Strenuous September?



DALESWAY PART 4 - Sedbergh to Bowness.
25 miles on Sunday 1st September 2013. Leader Geoff Halliwell.
After picking up two latecomers in Kendal, nineteen of us arrived at Sedbergh to start the final 25 miles of the Dalesway. The weather was good, remaining dry and breezy all day.
We started out from Sedbergh along the river Rawthey, before turning north into the upper Lune valley, where we were rewarded with fine views of the Howgills, as well as the spectacular disused railway bridges of the old Ingleton railway line.
From there, we crossed both the M6 and the west coast main rail line before heading towards Kendal. This section has been described as `all stiles and gates` and it is difficult to disagree. But the scenery ahead, towards the high lakeland mountains, and behind to the pennines was picturesque.
We then followed the river Kent, passing the small villages of Burneside and Staveley, before crossing the busy A591. This then took us over typical lakeland scenery, through high pastures and rocky outcrops, before descending into Bowness to finish at the specially erected sign congratulating all Dalesway walkers.
Final goodbyes were said and pictures were taken overlooking Windermere, before a few of us adjourned to the nearby Royal Oak for a well earned pint.
Many thanks to everybody who took part, helping to make this series of walks a huge success.
Geoff Halliwell.
Please click on the link below for pictures kindly taken by Howard.
See above for Geoff's pictures.

Breath of Fresh Air – In Reverse                                                     Wed 4th Sept 2013

19 persons and 1 dog                                       16.2 miles                     Ldr : Norman Thomas


Norman’s 74th Birthday Walk


It’s often said that if you do one of your familiar favourite treks the opposite way round it is a completely different walk. Never was that more accurate than on this special occasion for Norman ’s 74th birthday bash. Perhaps rather than Breath of Fresh Air In Reverse we should have called it an Intake of Fresh Air! What a beautiful day it was glorious sunshine from start to finish and great company.


The last time we had been at Conder Green the toilet block had just been vandalised, both Ladies and Gents, seemingly, so we thought, beyond repair. Well Thank Goodness Lancashire Countryside Service felt differently and the much needed and used conveniences are back in full working order. The praise doesn’t stop there for our Country’s custodians. We had received a report a month prior to the walk of seriously overgrown hedgerows blocking a footpath near Ellel Hall. This had been reported and on the day of the walk had been completely cleared. We hear this was down to our old friend Steve Edwards of the Countryside Service. Well done Steve – the pathway was a credit to your efforts.


Norman had decided on the 15 mile route for the day but strangely the two GPS operators reported when we finished that we had covered just over 16 miles! Inexplicable. Bathed in sunshine off we went down the disused railway track towards Lancaster . It seems an anomaly to call it “disused” as it is now a favourite route for dogwalkers, cyclists, horse riders and ordinary walkers and strollers. It certainly gets a lot of use. Crossing to the Lancaster Canal at Aldcliffe we came back to Galgate over to Cockerham and headed for the coast. The Black Knights Parachute Club was in full swing and what a display they put on for us. The excellent café was open and we were all able to quench our thirst and appetites. Sitting outside in the sunshine we decided the restart of the walk could wait a few minutes as the fully laden plane had just taken off. It was little more than a black speck in the stratosphere was those hardy lads and lasses leapt out of the fuselage and plummeted towards earth. What a fantastic display they put on for us – it was breathtaking. These were apparently some of the club’s more experienced skydivers and it was awesome to behold. They all, to a man, circled down to earth and seemed to land on a sixpence, exactly where they had planned.


The finish around Cockerham Sands, the ruined abbey, Plover Sands lighthouse and through Glasson Dock was a delight, the views across to The Lakes and Sunderland Point were inspiring.


All that remained was to wish the old man many happy returns and for the debutant Breath of Fresh Air walkers to sign the register and enjoy a pint in the beer garden of the Stork Inn.


Thanks for a great day Norman and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!




The Birthday BoyThe lengths some people will go to to avoid a walk with East LancsAny idea what this is??John enjoys a stroll by the canal

Thank you to Gordon for the photos.


Fair Trade Way Stage 1 – Garstang to Lancaster.                             Sunday Sept 22nd 2013

24 persons and three dogs                    16 ½ miles                                Ldr : John Bullen



Nine am and our group was assembled at Rylands Park Lancaster, all champing at the bit and ready for the off when out of the early morning swirling mist rode LES DOS PEDROS – the Two Pedros – or rather Peters, the Latino derivation is,  by coincidence, the nicknames given to each! New member Pete Stecks from Rochdale , who turned out to be a real star, hitched a lift with our very own Pedro, Peter Balshaw. Also joining us on this very enjoyable day out was Horwich’s comedy equivalent of the Little and Large duo, Mark Davies and Norman!


