Today had originally been allocated to an attempt at the Mary Towneley Loop, but as conditions prohibited that, Robert and I met for a short afternoon ride from Adlington.
The bitter wind had turned just south of east, but was as icy as ever. We were well wrapped up, the sunbathing that took place in earlier years at this juncture being but a distant memory.
The lanes in this part of Lancashire were banked high with snow, albeit many of the fields were free of the white stuff.
Turning left at Rivington, we headed past Yarrow Reservoir to Alance Bridge, with clear views to the Winter Hill masts.
Pausing on a bridge before the steepest climb of the day, we looked up the path to Anglezarke Moor. Not today!
Up at our 226 metre high point, there were good views back down to the reservoirs of Rivington…
… and across to Winter Hill.
I made Robert go back to pose for the last photo, but he was soon in his traditional position – ahead, probably waiting for me – as we proceeded along narrow lanes, dodging the occasional car, towards the pretty village of White Coppice.
My route planning took us along a few ‘white roads’ which turned out to be footpaths, so it wasn’t a route to be repeated on the bikes, though we didn’t upset anyone and out of necessity were forced to push the bikes along the snowbound footpaths.
By and by we reached Higher Wheelton, whence a fast lane led down to Withnell Fold, where Robert tested the stocks before tucking in to the tea and cake that I’d been carrying for about an hour and a half.
Withnell Fold village, now a desirable location accessed by cobbled roads, dates from 1843 when Thomas Blinkhorn built his paper mill by the Leeds & Liverpool Canal.
We joined the canal towpath here, for the pleasant ride back to Adlington.
A thin layer of ice adorned the canal in places, and there was a fair amount of snow around Top Lock, where a few hardy souls were enjoying their pub lunches outside the hostelry.
I’d anticipated an easy ride down the towpath, but it was a chilly affair, with the SE wind and numerous family groups rarely allowing a fast pace on the good surface.
Two and a half hours on the bikes was enjoyable but sufficient in these cool conditions. As I write this on Easter Monday, I know Robert and Lyn will be enjoying some warmer rides in the Mallorcan sunshine. Have a great time, you two.
Here’s the approximate route – around 30km with 300 metres ascent, but including some footpaths which were fine on the day but which inhibit me from recommending the route to mountain bikers. It would be a good day’s walk.