2nd December, 2001

Leaders- Neil & Lisette Hitchen

Meeting Place - Long Preston Railway Station

The last walk of the year was almost the first. The foot-and-mouth disaster which closed the area to walkers for most of the year was still keeping our paths closed in December. The organisers were forced to restrict the walk to roadways and one small liberated path. Despite this, a large number of members turned out for the walk; all keen to stretch their legs at last, like bullocks freed from their winter quarters; some hardly knowing if or how their legs were still working.

The short circular walk took us clockwise from the railway station to the church. Fortunately, there were well-informed "old-stagers" amongst our companions, to delight us along the way with historical, geographical and other titbits and to recall stories of our erstwhile village historian, Percy Huff. We sauntered along to the beck, on the Wigglesworth road, turned along the back lane to view the Ings and Bork Hill, crossed the A65 at the west end of the village, contemplated some very old property including Cromwell House and began the climb (steepish but alas no longer sheepish) to Western Green and to Moor Lane where, to the relief of some creaky knees, we turned right and glided easily back down into the village.

There we skirted the school, viewed the new playing field and finally reached the wonderful ancient church of St Mary's the Virgin, whose brand new radiators, kindly left on for us by friends, enabled us to spend another hour in comfort while we admired its historical and architectural treasures.

Forty or more of us then descended in a horde on poor, unsuspecting Hilary Baker in her lovely abode by the village green. Her copious refreshments were devoured and her lounge carpet, unseen beneath our woolly socks, received the crumbs. She well deserved our heartfelt thanks. NH & LH

The Editors Further information was provided by Anthony Bradley during the visit to Mearbeck House. Next year's journal will contain full documentation from him within the description of the 'Know Your Area Walks'to Mearbeck on 9th May 2002.