Walk Reports 2017

Walk Report – Bainbridge 13th August 2017, 9 miles    Leader Ben Brown

Clitheroe Ramblers enjoyed an inspiring walk in perfect weather conditions with scenic and historic attractions as well as seeing some interesting wildlife.

Setting off from Bainbridge, 4 miles east of Hawes, height was steadily gained for a couple of miles along Cam High Road,  a  Roman Road built in the first century AD, linking the Roman fort on Brough Hill, above Bainbridge with Ingleton. In a very poor year for butterflies, it was pleasing to see quite a few small tortoiseshells and green veined whites as well as a solitary meadow brown along the way.

Leaving the Roman Road, the climb continued over the edge of Green Scar, a fine viewpoint overlooking Raydale and the hills beyond, before dropping down into the valley to reach the hamlet of Marsett, a classic example of a traditional Dales farming community. Along the way a small party of partridges flew over and there were still a good number of swallows about, soon to be on their way to their wintering grounds in South Africa.

From Marsett Bridge, the path followed a fairly level course  through a chain of stiles and passing a number of barns. Along this stretch, a large rat was spotted moving quite slowly across a field and then a barn owl flew across, but the prey appeared to avoid the attentions of the predator.  Next of interest were the ruins of a chapel, which formerly served the population of Starling Busk. The church was built in 1772, but fell into disuse in 1909, when a replacement was built, more conveniently sited in the centre of the village. The chapel served the whole of Raydale and 750 people are buried in the graveyard.

The shores of Semer Water were soon reached and the east bank was followed to the road. Semer Water is one of the few natural sheets of water in the Dales and was formed as a glacial lake around 8000 years ago. At Semer Water Bridge, the banks of the River Bain, reputedly England’s shortest river, were followed. The river Bain flows out of Semer Water and in just over two miles it flows into the River Ure, just north of Bainbridge.

Leaving the riverbank, a grassy path was taken up the hillside with the River Bain below in the wooded gorge and the wonderful sight of Semer Water behind. Then there was a short descent on the A684 to re-enter Bainbridge over the bridge, where the cascading River Bain provided a grand finale.         

2017 Harrogate Weekend Away

Ann and James Jolly

Thirty seven of us enjoyed a weekend in Harrogate, at the St George Hotel (including eight members of Hyndburn Ramblers) and a good time was had by all!

Roger Sagar led a six mile walk on Friday from Blubberhouses, and we used public transport on the other three days. On Saturday we caught the bus to South Stainley and walked a ten mile semi-circular route around to Ripon, passing through Studley Deer Park. We passed near Fountains Hall, a Jacobean mansion, built between 1598 and 1604, partly with stone from the Abbey ruins. The route also took us past the Anglican Church of St Mary’s which was commissioned in 1870, and we looked round this after lunch. Four services a year are held there, with occasional weddings being granted special permission. The Chorister’s House next to the Church was built in 1873 to house a music school, and is now holiday accommodation, run by the Estate.

We then followed the River Skell over attractive stone bridges, through the lovely village of Studley Roger and Hell Wath Nature Reserve, and on into Ripon.

On the Sunday and Monday, we covered the “Harrogate Ringway” a twenty mile circular walk around the edge of Harrogate. The first section went though woods and along the edge of Harlow Carr Gardens, and we then came to an obstruction as the road and pavement was blocked off for repair. Fortunately, James managed to find us a route through an office park, and housing estate before getting back to the Ringway at a later point. The route then swung around the south of Harrogate using lanes and meadow paths and we had lunch on a hillside with good views. We found time to visit the beer garden of a convenient pub, before walking into Knaresborough, entering the town along the River Nidd, below the 12th century castle ruins, to catch the bus back to Harrogate. The original thirteen miles had turned into fourteen with the diversion!!

The final day’s seven mile walk started with a bus journey to Knaresborough, and we then followed paths through Spring Wood and Bilton Banks down into the Nidd Gorge, a deep ravine with sheer, tree covered sides. Once away from the Gorge we followed field paths to Spruisty Pack Horse Bridge over Oak Beck, actually a Grade II listed building in the beautiful village setting of Knox, before stopping at a childrens’ playground for lunch. The benches were soon filled, so the swings, roundabout and slide were put to good use. We then continued the walk, arriving back at the start point in Harrogate, having completed the full twenty mile circuit over the two days. The weekend had been very enjoyable for all, and we are looking forward to Llandudno next year.

