View from Oban Bothy

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

Monday, 1 April 2019

Walking with(out) Wainwright 8th March 2019

What the LDWA website says:
'Wainwright's Way is a journey on foot through Alfred Wainwright's life from Lancashire to the Lakes. This walking guide charts a 126 mile long-distance route linking the place where he was born - a Victorian terraced house in Audley Range, Blackburn - with his final resting place on Haystacks, his heavenly corner of Lakeland.'

What the Long Suffering Rick said:
'Fancy a walk?'

The answer was obvious, so at 7.30am on a gloomy Friday morning Rick and I headed north to Whalley to meet up with Bella, Stuart and Pete. We five jumped on the train to Blackburn and then walked back to Whalley to where we'd left our cars. 

It took a bit of mucking about with maps and things to find our way out of Blackburn train station to get to Alf's house but we eventually managed it.

This first bit of the walk was very disappointing. The town was filthy, rubbish and excess apostrophe's were littered all over the place. 'Mucky' doesn't come close.

We stopped outside Alf's old house for a quick photo-shoot but Bella was a bit camera-shy.

 L>R: Pete, Long Suffering, Bella, Stuart

Examples of Blackburn's muckiness:

 Interesting use (or lack of use) of Blackburns apostrophe's:


After a couple of miles of walking the streets of Blackburn we escaped the muckiness and headed north-ish along the Leeds-Liverpool Canal towpath. The path led us past old and new industries: dilapidated mills and modern offices - probably call-centres.

Bella...with part of a tree:

Leaving the towpath around Rishton, we continued north-ishly, following a mix of muddy paths, muddier farm tracks and bits of tarmac.

I spotted this sign on the side of a large farm shed, it brought back memories of my G2CSR and G3 Matchlesses from years ago.

Up until now we'd managed to walk without waterproofs but darkening skies and mizzling rain (the sort that soaks you through) had us digging out our overtrousers.    

 On the Lancashire Way, close to Dean Clough Reservoir

A few lumpy bits of ground presented themselves, some through woodland, others on tarmac.

Descending to cross the River Calder, we were soon back amongst the busy-ness of modern life.

The River Calder

 The weather and the lack of anywhere to sit meant that we were back in Whalley having not eaten. We wandered through the town and the churchyard, searching in vain for shelter.

What I did find were some doors that Rob might find interesting:

Rob has a thing about doors. He's famous for his photographs of them. Really.

All of this wasn't helping us find somewhere to eat.

A bus shelter, with those horrible seats that have you sliding off, was the only shelter we could find - it had to suffice. Butties and fresh scones (made that morning) were scoffed, all washed down with coffee. Fortunately no buses came by.

Unusually, we didn't bother with a pub stop. It was Friday afternoon and the traffic would be quite daft so we (damply) headed off home.

It had been a pleasant day of gentle walking. It was very sad to see the poor state of Blackburn - it certainly didn't encourage you to tarry.

Whalley, on the other hand, just up the road, is a charming village, filled with historic buildings, characterful shops and lovely cafes and restaurants. And pubs. Obv.

Chalk and cheese. Such a shame.

Where we went (south to north):

Around 11 miles. It was good. Apart from Blackburn. and not going to the pub.

We're now plotting the next section, it's looks like it's going to be a long-ish one.

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Thor's and other caves, Sunday 3rd March 2019

A very, very nice bunch of outdoorsy-types had issued an invitation to join them on a gentle bimble in the Derbyshire Dales. Well, it might have been considered rude not to join them...

Many of the group had camped out the previous night and were suffering, ever so slightly, from the effects of a rather late night - and maybe one too many lime & sodas.

At 10am the group, ably led by Ally,  headed north up Dovedale, visiting some of the more accessible caves in the valley. Some of the less hung-over members of the group managed to squeeze into orifices that really weren't designed to be squeezed into.

Reports may well appear on Trip Adviser...'these caves are too small.....we weren't warned....there were no was too wet...there wasn't a cafe' etc.

Whatever, this being limestone country, AND it had been raining, the ground was often very slippy. I was the only walker with poles....and probably the only walker with a mud-free backside at the end of the day.

Our merry band swooped on Milldale's purveyor of pies, pasties, sausage rolls and coffee - it did a roaring trade as we attempted to buy up anything that was edible.

Suitably fortified, and many of the group looking decidedly less green, we wandered off westwards, towards our designated lunchtime rehydration stop.

The Royal Oak in Wetton provided warmth, dryness, beer and much sitting-down-ness. This was a Good Thing, giving many of the group the chance to get to know one another a little better.
It was good.

Whilst in the pub the heavens decided to do what heavens often seem to do best. Fortunately we were all well prepared for the wetness. Whilst it was wet it certainly wasn't cold.

Next stop was the declared object of the expedition: Thor's Cave. The entrance to the cave was very wet, very bare polished slippy-slidy limestone. I've explored the caves previously and didn't feel the need to risk life and limb on the ice-rink-like ground. I sat outside, ate my butties and had a hot drink

The group's exit from the cave was hilarious - many bums were bruised and muddied in vain attempts to retain some level of dignity and verticalness. Bum-sliding ended up being the most popular method of getting out. Unfortunately I wasn't quick enough with my camera to catch the most spectacular exits!

We returned to Wetton and then headed a bit east of south, following the general course of the rather beautiful Manifold Valley, back to Ilam. The grassy ground was often quite slippy-slidy too, more walkers found themselves skating around on the muddy ground....adding to the muddy-bum numbers.

Some had muddy faces too! 


 A blurry Thorpe Cloud

Back in Ilam, the Izaak Walton Hotel was designated as the final refreshment stop of the walk - not for me though, I needed to get back home.

I managed to wash the mud from my boots and gaiters by sloshing around in the shallows of the river running adjacent to the car-park. After a quick cuppa in the car I headed for home, getting back just after 7pm.

A cracking day out with great, fun company - rather reminiscent of the old Outdoors Magic meets. I loo forward to the next one.

Thanks to Ally for organising, Amanda for getting muddier than most (I have the photos but I simply DAREN'T publish them!) and everyone else for their good company...and all the laughs of course :-)

Where we went (anticlockwise):

Around 22km with (according to Memory Map) 700m of ascent....I'm not too sure about the accuracy of that last figure though.  

More photographs here

Photos taken using either an old and weatherproof Olympus mju400 (when it was raining) and a Lumix TZ70....when it wasn't.

Anchor Inn session