New Beginnings

Alf and Neil with prizes Approaching the Pike Break at Liverpool Castle Fairies at the Pike Leaving the Hill Near the Mast On Winter Hill Outside Bob's Smithy Presentation Time Start at Rivi Barn
2010 CHRISTMAS CRACKER! Bank Holiday Monday January 3rd 2011.

63 people and numerous dogs. 16 miles. Ldr : Norman Thomas

At last Norman has managed to break through that “fifty” barrier!! The last two Crackers have seen him agonisingly close with 49 turning out. It has to be assessed on how many people set out from the Top Barn at 9.00am, so people coming late or joining late don’t count. Today he did it – 63 people. Is that a record for any East Lancs walk? We didn’t just break the record – we smashed it!

How Mother Nature smiled on us today with perfect winter walking conditions, perhaps as consolation for the enforced cancellation on the original date of December 19th due to the snow and ice. There can be no doubt now that the decision to postpone was correct.

Yet again Norman managed to come up with a new route that was as interesting and testing for old members as much as new. His quiz at the TV masts stop was a hoot and if some of the ladies turn out in the gear they won today the summer walks are going to be a treat! Then it was off down to Bob’s Smithy for lunch and what a spread Lorraine and staff put on for us. As a veggie I can vouch for the jacket potato, baked beans and salad and everyone raved about the meat and potato pie; all topped off with mince pies, cake and splendid ale. Good luck with the operation Lorraine and thanks again! She should be made an Honorary Club Member! Special thanks also to Betty, Edith and Lillian who worked tirelessly to serve all the food.

Whilst in the pub a collection was made for a local charity called Daytrippers. This is a parent and carer led charity for children with disabilities and their families. Money raised provides days out and activities. The magnificent sum of £113 was collected and the charity committee wishes to thank East Lancs for their support.

Before our departure our gracious hostess yet again selected the Best Christmas Costume Winners with Jake getting the nod for his hat and Hazel, Kath and Fred for their costumes. Norman also made two very special awards for outstanding contributions to the club with Alf Clarke’s “lifetime” of walking with the East Lancs recognised and Neil Smith receiving a trophy as the Best Walker of the Year!

No Cracker is complete without a stop off at Liverpool Castle on the way back to the cars, offering a little rest in the fading sunlight.

Just about the perfect day Norman! Well Done!

PS. Just because you have broken the 50 barrier doesn't mean you can retire!

Cuerden Wander. Weds Jan 5th. 16 walkers. 15 miles. Leader Hilary Scott

Hilary has created a problem for herself here. This walk was so good we are just going to have to ask her to lead more and more! What a start to January she gave us - a real treat.

After 63 people turned out on Norman’s Christmas Cracker just two days previously a question mark lingered over how many would be able to make this walk. It wasn’t a problem as we had sixteen souls up and eager to go. This total included John Crook and Jackie from the West Lancs, Mike and Heather who joined the East Lancs earlier in 2010 and new “signings” Chorley John and Withington Ruth.

Off we went along the River Lostock through the quite splendid Cuerden Valley Park emerging as rather a surprise to us all on the A6 at Whittle-le-Woods. Here we joined the Leeds/Liverpool Canal prompting reminiscences from us “old timers” of the Thirlmere Way when we came upon one of the wrought iron gates. We had a laugh with some hardy and determined anglers who had broken holes in the canal ice in order to pursue their passion. After pointing out that they looked like Eskimos they responded that they were “not Inuits but idiots!”.

Our morning stop was at Top Lock, Wheelton and we kept to the tow path passing the old paper mill at Withnell Fold. We continued to Riley Green where we picked up the Witton Weaver’s Way up the River Darwen to Hoghton Bottoms. With the history of “Arise Sir Loyne” being recounted we headed round Hoghton Towers and had lunch at the quite touching Memorial Garden on the A6061 at the bottom of the driveway up to the Towers with views out across the Lancashire Plain to Southport.

Hilary wasn’t going to let us lazy souls rest on our laurels for too long and off we went again at her “cracking” pace through Clayton Brook and into Cuerden Valley Park with the last little surprise of an excellent walk being the trek round the half-frozen lake. Well Done Hilary!
Along the canal Hardy Anglers Hoghton Bottoms Hoghton Tower In Cuerden Valley Looking at Cuerden lake Morning Break at Toplock Under the Motorway Walking down Cuerden valley