Saturday, 1 June 2013
Friday, 31 May 2013
It was a lovely evening for this six mile exploration of Hail Storm Hill, just to the south of Waterfoot.
Sue and I set off from the otherwise deserted picnic spot at Waterfoot at 7.30 and after a false start through someone’s garden we headed relentlessly upwards, overtaking a couple of mountain bikers, past the gardens of Rake Head and onto Brandwood Moor.
There is a single wind turbine on display as you rise to the south, but beyond the track junction, if you head towards that turbine, many more come into view.
Our mission to seek the summit of Hail Storm Hill took us first past Top of Leach’s trig point at 474 metres, which I’d visited before with Alan R and had a little difficulty persuading him that it wasn’t the highest point.
There’s a stone pillar here inscribed with the names of some of the local towns – Bacup, Whitworth, Rawtenstall, Haslingden and Rossendale, I think.
The other direction, from a higher point, reveals the wind farm.
We walked to this other point that looked higher than Top of Leach, then through the shadow of the whirling blades and along the access track for a while, trying to minimise the amount of bog needing to be crossed to reach our target. Just 800 metres of it from this direction. Luckily it was fairly dry and no foot wetness was sustained.
Eventually we reached the summit – at 477 metres, the highest point in this area. Marked by a massive cairn of about four stones.
Heading north with good sunset views we passed through the mountain biking mecca of Cragg Quarry and soon regained the Pennine Bridleway, with good dusky views across Cowpe Reservoir to Bacup.
The Bridleway, which is also the Mary Towneley Loop at this point, took us nicely back to Waterfoot after just over two hours and a little more than 9 km with 276 metres ascent. Our actual route and other data is shown below. (Click on ‘View details’ to do exactly that!)
An excellent venue for a summer’s evening stroll – a shame nobody else could join us…
Thursday, 30 May 2013
I took a bit of time out on Tuesday for a walk in the rain around Rixton. I’d not been there before, although it’s just a few minutes away from Timperley, less than a mile beyond the Warburton Toll Bridge across the Manchester Ship Canal.
There’s plenty of space to park near The Cross at Hollins Green, and from The Cross you can head down a narrow path to the right of the cemetery. This brings you out into the open fields pictured below.
The footpaths around here are delightful, threading their way over streams and ditches and through fields that are lush with growing crops.
What a pleasant contrast to the pathless Aberdeenshire farmland that I could only observe from long tranches of tarmac last week. Here in Cheshire, the lapwings seem as plentiful as they were further north, but I saw no oyster catchers today.
After crossing Dam Lane and enjoying more fields, I reached Moss Side Lane and turned right past the Brick Works. The factory appeared to be thriving.
Beyond the factory, several entrances on the left draw one into the lush site (an SSSI) of Rixton Claypits.
Old pits, left after clay has been extracted for brick making, remain as a patchwork of woods, damp meadows and open water. Orchids and yellow wort grow plentifully in the alkaline clay habitat.
The abandoned clay workings that were last dug in the 1960s by Irlam Brickworks have enabled Rixton Claypits to become a Nature Reserve comprising lakes with islands, reedbeds and willow scrub, all rich in wildlife. It’s a refuge for wildlife in an area dominated by light industry and agriculture.
Huge numbers of plant and bird species can be found in the reserve, and at this time of year, as well as bluebells, the paths are lined by forget-me-nots and red campion.
An information board, the support for which has been lovingly carved, explains that at least 18 species of damselfly (delicate – hold wings along their bodies when at rest) and dragonfly (larger – wings outstretched when resting) can be found hereabouts. They are carnivorous, taking insects whilst on the wing.
There are loads of paths within the Reserve, and after a wander around them you can exit onto Manchester Road near a car park. The paths follow the edge of the reserve, so the busy road is the other side of a hedge.
Returning to The Cross via Chapel Lane and School Lane, these buildings are passed. They look a bit like mid European barns, but I think they are probably a legacy of the old brickworks.
Here’s the route I took. There are lots of footpaths hereabouts, so plenty of options. It took me about an hour and a quarter for the 6 or so kilometres (4 miles).
Similarities to Aberdeenshire:
Damp hedgerows and empty paths….
Tuesday, 28 May 2013
Sometimes it’s nice to be back home, beside a flower strewn canal towpath.
This picture was taken yesterday morning before the rain. Which means that since then I’ve been quite happy to sit at home and plan the next trip, sort through a few photos and read a book.
Home can be a comparatively restful place. It’s gone very green since I was last here.
Sunday, 26 May 2013
Many readers will be aware that we were running today for the Levana School Partnership. This posting is to thank those who have sponsored us, encourage those who haven’t to do so, and to report the results of our elite sub-team – pictured above.
We couldn’t really go wrong, as it was a perfect day for running, if a little warm. I think we all wanted to come home inside an hour, and thankfully all four of us managed to achieve that aim.
For the record, our times were as follows:
Martin - 46.45
Mike - 50.38
Roger - 53.23
Sue - 58.27
There were just under 27,500 participants, of whom 12 managed to finish inside 30 minutes. Presumably they had a clear run, whilst other runners presented our little team with some fairly solid obstacles. I recall a rather large and ponderous Rubik’s Cube blocking my way for some time, for example.
Nell, pictured below second from left on the back row, has expressed her sincere thanks for all the donations. She will be visiting the school in the next few weeks to check that all is well and that every penny is being spent wisely.