Late February 2019 brought unseasonably warm weather and an early spring (hard to believe this time last year we were ravaged by the Beast from the East!). During half term, we enjoyed a rare Friday outing – further afield than usual to Bridestones Moor.
We began the journey by bus, calling at the bakers for pasties before crossing over to the stop. The service to Blackshaw Head seemed very late and I almost gave up but it eventually arrived. Typically, we were the only passengers left after Heptonstall. We alighted at Blackshaw Head chapel and sat in the sun to eat our pasty lunch before trekking up The Long Causeway.
From the OS map, I knew it would be 2 or 3 miles so maintained a steady pace. After the village, the straight road rose gently between fields of sheep. Many looked fit to burst they were so fat. Others appeared incredibly scruffy with straggly wool hanging off them. Overhead wires provided lookouts for crows and a kestrel which considerately stayed still for several minutes.
Possible shortcuts took the form of dodgy-looking paths across ill-kempt farmland scattered with ramshackle buildings.
We kept to tarmac until we reached the corner of Eastwood Road, marked by a milepost. On re-checking the map, we plumped for the more well-trodden route up to the stones. Down Eastwood Road we found a ridiculously narrow gate (what M&M would call an obesity check!) On the other side a lovely track headed up across moorland to the rocks with sponge-like moss keeping the bog at bay. A smattering of fellow visitors populated the site, most of whom had driven judging by the cars parked in the lay by opposite.
The wind picked up as we climbed up to the trig point where I risked being blown off. We examined stark groove lines on the stones where weathering over millennia had resulted in amazing features, and marvelled at the power of wind and water.
We then rested in the lee of the rocks before walking further behind to survey the alternative paths we could have used. The ground became boggier as we approached a steep drop – I was glad we had opted for the easier route.
Curving round to the front of the stones, smooth erosion left triangular holes between rocks and chair-like hollows in grey boulders. A stretch of sturdy brown rock resembled a castle wall. Cubed stones tumbling down the slope evoked memories of archaeological sites. We felt as if we were on holiday!
Approaching the Bridestones themselves, we waited for families with dogs to move out of shot. Majestic pillars of solid granite stood curiously grouped as though surveying the landscape. The base of one had been so worn away that it appeared precariously balanced.
No wonder they have inspired legends and folk tales! We were astonished at how it had taken us so long to visit (and later discovered we had only seen the half of it. I vowed it would not be another twenty years before returning).
We returned to the daft gate and turned right, continuing down Eastwood Road to Great Rock. It didn’t look so great now! I had hoped to easily find a straight way down to Eastwood but it eluded me. Again, we eschewed uncertain paths heading towards Jumble Hole. We checked the map once more and decided to stay on the road back up to Blackshaw Head.
Overcome with fatigue and with less than an hour of daylight remaining, we rested briefly at Hippins Bridge (a road bridge not a footbridge as I used to think) to look up bus times on google. With one due in half an hour, we made the final climb back up to The Long Causeway. As we waited, dusk fell. A menagerie serenaded us; I could only identify a couple of the several species of bird amongst the cacophony of the twilight chorus. Inevitably late again, it was almost dark when the bus finally made it up the hill, turned and picked us up. During the descent, a man from Bolton amused us with his tales of drinking around Calderdale. The driver stopped right opposite the Fox and Goose for him!
more photos at: https://1drv.ms/f/s!AjkK19zVvfQti5w1vQuMmnaT_7lR1Q