Saturday, 19 May 2012

Great Hill and White Coppice–Saturday 19th May

No hint from the running blog that anyone else was planning to be out for a run this morning, so delayed my start a little.  Arriving at the Lower Barn a strong wind was blowing and the sky looked full of rain.  Decided to head out to Hordern Stoop and decide what to do from there.

Passing Lower House car park  I saw a single red deer.  I stopped to get the camera out and crouched down to get a better shot, amazingly it hadn’t noticed me and came within about 20 yards. 

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It then skipped over the fence as if it wasn’t there before noticing me and bounding off into the distance.    I love to see these animals, but whilst running in a group is good fun, you seldom see much of the more timid wildlife. 

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A feature of this morning’s run was noticing the large amount of trees with this distinctive bright orange coloured lichen. A bit of research reveals it to be Trentepohlia abietina. The orange-red pigment protects the alga against intense sunlight and is the most common algal genus in lichens.
It is easy to find in the more humid westerly parts of the British Isles – ‘nuff said!

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Moses Cocker’s Farm in the distance from below Belmont Road

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Menyanthes Trifoliata - Bog Bean

Came across this delightful little Bog Bean plant at a spot where we often see dragonfly later in the year.   Apparently, it is known for providing egg laying sites for adult dragonfly, as well as perching and roosting sites.  The larvae also use the stems to climb out of the water.

On reaching Horderns, I decided to head over Spitler’s Edge on to Great Hill and make my way back via White Coppice, the Quarries and Rivington.

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Lapwing on Spitler’s Edge

Running into a strong wind over Spitler’s was made easy by the sound all around of skylarks and curlews, although the latter proved elusive to see.  The lapwings were about in profusion, but mostly flew off as I approached, this one was a bit braver, although too far away for the Canon to give a clear image.

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Looking up at Winter Hill mast (right) from just before Hordern’s Stoops

You can see here the exact height of the cloud base, as the main mast structure on Winter Hill is 309.48 metres (1,015.4 ft) tall - one of the tallest structures in the United Kingdom.  The tallest is the mast at Belmont in Lincolnshire which is 351.5 metres (1,153 ft).  However, at 778.1 metres (2,553 ft) above sea level, Winter Hill has the highest television transmitting antenna in the UK.   I'd say that only about 100ft is visible making the cloud base about 2,450ft this morning.

The original mast at Winter Hill was a 450 ft high tower which came into service on 3 May 1956, and carried the programmes of Granada ITV (weekdays) and ABC TV (weekends).   In 1966 services were transferred to this new higher mast, which has a diameter of 2.75 metres (9.0 ft). During the period of parallel digital and analogue transmissions, the DTT antenna attached to the top of the mast brought the overall height to 315.4 metres (1,035 ft), however as part of the Digital Switchover, this antenna has now been removed to give its present height.

What an amazing coincidence that the highest mast in the UK is the Belmont transmitting station which is situated next to the B1225, one mile west of the village of Donington, near Market Rasen and Louth in Lincolnshire.  Given that the Winter Hill mast sits above the village of Belmont in Lancashire.

For completeness, the current world's tallest guyed tubular steel mast is TV Tower Vinnytsia in Ukraine, built in 1961. 

Going over Spitler’s I could see a runner approaching whose gait seemed very familiar.  Gordon had set off from the Lower Barn slightly earlier than me to do the same route in the opposite direction.  However, he was happy to turn around and we both headed to the summit of Great Hill and continued the rest of the outing in pleasant company.

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The newly refurbished summit shelter on Great Hill –

the path out to Spitlers that we had just run up

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A couple of walkers heading down the path to White Coppice

We followed the walkers – it’s a great descent down to White Coppice after which we followed the bridleway and then back along the quarries and the resers to the cars at Rivington.

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Anglezarke Reservoir

Great morning on the moors a bit windy but no rain and good visibility – just under eleven miles with about 1,500ft climbed.

As nothing compared to the Old County Tops which Ian and quite a few others are running today in the Lakes.  They will cover 37 miles and climb 10,000ft over the summits of Helvellyn, Scalfell Pike and Coniston Old Man.  It’s all relative isn’t it!  You can read Ian’s account here !

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