A return to Brontë country24th October 2007
In public transport terms, the day didn’t start too well but I did get to do some hillwalking last Sunday. The first bus service from Macclesfield to Manchester didn’t happen for me, either through it not running or my missing the thing by a mere minute. It doesn’t matter what actually happened because the result was the same anyway. The alternative plot of catching the 10:29 train to Manchester Piccadilly was set into action. Once in Piccadilly, the next step was to make my way to Manchester Victoria to catch the 11:08 departure to Hebden Bridge as I had originally planned. Things were looking hopeful until Stockport but it went downhill after that. The result was that I ended up on the 12:09 to Hebden Bridge. The final leg of the journey was a ride on Transdev Keighley and District service 500 to Oxenhope.
Those obstacles overcome, I began my walk a good hour later than I had intended, but the day continued to be as sunny as it had started. If it had done otherwise, I would have had grounds for irritation. After finding my bearings, I started to make my way out of Oxenhope and took advantage of roadside footways all the way until I made it onto a minor road that I was soon to leave for the moorland public footpath network. I climbed steadily but not too steeply with views of Leeshaw reservoir to my left. Looking down gained me views of pleasant farmland with the moors overhead. I made my way around Haworth Moor and Harbour Hill to pick up the Brontë Way before it joined the Pennine Way and headed for Top Withins. I was to join the Pennine Way myself but I had another footpath in mind. However, there was no sign of it in the heather so I made my own crossing with a navigationally useful wall to my left.
The idea that I had in my mind was to knock off another section of the Pennine Way, but the reality was that I took a mere nibble of the portion between Haworth and Gargrave that I have yet to do. I did get as far as Ponden Reservoir and pondered going further but the time that I had was limited. Launching further into remote country means that you have to return afterwards and all of that was likely cost a lot of a commodity of which I didn’t have a lot: time. Getting back to Macclesfield was actually a bigger consideration than when the sun was due to go down. So, I decided to head onto Stanbury via Ponden Mill and then onto Haworth for the last bus to Hebden Bridge so that I could retrace my way home. Otherwise, I would have had to get a bus to Keighley and then take a longer journey from there. As it turned out, I was home by a very timely 19:30; getting to the Worth Valley via Hebden Bridge is easily an hour shorter than going around by Keighley.
What had started out as an opportunity to bag another part of the Pennine Way turned into an enjoyable reconnaissance ramble in rustic moorland on a sunny October day. Naturally, my thoughts turned to how I might advance the PW cause in this area, so here goes. Getting into the Worth Valley via Hebden Bridge is a practical public transport option and a quicker one than the obvious alternative. Trying on a Saturday would get me there earlier in the day and would also have the added advantage of there being a bus service to the pleasant village of Stanbury, assuming that the times worked out. A good supply of off-road walking would get me to Ponden Reservoir and the PW again. It’s a plan, but who knows if or when I’ll put it into action?
Please be aware that comment moderation is enabled and may delay the appearance of your contribution.