The East Lancs LDWA’s Lancashire Trail series of walks is gaining in momentum. An excellent turnout of 12 walkers on a dreich day stretched the skills of our car parking attendant as he strove to avoid conflict with neighbours and blocked drives.
Eventually Allan arrived and we started off from Reg’s house to narrowly miss the 125 bus to Rivington. Standing outside a shop that was selling hot pies and creamy cakes didn’t appeal to Reg, so we passed the time before the next bus by strolling along to another stop.
We started off where we finished on 13 December, past Norman's friend, the wet wallaby of Dryfield Lane. It was a slow start. Waterproof clothing was needed. The paths were muddy. Toilets at Rivington Lower Barn were … convenient.
A pleasant stroll alongside Rivington Reservoirs brought us out near Alance Bridge, where the picture above was taken. Then Anglezarke Reservoir was our companion until a splinter movement, led by R Norman (60, and looking every day of it) saw Norman sloshing through a field and four others strolling along a dryish path, leaving Reg and his disciples to trudge through the deep mud of an alternative, newly laid, trail beside the River Goit.
Our 'alternative' route to White Coppice soon crossed a marshy area where Norman was temporarily stranded on a pontoon masquerading as a footbridge linking two giant puddles.
White Coppice cricket pitch appeared – we enjoyed a quintessential English village scene from our lunch spot on the long bench under the pavilion’s verandah. Just the sunshine and the players were absent.
Two other walkers sat miserably on a distant bench in the rain. We would have embraced their presence had they asked, but they waited for us to leave before taking adjourning to the comfort of the pavilion.
Norman friskily led half the group up the direct route beside Dean Black Brook, but progress from now on was rather slow as Reg had failed to inflate his energy bank before setting off after lunch. Clearly two fudge brownies were not enough (even though most others only got one!).
We spent a while at the ruin of Drinkwaters Farm, where Joe's Cup received a donation before being replaced in its home deep within an old dry-stone wall. I recently wrote about this here.
It was a romp from the ruined farm to the summit of Great Hill (380 metres), where these old timers pottered around the X shaped windbreak whilst awaiting the arrival of their leader.
Despite the dull day, the grassland was a lovely colour on the descent towards Abbey Village. Our route went left past the trees above Reg’s head (see below), then right alongside the distant wall that leads towards the woodland. Long-time readers of these pages may recall that the top of Darwen Tower blew off a while ago – it appears here in the distance, with a newly refurbished top (turret?) that I’ll visit soon.
Allan, Reg and I fell well behind as we sauntered down the hill towards Roddlesworth Woods, where moss covered exposed roots amidst a bedding of beech leaves make for a very pretty winter’s scene beside the River Roddlesworth.
Norman’s power-crazed mind couldn’t restrain him from leading his group of nine around the north side of Roddlesworth Reservoir, whilst Reg, Allan and I enjoyed the colourful woods to the south.
Soon we were on the last lap to the Hare & Hounds at Abbey Village, where the three of us could see Norman’s men outside, with freshly charged glasses. “We’ve got a good five minutes before the 3.19 bus to Wigan” observed Reg, at 3.12, when the bus arrived. Some frantic gulping was necessary, and some beer went to waste, only Peter having the presence of mind to slowly sip his pint to the dregs whilst waiting for the sudden queue for bus tickets to subside…
It remains a mystery as to why the bus timetable carried by the driver differed significantly from the one displayed at the bus stop. Passengers need to arrive about ten minutes early in order to avoid missing the bus!
Here’s our route for the day – 18km, 400 metres ascent, in about 5 hours including stops.
Two bus rides got us fairly swiftly back to ‘chez Reg’ where afternoon tea with scones went down a treat. Thanks Reg, and Saro, for your hospitality for the second time in a month.
For anyone interested, the next stage of this trail will see our feet on Wednesday 22 February. Let me know if you want details in due course, or get them from the LDWA website.
For completeness, here’s my Garmin Gadget’s version of today’s route: