Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019
On the Archduke's Path in Mallorca

Monday 17 January 2011

Sunday 16 January 2011 – Heather’s Amble

On the path between Far Arnside and Silverdale “Anyone up for a walk on 16th?” came the message from Heather, a couple of weeks ago.

Sue and I were up for a walk, despite a pretty dire weather forecast.  We’d have liked to go high, but post New Year Lassitude, not to mention the forecast, dictated a lower approach.

So it was that after some notable apologies Heather, Stu, Sue, JJ, Rick, Martin, Sue, Gayle and Mick, together with the canine trio of Trudy, Suzy and Molly, assembled for a leisurely coffee at Leighton Moss RSPB Centre.

Amazingly, it wasn’t raining, but we didn’t take any photos because “the weather will improve” someone quoted from a dodgy source – “BBC or MWIS?”

“Both” came the reply.

They were both wrong.  It started to drizzle.  The drizzle thickened.  Waterproofs were donned by the non-Paramo contingent.  Steady rain had been falling for a while before the cameras were finally brought out by the attractions of Gait Barrows (aspiring botanists should click that link), reached via Leighton Moss and a minor misplacement due to my poor navigation in Cringlebarrow Wood.  (“I’ve never been here before” observed Sue O, the ‘local’.)

First a group photo, sort of.

On the footpath at Gait Barrows

Next a snap of Gait Barrow’s most impressive and extensive limestone pavement.

Gait Barrows - a limestone pavement

Then a poseur.  Beside a large cairn declaring ‘Gait Barrows – National Nature Reserve – declared in commemoration of the Silver Jubilee of QE2 – 1952-1977’.
 Gait Barrows - a National Nature Reserve since 1977

“The rain isn’t nearly as bad as yesterday” observed Sue O, who wanders these parts daily.

On exiting the Barrows a slightly more serious misplacement saw us walking up and down the road to Coldwell Farm, dodging a ‘boy racer’, and returning eventually to the relative safety of a footpath beside Leighton Beck, near Leighton House.

On the path by Leighton Beck

Our planned route being under water (did I mention, there’s been a bit of rain around here) we were tempted by a new footbridge over the beck.  That was fine, but soon afterwards my chosen route came to a dead end against a fence in a marsh; clearly not a path.  Here, Heather took over and led us over a broken wall, onto the track to Hazelslack.

Then I was in charge of route-finding again and we were soon confronted by some scary cows.  (Actually, I thought they were remarkably docile.)  With three dogs in our party, we skirted around the beasts.  The path turned out to be the wrong one, as tactfully pointed out by Gayle, who by now had realised that navigation in this area is not my forté, and yet another retracing exercise was undertaken, faffter which I concluded that our circumperambulation of the cows had been completely unnecessary.

A straight route through boggy fields led inexorably to Arnside, where we stumbled along a bit of tarmac before pausing at a cul de sac from which I’d hoped to find a path up Arnside Knott.  Sue O and Stu’s patience had been exhausted though, and they strode on up the lane from which I knew there was an easy route up the Knott.  The rest of us reluctantly followed them, uneventfully ascended into a cool breeze, retreated from that, and settled down for a hard earned lunch.  It was after all 1.30pm, and we’d been on the go since shortly after 10am.

Lunch below Arnside Knott

We admired the view, such as it was.  You can just see the splendid railway viaduct.

The view from Arnside Knott

Since returning home, I’ve noticed that Gayle and Mick have revisited this spot.  Here’s today’s view.  And here’s one I took earlier.

Anyway, we carried on in the mist to bag the HuMP known as Arnside Knott.

On Arnside Knott summit

The dogs got cold, so we rushed off down to Far Arnside, and in what seemed like just a jiffy we plunged into some deep Morecambe Bay mud.

“This is not a beach” observed Stu, “it’s quicksand”.

Heather and Trudy duly retreated.

Heather and Trudy

In fact we nearly all retreated, leaving Sue B and Mick to brave the quicksand route to Silverdale, whilst the rest of us trudged over grassy fields with views down to the mud flats below.

The beach at Far Arnside

Strolling into Silverdale

Reunited with the survivors of the beach diversion, we toured the ginnels of Silverdale, passing this house, which if my memory serves me once looked quite smart.

House renovations in Silverdale

Pleasant woodland…

Bottoms Wood

…led to Woodwell, once Silverdale’s main water supply, and a drovers’ watering spot.


The pace increased as we hastened to meet a 4pm deadline at the RSPB centre.  We rushed past Wolf House Gallery, shut for the month, and on along pleasant paths by Jack Scout, where the trees lean landwards – it’s clear where the wind prevails from here.

The sun came out as we rounded Jenny Brown’s Point!

Sunshine at Jenny Brown's Point

The old smelt mill chimney glistened in the late afternoon sun.

Smelt Mill Chimney near Jenny Brown's Point

Our party sloshed its was across and around the path that skirts the salt marsh as it heads back towards Leighton Moss.  We’d exchanged all our TGO Challenge plans by now (seven ‘Challengers’ were present), and the attractions of either a pot of tea or a sighting of the starling roost at the RSPB centre were foremost in our minds.

Gayle disappeared to recover a dropped map case.  Luckily, she found it.  We made it back just after 4pm.  The pot of tea was great, the starlings were not at their best – there had been 50,000 displaying their pre-roosting antics hereabouts last week; maybe many of them have now emigrated.

Returning to Leighton Moss via the salt marsh

Here’s our route – 21km (20 without the diversions), 380 metres ascent, taking 6 hours.

Our route - 21km, 380 metres ascent, 6 hours

That was an excellent day out.  Thanks go to Heather for organising it and to Rick for doing the driving for the Timperley contingent.  Just as well, as my keys disappeared during the course of the day, hence Gayle and Mick retracing our steps today.  £75 for a new car key!  Ouch!

Gayle’s take on the day, with some different images, is


Alan Sloman said...

I have to say I am impressed you all being out there in all that horrid weather.
Surely this is the time for True Challenge Training - the pub?

Phreerunner said...

To quote JJ, who hadn't noticed this posting:
"Thanks to everyone for making yesterday's little walk through the bogs and beaches of NW Lancashire such a pleasant day out.
To quote Gayle: 'What else would you be doing?'.....apart from sitting at home, warm & dry, wrapped round a mug of tea and reading the Sunday papers. No contest.
Yeah, right?
I've (almost) got the mud from off my kit!

John J said...

Have you phoned the RSPB centre to see if the keys were handed in? I don't need much of an excuse to drive north for a Lakes walk and could collect them en-route.


Gayle said...

They hadn't been handed in at the Visitor's Centre at just after 9.30 this morning, and we had a good crawl around the car park looking under cars! Fingers crossed that they were lost somewhere in the vicinity of the Centre and that someone handed them in sometime later today.

Phreerunner said...

Thanks JJ, thanks Gayle, and for all your efforts today. I'll be calling the RSPB tomorrow lunchtime and will let you know. Not really very hopeful, though, although the Tesco clubcard does allow the owner to be traced. We'll see.
Luckily some neighbours have keys so we weren't locked out, and more copies can be cut fairly easily. Apart from the car key - I've no idea why the replacement should be so ridiculously expensive.