Ashurst Beacon, Skelmersdale.
Ashurst Beacon is situated on a broad ridge at the western fringes of the Pennine’s between Skelmersdale and Wigan.
The beacon was once part of a chain of signalling beacons forming a communication chain from one hill to another.
Sunday 4th December 2011.
The weather forecast was for heavy showers, possibly falling as hail or sleet with sunny spells in the afternoon. It was almost right. We got everything except the sun.
A good chance to test our waterproof gear.
We walked along muddy tracks, muddy paths, crossed muddy fields and walked along a muddy canal towpath. I have used the word ‘muddy’ four times in one sentence, but it just about sums up the walk. The only time we were not in mud was when we were up to our ankles in water.
Still we had a great time.
We started from the visitors centre at Beacon Country park and made our way across fields to Roby Mill. A short section of road then more fields leading to Bank Top. It was then downhill into the Douglas Valley with the viaduct of the M6 directly ahead. At Gathurst we passed under the viaduct then crossed the River Douglas to join the towpath of the Leeds – Liverpool canal. We walked beside the canal to Appley Bridge where we sheltered under a bridge while we ate our lunch. The first half of the walk had been nearly all downhill and we knew that later we would have to pay for it. It would be a long hard slog up to the summit by the beacon. On route we had to cross a stream, usually just a long stride, but not today. It was now over six feet wide and about a foot deep. Each of us devised what we thought would be the beat way across. Roger climbed up the higher bank and launched himself into space. Wendy, displaying remarkable agility crawled across a fallen tree. I used a rock as a stepping stone then a long stride onto a branch which was rotten and snapped. I ended up face down in a pile of wet leaves but I was across.
After 8 hard miles we were back at the car with not a tea shop in sight. 40 minutes later we were back in Waterloo but I fancied a hot cup of tea rather than a pint. Later I enjoyed a nice bottle of Rioja with pan fried duck breast. A perfect end to the day.
I have now got just one day to recover before my next walk.
Saddle Fell, Fair Snape Fell & Parlick from Chipping.
I am leading but I have just heard on the radio that it is snowing up there.