Looking towards Autumn

About to turn right Alongside the dyke Gathering at the canal Having fun Heading towards Rufford Leader John and Deputy James Looking at a big barge Outside the sanctuary
Canals and Canaries. Sunday August 29th. Introductory walk. 12 miles.

Leader : John Bullen

Deputy Leader : James Keating aged 9.

31 persons and one dog!

The latest in our club experiment of putting on a shorter Sunday walk to attract in new people proved to be a big success. Thirty one people turned up on the day and this included several new faces. Whether new to the club or more accustomed we all had a good time with a lovely little walk around Burscough. The plan for many of us was to meet at Westhoughton station and travel by railway. The train driver must have wondered what was going on as surely he hasn’t seen such a big party at Westhoughton station at 9.02am on a Sunday morning before! Arriving in Burscough Bridge we had half an hour to wait until the official start time of the walk and this was spent in a lovely little café round the corner, Infusions. We were glad to shelter from the worrying downpour but it cleared and the rest of the day was beautiful.

Bang on ten Corporal James had us up and ready to go with John merely there to read the map. Off we went down the Leeds/Liverpool canal and on to the Rufford Link with Sergeant James (promoted already) showing right from the off that he wasn’t for taking any prisoners. Rarely has one of our walks been led by such a commandant. He allowed us five minutes, not a second longer, at the Rufford Marina for morning coffee but was soon on his feet, ordering us to do the same, and we were off again. Captain James had John point out the splendour of Rufford Old Hall then cracked the whip again. We crossed the busy A road into Rufford Park and down a meandering path through the woods to Rufford New Hall. Here Major James (promoted again!) allowed us just seconds to catch our breath and we were off at a pace. We headed for the quite lovely but little known Mere Sands Nature Reserve where Colonel James allowed us a break for lunch, ordering some of the troops to get extra chairs for the ladies. (It’s the Sandhurst training apparently which makes him so attentive to the gentler sex). This walk had to be done with precision timing and soon General James (another promotion!) had us up and on our way down through the park and across to Martin Mere. Our estimated time of arrival back at Infusions was 2.45pm and Brigadier General James (Gosh he reached the top in one walk!) counted down as we approached – five, four three, two, one – bang on! Still his sense of duty had him on the alert and we all there stood to attention as the 3.18 train pulled in to take us home.

That is HOME JAMES!!!! Well done young man.


Sunday September 5th

The official opening of Stormin’ Norman’s Breath of Fresh Air walk proved to be a big success. As a club we put on all five route options on the day. 31 people set off at 9.00am from Conder Green car park with three choices available for the day – the full 22 miles or the 15 miler cutting though from Aldcliffe before getting into Lancaster or the even shorter 11 miles utilising the Glasson Dock canal link. The two shorter routes, seven and four miles, which start at New Quay in Lancaster were scheduled for a 1.00pm start. The day could not have been better weather-wise with beautiful sunshine and excellent visibility. Norman and friends had celebrated his 71st the day before with a meal and overnight stay at the Stork Inn. This lovely old pub is now the “headquarters” of the Breath of Fresh Air walk with the leatherbound register on display and copies of the walk guide available. The guide had only been printed during the week and copies were issued to everyone attending on the day. The rest of the box of 200 was left in the Stork and as we retuned to the pub late afternoon the landlord was pleased to announce that they had been snaffled up by interested walkers. A grant of just short of £9,000 had been received from the Big Lottery for the setting of this new footpath and it has been money well spent. The lighthouse waymarkers are eye-catching indeed and the guide is excellent. We also has four superb display boards around the course with £600 having been received from the Long Distance Walkers Association to help towards the production of these.

It was a great day for Norman and one that everyone involved will remember with pride. Well done to the walker leaders on the day Norman, Bernard, Reg, Allan and Gillian.

The walk now has its own Website :-


Copies of the guide and route badges are available from Norman – 01204 691206