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]

Wednesday 16 June 2010

Colden to Standedge

Distance: 18ish miles
Weather: as sunny as sunny can be
Number of killer poodles: 1 (standard, not toy!)
Number of overly inquisitive sheep: 10 (6+2+2)
Number of comedy falls: 1

It's unsurprising, after yesterday's efforts, that I slept well last night, disturbed only by some yobs chanting at full voice (thankfully some distance away) between 1.30 and 2am. Maybe they went on longer - I slept the rest of the night with my audio book blocking out other noises.

"How can it be morning already" I wondered as my alarm went off, but I managed to drag myself out of bed, finding that my muslces had recovered overnight and I felt fine. The feeling fine lasted until I nipped behind the tent to take a photo of it with Stoodley Pike in the distance, and fell over the end guy in a true comedy style (straight down - no arms out to break the fall). A rather bruised knee ensued.

The eight tents unlawfully pitched beside Golden Water, together with the remains of a number of bbqs and a very large scattering of beer bottles, cans and general rubbish may have been the explanation of last night's disturbance, but all was quiet as I walked through. Perhaps I should have treated them to a few football chants of my own?

The walk up to Stoodley Pike was delightful, being mainly shaded, and it was at the monument that Steve caught up with me. We first met when we were pitched next to each other at Gargrave and since have been doing a hare and tortoise act. My natural pace is a tiny bit quicker than Steve's, but he doesn't stop or faff. So, every time I'm just picking my pack up after a break, Steve catches up with me and we walk together a while until my pace picks back up again.

A sign-post saying "White House 2 3/4 miles" saw me put an extra spurt on, as it made me hear a pint of shandy calling my name, and today I was blessed with the pub not only still being in business, but also being open. Oh that drink tasted good and cool interior of the pub was a nice break for my rather pink arms.

The scariest two minutes of my entire walking career came a while later. I had no idea that motorway foot bridges, which are terrifying at the best of times become so much more terrifying when you haven't got someone with you ridiculing your terror. It probably didn't help that the bridge in question is about a thousand feet high and about eight miles long, and the cars underneath are doing about 300 miles an hour ... or at least that's how it seemed for those 2 minutes.
I recovered my senses with oat cakes and sardines half way up White Hill, finding that once again the stop in the hot conditions had caused all of my energy to desert me.

I did, of course, eventually drag myself back to my feet and the rest of the afternoon was just as superb as the morning, with stunningly clear views and even more reservoirs with dwindling water levels.

Powered by chocolate, the kilometre along the verge of the A62 was completed, and now I'm at The Carriage House, where after last year's experience I didn't think I would return. I'm hoping that a Wednesday in June will prove to be more peaceful than a Saturday in July!

So, another excellent day completed. Tomorrow's just a short one.

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange


  1. Hope your bruised knee is OK - and my tent! Talk to you later.

    Word is: Sublym - like the walk so far?

  2. What fantastic weather you have had. To hot really for backpacking. But it's better than being wet and cloudy.

    It's not always as good as this up ere ya knows.
    Have a good one.
    Alan and Sheila.

  3. More great stuff! It's very sunny here this morning, so I suspect that you're now ploughing on through further lovely sunshine :) I wish I was out there too!

    I hope the knee's okay, btw. Blasted guylines...

  4. Alan, Shiela, Shirl - It was sunshine a-go-go. The biggest problem with the sun and heat was the need for so much water and the lack of good water sources.

    So glad that I had plenty of factor 30 with me (not to mention the trusty Tilly hat), which saved me from burning to a crisp. I've come back with more of a tan than if I'd spent a week on the Med (but then there's no way I'd spend 10 straight hours in the sun in any other context!).

    Mick, Shirl - The knee is quite bruised, and made me utter rude words whenever I had to bend it or (worse) accidentally knelt on it. Fortunately, it was fine for walking. Even more fortunately, Mick's brand new tent escaped the incident unscathed!