The following paragraph is taken from the Website, www.fairtrade, :-

“The Fair Trade Way is a long-distance heritage trail on the three related local themes of fair trade, the British Atlantic slave trade and the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). The 6-day walk links Fairtrade Towns between Garstang (The World’s first Fairtrade Town ) and Keswick. It was created to promote the positive impact that using Fairtrade products can have on the lives of people who suffer whilst they produce the resources that we in the more wealthy countries consume in our everyday lives.”

From our point of view this trail is six individual 15 or 16 mile walks which together will make up the Fair Trade Way . Over the coming months we will be going from Garstang to Lancaster to Arnside to Kendal to Bowness to Grasmere to Keswick. The originators are currently planning a seventh link from Preston to Garstang which we will include at some future date.


The “official” route from Garstang to Lancaster is virtually the northern section of our very own “Breath of Fresh Air” route so after consultation with the inspiration behind the whole concept, Bruce Crowther (available most days for enthralling chats in the Fig Tree Café, Garstang) I came up with an alternative. I wanted to take in the splendid Ashton Memorial (the large green St Pauls-like dome that you pass on the left when heading north on the M6) and the Wyre Lakes . This virtually dictated a route.


We followed the Wyre Way across the M6 with the river impressive and forbidding after the rain of recent days. Passing the delightful Ghyll Wood and Wyresdale Park we climbed Snowhill Lane , Scorton where I was able to reveal the first hidden surprise of this walk, The Apple Store café. What a wonderful place and so busy this Sunday morning with cyclists and walkers. After a quick cup of tea or coffee, some had a scone, and a much needed loo stop we were on our way up to the Wyre Lakes, on to Dolphinholme and across the tops (magnificent views on a clear day which ours wasn’t but we could see Blackpool Tower) towards the M6 again and Lancaster.


Here was the second treat of the walk the Ashton Memorial in Williamson Park . Everyone drives right past it on the motorway but we can now vouch how worthy it is of a stop and visit. It was a beautiful afternoon, just perfect for sitting on the terrace outside the café dwarfed by the magnificence of Lord Ashton’s folly, the Memorial, marveling at the superb views of Morecambe Bay and the Lakeland mountains,  supping tea and partaking of a chocolate cake which is worth a visit in its own right!


I almost needed a shotgun here to make people get up and get moving again but soon we were on our way down into the City of Lancaster , across the Millennium Bridge over the River Lune and back to our cars at Rylands Park . Sixteen miles it was advertised at and 16 and a half miles we did – that’s a first for one of my walks!


A quick “thank you” before I finish to Matthew and the people at Kirby Lonsdale Coaches – they are transporting us on each section of this walk and what a fantastic job they are doing for us!







Thank you to John and Peter for the photos.




Wednesday September 25th 2013. Abbeystead Revisited.


14.5 miles from Dolphinholme. Leaders: Norman Thomas and Chris Langabeer. 23 walkers and 1 dog.




Do you think “we decided not to go that way” might be a euphemism for “we are now lost and don’t have a clue where we are”? We began to think so as the afternoon wore on. Certainly the famous Norman Thomas compass (the one that goes “eeny, meeny, miney, mo”) was heard to be used more than once. Also you don’t normally expect your walk leader when asked “isn’t that Dolphinholme over there?” to reply “is it?”


Anyway as darkness fell we got back to our cars and Chris and Norman were heard to utter “phew”!!!!!




Only joking of course; this was a thoroughly enjoyable day out as usual, a great walk in great company and what a turn out! Twenty three people for a Wednesday walk. We took a pound off everyone, freely given, as a collection for the church where we parked our cars. Some members of the congregation were there clearing up after what looked like a harvest festival and they were delighted with the donation.




This walk was the inner section of the Wyre Way, tracing the source of the river up into the Trough of Bowland where it bubbles out of the moorland to form a trickle then a brook, then a stream and ultimately the River Wyre which flows into the Irish Sea at Fleetwood and Knott End.  




We had a few moments of reflection at the Abbeystead Memorial. This remembers an event which occurred on the evening of 23 May 1984 when a methane gas explosion destroyed a waterworks' valve house. Forty four visitors were inside the underground building at the time attending a public presentation by North West Water Authority to demonstrate the station and tunnels constructed to alleviate flooding in their home village of St Michaels near Garstang. Eight people were killed instantly by the explosion and virtually all the others were severely injured. The explosion also caused the concrete roof to fall down on to the group, destroying the steel mesh floor and throwing some of the victims into the water chambers below which rapidly filled with river water. Another eight people subsequently died of their injuries in hospital. Such a terrible tragedy on what was intended to be a great day. The cause of ignition has never been determined.




We also passed the Duke of Westminster’s breathtaking northern residence, countless pheasant and grouse pursuing our progress all the way. The Trough of Bowland is a magical place, given an eerie edge on this early autumn day by the lingering mist which never left us.




Well done Norman and Chris. This was a walk to be remembered.  




John Bullen



Thanks to Terry for the pics.