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Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Littledale and Mallowdale

Tuesday 19th June 2018 - 9.1 miles - Littledale and Mallowdale

The majority of my walking has usually been solo, but I seem to have walked over various sections of this route several times always with others.  In November 2013 I walked a fair section of it with Gimmer And in June 2016 The Lancashire Witches Walk with Bowland Climber coincided, and that walk was discovered by me in June 2016 when investigating a witch's way-mark on a gate whilst walking on another part of this route on a Thursday walk with Pete:

A gate fifteen yards off the road closed off a track. There was a footpath sign, and we could have just walked on - I see many of those which usually turn out to be just a general indication of a public right of way, but something jarred in my mind. Researching the map for this walk I hadn't noticed a public right of way marked here, so I went to investigate. The sign was for the Lancashire Witches Walk  

Back home I chatted with Bowland Climber on the phone in the evening and he was enthusiastic to take on this attractive little fifty-one mile route which we could do in sections, either devising circular walks or using two cars for linear stretches.That is what I mean by "making things happen."

Today I wanted to do another 9 miler with the objective of building up to a 12 miler and then  possibly recommencing my Berwick to Castle Carey walk from Hellifield where my knee packed up back in April last year. This time I would try and restrict daily miles to around 12. Certain commitments dictate that this would be after 26th July, so a bit more time to work up to and assess my capability.

As I was driving from Caton I passed two young girls walking and parked perhaps three quarters of a mile further on. After I had been walking in total silence for about half a mile  I heard babbling behind me and although I thought I was walking fairly quickly the two girls had caught me up - they were chatting with overlapping conversation, non-stop, it sounded like a high pitched Bach fugue from behind, and then they passed quickly with pleasantries..

The walk up Littledale was varied on good tracks and paths, through some woodland and fields and all quite remote. An abandoned church was passed - strange how so many churches are built in places of isolation,  one wonders where the congregation came from. I could find nothing on the Internet about it.

At Haylot farm the farmer, the only person I met all day, told me of a landslip on the path ahead. There was a "path closed" notice and I tried to divert, but barbed wire fencing had me beaten and I returned to the notice and went steeply down through the woods on the path to find the landslip at the bottom before crossing the stream. I sat on my bum and sort of dropped off about three feet and the problem was solved - it is so often the case that closed footpaths remain negotiable with care, but it is of course a gamble when you proceed.

There were a few places where I lost the path, and although only short led me into disproportionately time consuming, marshy, tall reed infested terrain, but the whole walk was in a quiet area with outstanding views throughout - a splendid day out.

A bit of quiet road to start with - the two girls wouldn't have been far behind

At the bottom of the road I turned left to walk up the Littledale valley defined by the long line of trees stretching  towards the distant hills and Mallowdale

Pleasant walking. typical of much of the walk

Abandoned church

Now used by nesting birds and some farmer who suffers from the opposite of OCD whatever the opposite is

Littledale Hall - a rehab centre for people recovering from drug problems - there are more details on the walk with Gimmer (link above) when we walked past the other side. This zoom shot from afar - looks like visiting day with lots of people milling around.

Alongside Artle Beck, I wonder why it isn't called Littledale Beck?

Ahead towards Mallowdale and the even more remote part of the walk.
 Haylot Farm is visible top left

CLICK TO ENLARGE. The little bits of blue route are where I missed the way, and where I searched for an alternative to the closed footpath

Friday, 15 June 2018

Time to remember

Friday 15th June 2018 - Arnside Knott

Just a few photos from an evening walk round The Knott to mark a what-would-have-been special day.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Bronte Way 5 (final)

Saturday 9th June 2018 - Bailiff Bridge to Oakwell Hall, Bradford

BC's transport arrangements continued to  deliver. We only waited a few minutes at the bus stop within a hundred yards of the Waterfront Hotel and we were on the Bronte Way again from Bailiff Bridge by 9:00am.

Again all walking today was on good paths, tracks and fields. There were occasional slight variations in the route compared with the gpx file I had downloaded from The Long Distance Walking Association. At times we were coinciding with The Spen Valley Way, The Calderdale Way, The Kirklees Way, and with a little concern the Luddite Trail. We were just hoping that we wouldn't be mistaken as wreckers of farm machinery as we progressed.

We came across a well kept and interesting Quaker Graveyard at Hare Park Lane, Hightown and there is some history of a lady writing a book about this - CLICK HERE

A few hundred yards further on there was a farm ostensibly a plant hire or sales outlet, but in the farmyard they had an interesting collection of old tractors - if Alan Rhad been here he would have thought it was his birthday, but perhaps he has already visited? See photos below.

Walking through Gomersal a young mother clutching various items, and with two children, perhaps four and five years old approached, and I was jolted back to my West Riding roots with abrupt Bradford riposte from mother and children:

Mother: "Been to t' church fair. Spent a fortune. Loads of rubbish."

Five year old: "Why 'ave you got those?"  (referring to my walking poles)

Four year old: "Are you a girl?" 

We stopped at the church. Lots of activity from well attended fair. Stalls inside. Lots of banter from elderly congregation members, more worthy of labourers on a building site, but that's Yorkshire for you. 

