And so it came to pass…

I have now finally left the #walk1000miles Facebook group for reasons of mental wellbeing. We all get a little overwhelmed by needy people, well that group was kind of like their ‘hang out place’!

Here are some examples of typical questions:

“How far should I walk?”
“Where should I go?”
“How do I know when I’ve walked too far?”
“Do only ‘boots on’ walks count?”
“What does ‘boots on’ mean?”
“Can I include running?”

You get the point, God they piss me right off, so needy and in desperate need of confirmation and validation for every single last thought they have! It’s all about sharing, sharing every single last bastard brain fart they experience!

I am so well rid of that hourly annoyance!

Shortest post for a long time!

I’ve done a walk

No hills – other than an ascent of the bridge on Birkdale Cop which traverses…a muddy stream!

This was my first walk for quite some time so I kept it short, and urban! I left our house and yes, I’m still very happy to refer to where I live now as a house and not ‘the flat’, and headed to Tesco at Kew. From here it was a nice, if somewhat noisy (lockdown, what lockdown?) amble in a south-easterly direction towards Ormskirk until I turned off at Turning Lane – I do like it when things work out like that! I’d only ever walked along Turning Lane once before and that was in the opposite direction and as part of an epic route home from work, so was a bit too knackered to appreciate its charms, of which it has many. Who knew that we had a caravan park quite so close at Alderlee Park? The gardens were pretty much standard, nothing spectacular, no houses were draped in Wisteria – a great shame as this can be a truly remarkable sight, of done just right. The views across to Kew were mesmerising and if I had not already been using my phone to track the route I would have taken a lot of photographs, which doubtlessly would have impacted on the time taken.

At the end of Turning Lane I took a right and on to Jacksmere Lane where again I was afforded more views of lots and lots of greenery. We may be expanding the town with regards to the amount of new estates popping up, but there are still large tracts of relatively unspoilt greenbelt land at which we are still able to gaze. After a short while the pavement ran out, not literally, although I think most people would pay to see such a spectacle, but physically the pavement was no more. And for the next mile or maybe even two (because it felt like ten!) this was not a nice perambulation! I rounded the corner and onto the road effectively known as Birkdale Cop – to me it was purgatory! The wind was driving into my face and for over a mile, the notion of a pavement appeared to have been a none-entity in the minds of the town planners. Given that this road incorporates a 50 Mph speed limit for most of the stretch that I was (by now) hobbling along, this was something of a nervy and debilitating slog. I have walked this stretch before, it was not quite as windy then and the traffic was around the same for speed in passing me and regularity. What was different? My preconceived perception! Because this road is essentially the backbone of our estate, I had expected the speed limit (which is now 30 in places) to have had more of an effect that it has really had. At some point in the future, there will be driveways leading to houses on the land that I was grudgingly traversing. It appears that I was wanting things to progress at a quicker pace than is occurring, ultimately my fault, but not that bloody wind!

Eventually, after much swearing into the dry maelstrom I reached Town Lane, this is closed for the most part, a determined trespasser could, if clean footwear is not a motivator, make it on to the estate by foot, the rest of us simply take a right then a left and onto the tarmac path at Kew Woods – South, I thought it best to give the area a name; given that the Ordnance Survey has not yet deemed this a necessary measure!

At last the bloody wind calmed somewhat! I could hear noises other than vehicular traffic and my own curses! Now distant bird cries of Herring Gulls, Starlings and the ubiquitous collared doves were all around…and the sun was out, to be fair it had been out for all of the walk thus far, it had just been hard to appreciate with traffic whizzing past and the wind trying to get me squished! Soon enough I had ventured onto the only-recently re-opened Wight Moss Way – my new favourite road, as it leads onto my estate. And from here it was only a few minutes walk to home.

It was by no means a big walk at a mere 4.00 miles and thirty-something floors (390 feet or thereabouts!). Further to this my overall speed was not one for the record books – well possibly for my slowest walk ever on flat terrain! I can’t let myself get bothered about these things, I’m still very injured as my right leg will attest. I have an appointment with a physio / consultant online next Tuesday. If I thought this walk was an arduous slog then words might fail me when attempting to describe the uphill battle for which I am attempting to prepare myself in connection to getting some help / therapy. Dam lockdown, I remain adamant that lack of exercise lead to this horrid condition which blights my every footstep one second and then leaves me alone the next.

