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My blog nick-name is SIR HUGH. I'm not from the aristocracy - my middle name is Hugh which relates to the list of 282 hills in Scotland compiled by Sir Hugh Munro in 1891. I climbed my last one (Sgurr Mor) on 28th June 2009


Thursday, 28 February 2019

OS Grid 38 (northing) SD 305 380 to TA 269 379 - Day 7

Wednesday 27th February 2019 - Near Ponden  (SD 736 378) to Saltaire (Salts Mill)


We reckon car logistics have been stretched to their limit now. We both managed to arrive at Salts Mill visitor car park by 9:00 am but only because we had set off in good time - heavy traffic at rush hour hampered us again on the drive to our previous finishing point at Oldfield SD 993 377 where we found our minor road closed near Moor Lodge Farm SD 979 379 enforcing another time consuming diversion. We eventually started walking at 10:00 am.

After all that car time we had a few problems with footpath closures and fiddly navigation until we eventually met up with the River Worth at the bottom of Hey Lane - SD 020 376. From there the walk following that river all the way to Mytholm was the highlight so far on the whole walk - idyllic green-turf-paths with the river sparkling and chortling on our right, and bright sunshine, warmth and a balmy ambience redolent of other summer days.

There is very little modern building in these parts, just single cottages, farmhouses, rows of cottages, and seventeenth century mill owners houses all built from comforting yellowish stone glowing in sunshine today. At Mytholm we left the River Worth now on its way to join the River Aire which we would be encountering later further downstream. A steep road climb took us onto the high ridge heading for Harden with that top-of-the-world feeling and views all the way back to our starting point high up the Worth valley - splendid. At the start of that ridge above Mytholm was an unusual expensively stone built mini housing development like some ostentatious commune for the nouveau riche with everything a bit over-the-top especially the fancy, golden gates.

After crossing Keighley Road we spotted Catstones End, an apparently quarried outcrop on the horizon and we pondered about its climbing potential. I found little information from Googling - BC may do better?

From Harden we walked through St Ives estate with broad paths and mature woodland being aware that there is much more to see there:

Bingley St. Ives, or St. Ives Estate is a 550-acre country park and former estate between Bingley and Harden in West Yorkshire, England now owned by Bradford Council. The park has Grade II listing in the English Heritage National Register of Historic Parks and Gardens of Special Interest. Wikipedia

Old bridleways lead down to Beckfoot and its attractive pack-horse bridge where we now joined the River Aire following to Cottingley Bridge only about a mile from the house at Cottingley where I lived shortly after being married.

This is probably the last attractive part of the Aire before it runs into more industrial surroundings and eventually giving itself up to the Ouse. We arrived st the Leeds Liverpool Canal and walked on the opposite bank back to Salts Mill as the sun lowered and the light became even more golden. This has been the best day's walking so far for this project.


Heavy traffic slowed our return to our starting point and by the time I left BC it was dark, and on the narrow country roads there were no road markings, making for stressful driving until I got back to Laneshaw Bridge and civilisation, and it was 7:30 before I arrived home.

Just leaving the car

Perhaps they've gone onto gas?

Typical stone built properties

Bottom of Hey Lane I think - where we joined the R. Worth

The attractive path alongside the R. Worth - looking back.
We wondered why nobody has incorporated this into a quality long distance path.

Now a rare sight - these mill chimneys were prolific even within my memory  If you want to know more Google Fred Dibner - a colourful steeplejack guy who specialised in felling these, often using fire!

Panic to get a zoom shot as this appeared far down in the valley  It's difficult to find the object at that large zoom and I was glad to get this result, albeit somewhat curtailed

Typical stone built housng - climbing out of Mytholm

Cobbled ginnel leading us out onto the tops above Mytholm

Looking back up the Worth valley over Mytholm. Our day's starting point is round the corner, high up on the central distant ridge

The strange nouveau riche commune - note the ostentatious gstes in next photo

On the ridge from Mytholm to Harden. Cattstones was just coming into view on the horizon

Bingley in the distance

This and below - in St Ives

Ex reservoir building - now a modern architect designed house - SE 101 388

Riverside mill buildings, often converted into housing like this are common but little remains of the water power infrastructure.

Beckfoot Bridge and our meeting with the River Aire

BC gets a photo of the Aire from Cottingley Bridge

Down the Aire not long before it becomes more continuously industrial

Along Leeds snd Liverpool Canal approaching Salts Mill as the sun is lowering

A hundred yards from our parked car


  1. was it thick fog ?

  2. Fascinating how our accounts converge and then diverge in selective minutiae.
    What happened to your zooms to Catstones, no information available.
    I agree a superb day full of variety - hope that wasn't summer.

  3. BC - Photo now added of Catstones. Not sure how that was missed.

  4. You were to some extent returning home. It would be fair to put it that way given that you left remembrances of personal effort in that Cottingley house - the installation of central heating which ended comically when you stood back to wipe metaphorical sweat from your brow, leant on a key projecting from a mortice lock, and snapped it off.

    For me those final miles you describe were something other than home. An area I actively hated for its parochialism, isolation, and a sense of being bogged down in time. How awful to see the name Harden spelt out sixty years later, although by now I am able to see fictional potential in that name. Harden as in the hardening of arteries.

    But there's gratitude too. The bitterness I felt towards that string of names (Wilsden, Gilstead, Eldwick, Crossflatts, etc, etc) slowly converted itself into a powerful desire to move on - both geographically and intellectually. A distaste for the Harden Wesleyan Reform Church eventually led to a moment when a friend and I found ourselves being snowed on as we walked up the middle of New York's Avenue of the Americas (better known as Sixth Avenue) entirely devoid of traffic, later still emerging from Tokyo's Shinjuku underground station and trying to navigate myself back to my 40-storey hotel. Und so weiter.

    A formative experience (as was National Sevice) but those are ex post facto judgements. At the time all I was aware of was a desperate voice inside my noggin screaming "Let me out!"

  5. RR - I too have some bitter memories of living in the West Riding, but also better ones than yours. On this walk, and an earlier one when I passed through other familiar territory I found I was favourably re-appraisng the area in general for its abundance of attractive countryside and improved villages arising from the grime of the Industrial Revolution. I thought perhaps even you may have had a slight realisation from my photos that there is attraction here in the landscape at least.