Rawtenstall/Scout Moor 14-02-2018 – Leader Judy

Rawtenstall/Scout Moor 14-02-2018 – Leader Judy

Wow, what a wintry walk!  In Rawtenstall, 1000 feet below the top of Scout Moor, there was little hint of what was to come, apart from quite a strong wind.  So Judy led 20 unsuspecting walkers across from Whitaker Park LOWER car park, through the New Hall Hey development, and across the River Irwell to Townsend Fold.  Here we began to climb steadily, gaining clear and very nice views back across the valley – lulling us into a false sense of security!  As we approached Horncliffe Height, there began to be more snow and ice on the ground, making yours truly feel glad that he had put his Yaktrax on today, instead of leaving them in the car like last week.  Heading south on Gin Croft Lane, we then veered left and paddled down to Dearden Clough and the famous Plunge Lodge, where stand the remains of a mill and the site of the mill wheel.  The oddly-named Michael Wife’s Lane is nearby, named after Mary Nuttall, who lived at Plunge Farm, and was punished for not repairing the road.  Our first break was taken amidst these very interesting remains, whilst enjoying some lovely Valentine’s Day chocolates kindly distributed by Judy.

Break over, we headed east and began a more serious climb up to the edge of Scout Moor, with the weather turning snowy and the views increasingly bleak.  We continued south in the eyeball-freezing conditions, dropping down to the A680 at Turn Village before climbing up onto the moor again to follow the Rossendale Way along Coal Road, by which time the snow and hail had given way to heavy rain, being driven at us by a very strong wind.  Coal from the collieries on Scout Moor used to be brought along this lane, but once the tramway from the collieries down to Turn village had been built, the road fell out of use.  It was along this stretch that Judy found us some shelter behind a wall for our lunch break, the fortifying flask coming into its own!  Then it was upward and onward through the wind farm to the highest point of the walk at almost 1500 feet, near Whittle Pike.  Turning left here, we more or less paddled along a difficult stretch to reach Waugh’s Well, and then the remains of Fo Edge Farm, where Lancashire dialect poet Edwin Waugh once lived.  You can listen to some of his poems here.  Judy – aka Mountain Goat – was particularly solicitous along this stretch, dodging to and fro to make sure that we were all OK.  In the same spirit, she later made the wise decision not to go over Cowpe Lowe on the way back to Rawtenstall, but to skirt along below it.

As we more or less contoured westward below the hill, the scenery became steppe-like, as we were very exposed to the wind, which had blown almost all of the snow away – an astonishing sight.  Anyway, we survived, and eventually dropped down to Whinberry Naze,  Here we spotted civilisation in the shape of Rawtenstall, but had to descend precipitously towards Hall Carr in order to reach it.  Once we had done so, it was plain sailing back to Whitaker Park, in weather conditions that were balmy and benign compared with 30 minutes earlier.  In such wintry conditions, Judy’s leadership and cheerfulness were very much appreciated, as was Ann’s assiduous back marking, despite – as she said – being much more visible than usual with the high-vis gilet.  Credit must also be given to those who were on hand at a number of very awkward stiles to ensure they were safely negotiated.  Refreshments were nicely taken at the Whitaker Café, to end a very challenging day, thanks to Judy.

PS After a hot shower, a very large whisky mac, several glasses of wine with my tea, and a 5-0 win for Liverpool, the day looked a whole lot better!

Pics & write up Arnold.  Appended here are the route stats and profile.

If you wish to see a static view of the pics all in one go, then click here.

There is a link to the slideshow here.  You will need to click within the black page that opens up to see the show – but at least it is full screen!


  1. Great leadership skills shown by Judy on a very challenging walk in wintry conditions. Ann on her first role as back marker played her part. Well done everyone for completing the walk,it highlighted the resilience that exists in the group.

  2. Thanks Arnold for write up and great photos in such conditions, glove wrestling included. Thanks also to Basil and Roy for local knowledge, to all gatekeepers and those helping others over tricky stiles (4 now reported), to Steve for sheep rescuing skills (where was Red Roger when you need him?), and to everyone for turning up (I’m sure most wished they hadn’t at some point!)and remaining so cheerful.

  3. Tom Hughes

    The coldest and most challenging walk I’ve been on for many a long day, so thanks and congratulations to Judy for leading it so well and looking after everyone, and to Arnold for an excellent write-up and pictures. I think congratulations are due to everyone for finishing!
    PS. At the end of the evening, after a hot bath, some lovely Portugese red wine and the 5-0 win for Liverpool, I too went to bed thinking it had been a great day

  4. I was on a different walk near Pendle but at a lower level and the conditions were bad enough! I really felt for you all. Well done to Judy. Challenging conditions for a leader, and well done, Arnold, for taking all those pics (I hope you used Mountain Rescue advice for keeping your hands warm)

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