Onwards and downwards!
That was my immediate future. I didn't mind. Life has its low moments and it has its high moments too. There is meaning in both and there is often more life in the valleys than on the hill tops.
I had reached the south end of Wayoh Reservoir, part way through a day of walking between three reservoirs on the border between Bolton (Greater Manchester) and Lancashire. It was proving to be just the kind of day I needed. My own company, hardly seeing another person. To be among nature - even though in this case nature included three man made lakes. To see the open sky and to be blessed by the light.
My path from here took me through the little village of Edgworth, Lancashire, and then along the stream running from Wayoh until I reached the Jumbles Reservoir. Before leaving Wayoh I took another look across the valley at the view. My immediate future was down. But I knew that later in the day I would be standing on the hills I could see. I looked forward to the up. And to the down.
There's not much to be said about Edgworth, at least not as it pertains to this walk. I passed through as quickly as possible, following the busy road. I was momentarily tempted to change my plans completely and catch the bus that was due - a rare sight in the village - and explore somewhere unexpected. My soft toy Blob Thing was amused by the names of places we passed that day. He liked Wayoh. He liked Jumbles. But the highlight of his day was that before leaving the main road we had passed from Edgworth itself and into Turton Bottoms. Blob Thing is easily amused.
On reaching the bottom of Bottoms we crossed the water before leaving the road behind to follow the water. A signpost ahead told me in big letters that the footpath was closed due to a broken bridge. That wasn't pleasing news. The road route would be less than ideal for a quiet day and I knew that I had missed the infrequent bus. Fortunately the signpost was a lapsed signpost. It had lost its meaning just like the church no longer has relevant meaning for a lapsed Catholic. Fortunately the path had officially reopened a few days earlier. The bridge had obviously been repaired or replaced.
The way ahead was clear and we were soon in quieter surroundings - this water was only a few metres along the path. I wonder where it all is now. How far have the different molecules travelled in six months? How many still swim in Jumbles? [Can a molecule of water swim in water?] How many have passed beyond to the sea? And how many evaporated and dropped elsewhere as rain? The life of a molecule is unpredictable. It has many highs and lows. But do you hear it complain? Even in the death of the molecule, its transformation into another form, it is silent.
The surroundings improved further. This nicely paved path was a joy to walk along. Everything was calming. The reflections smiled and the trees sang their songs and chants. Birds and insects followed their lives and somewhere out there, unseen, there may have been mammals hiding or sleeping. The path buzzed with electric life and I breathed in a touch of freedom.
Continuing the walk, lest I were to end up reprinted in Pseud's Corner in Private Eye, I encountered this:
I suspect that the bridge had not been sufficiently repaired while the path had been closed!
Fortunately there was a pipe across the little stream so crossing was easy. The main waterway is to the right of the photo. It was only a little stream - without the pipe I'm sure I'd have found a jumping across point. Or just used the broken bridge. It looked safe enough. Just broken.
Following the water downstream. Isn't it gorgeous? Don't you wish you were there. It would feel very different of course right now. Bare trees. Cold air. And starting to get dark as an early night falls across Lancashire. I would still like to be there.
A little weir. Enough said. The sound helped clear my head further. It wasn't like the torrent of a waterfall, where I would like to sit and just be still with that one sound in all it's variations. I love the clarity of the waterfall and the way it excludes all other sounds. Just that one noise. A life noise. Not the thousand death noises of the city streets. I'm the same with the sea. The noise and appearance of the sea is life for me. It doesn't matter whether it's calm or a raging storm. It's life for me and the moods of the ocean lift me whenever I allow them.
Next year I must see if I can seek out some excellent waterfalls. When we lived in North Wales we had waterfalls I could get to relatively easily - and my mental health was such that I didn't grab hold of the opportunities enough. To be exact, I grabbed them rarely. Which is kind of a vicious circle. Poor mental health leading to not going to the place that's good for my mental health leading to poor mental health.
This year has been a promising start to escaping from that cycle and I've been aided and abetted by my bus pass. I've been able to go out more and not worry about spending the money we don't have. It's been fantastic. I still don't always grab hold of the opportunities. There are still days on which I can't get out of course. That's one thing. But there are others on which I don't get out even though heading off on some wild adventure on a bus would be the best thing for me. This year though I've seen more of the area in which I live than in the five years previously. And I'm eager to see more. To see it all!
Walking onwards from the weir that I wasn't going to say anything about, the water widened. A rock face appeared opposite. I was now at the north of the Jumbles Reservoir, opened in 1971. The rocks opposite had once been a quarry. The reservoir also covered a large complex of mills and some bleach works that didn't do much for the water quality.
The reservoir. Very pretty. I am told that it's even prettier in the autumn. Maybe next year I'll find out for myself.
One distinct bonus of Jumbles Reservoir is that near the car park at the southern end - which is in Bolton, Greater Manchester - is a cafe. I was very tempted to buy some lunch there even though I was carrying a smattering of food. Tempted. But I wanted to eat by the water instead. I did treat myself to an ice cream though. It was good - though not as good as the home made blackcurrant and liquorice ice cream sold in a shop in Southport. There cannot be many ice creams as good as that one.
The path led across the water leading out of the reservoir and then my downward route came to and end, being replaced by an upward route. As you might expect. As the path rose back to the level of the water I was greeted by a tree. A rather lovely tree. And, as any regular reader will know, it doesn't take much to get me to take a photo of a tree.
The path then led along the other side of the reservoir. I found a quiet spot to sit on a bench by the water. Very quiet. Nobody passed by as I ate. I was happy. Who could possibly complain about their life when it contained moments like these? [I'll tell you who could. Me. That's who.]
Part way along the water my route took me away from Jumbles. Wayoh and Jumbles had been life giving. And the day wasn't over. There's a third post to write about the day. A third set of photos to make me smile with memories.
Onwards and upwards!