Wyn and I woke feeling refreshed, and after a cooked breakfast left Winterhouse Barn at 8.30. Tony and Olwyn could not have been better hosts.
The day was easier than the previous days being both shorter (18k) and with less ascent (520m).
We started by walking up to Gill before passing over Cowling Hill and descending into the picturesque village of Lothersdale. The pub provided seats for a short break, but was being renovated.
Leaving Lothersdale we walked on past Hewitts Farm before the big climb of the day to Pinhaw Beacon. The paths were not as rough and rocky as previously and we made good progress. We met some friendly walkers on the summit and were reassured that they were even older than we were.
Pinhaw Beacon marked the end of the South Pennines and the Yorkshire Dales could be seen before us. We descended from the Beacon towards Thornton-in-Craven, and after a little more gentle ascent arrived at the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. Walking on the towpath for a while made a pleasant interlude.
We passed East Marton Church near the site of the curiously named Fish Ponds Hall. Next came the famous double arched bridge which carries the A59 over the canal.
Finally the much awaited Bridge 162 appeared and the Abbot’s Restaurant and Teashop. As it would have been impolite to deprive them of our custom we felt obliged to stop for cream teas. I also needed to instruct Wyn in the correct (Cornish) way to apply the jam and cream.
Much refreshed we left the canal and set off up a road with “garlic-scented ramsons” in the woods. Leaving the road went across rolling drumlin hills and ascended Scaleber Hill to see Gargrave in the valley below. We arrived at the Mason’s Arms at 5.10 after a much better day.
One of the pleasures of the past few days has been listening to the curlews and lapwings. For the ornithologists: we saw a red kite, near Walshaw Dean Reservoir, being bombed by lapwings. Apparently they are rare up here despite being so common in Oxfordshire.
After a fine dinner and the opportunity to rehydrate, we could look forward to an easier day on Thursday.
Unfortunately Wyn had twisted his knee yesterday so we set out knowing that we had a long and difficult day ahead of us.
We left the Cross Inn (recommended) at 7.50 with no lunch. Fortunately May’s Aladdin’s Cave at High Gate opens at 7.00 so we could load up with food.
Suitably weighed down we crossed Heptonstall Moor and dropped down to Gorple Lower Reservoir, quickly followed by the Walshaw Reservoirs. Well – maybe not quickly – but we got past them.
Then came a long slog over Withins Height End to drop down to Top Withins, which is supposedly associated with Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. We stopped briefly for lunch.
Returning to the fray, we descended to Ponden Reservoir and began the interminable climb over Ickornshaw Moor.
By now Wyn was finding the rough trail very tough in both ascent and descent. Steep slopes were encountered at Further Dean Hole and Eller Hill before finally we could drop down to Ickornshaw arriving at 6.50.
Winterhouse Barn B&B was a very welcome sight and I had volunteered to go on to Cowling and get fish and chips for dinner. Disaster: the shop closed at 7.00! Our wonderful hosts immediately volunteered to take us to a local pub and collect us when we were ready. By 7.30 we were in the pub rehydrating on the local ales and trying the local delicacies.
Once back at Winterhouse Barn, we basically collapsed after a very long day. Wyn had been a trooper all day, never complaining but just keeping on going. A gutsy performance.
After a comfortable stay at Huddersfield and a taxi back to Marsden, Wyn and I set off at 8.10. A steep climb led up to Slaithwaite Moor and the first reservoir of the day. From the Moor we descended to Dearhead Reservoir and crossed the M62.
Passing another reservoir, we ascended over Blackwood Common, before dropping again and then climbing up and over to Baitings Reservoir. We were beginning to feel like men employed by The Grand Old Duke of York.
Now we had the big climb over Manshead End. This passed quickly and we stopped for a quick sandwich on the summit. Crossing Great Manshead Hill we suffered from the low temperatures and high wind and were glad to walk down to Crag Vale.
At this point the day went downhill fast – both literally and metaphorically. The pull up to Old Crag Hall was tough. Beyond the Hall the guide book description no longer matched the routes of the paths on the ground. Unfortunately although the paths had been changed, they were not adequately signed. We became “temporarily misplaced”.
While I was trying to sort out exactly where we were, the farmer’s wife and son arrived. They were able to get us back on track. I am afraid that they were a bit annoyed when I suggested if they were going to change the paths, they might like to have them signed, and also repair their appalling stiles! It was the end of a long day and we had spent valuable time faffing about quite unnecessarily.
Now back on route we climbed up onto Erringdon Moor. Still annoyed at losing time, I made the elementary mistake of following a good path at a junction, and not following a bearing. Luckily this did not take long to resolve.
