Autumn Ambles

Crossing the river Crossing the river Down towards the bracken Fab scenery Gathering in Settle looking back Lunchstop Norman tells a Tale Returning through Settle Tea Shop Stop Through limestone country Viewing the waterfall
Weds October 13th. Settle Down For a Good Walk.

Leader : Tarmac Thomas. 14 miles

18 people and one turbo charged dog.

Although Norman has given this walk his own title we were actually walking The Elgar Way. Sir Edward Elgar, the renowned 19th Century English composer fell in love with this area of Yorkshire and would often walk this route with his great friend Dr Charles William Buck, a conductor and medical practitioner who lived in North Ribblesdale. This is where Elgar got the inspiration for his “Enigma Variations” leading us to the temptation to rename the walk Norman’s “Egg and Bacon Roll Variations”, although only Pete Balshaw was to test this out on the day!

Without doubt this is one of the highlights of this year’s calendar, a superb route seen at its very best on this occasion on a beautiful Indian Summer October day. The route leaves Settle bypassing Dr Buck’s house and the Victoria Hall where he used to conduct. Traversing Gigglewick Scar with its wonderful panoramic views of Pendle Hill, Ingleborough and The Lakes you arrive at the picturesque hamlet of Feizor. Morning coffee was taken here at the “hidden gem”café of Elaine’s Tea Rooms. What a lady!

The one disappointment on an otherwise perfect day was when we got to Stainforth Foss and Bridge we were denied the sight of salmon leaping up the falls. Two years ago we did this same walk on the same week of the year and were able to view this remarkable feat of nature. Sadly not this year as there was not enough water flowing down the river to enable these noble fish to leap. The lack of rain over the previous week also denied us seeing Cattrigg or Catterick Force in its full majesty of water cascading down the falls but it was still impressive indeed.

From here it was off into the spectacular limestone Dales with 360 degrees of breathtaking views. For a brief fleeting moment at one point it was so beautiful it was almost possible to imagine that Bill wasn’t with us and that we had truly found paradise. Further highlights came with Langcliffe Scar, Victoria Cave, the massive solitary boulder known as Samson’s Toenail, the scars of Attermire and finally Scaleber Force. Elgar’s inspiration for composing one of his greatest works “Salut D’Amour” came from this magical landscape. As a jape we thought it would be fitting to get a photograph of Alma in classical silent movie “damsel in distress” pose, chained to the remains of the old quarry workings. Bill, unable to resist seeing an attractive lady “chained up” and blindfolded stepped forward and planted a big kiss on her cheek. Alma, ever the realist, commented, “Well if he was going to do it, thank goodness I was blindfolded!”

Back into Settle just after three thirty we had the delight of afternoon tea in “The Naked Man Café”. Well done Norman for another superb walk.

Jump in the Lake. Sunday October 17th 2010

21 miles. Attended by 13 very happy people

Leaders : Steve “Attila the Hun” Blackshaw, John “Squeeze Box” Jocys and Viv “Smiler” Pike

Where do I begin in writing a report on this walk? Well quite simply, in a year of outstanding routes that walk leaders have come up with, this stands out as one of the very best. I’ll relate two incidents which back this up. Dave and Alma came to me early afternoon and said, “We are so glad we came on this walk”. Paul Banks has just returned from three weeks trekking in the Atlas Mountains and he commented, “What a fabulous walk.” And to think Steve in his introductory speech thanked me for allowing Viv, John and him the opportunity to put the walk on!

Amazingly as we set off from Bank Hall Lane, Hale and its million pound properties the ground was covered in a hoar frost, just 15 miles as the crow flies from home where there had been no sign of frozen dew at all. It made for a magical start as we followed the River Bollin towards the airport. I had warned people that I thought our leaders may take us across the end of the main runway. They went one better than that. We went under the mid-section of runway two! This impressive culvert is 240m. long, by 18m high and 24 m across. It boasts bat roosting chambers, animal corridors and grey wagtail nesting boxes and it is just a delight to walk through.

On we trekked, ducking every two minutes as another departing aircraft soared over our heads, until we emerged into the resplendent grounds and lakes of Tatton Park. The Indian Summer weather had understandably brought people out in numbers making the most of this wonderful National Trust facility. John explained that Tatton Park had been used by No 1 Parachute Training School based at Ringway Airport in WW2. A runway had been created and dropping zone, hence our walk title “A Jump in the Lake”. The grazing deer gave the impression that on a beautiful day like this they would hurry for no one, not even a parachutist getting tangled in their antlers!

Lunch was taken in the quite stunning grounds of St Mary’s Church Rostherne. Steph, who is easing herself back into walking, departed our group here but with a promise to return for future events. We had still more spectacles to come with a sight of Rostherne Mere, Dunham Massey and Motte and Bailey Castle at Watch Hill.

“Attila the Hun”, as we nicknamed Steve had set a viscous pace, but we were still half an hour adrift on his timings. Having said that we were back at our cars just before five. Further evidence came of just how enjoyable a day out this was as I have never seen walk leaders have their hands shaken so much in earnest with such effusive gratitude. We said our goodbyes after a memorable day. What a first walk with our group for Jon Hancock and Subway Sue and thanks to John Knight of the South Manchester group was being with us again.

All the above detail comes from a map and description of the route which Steve issued us all with, another lovely little gesture. No Steve, John and Viv the thanks for the walk was all ours.
Don't jump Alma! Heading East along River Bollin In Tatton Park at No 1 Parachute Monument Lunch in Rostherne Churchyard Ready For the Off Rostherne Church Spot the Airport Spot the cars (!)