Mud, mud, glorious mud                                                     

Nothing quite like it for cooling the blood,        

So follow me follow, down to the hollow

And there we will wallow in glorious mud.

These words from the song made famous by Messrs Flanders and Swan perfectly sum up the walk I did yesterday. I was out with Crosby Rambling Club and after weeks of heavy rain we knew it would be muddy. The weather forecast was for more torrential downpours accompanied by gale force winds, but it might clear up in the afternoon. Our destination was Scorton in Lancashire on the edge of the Trough of Bowland.

Scorton is a pretty little village but is sadly blighted by the roar of traffic from the ever busy M6 which is only a couple of hundred yards away. I joined the ‘B’ party walk led by Ken. We left the village and walked up the hill over the motorway continuing along a quiet lane before branching off to climb to the summit of Nicky Nook. Although only 215 metres in height the view from the trig point at the summit is far reaching. On a clear day it is possible to the hills of North Wales, the Lake District and even the Isle of Man. Unfortunately today was not such a day. The short climb was an adventure in itself. As we gained height we felt the full force of the wind and we were head on into the rain which was coming at us horizontally.

At the summit it was even worse and it was difficult to stay upright. I had trouble trying to keep my camera steady and was nearly blown off my feet. Those of you that know me will realise that it takes a big gust of wind to do that.

We stayed at the summit for maybe 10 seconds and then descended the steep path down to Grize Dale where at least there was a bit of shelter and a firm track. Our route continued up towards Fell End farm and then a gentle climb towards the moor. After crossing a minor road we continued on a narrow path across Harrisend Fell. It was tussock grass with boggy bits in between, very heavy going. At Foxhouse Brook we descended towards the road and we thought the worst was over.

By now we were all pretty wet and even worse my camera was wet, hence the artistic soft focus. Before reaching the road we had to cross a ford, not marked on the map because it is not usually there. At least it gave us the chance to wash the mud off our boots.

We crossed the River Wyre at ‘Street Bridge’ and walked along the track close to the river which was just about being contained within its banks. We were on a section of the ‘Wyre Way’, one of the Long Distance footpaths. It follows the river from its source at Abbeystead to the estuary at Fleetwood. The path wandered through the woods and past the ‘Fishing Lakes’ It was here that we encountered ‘proper mud’. Ankle deep and no way to avoid it. However there were some good points. I spotted some fungi and also some clumps of snowdrops, surely a sign that Spring can not be too far away.

To get the picture I had to kneel down in the mud but by that time it did not make any difference. I was already covered in mud up to my knees. The only bit of me that was dry was my socks.

We re-crossed the busy M6 and then followed the course of the river across more muddy fields back to Scorton.

Exactly on cue the rain stopped and the sun came out.

After getting changed into some dry clothes we headed for the only refreshment place in the village. It was ‘The Priory’ a cross between a cafe, pub and restaurant. We all crowded in and soon it was standing room only, but it was lovely and warm with a huge log burning stove. Even better was the fact that it sold a couple of real ales. I went for a pint of Thwaites Lancaster Bomber. A beautiful chestnut coloured ale with a malty aroma and full of flavour. 4.4% ABV.Superb.

Lancaster Bomber

It had been another adventure but I wish it would stop raining.


Posted in Lancashire, Sunday Walks | Leave a comment

Cartmel, Home of the Sticky Toffee Pudding.

Cartmel is situated 2 miles north of Grange –over –Sands in Cumbria and horse racing takes place here several times a year. Cartmel’s religious history dates back to 677 when King Egfrith of Northumbria gave the village to St Cuthbert. The Priory or Church of St Mary and St Michael dates from the 12th century and is a place of pilgrimage. The village itself is very interesting, particularly the village square where some of the buildings are from the 16th and 17th century.

It is also the home of Sticky Toffee Pudding which has been made at the Cartmel Village shop for nearly 30 years.

Sticky Toffee Pudding

It is a famous English dessert consisting of moist sponge mixed with chopped dates and covered in a toffee sauce. It is often served with vanilla custard.

However I was not here for the food. I was out with Crosby Rambling Club to do a low level walk. The weather forecast was not promising so I decided to do the relatively easy ‘B’ party walk of 8 miles. We set off across the racecourse heading south – west to join the Cumbria Way and then the Cumbria Coastal Way to climb up through woodland to Ellerside.

We climbed up onto Ellerside ridge where we stopped for lunch in the shelter of some rocks. Although only just over 500 ft in height there were good views across Morecambe Bay and down to the estuary where the Kent Viaduct runs across to Arnside.

We followed the rocky ridge that runs south – north an dropped down to Grassgarth.

It had now started to rain and it was getting very windy. We now had to make a decision. Do we climb up to Bigland Heights for the view or continue along the minor road. There would be no view so we stayed low. Our intended return route was across The Great Allotment but this woodland area has been largely felled and replanted. It all looks rather desolate and after the recent wet weather now resembled a quagmire. Our leader, Ray, plotted an alternative course bypassing several farms. Even so we had to make a couple of diversions as the area was flooded. At one point we became ‘begorsed’. Is that a word? We were surrounded by gorse with no clear path to follow. Eventually we descended through woodland and through the gloom we could see the lights of our coach in the car park across the race course.

Half an hour later we had changed out of our wet and muddy clothes and had an hour to spare to enjoy the delights of Cartmel. The choice was a pot of tea and some sticky toffee pudding in the cafe or a pint of beer in the Kings Arms.

I joined some of the ‘A ‘party  group for a pint of Hawkshead bitter. Although only 3.7% abv, this pale, hoppy bitter is a perfect thirst quencher at the end of a walk even if you have been cold and wet.


Posted in Cumbria, Sunday Walks | Leave a comment

Mam Tor and the Great Ridge.

Yesterday I was out with Crosby Rambling Club when we visited Castleton and walked along Great Ridge. This ridge separates the carboniferous limestone of the White Peak from the gritstone of the Dark Peak to the north. The ridge extends for about four miles from Lord’s Seat in the west to Lose Hill in the east taking in the tops of Mam Tor and Back Tor along its crest. We were doing a 10 mile circular route from Castleton including the best bits of the ridge.

It was a murky day, hopeless for photography and we were expecting to get wet.

We started our walk from the centre of Castleton and passed through the narrow entrance into Cave Dale.

Our path followed the Limestone Way and perched above us on the edge of the crags was Peveril Castle. This castle was founded after the Norman conquest in 1066 by William Peveril. The structure was added to in the 12th and 13th century but has been a ruin since the early 1600’s.

Emerging from Cave Dale we followed bridle ways heading towards Windy Knoll and Mam Tor. The climb to the top of Mam Tor was short but steep but there were good views from the top looking down into the Edale and Hope valley.

                                       The summit of Mam Tor (1695 ft. 517 m )

Mam Tor is known as the ‘Shivering Mountain’ It is composes of horizontal bands of sandstone and soft mudstone. Rain, frost and wind eat at this unstable layer cake and periodically cause landslips. In 1979 the hairpin on the A625 below Mam Tor buckled and fell away leaving the road beyond repair.

There is absolutely no shelter on the ridge and we could feel the full force of the wind. It meant that we had a very short lunch stop before heading down the slope towards Hollins Cross. This was the traditional crossing point on the route from Castleton to Edale and in previous centuries coffins were carried from Edale to the church at Hope until eventually a church was built in Hope. Hence the route is known as the “coffin road”

To the north we could see the outline of Kinder Scout looking very bleak and surrounded in mist.

We continued along Barker Bank towards Back Tor, another steep climb before our final push up to Lose Hill 1563 ft – 476m.

It was then downhill all the way along very muddy field paths back to Castleton where we were able to enjoy an excellent pint of Young’s bitter in The George before heading back to the coach.

Tonight we were due to have our Christmas meal at the Beehive Inn . Situated in the village of Combs in the High Peak we had an excellent meal. Service and the food were both first class and everyone had a good time.

Davis seemed to enjoy himself and Jim was delighted when he heard that Liverpool had just scored another goal in their  5 –0 thrashing of Spurs.

Only 10 mile but it seemed like much more.

I needed some Rioja with my meal to recover.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Llangollen and the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct.

The ‘B’ party. Leader – Graham Bevan

The weather was dry but rather dull which meant it was not a good day for photography but good conditions for walking. I wanted an easy day so I joined the ‘B’ party for a 9 mile hike.

We left Llangollen by crossing the bridge over the River Dee and climbed up the popular path towards Castell Dinas Bran.

03. Castel Dinas Bran

The remains that we see today are from the castle built by Gruffydd 11 Madoc in the 1260’s. Once completed it only lasted for 20 years before being surrendered to the Earl of Lincoln in 1277 on behalf of the English Crown.

On a good day the views from the top are magnificent and include the Berwyn Mountains. Eglwyseg Cliffs and the Dee valley.

08 Castel Dinas Bran

Leaving the ruins we descended to join the Offa’s Dyke path through Trevor woods to reach the Llangollen branch of the Shropshire Union canal close to the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

The Pontcysyllte ( Pon-kuss-uth-tligh ) Aqueduct was designed by Thomas Telford and William Jessop and opened in 1805. It carries the Llangollen branch of the Shropshire Union canal over the River Dee. It’s height is 127 ft and it is over 1000 ft in length. The canal is enclosed in an 11ft wide cast iron trough.

I have stitched four images together to give an almost 180 degree view.

30. View from the Aquaduct

The return leg of our walk back to Llangollen was along the towpath of the canal. It was easy walking and there were some beautiful reflections of the autumn colours in the canal.

Back in Llangollen we crossed the bridge over the raging waters of the River Dee and were looking forward to a refreshing pint.

We went to the Old Corn Mill where they have good range of real ale. However today must have been an off day as some of the beer was more murky than the river.


Posted in Sunday Walks | Leave a comment

Crosby Rambling Club

The club now has its own official website.

This has details of all the club events and activities, plus a Flickr account with images from the walks.

I will keep this site active to record some of the walks.



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Clapham, the ‘A’ party

Roger Tolley led the ‘A ‘party and he has sent in this report and some images.

This was the first visit of the club to Clapham and for me a chance to lead a walk around one of the best areas of the Yorkshire Dales, which I particularly enjoy.

After a brief delay in the car park the ‘A’ party set off to explore the geologically rich area, to visit spectacular limestone pavements, cliffs and some unique boulder formations.

‘Striding Dales’ is one term associated with this landscape and we were quickly setting a good pace along Thwaite Lane, one of the many green lanes criss-crossing the area, heading for the hamlet of Wharfe,affording views to Attamire Scar above Settle and even Pendle Hill in the distance.


Weather forecast was well mixed, showers, wind, sun and we had the lot, but we were rewarded with numerous rainbows.

Rainbow over Crummockdale

The streams and the local river were in full spate though the ground was not too boggy due to the hard limestone. Heading into the Crummackdale valley with opening views to a rather moody Ingleborough, its top mostly shrouded in ominous cloud. Our route was clear as we approached the cliffs of the spectacular Moughton Scar. Once on top of the scar more superb views opened up with Pen-y-Ghent looking quite commanding and the full massive scale of the limestone pavements quite apparent.

Pen-y-Ghent from Moughton Scar

Walking along the top of the edge of Moughton Scar cliffs making our way to a fanciful named Thieves Moss another raking shower blew in making the limestone perhaps a bit slippery. Ferns were happily growing in between the limestone rocks.

Our lunch stop found thankfully a sheltered wall and high vantage point to admire the scenery and watch the ‘B’ party wander into the depths of Thieves Moss.

Moughton Scar

Now walking into the wind making our way to the Norber Erratic’s, boulders, well Silurian rocks alien to the landscape after being dragged along by glaciers during the ice age and dumped in a few fields above Wharfe. Some were perched precariously on top of limestone rocks.

Partially retracing our outward route we headed back to Clapham and the warm greeting of the local bunkhouse and its bar. An 11 mile brisk walk taking just 5 hours, certainly not a day to linger too long, but it was rewarded with superb views of the surrounding landscape.


Additional images of the Norber Erratics by Alan

Posted in Sunday Walks, Yorkshire | Leave a comment

Clapham and the Norber Erratics

I was out with Crosby Rambling Club and joined the ‘B’ party on the walk led by David Lewis.

The weather forecast said “Changeable” and it certainly was. We had wind, rain, hail and the occasional sunny spell resulting in rainbows. It produced some dramatic lighting.

We headed northwards above Clapham Beck, passing opposite Ingleborough Cave and Trow Gill.

The first shower swept in producing a lovely rainbow. In the distance Ingleborough stood out on the skyline looking quite menacing with cloud hanging over the top.

We crossed the limestone bluff of Long Scar to reach Suber Gate at the head of Crummack Dale where we stopped for lunch sheltering behind the wall. In the distance we could see the ‘A ‘party making their way over Moughton Scar.

Moughton Scar

Panoramic view of Moughton Scar.

The rain had stopped and we could appreciate the views of the scar and learn a little bit about geology.

We descended carefully to  Moughton Scar and made our way across the limestone pavement of Thieves Moss towards Beggar’s stile.

It was then easy walking down Crummack Dale before we turned west to cross below Robin Proctor Scar. A short detour led us to the Norber Erratics.

These large boulders cover the hillside above Nappa Scar. They are composed of dark grey Silurian gritstone and stand out in sharp contrast to the native white limestone bedrock. They originated at a lower level in Crummack Dale where the Silurian rock bed breaches the surface, and were transported to their present position by a glacier during the last ice age. When the ice retreated they were left on the limestone bed. Since then some of the limestone bed has been dissolved so that some of the boulders now stand on short pedestals. It has been calculated that the limestone has dissolved at a rate of 5 cm per 1000 years so by measuring the height of the pedestals you can calculate how long they have been there. Give a year or two.

The Norber Erratic's

Finally we joined Thwaite Lane, a walled green lane that took us back to Clapham.

Here we joined some of the ‘A’ party in the bunkhouse next to the car park. A bar, a wood burning stove and a choice of three real ales. This was the place to be. The Hobgoblin, brewed by Wychwood Brewery and the unofficial beer of Halloween was superb.

9 miles of good walking.


Posted in Sunday Walks, Yorkshire | Leave a comment