May 5

Day 8 Allgreave to Buxton

It is a shame that we have walked so far and carried so much today. The bar below our Buxton bedroom is having a salsa night and the teacher is really giving her students some advice. We have always quite fancied a chance to swivel our ancient hips but tonight our hips just want to be horizontal.

Still, on with today.

A hearty breakfast, shoe cleaning in the sun gave us a good start to today’s stroll.

I thought that yesterday was wonderful but today has been even better. This part of the world is full of wonderful views and friendly people.

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Everyone we have met has told us that we must visit Lud’s Church so we did. It should have been a short detour, it wasn’t.

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I took loads of photos of this wondrous place, but they all look
really dull, so put your waders or wellies on and see it for yourselves.

Adding 3.5 miles to our day’s stroll took its toll later on in the day. We were leaping about like mountain goats at first, silly old us

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We took a short pause for lunch after the major detour to find Lud’s church. We had a sausage and bacon saved from a breakfast a few days ago and some salami which was nicely matured. The babbling brook and cows wandering about made me want to sleep, but we strollers do not shirk our task.

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With about 6 miles to go we both ran out of steam. We had quite a bit of up diddly up to do and were feeling groggy. Luckily for us Janet keeps a store of mint imperials about her person and dispensed one each of these miracle workers. Restored, we moved upwards.

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The Dane Valley Way took us most of the way to Buxton. The source of the Dane is a sort of Grimpen Mire. I staggered about in its clutches for some time, nearly losing a pole. Janet did not seem to be so disadvantaged. Perhaps because she is lighter or not so stupid.

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We now have an inkling of what to expect on the Pennine Way.

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May 6

Day 9 Buxton only

Our accommodation is very comfortable. Our bathroom is up a long open staircase leading off a balcony at the top of the stairs. From the balcony there is a sensation of an out of body experience, albeit someone else’s body as one gazes on the bed’s occupant. Janet thought that it was like a film scene. Considering our ages probably one in which the relatives were waiting for the will to be read.
Our day off has been spent at the laundry, supermarket, outdoor shop and phone shop.

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Finding accommodation for tomorrow, Saturday night, has been a bit tricky. We failed completely and staying another day in Buxton seemed the only solution. We went, as a last resort, to the tourist office where Luke tried with all his might to find a pillow and quilt. We gave up as he rang pub after pub, b&b after b&b and all that seemed to be left was some sort of ark on a camp site. Doughty Luke was not to be beaten and found a pub near to Kinder Scout. No need to get out the emergency foil blankets, phew!

Having completed the all these mundane tasks we set off on a good old tourist rubber neck stroll

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If you have never visited the Dome, you must do so as sooon as possible. Entry is free to stand beneath a massive open ceilinged dome. Directly under the centre of the dome, on the floor, is a circle. Standing in the circle one can speak but not be heard by those standing outside the circle. The effects are quite magical. We sang and shouted for ages.

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After a decent nosh and a bath we must settle down to plan how we are going to walk from Buxton to Kinder Scout.

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May 7

Day 10 Buxton to The Lamb Inn Chinley

Every day we learn something new. Today the weather was wonderful for walking. A light breeze and gentle sun wafted us up the steep hill from Buxton. The hill’s name is Long Hill and it lives up to its name.

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Thank goodness that the Romans came to Britain. Another Roman Road takes us upwards towards the hills.

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We hadn’t really decided on our route to The Lamb, food and bed but spotting a notice telling us that people in 1938 had taken the time and trouble to create and maintain a beautiful route meant that we had no option but to take it.

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Our map clearly showed a pub at Combs. Experience has taught us that country pubs are not always open. Today is Saturday so we had high hopes that our thirsts would be quenched if we could summon up the resolve to get to Combs.
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It was after leaving the pub at Combs that another lesson was learned. When really thirsty it is a mistake to quench one’s thirst with delicious beer. My legs lost all power aftere we set off again. Thank goodness we did not have far to go.

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Janet, on the other hand, stormed on ahead like a mountain goat.

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Rain has set in. The forecast for tomorrow is for a little rain. We have the most testing day yet in prospect for tomorrow. The route is via Kinder Scout with full packs. We are both feeling a little frisson of excitement tempered with a hint of panic.