But, I will return to the pavements…just not necessarily the ones covered on Tuesday 6/4/21, for a while…

Rather useless map:

2021 Going forward

I know a lot of people don’t like it when others end their sentences with “going forward”, personally I couldn’t give a rat’s arse!

Wow, it’s been so rainy this year. I know there have been many other far more pressing concerns in the world – like the coronavirus, and whether it’s real, and if it is will the vaccine be a real gamer-changer…or not! Agreed. However, I’ve had a fucked-up right knee followed and then joined by a fucked-up pair of feet (I’m going to see  podiatrist today, don’t you know!), these issues can get fixed, or a workaround via pain management found. What can’t be fixed is the crappy weather we’ve been having since September…when we moved here! I don’t remember there being two successive days when it hasn’t been raining in my local area. If the doomsayers and foretellers of global climatic change are to be believed then this is only going to stay the same – oh shit where’s the rope? But then just a minute…how many times have there been predications of ‘rain all day in the north west’ only for my walk to be cancelled and then a beautiful sunny afternoon and vice versa? So, in essence, just because the meteorologists are saying the climate is going to hell in a hand basket, I’d be more impressed if they could predict tomorrow’s weather error free, and they don’t seem to be much good at that!

So, I’m going to start paying less attention to weather forecasts up to the point of if they predict it will rain – I’ll take some waterproofs, if they say sunshine – I’ll plat shit! No, if sunshine is predicted I’ll put my factor fifty on…and take my waterproofs any ole way!

Because this has been one shit year, from a walking perspective. Oh sure I just about got my 1,000 miles in (and how some people from those groups are beginning to get more than a bit tiresome!) but my last real countryside, no-roads walk was the Amble in February! Shit! I’m not doing that two-years-running, no sir! Next year I’m going out regardless! On a related note the LDWA have cancelled all of their planned Winter / Spring walks…fucking pandemic!

So in a bid to get myself back to some positive level of fitness, and because I genuinely do believe that solo walking (or walking with Karl and Sue) is good for me, I started to put together a plan of action. Now, I’ve done this before and proved myself to be a past master at ignoring plan of actions, so instead of saying when I’m going where, I’m just going to stick with where and try to keep them in order – for success:

 

    A first glimpse of Rivington Pike’s tower.

Rivington Pike, and I’m not even adding Winter Hill and all of the other minor summits I normally traverse.

 

 

 

 

 

Pendle Hill, this will be when I’ve got a lot more fitness under my belt as we all no know, Pendle is no push over!

The king of the West Pennines, Winter hill looms majestically as seen from Catherine Edge.

Then it’s back to the Winter Hill massif for a more circuitous round taking in Rivington Pike and Winter Hill and possibly Two Lads and the big drop down the north face to Belmont road before returning via Catter Nab.

Pendle (again) with Stang Top Moor thrown in and (if I’m fit enough then) going up Pendle via ‘the middle way’!

 

 

 

 

The 'Nose' of Pen-y_ghent
The ‘Nose’ of Pen-y-Ghent

Pen-y-Ghent. And so it begins, the training for 2021’s Y3P – this is all very much pie in the sky at the moment, I’ll need a working pair of feet and knees for this let alone the bigger 24.5 miles challenge.

 

 

 

 

Anglezarke Reservoir framed by Silver Birches.

The Amble – solo obviously as they’ve called off the event, I plan to do the full thing solo, of course this will have to be after a relatively dry spell (anyone remember those?) and in later spring when the light will be around for me to see where I’m going – especially on Darwen Moor where the path is a bit, undefined!

 

 

 

 

Ingleborough, I’ll try to factor in Simon Fell and Park Fell as they are really overlooked in favour of the big attention grabber on the same massif.

 

 

Sefton Coastal Path. Well why not? I’ve been banging on about doing this for yonks and to be honest, it’s the right of every Sandgrounder…

Ominous Whernside!

Whernside. But, I will be going from Ribblehead, to be honest if I never get to do this beast from Chapel le Dale ever again, that’d be fine with me.
The Three Peaks of Yorkshire – solo, with a sensible amount of water – not half a gallon like last time!

Scafell Pike from Dungeon Ghyll and taking in Great End. Well it looks amazing so why not! (Photo to be added when I find it, stupid ass laptop won’t connect to my WD MyCloud anymore!).

If I get that lot in, with a few walks with Karl and Sue then it will have been a successful walking year. Not like this one!

