Celebrating Shaun's 27th birthday


Date - 25th February 2024 Distance - 4.25 miles
Ascent -
600 ft
Map - OL41
Start point - Stoops Bridge, Abbeystead (SD 5636 5435)


Summits Achieved

No summits were reached on this walk



Saturday, and Dad was going to Manchester to see a play at the Royal Exchange theatre, with our pals Rex and Starbuck.

All was well the tea and cakes had arrived and Southey was assisting Shaun in filling the mugs and passing them around.

"Thanks pal", said Shaun.

We all then called out, "Happy Birthday Shaun. 27 today. Many happy returns."

"Thanks. You are all such special pals. We have had so many adventures together, and long may they continue."

"So what's the cake today?" asked Allen, who being the president of the Teddy Bear Tea Belly and Cake Stuffers Society (TBTB&CSS), is always hungry!

"I have made Chorley cakes", replied Grizzly.

"And I have made chocolate caramel shortbread", went on Little Eric.

"Yummy", cried Allen, taking one of each and offering the tins to Southey who did likewise. He is secretary of the society!

Shaun was taking a bite of his Chorley cake, when he stopped it poised in mid air. "Where's Tetley? He too never misses tea and cakes."

"Not sure", replied Allen, "but he will be here soon, of that there is no doubt."

Minutes later he arrived. "I have been talking with Dad, and have just waved him off to Manchester. Oh Thanks pal", he went on as Southey passed him a mug of tea, and plate with one of each of the cakes on it.

"About walking?", asked Grizzly. "Although looking at the diary Dad is out every day next week and has two drives to Manchester and also to Warrington to see Uncle Paul. I would have thought he would want a rest tomorrow."

Finishing the caramel shortbread, Tetley replied, "I would agree pal, but Dad has clearly said we are to walk tomorrow to celebrate Shaun's birthday. Not too long and not too far to the start."

"I've got an idea", called out Little Eric. "Last May we did the walk from Abbeystead, but could not find the correct route for the second half. We could repeat and this time hopefully do it all as published."

Oh yes pal, a great idea", agreed Allen. "I'll go and see what he thinks once he gets home."

As you will see Dad was in agreement.


The Walk

From Lancaster we took the road by Williamson Park going left to pass under the motorway, and on through Quernmore and then climb towards Jubilee Tower.

"The turn to Abbeystead is just a little further and to the right", advised Shaun

"Here", called out Grizzly, pointing to the signpost.

The narrow lane dropped down to join a wider road at the junction, to take us through the village and over Stoops Bridge the rough parking by the lane being immediately right.

Quite busy as can be seen, it was completely full on our return at the end of the walk.

While Dad got ready we looked at the river flowing gently along. "Nearly ready", called out Dad.

"OK", replied Little Eric, as we got settled in the rucksack.

"Route is left over the bridge", stated Southey.

"The river is the Tarnbrook Wyre", said Grizzly. "Gently flowing and nice with the sun glinting on the surface. Take a picture please Dad."

To the right a path leads by the river, this making a nice scene.

"Perhaps we could use that in a different walk we could devise from here", mused Tetley.

A gentleman who we had seen in the car park was returning from walking up the village and spotted us, so Dad briefly explained and about our many adventures of the years.

Striding on progress was shortly halted as Little Eric called out, "post box. Picture please Dad."

"Of course lad."

Continuing uphill we passed the fine houses in the village, like this one.

Reading from the instructions Southey advised, "where the road bends sharp right, we take the stile and walk ahead across the field.

Boggy in places unsurprisingly after all the weeks and weeks of rain it was through the waymarked gate on the far side and then over the footbridge onto a wide surfaced farm track.

"Turn left", said Shaun.

Keeping on this the route led by and above the river.

Passing this building...

...by which is the stone bearing this inscription.

"What happened here?" asked Tetley.

Grizzly later told us. "On 23rd May 1984. a group of visitors from St. Michaels on Wyre were inside the underground valve house attending a public presentation by North West Water Authority to demonstrate the operations of the station, when a methane gas explosion destroyed the valve house. In all 16 people were killed. 8 were killed instantly and others were severely injured. The explosion also caused the concrete to fall down onto the group, destroying the steel mesh floor, and throwing some victims into the water chambers below, which rapidly filled with river water." (Source - Wikipedia, where more information can be found)

"How terrible", said Little Eric, with tears in his eyes.

The track stretched out before us.

"There are those defunct footbridges we saw last time", pointed Allen. "Still wonder where they were once used."

"Wonder if one was originally Long Bridge now replaced?", mused Tetley.

A little way on, Shaun said, "there's that stone, one of many marking the route of the Wyre Way long distance path."

