Outdoor Discoveries

What originally was a news section for the rest of the website soon became a place for me to write about human-powered wanderings in the countryside. Photography inspires me to get out there, mostly on foot these days, though cycling got me started. Musings on the wider context of outdoor activity complete the picture, so I hope that there is something of interest in all that you find here. Thank you for coming!

A Pennine Way Stroll

31st October 2006

Last Sunday, I did get out to enjoy the unseasonably mild sunny day that was on offer. My journey by bus and train (bizarrely, the first train service to Manchester from Macclesfield on Sundays is 11:26: a fact that must have filled up the 09:05 Arriva 130 service that I used) took me to Hadfield in Derbyshire, where my walk started.

From Hadfield train station, I proceeded along the somewhat disfigured Longdendale valley to pick up the Pennine Way. Flooding what must have been a pleasant dale to create a series of reservoirs might be forgivable these days, but setting a line of pylons marching along it seems a contemptible notion. In the days when electric coal trains plied the now defunct train line, they might have thought that few would have noticed, especially given the presence of the busy A628. Now that the line terminates rather untidily at Hadfield, the former railway now forms the Longdendale Trail, part of the Transpennine Trail. Even with the apparent diminution of the place, the old rail-bed is used by many walkers, cyclists and horse riders who must be able to see past the blights littering the landscape. While photography is a tricky proposition with the wires and the pylons, I have to say that I can see the attractions too.

Once I picked up the Pennine Way, I headed more or less south from then on. The path climbs up beside Torside Clough before swinging west to Bleaklow before turning south again to follow Hern Clough and Devil’s Dyke. However, along the way, I made an unintentional diversion, but it was nothing that a sight of the Wain Stones couldn’t fix. This really is featureless moorland country and a GPS would make a useful safeguard, especially when clag comes down. When I got back on track, the stone waymark posts of the Pennine Way served a very useful purpose, particularly around Bleaklow Head and when hopping over and back across Hern Clough (the proofing of my boots was well tested).

I continued along the Pennine Way until it met the Doctor’s Gate footpath that took me to Glossop before the light had faded too much. This right of way is classed as a bridleway, but I cannot see anyone cycling along it for a lot of its length, and I suspect that the same may apply to horse riding. In some places, attention is needed due to landslips, particularly on the section right next to Shelf Brook, though there is a section high up the valley that makes one think. Nevertheless, none of this stopped me reaching the pleasant town of Glossop and its train station, where a waiting train conveyed a tired but satisfied Irishman to Manchester Piccadilly for his train back to Macclesfield and home.

Longdendale, Hadfield, Derbyshire, England

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