Wednesday, December 27, 2006

December 27 2006

Have just caught up with the traveling bloggers - fancy having the heating on in S California!! Your photos are all lovely and it is great to see what you are all up to. Jan and Dave came yesterday around noon and we headed off for Crosby to see the Anthony Gormlley figures. Quite a few festive decorations and a very very cold wind on the return walk but good to get out for a blow.
Back home for spicy soup and traditional Boxing Day cold buffet with trifle to follow and good wine. Liverpool were on TV so Mel was excused from the table at 3 pm! We all tried the sloe gin which was very pleasant and well worth the wait; you will have to celebrate the big 30 with some Mandy!! I have suggested going to collect some sloes tomorrow if it is fine ready for next year's bottle. We started playing Balderdash at around 6.30 pm closely followed by Pit and Pictionary and Janet was amazed when it was only 8.30! We gave up at around 10.30 as there was a lot of yawning and after a Bailey's for Jan and whiskey for J and I we went to
bed. We all had a lie in this morning and it was well past 9 am when we got up. J and D left about 11ish and we went to Asda to buy a few essentials! A lazy afternoon and plans for going to the gym tomorrow - how lazy can you get in a week! Take care and keep blogging. Thanks to Greg for his wonderful Christmas letter and for the Christmas card, lots of love xx

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas 2006!

Christmas is almost over for another year! Strange to hear tales from around the world of Christmas swims – perhaps we will try it tomorrow if we make Formby! We have had a good day with nice food and drink and some good presents. Thanks Ben and Madeline, I am looking forward to my grown up book, I shall try to read it in the daytime so I don’t fall asleep.
We did a repeat walk yesterday of one we did a couple of years ago on the Wirral, We decided that 12 miles of the Ribble Way was a little ambitious for Christmas eve! We did 10 miles last week and it was very boggy in places and almost dark when we got back. Perhaps we will get an early start next week and go for it. We saw lots of birds yesterday; because it has been so mild lately I think they have missed out winter and are getting into Spring mode. We saw a huge flock of curlews (big birds with long curved beaks!) and quite a few flowers which shouldn’t have been in flower. Hopefully J will provide the pictures. We are both off work now until 2 Jan but poor Mel has to go to work on Wednesday! Not sure what we will do, possibly lots of trips to the gym for me to get rid of the Christmas sloth! (Two toed).I think there is probably a connection Ben between the drink and the hangovers, perhaps you are just getting too old to keep up the pace!! Glad you had a good time with Paddy and Katie; let me know if you think a week in SF would be a good idea in April and if you would have any time to spend with us?? I know you are busy but we can do some self entertaining too – I have the book! As you are going to be there for at least 2 years I am sure we could come again later and possibly do the trip down south? Let us know what you think sometime!
Lots of love to you both and the OZ travellers too – take care if you meet any big kangaroos!! xx

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Catching up .....

Last weekend we had Mandy and Dave to visit, which was nice. They arrived uncharacteristically early on Friday evening so had to go to the chippie for tea as we had already eaten! Saturday we went to Southport shopping as Dave had discovered that there was Russell & Bromley shoe shop there. He bought boots and trainers which was a great success but I don’t think anyone else got anything. We went home via Farmer Ted’s for meat and the farm shop for veg and a hot drink and snack, apart from Mandy whose toasted teacake never arrived.
On Sunday M & D did a bit more shopping at Asda and we had lunch around 2 ish – steak and kidney with dumplings followed by baked Alaska which seemed to go down well. Lovely to see them before their great Antipodean adventure (is that the right word??). The rest of the week was pretty much as usual, work, sleep, gym. TV etc. Friday night I parcelled up Mel’s gifts for Ben and Madeline and delivered them to Tickle’s mum who was amused that I called her daughter Tickle rather than Katie. I was equally amused that she only knows Ben as Scouse! We wrote all the Christams cards and I wrapped up books for the great nephews and niece. Yesterday I did some bits of Christmas shopping for people at work (I suffered a serious cardboard cut in M & S which bled profusely!) then in the evening we went to the Packet Steamer with Mel and Lucy and Ian who had come up to watch the football. Mel had got them tickets and we had a very pleasant evening of good food and pleasant conversation. I had my hair cut in the afternoon, I am glad to say that it has nearly recovered from the butchering at Toni & Guy.
As the forecast for today was stormy with strong winds and wall to wall rain we decided not to continue with the Ribble Way and went instead in search of culture. We went to the Walker Art Gallery where there was an animation thing called Insyde
which kept us amused for quite a while. We then went and looked at 3 rooms which had been rehung with modern art – pretty rubbish! Then it was off to the Tate to see the Henry Moore sculptures (J got told off for stroking one!) and then to the Paul Caulfield exhibition which was quite nice. The big canvas of brightly coloured pots on the web site was my favourite. We then went to the Tate cafĂ© and I had toasted blue cheese with roasted pear and rocket leaves – very tasty. We have just watched the last bit of the semi final of X factor which we missed last night and poor Ben has been sent home!! I think it might be crossword and nap time now as J is watching rugby! Looking forward to tales of Oz and San Fran xx

