Sun 1st Apr, 2007

Todmorden Walk

Members: Dave Wylie, Alan Wylie, Iain McCallum, Lorna Marsland, Linda Crossley, Margaret Williams, Frank Williams, Keith Williams, Pete Walker, Mark Ashley, Chris Thicket, Phil Ramsbottom.

Guests: Maja Knieszner, Sofia Paterna, Alex Rodreiguez.


I knew it was going to be a good day when we arrived at the car park to find that it was free on Sundays, to help matters the sun was shining and there was a good turn out. Not all were intending to complete the walk but it was especially great to have Franks company for the first bit.

The steep climb out of the Calder Valley spread the field out, fortunately somebody pointed this out to give us a chance to regroup at the Great Rock. After this I did try and count up every so often and we managed to arrive together at the old bridge over Colden Clough for elevenses. This really is a lovely spot to stop. From here Frank and Margaret opted for a shorter walk (to be joined by Pete as he was in their car), and they dropped back the valley to pick up the canal - at least that is what I think they did, as I haven't seen them since.

We then switched from the Calderdale Way to the Pennine Way as we climbed up onto the top of the moor, which was mercifully dry (unlike my previous two crossings earlier in the year). This brought us to the Pack Horse just in time for the serious drinkers to get in their Sunday pint.

There are at least two ways down through Hardcastle Crags, I opted for the most energetic which involves staying as close to the river as possible - this entails balancing along fallen trees and creeping along narrow almost non existent paths just above the river.

Surprisingly everybody followed - although Iain did find a number of ways to make the passage easier (when I grow up I intend to be as smart as he is). Anyway, nobody cursed me to my face and one or two did admit it allows you to see the most beautiful part of the river.

After passing the renovated Gibsons Mill we climbed steadily out of Hardcastle Crags up to Heptonstall, sadly there wasn't time to explore this interesting village today as we still had a long way to go. We had a bit of a break at Heptonstall Quarry where we were treated to a very impressive display of soloing - I was impressed when the climber solo'd up to the top, but when he then turned round and solo'd back down I was speechless.

When we reached the canal again Mark, Sofia, Alex, Linda and Lorna decided to shorten the day and return along the canal to the cars.

The rest of us toiled up the other side of the Calder Valley to eventually reach the monument at Stoodley Pike. This was a fine spot to sit in the sun and enjoy the view of where we had travelled during the day, the sun was shining, Chris and Keith were pleased because they were both recovering from illnesses and 'did not intend to finish'. Iain claimed this was to be 'probably his last long walk' (if you believe that you probably think that the traffic on our motorways will eventually be flowing smoothly). When I sit there, I always remember the last time we did this walk as a club meet. We sat there and enjoyed the bottle of sparkling wine, which Bowden had carried all the way round, the grin on his face was matched by the astonished looks from the rest of us.

So that was it, good company, good weather and one of my favourite local walks - thanks to all who came.

Phil Ramsbottom

Meet Promo:

This is a bit of a favourite of mine, which has appeared on the meets list at least twice - we even managed to finish it once.

The route goes from the centre of Todmorden, up to Cross Stone, then picks up the Calderdale Way which takes us to the old stone bridge in Colden Clough. Here we join the Pennine Way, which will lead us to the Pack Horse for lunch. After this, we follow the river through Hardcastle Crags, then up to Heptonstall, we will pass through the quarry early afternoon (anyone seen on Forked Lightening Crack as we pass will deserve a mention in dispatches). (has anyone done it, properly!? Ed). After this it becomes a real breeze, just cross the valley, up the other side to Stoodley Pike before dropping back down to Todmorden.

This gives a good 18 mile walk - this can be (and has been) shortened when necessary. I will provide suggestions on the day.

So if this meets your fancy be at the car park next to the canal at 9.15 for a 9.30 start.

The car park is pay and display, to find it go to the centre of Todmorden and take the A646 towards Hebden Bridge for about 50yards, then watch for the signs on the right - it's about two streets along (Grid Ref 937242).

Best Map - Outdoor Leisure 2.

Phil Ramsbottom

Great Rock (Alan Wylie)
Colden Clough (Alan Wylie)
Bridge over Hebden Water (Alan Wylie)
Chris, Linda, Lorna and Maja (Alan Wylie)
Heading down to Hebden Bridge (Alan Wylie)
Chris, Iain, Dave, Maja, Keith and Phil (Alan Wylie)
Stoodley Pike (Alan Wylie)

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