Caught the 314 up to Holme and headed off into the gathering gloom of a November dawn. At the top of Holme Woods we had five minutes to wake up a bit more and sneak a quick cup of tea from the flask. A necklace of fading snow patches ringed Holme Moss above us and another cold spell was slipping South to cross our path.
A few layers came off pulling up to Holme Moss only to be put straight back on the moment I stepped into the cold Easterly blowing on top! The flat moor tops around here give no straight lines to walk and I had a game of hop scotch between snow patches and peat hags until somewhat easier ground on the Woodhead side. My heart missed a beat as a winter coated mountain hare invisible on a snow patch suddenly sprank into warp speed as I walked past !
My part of the Pennines was caught beneath a carpet of heavy cloud being fed in from the East coast but to the North I looked towards sunny and snow capped Wharfedale hills. Oh well .It was a head down and crack on in the wind kind of morning now. I followed the watershead briskly before dropping down the leeward side of the hills and picking up the Trans Pennine Trail at the top of Woodhead Reservoir. The gloomy tide broke a little on the crest of hills I’d walked over and a wind free stroll down to Crowden was much more agreeable.
St. James Church sits alone on the opposite side of the trail and as I walked past I noticed it had it’s own little flock heading for the door.
Down at Crowden as I picked up the Pennine Way a couple of roe deer were grazing just off the path. It was the middle of the day by now so it must have been a quiet moring! For a few moments a weak November sun overcame the clouds to catch rusty autumn bracken which lay in barbed wire coils across the hillside. A few nosey ewes came towards me to investigate Paddy.
I warmed up a nice tin of tomato soup on the trangia which did for lunch and enjoyed this unexpected sunny spell knowing I’d be heading into the teeth of the Easterly on the home leg.
Laddow Rocks and the walk over Black Hill was a taste of winter to come. A biting wind, low light and long clear views in all directions. November’s ruddy hills hung onto a few snow drifts and the landscape came to life in fading late afternoon sun. It was hard going taking photos on the crag due to the strength of wind and cold hands but wonderful to be out in some proper weather!
Could I catch the half four bus though? It would be close on my tiring legs and with Black Hill still in the way. Thankfully a long line of Pennine Way flagstones eases the walking somewhat these days. I still needed a breather out of the wind towards the top but it was short as I realised the bus timetable,distance to walk and my legs were not in sync!
I came down Issues Road in the last light the day had to offer having walked from dawn until dusk for around 17 miles. As my boots hit the Holme cobbles the 314 came around the corner and I stuck out a grateful arm and jumped on.