Coast to Coast 2006

Pennine Way 2008

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Deborah and Gwen's Pennine Way Diary
Day 3

Day 3 – The M62, more reservoirs and the ever-visible Stoodley Pike monument
Wednesday 14th May

Standage to Hebden Bridge – 16.8 miles

We breakfasted early so Susan could help Eric before she went off to work. Her homemade muesli was delicious and Eric wins the prize for the best scrambled eggs on the whole of the Pennine Way. We chatted to Eric whilst enjoying the toast and homemade preserves. He and Susan had walked the Pennine way many years ago and he still has vivid memories of certain sections – not sure if that’s a good or bad sign?

Once our delicious looking packed lunch was stowed away in the rucksack Eric gave us a lift back up the road and pointed out a footpath that would rejoin the Pennine Way on Millstone Edge. Here the route was way marked as the Oldham Trail but eventually a Pennine Way marker reassuringly made an appearance. Jackets and trousers were fished out from the rucksacks, as it was much cooler up on the edge. I attempted to program the GPS whilst walking along, not as easy task as it was quite rocky underfoot, but the views were good and the air felt clean and fresh despite being so close to the industrial towns of Oldham and Rochdale. There were a lot of trans-Pennine roads to negotiate today, first the A640 linking Rochdale and Huddersfield then the ‘big one’ – the M62, reached just after the telecommunications mast on Windy Hill. We heard the roar of the traffic long before we saw the motorway and the noise stayed with us for at least a mile after crossing the footbridge. Keen to get away from reminders of everyday life we pushed on up the only real climb of the day, apart from the one that was lurking at the end but we were trying not to think about that just yet. We had an early lunch, sheltering from the wind amongst the boulders just below the trig point on Blackstone Edge. The gritstone reminded me very much of Stanage Edge, back home near Sheffield. We didn’t sit too long and once past the Aiggin stone we began to look forward to a coffee stop at the pub on the A58 – our third trans-Pennine road crossing today. The coffee at the White House pub was not very hot but it made a nice change from water and we made use of the comfortable loos.

There now followed 3 miles of reservoir tracks, flat, but a bit hard under foot. Other than the reservoirs the only feature of any note was Little Hazzles Edge, a lovely out crop of grit stone just begging to be climbed, I restrained myself and we moved on to have a second lunch stop at the head of Warland reservoir. We rested in the shelter of the sturdily build wall and let our hot feet air in the ever present breeze. Heading northeast we got our first view of the famous Stoodley Pike monument. Our guidebook had warned us that the monuments’ gigantic size made it look nearer than it actually was. On the way we met a man striding towards us, he had a very weather beaten face and explained he was training for the Three Peaks challenge. Once out of earshot Mum asked me if I thought he was a bit too old for such things only to quickly retract her comment remembering her own age and her current choice of activity.

Just as the guidebook suggested, it took a good hour to reach the monument. We admired its bulk and I ventured up the dark inner staircase to reach the balcony. Shouting down to Mum I asked her to take a photo but she was preoccupied with telling me to ‘be careful’ – some relationships never change despite the age of the players! Suddenly noticing the time we were eager to move on as Miriam at Badger Fields Farm was expecting to serve dinner at 6.30. By the time we entered Callis Wood and spotted the climb out of the Calderdale valley we realised that we might be late but all attempts to phone ahead failed. This added an unwelcome tension to the last mile or so as we didn’t want to be late for dinner. In the valley bottom the GPS indicated that there was less than a mile to go but as we zigzagged up the steep hill our destination never seemed to get any closer. The views back down and across the valley were fantastic but as we felt the need to press on we didn’t stand and stare for too long. I think Mum was just beginning to doubt my navigation skills when we finally spotted a sign for Badger Fields Farm. By 6.15 we were at Miriam’s door and she was happy to delay supper, as we were the only guests eating.

The farmhouse had been built in 1990 but it felt much older, it had very low beams upstairs that had been padded for safety. Unfortunately Mum still managed to collide with them several times. Miriam served up her excellent home cooking and afterwards I retired to the summerhouse in the garden to write up my journal. By the time I came in Mum was already in bed and I spent the next half an hour on the phone to my 18 year old son, Tom. He needed help to fill in some forms for a VISA to work in America – funny how one’s parental duties are never quite relinquished no matter where you are

 

Thought for the day:
Deb Note to self: try to avoid steep climbs at the end of a long day

Mum The level walking around the reservoirs was pleasant, not so keen on the final climb. 

 

Pictures

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Looking south from Standage towards Castleshaw Reservoirs

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Mum heads for the mast on Windy Hill

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We hurry to get away from the roar of the M62

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An early lunch stop on Blackstone Edge, looking West towards Littleborough

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Remains of the old packhorse way

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The Aiggin Stone

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The White House Pub on the A58

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Blackstone Edge Reservoir

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The reservoir track to Little Hazzles Edge

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A second lunch stop at the head of Warlands reservoir

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Mum wondering if we are ever going to reach Stoodley Pike monument

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Wow - what a huge monument!

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Looking west towards Todmorden from a very windy Stoodley Pike

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Crossing the river, canal and road in the Calderdale valley

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The steep climb out of river Calderdale - Stoodley pike in the distance

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At last a sign that we are on the right track!

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The last few yards before Badger Fields Farm

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Deb planning tomorrow's route

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