The Vault Regulars

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Three Bridges, Ribble Way.

Wednesday 20th June 2018.

Our 3km walk to the railway station was showery and quite blustery. Considering the lovely weather of late we were in two minds if we were doing the right thing going for a walk today but the train was on time, so well done Northern, it makes a change.
Our journey to Clitheroe would take us 1 1/2 hrs. The train stopped at every station including some places I’d never heard of before like Langho and Ramsgreave and Wilpshire.
Nearing Blackburn the clagg was really low and rain had started to come in through the partially opened carriage window. I thought to myself, well at worst we can visit the castle instead of getting a soaking.
As it turned out, when we arrived in Clitheroe it was just spitting. We needed jackets but not over trousers thankfully as it was very humid. Also, thankfully it wasn’t windy here like it was at home.

We set off west from the station through a sheltered housing complex and then turned right onto Kirkmoor rd where at the first bend we passed through kissing gate across 3 fields to join the River Ribble. On route we stopped for a chat with a farmer and a photo of his MF 5455 with mower attachment.
MF 5455 4wd
Down a set of steps at the river you get a great view of Waddow Hall. You certainly get the wow factor from it’s imposing position it but it is a Commonwealth training centre and not a hotel or country club. How they manage to maintain such a massive building I don’t know but they seem to. The Hall dates back to the 17th century built by the Tempest Family in the Tudor period and remained theirs until 1657 when Richard Tempest died in debter's prison. Obviously some massive upheaval happened here and it would be an interesting project to find out more.
* Added. It would seem that Richard Tempest was a bit of a gambler and lost everything, ending up in debter's prison where he died.
Waddow Hall
The river here is wide but not very deep and ideal for canoeing or pack rafting, or like us just walking beside. After the rain this morning the grass was wet and it didn’t take long for us to wish we had brought gaiters. The bottom of our trousers were wet through.

Brungerley Bridge was soon reached and it’s a typical Georgian stone bridge of this area with 3 archways. It replaced an earlier wooden bridge which was destroyed in a flood around 1814 and replaced in 1816. This bridge has extending stone water spouts to drain surface water. Spotted by Sheila. It also has inscription on a stone on the western parapet at midspan.

Brungerley Bridge 
Up the nicely constructed steps, through the wall stile and across the road we joined the path through Brungerley park and the Sculpture Trail which came to being in 1993 and has 20 sculptures by different artists. On route there are a few dead end paths caused by erosion but they are in the main signposted with diversions. 
The choice is yours at this point, you can stay with the river or alternatively go through the old Cross Hill quarry which is now a nature reserve.

We chose to stay river side and follow the path down to Bradford Bridge. We passed numerous sculpture varying from tiled paths to wood carvings, all very good. The trail is through old woodland so we didn't realise it was raining quite hard until we came out onto the river bank through a small gate with a massively over engineering closing system.
 In front of us we could see the working buildings of the massive Hanson cement works, which used to be Castle cement and Ribblesdale Cement before that. It opened in 1937. 
The sound from the operations could be heard as we walked but it was more background noise rather than off putting. Whether that can be said from other locations i'm not sure. 
The rain was now sweeping in horizontal and we sheltered for a short while under the trees. I took some pictures and didn't notice that the rain had landed on the camera lens until later, so sorry for any images with blurred round dots. 

The rain eased a little so we set off towards Bradford Bridge. This again is similar to Brungerley Bridge in looks with its stone arches, but this one is Victorian and has 4 arches. It is also known as Horrocksford Bridge and was built between 1888 and 1891. Its a very narrow construction and is the cause of numerous accidents. 
Bradford Bridge (with rain spots)
The river bank is followed closely upstream, through lush fields and open views. The river has a couple of places where stepping stones give access to the opposite bank. Today though the central stones were well under water, so you would have to be a bit mad to try it. Further up we came to a stile at a pump house that also had a large bore overflow pipe, probably from the quarry behind the trees. 
Beyond here the path eventually leaves the river at a sharp bend and continues slightly upwards through Bond Hurst Wood. This is also part of the Ribble Way.
On the rhs we have the fence line of the quarry works. When it takes a 90 degree right turn the Ribble way carries on North East. The path following the fence line turns South East and is the one we needed but at this time of year it wasn't obvious due to the long grass and could easily be missed if engrossed in conversation.
The path undulates through fields of stock and as long as you follow the fence line it brings you out on a side road in Chatburn.

Ten very nice new houses are currently under construction on the side road. Turn left at the road and head downhill in Chatburn village. Cross the first main road which has a traffic slowing scheme in operation.  Past a very nice local butchers, past two pubs the Black Bull and the Brown Cow. Both looked nice places but only the Brown Cow was open this Wednesday Lunchtime. 

 The easily missed path turning SE.
Its ok boys were just passing through, no need to get up.

