right then left which a few briefly missed. The turn off the road was vague and then headed down what appeared to be a small stream to meet the River Roddlesworth and the main track.
While the trail had not been exactly flat so far, this was the start of the major climb. The path rose steadily through Tockholes No 3 Plantation and past Hollinshead Hall to reach the road at Thorny Bank Plantation.
We crossed the road then ran parallel to it until turning left to climb up onto the moors.
Through the col between Cartridge Hill and White Hill then picking up the main track across Darwen Moor before veering left and heading for the Tower. A brief look at the view then continue along the ridge to drop down through the fields and back to Ryal Folds where the drizzle finally abated so that we could get changed in the car park.
A large group of runners had set out, Wells, Biker Eastwood, Skint Wilson, Lesser Ruddock, Leech and Potter. They had become separated during the run and finished one by one. Fast Taylor set of early due to lack of training and Greater Ruddock a little after him.
First off were DingDong Bell and Old Markham who wisely chose to forgo the entire route and met us at the car park. Brown strode manfully taking photos of the participants and a shortcut to get back in good time. Murray and Riley set off a little later, and then Shotgun and McHarry. The latter
managed to overtake everyone on their way round.
Lastly Time Norman and his brother Chris set out. They were a little late and took their time, only arriving back late but safe.
We assembled in the room of the pub and sampled their excellent beer, revelling in the warmth and lack of rain.
The meal was served promptly when we asked, and while the portions initially disappointed they proved to be adequate and very tasty. Lamb hotpot but much better than our usual fare. This was followed by an excellent apple crumble and all
DingDong Bell asked for was a tenner.
An excellent trail, meal and venue!
You can’t not like this video by Evie Hargreaves (you may have to download Vimeo to view)
Words (mostly) by Wells, other words and all pics by me. Apart from the video by Evie Hargreaves….thanks to my mate Cheryl for this.
Note that some of these photos were taken on a recce – when the sun was shining.
Thursday, 27 December 2018
The Club’s Hon Sec has been a bit under the weather of late so it was deemed that this year’s Turkey Trot be run close to his home so he could come out to see us, drink beer and join us for the post-run nosh.
The chosen venue was the Olde Number Three pub in Little Bollington, a pub that has had mixed fortunes of late but now seems to be well and truly back on it’s feet, serving good beer and good food at very sensible prices.
As a local lad, and having some knowledge of the countryside around the pub, I volunteered to plot, plan and lay trail. This entailed a 9am start….not the best plan for the day after Boxing Day….but there you go.
The route headed south following footpaths that crossed the odd stream and muddy patch. So far so good.
At the M56 the sawdust trail was laid East to pick up farm tracks, the tarmac of Reddy Lane and yet more tracks and tarmac…it’s a good job that the TT isn’t a candidate for Trail of the Season!
The trail led across fields and some seriously gloopy man-eating fetid swamps to the the familiar sight (for those who did the P2P a couple of years ago) of the Swan with Two Nicks.
The pub was closed (Boo!) and the paths leading north into Dunham Park were quiet. The River Bollin weir was roaring well, testament to the recent rainfall:
A couple of National Trust warden types were curious as to what I was up to, I explained and they seemed happy enough….actually they were mildly amused by the whole thing. It’s good to leave folk smiling!
Continuing NE through the now busy deer park (busy with visitors and deer) the trail eventually crossed Charcoal Road by the gated lodge entrance to enter the Dunham Golf Club which is conveniently criss-crossed by a number of footpaths. Laying trail here was a little difficult, I was trying to be inconspicuous….I don’t think my efforts were successful.
We went the other way….
Emerging in Dunham Town the sawdust led northwards to pick up the Duke’s Cut and then into Dunham Woodhouses. Just short of The Vine (Sam Smith’s, £2 / pint) the trail went south….well it turned left anyway. The ground was a bit soggy and damp here, the route crossed a couple of streams (Agden Brook being one of them) and the River Bollin – by way of a footbridge.
At Agden Bridge Farm the route again joined the Bridgewater Canal towpath, this time heading east.
It may have been a little disconcerting to the hounds to be passing the Olde Number Three on the opposite bank of the canal and with no apparent means of crossing to it…..not without getting feet and other bits wet.
A solution to this little problem soon presented itself close to Little Bollington, a tunnel under the canal.
Splodging (uphill….please note!) through a field of horses the hounds were soon racing (?) westwards along the opposite side of the canal and the final run in to the pub.
Big Ian, camera in hand, was waiting at the pub……he’d not been out on the run but wanted to join us for lunch.
Only one hare today
Runners began appearing – Hon Prez Park being first man in, no doubt driven by thirst and hunger:
Other runners appeared, running on t’other side of the canal but visible from the pub car park. Cameras were readied to record their auspicious arrival:
It should learn to calm down…
The Trail-Layer doing his post-run stretch
Whalley had collected and transported the Hon Sec to the pub where we all enjoyed a beer (maybe more), a nice meal and, far more importantly, good chat with Brian – who seemed to be on good form.
