[There’s been a ‘Christmas Card Interlude’ since my last posting, and a week has passed since Sue and I enjoyed this walk, so the exact details may be lost in the depths of Entwistle Reservoir. But this is roughly what happened]
Norman's 'Elite' Plodders were ready to leave at 10 am sharp, but where were Martin and Sue? They had said they were coming after spending the night in Adlington following Christmas Dinner for their quiz team.
“I’m a member of that team” piped John P “why wasn’t I invited? Let’s leave without them.”
“I’ve sent them the postcode because Martin lost the instructions” advised Don, “they should be here by now.”
Ok, we were late, thanks to Don having used Trip Adviser’s postcode for Jumbles, which had taken us to a housing estate five miles beyond our intended destination.
And we are sorry we forgot to invite you to the meal, John P, your presence may have lifted us from equal second. On the other hand….
So we got going about ten minutes late. Thanks for waiting, folks.
Our first obstacle was the awkward stepping stone crossing below Jumbles Reservoir. Norman led the way. “I’ve done this before” he gurgled, as he swam to safety. “I’ve found a bridge” enthused Bernard, and we all followed him across it.
It was dull and dreich as we headed up to the reservoir. But Plodders always walk with a spring in their stride, especially Norman (who’s ‘elite’).
Past Turton Tower there's a unique castellated bridge. Before the railway line from Bolton to Blackburn could be opened in 1848, the railway company had been required to give an assurance to James Kay, the owner of Turton Tower, that no station would be built within 300 yards of his house and that a large ornamental bridge would be built to carry the continuation of his drive over the line. We made a short diversion to admire the bridge.
Here’s today's Plodder team: Dave, Bernard, Don, Norman (elite), Sue, Ken, Alma, John, Heather and Mike.
Some children never grow up.
"I think the Plodders can pull this off!" said Norman from under his balaclava, then he changed his mind when it occurred to him that Hilary might be inside protecting her assets.
The plaque behind these cake eating three wise men says something about the Chapeltown stocks that they are gazing at in trepidation as to what Norman will order next...
"It took god six days to make the earth - then he rested - then he made man and rested again - finally he made women - since then no bugger ever rested" announced one of the signs on a heavily decorated doorway.
Above Chapeltown, Wayoh Reservoir, built in 1876 and upgraded in 1962, was quite low.
We strolled on beside Wayoh to pass under a magnificent Victorian edifice, Armsgrove Viaduct, built in 1847/48 and still in full use after no obvious signs of maintenance.
Above Wayoh, Turton and Entwistle Reservoir is full to overflowing. Why don't they release some of it into Wayoh?
The good path was inundated in places. The rain didn't help.
We continued in the rain, past the first of many decorated Christmas trees, to the head of the reservoir. There’s clearly only one elite Plodder amongst this lot – the one whose visage was streaming with water, or was it sweat?
"Where's the cafe?" muttered ten accomplices.
We paused for lunch on a log, after admiring the views at the head of the lake.
Not even Norman could be persuaded to mount the giant heron on which he had stood his great grandchild a few days earlier.
After our soggy lunch on the wet log we passed many more gaily decorated trees.
By and by we came upon the Strawbury Duck, a hostelry which used to welcome walkers; we gave its current batch of fine diners a wide berth.
The entire group then followed its bandy legged leader along the path back down to Wayoh Reservoir.
The Black Bull, Edgworth, welcomed us with open arms, and Norman bought everyone a chip for Christmas. He’s a wonderfully generous chap.
A roundabout route, taken due to avoid the embarrassment of finishing before 3 pm, despite a spell in the pub, saw us beside a roaring torrent that led us all the way back to Jumbles.
We were leaderless for a period, whilst Norman swam this section...eventually emerging with his customary gurgles back at Jumbles.
Here’s our excellent route - 18 km, 400 metres ascent, taking 5 hours.
There’s a 39 image slideshow here.
I hope Santa is generous to everyone. Don’t forget to leave him some sherry!