Mid-January snowfall rendered the landscape picture-perfect. While the snow looked scrappy down in the valley, we guessed it would still be sparkling ‘up tops’. We took advantage of a sunny Saturday to plan an outing with Marisa. Armed with coffee and cake, we caught the bus upwards and chatted to an old friend as it made its way up Heptonstall Road. As she alighted, Marisa got on. We continued upwards, admiring the snowy scenes in the lovely sunshine. At Blackshaw Head we paused to look at a black and white sheep in front of a barn. They stared back at us until they got bored. Next to their field, we noted a beautiful old gate and tracks in the snow.
We entered the chapel grounds opposite, enjoying the feel of ‘proper snow’ under our feet before emerging onto Badger Lane. Continuing on the now-familiar route down Marsh Lane and Winter Lane, we took in views of scudding clouds and Stoodley Pike while avoiding icy patches.
We continued along the Pennine Bridleway towards Lower Rawtenstall as far as the ‘stone doorway’, to sit on a bench overlooking the valley.
Phil commented that is was a gorgeous view of the sewage works!
We ate our supplies before going back up to the corner where we turned right onto Dark Lane. The way proved dodgy in places with ice, snow and mud meaning I lagged behind the others.
En route, Marisa pointed out what was once Rawtenstall Manor.
At the second farm along, we dropped south again onto a lovely grassy path edged by hawthorns (thus obviously pretty old). It wended down, skirting Knott Wood, to Turret Hall Road. I looked back to note that the shrubs created a picturesque arch over the path. From there, we took Oakville Road down to the main road into town. A rise in temperature meant that ice on the main routes was no longer slippy making for a speedy last leg of our journey.
More photos at: https://1drv.ms/f/s!AjkK19zVvfQtie9MFLKWh7EzLl61IQ