With the continuing glorious weather I’ve been getting out and about a lot with the camera and the dogs, although just recently I’ve not been going too far because of my damaged foot. The day after my walk to Smithills Hall I decided to revisit a local place I’d been to back in mid April – the old quarry just a mile or so up the road from home. Just like last time I parked in a convenient place just off the main road and took the path leading into the quarry but unlike the last time things were vastly different – the water running down the middle of the rocky path had been reduced to a trickle in the continuing dry weather, the path itself was looking rather overgrown and the bare and rather desolate quarry had sprung into life with green everywhere I looked, interspersed with colourful rhododendron bushes here and there.
As I walked along the bottom of the quarry I could see someone slowly climbing up the sheer rock face ahead – it seemed a bit of a dangerous thing to do but when I got closer I could see it was a girl and she was safely attached to a rope with someone at the top guiding her – definitely not the sort of thing I would do though, even with a rope and harness! Close to where the climbers were the path started to go steeply upwards and on the next level I came across what I assumed to be a bit of a picnic place probably made by and for various climbers – a three-sided seating area with a large flat-topped ‘table’ in the centre, all cobbled together out of various fallen quarry stones.
The higher I went the better the views became, in one direction looking down the quarry with the countryside north east of the town in the distance and in the other direction overlooking the countryside and moorland to the north. The path was rather overgrown in places and at one point I just managed to miss a clump of prickly thistles in the undergrowth, although the dark blue flowers looked quite nice. A bit higher still and the path eventually brought me out on Scout Road near the top of the very bad bend, and walking along I saw that where there had been clumps of daffodils in the fields only a few weeks before the grass was now dotted with fluffy-looking clumps of pink flowers. I don’t know what they were – knowing my luck they would be weeds – but they looked quite pretty anyway.
As I reached the car park where I would turn onto the path across the fields I decided on the spur of the moment to walk a bit further and see if there was still a lake across the road. Bryan Hey is a large private fishing lake, set back from the road behind a high bank and I remember going with my mum to pick blackberries there when I was 14 years old. The blackberry bushes ran between the roadside and the wall at the bottom of the bank, and while my mum picked the fruit from the roadside I went up on the bank and picked the berries from the top of the bushes. All went well until I put one foot too far over the edge of the wall and fell off the bank right into the middle of the bush – all my mum could see was my feet at the bottom and my head sticking out at the top, the rest of me was in the bush! Once I’d got over my surprise and we’d both finished laughing she somehow managed to get me out, though how I survived without being scratched to ribbons I’ll never know, and the event was a source of amusement for many years.
It turned out that the lake is still there and so are the blackberry bushes, though I kept myself and the dogs well away from them. A few people were fishing over on the far side of the lake but there was no-one on my side and it was very pleasant walking along on the tree-shaded lakeside path. When I got back down to the roadside I noticed something else which was obviously very new – set inside a private entrance with a colourfully decorated board proclaiming it was NOW OPEN was Skip-a-doo’s dog training area, a large securely-fenced exercise and training field with various items of agility equipment. Backing onto the moorland and with large colourful rhododendron bushes behind it looked like a nice place to train a dog.
Back across the road I retraced my steps to the car park and took the path across the fields abundant with large patches of the fluffy pink flowers. Following the path past the line of pine trees the grass became dotted with buttercups and in amongst them all I found just one small clump of rather sorry-looking bluebells. A bit further on was the pyramid-shaped stone which had been surrounded by a circle of daffodils just a few weeks before; now the daffodils were gone and the grass and weeds had grown up round the stone so much that I almost walked past it without seeing it. Compared to a few weeks ago it looked a mess and it certainly wasn’t worth taking another photo of it.
From there I went through the farm yard and onto the tarmac lane by the hamlet of houses, though where I turned right last time I went left instead and just round the bend, set back in the angle of a garden wall, was what presumably had, at some time, been a water spout with a small pool underneath it. It was completely dry and obviously had been for a long while but it was such an unexpected thing to see in that location that it was worth taking a photo of it. As I got to the bottom of the lane I was rewarded with a view of the countryside in front of me; it’s a view I’ve seen many times before when I’ve been out with the dogs but I never tire of it.
That was to be my last shot of the afternoon, and I returned to the van which was parked close by and drove back down the hill to home. It had been a good walk and my foot had held up well, fortunately with no real pain in spite of it being so damaged, but now it was time for the three of us to have a long cool drink and a good rest while I contemplated where to go for my next walk.