Sunday 16th Feb 2015 – A Stroll Around Waddington, Lancashire

After the previous walks exertions I decided to plan something a little less tiring on the uphill stretches, or at least to study the map profile a bit more intently to avoid anything that showed an incline of 45 degrees. We are quite fortunate where we live in that we have a lot of Pennine moorland surrounding us and within an hours easy drive there are four National Parks, plus other Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty so we are a little spoiled for choice. Please don’t misinterpret this as a complaint, as it isn’t, but it does give scope for a lot of variety and for a sharper focus on less popular areas that would otherwise be overlooked. This weekend we thought about those less popular areas and decided to have a mooch around Waddington, a very nice small Lancashire village that is a regular winner of Lancashire Best Kept Village award. Admittedly, a visit in winter really wouldn’t do it justice though. We are familiar with Waddington, and have driven through it several times previously, although we have never parked the car and had a wander of the streets nor had a look at the three pubs that are in easy walking distance of each other around the village centre.
Distance: 8.4 mi
Ascent: 873ft
Sandwiches: Home cured ham with spicy home made piccalilli on home made wholemeal bread
Soup: Home made vegetable with chicken (with added garlic & chilli)
Elevation Profile
Route Map
3D view of route
The walk I planned would take about 2 1/2 hours (in theory!) so we got there about 2pm in order to finish the walk as it was going dark, and to enjoy the delights of a local pub, roaring fire and smell of woodsmoke lingering in the evening air. Additionally, by early evening the more popular pubs have returned to being a pub instead of resembling an out of control crèche; hence the late start. We found a small, free public car park next to a recreation ground on the outskirts of the village and parked there. After a change of footwear, sorting the rucksack, pocketing the map and a handful of sweets for sustenance, off we went.
 We walked from the car park on Twitter Lane, yes, it really is called that… and headed towards the village centre.
How many people have Tweeted this road sign – I did.
We walked past the Lower Buck pub and turned left passing the rear of the pub along Belle Vue Lane. This in turn became a muddy farm track, and an extremely muddy one at that. It was a good test of the Gore-Tex liners in my Berghaus boots as the water on the ground was very nearly lapping up past the tongue of my boots. We continued along this farm track in the hope we would get to firmer ground, alas it was not to be. Not unexpected really considering the rain we have had of late. We progressed past a field barn, and over a couple of swollen streams, one of which had a substantial stone bridge built over it, and indication that the track we were walking along must have had a greater importance in the past than it does now, and we headed up to Lower New House Farm.
Field barn outside Waddington
As we approached Lower New House Farm, we passed a building site where someone had been fortunate enough to get planning permission to build a new house where which was clearly work in progress. The view from the front windows was superb – lucky buggers! We passed the building site and approached the farm. The farmer was outside loading a waggon and after saying a cheery ‘hello’ we ended up in conversation for about 10 minutes. He was a very chatty chap and the topics of our brief conversation were the weather, where we were from, where we were going, his new neighbours, the price of pigs and the implications for the rationalisation of the European Common Agricultural Policy – I jest about one of those topics and will leave it to the reader to decide which one.
Pendle Hill from Lower New House Farm
We passed through the cobbled farm yard and between the old stone buildings and farmhouse with the thought that the old cobbled yard must have seen the passage of hundreds of feet over the years. We went through the gate at the end of the farm yard and out into pasture. After a short distance, we took an abrupt right turn and climbed over a stile into an overgrown lane, which was in the process of being eroded by the substantial stream running down its centre. This lane did prove to be difficult going and the rucksack was continually getting snagged in the over hanging bushes and holly – one particular branch nearly had my eye out. We slowly ascended the lane to Ridge Page Fold and as we got closer a distant pack of dogs heard us and went into a frenzy. As we reluctantly approached the house we could see them running around the garden and heading towards the path we were walking along. The pack comprised a large Alsatian, two Red Setters and a Labrador. Fortunately there was a wire fence separating us from the four drooling, foaming and barking beasts. If they were to leap the fence then the turn of speed I could muster would certainly give Usain Bolt something to think about. We passed through a series of substantial, tall timber pedestrian gates, thoughtfully signposted by the householder, along the footpath and passed out of sight and away from death by canine mauling. Maybe the tall timber gates were there to provide protection should the dogs actually escape – just a thought. As we passed by we saw a good showing of Snowdrops enjoying the sunshine, and a positive sign that Spring is slowly on its way.
Spring is coming!
We enjoyed the tarmac surface of the lane we were no striding along and made good progress as it was level and dry. We approached a junction with Cross Lane and went past Braddup House and got through a timber five bar gate onto a bridlepath known as Whinny Lane. I must say ‘Lane’ is really a misnomer, I think ‘woodland’ would have been a more apt description. You could see the remnants of what would have been a lane at one point, but this was now overgrown with young trees. The ground underfoot was terrible and I went ankle deep at one point and very nearly lost my boot. This part of the walk was a struggle and was twice as hard as it should have been. We eventually staggered out of the woodland and the bridlepath we were following took a route alongside another wooded plantation. We continued ascending across some fields that were very wet underfoot, and the thought came to mind that there are probably paddy fields somewhere with less water than this.
The aftermath of Whinny Lane
We continued ascending the bridlepath passing Buckstall Farm and this time on firmer ground. We spied a tumbledown drystone wall which would make a great stop for our late lunch and subsequently found a suitable seat among the tumble-down stones and broke open the comestibles. I poured some piping hot soup and enjoyed the sun, the view and the food.
Lunchtime view – Buckstall Farm with Pendle Hill on the horizon
Lunchtime view – Buckstall Farm to the right and Whinny Lane beyond the clump of trees
The sun was quite warm on our faces and we could have sat there for quite some time enjoying the glow. The only sound was from the occasional car going up the road over Waddington Fell. The sandwiches we were tucking into had quite some heat from the chilli in the piccalilli and were quickly eaten. The soup was wonderful and the added garlic was obvious when the cap was unscrewed from the flask, whereas the added chilli struggled to compete with that in the piccalilli on the sarnies. We rested for around 20 minutes and then reluctantly re-packed the rucksack. I hoisted it onto my back and we continued the climb upwards to Browsholme Road. It seemed a rather grand name for what was a rarely used tarmac track, however from reading the map, it did lead westwards to Browsholme Hall although appeared to be no more than a footpath now it would have been a well used track. As we arrived at the road we turned right towards the Slaidburn Road (B6478) and picked up the pace a bit as the going was now good. It felt great to make progress again and to stride out a bit too. We soon arrived at Slaidburn Road and took a right turn to head down towards Waddington. We descended for about 5 minutes and then took a left turn along Mill Lane to head towards Mill Farm.