Hebden Bridge eventually appeared in the Calder Valley. Dropping down steeply on an awful path we Googled our accommodation. This was in Heptonstall so we had a final 150m climb before arriving at 6.30.
It has been a long day but the pub is very comfortable and we rapidly felt much better after a quick shower, beer and meal (although not necessarily in that order).
I woke to find the mist and clag clamped down over the moors. I managed to negotiate a slightly earlier breakfast and left the pub at 8.50.
Initially heading back east on the A628, I then crossed Thurlstone Moor to join the Trans-Pennine Trail to Dunford Bridge. Passing Winscar Reservoir I climbed over the ridge on the Kirklees Trail, before dropping down to Brownhill Reservoir, just about able to see Holmfirth in the distance.
Passing the village of Holme, I climbed up and around Hey Clough and descended to Marsden Clough before climbing again to Wessenden Head.
At this point I joined the Pennine Way for the first time going down past the Upper Wessenden Reservoir before leaving the Way and taking the higher Deer Hill Conduit Path. This gave easy walking and superb views over Butterley Reservoir all the way to Marsden. I reached the town at 4.10.
I had organised to meet Wyn at Huddersfield Station and for once all the plans worked out. I arrived from Marsden only 15 minutes before Wyn. We took a taxi to our accommodation and have enjoyed a good dinner and conversation.
Today was a bit of a nothing day. The scenery was nothing to write home about, and was mostly obscured by low cloud. After the highlights of the last two days it was uninspiring. Tomorrow we head for Hebden Bridge, and then have the Pennine Way to look forward to.
Carl and I left the Ladybower Inn at 8.50 and set out to walk the length of the Ladybower Reservoir, best known as the training ground for the Dambusters Raid.
We kept noticing race signs, and shortly before the second dam a Marshall explained that 500 mountain bikers were about to arrive. Knowing that the bikers were unlikely to take any prisoners, we put on a bit of a spurt until the next dam. Once past the dam and off the race route, we could relax, and were amused by a curious sign on the gate of Ladybower Lodge.
Near here we met the first of several groups of young people practicing for their Duke of Edinburgh Gold Expedition. These charming young ladies had left their camp at 6.00am and had walked most of the way around the lake. They were very polite and cheerful, and it was encouraging to find some young people taking pleasure in the outdoors.
We gradually gain height on our 10k walk up the reservoir, but at Slippery Stones the easy part of the day was over, and we now had to climb up Cranberry Clough to Cut Gate and Midhope Moors. This proved to be a popular route and I saw more walkers today than in the previous eight days combined.
The weather gradually improved and we were now bathed in sunshine. After a little boggy ground at the top of Mickleden Edge, the path improved and we descended to Langsett Reservoir for a late lunch.
A quick walk through some woods led us out onto the A628 only 300m from the Dog and Partridge Inn. We arrived almost exactly 6 hours after leaving the Ladybower Inn.
Carl managed to phone Doug, who turned up as Carl and I were finishing our second round of tea. More tea was needed, and then it was time for them to depart. It has been a real pleasure to have spent the past two days with Carl and Doug, and I just want to express my appreciation and thanks for all their kindness, help, and encouragement.
Today was a semi rest day so I met my friends Carl and Doug for breakfast at the Inn and Carl and I left at 9.50 to walk up to Stanage Edge.
The route took us past the church and then up steeply through a wood to Court Farm. To spare Carl and me embarrassment I will only say that we were busy talking and failed to notice that instead of going up we were going down. We finally realised that we had gone wrong when we arrived back at the church! Try again. Back up the 200m of ascent to Court Farm. Here we found a way sign, carefully placed so that it was behind us, which showed the path went up a paved driveway into what appeared to be the grounds of a very expensive house. Back on the correct route we quickly joined Doug and his dog Lily at the Stanage car park for a much needed cup of tea.
Doug and Lily joined us for the walk along the top of the Edge. Lily took her ball, which she insisted we kick for her to chase.
The weather was good and we all enjoyed our walk. Unfortunately Lily’s ball seemed to be irresistibly attracted to the bottom of the cliff. Doug retrieved it the first time and then I had to clamber down. Regrettably on this occasion the ball was lost.
Doug and Lily left us after a while and Carl and I continued past the trig point at High Neb to the A57.
We turned down towards Ladybower Reservoir and found a good path, via Highshaw Clough, to emerge at the Inn.
Carl and I booked into our room and then we went to Hathersage where we all had delicious fish and chips at the Pool Cafe.
We forced ourselves to have a couple of drinks in the bar and then had an early night. It had been a very relaxing and memorable day.
Here are a couple more shots of the day’s walking. All photos today have been kindly provided by Doug and Carl.