Not unlucky for us......

Along the canal and back to Todmorden Gorple Upper Reservoir Lunch break with the midges Mount Cross On the Bridge On the way to Hoof Stone heights Picturesque Hebden Water Public Conveniences, with Steve Lloyd in mind
Hoof Stone Heights and Pike

Sunday 12th July, 21 miles, 17 grown-ups, two grown-ups who acted like children and a dog.

The fact that there were two Stephen Clarks on this walk caused some confusion initially, but with today’s leader wearing a yellow vest, so bright that it lit up half of Calderdale, our man in charge couldn’t be missed.

On a grey, cloudy but fine morning we left the car park at Todmorden and ventured out onto the moorland. The only way out of Todmorden is ‘up’. So up we went, onto the Calderdale Way, heading for Hoof Stone Heights. Along the way, Steve Clark our leader pointed out an old stone cross in a field. “What do you know about it?” some one asked. His reply was that it was a very old cross. Now I’m not complaining, but had Peter Haslam been leading today’s walk, he would have stood on his plinth and given us a detailed account of its history.

Hoof Stone Heights is a godforsaken place at the best of times and as we left the trig point, it started to rain. Grim. You can walk either side of the fence over Black Hameldon – the very boggy side or the very, very boggy side. Steve opted for the latter. He was losing points rapidly.

The ground became more firm as we continued our walk along the track known as Gorple Gate, and it had stopped raining. The route then took us alongside the southern banks of Widdup Reservoir and joined the road around where Ann Oliver went down with cramp. But she was soon sorted and back on her feet as we headed for Blake Dean and a lovely spot for lunch break, where Alcomden Water meets Graining Water. The sun came out, but so did the midges. The only person who didn’t seem to be suffering was Barbara, who had sprayed her arms and legs in a pleasant smelling insect repellent. On the subject of irritating insects, I mentioned that I had been advised that Marmite was supposed to be effective in keeping mosquitoes at bay, to which Barbara commented, “wouldn’t it attract stray dogs?” ……she thought you rubbed it on!

Back on our feet, the next section of the walk was more like tackling an obstacle course, following a narrow path, clambering over rocks and tree roots alongside Hebden Water, but amongst the wonderful lush green woodland in a narrow steep-sided valley that is Hardcastle Crags. We eventually arrived at Gibson Mill, recently renovated and now a popular tourist attraction. Poor Ann was in the wars today, now looking as if she’d been in a fight with Mike Tyson with a swollen eye and a swollen mouth. Damn midges!

We ventured on to Hebden Bridge, the place was bustling; the weather this afternoon, warm and sunny and the Mr Softy van was doing a roaring trade. The road we took out of Hebden Bridge seemed to be one of the longest steepest sections of tarmac road in the country. It would have been ambitious, even for the East Lancs LDWA to have included a climb up to Stoodley Pike at this point, so we walked beneath the monument on London Road before making our descent to the canal and back to Todmorden.

Thanks, very much to Steve Clark for leading the walk. He knew where he was going, had devised a diverse route with many interesting features and got us all back to get home in time for tea, or in Bill’s case, a pint.

Tuesday July 14th. Flying The Flag. Start 7.10 pm, finish 9.15 pm. 5 miles, easy. 30 walkers and 3 dogs.

At 6.45pm the heavens over Bromley Cross opened with a vengeance sending a torrent of water down and leaving the road outside the Flag looking like a river. Some may have come and driven away again but at 6.59 the torrent slowed to a trickle and people left the safety of their cars to set off a few minutes late. We were lucky, although conditions underfoot were squelchy in places, we didn't see any more rain.

Ian devised a new route this year; after a trek up towards the Last Drop we followed the Rotary Way for some time and then went up onto the moor where it was sighs of relief all round as Ian said the worst of the climbing was over!

We came down off the moor where a slight wobble by Ian who missed the intended path meant that there was a retrace of steps. The sweeties provided stopped any protests. From here we headed towards the cut off point on the Two Crosses and then onto Turton Golf course passing the club house. A stride through the Last Drop meant that the Flag was not too far away and many stayed to enjoy a welcome drink.

Good views towards Winter Hill were a highlight, also watching a passing storm over towards Holcolmbe which we were grateful did not come our way. All in all, a good walk for those who took a chance on the weather!
Bolton in the distance Climbing on Thorn between the roses! Towards the stile Up the hill Wandering along