The path finally led to Long Bridge.

"Yuck", said Southey, seeing the muddy path Dad had to negotiate from the far side.

"So glad to be in the rucksack", laughed Tetley.

"At the junction go left", instructed Shaun.

This led to another footbridge, where we met a family out for a walk, and Dad had a little chat.

"I remember there were masses of bluebells here. It would be nice to consider repeating again in May to see them", suggested Allen.

The path climbed right to a stile into a field the route being half right up the cart track to a gate.

"Keep right by the hedge to Catshaw Hall", called out Shaun.

As we walked through the farmyard young children were playing. Little Eric said, "look at that tiny kitten. Hardly bigger than your hand Dad."

"Aww, so cute", said Shaun.

It was too fast for Dad to get picture, disappearing into a barn.

The access led on to Little Catshaw, Tetley saying, "we will pass the fancy gate made of old farm implements. Must have a picture for the story."

Passing the house and barn, Allen called out, "look there are the farm cats. Five of them!"

"Keep along the track, then when it turns sharp right, go ahead by the fence, and cross a stile and footbridge", advised Shaun.

"Right", said Shaun. "We are now in the pasture where we went wrong last time. The instructions say to go through the gate, but that was where we got lost. So instead let's try the gate on the far right side."

This led into a huge field, that Dad laboured his way across as it was very soft with the rain. Looking left Tetley said, "I can see buildings across the field beyond the wood. They must be Marl House, where we need to be. But there is no way out from here as there is an unbroken fence."

"So it must be the gate we took last time", sighed Little Eric.

"Yes", agreed Dad, and sighing, "more hard work getting back across this field."

So we took the gate we did last time that fitted with the instructions, on to wide track. Very soon Grizzly called out and pointed down by a tall fence, "look there are steps at the bottom. That must be the route."

It was steep and very slippery, but with care our sure-footed Dad made it safely down.

"Ahh", said Southey. "What we should have done is follow the track a bit further then turn right by the fence above Cam Brook to get to these steps. That ties in with the instructions."

All was now straight forward, up the steps and down the far side to the footbridge.

We paused on the footbridge while Dad took shots of Cam Brook, first upstream...

...and tumbling downstream.

Walking uphill from the brook, there were sheep grazing, and this one just stood begging to have its picture taken. "Oh noooo..." shouted Allen. "I was doing so well not to have any sheep pictures."

"Never mind", replied Southey. "We'll make Dad promise not to take any more today."

"Hmph, ok."

As the gradient levelled we could clearly see the buildings of Marl House.

"Through the gate and down the left side", said Shaun.

Before this we stood and looked to the wide sweep of the Bowland Fells. "Ahh", said Tetley, "we had a great time climbing those in 2015."

"Yes", agree Southey. "That is one challenge that I can say I have done."

"That's Ward Stone", pointed Allen.

"And to the left, Grit Fell", stated Little Eric.

"What's that big house", pointed Southey.

"Abbeystead House, one of the homes of the Duke of Westminster", replied Grizzly.

Having reminisced about those past adventures, Dad strode out past Marl House and along the track towards Hawthornthwaite.

By the buildings, Shaun pointed, "over the stile left and follow the path out to the road by that house."

"And now?", asked Little Eric.

Shaun replied, "left then left through a gate."

The clear path led on through more gates to eventually come by woodland at Bond Clough.

Studying the map, Southey then said, "at the end of the second field in the far right corner we go right into the wood."

Muddy approaching the stile it was worse on the far side for quite a few yards, at times the mud coming almost over the top of Dad's boots.

"Well at least if we repeat this walk in May the path here and the fields should be much drier", laughed Allen.

"We can only hope", sighed Dad.

The path was clear leading through Hinberry Wood. It began to descending via steps clinging to the very edge of a steep bank. "This is a bit tricky lads", said Dad. "In dry conditions I would use the steps but with the mud they will be very slippery. I'll have to be very careful."

Thankfully we got down safely the final steps leading us onto the main path.

"We noted these steps last may", said Tetley. "Correctly saying that was the proper route."

Turning right we soon crossed a footbridge and reach the road where it was left crossing the river to the car park.

"We have not had our picture taken", said Grizzly sternly. "We have to appear in every story!"

"There" pointed Dad. "Sit on that stone."

"Thanks", said Allen as we settled in the rucksack.

Soon at the car we jumped out and settled on the front seat. Dad took his boots off and then we drove home.

"Thanks Dad for a super day", said Little Eric. "We have sorted the route out for the future, as it would be good to repeat in May when the bluebells are out."

"Aye", said Tetley, "its been a grand day out."


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