"A Walk on the Moors" - John's Pennine Way Ramble, Day 3 - July 3rd 2000, Standedge to Blackshaw Head
|Day||Date||Start||Finish||Approx. Miles||Hours Taken||Accommodation|
|3||Mon. 3rd July||Crowden||Blackshaw Head||17||6||B&B - Miriam Whittaker, Badger Field Farm, Badger Lane, Blackshaw Head, Hepden Bridge, HX7 7JX, Tel. 01422 845161|
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I knew from a practice walk that Day 3 was going to be a good one for distance and I'd arranged to go beyond the normal stopoff point of Hebden Bridge and carry on a couple of miles further to Badger Field Farm at Blackshaw Head.
Had a dreadful night's sleep at Globe Farm. With the window closed it was too hot, with it open the road noise kept me awake. So I woke up feeling not at all at my best. But there was a long way to go today and a big breakfast to set me up for it!
I left Globe Farm at 08:30 with Harry and Elaine and he reckoned that he knew how to get to the Way from our overnight stop. However, the weather was dreadful again and I actually started walking in my waterproof jacket. There was a short climb to the Way. We didn't take the "direct route" and the visibility became worse as we ascended. The going was relatively easy after that, although it was a pity to not be able to see the good views from Standedge Ridge and Millstone Edge. We supposedly passed the Ammon Wrigley Memorial Stone (dedicated to a local writer) but on two visits to this part of the Way I've now missed it both times!
After crossing the A640 we climbed White Hill (only 466 m), rather more inviting than Black Hill, descended along Axletree Edge and headed for the picturesque TV tower, crossing first the A672 and then the footpath over the M62. It was rather sobering to cross the motorway and look down on the hustle and bustle of everyday working life as we were trying to escape into some sort of solitude. No-one I've spoken to seems to know whether Ernest Marples (Tory) or Barbara Castle (Labour) was the Transport Minister who insisted that a footbridge should be built to take the Way over the M62 but I applaud whoever it was.
We then crossed Redmires which was a notorious bog but has now been tamed by paving and reached Blackstone Edge where the weather began to improve (a bit) and we had a good view of the ancient Aiggin Stone (a way marker) and the cobbled Roman road. There followed easy walking down to the A58 and the White House Inn (too early for a stop!) where Noelene was waiting to say "Hi", give me a big sloppy kiss and wish us on our way.
The path then followed a series of reservoirs which were built to provide water for the Rochdale Canal and very flat and easy walking as the weather and visibility improved. After leaving the reservoirs, Stoodly Pike came into view and was to remain with us for the next two days. This monument to the ending of the Napoleonic wars was built in the early 19th century, collapsed in 1854 and was rebuilt two years later. Just before Stoodly Pike the Way crosses the Calderdale Way, a path I'd tried during one of my practice walks and on which I'd got hopelessly lost.
After the Pike we descended on farm tracks and through the oak and birch trees of Callis Woods, very pretty in the improving weather. Harry and Elaine headed for their B&B in Hepden Bridge and I crossed the Rochdale Canal, the River Calder, the A646, under the railway line and up the steep side of the valley to open farmland. Here I met and chatted to a father and son out on a couple of days walking. The son had done the Way a few years earlier and had so fallen for the countryside that he'd moved to a cottage just about on the route.
My objective for the day was Badgerfield Farm at Blackshaw Head, an excellent place, where I arrived at about 14:30 to a friendly welcome, a big cup of tea and home made biscuits. I was so early that I took a walk around the lanes in now glorious weather and excellent views of the strange little town of Heptonstall. Noelene arrived later and we took a trip into Hepden Bridge for a couple of beers and a reasonable meal at one of the many pubs. Hepden Bridge is a smashing little place. It's reputed to be a home for northern refugees of the 60s hippy movement and there was plenty of evidence in the art and craft shops and events advertised to support this.
Day 3 of the Pennine Way is a good one for making distance, mainly due to the flat and easy going between Blackstone Edge and Hebden Bridge. It would be possible to go further if camping but there didn't appear to be anywhere to stop before Ponden and that would have made the day about 26 miles. It's good to be able to take some time out to visit Hebden Bridge or to see the sites of Heptonstall.
Timothy Taylor's Landlord's Bitter
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