Sunday, 20th December 2009

             

            

 

Walk: Beacon Hill, Grindleton Fell, Lane Ends, Higher Heights, Rod Hill Gate
Start Point: Car park at The Spread Eagle, Sawley Grid Reference: SD 776 466
Distance: 8.6 miles Ascent: 1,268 feet
Time: 5.75 hours    
Weather: Very cold with frequent snow showers, light winds in the morning becoming stronger in the afternoon.
Comments: Despite treacherous road conditions after overnight snow, and an uninspiring weather forecast, 9 members made it to the start of the walk at the Spread Eagle. With thoughts of “Walking in a winter wonderland” in our minds we began to get ready on the hotel car park. However, it soon became apparent that although the snow looked nice, conditions underfoot were quite the opposite. Our first faller didn’t even make it off the car park, and shortly afterwards the leader demonstrated the slippery conditions of a driveway leading to the start of our first climb. Who would be next we wondered as we continued warily?

Once in the fields we were able to get more grip but by then it was obvious that conditions would not allow us to complete the planned 12 mile route in time so the decision was made to shorten the walk to 8 miles. By the time we reached Till House the sun had put in a brief appearance and we were treated to some very wintry scenes over Pendle Hill and Longridge Fell. After a brief stop on Beacon Hill summit for photographs, we stopped in the shelter of Grindleton Forest for elevenses - as the snow came in once more.

Taking the short cut as planned we then headed down towards Swan Barn and Harrop Fold where we joined the track to Lane Ends. From here we continued to Bay Gate before turning onto the moor once more towards Higher Heights. Here Bill Morgan was seen eyeing up an abandoned wood burning stove leaning against a wall! With no volunteers coming forward to carry the stove we continued our walk as the snow came in with a vengeance. The skies had brightened again as we made our way down Rod Hill Gate and back to the Spread Eagle slightly earlier than originally planned. As we reached the car park the final tally of fallers was 7 out of 9 (full marks to John’s Leyland and Dean for staying on their feet the whole time!)

After a quick change it was into the warmth of the bar to choose from the extensive menu followed by an excellent meal which was enjoyed by all. Thanks go to the Spread Eagle (a new venue for us) for their flexible approach to numbers dining and altered times at such short notice. Thanks also to everyone who turned out and made it an enjoyable day despite the weather.

And a big thank you to Phil for leading the walk in difficult conditions and for organising a very enjoyable meal in comfortable surroundings.


Scroll down to see photos of the walk

A snowy start as we prepare to leave the Spread Eagle car park . . .

 

and make our way past the Quaker Meeting House . . .

 

where we spot an unusual artefact - any suggestions?

 

Anyone got the lights for the tree?

 

Heading towards Till House . . .

 

we take a breather - with a misty Pendle Hill in the background

 

Bill and Phil check out the next section of our route . . .

 

and we head over a slippery stile

 

Another field - another stile!

 

Approaching Till House is easy enough . . .

 

until we reach the tarmac with fresh snow covering sheer ice

 

Beacon Hill - and time for a pause . . .

 

before heading towards  . . .

 

Grindleton Fell . . .

 

where the trees are wearing their winter clothes

 

Appropriately named Shivering Ginnel . . .

 

provides a suitable spot for elevenses

 

Zooming back to Beacon Hill, the sheep enjoy their 'elevenses'

 

Continuing through the crunchy snow . . .

 

we make our way beside the festive trees . . .

 

and on to Harrop Fold . . .

 

where John surveys the route . . .

 

across a very slippery road

 

Looking back to the front of Harrop Fold

 

A quick lunch break sheltering from the cold wind

 

If only we could get this going - has anyone brought the matches?

 

Driving snow obliterates the view as we leave Higher Heights . . .

 

and adds to the depth as we enter Rod Hill Gate . . .

 

a walled track . . .

 

where the conditions underfoot are very rough

 

It looks like it has well and truly closed in now . . .

 

making conditions difficult . . .

 

but fortunately it doesn't last long - as John takes it easy

 

Descending to . . . 

 

another sunken track

 

It's hard to believe that this is the same day . . .

 

as we near the end of the walk . .

 

crossing the River Ribble

 

But as we reach the car park we are in for another downfall

 

A change of clothes does wonders as we wait for our meal . . .

 

which is thoroughly enjoyed by all

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