Strictly on the level

Some of you will be familiar with Little Miss Hoppy and part of her tail, sorry, her tale, has been told elsewhere on this blog. Briefly put, four years ago her front right leg was amputated from the shoulder after a tumour was discovered in her shoulder.  Since that marked the end of our fell-walking adventures most of our walks have been more or less restricted to even ground, especially since she is dependent on being transported for any but the shortest walk.

DSCF0100Prior to her op Heidi would accompany me on every walk, up hill and down dale, and would take in a walk up Skiddaw and back in a day, even going from the wrong car park.  We had walked from Low Nest, via Castlerigg stone circle, into Keswick and by the side of Latrigg, taking the “tourists” route to the top of Skiddaw, returning to Low Nest by way of The Dog and Gun.

As she is restricted by the buggy, then, so am I.  I am always looking out for low level, even-surfaced walks suitable for the buggy, with just a glimpse of longing at those oft-remembered hills.

Rarely do I get the chance to head off, usually with the Max, leaving the girls behind.  At the moment, Heidi cannot go out, and Max has to be caged when home.  (During week days Max is undertaking some work experience). So, to give Max a break, I released him from his cage and we took off in the direction of Winter Hill.

Winter Hill is a very prominent landmark in the North West and is visible for miles around.  Most days we can see it on the horizon on our daily dog walk round the local park.  On the edge of the Winter Hill Lancashire moorland is Rivington Pike, the most westerly point of Winter Hill, best approached through the espansive folly of Lever Park and the ruined terraced gardens.

Parking here is always a problem, especially at weekends, so, get there early.  Travelling from Standish to Horwich, once past the Anglezarke reservoir, follow the brown signs and turn left towards Rivington Hall.  It makes a much longer walk but I always prefer the first car park on the left which gives you easy access to Liverpool Castle.

Liverpool Castle is an incomplete 20th century gothic ruin, a replica of the 13th century Liverpool castle that was finally destroyed in the 18th century.  Oh folly.  It was recreated, almost, by Lord Leverhulme, conceived as a ruin but ironically never completed.  It does make a great venue for gothic fantasy.

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The Castle ruins are built at one end of Anglezarke reservoir. It is a level walk through canopied walkways and by the side of meadows where you can potter around to your heart’s content, taking pleasure in other people’s enjoyment of their leisure time.  Most of the people I passed were happy to speak and exchange the time of day, well this is Lancashire, I would expect nothing less.

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After a brief pit stop at the Great House Barn – dogs not welcome inside but the staff will happily take your order and bring it out to you – the quiche is highly recommended and I cannot wait to go back to sample their pie and mash  – we said farewell to the cheeky chaffinches and girded up our loins for the upward trek to Rivington Pike.

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