Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

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

Sunday 26 February 2012

Wednesday 22 February 2012 – The Lancashire Trail (Part 5) – Abbey Village to Mellor

Maude inspects the residents

After a couple of weeks in monochromatic, if sunny, Ottawa, it was nice to be out on a warm day in the bright green surroundings of the English countryside.

14 Plodders and Maude set off from Abbey Village at around 10.30, on this fifth section of the increasingly popular Lancashire Trail series of walks.  As you can see, Maude was soon distracted by some friendly locals.

Stiles frequently hindered our progress on this walk, which took the Witton Weavers Way at times where the old route of the Lancashire Trail has fallen into obscurity, so keeping up with Reg’s cracking pace wasn’t too arduous today..

It was muddy...

Don splodges through the mud

...and raining...and slippery ...

A slippery descent

For more, you’ll have to go to the slideshow link at the end of this posting, but the picture above shows clearly the gentleman from BT who latched onto us – he seemed to be walking backwards for much of the day, perhaps in search of wonky poles to Roger his way up and repair the ‘phone lines.

Here’s a stalwart of these excursions, Don – 'Mud Man' – a nickname for which he can thank today’s ground conditions!  Maybe if he didn’t have the invaluable stick he would be ‘Roly-Poly Man’?

'Mud Man'

This was one of the drier sections of the walk - we've just crossed (underneath!) the M65 motorway.

By the M65 near Riley Green

Looking ahead from the site of the previous picture, we could see down to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, with Hoghton beyond, on what turned out to be a rather murky day.

A view to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and Hoghton

Reg cracked on along the towpath before slewing to a breezy halt for elevenses in the shelter of a bridge.  Fudge brownies seemed to go down well.  They are so popular that some participants have started to make their own, hence some additional ‘cooking’ hints in the above link!

Reg with his flock, by the Leeds and Liverpool Canal

We then forsook the canal and headed to the River Darwen, where a massive weir was built during the industrial revolution in order to slow the pace of the river.  With today’s rain it looked a bit like Niagara.  R Norman (61) felt that it needed a human presence along its length to present the viewer with a sense of scale, so, being an obliging sort of soul (with a brain the size of a pea – he doesn’t read these reports – don’t tell him I said that!) he strolled over to oblige.

Norman takes a stroll across the weir

“Don’t do that at home” he announced, after being fished out of the river.

After drying Norman out, we passed under this magnificent viaduct that houses the railway line linking Preston with Blackburn.  The old brickwork shows no sign of deterioration.

Viaduct at Hoghton

Hoghton Bottoms is home to a businessman who has a selection of commuting vehicles.  Amongst his 4WD vehicles is a Microlight aircraft that he uses for commuting to work in the summer months.

It was good to see large swathes of snowdrops in flower at Hoghton Bottoms, though the delicate flowers were sheltering tightly from the rain.

"Hello, my name's Alan” announced the BMC Nuffield 10/60, in a rather weary voice. “I live in a cave."

Alan, a lonely BMC Nuffield 10/60

“At least I’m out of the rain” he commented, positively.

Muddy fields featured strongly in today's walk.  The weather was 'driech' – laying siege with cats and dogs at some points, like here, near Billinge Hall, where we should have had views to the suburbs of Blackburn.

Our path took us past the suburbs of Blackburn

Perhaps it was just as well that it was misty!

I found it impossible to keep the rain off the lens.

We lunched on a wall outside a pub.  Anne went in, but came out again.  A long lunch wasn’t on the agenda so we made do by exchanging stares with diners in the posh dining room just the other side of our wall.  The pub has recently been expensively refurbished.  Clogs and the billycock were the favourite attire of a landlord who took over this 150 year old pub in the early 20th century. Clogs were also worn by local mill workers, and their boss or charge-hand was always identifiable by his lowcrowned wide-brimmed felt bowler hat - the billycock.

the clog and billycock

Eventually our destination, Mellor, with its distinctive spire of St Mary's church, came into view - up a final, laboriously boggy hill.

Approaching Mellor

After a short lecture from the font of all knowledge on the art of passing through slurry, we consulted the back of his hand and took evasive action.  There was still one little ‘hop’ that some found challenging … but help was on hand, so to speak.

A 'slurry' incident

Anyway, we soon reached the pleasant village of Mellor, which is full of enticing pub signs.  Some carefully positioned cars were soon located, and after a short drive to reunite others with their transport, we were back at the Hare and Hounds in Abbey Village – by coincidence the same Hare and Hounds that we had to leave so abruptly after stage 4 of this epic adventure.

Anne proudly advertised her new sponsor, whilst the rest of us nipped in to sample the Black Sheep, etc.  Very nice it was, too.

'Bag Lady'

We had walked about 16km (10 miles), mostly in the rain, climbing a modest 400 metres or so, but no particular hill as such, in around 4.5 hours.  Here’s the route we took:

Our route - 16km, 400 metres ascent, 4.5 hours

Apologies for the delay in this report.  I have excuses.  And I have a poor memory and a dodgy camera, so I also apologise for any minor factual inaccuracies and insults within the text and the images.  Reg’s factual and timely report can be found on this page, and my 32 image slideshow is here.

See you next time, I hope.  The date for stage 6 is currently a closely guarded secret in an attempt to control the ever burgeoning numbers of folk coming on this excellent (whatever you may infer from the text) series of walks.

Back to Lancashire Trail Index


AlanR said...

Hi martin,
It probably would have been quicker to ski this route considering the mud.
In the first picture of the man in red i thought it was a practice Santa run.
Nice tractor but it’s Lord Alan after Lord Nuffield alias William Morris. It’s showing it’s age poor thing, at worst it can only be 48 years old.
I wanted to do the Lancs Way but i missed the first 2 so the desire was put bye.
I hope to do the Rivington btw.

Phreerunner said...

Oh dear, I apologise. He didn't tell me he was a Lord!
Didn't you notice - the practice Santa Run was last week!
The Lancs Trail is a very jolly route - still three stages to go.
Hope to see you next week at Rivington, anyway.

afootinthehills said...

From pristine snow to mud. Back to earth with a bump. Or was that when skiing!

Howellsey said...

Seriously muddy! But that's part of the fun.
I like the way you have added the route to the map, how do you do that? Is there a special programme or something you need....?

Phreerunner said...

I use Anquet mapping software. The route map is a screen dump of the route, trimmed and bordered. (Hmm, you can tell I'm looking out of the window thinkeng 'the garden's looking very scruffy'!)

Phreerunner said...

Gibson, I only had two proper falls in the entire two weeks, both in exactly the same spot, approaching it from different directions. Not a difficult spot either. My thumb is still really quite painful from the second fall.

Jules said...

Mud, mud, glorious mud! Nothing quite like it for getting everywhere.

Nice report of an area I know very little about! Thanks for the enlightenment.

BrextonT said...

Sounds like a good walk. However you missed a good meal not eating in The Clog and Billcock. It may be expensive but I can recommend it if you are passing again.It serves some of the best food in the area and has a menu with lots of fresh regional ingredients.Had an excellent meal there on Monday.

Phreerunner said...

Thanks for the recommendation, Robert. Let us know when you plan to be there next, and we'll meet up. I'm now glad we didn't go in, as it may have been quite stressful - as it was some of us were still chomping our butties when Reg decided it was time to leave. It would have been a shame to have to abandon a good plate of food in the pub! (If we'd got that far - it would probably have taken ages to remove and reapply our muddy boots and gaiters.)