16th JUNE 2018

With waterproofs already on, we left the canalside at Salterforth and climbed across fields to Letcliffe Park and joined the ancient cobbled route leading to the outskirts of Barnoldswick.  The millworkers’ way led us past weavers’ cottages and the deep caul carrying water into the cleverly diverted stream which once fed the waterwheel at Ouzledale Mill, now in ruins. This route continued towards the famous Bancroft Mill and up the Forty Steps, giving us a good view of the huge Mill complex.  The steep Folly Lane led onto an incline of fields to eventually reach the triangulation point on Weets Hill, 1302 ft. We should have had a 360 degree view from here of at least Smearsett Scar, Ingleborough, Penyghent and Fountains Fell but heavy mist and rain prevented that. From the summit we progressed downhill to Gisburn Old Road, once the main road from Barrowford to Gisburn, and lunched here in some shelter and with at least a view of Pendle Hill.  From Weets House Farm, (the alpacas out of the weather somewhere), we could see the folly of Blacko Tower, then headed over the moor to the isolated Duck Pond Farm where is a display of huge plaster sculptures by a once-occupant art teacher. A brighter sky and downhill hereon we picked out some distant fells and landmarks as we tracked on to join Lister Well Road, onto a green pathway leading to High Lane, and through fields. An old quarry nearby used to provide the setts which were taken by canalboats to build the streets of Burnley.  We arrived at the canal and crossed a packhorse bridge where there was once a cornmill, close to a millpond which used to serve the 34ft. waterwheel at County Mill. The mill yard still retains an axle from the waterheel, and the mill was restored by the Mitchell family in 1907 to, currently, weave deckchair material and top-end upholstery fabric. We followed the lush canal banks back to Salterforth and called in at the Anchor Inn. This Inn has an interesting history dating from 1655 when it accommodated drovers and salters. When the canal was dug between 1770 and 1816 the original inn was below the waterline, so a new inn was built on top, and part of it can still be seen in the damp cellars where amazing straw stalactites grow to lengths of two metres  – a most interesting walk led by Frances.

Phyllida Oates.