Rufford 02-11-2016 – Leader Roy

Rufford 02-11-2016 – Leader Roy

After a frosty night, yet another day of brilliant sunshine.  As Tommy Trinder used to say – “you lucky people”!  Amongst the 23 walkers today were Linda’s sister Pauline – nice to see her again – and Anne, fresh from the Inca Trail and Machu Pichu.  After admiring the reflections around Irene & Paul’s eco butty**, we had the group photo, precariously balanced on a narrow boardwalk.  Roy thanked Paul & Irene for their hospitality to come, and Graham for swapping his walk twice, and finally Peter Ainscow, a local farmer – but more of him anon.

** (See here for information on these modern environmental craft.  Wikipedia says a butty boat is an unpowered boat usually towed by a barge, the word butty being derived from a dialect word meaning buddy or companion.)

From the marina, we were soon heading south alongside the River Douglas on a dyke – like the Dutch must do.  However, we soon discovered that the dyke had not protected the land from the severe winter floods, when we came across a footbridge across the river that had been upended.  Admiring the healthy looking crops in this very fertile Lancashire plain, we were soon warned to beware of model aircraft, but all we saw in the sky was a flock of geese. although we did later see some stunts being performed by a small aeroplane.  (So, twitchers – were the geese coming or going?)  Soon we had our first break at Hoscar Moss, before continuing southward past an abandoned house refurbishment to Hoscar itself.  We soon crossed the railway line and went under the Leeds & Liverpool canal, before walking along it for a short while.

It was here that Roy found that “the best laid plans o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley” (Burns), as we turned down the lane that the aforesaid Mr Ainscow had given Roy permission to take.  First of all, an old gentleman in a car said that he owned the right of way – but said we could carry on.  Then, about to cross the railway line again, the farmer at the other side said that he owned the field leading to Mr Ainscow’s farm, and he was certainly not willing to let us cross.  So Roy had carried 5 scones for Mr Ainscow to no avail, as we retraced our steps to the canal, much to Roy’s chagrin.  A mile down the canal took us to Parbold and a lovingly converted 18th century windmill housing an art gallery.  Leaving the canal here, we walked north through Parbold itself and climbed the only hill of the day – Hunter’s Hill – where we had lunch, with a really clear view of Blackpool Tower.

After lunch we descended to wander through the very pleasant village of Mawdesley and then Hurst Green (but don’t come to this one next week!), and westward through the fields back to the marina.  Looking at the fields of cabbages, I saw not a single caterpillar hole, yet mine are like Nottingham lace!  Whatever, on returning to the marina we sat outside as the sun was setting, being entertained wonderfully well by Paul, Irene, and their band of most pleasant helpers.  The cakes were both delicious and plentiful, and the collection raised the excellent total of £88 for Macmillan Nurses.  This was a quite splendid end to a lovely day, thanks to Roy and our generous hosts.

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

Slideshow below, but if you wish to see a static view of the pics all in one go, then click here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *