First Wintry Walk Of 2018: To Darwen Tower

Brambles and moss, covered in frost

A New Year’s walk up to Darwen’s Jubilee Tower has become a tradition. I’ve been a little under the weather over the holidays (just a nasty cold), so when we finally took the plunge, it felt extra-good to brave the fresh, winter air and get out for some exercise.

Darwen Tower

Darwen Tower may look warm under the glow of late afternoon sun, but anyone who has ever made the climb will vouch for the wind chill factor up there, even on a summer’s day. Few people venture round to the back, where the wind is most blustery, so I was able to get this shot of the place looking deserted.

It was far from that. You can never walk to the tower without being part of a steady stream of climbers of all ages, travelling at various speeds from an all out, easy run to the grimmest of slow trudges, passing each other on the way up or down, offering an encouraging smile, a “hiya!” or a nod of greeting.

View of fields and reservoir from moor

As many of the people reading this will never travel this way, let alone make the climb, I’m sharing a view from near the summit. From here, on a clear day, you can see Blackpool Tower – the Fylde Coast’s answer to the Eiffel Tower. But it was the frozen, slippery paths that demanded our attention, assuming neither of us wanted a twisted ankle to add to our lingering coughs and sniffles.

Leaves covered in frost

On the way down, after crouching to take a few pictures of frosted ferns and leaves, spending a few extra moments to keep my hands as steady as I could despite the cold, I discovered a couple waiting to ask what was so fascinating. I was slightly abashed to confess my treasure was simple old leaves, painted by the frost.

Dried leaves clinging to branches

The light was doing its own embellishment too, turning these artfully shrivelled beech leaves into natural lampshades.

As the dark started to fall, we were glad to get a call from Mum, tempting us to call over for a feast of her famous, twice-baked potatoes with leeks and cheese – one of my favourite comfort foods. I ate mine too quickly to take a picture, so you’ll have to take my word for it how good they were.

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