A couple of summers ago, we had attempted a walk to Scout Rock. As the houses petered out on Scout Road, fencing blocked our route, due to post-flooding work. A local informed us that it was due to re-open in October.
Last Sunday, I realised we had not yet returned to the area and suggested an outing. We set off along the Rochdale Canal, dodging cyclist without bells, we looked across the water where the ever-increasing number of barges displayed photogenic washing lines. Reflections made curvy patterns in the water and a perfect circle of the tunnel leading under the main road.
We tarried a little at lock number 7, where strips on the walkway over the lock created an optical illusion. Although straight, it appeared to slope, whichever side I viewed it from.
We left the towpath at Westfield Terrace. On Burnley Road, ongoing work on flood defences had progressed somewhat since I last visited on foot.
Mysterious large blocks lined the road. The bridge over the River Calder had been transformed. Balustrades and steps allowed us to peek through and over toughened glass. Below, an expanse of sand prompted Phil to remark that the beach was coming on nicely. I said there would be umbrellas and sunbeds on it soon!
We walked up to Mytholmroyd village centre, noting a few changes in shop use and signage. I pointed out the new bridge over Elphin Brook behind the Shoulder of Mutton. When I had visited with Marisa in February, arty shadows danced on the yellow stonework. Alas, the overcast conditions did not allow for the same effect this time.
Continuing to the corner, we contemplated Mytholmroyd Farm and wondered how a road leading to a business park could be private. Climbing up Scout Road, Phil spotted numerous small berries on the trees. Sampling one, he declared it tasted like a cherry so of course, I followed suit. As I bit through the dark red skin, I found fuzzy green pith beneath and my mouth immediately became numb!
The road steepened and I hoped it would not be long before we could turn off into Scout Wood. However, we found the footpath still shut. It seemed unlikely that it would be open anytime soon. A plethora of ‘Private’ and ‘Keep Out’ signs on the sturdy metal gates, not to mention an electric fence surrounding the wood beyond, made it clear that we were not welcome.
We rested on a wall and ate real cherries that I had with me, to take away the taste of the fake ones. Phil checked google maps which showed another path further up. Already flagging from the climb and realising it would lead onto the ridge and then to Cragg Vale, I said it would be too much for me. Instead, we contented ourselves with gazing at the wood from afar, noting the large population of oak trees, and taking in different views of the valley below.
Heading back down, we turned left at the junction, across the green triangle. Although I had not walked this way back from the village, my instinct told me to cross Cragg Road to the next bridge over the brook. As we took a sharp left onto Nest Lane, I picked a few overhanging raspberries, certain they were safe.
After the housing estate, we made a slight detour at ‘Roger Gate’. Signed Stubb, I thought it might take us to Stubb Clough. But on reaching the hamlet I realised we’d done the same thing once before, when we had ended up crossing a railway bridge and continuing to Hawksclough (the opposite direction to our destination). We returned to the corner and ascended the picturesque Park Lane.
Unclipped hedges encroached onto tarmac. Makeshift signs warned off HGVs. Tall foxgloves stretched into the grey sky. Large cows grazed in the field populated by lambs last spring. A loud hissing noise gave me a bit of a fright until I realised it was a cow farting! I was unable to share my amusement with Phil as he raced ahead of me: “I’m not stopping near them beasts!”
At Wood Hey, unusual large flowers provided a splash of yellow amongst the greenery. We continued onto Wood Top for the quickest way back down to the towpath at Mayroyd. We both felt knackered by then and rested briefly on a low wall. We discussed why it was often problematic getting to ‘Mythical Mytholmroyd’ -like Brigadoon! Nearer home, Will Kaufman who said hello as he walked by. I joked he recognised us as there were so few people at the’ Lunchtime Live’ gig he had played the day before!
More photos at: https://1drv.ms/u/s!AjkK19zVvfQti7tGe7ddwXPDnan4Sg?e=TVlVHi