Three years ago Christine and me set off to walk along and up to the summit of Longridge Fell. Being unfamiliar with the locality we relied on our sat-nav system which duly went a bit crazy, sent us to a few different none-parking spots and we ultimately gave up and went to Barley instead in order to walk Pendle Hill. In 2011 pretty much the same thing happened but this time with a different sat-nav…once again we ended up doing Pendle Hill from Barley – via Boar Clough this time.
Last month I joined a walk via the walking forum over Great Hill and for a great deal of time the most visible hill was…Longridge Fell. This almost bordered on frustrating! I decided to plan yet another attempt at Longridge Fell for August. Yesterday (Sun 12/8/12) the walk finally happened…one of the deciding factors that made the walk so enjoyable was the relief of finally getting in the right parking zone…Christine and I went on Saturday to make sure that we could get the co-ordinates of the car park saved onto yet another sat-nav.
Forgive that verbal rambling and now back to the physical one. Six walkers from the Walking Forum: Kevin & Lesley, Lynne, Sue, Karl and myself left the car park at the Old Clitheroe Road at Longridge and headed east along the road for no more than an hundred yards before turning north and taking the track into the forest. Progress was swift as we headed into the gloom then out onto the exposed fell that was now slightly more exposed owing to a recent bout of Ramorum decimating the Larch tree population which once cloaked a substantial section of the fell.
Back into the gloom once more but only for a few hundred yards and then we caught sight of the beginnings of the Heather section that is draped across the northern section of the fell. We traversed an easy stone wall style and were presented with the sort of view that has jaws dropping. The views across to the Bleasedale Fells (Parlick and Fair Snape etc) were only marred by the day’s hazyness…on a clear day it would be safe to say that we would have spent the better side of an hour gawping across the valley. As it was we spent about fifteen minutes and then carried on towards what had been my primary objective…the trig point!
It was at this point that my trusty old Kodak Digital stopped being to trusty so from here on in I was reduced to using the camera on my not-so-smart-phone! After a lengthy stay at the trig point we headed east by the side of the great wall of Longridge – honestly the wall seemed to extend for literally miles. At the end of the path (yes the wall did indeed change directions!) we took a southerly turn and gently dropped a hundred feet or so. When our path ran into a main forestry track we were left with a triple dilemma (I’m sure that’s not how to spell the word!) of which way to proceed next. Thankfully enough Longridge’s Tourist information officer appeared from out of nowhere and advised us on a nice route to take through Kemple End and on past Stonyhurst College.
The afternoon was now turning out to be really quite beautiful and more than once the notion of returning to our fantastic viewpoint did race through my mind (Aw never mind, I’ll just have to come back!). At Kemple End we took a south easterly swing towards Over Hacking and very nearly were doing just that (hacking) as we attempted to traverse a path that was a desert of manure (Jack Keighley in his book describes this spectacle as a sea of manure when the road is wet!). Luckily enough the mierda didn’t last for very long and within ten minutes we were sat on a grass bank near Throstle Nest enjoying our lunches with a distant view of Pendle Hill to keep us entertained.
The sun temporarily leaving us stirred us into action and we headed off towards the road which would take us past the immeasurably picturesque Stonyhurst College. My photographs do not do the building any justice at all – but then after a Google search I am convinced that nobody else has managed to capture the building in a way that highlights its’ exalted beauty and charm. We spent a few moments watching the resident ducks and geese battle among themselves then headed off up the very formal driveway turned left (it started to rain lightly) and made our way to our drinks stop at the Bayley Arms in Hurst Green.
By the time we had taken a well earned break and had a shandy, the sun had put in another appearance and would stay with us all the way back uphill to our cars! We took the path from the main road and towards Mill Wood, Hill Farm and Greengore – a 15th century listed building that royalty once stayed at whilst hunting deer in the nearby…Deer House Wood! We passed a log repository – I’m sure that there must have been thousands of the things and got lovely distant views of an unnamed reservoir adjacent to Stocks Bridge. Finally, we hit the Old Clitheroe Road and made our way slightly uphill to our waiting cars that were by now stiflingly hot!
Having left the car park at roughly 10:15 we returned at 15:45 (or thereabouts) having walked roughly eight miles over varied terrain and having climbed and dropped about 715 feet…but don’t quote me on that!
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