Offlist Walk: Ben Bhraggie

3 09 2011
3rd September 2011
Mrs NLW
5.2 miles
Explorer 441 (Lairg, Bonar Bridge & Golspie)

Currently staying in Dornoch as part of an 8 day tour of northern Scotland we decided to gamble on a forecasted gap in the weather to tackle Ben Bhraggie, a seemingly modest hill behind the coastal town of Golspie. It had been raining all night and we were in two mind about what to do – and as soon as we had decided it was too wet to walk – the sun came out and we quickly changed our minds. We drove through Golspie, and just before Dunrobin Castle turned left underneath a railway line on a lane signposted to ‘Backies’, we found a car park a quarter of a mile up on the left.

The walk starts along the top of a heavily wooded gorge where we glimpse Big Burn Falls through the trees, and then zig-zags down towards the burn which we cross and then walk out on a viewing platform over the water until glimpsing around a corner we find ourselves right in front of the ferocious waterfall. The heavy rain the previous night has made this an impressive sight to behold.

We exit the platform and climb the western side of the glen, zig-zagging once again, recrossing the burn twice, and then climbing up onto a lane. As we follow the lane the monument on the top of ben Bhraggie comes into view, this Ben may be modest at 397 metres, but we’re starting from near sea-level, and it looks steep from here. Fortunately we’re not attacking it head-on, so at a very minor crossroads we turn right and head gently uphill through  a forest until we appear back in the daylight, a path branches off up the glen towards Farlary, but we follow the track as it bends first left then right working its way onto the shoulder of Ben Bhraggie, and then following it gently but incessantly upward as we work our way around behind the hill. We stop to catch our breath fairly frequently, and wonder at the clouds rolling onto and off of the hilltops around us, we admire Loch nan Caorach buried in the shadow of Beinn Lunndaidh to our west. The track bends to the left again and wiggles its way onto the lower end of the hilltop, we can see thousands of infamous Scottish midges, but they seem to preoccupied feeding on the heather to bother feeding on us. The monument comes into view again and we wiggle round to the top of the hill where we find a crude but welcome shelter which we take advantage of to eat our lunch. We pass a number of mountain biking trails as we cross the crown of the hill and then drop down to the monument at the front of the hill overlooking Golspie, the North Sea, the Moray and Dornoch Firths, and beyond northern coast of Speyside. The monument itself is far bigger than it appears from the road, it depicts the 1st Earl of Sutherland and is the subject of some controversy as this Earl is now infamous for his role in the highland clearances. There is a handy (and free) telescope at he foot of the statue, and we take a break to examine Golspie below, and  Loch Fleet to the south where we can just about make out seals on the sandbanks.

We plunge of the front of the hill and descend very steeply down a rocky path, fortunately I have my sticks with me, but even so as the track goes on and on I know that my knees are going to pay for this later. We cross more bike tracks and eventually drop down to the treeline and gentler gradients. The walk we are following would guide us down into Golspie and then back briefly uphill to the car park, but we feel we’ve done enough for today nd so we cut across the hill (through some boggy areas) to a row of cottages and then the crossroads we encountered near the start of the walk. We retrace our steps back to the burn, taking a successful gamble on a path that cuts out the need to zig-zag past the waterfall and leads us straight back to the car.





#18 Salterforth

22 07 2011
22nd July 2011
solo
6.3 miles
Explorer OL21 (South Pennines)
Cloudy, breezy, the odd light shower.

Another journey up the M65 culminating in a small car park opposite the Anchor Inn, alongside the Leeds and Liverpool canal. The walk starts along the towpath, under the B6383 towards the outskirts of Barnoldswick. At the next bridge I left the canal to head up past a school, crossing the road and then steeply uphill through a field, after which I cross a stile and follow a desire line through a field of long grass before squeezing through a gap stile onto Letcliff Hill picnic area where there are good views back to Noyna Hill and the Yorkshire side of the Pennines.

