Beacon Fell. According to Wikipedia, ‘its position offers commanding views over the flat plain of the Fylde and Morecambe Bay to the west, as well as the Ribble valley to the south.’ I can’t say that I noticed anything apart from the few metres of hot tarmac right in front of me.
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Having learned my lesson last week, the first job on arrival was to check the name on the back of my number. Thankfully it was Mark Willets turn to pretend to be someone else this week.
This was the hottest day of the year so far and although I don’t want to moan, I could have done with a slightly cooler temperature. I found myself trying to find as much shade as I could which wasn’t much with the sun directly overhead.
As always, the Red Rose army were out in force and enjoying themselves although in this photo, Anneke has probably realised that she will shortly be climbing up the hill in the background.
At the bottom of the major slope on the course, we could see the line of runners strung out to the top of Beacon Fell. Reaching the summit was a relief from the climbing as well as the heat with some very pleasant shade from the pine trees surrounding the route.
Having gained about 130 metres over the first 6 km, we lost almost all of it in the next kilometre with a final slightly undulating run into the finish and a very welcome drink.
Strangely enough the cheese handed out at the finish line wasn’t top of everyones priorities but the home made cake got a lot of attention.
Although Beacon Fell is only 873 feet above sea level its summit dominates the West Lancashire plain, with Blackpool Tower clearly visible on a good day, while to the east Bowland hills are laid out in all their splendour.
The summit has been used as one of a chain of beacon hills since the Bronze Age.
By lighting fires on the summits, vital signals could be transmitted with surprising speed — providing of course that it was not foggy!
Beacon Fell was certainly made ready in 1588 when the Spanish Armada with its invasion force threatened England, and also between 1795 and 1815 when Britain was threatened by Napoleon’s French forces.
During the last war, between 1939 and 1945, Fell House Farm stood on the site now occupied by the visitor centre.
German aircrews had this farm on their maps and used it as a navigation point on their way to bomb Liverpool and Manchester.
The conifer trees were planted in the period from 1938 to 1959 in order to funnel water towards local reservoirs which provided supplies to the Preston area.
The fell features a number of sculptures by local artist Thompson Dagnall, Black Tiger and Kissing Seat (2006), Walking Snake (1998), Spruced up Heron (1996) and Orme Sight (1996)