Sun 6th Jan, 2019
The Missing Mankinholes Meet
Members: Christine Beeston, John & Midge Castick, Trish Cranston, Dave Dillon, Mark Garrod, Jim & Sandy Gregson, Phil Hartwell, Kate Harvey, Michelle Harvie, Tim Howarth, Iain McCallum, Al Metelko, Geri Mihalkova, Dan O’Brien, Emily Pitts, Simon Robertshaw, Dave Shotton, Andy & Jo Stratford, Jim Symon, Chris Thickett, Keith Williams, Dave Wylie (25)
Guests: Neil Boynton, Francesca Hartwell (2)
Despite the short grey days of the post-New Year lull and some last-minute confusion on the trains, there was a gratifyingly large turnout on this meet! Due to cancellation of alternating trains between Manchester Victoria and Todmorden on the Sunday in question (apparently as a knock-on from industrial action by Northern Trains on the Saturday) requiring some hasty website and email updates advising of a change to a later train connection for rail users, the meet leader and several others (Mark, Michelle, Simon and Dave Wylie) arrived some time shortly after 10am on the later train which itself was slightly behind its scheduled arrival time of 09:58. They were very pleasantly surprised to find 22 others awaiting them on Todmorden’s Station Approach, making a total of 27 members and guests! After a few group photos (including some taken by a very helpful coach driver who was roped in), we finally started walking at about 10.15am, about half-an-hour after the originally intended start. The weather was relatively mild for January, with no ice or frost even on the tops, and despite some mud underfoot there was no rain on the day, although there was some heavy and damp mist up on the moors.
We walked up though Todmorden to follow the farmland track of Rough Side Lane as far as Lumbutts Road, following this for some distance past the Shepherd’s Rest Inn and on to Lumbutts and the Top Brink Inn. We then followed a track across fields to Mankinholes, where we gathered at the gates of the Youth Hostel. Here the meet leader read out a relevant passage from the KMC Committee Meeting minutes of October 14th 1948, as recorded by the Secretary of the time, Eric Flitcroft:
“In connection with this last letter I had to report that Club members were received most unfavourably at Mankinholes Youth Hostel on a recent meet. This being due to the Warden having been informed that, ‘he could expect trouble from members of the K.M.C.’. It was agreed that mention should be made in the News-letter of these incidents and that it should be impressed upon members to do their utmost to combat this feeling against the Club. [George] Bosson suggested that members should make less noise, i.e. needless shouting & singing. He felt that members were not as tidy as could be expected & that the leader of the meet should see that Hostels, Huts & Camp Sites were left in an orderly fashion. [Bowden] Black was asked to draft out a list of duties expected of a meet leader. There was a general feeling that leaders should be more appropriately chosen and that prospective leaders should be consulted as to their willingness to lead any particular meet.
I proposed, seconded by [Bob] Upton, that the following should be _deleted_ from the Constitution, ‘It is advisable to be a member of the Y.H.A.’”
The ‘last letter’ referred to above was a reply from the Hostel Warden of Idwal Cottage relating to then-recent accusations of bad behaviour by Club members in the vicinity of the said hostel – apparently a case of mistaken identity as it had been verified that no KMC members had actually been in North Wales at the time! However it was observed that the Mankinholes YHA played quite an important role in the early years of the KMC: as well as being the apparent location (no actual details seem to have survived) of the first known advertised meet as a club (subsequent to the Foundation Meet of November 1944) on January 6th 1945 (74 years to the day before our 2019 walk), and an occasional venue for club meets in the following couple of years, the 1948 Mankinholes meet (which appears to have taken place on the weekend of 2nd-3rd October) led indirectly both to the KMC’s ‘Duties of a Meet Leader’ guide, an updated version of which is still to be found in the annual Handbook, and to the deletion of the clause in the club’s early Constitution advising membership of the YHA (Youth Hostels being a regular option for accommodation at the time).
After this historical interlude, we followed tracks and joined the Pennine Bridleway, eventually striking out to follow a steep path up to Stoodley Pike. Up to this point, visibility had been good, however the Stoodley Pike Monument was hidden in thick mist (to the extent that it could not be seen until almost at its base!) as was the adjacent high moorland.
A large contingent climbed up the dark spiral stairs to the Monument’s viewing platform (though the view was mainly of the mist!) and had a very late elevenses – it was in fact about 12.15pm when we left the Monument. At this point Iain McCallum, Keith Williams and Chris Thickett split off from the main group to do a shorter version following the Todmorden skyline along the moorland edge rather than going round the reservoirs.
The rest of the party then followed the Pennine Way S/SW though the murk to the turn-off signposted for the ‘Reservoir Circuit’. It was decided to miss out the Little Holder Stones and their trig point due to difficult route-finding across deep heather in the mist, so we stuck to the easier but longer obvious path to the reservoirs. After signs of incipient mutiny in the ranks, we finally stopped.for lunch at about 1.15 p.m. at a ruined stone cabin near Cloven Stone, before carrying on around the cluster of White Holme Reservoir, Light Hazzles Reservoir and Warland Reservoir in succession. We then continued to the damp and misty sands of Todmorden Beach at Gaddings Dam (taking the long way round the reservoir due to the meet leader not remembering exactly where the ‘beach’ was), where following Midge’s example (although she was the only one with a wetsuit), Michelle and the meet leader donned cossies and took a quick but invigorating dip in the chilly mist-laden waters (the water temperature was 4.5°C according to Midge’s thermometer).
We then started the descent towards Todmorden past the Shepherd’s Rest Inn and back down Rough Side Lane – an advance party of Mark, Michelle and Simon made it back down in time for the 16:22 train to Manchester, although others were struggling with dodgy knees (indeed a small party waited at the Shepherd’s Rest while Andy rushed ahead to get the car and pick them up) and the main party were back in Todmorden by about 4.30pm (a little later than anticipated). Most then headed for home, although a small party went for a well-deserved drink at the White Hart.