Following the driveway for the picnic area back out to the B6251 which I cross and make my way briefly downhill and past a terrace of cottages, and then start up a steep track towards Moor Side Farm. Just before reaching the farm a dog comes to meet me quite aggressively, soon followed by two friends, fortunately one of the human inhabitants is available to call them off – but it does irritate me that I can’t walk along a public footpath without some dog thinking he owns it. I don’t have to pass the farm as the path leads off just before it – cutting across the side of the hill and then down across a brook and up the other side, passing through fields of sheep, and cows, and then some rather large bulls! Eventually I reach Folly Lane and turn westward again, up a steep, mainly straight, seemingly unending lane. I pass old farms – now homes of the wealthy, a stable and the odd holiday cottage; at Higher View farm the tarmacced lane ends, but a grassy droving route continues, still upward. At the end of this track I come to Duck Pond Farm which I skirt around and then take in the rather odd sculptures adorning the cottages on the far side. I cross one more field and then out onto the moor , this is pretty much the high point of the walk, and I can see Blacko Tower below me to the west.

At last, a downhill section! The first element is tricky as the long grass hides some rather wet sections, but soon after I find a track alongside a wall and am able to walk quickly down through moor then fields to the old Gisburn Road, the only difficulty being the state of upkeep of the gates: if farmers want walkers to close gates behind them – then they need to maintain them. I managed to shut all the gates, but a couple of them were very difficult. The book told me to turn into the field to my right and walk alongside the road, but I really didn’t see the point (particularly as it had started to rain), and the road was completely empty so I stayed on the tarmac for a while, turning left on a footpath slightly before that described in the book – cutting the corner to meet Lister Well Road a few hundred yards further on.

Lister Well Road is a track running straight through moorland, and at this time of year it looked stunning. I climbed gently tot he top of the road where I turned south into a field a started to drop down off the moor. On reaching Copy Nook Farm, I take a wide straight grassy path steeply downhill before emerging next to the Fanny Grey Inn on the B6251. This is the route I took on the drive here this morning so it is an easy stroll down to a stream and back uphill past some lovely old houses and barn-conversions and back to the Anchor Inn.





#5 Leighton Moss

20 07 2011
20th July 2011
solo
4.9 miles
Explorer OL7 (The English Lakes – South-eastern area)
Overcast

Leighton Moss (picture from Google Earth)

I was originally intending to tackle the Salterforth walk, but the weather forecast for Arnside was considerably more favourable than that for the Pennines. I started by parking in the ‘lay-by’ on Thrang Brow Lane next to the junction with Storrs Lane, and head into the Yealand Hall allotment.  The allotment is a wooded section full of examples of the limestone pavement Arnside is well-known for, it is at this point that I realise the camera is not charged – so all photos will be from Google Earth.

I descend gently through he woodland for about half a mile before coming across a series of pastures and the entrance to Gait Barrows National Nature Reserve. After crossing a meadow full of summer flowers I head into the woods that flank Hawes Water. I head north over a rickety board-walk, and then as I pass the northern edge of the lake I look for a gate on the left as instructed in the book, I locate a gate and follow a path beyond it until I realise that it ends abruptly at a stream, I guess the gate may have been added since the book was written. This is a happy accident though – as when I turn to retrace my steps two small roe deer suddenly bolt from within a few yards of me. Back on the path I soon find the gate I am looking for – it’s only 50 yards higher than the forst one I tried, but it’s the other side of a fence, and the stream seems to have gone underground.