We passed through Mill Farm, and then the adjacent Cuttock Clough Farm, both of which bear very little relationship to farming now. The farms and outbuildings have been converted to very smart private residences over the past few years and now form a small hamlet. We strolled along the track that divided the scattered buildings and left behind Cuttock Clough Farm with its converted barns, obvious wealth and white Range Rover Evoques and continued to progress along the well surfaced lane to Seedalls Farm. At Seedalls we came across a remnant of the recent past that was a complete contrast to the earlier Mill Farm buildings.

A timber chalet style bungalow

The timber chalet style bungalow we saw was of a style reminiscent of many built in the 1920’s and 1930’s. The bungalow was clearly still inhabited and somebody must still be living there. It is surprising to see it standing as many buildings of this type have been enlarged, converted and rebuilt in more substantial materials over the past 40 or so years. We stopped and admired it for a few minutes before moving on.

We depated Seedalls Farm and approached the top of Moor Lane. We crossed diagonally through an open field to descend through woodland until we got to some stepping stones over Porters Brook. We just managed to cross these without incident – just! The steep climb out of this wooded valley certainly took our breath away, although that may have been the mud causing us to take one step forward and two back. We got back onto level ground and rapidly approached Bucks farm, as we passed the farm buildings the animals in the collection of outbuildings became quite curious and two sheep in an stone outbuilding were the most curious of the lot.

