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Impressions of West Nab

From West Nab’s rocky hub the ancient boundaries of Holmfirth, Meltham and Marsden radiate outwards across sour moorland to greener valleys below. In all directions a jigsaw of Pennine landscapes can be pieced together should the weather allow. From Bleaklow and Black Hill to the rolling walled folds of South Pennine valleys containing Holmfirth, Marsden and Meltham. Across Huddersfield’s townscape and Northwards over the lonely bogs of Marsden Moor to Stoodley Pike and further still to Pen Y Gent and Ingleborough.




For a few hundred yards the peaty edge of West Nab is broken by a scatter of weather worn grit stone boulders. Like gritty table top sugar lumps or decayed unfilled teeth they spill out across the moorland edge. Their cracks and crevices draw the eye and imagination. We avoid  Northerlies amongst these cool damp cracks , lose track of time and sometimes ourselves hiding up there. We glimpse another landscape rarely seen or spoken of yet always here.

Follow this grit stone shelf outwards toward Raven Rocks where summer sunsets can be contemplated and the soft voices of Ravens eavesdropped on still as they tumble entwined in claws and wing beats over Wessenden Head. Spring brings the Golden Plover who stands sentry amongst ling and boulder to sing his soulful” who goes there?” His song welds on  wind to carry far over these empty bog lands in an evocation of this wild place. In June dusk’s the “ghost owl” haunts last light up here. She quarters the sky on slender silent wings in search of prey. Ever curious she will greet the quiet walker with a glance as she passes in the ebbing light. As the necklace of rock becomes ever more broken Mountain Hares hide amongst bobbing bog cotton. Their ears flatten with the sound of boot-steps before bursting into flight to dance an escape through bog and boulder.


Wessenden Head


Dawn and dusk are magical moments up here. The edge of day and night an enchanting place to be. Winter winds and cold air lift this landscape and it can be seen fresh through new eyes. Walk West Nab when West winds rattle in bursts of sunshine and shadow, when light and dark stream across on a torn and tattered sky. Stroll up without a top coat on those rare summer evenings when heat haze shimmers over dry cracked peat bogs.  Risk a winter sunset and walk over the bare old bones of frozen snow drifts.  Hear brittle ice crack beneath boots.  Walk home with moonlight casting your shadow on cold frosty ground.  Go quietly, tred softly and these Pennine hills come alive. 
December on West Nab