Coast to Coast 2006

Pennine Way 2008

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Deborah and Gwen's Pennine Way Diary
Day 4

Day 4 - Moorland, reservoirs and a literary pilgrimage   
Thursday 15th May
Hebden Bridge to Cowling   16.1 miles

We breakfasted with two young women who were off to do some staff training at Rochdale prison, the conversation ventured into the psychological theories currently being used in large organisations but soon our attention turned to more mundane questions, like ‘had Mirriam done our washing?’ Sure enough, it was all airing on the hall radiator so after a chat to Gordon in the kitchen and collecting our packed lunches we were ready to leave by 8.30.

Miriam sent us across the fields behind the farm to rejoin the Pennine Way where the route continued on ancient paved paths squeezing between old stone walls. The path led us down to a stone packhorse bridge in Hebble Hole, delightfully surrounded by bluebells, looking spectacular in the dappled sunlight. There followed a steady ascent to get back onto the moors and although the weather was fine it was breezy enough to keep us in our jackets. Looking back we were amazed that we could still see Stoodley monument but the onward views over Hepstonstall Moor towards the reservoirs were more inviting so we pushed on, eventually reaching a small ravine crossed by two footbridges where we stopped for a snack and our first paddle of the trip. The water was very cold so our foot soak was brief but it did remind us of our Coast to Coast adventure in 2006 when we actively sort out places to cool off several times each day due to the incredibly hot weather. Suitably refreshed we soon joined the concrete road leading up to the Walshaw Dean reservoirs. On the way up we were puzzled by the regularly spaced lay-bys, fenced by wooden rails but not big enough for a car – we didn’t meet anyone to ask and are still puzzled so if anyone has the answer please let us know via our guest book – thanks.

We lunched by the side of the second reservoir in the shelter of some rhododendron bushes and enjoyed the gammon and mustard sandwiches that Miriam had made. There followed a steady climb up onto Stanbury Moor through deep reeds and heather. Near the top we finally got a phone signal and whilst calling Dad we noticed that we could STILL see Stoodley monument – would we ever get away from it.

As we descended from Withins Heights we spotted the ruined farmhouse that is reputed to be the inspiration for Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights and as expected we met a few walkers on a literary pilgrimage to the site. The signposts on the way down were bilingual, the second language being in Chinese characters, or maybe it was Japanese, obviously catering for the international nature of the tourist attraction. Approaching Ponden Reservoir we fancied a cup of tea at Ponden Hall, mentioned in the guide book, but unfortunately it was too early in the season so we just had to admire the 17th century architecture instead. At the end of Ponden reservoir we made our final climb and moor crossing of the day. The path just by-passes the trig point on Ickornshaw Moor but we still felt that we were walking on top of the world – a comment made several times already on the trip. Just before reaching the valley we passed through Lower Summer House Farm where we were greeted by an array of young animals – piglets, ducks and several breeds of chickens including one very proud cockerel – I couldn’t resist a quick photo shoot for Jane, my daughter who is mad about animals. Leaving the farm we saw two large hares in the field that were more difficult to capture on camera but I did manage to get one slightly blurry image. On reaching the road we were escorted to the village of Cowing by a local lady out walking her dog and were welcomed by Susan from Woodland House who was looking out for us.

We enjoyed tea and cake in the back porch and had a long chat with Susan as she used to live in Sheffield. Woodland house is a lovely B&B, providing for our every need. After a shower we ate at The Harlequin, a friendly place serving excellent restaurant food at bistro prices, we left feeling well satisfied and happy for the very short walk back to our comfy beds at Woodland house.

Thought for the day:
Deb I loved the openness of the moors today but was surprised by the low water levels in the reservoirs

Mum A day of varied scenery, lots of heritage and well-constructed buildings and boundary walls, there is nothing temporary about the architecture in these parts

 

Pictures

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Mum leaving Badger Fields Farm

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The walled path leading down to Hebble Hole

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Bluebells

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Heading for Heptonstall and we could still see Stoodley Pike monument

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Gorple Lower Reservoir

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Our first paddle on the trip

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Climbing up to the reservoir road

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Low water levels in the Walshaw Dean reservoir

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Leaving the Walshaw Dean Reservoirs on our way to Withins Heights

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Emily Bronte country

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Bilingual signposts

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Ponden mills

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A very proud cockerel at Lower Summer House Farm

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Pigglets at the same farm

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Fleeting glimpse of a wild hare

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