We headed for the church and a quick look around its interior then outside to one of its numerous benches for lunch with a view. At this point the sun appeared and a bit of blue sky opened up to the NE.
Chatburn folk should be very proud of their village, its pretty, clean, well managed and a pleasure to walk through. Long may it remain so. 
Post lunch we headed off down the footpath to Grindleton which is located between the Church and the school. Across well managed playing fields and kids park we crossed a stile heading through stock fields to pick up the Ribble again. 
There were some odd signs saying Private, but they also had way marker badges on them so i presume the paths are now permitted routes but it can be a little confusing to newby's like us. 

We were now headed downstream on the Ribble as far as Grindleton metal bridge which we crossed so that we could pick up the path on the opposite bank to which we had come. I can't find much about this metal bridge but i guess just like the previous 2 bridges it was washed away and replaced with a metal one at the turn of the twentieth century. (i could be wrong of course).
To get to the bank was a bit of a detour up the road to the first road turning on the left, past Skin House, where a small lane, Ribble Avenue on the left leads past some lovely houses through a gate and to the bank. 

Cross over a small footbridge and head up towards the gates of a treatment works where the path goes left and becomes an obvious trod riverside. A number of stiles are crossed but the path is an obvious one and leads back to Bradford Bridge. The sun was now full on and the humidity high. With this mornings rain, steam was rising from the fields and roads and it was just like being in a sauna.
The lower trouser legs were removed and remained that way for the rest of the day.

There is no path on the north river bank beyond Bradford Bridge to Brungerley Bridge which is a real shame. This meant we had to repeat this section of river on our route back to Clitheroe. 
Just after crossing Bradford Bridge we stopped to chat to a couple who were doing the Ribble Way complete and were then carrying on up the Pennine Way. Today though they were only heading for Sawley and accommodation.  I hope they make the whole route, it will be a fantastic walk. 

What we missed earlier due to the clagg was Pendle Hill, Browsholme Moor, Waddington Fell and the Howgills to the North. Now, with the clagg gone and the sun shinning they were all clear and amazing open views. 

We made it back to the station at Clitheroe with 25 minutes to spare. The train runs hourly back to Manchester. We had walked 14.20km Clitheroe and back and a further 6km from home to station and back, so 20.20km total. My knee was sore and when we stopped it was a struggle to get moving. It proved to us how you quickly loose fitness and the need we have to get out more. 

 Chatburn Church

 Grindleton Bridge
 Ribble Avenue.
 Sun's out, shorts on.
 Meadow Cranes-bill.
 Clearing Skies
 I think these are Military Orchids.
 Young Goosander
 Pendle Hill beyond Clitheroe.
Clitheroe Castle
Route, starting and finishing at Clitheroe station 14.2km.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Bergen. June 2018

As per my previous two short posts, readers know we are/were in Bergen Norway. We were fortunate to go as Sheila's mum is still not independent. Fortunate, that we have good neighbours who we can trust and who volunteered to help.
So off we went.

This isn't going to be a post about hiking in Norway, but just a few pointers which i feel could be helpful to anyone heading off that way.

We flew Norwegian Air, cutting a long story short, we could only get flights that had 1 stop on route. Norwegian were fine but the transfers were horrendous. Never again will i do any flying with a transfer with this company. A single A to B flight though would be ok with them.
Our flights were Manchester-Stavanger-Bergen and Bergen-Oslo-Manchester.

Landing in Bergen, we had choices of transport mode to get into town. Taxi, Bus or Light rail.
We chose the bus because it was sat right outside the gate. In hindsight the light rail is cheaper but takes a bit longer. Taxi cost is £40/50, Bus is £12.50 each way and the light rail is £3.90 each way.
(exchange rate at 10NKR to £1.)

I was very impressed with the bus route as it is mostly in a tunnel which goes 90% approx of the whole journey which means that you are never held up by traffic. Very smart idea.
The light rail does a bit of a tour but its worth it for the scenery.

Our hotel was in the Bryggen area, which is right on the harbour and the bus stopped about 100 metres away from it. If you stay at the Raddison then its stops right outside the door. Handy.

After checking in we did the usual get our bearings walk about and sampled our first beer. 2x 400ml of lager, and the cost was £18. Even though we knew what to expect money wise it is still a shock to the system to pay so much for so little.
Over the week we found that beer and wine prices were all around £20 for 2 drinks. We did find a couple of slightly cheaper places. Skippers bar drinks cost us £15 for 2 and the Guinness in the No Stress bar was £7.80 for one. Cocktails varied depending on what you chose.
We found a micro brewery just beside the fish market which did 4 or 5 different beers but again it wasn't cheap at £20 for 2 drinks.

Bergen itself is a lovely town to walk around which we did. We split the town up into two halves so that we didn't repeat the walk. There are plenty of hilly streets so its not long before your legs start to say "hang on i thought we were out for a bimble not a hike".
There's lots of parks, churches, museums, galleries, squares, shopping malls and of course coffee bars. We found the coffee price varied greatly from £2.80 to £6.50.

