Early August had been a bit of a let-down. I spent the first week ill in bed, watching the changeable and showery weather through the window with only intermittent and non-dependable sun. Fortunately the second weekend stayed fine. After a hot Saturday, Sunday brought a few clouds, cooling the temperature down a notch and creating ideal conditions for a walk.
We caught the bus to Colden and alighted at Jack Bridge. Walking alongside Colden Water, we made frequent stops to examine wildlife in the hedgerows: bees hovered on purple balsam; strange orange insects came out in force to mate; thistle flowers gave way to downy seed heads.
Beside a barbed wire fence we spotted a wooden step ladder. On the other side, a dilapidated caravan surrounded by outdoor furniture made us speculate about the al fresco living conditions of the less-fortunate locals.
Nearing Strines Bridge we detoured round the posh house and gardens into the field for a closer look. Maybe it was my imagination but it seemed in more of a sad state than in our visit last spring.
Further up the lane we climbed a stile into a different field. Causey stones led diagonally to a small wood. A muddy path, churned up by mountain bikes then ran alongside the pine wood to the bottom of Rodmer Clough. Signs of cultivation appeared in the hedges as we reached the corner of Land Farm. From there, we had a hot, uphill climb to Edge Lane and along the top.
The grass path we usually sneak up to reach High Gate Farm had become too overgrown necessitating a return to the road. Passing ‘Hot Stones’, we noticed a lone standing stone.
At May’s, I commandeered the bench looking down the lane while Phil entered the farm shop to order hot cheese pies and tea. As we waited I was being eaten alive by midges.
After eating we walked down the road to Crack Hill, still finding amusement in the name. Proceeding to Slack and through Popples Common, we admired the bright new heather. We rested on the bench just before Heptonstall, contemplating the landscape.
A dad passing on the road with two young girls on bikes amused us. “Come on!” he shouted, in typical competitive parent style, as they struggled up the hill. Bypassing the village, we descended Green Lane into Slater Ing.
A bit confused at first, as we had never walked this part in reverse before, we soon started to recognise the familiar rock features. The muted light was particularly good for capturing their characteristic shapes. The rocky path took ages to navigate and felt like hard work. Eventually we reached the easier part above the large flat stones, again struck by the beautiful display of heather lining the route. We took the steps at Hell Hole Rocks.
As we travelled through Eaves Wood and out onto Heptonstall Road, I said it was a long way to go for a cheese pie – like the olden days!
*The walk from Jack Bridge to May’s is the reverse of the ‘Edge Lane detour’ we took with M&M in April 2016.
More photos at: https://1drv.ms/f/s!AjkK19zVvfQtisVqMstvRkcBy1eWvg