One lady insisted on showing us the grave of Mary Taylor, a woman's rights activist who was a lifelong friend of Charlotte Bronte and somebody I may now do a bit more research on after looking at Wikipedia, especially seeing this snippet: 

When she was financially secure Taylor returned to Gomersal. High Royd, the house built for her, was her home for the rest of her life. She made annual visits to Switzerland where, aged almost 60 in 1875, she led a party of five women on an expedition to climb Mont Blanc and they published Swiss Notes by Five Ladies, an account of their ten-week adventure.

Just north of Gomersal we stopped at a café for tea and toasted teacake. A lady told us of nearby Patrick Bronte's house, he being father of the sisters. and our route passed by. We had been disadvantaged on this walk because the only guide is now out of print, and we had probably missed several other Bronte connection venues.

From here it was only a couple of kilometres to the finish at Oakwell House and country park.

Another kilometre took us down to the A652 where the bus to Bradford was over half an hour late. We had to wait longer for the train than the timetable told us due to "cattle on the line" but we were soon aboard. BC's planning had been faultless. I was back home for 7:30 for a hot bath, a curry from the freezer and a glass or two of red.

The Bronte Way has been an excellent long distance path nearly all on good tracks and paths with  little in the way of cow trodden fields and with an interesting theme. I would put in the top end of long distance walks I have done.

*Alan Rayner - fellow outdoor blogger: A Blog on the Landscape! whose employment was in the tractor industry and welcomes us finding rare models hidden away on our travels.



Just a pretty garden, and sample of Yorkshire cottage architecture

Typical Bronte Way terrain - BC progressing

Were we carrying 5 lb. sledgehammers in our rucksacks?

The Quakers burial ground. Quiet and peaceful

This and next three old tractors for Alan R.

This one in particular looked unusal

This was the hire or sales business of the tractor farm

At the café.
 We panicked to deploy cameras, but were then told she spends most of the day like this

Patrick Bronte's house - See next photo

Mary Taylor's grave - Gomersal church

This and next two - Oakwell Hall - finishing point of Bronte Way

Monday, 11 June 2018

Bronte Way 4

Friday 8th June 2018 - Denholme Gate to Bailiff Bridge.

After using two cars to get to Denholme Gate we decided that was no longer practical and  the walk could be finished in two days with one overnight and using public transport.

BC is the master of such logistics but I thought he may be tested with this, especially in view of the recent collapse of the rail sytem and the introduction of new timetables. I should not have doubted.

I drove to BC's house for 7:30 am on Friday. He drove us into Preston. We left the car on the multi storey adjacent to the station. A short walk and a few minutes later we boarded via the Northern Line train, they are the ones who have defaulted most with the recent rail drama, but surprisingly they were on time, or so we were informed. Once boarded a unique announcement told us the train toilet was broken so the train would be delayed by five minute toilet breaks at two stations between Preston and Halifax - BC's planning was now in jeopardy.

We had a fair uphill walk from the station in Halifax to a bus stop remote from the bus station, but despite time lost through the non-doing toilet, we were straight onto a bus to take us to Denholme Gate, and we were off walking by 11:00am.

Pleasant lanes and friendly fields took us to Thornton. The myths of industrial West Riding sprawl were dismantled with pleasant paths, often contouring and looking down into valleys through lush countryside and hardly a sound from roads and traffic. When I was married in 1970 we bought our first house, brand new, in Thornton for £3,500! Houses in Thornton are stone built and mostly dating back over a hundred years and more, providing  distinctive character and architecture. We found the house where the Bronte children were born which is now Emily's Coffee Shop where we stopped for a somewhat inferior coffee. The house is supposedly preserved much as it was in the Bronte's days. There were two elderly ladies talking at a nearby table with robust Yorkshire (Bradford) accents, at one point having an unlikely discussion about their respective email addresses - they easily outclassed Alan Bennett's Talking Heads. It is surprising that Thornton has not made more of its tourist potential, especially with the Bronte connection, but it is none the worse for that, virtually unchanged from the eighteenth century, and certainly worth a visit.

Our next Bradford suburb was Clayton involving our longest climb of the day, but views and countryside were always rewarding including a distant hazy sighting of the famous Lister's Mill chimney.

We passed through Shelf and then Norwood Green. I was born in Bradford and lived there until I was thirty and my memories are of a dour and oppressive environment, but all these suburb villages seem to have been revitalised, Norwood Green is an especially attractive residential village, again with old stone built cottages and larger, probably ex mill owners' houses.

Our day's walk ended at the not so attractive Bailiff Bridge where we hopped on a bus within a few minutes to take us a couple of miles into Brighouse where BC had booked us in at the Waterfront Hotel which proved to be satisfactory and friendly with a good, busy, typically atmospheric Italian restaurant.

That had been a splendid day's walking and a tribute to BC's organisational skills with public transport et al.

Final Day 5 to folllow


BC wanders down a pleasant lane - part of the attractive and varied terrain this day

A rare bit of more urban countryside

Old cobbled ginnel in Thornton

In Thornton, and below

Bronte birthplace, now Emily's Coffee Shop. See plaque below

BC inside Emily's

Just before the climb to Clayton

Looking back to Thornton - church spire from the church photo above just visible


Zoom to Lister's Mill chimmney in Bradford

Appleton Academy, Wyke, zoom. An unusual school that takes children all the way through the age range