8 January 2018

Darwen

I went to the other side of the hills - to Lancashire. The score was Blackburn Rovers 0 Hull City 1. At one point the Hull City end chanted "Yorkshire! Yorkshire! Yorkshire!" and I joined in. We were unashamedly taunting the Lancastrians. The War of the Roses is not yet done.
Rather than driving home in the dark, I booked a night in the Travelodge  at nearby Darwen. Besides, the weekend weather forecast was brilliant so I had decided to factor in a Sunday morning country walk to the west of Darwen. This would bring me to the little milltown's Jubilee Tower which overlooks the valley of The River Darwen. I had hoped that Shirley would join me but she's been slightly unwell the past few days with a head cold and associated frailties so sitting in a cold football stadium, followed by a six or seven mile wintry walk seemed an unwise prescription.
Curry in "The Shapla" Indian restaurant on Blackburn Road. A couple of pints of Thwaites best bitter in "The Anchor Inn" then back to the Travelodge for "Match of the Day" and a good night's sleep. How marvellous for our young Nigerian fullback - Ole Aina. Once again I saw him rise to meet the corner and head the leather orb into Blackburn's net. His very first goal for The Tigers.
In the morning I met a ruddy-faced farmer's wife on Moss Fold Road. Very kindly, she showed me through her farmyard and pointed me to the track I needed to climb in order to reach the hills above Darwen. It was such a bright winter's morning with frost silvering everything in sight.
As a walker, I find that one of life's sweetest delights is to walk in unknown territory and I had never been to either Blackburn or Darwen before. I was entering the unknown. After almost two hours I made it to The Jubilee Tower which was opened in 1898 to celebrate Queen Victoria's jubilee. There were other people up at the tower, including, quite bizarrely, members of the local judo club exhibiting their skills there on the cold moorland.
I met a local man at the very top of the tower and he told me that he had never seen so many people there in all his life. I guess it was because it was a Sunday and the winter's day was so clear and blue. What better day for a country walk? As long as you are suitably wrapped up you don't feel the cold.

26 comments:

  1. I have always wanted to go to Blackburn because of "A Day in the Life": "Four thousand holes in Blackburn, Lancashire." Whatever it means, it's always made me curious about Blackburn. I'm sure the locals are sick to death of references to that song.

    The tower looks like it's well worth a visit, though. And I love the surreal photo of the judo practitioners!

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    1. Thanks for calling by Steve. From the moment I first heard "A Day in the Life" I thought that Lennon and McCartney were referring to potholes in the tarmac of Blackburn's roads.And indeed I just found this on the internet:-
      "It was John Lennon's idea to write this song by combining ideas taken from the newspapers. He and Paul scanned the Dail Mail for Jan 17th. 1967 and their eye caught the following short article: "There are 4000 holes in the road in Blackburn Lancashire, one twenty-sixth of a hole per person, according to a council survey. If Blackburn is typical then there are over two million holes in Britain's roads and 300 000 in London."

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  2. You sure know how to tempt a woman - a cold football stadium followed by a six or seven mile wintry walk!

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    1. I forgot to mention the pork scratchings and the mug of Bovril at halftime. I know how to wine and dine a woman.

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  3. I live in Blackburn. You could have called for a brew! :)
    And there are many more holes than the 4000 quoted in the Beatles song........

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    1. A brew in Blackburn with you would have been most excellent Christina. May I assume that you use Yorkshire Tea?

      I bet you have walked up to The Jubilee Tower?

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    2. I only drink coffee I'm afraid. Hate tea with a passion.
      Oh yes, a trek up to "Darwen" tower, as its known locally was one of my delights as a youth. Indeed myself and my better half had our first kiss there.....
      Unfortunately hallux rigidus prevents me walking as much as I'd like.
      If you are ever in this area again, with or without your other half you are most welcome to a night's bed and breakfast. There is a lot to see this side of the border.....

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    3. I am surprised that there wasn't a plaque on the tower saying "It was at this point that Madam Christina and Senor Javier Lopez enjoyed their very first kiss"! Nice memory and nice story even if he isn't called Javier Lopez!

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    4. Oh you are a card!

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  4. With frost on the grass; definitely a wintry walk! What was/is the bell used for?
    Greetings Maria x

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    1. That bell was on the Darwen golf course near the thirteenth green - no doubt to warn walkers and other golfers about flying golf-balls.

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  5. Oh, this is a superlative story. I love the flow of the photographs that almost, but not quite, match the text (so the story stands apart, more than just captions). And it's a story only an Englishman could tell: the football devotee at an away game, the curry dinner, the all-in-one pub crawl, and the long Winter walk. Well, that is pretty much the gamut of the English sensibility and I love it. From my point of view here on Long Island, it's very exotic.

    Every photo is beautifully composed, and the one of the karate club especially, but the photo of the Indian restaurant at night was particularly poignant to me. Edward Hopper a la contemporary Britain.

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    1. I must say, I never thought of this Lancashire adventure as exotic but I am pleased that you appreciated it Vivian. Thank you.

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  6. You certainly do like to walk..and we are the lucky recipients of your travels. :)

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    1. It's nice to take you there Lee.

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  7. That's an attractive group of real men on that hill !
    Thanks to pandering to the gay reader

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    1. That is surprising John. As you are a Welshman, I felt sure you would be much more interested in the picture of the sheep,

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  8. Great that you make yourself get out and find some interesting places.

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    1. It beats watching stuff on the TV, that's for sure.

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  9. I've spent many hours in cold football stadiums, or as we call it, soccer. My kids played soccer, my grandkids play soccer, and my husband and I are season ticket holders with the Seattle Sounders FC. As for walks on cold, crisp days, I love them. Unfortunately I don't know it I can do six or seven miles any more. We do walk about 3.5 miles almost every day.
    I would have loved this walk of yours.

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    1. And I would have loved to take you there Linda - with your husband's permission of course. It's nice to know you are a Sounders season ticket holder and enjoy the drama of football (aka soccer).

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  10. At last the internet has allowed me to visit today's post of yours, YP . . . I wanted to let you know that you are welcome to leave a poem or your blog address in my comments. Diane (our organizer) is away for awhile so I am taking advantage of the hiatus to write about other things.

    A lovely walk and I completely agree that if you dress properly you don't feel the cold. Unless it's very, very, very cold. Three verys.

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    1. Over here we heard on the BBC that there had been huge electric power outages in Nova Scotia. I hope you weren't affected Jenny. I might write a poem entitled "Brass Monkeys"!

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    2. It was actually the second time in as many weeks that nearly a quarter of the population had lost power. Some didn't get it back for days. We were in the lucky three quarters who didn't lose it.

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  11. It is good to see people making the most of a clear dry winter's day instead of spending all their free time indoors watching TV (which is perfectly legitimate, too, just not something I want to do ALL the time).
    Here at the lake, I have often come across a local judo club practising their moves on a lawn when it was dry and not too cold. It is probably nicer to practise outside than in a venue smelling of countless sweaty hours and bodies.

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    1. The judo people would have had to walk for half an hour to even reach the tower. There's no road to take you to the top.Also it was freezing.

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