Lancashire walk - Clougha Pike
- Credit: John Lenehan
Clougha Pike is a magnificent hill overlooking Lancaster and Morecambe Bay and its eastern face looks particularly impressive when viewed as you turn into the road to Littledale. The hamlet of Littledale is somewhere I had never been before but it is a place that is part of my family history as my great-grandfather Joshua Kelsall came from there.
1. Leave the car park and walk towards Littledale to reach a cattle grid and turn sharp left through the stile then bear diagonally right to a stile in a wire fence and cross that. Cross the field, heading for a stile in a wall by a solitary tree. Cross the stile and then keep on with a wall on the left to reach a ladder stile on the left by a metal gate. Cross the stile and carry on to a stile by a wooden gate, cross the stile and follow a ruined wall on the right passing behind Toulsmire Barn on the right and then follow the path as it runs parallel with the track to the barn. Reach a stile in a wooden fence and cross this onto the road then turn right and go downhill.
2. There is a stile and footpath sign on the left, cross the stile and bear diagonally left to reach a wall then, with this on the left, follow it steeply downhill to reach a ford and a small footbridge over the stream, cross this then join the wide track leading uphill. Keep following the track as it passes through a gateway and carries on uphill. Reach a wooden gate with a stile to the right in a wall, do not cross the stile but go through the gate and keep on the track, passing a series of tall cairns on the right.
Note: Cairns like these are found on hills such as Gregareth and Nine Standards Rigg among others and it was thought they were built to frighten marauding Scottish cattle thieves. From a distance they looked like giant men on the hilltop.
3. Pass some disused quarry workings and as these workings end there is a small hump of rock and vegetation on the left, approximately 150 metres beyond this turn right on a very small path and follow this to reach a slightly wider path going left and right. Turn right and follow the path towards the summit of Clougha Pike. Cross a stile in a wire fence and go straight on to the summit triangulation pillar.
4. Clougha Pike summit. After admiring the views retrace the route back to 3 and turn right on the main track and follow this until it reaches a huge rock outcrop on the left.
Note: The views from the summit are truly fantastic. Clougha Pike gets its name from a series of cloughs or stream beds that run parallel to the valley bottom of Littledale and not down into it. These were created by glacial meltwater running along the top of the glacier that flowed through Quernmore and Littledale.
5 .Immediately past the outcrop, a path goes left. Take the path and follow it downhill over open hillside. The path is indistinct at times but keep on until a wall appears on the right and, keeping this on the right as a guide, carry on and the path eventually zig zags steeply downhill to a ladder stile over a wall.
6. Cross the stile then follow the wide green path as it bears right then left and keep on to a metal gate with a stile beside and cross the stile. Keep a wall on the left and pass Skelbow Barn on the left then keep on across a field keeping a wall to the left and cross a rickety stile. Carry on to a metal gate on the left with a stile next to it and cross the stile and shortly after go through a wooden gate. Follow the track uphill with a wall on the right and cross a stile by a metal gate then bear diagonally left up hill to a ladder stile over a wall. Cross this and join the road and turn left back to the car park.
Start and finish: Car park at Little Crag on Littledale Road.
Terrain: Good walking on the first half on footpaths then a good track up to the summit plateau but uphill all the way. The second half is mainly all downhill on a narrow indistinct path and could be muddy in or after rain. Good boots and walking gear needed and choose a good clear day to get the best of the summit view.
Distance: 5.8 miles/9.3 km
Time: 4 hours
Map: OS Explorer OL41 Forest of Bowland and Ribblesdale
Facilities: There are no public toilets on route.
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