Distance walked today 14 miles
Total distance walked 490 miles
Distance left 562 miles
The landlord of the Carriage House had helpfully pointed out a short cut across Marsden Moor over the road to get to the Pennine Way, avoiding road walking. My planned route would have taken me through Marsden and then a remote moorland route to Hebden Bridge. It struck me that it would make sense to make straight for the Pennine Way. I didn't need anything in Marsden and the Pennine Way would be easy enough to follow.
The day started clear but quite breezy and got windier as I gained height. There was moorland for miles around me and as far as I could see. I felt very small. There was no-one else about. I saw signs for the Standedge Trail, the Oldham Way and the Rochdale Way. In fact, the Rochdale Way shared the same route as the Pennine Way for much of this morning. The PW took me over White Hill (nothing there but a white-painted trig point)and across a frantically busy M62.
Heading towards the M62
Crossing the footbridge over it was quite hairy as the cutting was like going across a wind tunnel. It was noisy and I struggled to stay on my feet.
The wind hardly lessened even when I reached the other side. I was still trying to listen to Radio 4 (through earplugs) at this stage but gave up as the wind drowned it out.
As I stopped for a snack break, another walker caught me up. This was Barry from Longden End nearby on one of his regular circular walks. I enjoyed his company for the next mile along Blackstone Edge. He left me at the Aiggin Stone to head home via the Rochdale Way. I then continued on down to The White House pub (which didn't open until midday). At this point the howling wind turned into howling wind with rain. As the Pennine Way now went up higher to skirt the edge of several reservoirs, I felt that a lower level route might be preferrable. I went alongside Blackstone Edge and Light Hazzles Reservoirs but the rain (and sometimes, hail) came at me horizontally and I had difficulty staying on course. I wasn't here to walk the Pennine Way so had no problem in deciding to get off it.
Alongside Warland Reservoir, I took a track down into the hamlet of Warland. Immediately I began to lose height, the sun started to come out and the rain and wind disappeared - amazing. In Warland I stopped at The Bird I'th Hand for lunch as I had little else with me to eat. I then joined the towpath of the Rochdale Canal a hundred yards away and had an easy and enjoyable walk for about six miles into Hebden Bridge passing by Walsden and Todmorden.
In Hebden Bridge, my cousin John met me as arranged and we drove to his home in Bolton. Tricia, his wife has cooked a lovely meal. Daughters, Jules (with Paul and baby Ava) and Vicky and boyfriend Ben were keen to hear first-hand about the walk but generally glad there were not doing it themselves!