Slaidburn, 1 – 3 March 2024

Hark to Bounty in Slaidburn was the base for 2 days of walking in Forest of Bowland Lancashire. The inn dates back to 1300 but most of fabric is from 16th century. The upstairs part of pub was used as court room from early 1900 to 1930s. It is an historical building. The most notable aspect of the weekend in the pub was very large portions for the food. Fish and chips had a fish resembling the size of a whale. Prices were very reasonable. The heating problem which cancelled the original weekend in December had not been fully restored because some of us had heaters in our rooms as the radiators were not working. However, hot water was available. This did not deter us at all because of the age of the building.

The following walk descriptions are of the A party walks as the B walk descriptions are not available although the B walks were led by Dave K on the Saturday and Jonathan on Sunday.

A contrasting weekend of weather saw the A party walk undertake the following walks detailed below.

Saturday

7 members took a 20 minute drive by car to Tower Lodge in a westerly direction from Slaidburn to the start point of the A walk led by Julian. Focal points were Ward Stones at 560m in height and Wolfhole Crag at 527m. The tops were covered in low cloud and snow. Our walk started from Tower Lodge walking along a track uphill and then on to open hill with a brief descent to Tarnbrook before starting our major climb towards Wards Stones along a well-defined track before heading on to a trail footpath. At about 380m we hit low cloud and snow covered ground. We had snow and sleet showers on and off with the wind blowing snow towards us. In the mist it was a white covered landscape and Julian navigated with compass and map to reach the top of Wards Stone. From Wards Stones we continued along the ridge to Grey Crag and on-route found a sheltered lunch stop on our way to Wolfhole Crag. Lunch was brief because of the cold temperature. Having reached Wolfhole Crag we started our descent to Brenland Great Hill and on to Millers house. From Millers House below the snowline we took a south westerly direction to White Moor. This was the toughest section of the day due to boggy sections and undulating vegetation of heather and some fern which luckily was out of season and not fully grown. From White Moor we eventually reached the track from the start of our walk in the morning arriving back at Tower Lodge just after 5pm and having done 12.5 miles. It had been a good day’s walk and the experience was enjoyed by all. Everyone also looked forward to the large portion meals back at Hark to Bounty.

Sunday

We woke up on Sunday to blue sky and a sunny morning, The A party had 6 members for the walk led by Julian which commenced from Hark to Bounty. We headed along the small river and on a track to Hamberton Hall and up to Stocks reservoir. We had clear views compared to the low cloud and mist of the Saturday walk. At Stocks reservoir we took the path along the southern side which was muddy in places and headed for the causeway on the eastern side of the reservoir. Soon afterwards we found a nice picnic site with tables and benches for the morning tea and coffee break and close to the site of a former village which became submerged beneath the reservoir. We sat in sunshine on the site of St James Church which was one of the last visible elements of Stock hamlet. From there we moved to the most northerly point of the reservoir and up to New House. From there we had to cross the River Hodder and then headed in a south westerly direction along tracks and lesser known paths not very visible on the western side of reservoir to Slaidburn via Sugar Hill and Shay House. We arrived back at Hark to Bounty before 3.45pm making it a nice time to travel home. We had done 10 miles and another enjoyable walk.

A vote of thanks to Julian for organising 2 excellent walks and to Jonathan for organising the weekend.

Andreas

Photos