Changeable weather threatened plans for a day out on Phil’s birthday. We prevaricated but eventually decided to go for a walk anyway. Donning suitable gear, we set off mid-afternoon towards the bus stop, chatting to a acquaintances en route.
On the journey upward from Heptonstall, the skies seemed to clear so we stayed on the bus to Blackshaw Head. We stood at the corner for obligatory views before going down the side road with the chapel on our right to Badger Lane then immediately over the stile onto the Calderdale Way.
The wind blew on our backs as we traversed the sheep fields. I wished had on a warmer layer under my anorak. Yellow arrows on each gate or stile indicated the way until we came onto the track forming part of the Pennine Way and stopped again to enjoy the vista. Phil pointed out the small valley up to the left of Colden village in front of us.
I recognised Strines Bridge thus realising the vale became Colden Clough further down, which later reminded me of an ill-fated quest for the source of the Calder! Behind us, graduating stone steps and a granite post punctuated the surface. Normally easy-going, mud made the hard-core surface rather tricky. What first looked like red clay, turned out to fine sand feeling squelchy underfoot.
Further down, we came across a wall covered with a variety of moss and lichen. Zooming in, I spotted a miniscule raindrop hanging from a pixie cup and a tiny fly sporting whitish grey wings and dots. Not for the first time, I marvelled at the microscopic worlds that we are usually unaware of.
Approaching the corner, boisterous dogs could be heard. I hung back until they came into view. Said dog bounded up towards us but soon scarpered when the owner called it back, leaving us unmolested.
At Hudson Mill Lane, we turned right. Pussy willows bloomed in profusion. Raindrops hung like jewels from the silky surface.
Tiny buds started to emerge heralding spring. We took the small steps down to Hebble Hole where Colden Water resembled a torrent and made a racket to match!
It seemed incredible that the tiny stream became such a force at this point; a result of numerous springs and underground tributaries flowing down to this point. The drizzle returned as we admired the colours. Vibrant green moss carpeted boulders. Pale ochre catkins almost touched the water’s surface, churning brown, white and grey.
We crossed the restored clapper bridge, and took the upward route along the old causeway. The rain became more insistent as we climbed up towards Heptonstall. Thankful for our waterproofs, we continued doggedly, managing to locate all the right turnings to the village outskirts. I remarked it was the first time we had walked all the way from Colden to Heptonstall on small paths alone.
We entered the White Lion pub for beer. The room with the coiners’ display was being prepped for a function so we sat on the other side and looked at photos of Dawson City. As we did so, the man at the bar related interesting facts. Drinks finished, we walked down the road. At the corner of Lee Wood Road, we double-backed to the Buttress and descended the wet and slippy cobbles with care.
Over the Packhorse Bridge, we made our way round to the new Indian restaurant. Someone shouted “happy birthday!”- a group of friends stood outside the club across the street. The food was delicious. We couldn’t understand the mixed reviews – five stars in my book! We waddled home feeling extremely full but found room for coffee and cake.
More photos at: https://1drv.ms/f/s!AjkK19zVvfQti51wrLDkr9EDSpQHsQ