Still recovering from lockdown

Day 10

 

I was grateful for the rain on Tuesday night as Monday’s walk had been a bit of a crippler. Likewise I set off in relative high spirits last night only to be brought to a painful halt a few times en route. Google maps has my route for last night down as pretty much dead-on five miles, my Fitibt (and me) would estimate this to be closer to six. I suppose in the end it doesn’t really matter that much, as long as I am still out there walking and getting in some exercise.

But it’s not just exercise which is leading me out of the house, no sir! More often than not I am going for ‘mindful walks’. Yes, I’m not a fan of buzzwords and new fangled ways of thinking but in this case it’s actually true, walking for the sake of getting out of the house and away from the TV does make me feel better, well not just better but good! Every so often this ‘good’ is punctuated by a bout of pain as yet another thing screws up in my knee, but when that subsides I do feel optimistic, upbeat even! This effect tends to intensify the further I go away from civilisation, on The Moss I’m practically euphoric! Of course every so often it does get squashed when I fear I may be taking the wrong route…but well we can’t let that stop me now can we?

 

Recovering from Lockdown 2020

Day 9

Let’s celebrate our losses.

Well, because I had to go into work – I promised for some reason, I thought that getting the 10K in would be a synch, just have a walk around the fitness trail at lunch – that always nets around 4.5K then get the rest at night. Ahem, storm Francis had a different theory which worked out as: ‘Let’s torrent it down all down with a 50 m.p.h. wind! Subsequently I only managed to get in 7K for the day, essentially walking to the car and back. To make matters even more sinful, what did we have for our evening meal? Well lets just say that this was inspired by a white-haired American gentleman with a deep south accent (or so the legend goes). So, I’m not going to dwell on this, onward shall be the silent cry and we’ll just deal with it.

Flushed with the success of last Saturday’s walk incorporating some of the best of Marshside, Churchtown and The Moss, I’m hoping for similar weather this weekend, and thankfully I have three days to aim at to get out and about. I don’t know where yet but it would be nice to get over to the coast road as it’s such a lovely place to amble when 1. it isn’t raining and 2. it isn’t closed – which it is at the moment but I don’t know if this is just for cars etc.

Recovering from lockdown (2020)

Days 3 – 7

 

Still recovering and more importantly how quick was it before I got too busy to carry on with the daily updates? It’s always the same, normally I get to around day three then just never seem to make the time to carry on…hence the compressed version.

So anyway, the healthy eating kind of petered out – especially closer to the weekend, the lure of the chip shop plus we have been really bad at food shopping, we are such authors of our own demise, when we shop properly we do it healthily…Anyway, I’m going to make a more concerted effort to cut out the bread again.

On the urban walking side of things, the knee is slowly getting better, or maybe I’m just adjusting my walking gate so as to avoid putting as much pressure on the right as I am on my left? Monday to Wednesday I kept to the 10,000 steps per day then had a lousy Thursday and Friday which meant a tad of overcompensating on Saturday. Chris had to work at home so that left me free to do a fantastic walk which headed up towards Marshside, through Churchtown and onto The Moss which I followed all the way to Pool Hey Lane where I then dropped back down to Scarisbrick and picked up the road back to the Norwoods before turning off and filtering back through some of the quieter roads before joining Sussex Road and onto home. All told this topped out at 23,000+ steps and over ten miles so I was happy all weekend! I even managed to just about get in a 4.25 miles walk around the Hesketh loop and park on Sunday which made for a good start to this week. Tonight however, we have to go food shopping so I might not get out for a walk tonight and I’ll be chasing the daily total all week again. Maybe we should go food shopping on Sundays instead of ambling around garden centres that always have too many sheeple in them!

 

 

Recovering from Lockdown…kind of!

Day 2

During this pandemic I have tried to stay active…

Welcome to day two,  no I didn’t think we’d get here neither!

 

Breakfast was: A conference pear with Blueberries covered in Tesco Greek Yogurt with Honey.

Morning walk was: postponed because of Christine’s OCD about being ready for visitors to the house, it’s a boring story for another day

Lunch was: Part of the remnants of  last night’s Carne sin Chili.

Lunch walk was: A plod around Hesketh Park taking in as few vertical steps as possible…because they hurt.

Evening meal will be a can of Tesco’s lean stewed steak with some spinach and celery.

Evening walk The Hesketh Drive loop…I’m hoping.

