The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

A Sunday Afternoon Stroll: Stoodley Pike

Monday’s planned activity was to plumb in a new radiator for Ma-in-Law, which meant a trip to West Yorkshire. Fancying a bit of a walk on Sunday (preferably one that permitted a test of the new carbon Pacerpoles), we thought that we would take the opportunity to walk somewhere other than our usual local haunts. West Yorkshire seemed to be a good option.

A quick flick through a book of walks late on Saturday night led me to choose Todmorden as the starting point and the Stoodley Pike Monument as the main feature of the walk. Alas, I didn’t actually read any of the information in the book, but having decided on the location, picked out my own route off the map – the downside of which approach being that I didn’t see until afterwards the advice to take a torch so as to assist in ascending the stairs of the monument.

Having not arrived in Todmorden until gone 2.30, we still managed to dally a while (on a pasty hunt for lunch!) before seeking out the Calderdale Way to lead us out of town. Then, given the choice of a nice gentle, limestone paved route up onto Langfield Common, or the direct route, we did of course select the ‘interesting’ direct route uphill, which by and by led us to join up with the Pennine Way, which we followed to Stoodley Pike Monument.

Once at the monument, it was a bit of groping around in the pitch dark to find our way up the steps to the viewing balcony. But what a splendid day it was for it! Not only was it fine, but there was no haziness, so the views were both clear and far-reaching. What a shame that I had forgotten the camera (for which I kicked myself repeatedly) –I think it unlikely that the next time we’re there (25 May 2008, according to the itinerary) we will be lucky enough to have such good weather conditions.

Yet more groping in the dark saw us back down the steps and onwards along the Pennine Way until it crossed the Pennine Bridleway, which then took us to Mankinholes.

From Mankinholes, a few paths took us to the canal which (after we managed to squeeze our way past a large group of ramblers – the third such group we had encountered – and noted once again that people walking in a large group are wont to a) walk five abreast and b) assume that anyone walking behind them is part of their group and thus could not possibly want to pass) led us back to Todmorden.

It was our first outing in this particular area (although we have ambled along a couple of other sections of the Pennine Way nearby) and we both enjoyed the moorland – although without a doubt it’s a much more pleasant place on a warm sunny day than it would be on a dank misty day.

The mileage for the day was only 9.5 miles, but it was still nice to be out, even if only for a relatively short one.

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