An icy cold day in January, we were eager to enjoy the crisp wintery scenes. We caught a bus towards Colden and alighted at bottom of Edge Lane.
Stark shadows cast from hedgerow trees intersected snowy white lines on the tarmac where the sun never shone. To our left, smoke rose slowly casting a haze towards Stoodley Pike. To our right, an archetypal character strode between nearby fields where fat sheep grazed.
The door to May’s shop was bolted. Phil said “It’s shut.” Don’t be daft,” I replied, “It’s never shut.” I started to undo the bolt when a woman appeared to serve us. I asked for cheese pies. Shock horror! They no longer stock them (apparently they came from the historic Granma Pollards’ in Walsden, now closed down). Instead, we bought ‘sausage croissants’. Thinking we might find a patch of sun to sit in, we asked for tea in take-away cups but we settled instead on the trusty bench facing back out to Edge Lane, sadly in the shade.
Feeling rather frozen, we walked back down the lane enjoying the sun on our faces, as far as the ‘Pennine way’. I had noticed on the way up that the path appeared less treacherous than alternative routes. At the bottom, we crossed Smithy Lane and followed signs onto the boggy field skirting the large house. Thankfully, ice kept the mud at bay.
As we went through the last gate, we stopped to take photos of the almost-full moon in the east, as a clock of crows flew by. A pair of dogs could be heard barking wildly. I turned to see them running in our direction and became anxious. Phil reminded me that it had happened before and they didn’t go any further than their own field. Although the paved path proved easy-going, the steps down to Hebble Hole were inevitably flooded at the bottom.
We turned right towards the recently restored clapper bridge. On closer inspection, we could hardly see the join where the broken slab had been fixed. Over the bridge, felled trees had created fertile ground for clumps of orange mushrooms. Frosty grass edged the narrow ‘desire paths’. Ripples of pink and silver gently glided on the stream. Amber sunlight filtered through trees on the skyline.
Crossing back, we took the lower path down into Colden Clough. As we came to the area known as the ‘garlic fields’ in spring, I felt tired, out of breath and dehydrated. I rested briefly on a severed trunk to muster the energy to clamber over another one blocking the path.
Descending further, frozen water globules rested atop mossy cushions resembling miniature worlds. We followed the line of Colden Water, still dumbfounded by the needless warning signs. At Lumb Mill, I noted yet more chopped-down trees. I hoped that my favourite sycamore (aka ‘twin trees’) would not be next. Phil capered about doing his gnome impression beneath the arching roots. We squatted on stones at the foot of the tree until our rest was curtailed at the sound of yet more loud barking. We moved onwards, taking the quickest way home. I felt exhausted and footsore, after the longest walk so far this year, but glad we had got out during daylight.
More photos at: https://1drv.ms/f/s!AjkK19zVvfQti5kFMOjpK3hzqAL9Dw