Monday, November 27, 2006

Ribble Way Part 3

Our adventures seem woefully inadequate having just read Ben’s latest blog all about Thanksgiving. It sounds a lovely idea for the whole family to get together especially at Big Bear in the sunshine. Saturday was the usual – gym for me, some food shopping then both J and I did some work and generally lazed the day away. I am sure rugby featured on somewhere during the afternoon!
Sunday didn’t look too hopeful with lots of black clouds about and very wet from the previous night’s rain but we set off undeterred to Clitheroe (end of walk) and then Ribchester to start the third stage of the Ribble Way. We walked past the badger wood but no sign of them; they must have been tucked up in their set. The river is very wide and with all the recent rain was very high as well. There was a long stretch through fields which were incredibly muddy and J quickly had very wet feet. He had new waterproof trousers which kept the outside nice and dry but didn’t breathe so got a bit damp inside!! The wooded stage was even slipperier with all the mud and leaves and it was quite a relief to get on to a hard surface for the final part of the walk. About 2 miles from the end we found a nice little tea shop where we had sandwiches and fresh orange juice which managed to revive us for the final stretch. They had a book called ‘Tea shop walks in Lancashire’ so I shall be ordering that!! We saw Stoneyhurst College in the distance which is where Tolkien’s son studied. The area around there is supposed to be the setting for Middle Earth in the Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. We didn’t see any Hobbits but then it was very wet underfoot and it wouldn’t have done their fur any good. By the end of the day it was lovely and sunny and we got home around 4 pm just in time to cook a roast and chill out. Do you remember doing a walk near Stoneyhurst one Christmas Mandy? It was equally wet that day!!
I am hoping that my car will be back either tomorrow or Wednesday but I must admit I am very pleased with the Polo, perhaps they would like to do a swap. Mel and I are going to the Lowry tomorrow night to see Arnold Bennet’s The History Boys. We went to see the film of it a few weeks ago but then someone at work mentioned that it was on in Manchester so I managed to get 2 tickets – not necessarily together but not far apart! I hope I don’t get stuck on the M62!!
I have just come back from the gym so thought I had better catch up before I forget what we did!! Love to you all xxx

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The alternative version!

My poor new car received a bump to the side last Wednesday! I was not in the car and a new driver was reversing out of a drive opposite and didn’t have quite enough room. I thought it would be easy to solve but the garage I took it to just for a look thought it would have to have a whole new side panel welded on!! I have therefore left it to the insurers to sort out and they are coming to collect it tomorrow. I picked up a nice silver Polo tonight to use until mine is returned home. Very annoying when it was so new but at least the girl involved waited to tell me that she had run into me which I thought was very honest of her.
The Ribble Way is going well if somewhat muddy especially when you have slippery shoes (not me!) but we have been really lucky with the weather and it is very exciting seeing deer (spotted by Tracker John) with the unlikely prospect of badgers next time. I have now got a gym programme which only lasts an hour rather than 1.5 hours but as a result everything is now up a level so it is hard work but better. Mel and I went to see the Taming of the Shrew at the Playhouse last night which was really good and very funny. J declined the invitation and is currently watching Liverpool playing football at the mo with Mel. (Mel isn’t playing football). Mel and I went to see Borat last Saturday which was probably one of the worst films I have ever seen but I am sure Ben would find it hilarious.
I hope the wok chef soaked and precooked the black beans- it is easier to buy a tin!! Chinese 5 spice is readily available from the spice rack section of all major supermarkets. They had it in Asda in Skem!! We have just had the third lot of savoury rice which J made on Monday but turned out rather more than he expected, hence why we are still eating it!
Keep up the good blogs, it is lovely to have them to read. Take care and love to you all.

Preston to Ribchester

I'm sure Ben will like the 3B village I've produced to show my 'Ribble Way' Photographs to date. 3B is an 'alternative' Browser that combines a '3D walk through' with web links; at work I've produced a 3B Village of Websites I use day-2-day. There are a number of different types of 'village' for the photographs I've chosen 'Art Gallery'

To view my 3B village, please download the
3B browser.
Then click on the picture to open
Weekend Walks 01 Ribble Way village.