 

Recovering from Lockdown

Day 1

During this pandemic I have tried to stay active. With regret, I’ve done something wrong in the pursuit of this.

Although I wouldn’t say I’ve been pounding away and amassing many miles, I did try to do at least my ten thousand steps per day, and some times far in excess of this. However, my legs did start to hurt more and more. At first I wrote this off just to being Southport and its highly uneven pavements…but I did a google around and some of the descriptions of symptoms sounded a bit like mine and to be honest, our diet has been lousy with way too many chips and take-outs….and way too much alcohol on my behalf.

Anyhoo I contacted our Doctors – an event in itself that could turn one to drink, and was given an over-the-phone-diagnosis of “Iliotibial Band Syndrome”. Essentially this is inflammation of a tendon around the side of my right knee. A ‘sports’ injury’ no less, I was almost proud. However, given the GP didn’t even see me in my new found, portly++ status I think the diagnosis might be a bit off, we tend to assume people are relatively fit unless information to the contra is available. The GP has advised me to make an appointment to see the Physiotherapist at the Hospital and I do intend on following through with this…once I find out where I stand with this at work, as I need to be able to get to the hospital during the working day and currently I can’t build up any flexi-time in order to do this.

The above will be sorted as I believe there is a case to say that if I am not afforded the time off; they (my works), will be instrumental in delaying my recovery (and who’s to say that being sat indoors all day every day has not been a causal effect? But, let’s not pretend that I’m free from blame here, I’m not. Now, more than ever, I simply have to take better care of myself. With regards to exercise, for now, baby steps will have to be taken, but taken consistently.   I’m hoping to keep to my 10,000 steps per day, there is no scientific evidence available to say that this figure is at all key, in any way. What this figure does do though is to set a target, 10K steps per day still has to be better than none! For my implementation of my recovery I believe that a morning, noon and night regime of around 3-4 thousand steps gained by walking either around Hesketh Park or by walking around the near-neighbourhood should aid without causing any further damage. This has not been possible lately, but only because of really feeble excuses and I think now it is vital to just get things done…in order to stay alive and not lose any limbs, it’s that important.

Also, I think keeping some sort of journal may help “Tad-ah!” I know that I do struggle to keep to routines for blog / diary type entries, but I have to give it a try, we don’t change without changing, and I really want to change.

Enjoy the header picture, two Willows at Hesketh Park.

Breakfast was: A conference pear with Blueberries covered in Tesco Greek Yogurt with Honey.

Morning walk was: from 07:45 to 08:15, around 3,200 steps.

Lunch was: a can of Sardines with a handful of olives, a large cup of spinach, some Aldi sun-dried tomatoes and three teaspoons of Tesco Chill and Tomato Pesto .

Lunch walk was: a circuit of Leyland Road, Roe Lane and Park Road returning via Queen’s Road  at 1800 steps (The latter half of which were very painful). Then I had a chance to add to the total by going to McColls for a can of kidney beans – they had none, then back home and out again to the Spar for said kidney beans and some milk and some chopped tomatoes.

Evening meal will be a stew of red kidney beans, chopped tomatoes, a chopped pepper, onion, Worcester Sauce (1 tbsp)  250Gm of lean minced beef (5% fat), chestnut mushrooms, a clove of garlic…essentially it’s Chilli con carne but without the Chilli as Chris is a Chilli wimp!

Evening walk didn’t need to happen as I’d got most of my steps in during the day and cleaning the hallway got the rest.

 

The Circle closes

Warning:

This post contains frank and robust language, if you are easily offended (you big snowflake) then you’d be best flouncing off now!

 

I’m fairly sure that I’ve pinched that header from Stephen King’s epic pandemic-themed “The Stand”, kind of poignant given the state of things.

So, what’s been going on?

  1. The world turned to shit – sorry, did you miss that bit?

2. The flat sale fell through, either as a direct result of point “1”, or because one of the below was a complete incompetent:

  • a. The potential buyer, who was a bit soft in the head and for a thirty-something year-old really should learn to speak up for himself.
  • b. Our Solicitors’ “Conveyancer & Team Leader” was at best, a dick!
  • The buyer’s solicitor got fired…or at least that’s what we were told. Personally I think the buyer’s control- freak of a father put that one out there as a delaying tactic to try and get the price down! Never admit you’ve got a purchase lined up folks – some twats will use the possibility of you losing your purchase as a bargaining tool!