Curious Sheep…

As we passed through Bucks farm we started on a well surfaced farm access track which we took a great delight in walking along.

As we approached the tarmac road my better half was having trouble with blisters forming. We stopped for a moment, had a look at the map and a brief discussion ensued, and we decided, in view of the blisters that it would be best to take the tarmac road straight down into West Bradford. The light was fading fast too, so the prospect of walking through woodland and crossing West Clough Brook twice in the dark didn’t fill us with joy.. the tarmac road shortcut beckoned and got the better of us!

We very quickly approached and passed through West Bradford and then headed across some more paddy fields before we came out infront of Waddington Primary School. It was now dark, so I didn’t take many pictures.  We picked up the roadside footpath from here and in no time at all we were back in the centre of Waddington. We did think of going into the Higher Buck pub for a pint, but it was sadly closed. After a bit of Googling, it appears that the hours of opening are variable in Winter.

Waddington village centre and stream dissecting the village to the left

We walked down through the village and thought better of heading into the Waddington Arms. Judging from the dress of the clientele entering and the candles in the windows, I suspect we wouldn’t have been welcomed with open arms, particularly as we were quite mud splattered and dishevelled. We passed by the Waddington Arms and made a mental note to visit again when better attired, and walked past St Helen’s Church and towards the Lower Buck. The weather was fine and we decided to sit outside on the timber tables and chairs. I went in and the brightness and warmth of the interior took me aback. The bar was packed, and I managed to “squeeze” my way through – well, I am over 6ft and weigh 19st so just created my own path through! To my delight I saw Timothy Taylors ‘Landlord’ on the hand pump, so it was a pint of that brew for me, whilst the other half plumped for the usual chilled lager. I made my way back through the crush, politely excusing myself, and headed back out through the double front doors. The pint of Landlord was a nice treat, and was on form too. We sat there outside in the silence with the smell of wood smoke permeating the air, the church bells chiming a quarter past six and slowly savouring the bitter beer.

Guess which pub?..
A wonderful brew!

We savoured the atmosphere of the village on a crisp, winter Sunday evening, lingered with our drinks and slowly made our way back to the public car park next to the recreation ground. On arriving at the car, the engine was started and the heater put onto full whilst we changed our footwear. I gladly took off the rucksack and put it onto the back seat and then took off and packed away my jacket and hat. We settled down into the front seats, and then set off on the journey home whilst finishing the mini Mars bars that had been carried around in the rucksack all day. Luxury!

2nd Feb 2014 – Buckden, Buckden Pike, Cray & Hubberholme

After last weekends disappointing weather and lack of exercise, we decided that we would go out this weekend no matter what. The weather the previous weekend was just continuous s rain and after looking g online at several webcams I came to the conclusion that it was just as easy to stay local and get wet as it was to drive and hour and a quarter and get wet. The end result after studying the weather and webcams was that it was difficult to escape the warmth of the log fire and drag ourselves into the rain and wind. All was not wasted though as I did manage to get the maps out and work out several walks in advance so I would always have a few ‘in hand’, and not have the problem of the previous week of staying local due to not sorting the next walk out during the week.

The walk was going to be in Wharfedale, and to start at Buckden, progress up Buckden Pike and then drop down to Cray. After Cray it was a steady stroll to Hubberholme and then back to the start.

Distance – 8.3 mi
Ascent – 1908 ft
Sandwiches – Roast beef & horseradish on home made wholemeal bread
Soup – Homemade chicken and vegetable

Elevation Profile

 

Route Map

 

3D Route Map


We parked at the “Dick Turpin” National Park car park, where we were relieved of £4 for the privilege of parking. As usual, when we got there the car park was very busy. We pulled our boots out of the rear of the car and changed into them. Hats, fleeces and jackets came on too. Finally, the rucksack was hoisted up onto my shoulders and we were away.