It was a good run. I measured it at 8.8 miles with around 300 – 330ft of ascent, so not the hilliest of trails. Having said that, looking through the Club’s history it would appear that the route covered traditional Tally-Ho! terrain and so it was considered to be acceptable.
Thanks to everyone who turned out to make it a successful day for the Club, and especially for Brian.
Photos by JJ and Big Ian
Wednesday, 21 October 2015
Further to my little recce t’other day it was now time for The Real Thing, laying trail for the Club run.
Laying a trail on your own isn’t the easiest of tasks: there isn’t anyone else around to compare notes with, carry extra sawdust, whinge at, help with navigation etc. It’s down to the trail-layer, and if it all goes horribly wrong there’s nobody else to blame.
I left the car park of the very splendid Royal Arms at Ryal Fold, Tockholes at 11.15am. I was loaded down with a trail bag full of sawdust, a rucksack with more sawdust, a map and a bottle of water. The first part of the route was through woodland. I left great clumps of sawdust on the paths - an easy trail to follow. I thought. Nobody could POSSIBLY lose such a heavily laid trail. Of course they couldn’t.
Pendle Forest Orienteering Club were also out in the woodland, enjoying (enduring?) one of their Autumn Series events.
Orienteering kites were spread throughout the woodland
According to their website Tockholes was voted best area in Lancashire in the recent best 100 areas in the UK listing. I can believe it.
So busy had I been on my recce that I completely missed the charcoal burners deep inside the wood:
My route up to Great Hill more-or-less followed my recced route but somehow I managed to get my feet even muddier. 24 hours, a hot bath and two showers later my toe nails were still stained brown from the peat. Oh well.
Visibility was marginally better than on the recce, it was possible to pick out Blackpool Tower on the horizon.
There were more folk out today, it being a Saturday and all that. You don’t half get some funny looks when you’re charging around the countryside leaving piles of sawdust all over the show.
Leaving my recce route by Slipper Low car park I started the climb up to Darwen Moor. Really good tracks were dead easy to navigate, it was just a matter of keeping an eye on the map so as not to go (too far) wrong. On the climb I stopped a few times
for a breather to look back towards Great Hill to see if there were any runners in view – not a one. I just hoped they’d not lost the trail.
A most odd-looking contraption caught my eye as I flew <ahem> up the side of the hill. I had to stop (again) just to take the photograph. It took ages to compose.
Once high on the moor there were a goodly number of opportunities for rest – although I resisted temptation….of course.
Peel Tower is just visible to the left of the windfarm. Windfarms like these are cropping up wherever there’s a need for an EU grant.
Still no sign of any runners so I plodded on, now towards Darwen Tower – or more correctly Jubilee Tower. The tower was completed in 1898 and was built to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. A few years ago, in high winds, the top blew off. Locals rescued the top and later replaced it with a fibre glass one instead. That one blew off in 2010 and has since been replaced with a new one made of stainless steel. It’s supposed to be getting windy tonight…I wonder?
A jolly bunch of ladies (a bunch of jolly ladies?) were finishing their jolly lunches at the tower. They recognised my Tally-Ho! kit, admitting to knowing some Club members. That’s a rarity in itself, hardly anyone I know would admit to knowing anyone in our club. :-)
5-600 metres of flat running on the NW edge of Darwen Hill offered great views over Lancashire and as far as Cumbria. Closer views were of the empty Sunnyhurst Hey and Earnsdale Reservoirs:
Still no sign of any runners. They’d either got completely lost, fallen into one of the fetid and man-consuming bogs that Lancashire is justifiably famous for…..or nobody had turned up. Oh well.
It was a steep descent from Darwen Hill back to the boozah which was now in view. Even so, the sawdust trail had to continue to the bitter end.
The orienteers were still out and about, their competition almost finished. I had a chat with a couple of the officials about the long lost 2 Day Capricorn event. Happy days, probably not to be repeated.
Back at the pub for a very welcome and warming coffee. Although it wasn’t a particularly cold day I’d started to chill soon after I stopped running.
It was around 4pm when the first runner came in, Hon Prez Park – quickly followed by Hon Sec Shipley and Ding Dong. They seemed to have enjoyed themselves, not losing the trail much at all. Or perhaps they were just being polite.
The tin bath was put to good use. Being the trail-layer and therefore the first man back, I got the clean water. Perhaps I should try to run faster so I could finish earlier and get cleaner water on future runs……..nah!
