Tag Archives: Mankinhols

Hike to the Pike

Erringden expanse

During the Spring Bank Holiday weekend, I had a particularly bad night on the Saturday. I lay sleepless until 4.00 a.m., when of course the sky brightened. The birds began their dawn chorus, annoyingly joined by the cockerel who lives nearby.  I did eventually sleep but fitfully.  Needless to say, I felt terrible on Sunday morning.  Phil wanted to go up to Stoodley Pike but I said “no way”.  I did manage to drag myself out in the afternoon for a bit of sun, noting that even the easterly wind felt warm.  Not really a day for climbing hills.  We pottered round town and the park, ate ice cream, and strolled up the towpath for a canal side pub meal which was nice.

Horses in golden fieldThankfully, I had a better sleep that night and awoke on Monday feeling refreshed.  I agreed to the planned trek, with the proviso that I might not make it all the way up to Stoodley Pike.

We had not reached the top since our mission in 2013 was thwarted by large cows lying in our way, causing an amusing detour up Dick’s Lane and Cock Hill.  Since then, we had discovered the lower delights of Horsehold Wood and Beaumont Clough thus negating the need for a steep climb.

Armed with supplies, we left the house mid-afternoon to climb up Horsehold Road.  Inevitably hard work I had to stop a few times but that gave us chance to look down towards town, where thick foliage prevented us from checking our roof tiles as we usually did.  Further up, the cobbles snaked between lush greenery.  Pretty horses grazed in a golden field.

First gate 2At the top, we followed the curve round to Horsehold Farm, became spooked by vicious barking from behind a crumbling wooden door, and searched for the right lane to go further up.  On locating Horsehold Lane, we were put off by very large cows in a field protected only by a low wall.  Phil swore they were like the bull on his Picasso t-shirt.  We returned to the curve and went left through the gate signed ‘Pennine way’ onto a beautiful path.

Being at the top of the wood, we remarked on the perpetual redness of the ground below on our right, no matter what the season.  Curly ferns emerged from verdant verges as we followed signs to the Pennine Bridleway.

Mysterious stones 2Through a copse and bypassing the cute stone bridge leading to the clough, we continued upwards into grassland. We wondered at the original purpose and location of mysterious stones scattered about – one looked distinctly phallic!

Ahead of us, a line of trees stood along a stone wall.  We turned right onto grassy lanes bisecting farmland and recognised an ancient ruin on the corner from our hike up five years ago.  We rested on a wall, admiring tiny pine cones on a tree opposite.

Noticing Stoodley Pike monument in view to our left, I said it wouldn’t be much further.

Pike in the distanceProceeding along Kilnshaw Lane towards the pike, it never seemed to get any nearer!  Eventually, we wound our way up the rough path as the monument loomed above us like a dark spectre silhouetted behind the early evening sun.  Further up, the path had been recently re-paved.  My camera dropped onto the stone slabs when the strap broke.  I persuaded Phil to wait until we sat down to assess the damage.

At the summit, a few people milled around as we found a lovely outcrop of sloping rocks facing Mankinholes to perch on.  Phil fixed the strap and made sure the camera still worked.  As we ate picnic snacks, a group of lads who had commandeered the monument marred the peace somewhat, playing loud music and commenting on veggie samosas. “How far is it from Hebden Bridge?” I heard one say, before answering himself: “Not far enough”.  Did they mean us? Thankfully, they soon left so we had the place to ourselves.

monument-graffiti-2.jpgI entered the monument and climbed the steps.  It was pitch black and I used my phone torch to light my way.  At the top, I discovered ancient graffiti etched into the granite, providing a foreground for the panoramic views.  I heard Phil calling from below asking how I’d got up.  I descended with my torchlight to meet him halfway.  Having taken in the vistas, we returned to ground level to circumnavigate the base.

I had used google maps to find a different way home and suggested a route staying ‘up tops’ awhile.  We followed the new paving in a straight line across a boggy field.  Our feet stayed dry thanks to thoughtful raised platforms constructed over the worst bits.  We emerged onto an apparently ancient road, separated from a pine forest by neat stone walls.  This stage of our journey was punctuated by the sights and sounds of wild birds.  Curlews wielded overhead.  A juvenile blackbird landed on a wooden fence post before flitting upwards in a flurry.

Old top road 1Arriving at a junction I checked the map. Google insisted we had gone the wrong way and suggested we backtrack.  But I felt confident that the old road wasn’t on the maps and knew that a left turn would join the suggested route.  I was further encouraged in my instincts as Heptonstall and Old Town were clearly recognisable ahead of.  We descended a desolate moorland path, beneath a wide blue sky scattered with small, fluffy clouds.  Reaching Whittaker Road, we walked eastwards until we came to a gate on our left.

