Late getting organised so caught the bus up to Holme and headed out along Issues Road for the moors. Overhead a blustry sky thick with curlew babblings and possibile precipitation played out the last track of March’s classic album. Picking up the Pennine Way I pretty much followed it’s flagged way through the bogs over Black Moss, Standedge and White Hill to Blackstone Edge.
One hefty shower nailed us in Blakely Clough but otherwise the weather’s bark was mostly louder than it’s bite. It was a joy to be tramping purposefully over rolling moors with the aim of knocking off 15 miles by dusk and then camping somewhere in the boulders at the back of Blackstone Edge.
The wind died away with dusk and I found a lovely spot facing East to camp. I had a snipe drumming overhead as I pitched the tent and I was in that contented place of tiredness, hunger and satisfaction that walking like this brings about. It is a rich place to be!
The M62 grumbled away through the night and occassional showers tapped the flysheet but otherwise all was still until the dawn curlews began warming up for the day.
It was some 18 miles to Haworth from where I’d camped so an early start was taken to be sure of some time at the pub before heading home. The morning was windy and threatening on the West side of Blackstone Edge but nothing other than wonderfully dramatic skies developed on the walk by the chain of reservoirs and conduits which link to Stoodley Pike.
High above Todmorden early April showers cast fast moving light and shadow over Calderdale. It rained on the wind but missed me thankfully! For once I enjoyed the drama without a soaking.
Stoodley Pike seems to be a bit of a diva weatherwise and usually puts on a meteorological tantrum of some kind when I walk up here.
Paddy was particularly pleased to reach the oblisk and get out of the wind for a while before the rambling descent to Hebden Bridge and a spot of lunch. There was a real feel of Spring down in the valley and this developed through the brightening afternoon into a glorious tramp over sunny moors to Haworth.
It is a long haul through the woods on intricate paths and lanes up into the open country above Hebden Bridge and by the ruined farmstead at Nook I was feeling it. The soul soaked up the dog- eared South Pennine landscape which lay before my feet and felt somewhat lighter that my late in the day legs.
After a paddle and a snooze at Grain Water Bridge I headed up the old unmade road for Haworth and that pint. Coming off the moors above Haworth I had some cracking views North to the Wharfedale hills and enjoyed meadows teeming with curlew as I threaded a way on quiet paths into the village. Not having the legs to walk up the cobbled high street I partook of some ale at the fine Old Hall Hotel before stumbling along the road for a bus to Keighley.