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16 November, 2008

Walk: Clougha, near Lancaster

Taking advantage of a crisp, sunny autumn day, I went for a walk on Clougha, specifically to find a couple of highlights I hadn't seen before: Ottergear Bridge and Escher's Clougha Egg Cairn.  Needless to say, something else I took was my camera.

Like most people, I started at Birk Bank car park, locking my bike to a fence, but instead of heading right, up the usual path, I turned left towards the shooting track, hoping to catch a glimpse of Escher's 'Clougha Egg Cairn'. That proved to be unexpectedly easy: it dominates the skyline at the top of Birk Bank itself. Hence, I abandoned the path almost immediately, carefully crossing the bog then scrambling straight up the steep, boulder-covered slope to find the best angles for photography.

After a while, I crossed to the mysterious rectangular tower (an air vent on the Thirlmere Aqueduct pipeline?) then followed a clear track back down to the footpath – that's probably the best route up for those unwilling/unable to take the direct way. From there, it was a short distance to my second target of the day, Ottergear Bridge, another, seemingly over-engineered, feature of the Thirlmere Aqueduct. Awkward light and overhanging vegetation (plus a poor choice of lens) limited the number of publishable photos I obtained, but A explored thoroughly before moving on again.

The shooting track to the top of the moor was longer and more circuitous than I remembered; I was glad to reach the third waymark, Andy Goldsworthy's 'Clougha Pike'. I'd already obtained a few photos there in June, and the light may have been better then, so I didn't stay long, heading to the final target, Clougha Pike itself (the hill's summit) as the shadows began to lengthen. After sitting quietly to appreciate the views and an inquisitive Red Grouse, I returned to Birk Bank a little too late to photograph 'Clougha Egg Cairn' from the road.

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