Penyghent Purple Saxifrage - 1 April 2017 - 9 miles - Leader Ben Brown

Clitheroe Ramblers have visited Penyghent many times over the years, but this was the first visit in search of purple saxifrage, an alpine plant left over from the last ice age and quite rare in England.

The Ribble Way was followed south from the bridge in Horton in Ribblesdale for the first couple of miles and we were surprised to find a very early mayflower beside the riverside path.  On approaching Helwith Bridge, we stopped to listen to the serenade of a song thrush carrying far and wide as it repeated its varied phrases from a tree top perch.  As we crossed the bridges over the river and then the railway, it was a reminder that just 24 hours earlier, the Flying Scotsman had passed below on the special excursion to mark the £23 million reopening of the Settle to Carlisle railway, which had been closed due to a landslip north of Appleby following the floods in February 2016.

A short refreshment stop was taken just before we started the long but easy treck up Long Lane, a byway open to all traffic, but gladly only in use by pedestrians today.  Penyghent has an impressive profile as seen from this direction of ascent with the gritstone cap of the fell resting upon a band of limestone, both having weathered into steep crags.  Visibility was good, it was a mild day, there was no wind and no sign of the forecasted heavy showers.  Skylarks filled the air with their high pitched musical outpourings of song, meadow pipits flitted about and in the distance could be heard the liquid long bubbling trill of the curlew.  It was an idyllic situation.

The Pennine Way was joined and at the junction with the footpath from Brackenbottom, we were within half a kilometre of the summit, but separated by 175m (570ft) of a steep climb up through rocky crags.  It was now ten minutes past one o’clock and decision time.  Should we have lunch here or should we go for the top, now shrouded in mist.  The decision was unanimous – go for the top!  Thirty minutes later we were at the summit.  Just as we arrived, the heavens opened for a good old spring downpour for our much anticipated lunch stop.

The rest of the walk was easy enough, following the Pennine Way downhill all the way back to Horton in Ribblesdale.  The rain stopped, blue sky reappeared and yes we did find the purple saxifrage, a beautiful; pink purple plant providing vivid splashes of colour on the white limestone cliffs at an altitude of about 1900ft.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Those of us on the walk will forever remember Penyghent as the mountain of the Purple Saxifrage.

 

Ingleton – 25 February 2017 – Leader Valerie Grooby

If I had a choice, I wouldn’t have gone walking this Saturday, the weather forecast was so poor.  However as I was the leader and eight other people had decided they didn’t mind the rain, I had to turn up at Ingleton.  We dropped down the road to cross the river and then took field paths via Thornton Hall to Tor Scar road and then Turbary road.  Luckily I was able to shorten the walk after a short distance along this track and so we threaded our way down a limestone escarpment to reach the Kingsdale road.  Here we had a very short break for lunch in the rain and then crossed the road to take the track under Twistleton Scar and down Oddie'sLane back to Ingleton.  We got back to the car park by 1.30pm.  Nobody wanted to take up the option of a visit to Yordas cave,for which I was grateful, as this would have entailed a drive to the cave and putting our wet clothes back on.  I was urged to lead this walk again next year but preferably on a dry day.

