I had spent the last 20 minutes or so wandering round the lovely little church and grave yard at Thornton in Craven. This chap was well spoken and dressed like a country gent in breeches, brogues, long green socks and a coat similar to a Burberry car coat.
"It's not my village but it's my church" he told me and with this gave me an interesting 5 minutes conversation about the history of the place.
It goes back to the Doomsday book, there was a Saxon church here before this. The well which was refurbed in 2004 has been here since the 10th century. The roof and nave has been altered, see the old roof line, he progressed. The tower has been rebuilt and it took a number of winters to do it, you can see that from the differing stone work inside. Did you see the old lettering on the tower and the bells...... Ok must go, friends are here, we are off for a walk he said as he toddled off. Well if that's the gear he walks in, lets hope he never goes out with the plodders. Mud mud glorious mud etc etc..
All walk participants arrived, togged up, bladders emptied, we set off in half the cars to Barley. Reg leading today's trek which was the last leg of the Lancashire trail, started at the large car park (Cost £1) with the very nice cafe.
Now the observant ones of the congregation will probably be wondering why the Lancashire trail ends up in Thornton In Craven which is infact in North Yorkshire. Well the reason being, is that the sizeable car parking space is outside the church which is only 100 metres across the border. There are no passports required and as long as you get in and out quickly none of them Yorkshire folk will know your from Lancashire as long as you keep schtum. Well apart from Reg, who is from Yorkshire but is leading the East Lancashire plodders. All very confusing isn't it.
The walk, ah yes the walk. I almost forgot about that.
Well as is usual there is a group photy but we set off without mention. It didn't last long, Martin, fellow blogger from Timperley fame was waiting until we got clear of the car park to spring in front, call a halt to proceedings whilst he set up the self timer, adjusted focal distance, checked the light meter, cleaned his boots, got the little un's tut front, big un's tut back. You know what he's like. Then strobe flash, click, all done. Onward passed the Outdoor centre and through a beech and spruce wooded bit which was very pretty with all the leaves on the ground, covering the mud wallows waiting to catch the odd walker out.
Passed Hollin Top and onto Bank End we dropped down south to the Black Bar Rd which we followed for a short distance before stopping for a quick break before heading north again following Blacko water to meet Wheathead Lane.
Quite a muddy path took us past Admergill farm and an even muddier path which Martin sadistically smiled and photographed while the less nibble clung onto the barbed wire fence. A herd of water buffalo watch perplexed at the escapade.
Once through the quagmire, knee deep in parts, we ascended to and crossed the A862 where a short ascent brought us to an old quarry where it was decided to take lunch. It was a bit nippy where the majority dropped rucksacks and so i repositioned myself about 25yds further on just on the lee side. Soon joined by Martin so that i wasn't Billy no mates. The Moorcock Inn looked ominously close but post lunch we headed away from it, east, towards Gisburn Old Road, where after taking pictures of Laurel and Hardy sat by a pond we turned down Lister Well Road, a green lane heading for Barnoldswick.
En-Route a couple were intently perusing the map, rucksacks off and looking a bit vague, the chap asked us where we were going and on the reply of Thornton, there seemed no connection, as though we had said Beinne Eighe.
At the bottom of the lane the B6251 was quite busy and noisy but the leaders on point, shot off across the road and headed for Dye House Farm. After about 100yds there was a shout from the back. "Oye we're not going that way". Yes you've guessed, Martin and I and 2 others had to march back up the hill to the road and take an adjacent path over Hurst Hill to the B6383. Now this was a wide busy road and if it didn't say "B" road on the map you would have sworn on oath it was an "A" road. We bravely negotiated death, crossed and walk on a good path down to Cockshot Bridge over the Leeds and Liverpool canal, where a vast number of narrow boats were moored for winter. Some even wrapped in plastic.
Our leader, that's Reg, took the decision to stop for a last break and Martin dispatched the remnants of his lovely chocolate brownies. See we can do cake Louise!
We even had a discussion about recipes and Carrot cake and all sorts of yummy things and then we were off again.
Passing Kayfield farm, again it was quite muddy but the farmer had very kindly split a straw bale over the worst of it so that we passed easily and cleanly.
In the next field it was a surprise to see an Alpaca.
And then 4 inquisitive donkeys marched us through the next field which brought us nicely back to Thornton In Craven church before it got dark.
It had been a good day, no rain, good company, well led apart from when those in front had no idea where we were going. Loads of different fungi was noticed today. In the main unidentifiable (by me),so i have some searching to do.
14km, 412m of ascent. 4hrs 39mins including stops. Ave speed 4.1kph.
Another take on this day out and some more photo's will be found on Martin's blog Postcard from Timperley. when his write up is posted.