The walk on Sunday was blessed by good weather again but for most of the walk the fields in particular were boggy! We did however see two deer along with a wide range of flora and fauna.
The vase-shaped fungi was of particular interest! Seen high above the Ribble in woodland; the climb up was a struggle as the bank was very slippery. Your mother managed to stop me slipping back down to the bottom... What a star! As you can see, the birds wont go without this winter! Plenty of berries in the hedgerows.
I'll update the Live.local map of the Ribble way walk when I get a few mins; watch this space... I think Chris was upset that the cafe, that we visited last time we were in Ribchester, was closed; the alternative visit to the pub (a local pub for local people) was not good! We ended up buying sandwiches from a shop and eating them while watching 'boy's football'; The traffic Warden arrived... Many of the dad's had to get parking tickets very quickly! Looking forward to the next section; Chris quite excited as we pass the wood where we went to 'see the badgers'!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Ribble Way

Sorry Mandy/Dave, the choice was the
Ribble Way! Mainly because we didn't have instructions for the Bronte Way. (We have now). We set off from the Dolphin out towards the marshland beside the river; Signs told us not to feed the donkeys in the next field and to keep out of another field as there way clay pidgeon shooting in progress (It's worrying if they couldn't they tell the difference between a clay pidgeon and us!)
Your mum was wrapped up against what was a very cold wind. The path was well walked and clearly signposted. Along the river there was a huge range of different water fowl and other birds including geese, cormorants, various breeds of duck, oyster catchers etc. Pity we didn't have the binoculars with us.

The cold onshore winds had hastened autumn and many of the more exposed trees had lost all their leaves; however in sheltered parts the warm October/November had brought the gorse into flower (what a contrast!)Ben, I'll say sorry now but, I couldn't resist the temptation of taking this photograph...
I know it was one you always planned to take but the opportunity was there and I couldn't resist.
Once we were past the entrance to Preston Docks, the walk became much more interesting and the autumnal (fall for those who still have to learn English) colours added to the beauty of the scenery see the photographs on Flickr
Ive also plotted the map, as usual, on Live.Local and the link is!638.
Pushpins 1 to 24.

We stopped on the way back from the walk at one of our 'eating houses' the Owd Barn. Chris had Thick Onion Soup and I had a cheese & Onion Toasted sandwich; Date and walnut cake to take away. Your mum was impressed that the cake was cheaper to take away so it will be take-away from now on. Look after the pennies...

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Wycoller Walk

The question on Sunday was "where do we go now the Lancashire Trail is completed?"

The answer was located on the internet and it was
Wycoller! On the Bronte Trail (that is a possible walk; Chris is keen!) Wycoller is a very attractive Lancashire Village. The, now ruined, hall was possibly the inspiration for one of the buildings mentioned in Jane Eyre (Chris may get round to telling you about it in more detail) A visit to the information centre in the converted barn provided us with maps for three walks; the walk we did can be found at: -!595
Images can be found by pausing over push-pins or at...
We now have to decide if we are going to do the Lancashire Coastal path, the Ribble Walk (mouth to source) or the Bronte Trail. Watch this space...

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Maps and Pictures

70 and one quarter miles over 9weeks; From St Helens on Merseyside to Thornton-in Craven on the Lancashire-Yorkshire border. Nine walking days (Sundays including one Saturday I think) with stunning views over Lancashire and the Cheshire Plain ending with a gradual climb to Pendle Hill with unsurpassed scenery all round. Meandering streams, leafy lanes, hidden pastures, reservoirs, canal towpaths and woodlands. The view can be changed by clicking on Road or Aerial as shown. You can zoom in and out of maps by using the toolbar or, I prefer, using the scroll wheel on your mouse (assuming you have one). You can also move around the map by clicking and dragging.!578 provides you with a link to the overview of the Lancashire Trail; didn't we walk a long way!
Hovering over 'pushpins' provide images (if I've added them) and More details; This will open other maps with step-by-step directions. Photographs taken on the Trail are available at
Other links to maps: if you want to look at them individually, are...!108!310 and!517
Watch this space for the next walk...

A rabbity and squirrely day!

Sunday was beautiful! The sun shone (too much at times for J), the rabbits played the squirrels jumped and climbed, the river gurgled and all was right with the world. Our final leg of the Lancashire Trail was completed from Barley to Thornton in Craven through some truly amazing and peaceful countryside with autumn colours all around and the smell of damp leaves underfoot. It really hasn’t been like October weather-wise which just proves that you shouldn’t believe everything you read on the internet Ben!! Having said that it is raining and very windy today so perhaps this is the real autumn. We went to the Theatre last night to see ‘The way home’, a social comment type play about a family of gypsies who lived down the road from a typical Scouse family (if there is such a thing). There was lots of swearing and some poignant moments which made you question who was the most dysfunctional! Tonight it’s the Playhouse and a play called ‘The man with two gaffers’; no idea what it is about but hopefully it will be good!
Glad you had the chance to play cricket Ben but don’t ever admit to being good at anything more dangerous such as shark fishing! Hope you have got over your worries about the homeless – unfortunately part of modern life.
We are having a visit from a man from the DfES today and I have the honour!! of entertaining him for an hour and a half so I shall be showing him the sights of Bootle in my new car – lucky man. This is an early morning blog as I don’t need to be at a school until 8.45 am and it is not worth going into the office first. The clocks changed at the weekend so I was awake at 5.45. Love to all our lambkins and keep up the good blogs, those who bother!!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Catching up

There I have been thinking that J was doing a blog on the Lancashire Trail when all he has done is the map!! I must admit it’s a pretty impressive map and makes us realise just how far we have walked. Last week we did from Mellor to Whalley and saw a dead cow lying on its back with its feet in the air and an impressive sheep skull complete with horns – if only you had been there Ben I am sure you would have brought it home! The highlight was a beautiful speckled little owl who was sitting on a post until it saw me. There have been some beautiful stretches of countryside; I really think autumn is my favourite season. I went with J to pick up his car after a service on Friday and ended up buying a new car! A Nissan Micra so just a small step up from the old Matiz! It is 12 months old with 9,000 on the clock and I managed to get £1,500 for mine so I thought that was pretty good. I am picking it up on Tuesday.
We walked from Whalley (pronounced Warley apparently) to Barley today via the top of Pendle!! I hope Ben remembers our last trip up to the top when he was at primary school! You carried a stone from the top and painted sheep on it! We walked up the long haul of the escarpment and walked down the steep steps (we walked up them last time) to the bottom where we found some lovely toasted cheese sandwiches! Not much wildlife about – just a heron, a flock of goldfinches, a jay and a suspected capercaillie (J recognised it’s call!!).
Home again to find a disappointed Mel who had been watching Liverpool losing 2-0 to Man United!
We have a busy week ahead with the theatre on Tuesday (Orestes, a Greek tragedy), and Thursday (The play what I wrote – a comedy about Morecombe and Wise) and then J and I are off to see Kathryn Williams (folky type singer) on Friday. Only time for Pilates on Monday this week then! Mel and I went to the cinema to see The History Boys last night – it’s by Alan Bennet and I had really been looking forward to it and wasn’t disappointed.
Not quite as exciting as scuba diving or partying on the beach in San Fran but it keeps us out of trouble!! Keep up the good blogging Ben and Madeline and hang your heads in shame Mandy and Dave!!
Love to you all. xxx

Monday, October 09, 2006

October already!!

Another week, another month. Good to hear the moving saga and tales form Abu Dhabi. I went to the gym on Saturday morning then did a bit of shopping including a trip to Bootle to pick up a T shirt that Mel had ordered from M & S. Mel and I went ot see 'Queen', the film, in the afternoon which was good but sad - all about Diana's death which I hadn't realised. Alan Bennet's 'The History Boys' starts next week which will be a must to see. Mel and J watched the England match (oh dear) whilst I read the paper then did the ironing before a splendid prawn curry. Sunday was a lovely autumnal day and we set off in search of the next 8 mile leg of the Lancs Trail which J will no doubt detail at a later time. We got muddled due to lack of path and adequate directions but a lovely stretch - beech woods again. 1 squirrel, 1 rabbit and a compulsory heron. The Clog and Biilycock Inn was extremely welcome at lunch time as we both had achey legs. If any one knows what a Billycock is I would like to know!!("it is a felt hat with a low, rounded crown, similar to a derby..." added by John) J had pate and toast and I had home made thick onion soup with cheese on toast floating on the top - delicious! Much fortified we finished the last couple of miles returning to pick up my car and home by 4 pm. A couple of lazy hours before roast chicken and a couple more lazy hours!! I have just been to pilates and had a tasty rib eye steak, J finished off the curry! Time for a Sudoku and crossword then another day gone. Am I wishing my life away?? Hope you are not missing autumn too much Ben, it really has been lovely recently although we did put the heating on at the end of last week as it was getting rather chilly! I am sure the sun makes up for it!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Grandma's Birthday...

