Sunday, 28 May 2017

Day 4 - Callis Bridge to Ickornshaw

Started walking 7.15am
Walked 15 miles
Arrived 5.30pm

I'll correct last night's end point in due course.

Woke to a light rain at 5am but it had cleared by the time we left. We were able to take a short cut back to the PW. The somewhat overgrown narrow walled path dropped down to cross Colden Water over a "clapper" bridge. A steep climb brought us to the amazing May's Shop at Highgate Farm where bought a few essential foody bits and bobs.

The Way then went over a clear moorland path to Gorple Lower Reservoir, past two other reservoirs and then past the ruin of Top Withins where had a lunch break. Being Sunday, there were a fair number of folk walking up from Haworth.

There was a steep climb up from Ponden Reservoir to more moorland. The path across Ickornshaw Moor was stone slabbed - what a change from my last visit in 1975 when the weather was foul and my companion and I floundered across - it was plain awful.

We are camped at Squirrel Wood Camping - in a large garden, excellent facilities and the company of the larger than life owner, Ady.

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Saturday, 27 May 2017

Day 3 - Standedge to Hebden Bridge

Started walking 7am
Distance walked 15 miles
Arrived 6pm

Stirring at our now usual 5am, all was quiet but there was a thick fog, cool but still quite mild.

We took the path a little way up the road by the Great Western Inn, although I was reminded later that there is an unofficial path that avoids a road walk just opposite the Carriage House.

After half a mile or so, we rejoined the Pennine Way, also for a while the Oldham Way as well, as they follow the same route. We were on a clear high level path, passing over Millstone Edge with lovely clear views westwards, small villages and the odd reservoir. Crossing the A640 Huddersfield Road, the views continued until we dropped down to cross over the M62 bridge.

Climbing again, we reached the Aiggin Stone, an old guide post for travellers 600 years old - the plaque alongside it was somewhat ambiguous. We stopped for refreshment at the White House. Here, we met Darren from Cheshire, also walking a section of the PW. He had also been camping at our previous two nights locations.

We then had a long stretch of level walking alongside reservoirs, being diverted around Warland Reservoir, which had been drained and works were going on. Stoodley Pike monument came into view in the distance. Along the way, we met Peg and John from Iowa, B&B-ing the PW. We shall doubtless see more of them. We went up the 39 unlit steps of Stoodley Pike. Views all round from the viewing balcony were superb but we needed to move on for the long descent to the Calder Valley just outside Hebden Bridge. The ascent the other side was steep, winding and long and we were glad to reach our planned camp at Badger Fields Farm. Rain is coming on and it is quite blustery. I have made good use of the extra guys I made for the tent!

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Friday, 26 May 2017

Day 2 - Crowden to Standedge

The view at second breakfast. Our campsite last night was in the trees in the distance.

Day 2 - Crowden to Standedge

Started walking 7.15am
Distance walked 13 miles
Arrived 4pm

Another fine morning with the promise of heat and an absolutely clear sky. It was a long gradual haul, although with some steep sections, up to Laddow Rocks. Here the path was narrow and cut into the hillside with some dramatic drops to our right. Care was needed. We stopped for second breakfast and coffee at Crowden Great Brook.

After that, much of the Way was paved as it wound its way over moorland up to Black Hill, which is no longer black. Over the years, it has been replanted and is now very pleasant, although it would be pretty wild at other times of the year. We went on to the A635 at Wessenden Head but were disappointed that the expected snack van wasn't there. We stopped for lunch by Wessenden Head Reservoir when we came across a wooden bench seat - not to be passed up.

There was a steep descent and immediate ascent near the southern end of Butterley Reservoir. Then it was quite level walking, paved in parts, alongside Black Moss Reservoir to meet the Standedge Trail where we went left to the A62. A verge walk brought us to the Carriage House where we are camped at the rear. We have enjoyed some Turkish food. I camped and ate here on my LEJOG in 2009.

I have some rather painful blisters but these have been dealt with for the second night running. Let's hope they improve tomorrow.

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Thursday, 25 May 2017

Day 1 - Edale to Crowden

Started walking 7.30am
Distance walked 16 miles
Arrived 6.30pm

Today was clear and sunny all day, quite hot at times. It started gently with a level walk across fields, passing through the little hamlet of Barber Booth before arriving at the foot of Jacob's Ladder, a stone stepped path, man made. The ascent wasn't difficult, just a steady ascent, quite steep. We stopped at the top in the only bit of shade available for a snack and I brewed some coffee.

Once we were on the Kinder plateau, the walking was quite easy to Kinder Downfall. There was very little water there and we were able to take
a little shortcut across the stream. The clear path continued along the edge of the plateau before arriving at a steep stony descent and immediate ascent to Mill Hill. Here the PW turned right along a clear slabbed path over Featherbed Moss to cross the A57. We stopped for lunch just past Doctor's Gate, the course of a Roman Road.

The way to Bleaklow Head, unmistakeable with its large cairn and pole sticking out, was quite long and we stopped for a brief photo shoot before pressing on and then bearing west. The long descent to Torside and its reservoir seemed to go on forever. We had some lovely clear views but the narrow path was quite rocky and undulating.

Once across the end of the reservoir the path entered some woodland and then a narrow road to the Camping and Caravanning Club site at Crowden. Excellent showers. Today has been long and we were quite tired but a good day nonetheless. There were a fair number of other walkers, mainly just out for the day.

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Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Day 0 and a half at Edale

Having brought my Wainwright Pennine Way Companion vintage 1975 with me, I decided on a walk this morning along the old course of the PW. This involved a rocky clamber up Grindslow Clough to the Kinder plateau. It certainly got the leg muscles working. The day being sunny and clear, the views were pretty good. There was a stone slab path and so I assumed that the old PW route to Kinder Downfall had been made easier but this isn't the case. The old route continued unpaved and although it was tempting to follow it, time didn't allow. Instead, the stone slabs took me up to Grindslow Knoll and it was then a long descent back to Edale for lunch and a lazy afternoon. I found I had a phone signal on the descent and ascertained that Mike is at Castleton, in the neighbouring valley.

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Day 0 - Home to Edale

I caught the 488 bus to Banbury which gave me 30 minutes to wait at Banbury station. The bus station is less than five minutes walk from the rail station. The train arrived just a couple of minutes late. I made my way to my seat and immediately a head came round from the seat in front with a perky "Hello Geoff". It was Howard Kelly, fellow Backpackers Club member, travelling up from further south with his lady friend, Audrey, to walk St. Cuthbert's Way. The journey passed in no time. I got off at Sheffield. The last time I had been here was 1975 when I started the Pennine Way for my first ever backpack.

On the station, also waiting for the train to Edale, I got into conversation with Frank, also planning to walk the Pennine Way, but with two packs, the larger one (and it was massive) was being transported for him each day by Brigantes. Neither pack had any food in them, nor means of cooking, so I really don't know what he had packed. Anyway, he was good company and no doubt our paths will cross from time to time during the next three weeks.

I pitched at Cooper's Farm campsite where other BPC members had arrived for a mid week meet so it was nice to be with friends. I now have to wait until Mike turns up either tomorrow or Thursday. There is no phone signal here so I have no way of making contact with him.

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