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May 9

Day 11 Lamb Inn to Old House

Yesterday was something of a mixed bag. I am writing this brief note in a dentist’s waiting room in Mossley as a result of this mixed baggery.
Yesterday started well with a wonderful breakfast and blazing sun. Filled with excitement we set off up a steep hill. The steepness lasted for miles but we were not dismayed as the map said that up up up would be followed by down down down.

In the photo below Janet has climbed up and not got down.

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The sign says something about an old cross found near here.
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Kinder Scout, one of our landmarks for today.

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I would like to thank all the hardy souls who have laid the wonderful flagstones. Janet skipping along with not a care in the world despite her heavy pack.

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As we neared the top a very kind fellow stroller asked us if we wanted a photo with both of us in it. The wind was incredibly strong so we look as though we are in an open air windtunnel
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Then onwards to our destiny

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The books tell of a time when the mosses became a nightmare of black peaty mud. People, apparently, could end up wading waist deep in the stuff. All that is now in the past. Goodness knows how this feat was achieved but we were very grateful.

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Those old walkers who engaged in the massed tresspass of Kinder Scout have left all of us a wonderful legacy. A legacy we enjoyed with hundreds of other walkers.
From Kinder Low we strolled into the mosses. All the books warn about the deep peaty mud but we enjoyed the marvellous pavement laid so that our boots were as clean as when we tried them on in the shop.
Crossing a busy main road we had a few spots of rain, which soon stopped. Our spirits were high. We had met lots of lovely people and enjoyed their anecdotes of snow, mud and exhaustion
The wheels fell off, off Janet anyway, at Bleaklow Head. A sneaky rock sent her head first to the ground. Nasty cuts on nose and damaged teeth were the outcome.
We stumbled bravely onwards, the low sun directly in our faces, over bog, rocks and streams. Our B&B hosts were becoming concerned at our late arrival, no phone signal so we couldn’t call. As a result of this we rode the last mile in comfort. Janet could only manage soup and our hosts’ generosity has been truly beyond what we could have hoped.
So, now we wait.

 

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May 28

Day 12 Torside to Diggle

What a treat it is to be on the trail once again. Having been dropped near our last encounter with the Pennine Way we made our excited way to the exact spot where we had ended in tears those weeks ago. Although our dropping didn’t go entirely as planned as our dropper took these dropees to the wrong place at first but sitting in the sunshine with a hard boiled egg, a bag of watercress, some France Comte and a small bottle of water our mood was so different from last time. We set off at midday with a spring in our steps, lighthearted and light backed as our dropper took our heavy stuff away in his car to Diggle.

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Of course the trail isn’t always perfectly striaghtforward
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We didn’t need to resort to the extreme measures some of our fellows felt necessary
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We have been serenaded for most of today by larks and curlews. As we toiled up steep stony paths their song lifted us onwards. The fearsome reputation of the Pennine Way was earned in the days when the path made its way through vast boggy stretches of purgatory, people being waist deep in black nastiness. Today’s walker is cossetted by a wonderful pavement and the Way is thus partly tamed.

I am writing this nonsense after having enjoyed a sumptuous banquet in the local pub. We hadn’t booked a table as we could not be sure of our arrival time so were refused even a cold chip or piece of lettuce. Being resourceful people, who will eat anything, we bought crisps, scratchings, peanuts and beer. Our B&B host complemented us on having chosen true British classic cuisine.

Tomorrow will be another longish day, of about 17 miles, fully laden, as there is only field and fountain, moor and mountain between Diggle and Hebden Bridge we have little choice . We dawdle along so do not manage to average more than about 1.7 mph. We could go faster but would see nothing. The landscape is really wonderful here and deserves more than a second glance so we glance at it frequently. If one glances frequently then 1.7 mph is about the maximum forward progress. Some of my walking chums will scoff at this leisurely crawl across the landscape but 1.7 mph is perfect for us. If I can wave a stick and threaten the router I might manage to upload a photo or two.

