Sat 27th Feb - Sun 28th Feb, 1999

Todmorden Walk

Members Present: Chris Thickett, Dave Wylie, John Thorley, Iain McCallum, Margaret Williams, Frank Williams, Lester Payne, Alan (H) Jones, Alan Peck, Keith Williams, Michelle Harvey, Mark Garrod

Guests: Christine Jones, Adam Bradley, Dave ?, Ahmed Al Hariri, Manoj Birje

Apologies: Bob Anderson


On Thursday Chris said to me 'The weather man says that we should forget Sunday' but I thought that this was a bit over the top so I turned up at Todmorden station at the appointed time. The weather was quite promising - dry, not at all cold and fairly bright.

So off we set along a route which was familiar to a few who followed me round on an identical meet 6 years ago - up to Cross Stone church, then along the Calderdale Way until we met the Pennine Way.

Then the fun started, at first I thought that it was just a short heavy shower, but after it had lasted 5 hours I started to realise that I was perhaps mistaken.

Anyway we continued on to the Pack Horse enjoying the antics of a Sea King helicopter which was on a training exercise and seemed to be following us, it even landed next to the pub. Having seen quite enough of the inside of these things over the last few years I decided not to give him a friendly wave.

At the pub the rain was completely horizontal, some brave souls went in for a driiik but the rest of us couldn't face the feeling that some places on the earth were dry so we cowered outside in the lee of the pub.

At this point I decided that to continue the planned route back over Stoodley Pike may not be too popular. So I suggested an easier alternative back along the canal, in justification I could point out that it wasn't as flat as it sounded because there are a lot of locks in this stretch. I didn't hear any dissenters so the decision was made. That was the easy bit, we still had to negotiate Hardcastle Crags, which by now were a sea of mud. When we started to climb up towards Heptonstall I thought that the worst would be over, but it was not to be. The paths leading out of the valley became even more muddy, especially those right on the edge of the valley with a real danger of a slip back down into the valley which may or may not have been stopped by a friendly holly bush.

Eventually we dropped down by the quarry where a dripping Forked Lightening Crack looked even more evil than usual.

Once we reached the canal we turned carwards at last and the race was on, the last 4 miles were completed in just over an hour only to find that by the time we were back at Todmorden the rain had almost stopped.

For Manoj this was his introduction to walking in Britain, being from Bombay he is used to a drier climate, I have tried to explain to him that our rain doesn't get any worse but I'm not so sure that he believes me.

Thanks to everyone for coming, I promise to listen to Chris and the weatherman next time.

Phil Ramsbottom

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