Forest Of Bowland
The plan was to meet up with Gary, Rob and Richard at the Slaidburn youth hostel at 10am, which gave me time for an hour at Caffe Nero before I set off and time to wake up. I’d decided to try navigating there using google maps on my phone which proved to be a mistake. Google maps works pretty well until you take a wrong turn (which I did several times) and it can’t plan an alternative route unless it’s online (no signal in most of the area) I won’t be using it again! I arrived just before ten and while locating a car park and toilet, found Rob and Richard in the villeage cafe, I’m not sure how they expected me to find them, since this wasn’t the planned rendezvous location and there was no mobile phone signal, but it worked out fine. For some reason the cafe was swarming with wasps, which kind of ruined it’s quaint location and good food, it might have had something to do with the wasp ‘traps’ that they had put out that were really just feeding stations, being totally ineffectual at trapping anything! The cafe however provided the only connectivity to the outside world via free wifi, so I went back a few times during the stay.
After a quick catch up and snack, Gary rolled up in his Tesla, we all moved our cars to the tiny youth hostel car park (we filled it) and headed out for the hills. Rob, as is his habit, decided to re-plan the route to add a little extra challenge. The result had us stopping dozens of times to try and figure out where we were and which path to take and much of the route was on scarcely visible tracks often through marsh. By the end of the route we all had wet feet and trousers, apart from me who was in shorts. Despite the stops and starts it was a very enjoyable walk, with lots of opportunity for enjoying the views, minor challenges and conversation. We arrived back in Slaidburn at just after two having taken a wrong turn, we were expecting to arrive in Newton, but the Hark To Bounty pub was open so all was ok. Unfortunately food finished at two so we had to decamp and return to the cafe to eat, in my case a bacon barm with wasp garnish. Another visit to the pub filled the rest of the afternoon until the hostel opened and we unpacked and made our beds up.
I’m not a practiced visitor to youth hostels, but I’m impressed by them, excellent value and very practical, this visit cost me £9. The guys decided to have a nap while I went to stretch my legs again with a tour around the village, which was well worthwhile. I woke Gary up just before 7pm and we headed back to the pub for dinner. The pub is really excellent, a very homely feel to it with an open fire and good seating and superb food. It was fish night, but I managed to order off menu and enjoyed a great gammon, fired eggs, pineapple and salad, followed by a chocolate fudge cake, that was a little too sugary.
We stayed at the pub until about 1am and I managed to get off to sleep by 3am and woke at 7. It was a great day.
The photo shows the cafe with it’s car park to the right, where the toilets can also be found.