On a changeable November Sunday, we ventured up to the hills. At the bus stop it started to rain but thankfully the bus arrived soon after. At Blackshaw Head the air proved colder and scraps of snow clung on below hedgerows.
We alighted at the last stop to consider the ancient history of The Long Causeway and Badger Lane and the old stone routeway marker at the corner of the churchyard.
We turned right off Badger Lane down Marsh Lane and spotted various features: tiny worlds of moss in the crevices of a stone wall; crows sitting on telegraph poles; a muck cart in a field.
We admired views towards Stoodley Pike, providing a picturesque backdrop to the scene.
Fortuitous patches of sunlight falling on the slopes below highlighted glacial scars created in the ‘Calder Gorge’ during the ice age.
The ‘ignore your sat nav’ signs still made us laugh as we veered left along Winter Lane. The lane had been re-surfaced since our last visit. At the next junction, we turned right down an unpaved lane signed ‘lower Rawtenstall’.
After amusing ourselves with photos of giant chickens, we continued down and through what appeared to be a managed woodland.
We surmised it must have been parkland of some kind in Victorian times as the rock cliffs looked like they had been manmade.
The whole scene was too picturesque in a twee way to be wholly natural. I posited it might have been the grounds of Rawtenstall Manor.
The path snaked downwards and took us past ruins of old buildings and gate posts until it became paved again and bore the moniker ‘Turret Hall Road’.
We noticed the posh drainage: at one point the water looked as if it was going uphill which of course was an optical illusion “It’s just like the electric bray”, I remarked.
Rounding another bend, I could hear voices coming down the path behind us and when they caught up, I saw it was our old neighbour with a male companion. We said hello and they strode off purposefully ahead of us. Just before the b
ottom of the lane, I spotted a turn off called ‘Under Cragg’. I chuckled at the literal Yorkshire name – so typical of round here.
We then proceeded down to Oakville Road – a familiar route back from Jumble Hole. We continued alongside the railway, pausing to examine reflections in the potholes. Phil commented that they had not done the drainage properly here as they had further up.
When we got onto the main road, Phil stopped to take more photos of crows. An old man at a nearby bus stop came over and told us about a rare talking bird behind the hedge. We peered through and although we could hear a strange squawking, I could only see yet more chickens.
We crossed the road at Stubbings and after some debate, decided to avail ourselves of the pub’s facilities. This led to buying beer and in turn to staying for a late Sunday lunch. Whilst waiting for our food to arrive, we examined a map of the old parish boundaries on the wall behind us. After eating, I started to feel very sleepy. We left and took the quickest way home as dark descended.
More photos at: http://1drv.ms/1lM3d52