By 5pm only half of the runners had returned, the fast pack were still out. They’d somehow got lost. That’s what happens when you run too fast. The early finishers were hungry so we sat down to a good dinner of Cumbrian Hotpot followed by Apple Pie & Custard – just what the doctor ordered. Halfway through our meal the fast pack rolled up, fortunately there was plenty of dinner left for them.
Only 12 runners attended, a very poor turnout indeed – especially for this excellent venue, one of the very best.
Where we went:
9 miles with 1500’ of downhill.
That’s a lot of downhill, what’s to complain about?
The lost boys covered around 10.5 miles and heavens knows, they must have done some serious uphill stuff.
Next time: Longnor in two weeks. I can’t wait!
What the prez said:
The Royal Arms, Ryal Fold, Tockholes, 17th October 2015
Overcast ( later sunny ), 10 Deg, little wind.
The route started across the road from the pub down through Plantation No 2 and crossed the dam separating the Roddlesworth reservoirs. The trail turned south through Plantation No3 and crossed Belmont Road onto Wheelton Moor.
There was a large number of Pendle Forest OC scuttling from control to control. They were celebrating their 50th anniversary.
The first part of the moor was difficult with rushes, bog and Turk’s Heads but eventually high ground was reached and Great Hill came into view. Over the hill we headed for White Coppice familiar as the turning point of the Steeplechase.
We soon turned sharply back towards the bog and Belmont Road. The trail chicaned around Piccadilly into the woods passing Hollinshead Hall ( ruin) , across Tockholes Road and round the shoulder of Cartridge Hill. The last climb took us up Darwin Hill to the Jubilee Tower (372) before dropping down to RyaL Fold.
We came across an old squeeze box player surrounded by saw dust in the car park. We congratulated him on the excellent trail and queried the uncharted rush bog, he retorted that there was a dotted line on his map and carried on playing.
A disappointing 12 eventually sat down to hot pot and apple pie after five headless chickens arrived having been up to the tower several times and covering extra distance. We all cried into our beer.
Jocys did an excellent job laying a nine mile trail on his own.
Sunday, 4 October 2015
Those fine fellows of the Cheshire Hare & Hounds Tally-Ho! decreed that today’s run would be from the Wanted Inn, Sparrowpit.
The pub has had a chequered history in recent years, it’s been closed a few times – that’s hardly unusual these days. Some years ago it was called the Devonshire Arms, this must have been confusing as there’s a Devonshire Arms just down the road in Peak Forest. The pub’s owners put the place up for sale but there were no takers – it became known locally as the ‘Unwanted Inn’. When it eventually sold it was renamed the ‘Wanted Inn’. Obviously.
Anyroadup, between 1pm and 2.30pm groups of runners of a variety of abilities (and disabilities) set off running from the pub following a sawdust trail left by Mssrs Potter & Stanton, trail-layers to the nobility. Or something like that.
The weather was really good for running, dry and chillier than of late, although plenty warm enough to be running in shorts. It was a bit misty which didn’t do a lot for the views, but what we had was good.
I ran with Whitworth, neither of had done much running of late so we were well matched. As ever we chatted loads and consequently lost trail a few times. No problems with the general quality of the trail, it was well laid and generally easy to follow….although there were a couple of occasions when I thought the trail-layers were running low on sawdust – a couple of times the trail became decidedly thin.
The anti-clockwise route headed south from the pub before turning east to Peak Forest, covering some of the ground used by the Club’s annual Steeplechase. The terrain was typically limestone: well drained and easy on the eye.
The word on the street is that quite a lot of the route will be used for next year’s Point-to-Point.
From Peak Forest the route turned north, passing to the east of Eldon Hill and then on to Windy Knoll where Rushup Edge came into view – in spite of the murk and mist.
Because of the poor visibility the views into the Vale of Edale weren’t brilliant, although looking back towards the east was clearer:
Eastwood had caught us up earlier and we trotted along together for a couple of miles until around Lord’s Seat on Rushup Edge when he pulled away.
Thanks to Potter and Stanton for laying such a good trail, they should be allowed out more often. Even more thanks to Brian for agreeing to run round with me, providing excellent conversation….and, er, buying me a pint at the end :-)
Shame about the food at the pub: a single course consisting of a small portion of stew with hardly any vegetables but bulked out with bread and not very good dumplings. It really wasn’t up to much – not when the club was charged £10 a head. If the Club runs from there next year I’ll duck out of the ‘meal’.
Bathing & changing facilities at the pub were pretty dreadful too: the tin bath was outside the back of the pub. I’m just glad it wasn’t cold & rainy. On the plus side the sight of 15 – 18 hairy-arsed runners stripping off probably gave the local ladies something to laugh at.
The beer was good though.
Where we went:
9.4 miles with around 1400’ of ascent.
Viewranger stuff here – although it shows the route as just short of 9 miles it’s actually 9.4 miles. I think it’s down to the way Viewranger uses waypoints to calculate distance.
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