Celebration of the mass land trespass of 1896
Update: Mission accomplished and I managed to lead the pack all of the way up both Halliwell Road – easy and Smithills Dean Road – not so easy!
I wish that I could have been the first up to the mast but did I mention that I’d volunteered to be a Marshall? No? Oh well, it’s part of a bigger life changing plan to get more involved in things. There were no real ‘benefits’ to being a Marshall, the bloody tabard didn’t even fit! Looking around at the other Marshalls with their neat-fitting hi-vis jackets(?) did implant in me a certain sense of tabard envy, a condition which I hope to never fall foul of again! But, being all hi-vis’ed up did instil a certain sense of pride – despite my hair looking like I’d been dancing with tornados! At various points in the day I was at the very front and very back of that mighty throng working it’s way through Bolton’s northerly quarters. I had to watch the best side of a thousand walkers pass me on Coal Pit Road, that was actually the hardest part, having to wait for my ‘Buddy’ – Kev who was struggling, understandably so as he is a big lad – way over six-feet tall and with not without some substantial stature and the weather raining…sunshine, bordering on stifling in places where there was no wind.
At the summit of Winter Hill – where the ‘balcony’ path starts, I met with Sue and Karl – oddly enough I had actually recognised them from a good hundred metres or so – this is peculiar for me as I don’t normally recognise anyone until I practically walk into them. We sat and had lunch / a break and listened to some talks, whilst taking in the scenery and the event. Sue did ask about how I’d got here and I explained at parking at my sister’s house and walking down from there. At which point I accepted the offer of a lift back up to Tonge Moor – the plan had been to walk back down Belmont Road but after being out in that heat, for so long, and being somewhat curtailed with regards to my walking speed…well I jumped at the chance.
After the speeches etc off came the tabard (I’ll return it sooner or later) and I dropped down the “Fell Runner’s Route” which leads from the top of Winter Hill all the way down to what is colloquially known as “Blue Lagoon” or “Ward’s Reservoir” on O/S maps. It’s one hell of a fast descent I’ll tell you, after walking at more or less strolling pace all day this was a major change of pace and I couldn’t imagine how sole destroying it would be to go up this path! I do have difficulty believing that it’s not on the maps!
We then meandered our way back to Sue’s house for coffee in her lovely heat trap of a back garden. Perfick!