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7 February, 2009

Walk: Ward's Stone, near Lancaster, UK

Whilst walking on Clougha or cycling in Wyresdale & Roeburndale, I've frequently wanted to visit Ward's Stone, the highest point in the Forest of Bowland; indeed, the highest peak in Lancashire.  However, its height belies the surrounding expanse of flat, peaty moorland and hence difficult walking conditions in any weather damper than an prolonged drought.
Or when the ground is totally frozen, like today.

Snow never lasts long in the Lancaster area – it may be the coastal air – so the cycle ride out to Quernmore was along clear roads, but by the time I reached the open moors beyond Brow Top there was a significant, if patchy, covering of snow; enough to accentuate details in the landscape, but not enough to impede walking. After locking my bike by Jubilee Tower, I gleefully strode off across the surface of the moor rather than intermittently ankle-deep in peat, as is more usual.

The theoretically-straight path up to Shooter's Pile still seemed to take forever (the destination is visible at every stage of the 2 km from Jubilee Tower, and never seems to get closer), but once on the plateau the walk was startlingly easy. I can't overstate how different the same moor can be when wet. It's not the prettiest area anyway: featureless and with limited views across the neighbouring valleys, but at least crossing wasn't an absolute chore today and ~90 minutes after leaving Jubilee Tower I was at the summit.

Briefly. The air was photogenically clear but the wind was far too cold for me to manipulate the camera with bare hands for long, so I rapidly retreated to a hollow in the rocks to enjoy a cup of tea – for the first time ever, I'd been sufficiently organised as to bring a flask. Oh; the luxury.

With my hands functioning again, I took a few more photos then returned across the moor, rather rapidly, as direct sunshine was unexpectedly beginning to melt the peat's surface.


Re: Metal things on fences......just a guess, to stop the fence from sagging?

Posted by Jan B at May 28, 2009 03:37 PM

I don't think so. The rectangular-mesh fence is probably more self-supporting than the single wire, and an otherwise identical fence on the Lower Lea road (i.e. ~100m away) survives without the tags.

Posted by NRT at May 28, 2009 03:43 PM
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