Return to the Moors

Like most people – but unlike a certain Gollum like Government advisor – as best as I can I’ve been sticking to both the letter and the spirit of the Government’s requirements and advice to try to control the spread of the Covid-19 virus. That means I’ve been working for home and sticking to local walks in the Plantations, respecting best I can “social distancing”. However, since last week we’ve been “allowed” to travel further for exercise and as Wednesday was a hot and sunny day, I decided to bunk off work during the afternoon, drive 7 miles over to Rivington and get out for a walk up on the Moors.

The car parks around Rivington were jammed, to say the least, but I avoided the crowds around the “honeypots” and rather than head up the Pike, which would have been heaving with people, set off down a quiet path heading towards Anglezarke.

I took the path to the east of Yarrow reservoir, passing only a handful of people

and quite a few sheep

including a number of a black breed (not sure what they were).

At Allance Bridge, rather than take the track up Lead Mine Clough I cut up the track up across the rough fields

with great views over the moors

and towards Winter Hill.

Over the stile onto the open access land.

Passing more sheep.

I cut across the peat, covered with cotton grass, heading towards the modest summit of Hurst Hill. With all the dry weather we’ve had while we’ve all been locked down the ground was dry (it’s usually a quagmire) but as there wasn’t a definite path the going across the rough ground was hard work.

Reaching the summit I stopped for a chat with a couple of other walkers (keeping 2 metres apart), one who lived very close to the house where I lived during my teenage years.

Long range visibility was poor

but there were good views over the moors

My next objective, along a more definite path, was Round Loaf, a prehistoric (Late Neolithic or Bronze Age) bowl barrow burial mound, which is a Scheduled Monument.

There’s a number of prehistoric relics in the area, including Pikestones, a collection of stones that used to be a Neolithic burial mound, which is only a short distance away.

Climbing to the top of the tumulus there were good views over the moors to Rivington Pike and Winter Hill

and, in the opposite direction, towards Great Hill.

I had a number of options of routes to follow but I decided to make my way back over the rough peat towards Lead Mine Clough,

where I crossed over the river and then cut across on the path heading east.

I walked a short distance along the track used by the local farmers towards the ruined farm known as “Sims”

and the took the path towards Rivington

Looking back.

I crossed the young River Yarrow

Looking back again.

The path took me across rough ground and then through a field of horses before I reached the road.

It was only a short distance to the start of the path I’d walked along earlier on the east side of the Yarrow Reservoir. I retraced my steps back towards Rivington, passing the dam where there were a few small well separated groups sun bathing.

I took the path back to Rivington village, past the Chapel and then across the fields back to my car completing a 9 mile circuit.

After being restricted to walking through woodland for the past couple of months it had been good to get up on some rougher, open country. I’ll definitely be back up on the moors again a few times over the next few weeks.

48 thoughts on “Return to the Moors

  1. Congrats on your patient and sensible social isolation efforts.
    Great that you now are able to get onto the moors and I think wise to avoid the crowds. Iknow those moors well – lovely.
    There have been some senseless gatherings up above White Coppice that you may have heard about. At the same time I have been reading about some care home staff who have moved into their place of work, in some cases camping, to protect the elderly. Compare that selfless dedication to the mindless ‘it’s my entitlement to sunbathe, drink with my mates and then leave the litter for someone else’ brigade. Off on a rant there…
    Realy commenting to say that I think your black sheep are Soay sheep originally from St. Kilda.

    • I decided against parking up at White Coppice as I thought it would be busy. Rivington was but It’s easy to avoid the crowds. I hadn’t heard of any “goings on” near White Coppice, though.
      During my local walks most people are sensible but I have seen several groups, often cyclists, 5, 6 or 7 people, either teenagers but sometimes young adults. Don’t think these groups lived together.

    • The whole situation is appalling. In a crisis you need leadership to pull everyone together which requires visibility, leading from the front, good communication with a clear consistent message, leading by example and being honest and taking responsibility for mistakes . This lot have been doing the exact opposite. Can I move to Scotland?

      • You’re very welcome, when the lockdown is over! I think NS has been great in terms of leadership. She’s done just about every, if not every briefing (unlike BS who is usually nowhere to be seen) explains clearly and answers questions without waffle. My criticism is she followed along too closely with Westminster to start with, but I guess she’s damned if she does, damned if she doesn’t.

      • I’d be tempted – if it ever ends 🥴
        Of course we don’t get to see much of NS down here – but probably more than the Clown Minister 😂 And when he does emerge he opens his mouth and spouts unclear instructions without the detailed guidance being available, so causes confusion. A great case study in how NOT to communicate. Trump even worse of course.

      • Simple solution – devolution mark 2 – lets move to Scotland without moving – redraw the border somewhere around Watford Gap?

  2. The move to as much exercise as is needed and allowing to drive to exercise seems to have brought out all the day trippers and bank holiday trippers all at once. The advantage of being a regular walker, is you know the best places to isolate. This look like a good walk giving everything you needed after weeks around the same patch. For me I finally went to Dartmoor on Friday, like you I was patient and went to a quiet place. You still get that same feeling of enjoyment even in these less busy places.

