This is something I posted on facebook a year ago today and thought it worth repeating here.
I have long known of the Mass Trespass on Kinder Scout of 1932 and it’s significance, leading to the creation of the Ramblers Association, but today I have learnt of another, earlier date that should be celebrated – October 1887. When the “owner” of Latrigg blocked off the traditional route up the fell the newly formed “Keswick Commons & Footpaths Preservation Society” took action.
A mass protest was organised to walk up Latrigg, remove the obstructions and regain the righ…t to roam. Two thousand members of the public arrived for this mass protest. Henry Jenkinson, Secretary of the forementioned Society roused the “rabble”, which included Canon Rawnsley, with these words:
“Today, you are showing the world a spirit which will kindle such a fire as will light up all the British Isles! If we have no right of access to the summit of Latrigg, then we have no right to ascend other similar mountains in Great Britain.”
As they ascended the rabble began to sing “Rule Britannia” and at the summit sang the National Anthem.
One battle amongst many in the fight for the right to roam.
Remember this, where e’er you walk this weekend.
I had anticipated nothing more than a quiet walk around Lever park and possibly a stroll along the terraced gardens and, if I was feeling more energetic, a climb up to Rivington Pike to take in the view. Nothing more distracting than that.
I reached the ruined remains of the replicated 13th century castle and stumbled on a photography shoot – I could tell the photographer was a professional as he had an umbrella and it wasn’t even raining.
A perfect setting for a bit of cosplay.
There were plenty of other folk either just out for a walk or exercising their dogs. We passed a few runners and mountain bikers as we made our way to the café, but before we got there I was distracted by something whizzing above my head.
Look up – in the tree tops a group of people about to leap off down a zip-wire.
Go Ape – is now firmly established it seems wherever there is a bit of woodland.
The Great House Barn Tea Room is very popular, though dogs are not welcome inside, they were happy to take an order and serve us outside. I can recommend the quiche and salad – though next time I’m going to try out their pie and mash. The coffee tasted good too. This place is very popular with bikers and chaffinches.
Past the ruined gardens
Where you can take a dip, if you are so inclined.
Play Hide and Seek –
Where’s Max? Can you find him? He’s in there somewhere.
Taking in the view.
More than just a stroll in the park.
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.
Prior 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.
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.
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.
The miles go sliding by
Under my steady feet,
That mark a leisurely
And still unbroken beat,
Through coppices that hear
Awhile, then lie as still
As though no traveller
Ever had climbed their hill.
My comrades are the small
Or dumb or singing birds,
Squirrels, field things all
And placid drowsing herds.
Companions that I must
Greet for a while, then leave
Scattering the forward dust
From dawn to late of eve.
Ivor Gurney was probably the most original composer of his generation, but his music is harder to categorise than the music of Delius and his music is rarely performed. His poetry too is not easy to categorise and takes unexpected turns. A bit like life, really.
“Much has been written of travel, far less of the road. Writers have treated the road as a passive means to an end, and honoured it most when it has been an obstacle; they leave the impression that a road is a connection between two points which only exist when the traveller is upon it. Thought there is much travel in the Old Testament, “the way” is used chiefly as a metaphor. “Abram journeyed, going on still toward the south,” says the historian, who would have used the same words had the patriarch employed wings. Yet to a nomadic people the road was as important as anything upon it. The earliest roads wandered like rivers through the land, having, like rivers, one necessity, to keep in motion. We still say that a road “goes” to London, as we “go” ourselves. We point out a white snake on a green hillside, and tell a man: “That is going to Chichester.” At our inn we think when recollecting the day: “That road must have gone to Strata Florida.” We may go or stay, but the road will go up over the mountains to Llandovery, and then up again over to Tregaron. It is a silent companion always ready for us, whether it is night or day, wet or fine, whether we are calm or desperate, well or sick. It is always going: it has never gone right away, and no man is too late. Only a humourist could doubt this, like the boy in a lane who was asked: “Where does this lane go to, boy?” and answered: “I have been living here these sixteen years and it has never moved to my knowledge.” Some roads creep, some continue merely; some advance with majesty, some mount a hill in curves like a soaring sea-gull.”
The Icknield Way
I have commented elsewhere of my love for the writings of Edward Thomas, the collected poems are constantly open by my side, but before he was persuaded to turn to poetry he had a critically if not necessarily financially successful career as a travel/nature writer. The above paragraph comes from a book published in 1913 about Thomas’s journeying along The Icknield Way, the oldest trackway in England. It is sadly out of print (Little Toller, take note) and way overdue for a reprint.