If Grandma thought she was on the internet then she would be lost for words for the second day running! Lynn and Joan had planned a family party for mum and, in spite of some close shaves, managed to keep it from her!
We had planned to stay at Mandy's on Friday night but unfortunately she was away visiting friends. So Chris, Melanie and I stayed at Mike and Christines. It was a long drive with long delays as we left the M6 to join the A14.
It was nice to catch up with Mike (who paid a fleeting visit) who was busy with University meetings etc., Christine (who has purchased a new Cycle helmet, among other things) and David (who popped in on his way home from work) Good food, Good wine and good company. Slept well and after breakfast (Michael back to work; on a Saturday!) we said our farewells and set off for Hadleigh.
I was using the SatNav; Melanie was impressed but Chris found the instructions misleading.
To say Grandma was surprised to see us, was an understatement. She had had a good day yesterday (her birthday was 29th) and was full of the fact that Ben had telephoned her from USA to wish her happy Birthday.
Needless to say she insisted on cooking dinner for us (we offered to go to the chippy)!
After dinner we looked at the 'memory book' Lynn had made for her birthday and looked at birthday cards etc. A walk up the garden, to pick apples (eating) and Chris found a number of walnuts (these ended up in the bag as well). The garden spiders are everywhere...
Grandma had told us that Joan and Phil were coming to visit her tomorrow so you can imagine the 'shock' when Joan, Phil, Amy, Lucy and her friend, Amy's David and Luke together with David's parents, turned up just before 2:00 pm. Mother anounced that now Joan was there Lynn would visit as well! Little did she know...
In among all this Luke had spotted a baby grass snake going across the lawn...
Ron and Gladys arrived at 2:00, followed by Lynn and Pete. Mother was getting more and more bemused. Then when Robert, Susan and Helen arrived she was obviously so pleased but at the same time bemused. How had we all kept it from her? Who had known about it? Did dad know? etc. Joan and Lynn had provided food so mother had to just sit and enjoy the family gathering. Lucy's Ian arrived later, after watching his beloved Liverpool lose to Bolton (Melanie wasn't impressed either)
Part way through the afternoon a group photograph was taken. I've put a full sized version (with labels for Ben) on the family Wiki. It was a very enjoyable 'Grandma day'! Sadly, at 5:30ish, we had to make our way back to Liverpool. So after fond farewells we left them all to "party on!"
The Journey back was OK. Brief stop for a leg stretch at Stafford Services and back by 10:00 pm.
Grandma has phoned this morning and was full of yesterday. She is looking forward to Mandy and Dave visiting next weekend.
We've been to the Farmer's Market, to M & S (Warrington) to purchase uniform for Mel and the usual Sunday jobs. No walk this weekend but I've mannaged to catch up with the Blogs. Cumbria tomorrow and Rochdale Tuesday...
No rest for the wicked...
Happy Birthday Mum!

Lancashire Trail Part 5

23rd September 2006. Link to first map. Part 5, from Pushpin 185 to Pushpin 201 and Link to second map; from Pushpin 1 to Pushpin 25. Again a late publishing! I still don’t seem to find the time to keep both the map of our walk and the text up to date.
This part of the Lancashire Trail took us from Rivington to Abbey Village. Descending from Lower Barn back onto the footpath along Rivington Reservoir we turned right and walked to Horrobin Lane, the road that crosses the Reservoir.
Turning left, and crossing the road, we then turned right along a road with the reservoir on our left. Further along this lane we bear left along a stony track which ascends along the left side of the Yarrow Reservoir. Halfway up this path forks and we bear left to descend a winding path to a road and bridge beside Anglezarke Reservoir. Here we turned right and walked along the pavement to a road junction.
Butterflies basked in the sun on the reservoir walls. At the junction we kept to the left and left the main road after a short distance (car park entrance) to continue ahead with Anglezarke Reservoir on our left.
After about a half a mile, we ascended an embankment passing High Bullough Reservoir on our right.
Follow the path down to a kissing gate and continue on a track to a stile on the other side of woodland. This leads to a field which you cross on a clear narrow path with Anglezarke Reservoir on the left. Don’t be tempted to follow the footpath sign off to the right.
Cross a stile onto a bracken lined path, through trees, this in turn leads to another stile and a road.
Proceed diagonally left across the road through a kissing gate and follow the track to White Coppice with its cricket field and small reservoirs.
With these on your left continue ahead on a clear path, which veers right as it climbs steeply up the hillside from White Coppice.
At a fork in the path turn right, still ascending a steep, rutted path, heading towards Great Hill.
Continue on a narrow, but clear, path passing several ruined farmsteads and a coppice to eventually arrive on Great Hill (1200 ft); here, at the summit, there is a 4-way wind shelter. Follow the sign towards Darwin Tower, which can be seen in the distance. Look out for, and follow, a less clear path on the left, as you near the bottom of the valley. This leads you through another ruined farmstead; follow the path down hill, with the stream first on the left then on the right. The path turns into a stony track that continues to follow the stream to a small bridge on the A675. Cross the road turning left, taking a public footpath, turning right, into the woods.
Cross a small stream and turn sharp left to follow the lower of two tracks alongside the stream. The path climbs to the right onto a stony track that continues to follow the stream to a bridge.
Cross the bridge, turning right through a kissing gate and proceed with the stream on your right. After steps (up and down) take a track to the left away from the stream; this passes through a wood to a road from the dam of the reservoir on the right.
Follow this road and where it turns left continue along a path ahead to another reservoir. Follow the path, with the reservoir on your right, to a footbridge. Cross the bridge and turn left along a track. Cross another footbridge over the spillway, from the reservoir. Just before the house turn right up a narrow path onto the service road. Turn right and follow the road to the Hare & Hounds at Abbey Village.
Another nine mils completed! The two pints was well received and finished off what was a very nice walk indeed.