    • It’s good to get out and there is plenty of space up on the moors and relatively easy to find less used routes.

      You’re right that last Wednesday was like a Bank Holiday around Rivington. But I was able to keep away from the crowds.

      • Yes, thanks, Mick. And staying at home. Unusual for me, I know, but I think it’s the best place to be for a while longer. I feel very fortunate indeed. Travels to be resumed at a later date, I hope.

      • Alas, I think it will be a little while before we can start travelling. I’ve had to cancel planned 2 breaks (in Ireland and the Lakes) sofar – I expect the same for you (probably more so). If we keep ourselves safe the places we want to visit will still be there when it’s safer to travel.

  3. Like you, I’m trying to follow the rules of self-isolation and staying close to home. It makes for repetitive walks but on the positive side, that kind of familiarity is great for contemplation. As always, your ambitious mileage is inspiring.

    • I’ve been fortunate in being able to work from home and having pleasant woodland walks close by. A little repetitive but it has been really interesting to see how the woods have been changing over the past couple of months, which has added interest to the walks. Nice to get out somewhere else for a change, mind 😊

  4. Great photos, it’s good that you’ve been able to get out onto the moors – staying local does tend to get repetitive but I’ve still managed to discover a few places I didn’t know about even though I know the respective areas very well. I’m hoping to go a bit farther afield soon though not too far – I need some more inspiration for my blog 🙂

    • We’re fortunate round here (Wigan and Bolton) with having good places to walk nearby. Like you, I’ve found a few different places close by, but starting to feel the need to get a bit further afield.

  5. Terrific to see you out and what great scenery and archaeology. We must make our own tentative steps soon. After all, if it’s good enough for Gollum…

    • Don’t think I’ll be driving a couple of hundred miles at the moment, even though I have family up in the North East I’d love to see.
      I will head back up to the moors again soon, mind. Good point about the atcheology. I find it fascinating that there are a number of ruined farms up there. Goodness knows what it was like to live and farm up there. So remote and wild. There’s lots of industrial archeology too, remnants of lead mining.

  6. I’m very jealous. I had to work all day Wed and it was a cracking day. Looks like perfect choice of route. I need to get out on to some rougher ground. Love the “Gollum like government advisor” description.

    • You have to make most of opportunities when they present themselves. I can control my work to a reasonable extent but can’t always decide to go out if it’s nice. Fortunately, on Wednesday I could. Next week will be different though.

  7. Looks such a wonderful walk and we’ll done for avoiding the crowds. We are thinking of going crock o lune near Caton tomorrow, but setting off early as suspect might be busy. Meant to be sunny tomorrow 😎. Are you planning on going anywhere?

    • Not sure about tomorrow being a bank holiday even though, or perhaps especially, wall to wall sunshine is forecast. Will probably stay local and watch some of folk on foot festival 2. But theforecast for the rest of the week isn’t bad so will probably get back upon the moors one day 😊

    • Yes indeed. It going to be another glorious Bank Holiday today – Barnard Castle is apparently quite nice. Perhaps a trip to there? Nice bluebells I believe (although dying back at the moment).

      • 😂🤣😂He’s rather put the place on the map, hasn’t he? Maybe they’ll get lots of curious visitors. They won’t be disappointed, it’s a lovely place.

      • And I notice Grant Shapps was particularly keen to tell us about tha A66. They’ve apparently dual carriagewayed it to make the journey there so much easier. 😉

      • My in-laws live up that way so I’ve driven it many times. Lovely journey, but the 66 often gets closed: it’s a bit exposed to the weather!

      • Not long before the lockdown we were running one of our courses and I got a text on the Monday morning that one of the delegates would be late as he was stuck in a snowdrift on the A66. He managed to get out, turn round and backtrack via Barnard Castle

  8. I’m struggling to make out some of these images, must be a problem with my eyesight. I’d better head out for a drive in the car as an ad hoc eye test seeing as I can’t visit the opticians 😂
    Agree with the sentiment that as experienced walkers we all know those places that attract crowds and those where you can find some peace and quiet. That looks like a wonderful outing and it must have felt so good to stretch the legs properly under expansive blue skies and sunshine

  9. Yeah, people seem to have been using the loosened guidance/restrictions as carte blanche to treat the whole thing like an extended Bank Holiday. My friends and co-workers who live near beauty spots have reported a massive increase in the number of visitors in the last fortnight.

    The week before the lock down was announced, I went hiking in Bleaklow in the Peak District. It was insanely busy, even on the more out of the way trek we took, and there was bugger all attempts at social distancing.

    Well done on sticking to the rules 🙂

    • I went out for a walk yesterday morning, in the nearby woods, about 9:30. Was busier than normal and saw several groups of cyclists who clearly don’t live togethor. I’m good at avoiding the crowds by taking less used paths but can’t avoid everyone.
      Situation will only get worse after all the shenanigans with the Gollum alas.
      May have to get that pack of FFP2s out of the boot that I found when I popped into the office to pick up a proper office chair.

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