Bowland & Pendle Walks
Date: 9th October 2010
Distance: 7 miles
Ascent: 890 feet
Time: 3 hours 55 mins
With: Rachel and Dennis
Start Grid Ref: SD640402
Murky weather, muddy fields and a close encounter with a muck spreader made this walk to the top of Longridge Fell one of my most disappointing to date.
Route Summary: Jeffrey Hill - Park Wood - Pale Farm - High Head - Gibbon Bridge - Bailey Hippings - Cherry Tree House - Weedacre Farm - Longridge Fell - Jeffrey Hill
Photos: Click on the photos below to enlarge.
Walk Detail: After a bad week in which my car had broken down no less than three times (once within half a mile of the garage who'd told me they'd fixed it) I was looking forward to a good walk.
Accompanying me were Rachel and Dennis (who kindly did the driving). As Dennis had not really done much walking in the countryside I thought a ramble around and on to Longridge Fell would be a gentle introduction. How wrong could I be!
It was a fairly murky morning but the cloud was forecast to break up nicely towards the west and this was another reason I chose this particular walk. As the cloud was still low when we arrived we parked at the Jeffrey Hill car park on Longridge Fell itself. This was supposed to be the mid way point of the walk but I surmised that if we left Longridge Fell to the very end of the walk it would give the weather more time to clear.
After descending Jeffrey Hill the first pasture we crossed was a swamp of thick oozy mud which had been churned up by cattle. Shortly after we began to catch a whiff of something that smelled suspiciously like slurry. By the time we reached Park Wood the smell was truly rancid. It was then that we caught sight of the muck spreader in action metres away from the path we had to take. We managed about another 20ft in the direction we needed to go before having to turn back before we were sick.
After trudging back through some muddy fields we finally found a dryish route via a bridleway and a farm road before finally arriving at Gibbon Bridge where we were well upwind of the stink. An okay stretch along the River Loud came to a fairly abrupt end when it was obvious we would be unable to negotiate the stepping stones of Bailey Hippings.
Another detour from the planned route and more road walking finally brought us to Weedacre Farm from where it was a short climb to finally reach the fell side. Despite the odd small patch of sunshine breaking through the murk it had never really cleared. We'd seen a brief glimpse of the outline of Parlick but that was about it.
The top of the fell is adorned with a trig point which someone has taken upon themselve to paint a really garish yellow. Other than that there is not much else I can say about Longridge Fell. One of the best things about Longridge Fell is supposed to be the view but I couldn't tell you based on experience. I guess one day I'll have to go back to see what the views are like but I definitely won't be following the same route as this one. I'd strongly advise the same of anyone else as well.
Muck spreading, mud and murky weather combined to make this easily one of the most disappointing walks I've done. While you have to try and be philosophical about things I felt bad for Rachel and Dennis while, for my own good, I could have done with a less stress free (and smell free) walk.