Sunday, 10 May 2009

Day 35 Saturday - Hebden Bridge to Ponden

Walking 11.00am to 4.30pm
Distance walked today 9 miles
Total distance walked 499 miles
Distance left 553 miles

John, Tricia and I drove to Hebden Bridge where met up with Ben's parents, Peter and Lynne. Having established the correct direction out of the town, we walked up what must have been a 1 in 3 cobbled hill which led us to the enchanting village of Heptonstall, rather like a smaller version of Haworth but without the tourists and tat. A place worthy of a return visit. Lynne told the tale of a hanged man having once been buried in the churchyard but, like telling a joke and forgetting the punchline, she couldn't remember why.

We decided not to join the Pennine Way at this point and, instead, dropped down into the wooded valley to Hardcastle Crags, a collection of restored mill buildings and cottages owned by the National Trust. Here, there was a tearoom and museum. We didn't pass the tearoom by.

At Hardcastle Crags
We then continued through the wood and the buildings comprising Walshaw Farm and met the Pennine Way which took us alongside the two Walshaw Dean Reservoirs. We then climbed gradually to Withins Heights before descending to the ruin of Withins (or Top Withens). This is reputed to have been the inspiration for the Earnshaw home in Wuthering Heights. It is very popular with Japanese tourists. The footpath signs around here are in Japanese as well as English.

Top Withens
It came on to rain heavily at this point so we donned waterproofs and struggled on, descending to Ponden Reservoir, the others to return home and me to find my campsite. The site marked on the OS map at SD995363 is closed but Ponden Guest House at SD991371 has a small site by a stream (risk of midges) with good but basic facilities.

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