The day after our trip up to Midgeley Moor also started sunny. We packed a picnic and caught the bus up to Blackshaw Head. Alighting at the last stop on the Long Causeway, we walked up the road to Harley Wood Gate Farm in search of a path leading to the top end of Jumble Hole Clough. Passing scruffy sheep and ramshackle ruins, we found a public footpath sign pointing to the farmhousei.
As we approached, a man gardening intercepted us. I said we were looking for the marked public right of way. He directed us round the house and through a bog! We picked our way through tussocks and more bog, following the path first West then South. Because it was not always clear, we made sure of the next stage of the route before continuing over each field. Eventually we were thwarted by a fence that had been put up in front of a stile, beyond which even worse quagmires lurked.
Retracing our steps, Phil managed to step into a swampy hole, soaking his sandaled feet (making me glad to have persisted in wearing sensible boots). On the way back, I took photos as evidence of the obviously deliberate ploy to put walkers off. I refused to cross the bog in front of the farmhouse and walked on the path through the garden. There was no sign of the man.
We returned back down the causeway to Davey Lane. This led easily to the clough, via Bullion Farm (Phil insisted on calling it ‘Bull Lion’ farm), the familiar stone trough, the friendly alpacas and the attractive field above the clough.
Here, we noticed some deliberately-placed stones for the first time; as if someone had started building a bridge but gave it up as a hard job. We made use of the flat rock for our picnic.
It had become rather windy. We took the steps down, bedecked with yellow flowers, and crossed the sloping stream into the sheltered clough. At Staups Mill, two couples stood around chatting, hampering our photography.
Further down the clough the tree line opposite resembled clouds as they sprouted new growth. We took a path down on the left to the small clapper bridge, pausing to admire wood anemones.
We then climbed up to the ruined hovels and imagined the grim lives of those who once dwelt there. With careful footing, we found our first bluebells of the year and an excellent crop of wild garlic to pick.
As we rested on a nearby wall, mist appeared across the valley. The air became decidedly chillier as if a storm was a-coming.
Keen to return to civilisation, we carried on climbing to the higher path, then South along the ridge. When the PBW ii became steep, we veered off to the left along a smaller path edged with flowers and hawthorn blossom. Emerging at Wood View we noted the ‘danger balsam’ sign indicating poisoning had taken place in the futile battle against the plant. We crossed the road and metal steps onto the canal towpath, walking home fast as the air had become even more chilly.
i The next day, Marisa said she knew the dodgy path we had attempted and told us that a better route to the top of the clough could be found further up the Long Causeway.
ii Pennine Bridleway
More photos at: https://1drv.ms/f/s!AjkK19zVvfQtiqVW9-VESIP-IhW29g