On a lovely sunny March morning some 16 Plodders and Maude congregated at Springwood Picnic Area in Whalley, before transferring to Mellor and setting off from the point at which we arrived in the rain on 22 February.
We soon reached an orientation point at 223 metres on Mellor Moor, the site of an Underground Nuclear Monitoring Post, now sealed.
Pendle Hill lurked almost unseen on the horizon, through the March heat haze, as we passed by Midge Hall and the course of an obscure Roman Road, before reaching the site of Norman’s latest addition to his property empire, foolishly purchased on the basis of an agent's particulars.
Norman toasted his success and proudly offered the property as a base for club weekends.
A capped reservoir was passed, so well fortified and equipped with security cameras, that we decided it must be a fuel store rather than a ‘water store’.
A very pleasant descent led to the village of Wilpshire, from where a hot rise to the golf course had everyone gasping, and annoyed some golfers who had to wait for all sixteen of us to cross through their line of fire. Grumpy old men, they should have appreciated the break, on such a hot day.
It was time for lunch, taken from a hollow in the grass (Roger), or a comfy bench (Reg), and much in between.
From there, good turf led towards Snodworth, and the approach to Dean Clough Reservoir.
Reg skilfully guided everyone past the reservoir and through a dense forest of gorse, before lingering at the rear with Norman as a sort of test to see what would happen next.
It's best to stay behind Reg and Norman - they usually know the route.
Luckily for the rest of the group, as soon as a decision had to be made, Roger collapsed like a Granny’s jelly, preventing the need for any guesswork before our esteemed leader arrived on the scene. Reg (‘The Butcher’) started to salivate at the sight of Roger’s collapse, but the victim suddenly revived at the sight of the scalpel.
The foothills of Pendle Hill loomed ahead – perhaps that had caused some to falter, but after reassurance that we would not be going much further today, everyone ambled gently down to the pleasant village of Whalley, and the River Calder.
Norman performed some of his usual antics in the weir, as illustrated in Episode 2 of this report (which being more timely may be more accurate than this poorly recalled Episode 1).
Leaving the riverside, Reg’s well recce’d route passed a display of classic cars.
Having made it back to Springwood picnic area, just beyond Whalley, we then returned to Mellor to pick up transport and enjoy a beer and a planning session.
Thanks as always go to Reg for organising the 'Plod', and to Norman for his excellent 'clown' impersonations.
Here’s today’s route, approximately 14 km with 340 metres ascent, taking us just about 4 hours.