Challan Hall

The path links to a stoney track that head south along the western side of the lake. After a while I climb through a narrow stile and across an open pasture below Challan Hall where I exchange pleasantries with a couple holidaying there, and then continue across a couple of more fields until I hit a train line, this is the line between Carnforth and Barrow. I cross (quite gingerly as it’s on a bend) and across a field onto Red Bridge Lane. I didn’t realise it at the time but at this point I am only 100yds from the start point of walk #6 ‘Around Silverdale’. I head south along the road for a couple of hundred yards and then down Moss Lane until just before the bridge back over the track I take a narrow gate on the right which runs downhill through a field so that I can cross the track the dangerous way once more. Having negotiated a rather chunky stone stile on the opposite side I weave through a narrow band of woodland and onto a wide track at the entrance to Trowbarrow limeworks, here the book tells me to cross the track and follow a narrow path which bears right – this path however beared left so I returned to the wide track and followed it until I came to the mentioned path on the right which gives access to Silverdale golf course.

Hawes Water

I crossed a couple of fairways to a wall corner in the middle of the course – from which I can make out a footpath marker at the top of the course, and cross another couple of fairways (one in use) before reaching the marker on the crest of the hill. From here I drop down to a woodland path which emerges onto Storrs Lane just a few yards above the causeway of RSPB Leighton Moss. Half way along the causeway is the public hide, I spend a couple of minutes inside, but it’s rather warm and stuffy, and there’s little wildlife to be seen. I see a couple of birds as I continue along the causeway, I think they were just young pheasants though.

On the far side I climb slowly uphill past the B&B at Grisedale farm, and head along the road towards Leighton Hall Home Farm. Just before the hall I turn north through a field of bullocks, and then through a series of pastures separated by the creakiest metal gates ever made. The final field house some bulls, some fairly large and horned; at this point I had almost caught up with 3 other walkers – and it was with some relief that I figured I could probably outrun at least two of them, and that even if I couldn’t, at least there was someone there to raise the alarm! Crossing the field passed without incident though and at the far end an alley between two cottage spat me out on Silverdale Road just a stones thrown from the car.

I hadn’t been particularly looking forward to this walk, I suspected from the map that it would be fairly flat and dull, but far from it, I’ll probably do it again sometime.





#10 Holcombe Moor

1 07 2011
1st July 2011
solo
5.5 miles
Explorer 287 (West Pennine Moors)
Cool for July, windy on the tops

A fairly early 9am start to this walk, the drive via the M65 and Haslingden avoids much of the congestion. The walk starts from the Peel Tower carpark on the B6214 but it takes almost the full length of the walk to reach the tower. I cross the road and walk towards the tower up a little snicket, before appearing on a beautiful old cobbled street which heads north parallel to he B6214 before joining it at the Shoulder of Mutton pub (which looks to have a lovely menu). Almost immediately I leave the road again to head steeply at first up another cobbled street which leads through some old gate-posts onto the National Trust owned section of the Moor. I follow the well established track across the eastern shoulder of the moor, the track is more or less level, and passes a number of farm houses, the Irwell valley looking splendid below in the morning sun; on the far side Hail Storm Hill with its plethora of wind-turbines looks like a potential walking destination (mental note made).

Just after Chatterton Close there is a cross-roads alongside a patch of investigative quarrying, I turn west here heading reasonably steeply for the top of the moor. Soon after we reach the marker points designating the edge of the moor that is MoD land, the flags are not flying to it would be safe to continue onto his land to the summit of Bull Hill, but I can’t make out where the path is, and I don’t fancy guessing and getting it wrong so I follow the path south until I reach Pilgrim’s Cross. The cross is actually a fairly modern (1902) stone marking the point of the original cross (probably 12th century) which was a meeting/resting point for pilgims on their way to Whalley Abbey. Here I can see the path to Bull Hill so I take a detour, heading north-west – gently uphill for about a third of a mile to the trig point on Bull Hill. It’s not a spectacular hill, but the views are very good, I can easily identify Winter Hill to the west, and Parbold Hill to the north-east, and what must be the Peak District in the distance to the south.