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May 29

Day 13 Standedge to Hebden Bridge 19 miles

We left the Pennine Way in order to walk to our B&B, in Diggle,yesterday evening. When our host offered to take us back, this morning after breakfast, to where we had left the trail we were almost delirious with joy. We were particularly pleased because the return stroll was to be all uphill.

There were four of us returning to the starting point and none of us was prepared for the icy blasts which met us when we got of our host’s cosy conveyance.
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As the morning went by the sun became stronger and the wind weaker. I am still really surprised at all the hard work which has been done in order to make the path such a pleasure for walkers. Certainly, there are some damp patches and crumbly rocky bits but nothing really bothersome.
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Once again the larks and curlews were everywhere. After a little we could hear what sounded like a distant sea washing on the shore. The sound of the waves eventually drowning out even the lusty song of the skylark and turned into the roar of the M62

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Astonishingly it only took some 30 minutes for us to leave behind the traffic noise.
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At about tea time we spotted a stone seat created in the memory of one Cyril Webster. Thank you Mr Webster for giving us 15 minutes on your seat.

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The skyline is dominated by the Stoodly Pike Monument. Like many British monuments it was built to celebrate a victory over our nearest neighbours and cousins, the French.

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Hebden Bridge at last. A delicious plate of moussaka and a glas of merlot gave us the strength to climb up to our B&B.

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May 30

Day 14 Hebden Bridge to Whitestone Farm 12.4 miles

Yesterday’s stroll was wonderful but marred just a little by Janet developing a kniggle in her knee. This was why we enjoyed the delicious moussaka. The alternative restaurant was up steps so we chose the restaurant on the flat, wise as it turned out.

After a hearty breakfast we were picked up by taxi to return us to the Pennine Way, in order to continue. We will remember Hebden Bridge fondly, for its moussaka, the Thornbridge B&B and its kindly taxi driver.

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The path from Hebden Bridge fills the walker, filled also with breakfast, with some disquiet. The path seems to go up and up for ever.

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On the way up one is reminded that all may not end well by the sight of a wayside cemetery. At that point there is a marker which points to the official Pennine Way. This same marker also points to the Wainwright route. We felt that we should honour the great man’s memory by choosing that route

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We have a book which describes the various long distance trails in the UK. The book was written in 2009 so some of the finer detail has been lost over the subsequent 7 years. We were delighted to find that the remote shop described in the book was still active, selling bread, maps, ibubrofen gel, mint imperials, soap and nearly everything else. Why ibubrofen gel you may ask. Janet developed a knasty, kniggling knee yesterday. It only comes on when she is going downhill so a quick rub down with a Welsh cake and some gel and she was bounding about once more.
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We needed to walk on the road for some 50 yds or so after having climbed up out of Hebden Bridge. By coincidence our kindly taxi driver of the morning was passing. He stopped and asked us if we were OK. We said that we were and he looked puzzled. We appeared to him to be walking back into Hebden Bridge as that was the road. It was nice of him to be concerned, lovely chap.

We were pleased to be overtaken by the couple with whom we had shared a lift yeaterday morning. They are moving their bags using a firm called Brigantes so are travelling light. We have so little stuff that we can’t really justify the expense of such a strategy. I think that my pack is about 11 Kgs including water and Janet’s is about 7.5 Kgs.
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We walked through what is known as Bronte country today, wild, rugged, charming.
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I know nothing about Bronte country, the Brontes or their works. That is not strictly true but I find the plot of Wuthering Heights to be highly implausible. All the main characters seem to have taken leave of their senses and behave as though they deliberately choose the most stupid option available. We passed the ruin of a farmhouse which has been associated with some farm or other in Wuthering Heights. A plaque on the wall threw a pail of cold water over this fanciful notion by saying that the building bore no resemblance whatsoever to the farmhouse described by the florid author.

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Janet’s knee was returned to normal by the ibubrofen gel. Of course, her other knee became envious of the attention its companion in bipedalism was receiving and started to ask for gel too. I can tell you that Janet gave both knees a good telling off as we descended down to our B&B.
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We have nowhere to sleep tomorrow night yet so must attend to that matter. Tomorrow we will probably have a rest day, walking just 5 to 10 miles, if we can find a bed.

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