                                              Barley - 19 February, 2017 - Leader Penny Pitty

Eleven walkers walked eleven miles on a route from the car park in Barley.  There was a considerable amount of low cloud and mist which reduced visibility much of the time.  The route led past the Black Moss reservoirs, and then headed northwards past Black Moss Farm, Mountain Farm and Firber House.  The group took a coffee break in the shelter of some walls before continuing across some very rough pasture in the mist to finally reach a more obvious track past Craven Laithe and on to the A682.  Here the route necessitated a walk north-westward along this busy and dangerous road as far as Crag Farm, which was accomplished safely with the aid of our recently issued high-viz jackets.  Proceeding past the farm and through some stiles and an unfriendly gate (thanks to Mark for enabling this) we headed down more rough pasture and over a tricky stone stile in a high wall to follow minor roads to Laneside.  After this, the route was more straightforward, with an ascent to Weets House Farm.  On the way, a brief moment of respite from the mist and drizzle, with even a hint of sunshine, close to the seat part way up the track provided a lunch stop.  After lunch we continued uphill and then down Gisburn Old Road past Peel's House to the right turn to Admergill Pasture Farm,  then crossing the A682 and into Admergill Pasture.  Much of this route was relatively straightforward apart from a spectacular muddy section between Admergill Farm and Wheathead Lane, thanks to it being used for cattle pasture.  We eventually joined Blacko Bar road, before skirting round Hollin Farm, passing in front of Roughlee Old Hall, then through fields and woodland to reach the track past White Hough which took us back to the car park.  Apart from the mist and mud, entertainment was provided by the leader first forgetting to lock her car (again thanks to Mark for running back to sort this!) and then slipping on the mud on a steep stretch on the final stretches of the walk.  However the mud made for a soft landing!

Walking With Witches – Barley. Tues 3rd January 2017. Leader Ben Brown

The witches of Pendle lived during the reigns of Elizabeth 1 and James 1, an era of persecution and superstition. Two rival peasant families, living on the slopes of Pendle, were led by two old women in their 80’s, Elizabeth Southern nicknamed Demdike and Anne Whittle nicknamed Chattox. Six of the Pendle witches came from these two families. Local people were in fear of them believing they had special powers. Alice Nutter was unusual in that she was the widow of a yeoman farmer and relatively wealthy. At the Witches of Pendle trial at Lancaster in 1612, she was convicted purely on the evidence of a 9 year old child who identified her as being present at a “witches coven” Demdike died in prison before the trial. Her daughter Elizabeth Device, her grand children Elizabeth, James and Alizon Devce, Chattox, her daughter Anne Redfearn, Jane and John Bulcock, Katherine Hewitt and Alice Nutter were all hanged in front of huge crowds.

For the first walk of 2017, Clitheroe Ramblers explored the story of the Pendle Witches on a figure of eight  walking trail linking the villages of Newchurch and Roughlee.

On a dank and dreary day the party of 31 set off from Barley towards Barley Green, with the adrenalin soon flowing as they ascended the hillside on the south side of the village before dropping down to Newchurch. Here the “Eye of God” built into the west side of the tower of St Mary’s church to ward off evil looked down at the walkers. In the graveyard, Chattox had stolen teeth from skulls dug out of the graves and by the porch lay the “witches grave”, carved with skull and crossbones inscribed with the name “Nutter”

The next stop was at Faugh’s Quarry, where the “wizard of the stone pit”, a quarryman’s carving in the rock was found. Demdike claimed to have met the devil in the quarry and in return for her soul was promised everything she desired. The route then led onto Moss End farm, the home of two more witches, Jane Bulcock and her son John Bulcock, who were responsible for the death of Jane Deyne. Then to Bull Hole Farm, the home of John Nutter, two of whose cows died, one said to be bewitched by Demdike and the other by her rival matriarch Chattox. A climb back up to Wellhead Road was then made and this was followed to Drivers Height Farm. From here the party ascended steeply to the top of Driver Height, the highest point of the walk. A descent was then made to the dam on Upper Ogden reservoir and lunch was taken close to this point in a sheltered spot. A good track then led down past Lower Ogden reservoir back to Barley to complete the western loop.

The eastern loop started from the car park and followed the Pendle Way along Pendle Water to Whitehough and then up through the woods from the Outdoor Centre eventually dropping down to the village of Roughlee, the home of Alice Nutter. After passing Roughlee Old Hall, which was  owned by her husband’s brother and where she may have farmed, a fingerpost sign  pointing the way to Lancaster Castle was noted at the crossroads. Further along the road was a statue of Alice Nutter, made of bronze and steel depicting her as a lady of the times rather than a witch. After passing the impressive waterfall and crossing the road bridge, the stream was followed back via Whitehough to Barley to complete an entertaining and interesting walk.

 

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