I return back to Pilgrim’s Cross and continue past it along the ridge over a nameless summit and then on towards a cairn at the summit of Harcles Hill. Just after this hill there is an unexpected grassy valley to be negotiated before I reach the Peel Monument; I trot and bounce down the steep grassy embankment, cross a little stream, and then make my way back uphill and on to the tower. The tower commemorated Sir Robert Peel, a son of Bury, twice British Prime Minister, and founder of the modern police force – it is his name which give the policemen the nickname “bobbies”.The monument was closed so I didn’t have the option of climbing it, not sure if I would have bothered to be honest; the tower isn’t pretty, but it is striking, and fitting for such a ‘modern’ politician.

Nest to the tower is a stony track which descends steeply back towards the carpark. At one point I spot an unusual curvy bench on the hillside and take the opportunity for a rest, the bench celebrates the party held on Holcombe Moor for the millennium which features 8,000 people witnessing the lighting of a beacon.

It’s an easy stroll from here, downhill until I meet the cobbled lane that started the walk.





Offlist Walk: Ilmington & Campden Hill

27 05 2011
27th May 2011
Mrs NLW
5.2 miles
Explorer 205 (Stratford-upon-Avon & Evesham)
Cloudy

Foxcote

I love a walk that doesn’t involve a drive. Leaving our cottage in Ilmington we cross Back Street and onto an overgrown path beside the local primary school and then across a series of pastures containing cows and calves. We ascended gradually onto the top of a low ridge where the whole of Warwickshire opened up before us. Descending the ridge to the east towards a fishing pond, and then up alongside arable fields just below Lower Lark Stoke before reaching a lane where we stopped for a picnic lunch.

Foxcote House

After lunch we followed the lane uphill to the south-east, steeply at first, then very steeply, and then finally, thankfully easing off as we approach the radio transmission station at the top of the hill: the highest point in Warwickshire.Down the hillside to the east is the National Trust’s Hidcote Garden, which we had visited, and thoroughly enjoyed earlier in the week.

Over the crest of the hill we continued very gently down hill until the lane met the road between Ilmington and Chipping Campden, we follow this around a dog-leg turn and soon after turn south onto a farm track. The sun comes out and all of a sudden the nice day transforms into a beautiful, sunny spring day. The path passes through a wood and we are lucky to realise that what looks like a right angle turn to the left is actually a T-junction, and we follow it to the right where the woods open up to a splendid view over the hamlet of Foxcote.

We descend through fields and through Foxcote and then alongside a tall hedge towards a long straight driveway, it is only then that we come to the gate in the hedge and see the elegant Foxcote House. We turn and follow the driveway out of the grounds alongside Windmill Hill, turning off the drive at the edge of the property to climb a field up onto the ridge at Nebsworth. Here we pause to take in the view and then descend through fields onto the outskirts of Ilmington. At the end of the fields we find a narrow path which weave in between back gardens, over a stream, and then along an alley to appear back on the Chipping Campden road near Back Street. We stroll back to the cottage past St.Mary’s church, and then the school where we witness the children performing a traditional maypole dance.





Offlist Walk: Broadway Tower

22 05 2011
22nd May 2011
Mrs NLW
4.5 miles
Explorer OL45 (The Cotswolds)
Cloudy, very windy
This was the first walk we took whilst on a week log break in Ilmington, a lovely Warwickshire village in the northern Cotswolds. We have visited Broadway once before, it is a lovely chocolate box village with many beautiful stone cottages, some quirky shops, and the Lygon Arms Hotel.
Leaving the car in the public car-park off Leamington Road we walked down to the High Street and turned right towards the centre of the village, we had a little look around a couple of shops and then headed back towards the junction of Leamington Rd and High Street, just before which we turned off right along a footpath which passed down a tight snicket, and then alongside a playground  and across a series of pastures, heading south until we meet Snowshill Road alongside a section of fields set up for Equestrian eventing training. We proceed up Snoswhill Road to the attractive 12th century church: St Eadburgha’s.
Opposite the church we turn through a gate next to a very quaint gatehouse, and follow Coneygree Lane uphill for just over a mile. The lane is  tree-lined and the thick canopies keep the lane cool and wet, the lane surface is suitable only for farm vehicles and is so muddy that we find an informal footpath a few yards away and follow that instead.