We went across the car park heading away from Buckden and after passing through a gate turned right ninety degrees and started going up hill. What did I say about trying to avoid this sort of thing after stepping from the car? The uphill wasn’t any distance really, and it got us to the edge of Buckden Beck to a ford and stepping stones across the Beck. The stepping stones were barely visible under the torrent of white foaming water that was rushing down the beck. It would be a bit foolhardy to try and cross here, the water would easily have gone over the boots and the force of the stream would have swept your feet away. What to do? No more than 500 yds into the walk and we had halted. We decided to walk upstream to see if it was possible to cross further up. After five minutes of walking uphill along the banks, we came across a large rock sticking up, and out of the rushing water. It looked ideal to stand on and launch oneself across the beck. I tossed the rucksack over, so we had no option now but to cross here – the car keys were in the bag! It was quite a leisurely leap across and actually far easier then the stepping stones lower down. We tracked around the base of the hill and got back onto the permissive path that climbed up above Eshber Wood. The path was actually an old cart track and clearly used by agricultural quad vehicles. It was good going at the start of this track although as we gained altitude the track went steeper and our breathing became more laboured.

Looking down to Buckden

We continued upwards braving the hailstorms and with the wind really cutting through you. The views up, down and across Wharfedale were terrific which was some compensation as there seemed to be no respite with this climb; it was just a constant slog upwards. We stopped several times to catch our breath as we pressed on, on and on. We started to see snow on the north facing sides of drystone walls. When the path gradually eased we decided that this would be a suitable time to have bite to eat.

Looking North up Langstrothdale
Lunch spot; a sheepfold above East Side

Feeling fortified by the sandwiches and hot, steaming chicken and vegetable soup we started back on the path. Whilst the gradient had eased and the walk was quite easy, the going underfoot was very muddy and slippery. We did notice that as we had now reached more snow, we were following in the tracks of two people, one with a walking pole and they accompanied by a dog. We had seen nobody so far on this walk. We remained on the muddy, wet track heading for Buckden Lead Mine and it was quite clear that the mine was close as the spoil heaps from the mining activity really stood out on in the landscape.

Spoil heaps from Buckden Lead Mine
Mine entrance and disused buildings
Entrance to Buckden Lead Mine

I didn’t know a mine existed here, although I am aware of lead mining above Swaledale. It must have been a hard existence to come up here in all weathers and start a day of physical toil hacking away at hard rock by the light of a candle. I was intrigued to find out more, and there is quite a lot of information about the mine, it’s history and the body which was found in there in 1964 by some students.

We passed over Buckden Beck (again) which appeared to run from the disused mine entrance and tumble very quickly down the steep ravine that leads to Buckden village. The climb away from the mine was very steep indeed and it felt like a punishment to start off again up such an incline. The climb again was relentless and the amount of snow surrounding us was also increasing with the height we gained. We saw the steep hill stretching out infront of us and it felt a bit dispiriting to look at. We just put our heads down and watched our footing as we slowly made progress up through the snow. After what seemed an age and with heart thumping and legs weary, the ground levelled out and we realised we were now at the summit. We looked to our left and the summit trig point was visible over a stone wall surrounded by ice and snow. Their was a stile to climb over and a small walk remaining to get to the ‘official’ top.

Buckden Pike, summit trig point
Summit cairn viewed from trig point

Their were paths made from old mill floor flagstones across the summit of Buckden Pike and these lead past the trig point and out to the stone cairn also on the summit. We made a point of going to the cairn and placing a small stone on the top of it before taking the path to descend down to Cray. The wind on the summit would be what you could call a ‘thin wind’ – so thin, it seems to go through you.

The path from the summit down towards Cray made for very good progress, it had been remade from gravel and had pitched stone steps. Our rapid progress downwards was occasionally interrupted by knee deep snow. We were now on the lee side of the hill and thus snow had settled into the sheltered parts of the hillside which we seemed to find quite easily on and off the path. Quick progress was made and we soon arrived at Buckden Rake which was a refreshing change in that it was very level and the going underfoot was quite good. Rapid progress was made until we arrived above Cray and then more downhill progress was required. We arrived at the ford over Cray Gill and the stepping stones across the Gill were easily seen. Our very muddy boots were rinsed in the Gill, a deep breath taken and we started gingerly over the stones.