The harbour/shore line is a pleasant walk with may old warehouses that have been converted into small businesses or accommodation. Unfortunately many cruise ships come into Bergen, i say unfortunately from a purely selfish point of view. That's because as many as five ships came in one day and there are thousands of folk on each ship which means Bergen is swamped. It can be a very pleasant quiet place one minute to the complete opposite the next.

A training sailing ship called the Statraad Lehmkuhl was also in port and it was also here 30 yrs ago, the last time i was here. Its a beautiful ship which we were allowed to go onboard. They do beer tasting trips around the bay as well on long sailing trips to the likes of Orkney.

The Fjord trips on Express boats are good value for money with many trips to suit all pockets. We chose a three hour trip to Mostraumen. The scenery is wonderful and it cost £60 each.

From the centre of town you have two quick ways to gain height. The Cable car and the Funicular.
We went up to Floyen on the Funicular, we didn't have enough time to do the cable car. The Funicular is cheap at £5 and provides fantastic views.
At the top there is the usual tourist cafes and souvenir shops. We noticed the prices were cheaper here than in town. There is also an old hotel with restaurant which has some lovely architecture.

From the top there are many, many ways to head off out on the walking trails. We did a few of the shorter ones which to be honest are good and can pass quite a few hours. You need a decent map to head off further which we didn't have.
Theres a good track to head off down to town when your ready. Again with good views.

The cable car has a good bus service which takes you on a return journey. It leaves from the stop near to the tourist information centre. The TIC is well staffed and a good size. It was well used.

A tour of the Outdoor shops had us jaw dropping with the prices. All very expensive and as a guide a pair of Craghopper shorts which cost £35 in UK was £109 in Bergen. I was particularly interest in a pair of Alfa boots but they are cheaper to buy online in UK than what they are in the country they are made.

We were quite surprised to see so many electric or hybrid cars. The information we found said that Norway was 32% electric now, but we think that could be old data, there seemed to be a lot more and especially Tesla. Diesel was around the £1.40 per litre.
We got chatting to an electric car owner and he said that they were good for commuting to and from work but not for longer distances as in some parts of Norway services were not available.
Sticking to transport, there were many old American cars around and plenty of Harley Davidsons. They met up at the fish market quay and the bikes were stunning.

Norway is trying hard to move to a cash less society so we got some odd glances when we payed cash for everything. Well everything except public loo's, which you needed your card to open the door. The cost was Nkr10, so £1. But then you get the sting in the tail, they charge you for being foreign customer, on your card statement you see it cost £1.93. Best thing to do is wait for someone to come out of the loo. Everybody does this, so unless you are desperate, just hang on in there.

Bergen is exceptionally clean and tidy so when you see litter its a bit of a shock. We found out from a tour guide that the problem lies with Iraqi immigrants mainly, who search all the bins for plastic bottles so they can get the recycling money for them. There is something wrong with the policy, surely if you accept immigrants then they shouldn't have to be searching bins in what is a very rich country.

Anyway i don't want to end on a bad note because this is a tiny aspect in what is a fantastic place to visit.
Here's a few pictures i took.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Floyen and beyond.

We went to bed with the weather changing. Low cloud, quite windy and a drop in temperature. Our thoughts that we would awaken to a dull day were quickly dismissed as we opened the blackout curtains. It was a lovely cloudless day.
Our plan was to go up to Floyen on the funicular, walk around some of the tracks and then walk back down to town. 
It all went well, we had a great time and we got to the top before the hoards of cruise ship tourists. 
Most of the tracks are easy to follow and short distances. 
We slipped up by not taking any maps so the longer trails were out of bounds to us. Mainly this was due to the tops being tree covered, limiting visibility and the fact that paths were everywhere. 
It was no hardship to keep retracing our start point and we enjoyed the coffee too at £2.60.
The route down from Floyen is easy. There’s much to view also and quite a bit of wildlife if you find a quiet spot to sit off trail. 
Back in town we had to find a shoe shop due to Sheila’s sandals coming apart. 
I worked a rough distance out at around 12km. 
Sorry there are no images. For some reason Google is playing up. A bit like Visa.

Sent from my iPhone

Sunday, June 3, 2018

A short break in Norway.

Thanks to some wonderful friends and neighbours who are making sure Sheila’s mum is ok. We managed to get to Bergen. The journey which we booked with Norwegian airways was a traumatic event as we only had 20 minutes between transfers in Stavanger. We should have had a least an hour. It was chaos and very stressful.
Our bus trip to the hotel cost £25 for 2 adults. We should have got the rail it would have been £7.80. Hindsight is indeed wonderful.
The weather has been absolutely roasting. The hottest May on record. We are not complaining unlike the Norwegians who cannot have barbecues due to fire risk.
We have probably walked about 20km so far and we are finding Bergen to be a very vibrant, friendly and clean place even if it is so expensive in comparison to Manchester.
Tomorrow we plan on doing some short walking trails.

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