3. Both Chris and I have been working from home…and enjoying it, well it’s hard to feel bad about a three-second commute!

There’s no two ways about it, working at / from home is a completely different experience, you get to have the TV or radio on – we’ve chosen to alternate as too much TV can be really quite boring and each mainstream internet radio station has a playlist of about thirty songs, and there’s just only so much Ed Sheeran and Dua Lipa to which you can be subjected!

Now, it’s hard to deny that we are right on the border of comfortable working, the flat is too small for two people to live let alone set up an Argos table and two chairs and two monitors and two laptops every day…but we manage. And I drink a lot of coffee!

Of course I’ve still had to get out and about, whereas some people took every instruction and guideline from our wonky government as gospel…no matter how much we tried to get it mixed up, they said we could do an hour’s exercise, then someone who sounded like they knew what they were talking about said – there was no time limit…I was never going to stick to any time limit anyway and on V.E. Day (to which I still strongly object) I walked close to twelve miles…not in an hour!

I am lucky to live near “The Moss”, a large tract of agricultural land punctuated by the odd road, which only Southport cyclists seem to find worth venturing upon! Thus this leaves most of the area free for me to walk with limited fear of catching Covid 19 off someone hyperventilating, even I have to agree that I couldn’t say the same about a potential walk to either of my two local haunts, the West Pennines and Pendle. In essence, this is a compromise, however, it doesn’t feel one when you’re pounding the pavement on route to Longmeaneygate – yes, that’s really the name of a street, admiring the Cow Parsley and Ragwort, and by God has there been a lot of those aforementioned flowering weeds in bloom this year! In addition I’ve started to ‘Covert! – ‘oh really?’ I hear you wonder, no, nothing sinister, I plucked up the courage to walk through a small wooded area, purely out of curiosity really and its name is Pitts House Covert…I found this vaguely amusing. This little micro-forest has quickly become a favourite and when Chris joins me, even she likes it there, the Photo’s to follow.

So although I’ve not exactly being stomping all over the county (country?) I have been getting in the odd mindful walk to counteract the effects of otherwise being stuck in the flat for almost 24 hours per day, some days.

On a related note, hasn’t it been sodding hot this spring / summer. I’m not against that, but as we live in a first floor flat, lugging 15 litres of water down to hydrate the flowers etc does get to be something of a chore which is why I’ve practically basked in the odd fleeting shower – again photos to come, of the flowers – not me basking!

The lockdown in itself has been good for me. There, I’ve said it. There was no denying that January’s and February’s (God I fucking hate this laptop’s tiny keyboard!) stress over the flat sale and subsequent fail took its toll on me in terms of stress, the lockdown purely and simply took that away. No, I would not have wanted tens of thousands of my fellow countrymen and millions of people across the world to die just so I could destress, that would be ridiculous and inhumane. I’m just saying that for me, it’s worked out, by and large, to be quite therapeutic. I’ve even enjoyed shopping, albeit at the height of the “key workers are angels” phase it was obnoxious being treated as fodder by store workers – hey treat me as you would want me to treat you is all that I would want.

We’ve put the flat back on the market, and up to now: 16/6/2020 we have had three viewers. I was suckered in by the first one who was oh so positive about the place that I thought he was going to put in a bid there are then – I’ve learned, this means ‘I’m too embarrassed to tell you how much I don’t want this place!’ I don’t expect we’ll get any real interest until lockdown is well and truly over and even then it might not be until after Christmas, so we’ll just have to deal with living life as it is and not get stressed. I don’t like stress – it smells metallic, yes it does!

Ultimately with regards to the year thus far, I do find myself harking back to the Amble in February walking along Catherine Edge with the brilliant “Everything I wanted” by Billie Eilish going through my head and just contrasting how different everything was then compared to now.

And as I am ready to click publish, we have just accepted an offer on the Flat – one circle closes…

 

 

 

 

Introducing the Walk of freedom

Coming soon, but only after lockdown, Saturday 5th September, 2020

What’s your motivation for this walk?