Fellow walkers following us over to Cray

 

The White Lion Inn at Cray

After safely negotiating the stepping stones over the Gill, we thought it best to nip into the White Lion Inn for something to settle the nerves after the stepping stones. I opted for a pint of Copper Dragon Golden Pippin, a light refreshing blonde ale with a citrus hint. It was excellent. My better half went for a lager, however the cask lager was off. This was due to a coach party who were touring the pubs in the Dales coming in the previous day and emptying a full, new keg – all 88 pints! So bottled it was. We sat by the fire taking in the warmth from the logs and savouring the beer – I really could have sat there all day.

The fire in the White Lion Inn

Before long we had emptied our glasses and we decided to start making a move downhill towards Hubberholme. We dragged ourselves outside and decided to walk along the road to Hubberholme instead of the planned route above Todds Wood. Dusk was approaching and walking in the dark along a muddy path had lost its appeal. We started to walk down the road, after a short while we took a right turn down a narrow, but steep tarmac road. This took us over Stubbing Bridge and into Hubberholme passing via the beautiful 12th Century church of St Michael and All Angels.

St Michael and All Angels Church, Hubberholme
The George Inn viewed across the river Wharfe

As we approached The George Inn we came across a sign that indicated that the pub was open from 12:00 – 3:00 for sandwiches etc and then from 6:00pm – 10:00pm for meals. We actually misunderstood this sign and thought that outside of those times the pub was actually closed.  We felt disappointed, but did try the door and surprisingly it was open. We went in. The landlord, Ed, was sat infront of the fire and we asked of he was open. He replied in the affirmative and our spirits picked up considerably. We didn’t realise it was food serving times only on the board outside – doh! I ordered a pint of Yorkshire Dales “Le Tour de Yorkshire Dales” – a pale, citrus, refreshing bitter. This was followed up with a pint of Black Sheep which is a perennial favourite. My better half had lager – just standard, everyday Carlsberg/Stella/Carling/Fosters or whatever. The name changes but the taste is just the same.

We took a seat opposite the fire and ended up chatting to Ed and he gave us a brief history of the pub and also noted that he and his wife are new to the place and have been running it for about 9 months now. The famous candle was burning on the bar and the fire was well stoked too.

The lit candle on the bar of The George Inn
An inviting coal fire

As we were chatting some locals came in and joined in the conversation, and shortly after this the landlord and landlady of The White Lion in Cray came in too. We stayed and had the pub chilli with chips and rice, and very good it was too. Hot enough to be a ‘real’ chilli, but not ‘blow your socks off’ hot that makes your eyes water. It was great, full of flavour and much needed after a day in the hills. After we had finished eating we were introduced to George, the ‘new’ pub dog. George was an 8 week old Jack Russell who was too cute for his own good!

George, the pub dog, at 8 weeks old
The George Inn as we departed into the darkness

We lost track of time and before we knew it we had been sat in there for 3 hours drinking, talking and eating. We still had a mile to walk back to the car. We settled our bill and then made our goodbyes and went outside, not realising just how dark it was with the complete absence of any street lights. We started to make our way along the road heading back to Buckden and at first this was fine, but as the light from the pubs outdoor illumination faded we were walking in complete darkness. At one point we were feeling our way along the drystone walls in order to keep on the road. After ten minutes our eyes had started to adjust and we could make out larger features of the landscape, and using our peripheral vision, the dark track that was the road could be seen. As we continued along the road we dodged several large puddles where the road had flooded, and we were keeping a keen eye out for any vehicles because, as usual, we had dressed for the event by wearing black and there were no footpaths on this road. After around 20 minutes we had made our way back to the car park in Buckden without any incident.

As we got to the car, we opened it up, started the engine and turned the heater to full whilst we changed our footwear at the rear. It was great to get the rucksack, hat and gloves off and have a change of boots. After packing the gear into the car, and settling into the driving seat, we set off back home mulling over the day and agreeing to visit the George Inn again at some point in the near future.