Broadway from just below the tower

After a sweaty climb the lane comes to a T-junction, we turn right and cross a field towards a farmhouse, behind us fabulous views open up across the Avon floodplain towards the Malvern Hills.
We skirt around the farmhouse and use the driveway for a little while before turning east and heading uphill again towards the east, past more farm buildings, up a very steep lane before tuning north into the grounds of Rookery Barn cafe. There are far fewer trees here, so the wind is at its strongest; we battle around the side of the cafe and follow the driveway until we pass through a double-height kissing gate and walk across to the tower. There is a fee to enter Broadway Tower, but given that the views are already tremendous it seems a waste of money to pay to climb just a few feet more; instead we watch the red deer in the enclosure just below the tower, and then start to make our descent. We join the Cotswold Way and head north-west along a straight path descending directly towards Broadway. Halfway down we find a conveniently placed bench and tuck into our lunch, had the day been less windy – then the field around the tower or Rookery barn would have been an ideal location.
After the bench there is a small steep section, and thereafter the going is easy, a number of fields, some with men mending a stone wall, others filled with sheep, until we reach the back of some houses just a little further along Broadway’s High Street. We appear back on High Street, and it’s only a few minutes walk back to the car.




Offlist Walk: Haskayne Circular

22 04 2011
22nd April 2011
With Mrs NLW
7.4 miles
Explorer 285 (Southport & Chorley)
Sunny, warm, breezy

The difference were:

  • Starting from The Ship in Haskayne rather than The Saracen’s Head in Halsall, which shortens the walk by just over half a mile
  • Skipping the Devil’s Wall/Gorse Hill reservoir section, saves half a mile.





#28 Langden Valley, Fair Snape Fell & Totridge

18 04 2011
18th April 2011
solo
11.8 miles
Explorer OL41 (Forest of Bowland & Ribblesdale)
Sunny, warm in the valley, windy on the fells

Langden Valley

Finally, I take on the toughest walk in the book. Having read in the book and online about the bogginess of Saddle Fell I had originally decided to tackle this walk later on in the year, but it has been warm and dry for about 3 weeks now, and there’s no guarantee of similar or better conditions in the summer. I  start off from the roadside parking at Sykes at 9am, and stroll leisurely past the former Preston Water Works and follow a neat gravelled path up the valley alongside Langden Brook. I come across a couple of twitchers looking for Ring Ouzels (they could hear them but hadn’t located them yet), but other than that I saw no one. I pass the deeply unimpressive Langden Castle (more of an outhouse) where Bleadale Water runs into LangdenBrook and continue on past, turning left onto an undulating path – with a number of boarded sections over boggy areas, descending until I come to the brook just after the confluence with Fiendsdale Water. I find an easy place to cross, and then turn south heading up the western side of Fiendsdale Nab; the path climbs steeply at first but then becomes a steady but manageable climb.

Fiendsdale

At one point the path has eroded away and there is a slightly hairy high-wire act to get safely across. Fiendsdale is quite different to the reasonably open Langden Valley, here the valley is incredibly steep and green, there’s an other worldliness to it.

Eventually I reach Fiendsdale Head and continue south encountering the first of many peat groughs, followed by a very boggy approach tot he fenceline I had been aiming for. I follow the fenceline east and then south-east before clambering through more peaty sections before reaching the top of the fell. I think this part may be called Wolf Fell rather than Fair Snape Fell – but anyway – it’s the highest point at 520 metres.

