On a remarkably sunny Wednesday in April, Phil and I caught a bus from Market Street to Callis. We had arranged to meet two walking friends somewhere up the tops and kept in touch via text.
We walked up Jumble Hole, admiring the scenery as usual, especially the lovely waterfalls and ruined houses (some with spring gardens which made us laugh).
We found the uphill climbs hard work, but took it easy and stopped at Staups Mill for a break. We then carried on to the small bridge taking us across the pretty brook and up to the fields below Blackshaw Head.
I paused to text our friends and check the map for a quick way down to Colden. I had worked it out when a passing driver confirmed my instinct and we proceeded on the Calderdale Way across farmland until it met the Pennine Way going down to Hudson Mill Lane.
Just before the junction with Smithy Lane, we admired new born lambs. Our friends awaited us on the bench at Jack Bridge. We all walked up to May’s for the excellent cheese pies.
As Marisa and I went to use the primitive loo, a sheepdog cowered from us in fear. I said it made a change; it was usually them that spooked me!
Marisa suggested going up Edge Lane as an alternative route back to Jack bridge. We set off, with Hot Stones Hill on our right.
At the next junction, a sign directed travellers to tantalisingly named places such as Lower Earlees and Salt Pie (a historic stop on the packhorse tracks).
We turned down the lesser-used School Land Lane which skirted the bottom of Rodmer Clough, where a ruined chimney looked the remains of a fairy castle, and round the edge of Land Farm.
We then had a choice of routes and took the lower one. As it skirted a wood, the path became narrower. A screeching bird could be heard but not seen…
Emerging in a field, the grass path became paved with ancient causey stones. We crossed a styal onto New Road. I struggled to keep up with the pace setters and welcomed a short rest.
Marisa pointed out Strines Bridge in a field a little way down. I asked if we could get to it.
The answer was yes. Further down the lane we turned down a short driveway and across a very nice garden. A tiny stream tinkled alongside us as we crossed a wooden bridge and then followed the line of the stream into a field.
Again, the grass path revealed old causey stones. Peaceful sheep grazed next to the impossibly cute stone bridge, traversing a sky-blue stream. A sharp arch was accessed by a tiny opening. We remarked that the packhorses must have been very small (I later found out that the bridge was most likely a footbridge linking Strines Farmhouse with Coldeni.
From there, it was a relatively easy walk back down the lane to Jack Bridge. We headed straight ahead back onto Hudson Mill Lane, and down the small, steep steps to Hebble Hole. The boots I had chosen to wear that day proved ill-advised as my toes hurt with every step down.
We took the lower path to the garlic fields. Phil did most of the picking as I felt exhausted and dehydrated. I thought we were staying down in the clough but were led upwards to the top causeway. I became even more fatigued. Thankfully, we did not climb all the way up but instead came back down above Lumb Bank. Mind you, loose stones and dried leaves made the path very tricky, causing more pain to my feet.
Utterly exhausted, I eschewed a visit to the pub. The day had already been too long for me. I also felt far too sweaty to be in mixed company. I started stripping off garments even before I got in the house. Once indoors, I hastily removed more clothes and doused myself in cold water. I realised I had heat exhaustion. Angry and upset, I ranted that when I said I was tired, dehydrated, and in need of rest, I really meant it. The next day I still suffered from exhaustion. On reflection, I decided it was my own fault – I should have heeded the signs that I had reached my limit and got on a bus instead of struggling on.
Nevertheless, the walk itself was lovely and it gave me ideas for further exploration of the Colden area (at a manageable pace)!