Torrential rain early this morning wasn't the best incentive to take a trip up on to the West Pennine Moors but having bought some new boots on Monday I was keen to give them a short try out. Despite the weather, or maybe because of it, the walk from Ryal Fold near Tockholes, up to Darwen Moor and around Jubilee Tower and the Reservoirs seemed ideal.
We parked as usual at the public car park next to the Cafe at Ryal Fold and took the footpath behind the cottages across the fields to the woods at Stepback Brook. We followed one of our usual routes alongside the Brook, gaining height quickly and climbing in to the low clouds covering Darwen Moor.
With no sheep around and the nesting season now over the dog was able to walk happily off the lead as we headed across the moorland. We had avoided the worst of the heavy rain and soon the clouds began to list. Passing "Ged's Seat" we stopped a while to watch the views over Lancashire slowly emerge, before heading in the direction of the Tower, which was then still obscured.
The clouds had just about risen above the top of the tower by the time we reached it but we never hang around at the Tower itself for too long. After a short climb to the first level we were soon heading down towards Sunnyhurst before joining the rough road past Earnsdale Reservoir. Despite the seemingly endless rain of recent weeks the reservoir remains surprisingly low, perhaps an indication of why the north west hosepipe ban remains in place.
Climbing up from the reservoir we were soon on the path through farm fields. One or two incredibly muddy farm gates later we arrived back at the car, wet and smelly but happy!
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Doggy rating 8/10. A great walk for August.