Sunday, 16th March 2014

Walk: Hurstwood, Pennine Bridleway, Gorple Stones, Clough Head, Gorple Upper Reservoir, Ram's Clough, Cant Clough Reservoir
Start Point: Hurstwood Grid Reference: SD 881 312
Distance: 8.3 miles Ascent: Approx 1,600 feet
Time: 5 hours
Weather: Cool, overcast and windy with drizzle and low cloud in the afternoon
Comments:

Eighteen walkers turned out for this eight mile walk taking in the reservoirs of Hurstwood, Widdup,  Gorple Upper and Cant Clough before returning to the parking spot at Hurstwood.

Setting off from the car park we made a brief detour into Hurstwood village to view “Spencer Cottage” reputedly the home of the Elizabethan poet Edmund Spencer from 1576 to 1579. Then it was onto the Burnley way climbing above the tree line parallel to Hurstwood reservoir before dropping down to the Eastern end of the reservoir and climbing once again to the Pennine Bridleway. The bridleway, which was once used to transport raw materials and cloth on horses from and to the mills of Lancashire and Yorkshire, is said to be one of the finest footpaths in the Pennines. Today, despite the overcast weather it did not disappoint, yielding fine views of the surrounding countryside from the top.

The deep banks of Rams Clough provided shelter from the wind and an ideal place for “elevenses” after which we crossed the border into Yorkshire.  All 18 walkers made it across the border despite Brian trying to deny access to us “Lancastrians”. From here it was on past the Gorple Stones and almost down to Widdup Reservoir before turning right across the moor to arrive at a shooting hut between Gorple Lower and Upper reservoirs. The weather had turned slightly inclement as we reached the hut which was open and provided welcome seating and shelter for the entire group.

By the time lunch was over the cloud had dropped to reservoir level and a fine drizzle had set in as we climbed up the service road to Gorple upper reservoir. After a quick look at the reservoir we climbed once again past the ruins of Gorple farm and onto the Pennine Bridleway once more. Crossing the border again into Lancashire (where someone suggested it would be better weather – sadly this turned out not to be the case), we turned off the track and headed down to Cant Clough Reservoir. An easy service road then took us back to Hurstwood and the cars. Despite the weather the walk was enjoyed by all     

Setting off from the car park at Hurstwood . . .

reputed to be the former home of a poet

Climbing out of the village . . .

to join the Burnley Way . . .

before descending . . .

to the end of the reservoir

Joining the Pennine Bridleway . . .

and heading past Hameldon

A "Benchmark" on one of the milestones on the Pennine Bridleway

At Ram's Clough there is plenty of seating available at brew time . . .

with some shelter from the wind

Upper Gorple Reservoir seen from the Pennine Bridleway

Keep left - cyclists approaching

A rocky outcrop on Shuttleworth Moor . . .

with Gorple Reservoir in the background . . .

where we take in the view

Which way next?

Leaving the Pennine Bridleway at Widdup Reservoir for Shuttleworth Moor

On the way to Gorple Upper Reservoir

A des res hut for lunch . . .

which easily accommodates the group in comfort (hope they don't expect this every walk!)

But then it's back out into the drizzle and on to Gorple Upper Reservoir . . .

which is overflowing today

But it was a different story . . .

in 2013!

The same can be said for Cant Clough Reservoir . . .

which is also overflowing . . .

from the spillway today

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