Lancashire Trails Part 4

This is a bit late to say the least. 17th September 2006. Link to map. Part 4, from Pushpin 132 to Pushpin 185. Don’t seem to find the time to keep the map of our walk and the text, both up to date.
This part of the Lancashire Trail took us from Coppull Moor to Rivington; all I will say about Rivington is “Tumble Weed”!
We set off from what was the New Seven Stars Inn, taking the broad track, along side the Inn, through a ‘sand winning’ area. Passing through an opening beside metal gates we headed for Hic-Bibi Brook .
Our expected view of Standish Church wasn’t available to do early morning fog. Keeping the brook on our left we walked until we were almost to a third wooden bridge, over the brook, where we then turned right following a line of telegraph poles carrying power cables. Upon reaching some trees we walked to the left, in front of the trees, and then crossed a clearing (covered with piles of rubble when we went) to a farm track.
Following this track, to the right , we crossed a railway bridge and decended towards houses on Platt Lane. Bearing left we passed the Crown Inn and followed the road up to the main A5106.
Upon reaching the main road we crossed and went through an opening beside a farm gate onto another farm track. This track took us down to Worthington Lakes. Here, keeping ahead, we crossed a footbridge and followed a path that crossed between lakes. Herons (2), one either side of the path, and other water birds. Keeping right, along side railings, with the lake on our right, we headed for a reservoir embankment and a stile in the corner leading down into Arley Wood.
Heading down we followed the path to a footbridge over the River Douglas, yes it is there again. Keeping ahead we ascended a path on the other side, through the trees, to the edge of Arley Golf Course. Following the track, taking care not to upset golfers, we arrived at the entrance beside Arley Hall (believed to be the oldest moated hall in the country; although the date over the door is 1367, parts of the building are believed to date back to the 12th century). The moss-covered walls were very green.
I’m sure you are expecting a wrong turn somewhere along the route, well here it is. We went right, and should have gone left. I had the usual feeling that we were heading in the wrong direction and, after re-reading the instructions and consulting the map, we retraced our steps and crossed the stone bridge over the Leeds-Liverpool Canal.
Continuing along the lane we crossed a disused railway, now apparently a footpath (note to ourselves that we should investigate at another time), and eventually reached a house called Hollinshead.
Bearing left in front of the house, and then keeping right, we walked along Blundell Lane. Emerging on the main road by Gallaghers pub at Little Scotland, we turned right and walked down hill, to a footpath on the left, just before the first bungalow.
Keeping the hedgerow on the right we eventually ascended the field until we were opposite Gallaghers. Here we turned right and passed through a gap in the hedge and headed for and crossed three stiles/fields. We headed towards a farm ahead (Sibberings Farm).
In the last of these fields we headed, diagonally, for a stile in the far left corner, the farm over to the right.
We were now at a lane; crossing this lane we headed up a short lane to a gap to the left of a farm gate. Keeping the hedge, buildings and eventually bungalows on our left, we came to a stile/gap leading onto a tarmac path behind some more bungalows. Following this path, crossing roads when reaching them, we passed through a housing estate to a community centre in Blackrod. Bearing right, to Vicarage Road we eventually reached the main road junction with a memorial and seats opposite an old Police station.
A short stop for refreshments, water and a banana. Five and a quarter miles down three to go…
Turning right down the B5408 we passed some stone cottages and turned left down the side of the last cottage.
This leads to a stile which we crossed and descended a grass path with views of Rivington Pike/Winter Hill in the distance and Anderton Services (M61) in the foreground.
Crossing another stile, into woodland, we followed the path, keeping left, round to Bank Houses. Having passed Bank Houses turn right beside a sign for White Hall Lane and descend a short narrow cobbled path to cross the A6 trunk road.
On the far side of the A6 we continued down a path to cross a railway line. It was a bit like “look at the submarine” when on Isle of Arran. Me, “I can hear a train”; Chris “very funny”; Train preceded by “two tone horn”. No surprise that I wasn’t believed!
From here it was up the edge of the field, hedge on left, up to a bridge over the M61. Just before the cattle grid we turned right down a rough track to Anderton Old Hall Farm. Lots of Sloes in hedge row. Note to ourselves to return early October to collect sloes for Sloe Gin!
At Anderton Old Hall Farm we walked closely to the left of farm buildings, over a small stile at the side of a gate and through a metal gate to the right of the very large main entrance gate. Following the lane until it turned to the left were bear right on a narrow path which also swings round to the left crossing a small bridge with a waterfall on our left. Pity about the bike dumped in the waterfall.
We continued along the footpath with the stream on our left, passing through a metal gate, that appears locked, to some new houses. Walking through the houses into a courtyard turning left up to a road. Turn right on the dual carriageway, we crossed the road near the “Welcome to Horwich” sign, and headed up Dryfield Lane. A little further on than the drive to Rivington Lodge there is an obvious path to the left between fields. Chris was upset at a Magpie picking over a dead sheep, in the field to our left.
Upon reaching the main driveways, we turned left and walked down to Liverpool Castle.
We then followed the path along the edge of the woodland skirting Rivington Reservoir.
The end of this stage was when we turned right up to Lower Barn for a cold drink and a Bacon Barm.
Just what I needed.