Total distance walked was about 13 miles – a little longer than planned, mainly due to the longer route taken around the reservoirs of White Holme, Light Hazzles and Warland in the mist.
Thanks to everyone who attended and made the first meet of the KMC’s 75th Anniversary Year such a success!
LATE UPDATE (5 JANUARY 2019 13:30)
Please note that due to newly-publicised cancellation of certain Northern trains including the 08:59 from Manchester Victoria on Sunday, the walk is now set to start at 10:05 from Todmorden train station (20 minutes later than originally planned).
It appears that alternating trains in the Manchester-Todmorden Sunday schedule have been cancelled, apparently due to knock-on effects from industrial action on Northern trains on Saturday.
A later (but slightly faster) train is however still scheduled to leave Manchester Victoria at 09:30 - calling at Rochdale 09:43, Smithy Bridge 09:45, Littleborough 09:49 and also Walsden 09:55 - arriving at Todmorden 09:58. The walk will therefore start shortly after the arrival of this train at Todmorden (walk start 10:05, unless train is delayed).
It is suggested that car users may like to gather at the start point from about 09:50.
The walk is not excessively long so we should still be back down in Todmorden before 4pm.
END OF LATE UPDATE
UPDATE (2 JANUARY 2019)
Current indications are that trains between Manchester and Todmorden will be running as originally scheduled. The walk is therefore still set to start from Todmorden train station at 09:45, shortly after the arrival of the train timetabled to leave Manchester Victoria at 08:59 - calling via Rochdale 09:19, Smithy Bridge 09:24, Littleborough 09:27 - and arriving at Todmorden at 09:35.
For those preferring to travel by car - there is ample free car parking on Sundays in Todmorden, as follows:
- for early arrivals there are approximately 20 free-to-use spaces (total) in bays on either side of Station Approach between the train station and the White Hart (sign at bottom of road indicates no restriction on Sundays, but limited to 2 hours Monday-Saturday). The station does have its own large (free) car park but this is however signed for ‘rail users only’.
- there are various centrally-located long-stay car parks by the Market (OL14 5AJ) and Central Methodist Church (OL14 5AW) just off Halifax Road (A646) - these are just a couple of minutes’ walk away from the train station and are free on Sundays (although charged 60p/hour Monday-Saturday). The closest of these to the station are Bramsche Square Car Park (between the Market Hall and the Central Methodist Church) and School Lane Car Park (beside the Central Methodist Church) - see https://www.calderdale.gov.uk/transport/parking/carparks/town.jsp?town=todmorden for more details.
Car users are of course welcome to arrive at the start point before 09:35 if they wish!
A suggestion has even been made for attendees to bring towels and swimming costumes for Gaddings Dam (Todmorden Beach) - though it’s unlikely there will be many takers at this time of year!
END OF UPDATE
This will be a winter walk of moderate length in the hills round Todmorden, taking in Stoodley Pike and the moors around White Holme Moss; readily accessible by train from Manchester.
Not long after the inauguration of the Karabiner Mountaineering Club in Edale in November 1944, the first KMC membership cards included a list of forthcoming club meets for 1945. At the head of this list was a walking meet scheduled for January 6th 1945 at Mankinholes, which on investigation turns out to be the name of the YHA outside Todmorden. (The original meet was presumably to be based at the YHA - it may come as surprise that at least some Youth Hostels remained open during WW2, but it seems that particularly during the later stages of the war short breaks in the country were encouraged as a means of promoting morale and well-being amongst workers on the home front). There is no club record of the events of that meet (the first KMC Record of Meets logbook doesn’t commence until March 1945), or even definite confirmation that the meet actually took place; however in an effort to put that right on January 6th 2019 it is intended to hold... the Missing Mankinholes Meet!
Start point: Todmorden train station, Rise Lane/Station Approach, OL14 7AA, grid ref SD 935241. Meet on pavement outside main doorway on Station Approach. There is car parking available in Todmorden (some of it free), more details to be posted on website nearer the time.
Start time: Meet from 09:35 (dependent on train arrival) for a 09:45 start.
Note: there is a train timetabled to leave Manchester Victoria at 08:59 - calling via Rochdale 09:19, Smithy Bridge 09:24, Littleborough 09:27 - arriving at Todmorden at 09:35; trains return to Manchester Victoria later in the day at roughly half-hourly intervals.
Early arrivals may like to know that the White Hart (Wetherspoons) is open for breakfast, coffee and no doubt other beverages from 08:00 on Sundays! (Turn left out of the station doorway and continue 100 yards down Station Approach, outdoor seating area adjacent to road.)
Map: OS Explorer sheet OL21 (South Pennines - Burnley, Hebden Bridge, Keighley & Todmorden) or OS Landranger sheet 103 (Blackburn & Burnley).
Distance: About 10-11 miles (though a shorter circuit is possible in the case of adverse conditions).
Route: From Todmorden, follow the Calderdale Way via Lumbutts and Mankinholes (passing the YHA which is still in operation, although it has restricted booking availability over the winter months), then follow the Pennine Bridleway before heading up to Stoodley Pike. From here head S/SW (via the Pennine Way for some of the way before branching off) to the trig point at Little Holder Stones, and continue in a clockwise circuit of White Holme Moss/Reservoir, before rejoining the Pennine Way this time heading northwards, eventually dropping off back to Todmorden via Gaddings Dam (a.k.a. Todmorden Beach).
Please check the KMC website for updates nearer the time relating to any publicised variation or disruption relating to train timetables, and further advice about car parking in Todmorden.