Passing through, we discovered the gorgeous ‘Rake’.  Grass and flowers again surrounded us, as a sheep family grazed in a field and an archetypal farmhouse lay in front.

Rake 4As we descended, I was interrupted by a phone call which I curtailed as politely as possible, and suggested a stop to fully appreciate the scene.  As the lane curved round, we rested on the corner, looking westwards for a different view of the pike and ahead of us at the profusion of bilberry bushes.  I said it would be a good place to harvest when the fruits appeared.

Further down, the name of the lane changed to Broad lane.  Again, we were awestruck by beauty!  Trees in full leaf gave an avenue-like effect as the hedgerows were lined with cow parsley, their tiny white flowers swaying gently in the breeze.  We could hear people on the other side of the hedge.

Phil realised it was a campsite, then I spotted a poly tunnel and joked about illegal immigrants living in tents (maybe I watch too many Spanish dramas on Netflix).  As we wound down, we found ourselves on Horsehold Lane and had no option but to pass the field of large cows we’d avoided on the way up.  They looked quite docile and in spite of being eyed warily by a sheepdog, we passed through the farm without incident.  Back on Horsehold Road, I preferred going down rather than up, unlike Phil. I remarked that we had probably chosen the worse route possible to reach the pike. Maybe next time we should choose a less steep way.

 

More photos at: https://1drv.ms/f/s!AjkK19zVvfQtivtiSIs2Eb13PL8GzQ

Broad Lane

The Highest Beach

Saltway view 1A sunny mid-July Tuesday, I arranged to meet Marisa for a long-overdue trip to Gaddings Dami.  We caught a bus to Todmorden bus station and had a short wait for the Mankinholes circular. Initially, the tiny bus took us the way we had come but then turned right to climb Shaw Wood Road.  Round the houses, through Mankinholes, past the Top Brink Inn, we arrived at Lumbutts.  We alighted opposite the Shepherds’ Rest and went through the gate.  Marisa consulted me on a choice of three paths up.  She was not keen on the straightest and most popular option, heading steeply upwards and I did not fancy the ’quarry path’ which she informed me was quite a bit longer.  We settled on the third option, taking us along an ancient saltway.  Old stone paving became rough gravel further up.

The impressive boulder took on different aspects circumnavigation, looking decidedly like a chicken from the other side.

Stone feature 3

A little further on, we caught sight of the steps leading up to the dam.   Although we had almost reached our destination, the buffeting north wind blew across Walsden Moor making the climb arduous.  At the top of the dam wall, the wind became fiercer and I really wondered what on earth I was doing up there!  I walked away from the water’s edge to escape the worst of it.

Turning a corner Marisa spotted her friend J in the water who invited her to jump in but we walked on to the beach.  Guessing which person was her friend’s partner, we introduced ourselves.  I parked on the beach created by the yellow sandstone to rest while Marisa changed and went straight into the reservoir.  P sat at water’s edge adamant it was too cold for swimming.  I tentatively paddled and agreed it was bloody freezing!  Then he took the plunge and lay face down in the water.  “that’s brave!” I said.  He then badgered me to do likewise but I stuck to my guns.  After the brave ones had swum, we spent an enjoyable hour or so on the beach, chatting and sharing snacks.  A line of hikers marched across the moor, silhouetted against the western sky: “It’s a Lancastrian invasion!” we joked.  In truth, it was probably an end-of-term school outing.

Whos that coming over the hill

We consented to return via ‘the quarry path’.  It proved incredibly picturesque with fine views of the surroundings and birds of prey circling above.  However, I did not find it as gentle as Marisa had suggested.  Being sheltered from the wind it became hot necessitating short stops for rest and water.  The descent took easily twice as long as our ascent.  Back at the pub, we said goodbye as J&P retrieved their car.  Luckily, we discovered a bus due.  It took us via Walsden back to Todmorden.  An interminable wait ensued at the bus station as three buses in a row sailed past displaying ‘not in service’ signs.  Eventually, one arrived to take us home.  I asked the driver what was going on.  “They’re all lazy” he said dismissively – very helpful!  During the journey I was so tired that I started falling asleep.  Marisa declared “It’s such a lovely evening I think I’ll go for another walk”.

Quarry path

Notes

i               http://www.gaddingsdam.org/

ii              https://www.calderdale.gov.uk/wtw/sources/themes/plugriot.html

More photos at: https://1drv.ms/f/s!AjkK19zVvfQtisFruK7X-PY8kM_4iA