Tag Archives: the Oldgate

Cragg Vale Tales 1

 

cragg vale 2

Since we moved to this part of the world, we have only visited Cragg Vale three times.  In 2015, we met our friends M&M at the Hinchcliffe Arms for a birthday lunch.  With time to kill before they arrived, we explored the churchyard backlit by the watery yellow winter sun. Amongst the jumble of rusting vehicles in the adjacent junkyard, a collection of discarded Christmas paraphernalia added pathos to the scene.

cragg vale - merry christmasThe following year, I had a terrible summer involving the loss of a brother.  Over the August bank Holiday weekend, I struggled with deep depression but forced myself to get out of the house.  We heard of a food and drink festival in Cragg Vale, and rode the bus up.  A few stalls inhabited the pub car park.  It did not take long to exhaust their offerings, although we discovered the best sausages ever!

We parked ourselves outside the Hinchcliffe to eat them hot with a pint of beer.  We then noticed that the superbly named church of St. John the Baptist in the Wilderness was open to visitors.  Exploring the interior we noted that this gem, built in 1815 amongst the textile mills, is now badly in need of restoration.  Dedicated volunteers endeavour to keep it going.

On the 2nd of January this year, M&M planned a traditional birthday walk to Cragg Vale. Having just fought off yet another dose of sinusitis, I did not feel strong enough to accompany them and instead, we arranged to meet them there for lunch.  It took a lot of effort to be up and ready to leave the house on time to catch the bus at 12.38.  Travelling up the steep incline of Cragg Road, I hoped we would know where to alight, when I spotted the sign pointing down to the Hinchcliffe Arms.

lichen and moss 4A short upward walk took us to the junction of Church Bank Lane.  With time to spare, we dallied to look down on the compact village centre nestled in a dip – consisting mainly of a couple of farms, a church and a pub.  Cushiony greens adorned stone walls edging the lane all the way down to the brook. I had never seen so many different lichens and moss in one place.

Finding the church locked, we contented ourselves with circumnavigating the churchyard and the junkyard where the accumulated old tractors and vans still stood rusting.  The pile of Christmas decorations were sadly absent.  Arriving at the Hinchliffe Arms, a sign in the window informed declared ‘no food available’.

As we hung around near the door, staff emerged on a break and apologised for the kitchen closure (for a deep clean during which the chef was taking a break).  I mentioned that I had seen him featured on ‘Back in Time for Tea’ serving up Yorkshire Goujons, which led to reminiscing about eating tripe and offal as kids.  They invited us in for a cuppa by the fireside.  Preferring to await M&M outside, we perused planters at the car park entrance where melting ice left structural drops atop oval leaves.

When our friends appeared at the end of their walk over the tops, we entered the bar to spend an hour supping beer, chatting and exchanging amusing anecdotes.  We then walked past the junkyard, turned left, immediately right and through a gate onto a path alongside the brook.  Worn round cobbles marked the route as we past weirs and twisty trees.  Marisa spotted a dipper but as usual, it flitted about too fast to be caught on camera.

mill ponds 2We passed through a second gate and soon after, ascended steps amongst mill ponds.  Clumps of bright green algae dotted the surface.  Wintery black trees reflected into the depths.  As we climbed back up, we espied crumbling walls marking the site of an old paper mill, making a mental note to come back and explore in summer.

Ascending yet more steps we came to a gap in the wall and headed up to the road.  Just before we reached the top, I was amused by a sign consisting of an angry-looking black cat in a red triangle.  ‘Watch Out’ was written in large letters underneath.  We emerged onto Cragg Road opposite the Robin Hood Inn which was of course shut.  I had mentioned that according to google, there would not be a bus until after 4 o’clock.

The timetable at the nearby bus stop confirmed this. There was no option but to continue walking down to Mytholmroyd.