Here the book mentions an unnecessary diversion to a trig pillar to the south-west. At this point I am feeling good, and I estimate it’s a 20 minute round trip so I go for it. I under-estimated it! I elect to follow the path to the south of the fence line which was an error – there are many large groughs and after

A peat grough

circumnavigating them I reached a fence without a still, I threw my pack over the fence but then discovered the fence wasn’t robust enough to allow me to climb over – so I had to walk a few hundred yards south until I found a stile (near the path to Parlick Hill), and then retrace my steps back along the fence until I could recover my pack. From there it was a fairly short walk to the trig point and shelters, I elect to ignore the shelter and eat my lunch sat on a tuffet overlooking the low ground around Bleasdale and Whitechapel.

View north-east from Totridge

Having learned my lesson I return to the fell top along the northern side of the fence, which does only take about 10 minutes, and then walk alongside the fence heading west across Saddle Fell towards Totridge. This is the section that I’d heard was difficult, and it is, not only are there may huge peat groughs to cross or avoid – but the fence itself gets in the way, at times it is possible to clamber over the fence to use more favourable ground on the other side, but on other occasions the fence is too whippy to climb. A couple of times my foot went completely under the mud but fortunately my boots stayed on, leaping into and out of the groughs started to take its toll on my energy as well, the Saddle Fell section which is about the same length as the Langden Valley section took at least twice as long to navigate.

At last I reach the base of Totridge and start the gentle climb, the number and size of the peat bogs diminish – but on one of the last ones I come across I jump out of the bog only immediately to feel the muscle in my calf spasm. I sit quite still for 5 minutes and am relieved to feel the pain subside, and I self-diagnose a touch of cramp rather than any significant muscle damage. I spent those 5 minutes considering how lucky I had been, I shouldn’t have done this walk alone, if I had broken my ankle in one of the deeper groughs I’d have been stuck, I hadn’t seen anyone on Saddle Fell all day, and the mobile phone coverage was not good. I did have a whistle with me, but lying in the bottom of a grough – who would have heard me?

I recommence my journey up Totridge, it’s not long before I reach the trig point at the summit, and now I can see far below me the road at Hareden. It’s barren on top of Totridge and I need to consult my compass before figuring out which path I should take, the path starts off gently but then drops 200 metres, in less than 500 metres horizontally. A lot of this ‘path’ is grassy and would be a nightmare in wet conditions – but as it is it’s very dry and the descent goes without incident, although my knees ached by the time I reached the pastures of Hareden Farm.

The farm had one last test for me though, in crossing the fields I had to cross three small streams, the first was easy, but the second involved me sticking my feet into crevices at the bottom of the dry-stone wall – whilst my right hand held onto the top pf the wall, and my left held a stick planted in the boggy stream to support me, it was the closest I cam to falling in a bog all day. The third stream was a little easier than the second, but I lost the stopper from the bottom of my stick.

Streams successfully navigated I headed downhill through a field of sheep, joined the farm track which passed the rather pretty farm, before turning north onto a concessionary path beside the brook and hauled my very tired feet the last mile back to the car at Sykes. Very, very tired.

Elevation:





