The first Sunday of September started out dull but warm. It became sunnier early afternoon and decided to get the bus up to Crimsworth and walk back via the dean. We had just enough time to buy pies from the bakers in the square on the way to Commercial Street, with two minutes to spare till the next bus. A walking friend who got on at the same stop, suggested an alternative walk up High Brow Knoll but I didn’t fancy it right then.
The bus emptied at Old Town, leaving us alone to travel to the terminus. Awe-struck by the moorland landscape, we lingered to take photos. My camera strap broke again and Phil fixed it for me (I was not having much luck doing it myself).
We made our way back down the road, cringing when fast motorcycles whizzed by, seeking refuge in the lush verge. It seemed remarkable how different the plants were here, on the moorland edge. Fluffy thistles looked ready to fly off; pale pink flowers wafted in the breeze; seed heads gave the impression of tiny trees emerging behind granite stone walls; marooned gate posts leaned precariously in the soft ground.
A couple of signs indicated footpaths going off to the right but we were put off trying them by a combination of boggy fields and large cows.
We continued to Haworth Old Road where an old waymarker had been attractively re-painted; the writing picked out in bold lack against a stark white background. We turned sharp right onto the road, then left. Grassy Small Shaw Lane zig-zagged downwards, edged by tall evergreens and punctuated by signs declaring the land private and forbidding cycling. At the bottom we were confronted by a large house. A sign directed us left onto a small path. As a couple with a dog exited a gate, we checked with them that the route was passable.
As soon as we passed through the gate into a field, I recognised the area from our last visit to the area some years agoi. Small paving helped us navigate marshy meadow where a small copper butterfly sat on a flower.
We soon emerged in the moor-like field which I remembered, particularly the ruins and a good large rock, ideal for a lunch stop. We made our way up to eat our pies, finding it had become much more overgrown in the intervening years, with heather, moss, lichen and pixie cups.
I could hear a dog barking loudly in the distance as soon as I took a bite of pie, convinced myself it was coming nearer and felt a bit jumpy. I knew I was being paranoid but I ate quickly nonetheless.
We continued, through the next gate into dark woodland where the red floor contrasted with deep green foliage. At the start of the old mill ponds, felled trees thwarted our attempts to find a downward path.
I surmised that severe floods since our last visit had caused significant alterations to the landscape. We followed the route marked, upwards, noting a variety of fungi clinging to rotted trunks. Some looked curiously metallic.
I recognised the corner of the dam wall – a huge testament to the region’s industrial heritage – and the gorgeous tree down to our right.
After some investigation, we located a ‘desire path’ through pocked grass land to get back onto the Old Road (where more grass replaced paving). From there, it was a short stretch to Midgehole Road. An exodus from the nearby Blue Pig confirmed that a bus was due and we opted for the easy way home. Although the walk had not been too taxing, the weather had become clammy and I felt tired and overheated. Back in town, we chatted briefly to another friend on his way to the pub. We eschewed the prospect of drinking in favour of coffee and cake at home.
More photos at: https://1drv.ms/f/s!AjkK19zVvfQti4kS20m5dNz6qZdWmg