As we neared the end of the long road, we spotted a mutual friend coming towards us and stopped to exchange new year greetings.  One of the two children accompanying him jabbered onto me in an incomprehensible manner.  I nodded and smiled.  We entered the Shoulder of Mutton (now recently fully re-opened by a celebrity comic) but as predicted, they stopped serving food at 3 p.m.; we had missed it by 10 minutes!  Luckily, as we continued down to Burnley Road we spotted a bus and caught it just in time.  Back in Hebden, we went to The Oldgate and said hello to a group of friends.  Table and drinks secured, we were able to order food at last – three hours later than planned!  After eating, I started falling asleep so said goodbye and returned home before fatigue set in.

More photos at: https://1drv.ms/f/s!AjkK19zVvfQti5gWWa2i7APXI4OXWw

weir 3

 

The Neglected Wood

Neglected Wood - Trees with sky behindEarly May, signs of spring finally emerged.  We took a fast route upwards through Eaves Wood in the bright sunlight, barely stopping to admire tiny flowers and catkins along the dry path.  At Hell Hole Rock, we saw a group of campers around the embers of a dying fire.  One of them waved to us.  Phil laughed at them having a festival.  I remarked it wasn’t a festival but they had probably been there all weekend.

Eaves Wood - Trees with catkins

When we reached photographer’s corner, I braved the ‘desire path’ to the overhanging crag in pursuit of good shots across the valley.  However, my efforts were thwarted by haze.

 

I felt very hot and tired from climbing up the steep steps.  I decided that my original plan to reach Hardcastle Crags via an untried route was too much in the heat.

We sat awhile on one of the flat rocks, sipping coffee and enjoying the scenery.  We then proceeded into the neglected part of the wood (Slater Ing Wood according to Phil’s phone app).  It looked less dank than on our previous visits with lush green vegetation, bluebells and other woodland flowers amongst the dead trees.

Neglected Wood - Moss with pale green lineWe ventured off the main path to find a suitable rock for a picnic.  Two dogs rushed by and we kept our food hidden until they had gone.

Whilst eating, we examined the features around us including tiny detritus from the nearby trees and the patterns in the rock we were sat on.  Lighter stripes could be seen where fallen sticks had been dislodged, exposing fresher greenery underneath.

 

Heptonstall - GatewayWe then continued on the usual route to Heptonstall and noticed a posh new sign proclaiming the entrance to the village.  In The Cross Inn beer garden, all the sunny spots had been taken.  The main attraction was eating burgers off the grill, although kids playing in a toy taxi provided amusement.

 

 

Tinker Bank Lane - DeadwoodWe walked out the side gate and down the path at the side of the octagonal chapel onto Tinker Bank Lane.  Guinea fowl on the path scattered as we approached.  I spotted a fallen tree branch forming a low arch (which I had not noticed last time).  At the end of the lane, more bluebells were found.

 

We crossed Lee Mill Road into Tinker Bank Wood to admire yet more bluebells and a strange branch on the ground with apparently seven trees growing from it.  We proceeded through Hollins, down onto Foster Mill Bridge and into town.

It was still too nice to go home so we stopped at Oldgate for a second pint.  As I went to the bar, Phil sat at the end of the wall opposite by the riverside.  We enjoyed the evening sun soon to disappear behind the rooftops. I was just polishing off my beer when I heard a splash and Phil exclaimed ‘oh bugger!’  He had dropped his phone in the river!

After some consideration, he decided he had to get it.  He walked to the packhorse bridge, over to the other side, down into the water and waded across to retrieve it.  He looked very calm and relaxed about it.  I gestured to him to indicate the location of the dropped phone and suggested he took a shorter route back.  Miraculously, the phone still worked!  A fine recommendation for the British Wiley Fox company. We laughed about it all the way home.

More photos at: https://onedrive.live.com/redir?resid=2DF4BDD5DCD70A39!120803&authkey=!AB14hDswIT9FSj8&ithint=folder%2c

Tinker Bank Wood - Seven in one