#21 Carnforth

25 03 2011
25th March 2011
solo
8.8 miles
Explorer OL296 (Lancaster, Morecambe & Fleetwood)
Sunny, cool
This walk starts from Hest Bank car park right on the edge of Morecambe Bay, just to the north of Morecambe and Lancaster. The car park is just on the shore-side of the West Coast mainline. the walk starts by heading north along the foreshore, darting inland every now and again to avoid impassable or problematic areas of rocks, or more frequently water filled channels and what may well be quicksand. Warton Crag to the north provides the bearing and I quickly pass the rather nice looking cafe at Red Bank Farm, and the picturesque ‘front’ that follows it (but I bet it’s bleak in winter). The path cuts inland a bit and then back towards the coast at The Old Mill where I follow a track to the rather curious Bolton Holmes Farm holiday park. Here I leave the drive and navigate a rather difficult section, the sand to the West is far too wet to walk on so I end up partly scrambling on the rocky embankment to the east, and partly jumping over the water-filled channels in the centre. Considering this is officially designated as  the Lancashire Coastal Way I was expecting an easier time of it, however, it takes a while, and the hard work means I have to strip off to my t-shirt – and it’s only March!
After this section  there is a little inlet for Black Dike and then I set off around another headland,, again there is no usable path so I resort to picking my way carefully over a number of boulders before finding the flotsam strewn high tide mark and using that as a path. After passing a delapidated campsite and farm I find a way out to the path as it cuts north-east towards the mouth of the River Keer.
I follow the Keer until I reach a lane, and then follow that as it curves east to the main Carnforth Road. I pass Carnforth train station which was the setting for the classic film: Brief Encounter. After this I called in at Greggs for sustenance before crossing the A6 and heading uphill until I got to a bridge just before which I took a small path down to the western towpath of the Lancaster canal. The canal heads back towards the A6 where there is a rather well-placed pub and Carnforth marina. The canal winds along an embankment alongside the A6 before leaving it to skirt around Bolton-le-Sands, here the character of the canal changes as many gardens back onto the canal; the houses tot he west of the canal (downhill) often have little access gates, but the houses to the east (uphill) are noticeable larger, and most have small wharfs and/or decking. Towards the south of the village the houses get even bigger, and most have a boat or evidence of a boat, one or two even have double aspect driveways – so that the cars can reverse from the road to the east, down the drive which turns into a slipway to deliver a boat tot he canal.
At Hest Bank I leave the canal at a bridge near the Hest bank pub and head downhill to the carpark, as I cross the main road the level crossing barrier descends so I use the bridge. Just as I’m crossing the track a Virgin Pendolino thunders down the line. I reach the front again and wander gingerly back to the car. The three-mile return journey along the towpath has really taken it out of my feet, the subsequent inspection reveals no blisters – just worn out feet!




#12 Sabden & Spence Moor

5 03 2011
5th March 2011
solo
5.8 miles
Explorer OL21 (South Pennines)
Foggy, cold

Fog on Spence Moor

An early start for me on a rare Saturday walk. I parked up at the village car park in Sabden around 8am, a handy little car park (90p for 4 hrs) with decent toilet facilities. The walk started by walking up through the village towards St.Nicholas’ church before heading uphill towards the idyllic Badger Wells Cottages. A path alongside a stream to the side of the main terrace leads onto the edge of the moor, and climbs gently but steadily up Calf Hill.

As the path rounds Calf Hill, still beneath the highest part of the ridge a gap in the wall shows Churn Clough reservoir below. here I can see the morning’s fog sitting on top of my goal – Deerstones, and all across the top of the moor. The path cuts across the hill now, crossing another stream and across the top edge of a plantation. A group of fell runners pass me and head further east into the plantation as I turn north, uphill towards Deerstones, using my walking poles to help power me up the steep peaty path.

Sabden from Lower Lane

As the path levels out I notice the fog rolling oon an off the ridge to the west, and covering Sabden beneath me. I follow the path round the back of Deerstones, here I am all alone, visibility is down to about 100 yards which is better than I thought it would be. I follow a large wall to a stile and then tramp across the top of the moor and onto a large ladder stile, after the stile I follow a very boggy path through a field descending towards the east, I should have worn my gaiters as I end up with soaked calves. At the end of this field I look back and notice ruefully that the fog has lifted from the top of the moor that I have just left! I make a slight detour up to the top of the spur to see just how close to Pendle Hill and Upper Ogden Reservoir I am (see Walk #22 Pendle Hill 19/03/11, the very first walk I did).

I then cut back downhill to the south, using my sticks again to steady myself on the steep descent, the walk gives me the option of descending in the woodland around Cock Clough, but, due to the wet ground I opt for the field alongside it. I reach the yard of Lower Lane Farm and then follow Lower Lane to the west passing a number of farms, the path heads briefly north back into the nape of the hill at Ratten Clough to skirt close to Stainscomb house, and then heads west again via more farms before dropping down back into Sabden by the church.

A pleasant walk, probably worth doing again in better weather.