Monday, September 25, 2006

23/24 September 2006

A lovely weekend! Mandy & Dave arrived late Friday night but recovered after a beer or two. They were going to the match at Anfield on Saturday starting at 12.45 and then into town to meet up with friends. We decided to do the next leg of the Lancashire Trail starting at Rivington and walking to Abbey Village, 9 miles away. It really was the most beautiful day, blue sky, sunny, the smell of autumn and a lovely walk through beech woods beside a stream. Lots of fungi, berries, butterflies etc. We got to Abbey Village at around 3 pm and had a quick drink at the pub before returning to Rivington for J's car. We agreed to met in Ormskirk to do some shopping but unfortunately I got hopelessly lost around Balckrod and didn't arrive until about 20 minutes after J!! It was a bit like a nightmare when you know you need to be somewhere but you just cannot get there, I knew I had to turn off the main road but couldn't find the turning. I asked directions in the end and it all seemed so obvious. My glasses were in my bag in the boot of J's car so I couldn't even look at the map!! The joys of old age!!
Sunday morning J, Mandy and Dave went to Maplins for a new harddrive for B's computer. A great thunderstorm whilst they were away which Bournville took great exception to and hid for most of the day. The computer now works, complete with Windows etc and has returned to Peterborough with M and D. Roast dinner at 2 pmish then a laze around until the golf finished (Dave is a bit of a fan!)before they set off in time for Mandy to play netball at 8 pm. Did she make it??? A new serialisation of Jane Eyre on TV so all in all a very good weekend. Wonderful to hear Ben's news about his job - will he have time to fit it into his busy schedule? A new address would be nice sometime! We are off to Hadleigh on Saturday for Mum's 80th birthday celebrations, stopping in Cambridge on Friday night as Mandy is, inconsiderately, going away.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Badger night!!

Drove with Mel to Ribchester and met John who had gone straight from Blackpool. Met up with the 3 badger people and made our way to the farm and walked up through the fields to the hide by about 7.30. We waited for about half an hour before 2 badgers appeared some distance from the hide and one disappeared fairly soon after. The other one stayed for about 10 to 15 minutes just rooting around and finding things to eat. He disappeared down a hole and came up out of the hole in front of us (I missed that bit!) then trundled off into the undergrowth never to return. We stopped until about 9.30 but no more badgers. Rather disappointing but we also glimpsed a fox, and owl and some bats. We were told that the best time to see them is June or July so I must book up earlier next year. When we got home we had another wild life adventure! Bournville had a poor mouse cornered which had dripped several spots of blood on the dining room carpet! John the hunter caught it and released it complete with torn ear back into the wild.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Another weekend gone…

Went to the gym nice and early after hanging out the washing. A trip to Toni & Guy was an experience – back massage whilst hair being washed and an interesting way to cut hair, not what I asked for but which hairdresser ever does that? I am still undecided. Mel came to watch the footie with John and I did the ironing when I returned from Ormskirk. Tried to get tickets for Abigail’s Party at the Unity but sold out so stayed in and watched ????.
We set off early for the next 2 stages of the Lancashire Trail which was about 9 miles in all. This went from near Standish to Rivington (parked near the Barn) but we resisted the temptation to climb up to the top of the pike and had a sandwich and drink instead! The weather was lovely – really autumnal and sunny. We saw 2 beautiful herons on Worthington Lakes and a dead sheep being nibbled by a magpie. There were bushes near the M61 services that were covered in huge sloes so we may return in a few weeks to gather some for sloe gin. We haven’t tried last years so I am not sure if I like it! Crossing the M61 bridge seemed like good training for the SF Golden Gate but probably no where near as scary. We got home mid afternoon and I wrote a report for work which I never seemed to get time to do in the week and we had roast bacon and purple cauli for tea! Last night we went to see Arthur Miller’s ‘All my sons’ at the Playhouse which was very good – that information is for Madeline as I know I am wasting my time with Ben!! On Thursday it is the highlight of the year – Badger night in Lancashire. I hope we see them perform as well as they did last year. I looked in the loft for Ben’s binoculars but no joy – needle and haystack spring to mind. I went to the gym tonight so should sleep well. Hope Ben’s kittens are OK, I’m glad he has inherited a liking for small fury creatures, wonder where he got that from??

