Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Day 5 Airedale

17.5 miles Cowling to Malham

The owner of the Harlequin in Cowling said last night that the walking gets easier after day 4. I'm not so sure, but today was the longest day yet (it's also one of the flattest).

Pinhaw Beacon isn't much of a climb at all.

I think a lot of the paths were made new for the Pennine Way 51 years ago. As was maybe this sign, that must be the nicest "keep off the grass" warning that I've ever seen.

Alison, Chris and Buddy met me for lunch at the Masons Arms in Gargrave.

Chris is walking with me for the next day and a half.

The approach to Malham.

Day 4 Wuthering Heights

15 miles Hebden Bridge to Cowling

Yesterday evening Graham called round to take me out for the night, away from Badger Fields Farm to the bright lights of Hebden Bridge

This morning I was non the worse for wear and set off early for Cowling.

One of my guides tells me that Cowling has a post office. So one aim for the day is to arrive there in time to post some dirty clothes home and free up some space in my rather full suitcase.  Bare legs and showery rain this morning certainly helped to get me off on a quick start. But when I got to Cowling at three o'clock, it turned out the post office had closed for the last time in 2013.

When Sarah heard that I planned to walk the Penning Way without an emergency whistle, she spent the night before we set off from Edale, searching without success, for the one that kept her safe during her Duke of Edinburgh Award days.  The next day, she made me promise to buy one from the High Gate "Aladdin's Cave" Farm Shop, fabled for it's massive range of stock, before heading out in to the wilds of the far north.

So to fulfil my second aim for the day, I entered Aladdin's Cave and asked for a whistle.  But they have no whistles and now I feel more than a bit mean having walked away with nothing more than a bag of chocolate eclairs.  It's like I'd set Mrs Aladdin an impossibly hard test and succeeded only in killing the magic. If I ever call in again I'm going to ask for a long weight/wait to punish myself.

Like most folk from North Yorkshire Graham can't get enough of the Bronties!  I've taken this photo of Top Withens ruins for him.  I've not read Wuthering Heights, and am not sure how the plot goes but one of the characters could have lived here, if they existed.

Monday, 29 August 2016

Day 3 Stoodly Pike

15 miles Standedge to Hebden Bridge

I've never walked this far north in the Peak District before, and today I'm walking out of it's northern boundary and into the wilds of of a new OS map (OL21 South Pennines).

The start is at a higher altitude, thanks to a tough climb from Weserden reservoir at the end of the day yesterday. There are also no big climbs this side of Hebden Bridge, so It should be an easier day.  Though, perhaps because of the increased pace, Wainwright says that this is the day that most risks blisters.

At breakfast today I spoke to a fellow walker. So far there seems to be only one synchronised with me. I saw him having breakfast  at Torside, and he later passed me while I was eating lunch on Soldier's Lump.   Today we spoke briefly and I think we have a tacit understanding that, as I was setting off first, I'd keep up a good pace and stay ahead. There's more choice if B&Bs at Hebden Bridge and tonight we're staying at different ones.   

Briefly into Lancashire.

It was visible yesterday and here it is again - Manchester from Blackstone Edge.

Lunch - A cheesy fish pie and a pint at the White House Inn

The Monument on Stoodly Pike that I think marks the end of the dark gritstone Pennine hills that I've been following from Edale.

What is it about men in prominent positions?

Day 2 Black Hill

12 miles Torside to Standedge

Yesterday left me with no blisters and increased confidence in both my boots and legs. So I set off early from the Old House B&B on a sunny morning, full of optimism and with my waterproofs packed away in the suitcase.

Torside Reservoir this morning

Oakenclough Brook

Crowden Great Brook

Black Hill named for the mire of denuded peat that once awaited visitors is no longer black, thanks to the pavement now crossing it. With that and the firm paths now laid across the top of Kinder and Bleaklow, I think I am having an easier ride than many of my walking forbears.

The Trig point on Black Hill stands on a cairn called Soldier's Lump

Soldiers Lump, the perfect place to climb onto for a selfie

Sunday, 28 August 2016

Day 1 Kinder and Bleaklow

15 miles Edale to Torside

When he knew I was coming on this walk Dave gave me a copy of Alfred Wainwright's Pennine Way Companion. In the comfort of our living room yesterday I was reading Wainwright's sobering warming that "lives have been lost on Bleaklow". This is also the stretch of the pennine way that defeated Simon Armatage (although contrary-wise he half planned not to finish it anyway).  So I was very glad to have had Sarah walking with me today.

This is the first signpost and the start of the Pennine way. Dave, and Jane bidding Sarah and me a very fond farewell.

The foot of Jacobs Ladder

Kinder Downfall

No lives lost - not even a broken finger nail

Sunday, 7 August 2016

All set

This is Lost Lad cairn, built on the Sheffield City boundary. On the horizon is Back Tor, at the north end of Derwent Edge.  From there, to the  East, are views over Sheffield and beyond, and looking west, past Lost Lad, you can just make out the Vale of Edale where the Pennine Way begins.

I've been planning this trip for a while. The idea began to surface after reading Simon Armitage's book "Walking Home".  His account of walking the Pennine Way, north to south, as far as his hometown of Marsden.  A few months later, my employer dangled a carrot of a time off and expenses paid Pennine Way holiday.  If you wanted to throw your hat in the ring and compete for a place, the winning 10 could walk together.  Being within a year or so of my fiftieth birthday (I'm just a year younger than the Pennine Way) made the idea of this walk very appealing, but then I'm not sufficiently competitive or sociable, or corporate enough to throw my hat in the ring, and so decided instead to save up my annual leave and wages and walk on my own.

I'm hoping that it wont be too arduous.  It's 268 miles over 16 days, but I've been promised a comfortable bed each night and transport for my bags between B&Bs, and after a summer of training with circular walks, walking purposefully in one direction will be quite a novelty.  I have a Pennine Way guide Dave gave me at Christmas and a couple of novels to read in the evenings.  I have a box of paints, a sketchpad, paintable postcards (from my friend Helen), and a fantastic phone app that posts cards for you.  I've got OS maps on my phone, and paper maps and compass just in case. I've got newish boots, waterproof trousers and coat, and I'm looking forward to days of solitude, as well as meeting up with a few friends along the way.

In a couple of weeks time, I'll be packing my bags and then at 8.00 am on Sunday 28th August, Dave will drive me to the start of the walk at Edale.  If you want to follow me you can sign up, at the top right, for email updates.