Well, this is an easy one, I’ve not been on a walk of over five miles since February when I did the 17-miles version of the Anglezarke Amble. I miss my time out on the moors immensely. I am a member of the Facebook group “I belong to Bolton “ where during the lockdown there have been numerous posts related to the magnificent scenery which makes a fantastic backdrop to most Bolton scenes. This walk will be a celebration 🥳 a huge and resounding sigh of relief of having made it through this terrible virus 🦠

Route map for Walk Of Freedom by Mark Wild on plotaroute.com

For those requiring a text description, I’ll add a printable pdf at some point but for now, here goes:

We start off at the smallest two car parks at Rivington near to the Rivington Hall Barn. We head west for a couple of hundred feet before taking a right hand turn. This bears right and for a few minutes we’ll be heading in the opposite direction to which we just came from, fear not, all too soon we will be on the main bridal way to lead up to all the attractions. We’re now going uphill!

After several hundred metres, the path splits, we are going to take the left hand route, the right hand one will lead you back to the Japanese gardens should you so desire. The path steepens a little but then levels out. There are numerous left hand turn-offs but essentially we are keeping to the same track until next to the disused toilet block, a lovely feature of the route.

Now, we are going to take the obvious route up to the Pike via the steps. These can be a bit of a nightmare so if you want to take the slightly more circuitous route which branches off to the left hand side then go for it, we’ll see you at the top! For the rest of us it’s a short, sharp ascent of the huge steps before puffing, panting and swearing at me and then we are at the top of the first climb.

Have a breather (please), take some selfies and enjoy the view. Yes that really wide path does lead up to Winter Hill, no, it is in no way as easy as it looks, but it’s brilliant in snow!

Okay, lazy bones, the next part is really easy as we head south and fall off the pike towards the unremarkable Brown hill. Mind your footing here, gravity is not your friend on this descent. When we’re sick of watching our own feet, turn left and onto the broad track. This is a bumpy road but it’s very easy to follow and makes for a lovely distraction before we turn…yes, left again just after the Rivington dog hotel. This starts off steep but does get progressively easier in time. After the major climb you’ll notice a yellow marked finger post, keep to the right of this, just for fun, I’ve thrown in Two Lads! Its proper name is Crooked Edge Hill, Two Lads refers to the gigantic cairns at its summit, sometimes there are two cairns and other times there can be up to five.

Again, have a breather, take some photos and recall happier times when that big stadium you can see used to play host to a premiership team 🤦‍♂️ We’ll head off slightly east before joining the road which (eventually) leads us past the main television antenna. Once at the apex of the road we’ll be turning left and off up the service road before leaving the road in order to tap the o/s column at the highest point of the walk, with regret, it’s usually the muddiest too! Congratulations, we are now at the apex of the walk.

So, there is some more observing of the feet to be done once we set off through the muddy gate (you’ll see!) but believe me this is where this walk starts to get all kinds of beautiful as we drop hundreds of feet to Hampsons Pasture. We walk along a collapsed wall and cross a race track! We are now in the land of the river Yarrow and once we start to climb up to Will Narr you’ll even see a plaque dedicated to that body of water courtesy of “The friends of the Yarrow”.

By now, (September) the path should have reapaired itself from the damage inflicted upon it by the hordes of mountain bikers who frequent the area. Or, if it’s raining then we’ll be back to a bit of uphill slip and sliding, it isn’t that bad and the path we are taking is not at all hard to follow, look dead ahead and the tiny bump which seems to keep growing bit by bit is Great Hill and is our next destination summit. I say that but in all honesty we have to surmount the peaks of first Spitlers Edge then Redmonds Edge, good luck finding them as there are no ciarns or trig points and all of the summit plains look the same height from up close. Soon enough we hit the slabs. These are apparently the broken up millstone floors of, well former mills I guess. Where there are pools of water they can contain all sorts of colours and there is only the odd one which tips up and soaks your feet when you stand on it!

Throughout this walk I’d recommend that you watch your footing, not that it is so bad but nobody wants to twist an anle on this moor – we are now on the best of them – Anglezarke and we’d need to call Mountain Rescue if you injured yourself as no ambulance could ever deal with this terrain. Look! We’ve got closer to Great Hill it’s just over this stile, then up that tiny slope.

From here it’s all lovely…okay there are some muddy patches in between the ruins of Drinkwaters farm and the turn off near the trail shafts at another Brown Hill (notice how these are nearly always muddy, what does clean brown look like?). Just look at the views, someone might need to nudge me if I’m gawping at Pendle Hill…I do that! The slabs lead us away from Great Hill’s summit – wasn’t that cruciform shelter handy for avoiding the wind, also wasn’t it hard to stand up after being sat at the shelter? We head quite swiftly downhill. A number of times the path stops looking quite so engineered and y’know neat, but it is easy to follow. Stop for a few minutes at Drinkwaters farm (ruin), don’t drop any litter (anywhere, ever) but especially not here, you’ll kill the peaceful vibe this place has in spates!

And so we take the turn off left – or end up in Brinscall and I don’t think history shows anyone ever really meaning to go to Brinscall! So take the left with the dodgy looking handrail (if it is up on the day), use it at your peril because it isn’t attached to anything so, y’know, good luck! The path really drops its pretentions of being a path here, so you’ll have to either follow the millions of footprints or wait for me! Soon enough we run into a little bit of a boulder track, it’s easy to fall over here but it is just as easy to stay on your feet, just slow down a bit…I find no problem at all in doing that! We gingerly snake our way down this ever-narrowing rock path and notice that by now water has started to trickle onto the track. One last severe drop and we are on the final few metres to White Coppice Cricket Ground. I hate cricket with a passion but we will wait for a while for people to take photographs of Lancashire’s most picturesque ground. Once relaxed and refreshed we pick up the trail again and head off along quite a wide track which undulates as it passes the notorious Stronstrey Bank – I gathter it’s quite well regarded by crag rats and the like. There are lots of sheep around but these are quite easily spooked and shouldn’t bother us.

Onwards and through the gate as we cross over Moor Road, watch out for cyclists as this is an adrenalin drop of a slope and they don’t take prisoners who have dawdled in their way! Gape in awe at the sign informing you that this patch of land(?) belongs to Southport Angling Society (well we only have the Sluice and that’s devoid of all fish!), as we drop down a bit then up a bit and onto a really narrow path punctuated by the occasional weird bridges which are no more than eight inches elevated and have a welcome mudbath at either side! I don’t know who “Alice” is but she seems to have graffited herself onto every gate and stile from now until the end (and you’ll be pleased to hear that this is now less than three miles away!). We pass along a sheeptrod which can be really slippy or a breeze to walk upon depending on recent weather. And then it’s a big drop, not very far but it’ll have you watching your feet for definite!

Now we go uphill for a little stretch – more metres than miles I’m glad to say and at its summit we turn left to pass by the empty High Bullough Reservoir. Through the gate with the big heavy lead counter weight (don’t bother trying to steal it, you’ll die of either Lead poisoning or exaustion before you get two miles!) and then we are up to another major drop. Seriously, you would not want to expose bare skin to this  surface which looks like a cross between tarmac and millstone grit, I imagine this would sting like a ******* so don’t fall!

We make it to the bottom of that gigantic drop and corner (what do you mean it was only about twenty feet?), and now it’s time for some lovely ambling as we gently pass the magnificent Anglezarke reservoir on our right hand side…and some interesting moss on our left – it’s absolutely lovely here.  After what feels like two miles, it isn’t, we hit the road which in effect is the other side of Moor Road which we passed ages ago. Cross carefully, you’ve been warned, there’s a killer of a blind corner here. We turn right (aha!) and then cross to eventually wind our way up the Chute! This is another impressive spectacle when it’s in spate. Uphill some more and ultimately we reach the green wall which is the western slope of the Yarrow reservoir, turn right. This path is very straight forward and if we’d only done a mile or so then it would be a breeze to walk on, however, by this time we have walked close to ten and the attention is not quite what it should be, it’s hilarious to watch others stumbling but when it happens to us… The views to Winter Hill, Dovecote and Rivy Pike open up remarakably here, go on…bask, you really have earned it.

At the gate which has seen better days, turn …left, then after less than 20 metres, turn right and go through another kissing gate, then we walk carefully alongside a stream which never gets a name in any publication I’ve read. Ultimately, just as we are thinking ‘oh this is all very civil’, we are confronted with a flight of steps. They are far easier than they look and after that it really is all plain sailing all the way to the final kissing gate where the skinny amongst us won’t struggle, but the rest of us will have to take off our backpacks, it’s a tight squeeze.

And then we fall out and onto Sheephouse Lane, god willing we won’t get mowed down by passing traffic. take a left here – hey it’s far safer than going right, and we will head uphill for a few hundred feet until a side entrance can be seen on the right. Take that and it will bring us back onto the long track back to the car park.

There, I’ve got us all around Rivington and Anglezarke, anyone fancy signing up for the 24-miles version of the West Lancs LDWA Anglezarke Amble in February, I’ve blatantly pinched about five miles of their route for this one?