Rivington, that is!
I have not walked far this year! Well in honesty I have actually walked a lot further this year than I have for the previous decades if you count walking to and from the bus stop, stop sniggering…it is over a mile a way so multiply this by two then by four and the mileage suddenly begins to add up…it’s well over three hundred miles since January the first. As for actual walks in the country then no, it’s a bit crap for someone that has their own ‘walking website’.
To begin a resurrection of my walking habit and given that I am scheduled to go up Great and Green Gables very shortly I thought it wise to begin to get in some practice. Thus, on Sunday morning after returning home from dropping Chris off at work I donned my new and much more comfortable walking trousers, gathered the rest of my stuff and set of to Rivington with the thought of ‘I will do the Pike and maybe Winter Hill’.
I arrived at the Lane up to the Barn at 10:23 having left home at 9:34 – less than an hour, good progress, would the return journey be so expedited? Time would tell. Although the lane which itself doubles up as a car park, was moderately occupied, it was not as busy as the same time of day on an average bank holiday so I was able to park more or less anywhere. Booted up, I set off up the lane with the intention of not going off up over the cobbles and via the sheep-filled paddock, I fancied a wander through the Japanese gardens instead. The aim of the walk was to just walk, to get back into a nice comfortable rhythm seeing as the last walk I had done was June’s triumph over Cross Fell and the Dun Fells. Before I was aware of it happening – I realised that in five minutes I had covered some distance and again after another fifteen minutes my mobile phone app – MapMyHike was telling me that I had walked a mile!
I have to admit that the paths I chose to take were easy to follow and even easier upon which to slip, within a few yards I had almost gone over at least three times. I advised the couple who were pretty much following me that the path I had taken was treacherously slippery and they appeared to take heed of this by taking the first available left turn up some steps – in all honestly this alternative looked even more hazardous so I kept on my path with added caution. Thankfully it was not very long before I came upon the sandstone track which would lead to the Japanese Gardens and lovely lake. I used the wooden hand-rail and then the metal fence to steady myself whilst traversing the corner of the path as the mud which was present could’ve felled an elephant!
A few moments and an handful of turns later I spied the entrance to the Japanese Gardens – nothing actually marks the entrance, it’s just obvious that this path goes somewhere. I had intended having a few moments to myself whilst sat on the bench akin the lake but as luck would have it there was already a pair of gentlemen deeply involved in conversation and further along the path that skirts the lake a few people with a couple of dogs, who took one look at the lake and made a beeline for it, the dogs however, stayed put…only joking.
Having arrived at the realisation I was not going to get to sit down on the bench I began walking once more…now I sought out the steps which would facilitate progress to Belmont Road-the track not the bloomin’ great big A-Road a few miles north and east of here. This was the second ‘pull’ of the day as the steps do accelerate progress but because they are essentially tiny in height one finds oneself taking two or three at a time, this soon starts to tell on the hamstrings! At the head of the flight of steps was…another set which would lead me to the track around the back of the now defunct toilets. Lord alone knows why this hideous carbuncle is not simply torn down! The toilets have been out of service for all the time that I can remember, the building is not known for its’ beauty and in essence it serves no function and adds a certain ugliness to the immediate locale.
Belmont Road is the wide sometimes stone, sometimes tarmac track which leads from the end of Georges Lane at its’ eastern edge to Rivington Road at the western edge of Rivington Moor where it joins Hall Lane. Though not a road upon which one would like to take their pride and joy – your car its’ suspension would not thank you, it is heavily used by walkers. In this locale there are a lot of paths and a lot of routes and most of these seem at one point or another to touch this sandstone thoroughfare. By and large one can generally spy multiple groups all seeming to merge on this track – mostly heading to or from Rivington Pike. Strangely, there wasn’t many people at this part of the walk…at least not at the time when I was taking photographs – I will vehemently deny that I was having a rest! It was also odd that for once I didn’t take any photographs of the Pike itself – which was kind of the reason for going there! A number of years ago I set myself an on-going personal challenge in that every time that I walk up to the summit of the Pike from the toilet block to the summit via the steps, I am not allowed to take a break or stop in any way – even if I am shattered, to give way for someone else, a sneezing fit etc…I have to go on. This is sometimes hard to keep to and today was one of those days, technically at one point I must have slowed down to one step per second. Eventually however, I made it to the summit and was joyous to see that two benches have now been assembled, and dismayed to see that the two benches were occupied. I slowly dropped to the ground and had a Peperami!
As I had stated previously, I had half a mind to attempt Winter Hill and my ears did prick up when I heard the bunch of twenty-something-year-old people who were all over the benches, discussing their plan to go onto do Winter Hill. One of them, a girl said she was struggling to remember which way she last walked to the hill but pointed out towards the western approach – the huge black track which is visible in all but the thickest of fog! Although a part of me wanted to tell them that it was much easier to go via Two Lads and the road, and another part wanted to stay here and watch them sink up to their knees … discretion ruled and I opted to not watch or follow. The sun had been out for most of the walk but the clouds were now beginning to gather and I had no inclination to get drenched today.
My route of gradual ascent had been nothing if not winding, for the descent I had already opted for a more direct, drier route. That left just the one option, straight down Belmont Road all the way to Hall Lane and then turning left via the usually sheep-filled paddock.
This had been a great little return to walking in the countryside…albeit not the most remote location but as a social walker it is one of my favourites…we all know the number one favourite…but as of today this is now my most ascended summit. The next time that I am in these parts with a view to walking I shall do Winter Hill and Two Lads (Crooked Edge Hill) along with the Pike, but for now thank you Rivvy, you never fail to be a thoroughly satisfying walk!
More Pics from the day