A mid-September walk with Marisa began up Valley road to reach Nutclough via the small steps.
As we pootled about, we unearthed pot fragments, interesting stones, nibbled pink mushrooms and strange black fungi. The latter were located on the far side of a felled tree but it proved worth clambering over for the unusual sight.
I later discovered they were ‘black bulgar’, common to Europe and North Americai.
We continued up and turned left along the cobbled path to ‘Stoodley View’.
Marisa spotted a different path which I suspected would lead up to the field. It turned out to be a hard, steep climb as the narrow path was littered with loose stones.
On reaching the top of ‘the field, we chose a good spot on the wall and admired the views. Marisa then wanted to continue westwards but the path was blocked and marked ‘strictly private’.
After some further exploration, we chose the more familiar path down into Joan Wood. This time, beech nuts made it tricky underfoot.
Emerging back on Keighley Road, we zig-zagged to Unity Street and she told me about the creation of ‘Tabernacle Row’ on the site of the old ‘tin chapel’ii. We took a snicket to a back terrace bringing us onto the old ginnel. Returning to town, we considered options for an early dinner. The square was already in shadow and we went further down Bridge Gate and settled on Rendezvous Bistro. Initially, we took seats outside. The waiter brought us menus and regaled us with tales of his rare allergies. Having ordered ‘early birds‘ and a bottle to share, the air became chilly. We retired inside to be warm and cosy, enjoy delicious food and linger over our wine.
A month later, I repeated this walk with Phil, albeit with some variation. As we walked up Oldgate, we noted the changes displayed in the riverside trees and admired nasturtiums, some home to snails, on Hangingroyd Lane.
At the start of Nutclough, we noticed for the first time that it was possible to go through a gap in the wall and stand at the end of ‘the swamp’ providing a different perspective to the autumnal scene. Over the stepping stones, a small dog yapped loudly as it retrieved a large stone from the water.
I climbed over the felled trunk to show Phil the strange black mushrooms. My efforts at capturing them on camera were better than last month, and I also managed to get a decent photo of the waterfall at closer quarters. Crossing back, we continued up and paused at the stone bridge.
Phil decided to chance a slippy path down for close-ups of the other waterfall before we continued up the cobbles to Hurst Road. We took the first path on the left thinking this would be the easiest option into the pleasant field.
But somehow we missed the detour and found ourselves climbing up the side of a muddy cow field.
Returning, we found the stile we had missed going up to reach the diagonal path to the wall. Exhausted and dehydrated from the climb, I sat down to rest.
I successfully fended off two over-excitable dogs when we heard hostile mooing behind us. Unsure if the cow could jump down, we scarpered, taking the straightest route down.
Before going into Joan wood, we stopped at the verge and noticed more snails, this time clinging onto brown plants.
On Keighley road, a dragonfly lay on the pavement. We tried to rescue it but it hopped and fluttered pathetically – I guess it had run out of power.
i. For more information on ‘black bulgar’ see: http://www.first-nature.com/fungi/bulgaria-inquinans.php
ii. For more information on the ‘tin tabernacle’ see http://www.hebdenbridge.co.uk/news/news04/56.html