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"A Walk on the Moors" - John's Pennine Way Ramble, Day 2 - July 2nd 2000, Crowden to Standedge

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Day Date Start Finish Approx. Miles Hours Taken Accommodation
2 Sun. 2nd July Crowden Standedge 11.5 5 B&B - Mr. & Mrs. Mayall, Globe Farm, Huddersfield Rd., Standedge, Delph, Oldham, OL3 5LU, Tel. 01457 873040
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Click on any picture to go to a larger version. Full Photo Set to go to the full set of Pennine Way photographs for this day.

Crowden YHI awoke after an unbelievably deep night's sleep and felt ravenously hungry. The previous night the YH inmates had been myself, Phil (my room mate) who was doing a week or so of walks but going much further each day than me. There were three Geordie lasses, two PW walkers for a week and the other biking from point to point on the Way. Then there were Harry and Elaine, the King and Queen of Yorkshire, as I was to find out later.

The huge Crowden YH breakfast of porridge and a full cooked breakfast was only just enough to fuel me for the day. I'd ordered a large packed lunch and that turned out to be a mistake. It was enormous and lasted until north of Hepden Bridge, two days later.

On the noticeboard of the hostel was a sign that read, "If you can't see the fells it's raining. If you can see the fells it's going to rain" Outside the weather was ominously good despite overnight rain! There were all sorts of strange people around with big film and video cameras with things that looked like fluffy guinea pigs on sticks (microphones, I guess). I thought they'd come to interview me about my heroic trek but apparently there was some sort of rare bird around (the feathered type!) and they were all keen to film it.

I set off on my own at about 10:00 in qute good weather. The first climb up to Laddow Rocks was hard where the Way follows a sandstone ridge rather too close to a very long sheer drop for my liking. As I climbed the misty drizzle became heavier and visibility grew worse. I passed a couple walking their dogs but was later to find out that they were both vets, walking the Way with their dogs, camping each night and carrying the dog food with them.

The Path Up Black HillBlack Hill Summit - Lovely!The route followed and crossed a stream, Crowden Great Brook (Question; "When does a stream become a brook, a beck, a burn and then a sike?) and onto a paved path towards Black Hill (582 m). As I climbed the visibility became poorer and, once the paved path ended about ¾ of the way up, it was apparent why it's called Black Hill. The thickness and colour of the peat, combined with the misty drizzle, made it seem eerily menacing.

I met three other walkers at the triangulation point, who were on a circular walk from Crowden. One had done the Way some time ago, another had been over Black Hill in February (complete loony!) and the third was a novice. Didn't spend much time chatting to them as I was anxious to be on my way.

Wainwright's thoughts on Black Hill:

"Black Hill is well named. The broad top really is black. It is not the only fell with a summit of peat but no other shows such a desolate and hopeless quagmire to the sky. This is peat naked and unashamed. Nature fashioned it, but for once has no suggestion for clothing it. Nothing can grow in this acid waste. There is no root-hold in this sea of ooze. In the flutings and ripplings of the surface of the dunes, caused by the action of rain and wind, a certain strange beauty, a patterned sculpturing beyond the skill of man, must, however, be conceded. But it is a frightening place in bad weather, a dangerous place after heavy rain. It is NOT a place to be visited unaccompanied, especially after prolonged rainy weather, because of the risk of becoming trapped or even entombed in the seepage hollows, where the wet peat closes over and grips submerged legs like a vice."

Wessenden ReservoirFrom the triangulation point a line of cairns leads to the downward path but in bad weather these are practically invisible. Fortunately someone had erected the smallest cairn I've ever seen, just one stone balanced on another, to point the way to the first larger one. The descending paved path looked as if it was still being built in places but was generally in good condition and I continued to the crossing of the A635. Nearby, in a layby was a mobile food van and the smell of bacon butties. A few people were huddled around it in the now pouring rain but, fearless (and tight fisted) as ever, I continued across and down a side road to the Wessenden Reservoirs. I stopped for a drink and something to eat and the two Geordie lasses (I never found out their names) passed me at a great pace. They'd stopped at the mobile cafe!

Followed the path across the lower reservoir and around to where the Way is bisected by a stream at a waterfall. Opposite I could see two yellow canaries (Harry and Elaine in their "cycling capes") and at the stream the Geordies and a couple from Rotherham, who were completing their Way walk with this leg. They seemed to struggling to cross the stream so me, being a gentleman, simply strode across it and left them behind, at least one of the girls with a complete bootful of water.

The remainder of the second day's walk was quite easy and I caught up with the Yellow Canaries just before Black Moss Reservoir. From there we strolled down to the A62 and along it to Globe Farm, our overnight stop, arriving at about 15:00. This was where Noelene and I were due to camp but the weather and my spirits weren't up to it. So we B&B'd.

Day 2 Impressions

The second day of the Way is a bit depressing, especially in the type of weather I experienced on the day. It's a short walk and you don't feel that you have made much progress but it's too far to go on to the next logical stopping point. The climb from Crowden and the views looking back are great but Black Hill, even on a good day, is bleak and uninviting. Wainwright describes it as his least favorite place on the whole Way, but my bete noir was to come later!

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Spicy tomato and lentil soup
Roast lamb, etc.
Blackberry and apple tart and custard (but Mrs. Mayall wouldn't let me have cream too!)


Bottle of Australian Shiraz (not bad at £6)
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Go To The Next Day to go to Day 3, Back To The Itinerary to go back to the itinerary or Back To The Start to return to the starting page.

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