Wednesday, 29 June 2005

Pendle Witch Camp

Last Friday set off in my friends car from Burnley at around midday in pouring rain, we all felt a little gloomy at the prospect of a weekends camping in the damp. Plus, thunder and lightning had also been forecasted.The rain beat down steadily on the motorway all the way to Colne, where we left the motorway and joined the road to Keighly. By the time we got to Trawden it was only spitting a little, so went up Rock Lane and onto the farm land where we had been allowed to camp for the weekend. Lo and behold, the rain had stopped!!! So out of the car we got, eager to pitch our tents before the heavens opened again. Luckily we were one of the first cars to arrive, so we were able to find a spot where there wasnt a huge accumulation of either cow pats or thistles. Soon other folk began to arrive, some I recognised from other camps we had been at, some were complete strangers, however, all had smiling faces. Almost immediately some guy came over to lend a hand with the tent erecting for which I was very grateful. It stayed fine for the afternoon till about 6 when we were in Claires tent having out evening meal. Her tent is more like a marquee, its huge!!!!!!! Can fit table and chairs in it,which makes it quite handy in inclement weather.

On exploring the site, we found that a variety of trades had set up stalls and shops, a bit like a medieval village, there were jewelery stalls catering stalls woodcarvers apothacaries and crafts off all descriptions.

At night, once it had begun to grow dark we all sat arounf a campfire, a lot of people were drumming, some singing, was a very good atmosphere.The low point was going to the loo in the dark I slipped and fell in a cow pat!!! Well, as we say here in the north, Muck for Luck.

During the rest of the weekend the weather was wonderful, the sun came out and it was very hot at times. There were workshops to attend on a variety of topics, Morris Dancers came to entertain, and on the last night a folk group played around the campfire. To my great embarassment they played Happy Birthday, somebody had blabbed that it was my 54th birthday!!! On Monday morning we all packed up and went out various ways home, having met old friends and made many more new ones.

One of the great things living on the farmland was all the country noises, cows bellowing, curlews calling, sheep bleating, swallows diving over us, plus a sparrow hawk hovering for ages, then swooping down to catch its prey. Cant wait now for the next camp at the end of July up in north Yorkshire!!!



Sunday, 12 June 2005

Last sunday.

On the spur of the moment last sunday, I hurriedly packed my rucksack with a flask and sandwiches and left the house at around 1pm. I walked briskly through Daisyfield allotments, alongside the railway track, then through the Kilns and Copy Wood. Was please to find the ground almost dry and still a few bluebells in flower.Once I got to Todmorden Road I kept on until the first railway bridge just over the border into Cliviger. Sat down on a bench to have my lunch, then over a style and across a few fields. Rabbits scurried in all directions, was good to see so many as round where I live none have been seen by me for about 3 years now. Have no idea why this should be. Had to cross a field full of cattle, I was most wary in case there was a bull, but they were just cows with their calves. They seemed quite curious but didnt come too close, thank God. I couldnt have run if they had have done as the ground was quite boggy and I was having to walk on bullrushes in order to keep dry.

I was supposed to be on the Burnley Way, kept seeing the waymarkers, but the track in places is non existant, so had to backtrack several times. Got lost at one point and had to climb over a dry stone wall covered in barbed wire to get onto the right side of it. managed to do so without ripping my clothes. By this time the sun had come out, so removed my fleece and rolled my sleeves up. I decided to get back onto the main road near Holme Chapel and from there onto the lane to Buckley Wood. The track down to the main road is nothing more than adrainage ditch, which goes under the railway. Water was flowing down it and the stones under my feet were slippy as hell. Needless to say I came down it very gingerly. Once on the main road again I walked as far as the Ram Inn and sat outside in their picnic area to finish off my flask of tea. I had intended going up through Buckley Wood to Theively Pike and from there back home via Crown Point, but realised that if I did so I wouldnt be getting back home until about 8pm. So, after 45 minutes I caught the bus back to Burnley centre. Next time I will leave much earlier and make a full day of it.

Sunday, 6 February 2005

recent events

Hi all,


This is one of the Bridestones, way up above Todmorden. I reckon it took about 11/2 hours to get there. I was a murky day, quite warm in the valley, but once I got onto the tops it was feezing, took 1 pair of gloves off to eat my lunch but within minutes my fingers were seizing up. The Bridestones are millstone grit outcrops that have been moulded over the millions of years into fantastic shapes, found 1 that closely resembled a turtle.

At one farmhouse that I passed I noticed that daffodils were out in bloom, and a field was full of fieldfare flocking around in the grass. Someplace near Lydgate there was a bunnyrabbit, its white rump bobbing all over the place. In Todmorden Woods, way above the park, squirrels galore were scampering all over the trees.

Back in Tod, all was still the same, like nothing had ever happened, as if I had had no effect on the place, which I most probably hadnt.

Saturday, 15 January 2005

more trees

Today we went back to the same farm, but in a different field, for more tree planting. The area had all been staked out, so I began planting hawthorns around the perimeter. There were only about 8 of us in the morning, but around 6 more turned up in the afternoon. Luckily the weather was decent this time, dry, sunny at one stage and very mild for the time of year. Once I had planted the hawthorns, and others had filled in the bottom end and far side, we then began to plant alders and willow saplings in the central area which was quite soggy underfoot. They will help with the drainage of the land. At around 3-30 we downed tools, took them back up to the farm and loaded them along with the unplanted trees into a trailer. Then it was back to Hebden Bridge for drinks and dinner at the Shoulder Of Mutton, then the 7-38 train back to Burnley for me.

Monday, 3 January 2005

More tree planting

On saturday, New Years Day, met a small group of other like minded people in St. Georges Square in Hebden Bridge. From there, the mini bus took us up to Heights Farm, way up above Midgeley, overlooking Luddenden valley. It was quite a mild morning for january, fine also, so, after dumping all our gear in the farmhouse garage, we set off for the planting site. As you can see on the photo, it was quite a steep slope alongside the road. Some folk had got there before us and had made a start. Began by planting spruce trees in groups of three, working my way along the slope. An hour later another minibus full landed, recognised a lot of the same people who had been at Hebden Hey in november. At one time I heard a loud honking noise and looked up to see an enormous skein of geese flying quite low across the sky, I think they were going more or less due west. Stopped for a lunch break at around 1-15, hot soup, crusty bread, chocolate cake, tea, coffee, and mulled wine were available up at the farm. Very enjoyable!!

Afterwards, when we got back to the planting site, the weather began to deteriorate rapidly. The wind increased in strength and the drizzle became heavy rain. However, we all carried on regardless. I had to abandon my gloves as they became saturated. By around 3-30, we had planted almost as far as the wall at the end of the field. By then the rain was torrential, heard it thunder once, looked up and saw a grey mist rapidly approaching, it was hailstones. Felt like glass hitting my face, so I beat a very hasty retreat back to the farm, the others not very long after me. We all were grateful for hot drinks and to sit in front of a stove to try and dry ourselves off a little.

Later, most of us went to a meal that had been put on by Penny in Hebden Bridge. She reckoned around 600 trees had been planted by the 40 or so of us who had gone. Another tree planting in 2 weeks, so I look forward to it. Just hope it doesnt hail though!!!