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.
http://local.live.com/?v=2&cid=A379F4C664F7684F!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 http://www.flickr.com/photos/acljohn/sets/72157594231686898/
Other links to maps: if you want to look at them individually, are...
http://local.live.com/?v=2&cid=A379F4C664F7684F!310 and
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.