Five days into 2017, another cold, bright day dawned. We set off early afternoon to catch a bus ‘up tops’. We alighted at the last stop, Smithy Lane.
From behind the bus stop we took the small old path that we had descended the previous September, again admiring the old wooden gate and worn stones as frosty grass crunched underfoot.
Reaching Edge Lane, we gazed southwards towards the dazzling sun before walking onto High Gate Farm. We entered May’s Shop to buy lunch. Shock, horror! No pies!
We settled instead for sandwiches and tea, eating on the bench looking back out to the road we had just travelled.
We then headed down the grassy path to Fold Lane and through Colden village. The now-familiar jumble of farm junk, old stone buildings and gate posts punctuated the journey down the lane, edged with ice where the sun never shone. Back on Smithy Lane we turned right and followed the bend round to Hudson Mill Road, taking in a collection of warning signs on the corner. From the bridleway we headed down the first flight of steps. We made our way gingerly down the icy steps into Hebble Hole. The glade looked like a winter fairyland!
Wanting to stay in the sun as long as possible, we crossed the clapper bridge and climbed upwards to the old causeway. Looking back, I caught stunning views of clouds and contrails against a gorgeous blue sky. We followed the yellow footpath signs for quite some way until we came to a junction.
Pausing on the conveniently-placed bench, we considered a choice of three routes: up to Heptonstall; straight down to Lumb Bank; down to the right taking a steep set of stone steps.
We opted for the latter and emerged above Lumb Bank Mill. From there we took the windy but relatively safe route back across the river and onto the bridleway for a quick return home.