Leader: Vanessa Miller
Reporter: Helen Richardson
It’s unusual in England for an activity to be postponed due to a forecast of extreme heat, but that’s what happened to the club’s late summer stroll, scheduled for Sunday, 14th August, with a forecast for Bury of around 30 degrees. By mutual agreement, it was postponed to the following weekend, when a more ‘normal’ English summer temperature was forecast. And, so it was, that eight of us, with canine friends Jim, Freddy and Fossie, met in the car park of ‘The Red Lion’ at Hawkshaw on Saturday, 20th August. As we exchanged greetings and donned our boots, it was overcast, breezy and warm, but pleasantly cooler than many recent days.
We set off clockwise, on a good track, heading northward and gently uphill. After a short stretch of woodland, and just past Top of Quarlton, we enjoyed great views, including the Queen Victoria Jubilee Tower on Darwen Hill and the transmission mast on Winter Hill to the west. Keeping great views as we tracked across high fields, Steve almost disowned Jim for liberally rubbing his back and harness in the farmer’s muck freshly spread on the ground — what a pong! Approaching Edgworth, we noticed a tall chimney near a small reservoir towards Turton Bottom, — evidence of former industry in the area.
A short section of Witton Weavers Way, along the east side of Wayoh Reservoir, brought us to our refreshment stop, much enhanced by very tasty homemade cake that Chris Fildes passed around. “Thank you, Chris, — that was super!” From our vantage point above the reservoir, our view across the water was of the nearby viaduct that carries the railway between Blackburn and Bury.
Once on our way again, we headed past Entwistle station and uphill to follow a ridge above Broadhead Brook. The low water level in both reservoir and brook was a stark reminder (if any were needed) of how dry and hot this summer has been. By this time, the sun had come out, and it was very warm again!
Soon it was time for a lunchtime snack on the hill, — once again augmented by Steve’s generous supply of Eccles cakes — “Many thanks, Steve — delicious as always!” Whilst eating, to our surprise, a young boy, seemingly alone, astride a (motorised) mountain bike, appeared suddenly from the woodland just below our lunch spot! He stayed there patiently a couple of minutes - then, to our relief, an adult appeared; and they set off again past us and up the hill. It seemed rather surreal…
Dave then led us on a brief route diversion to see a public footpath going through an arch that is part of someone’s house! Crossing Broadhead Brook was next on our route. The OS map shows several footbridges crossing Broadhead Brook and its tributaries, but our leaders pointed out footpath closure signs and led us instead along a track to the main Broadhead Road, and ‘The Toby Inn’. This is not, as you might suppose, a carvery, but an Italian Restaurant, which our leaders know well, and had found to be a good eatery.
Turning south, we followed the road a short way, before climbing gradually to a high track skirting the fringes of Holcombe Moor. Along the way, we could see Holcombe’s Peel Tower, which had been a landmark along much of last year’s summer stroll. The going was easy, as we followed a mixture of tarmac and good tracks. A highlight of the walk was meeting the friendly horses.
Towards the end of the walk, the group split: some turned off to follow a pleasant (but tricky underfoot) stream valley back; others opted to continue on a quiet road, where, nevertheless, they met several cars and a tractor! The party regrouped further along, and soon reached Hawkshaw, where the Red Lion was the venue for an excellent lunch, with staff who are not only friendly, but also proved very amenable, by tweaking the menu to suit various individual tastes and preferences.