Sunday, 8th March 2009

             

            

 

Walk: Slaidburn, Dunsop Fell, Whitendale, River Dunsop valley, Beatrix, Pain Hill
Start Point: Slaidburn car park Grid Reference: SD 714 521
Distance: 12 miles Ascent: 2,750 feet
Time: 5.5 hours    
Weather: Very mixed with light rain, hail & sunshine
Comments: Eight members joined the leader on his Christening as a leader for the Fylde Group. As we set off from Slaidburn the air was very damp and it was quite cold, but by the time we had left the old Roman road and started to climb up onto Dunsop Fell the sky had brightened allowing clear views across to Pendle Hill and Stocks Reservoir.

The Forest of Bowland boasts some of the most rugged landscape in Lancashire and as we crossed over Dunsop Fell we were able to taste what this area has to offer. The tragedy is the damage being caused by motor bikes crossing this very fragile peat bog terrain. This damage has now made some sections very difficult for walkers.

The importance of the air ambulance service was clear to see as we dropped down into the river Dunsop valley. The helicopter had been called out to Whitendale; a remote farm served by difficult road access, and had arrived well in advance of the road ambulance which was now there as we approached the farm. With their work done the paramedics climbed back into the helicopter which then took off and flew out of the valley.

The river Dunsop valley is very scenic and it was very interesting to see how the soft wood conifer trees are now being totally cleared to be replaced by English hard woods. The path down the valley adjacent to the river was very muddy, but there was much worse to come!

After a lunch stop at the waterworks the sky darkened and we were hit by the first hail shower of the day which quickly blew over leaving bright blue sky and sunshine. As we approached the end of the valley, just before Dunsop Bridge, we turned left to cross very muddy farmland on our way back to Slaidburn. With more heavy hail showers these final ascents and descents really were the sting in the tail. However, the walk ended on a positive note as there are excellent boot hosing down facilities at the car park which we certainly needed!

Scroll down to see photos of the walk

Heading out past the war memorial in Slaidburn . . .

 

we soon turn off the road to walk through woodland near Croasdale Brook

 

As we climb Stocks Reservoir comes into view behind us

 

Making our way down to Whitendale we find an ambulance and a helicopter . . .

 

as we descend the crew return . . .

 

and soon have the helicopter in the air . . .

 

and after hovering for a short time . . .

 

they head off down the valley

 

We make our way down the valley - at a much slower pace . . .

 

and pass a couple . . .

 

of waterfalls . . .

 

before stopping for lunch . . .

 

where John seems to be enjoying his sandwich

 

As we continue we are treated to a hail shower . . .

 

which, thankfully didn't last long . . .

 

and in contrast the sun made a brief appearance . . .

 

as we crossed the River Dunsop

 

There's always a 'sting in the tail' as we face another ascent . . .

 

and another hail shower . . .

 

before walking back through Slaidburn to the cars

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