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Alternative weekend 9/10 September

As I don’t seem to do the Lancashire Trail in enough detail I thought I would record the other exciting (?) events of the weekend. Early morning gym for me as J was waiting for a bed to arrive – it didn’t! A beautiful day so did an hours gardening just to tidy things up a bit and also a quick snooze in the sunshine. Liverpool/Everton Derby so Mel came to watch and I decided to go to Southport instead. Didn’t buy anything much except a guitar book. My musical genius is coming along very slowly but I am trying to do something each day and there is some progress! J reported that the bed still hadn’t arrived when I got home only to be told at 4 pm when I was about to phone them up and complain that it had arrived whilst I was at Southport! What a silly Billy! Sunday looked like a lovely day again so we set off early to avoid the full heat of the day. Full details on J’s blog but suffice it to say it was very pleasant especially the refreshing end at the Wiggin Tree. Sunday afternoon was a bit more gardening, some strumming and a read of the Sunday papers then roast and tv – how predictable!! Lovely to see Ben’s blog but where is Mandy and Dave’s???

Monday, September 11, 2006

Lancashire Trail Part 3: 10th September

An early start today dropping of Chris's car at what was the New Seven Stars Inn; she remembered to leave her shoes in her car this week, so driving would be easier at the end of the walk. Then it was back to The Wiggin Tree Pub to start stage 3 of our Lancashire Trail walk. A little misty, typical September morning, as we set off down the hill towards Fairy Glen. Just past the carpark we headed off left up towards Harrock Hill
We passed a sleeping grouse who was in shock when he/she suddenly awoke to find Chris and I looking at them! A bit like Mandy when she wakes up! The rest of the walk up past the High Moor Restaurant, Harrock Hall and up to the Ruin of the windmill on Harrock Hill was familiar territory, having done a number of walks in this area. A very pleasant part of Lancashire; meadows, woodland and 'big sky'.
The next part of the walk took us along very quiet lanes and accross fields, towards Toogood Farm. Too good to be true; yes again the instructions were difficult to follow and we ended up taking a longer route than we should have done! Damn. We did walk through an equestrian centre who were preparing for an apparently big cross-country event. In the process of looking for "the lowest part of the field", "a stile and a plank bridge", we noticed how laden the Oak Trees were with acorns.
This, together with the vast numbers of game birds, frantically trying to escape from our paths, indicated a very successful growing and breeding season in the northwest. (or is it a sign of a hard winter?) When we eventually arrived at Toogood Farm, the path we should have taken was obvious; note to myself to return and trace back to the "stile and plank bridge" we couldn't find.
Toogood Farm shop were advertising the availability of Beef from their herd when on our left there was the "food on the hoof"; a fine collection of steer! Whoever wrote the original guide to this walk, didn't know how to read a compass very well; good job we had an OS map and a compass to sort out the directions we should be walking in. Passing Fishing Lakes at Broadhurst, very busy with dour fishermen staring into the murky depths we had no difficulties in finding Mossy Lea or Broadhurst Lane.The directions heading towards Chisnall Wood, left alot to be desired but, with a fair bit of looking at the OS map and reading the instructions over and over and over... we found the route along the edge of the wood; into the wood; across a brook and out of the wood again; all of this carefully watched, to Chris's delight, by a large herd of cows.
Over the M6 and, at this stage of the walk, don't ask me why, I had the urge to ask Chris if she had her car keys with her! Blood having drained from her cheeks, she stated that they were back at the start in the boot of my car! A quick, not quite panic riddled, search brought relief when I discovered I had a key for her car on my key ring! Only one more lengthy discussion was needed to work out the route, we decended to Stars Brook, crossed the footbridge at the bottom and ascended up the other side, turning sharply towards Langtree Old Hall Farm.
Three, chained to Chris's relief, dogs greeted us as we walked through the farm yard and it was just a short walk down the service road to the A49 and the end of Stage 3 of our walk.
I've put together a map of what we have done so far on the Lancashire Trail and you can see details at theLancashire Trail map. You can zoom into street level (or out) and see additional information/photographs at each "flag"; you can also click-n-drag the map to follow the "Maghull Meander"