As I out was on a walk on Sunday, taking some photos (below) and musing over why Pule Hill is the shape it is, I felt a bit like the guy from Close Encounters – focusing on his mashed potato mountain. The ‘mountain’ in this case was said hill, I’m not sure what classification of hill it is (I’d need to check the exact height) but mountain it certainly isn’t. I’m not obsessed by it as such but I kept it pretty much in sight for the whole of the walk and used it as pivot to base an improvised route around.
Anyway, back to the walk. After a couple of (really nice) busy weekends / trips away, I’ve missed the hills and giving the dog a long trip out. I’ve also been really conscious that I’m heading up to Rum in a few weeks time and I need to be a LOT fitter for that.. so I headed out on sunday for a leg stretch. I vaguely planned to end up Pule Hill and see Simon Armitage’s sculpture / poem , which I only found out about recently.
That said : I only had about 3 hours spare – the afternoon held a pre-arranged trip over to my dad’s (but I’m going to do the 5 – 6 walk along parts of the Pennine Way to his place again soon) so doing a decent walk and getting up to the top was a bit ambitious, particularly as I started by heading in the opposite direction.
I started out heading out of the house, up the footpath behind us and as mentioned, in the opposite direction to Pule, as that’s the easiest way to gain height for me.. up toward (but not as far as) Deer Hill reservoir to meet the catchwater path there:
The path was strewn in places with loads of spawn : not sure if it was Frog, Toad, Newt , Moors Dragon – any eagle eyed blog readers know?
We followed the path as it turned into the Heritage Trail, round to waymarker stone ‘number 9′. I still don’t have a definitive list or map to explain why these stones are in the specific positions they are. They seem to denote particular views (or historic events?) but I can’t find any info online or in leaflets that explains the spacing or location of them. Number 9 gives a great view over Butterley res across to Pule Hill though:
From here we headed south along the heritage Trail before we took the short and steep path down hill on our right to the Deer farm at Wessenden Lodge. The deer looked lovely in the sunshine, albeit in a fenced off space.
There was a short section walking back towards Marsden down the valley before we cut down a steep path on the left, which is the Pennine Way and then onto the paved section across the moors toward Swellands and Black Moss Reservoirs. This was pretty much the only part of the walk where we couldn’t see Pule Hill (had the mothership landed?! Quick! I had to get it back in view!! .. enough of the Close Encounters nonsense, sorry).
It was really tranquil on this section, the sun was out and thoughts of work/money worries (for another time) disappeared.. open spaces, wide skies and spring warmth kind of quieten the mind. Even the dog wasn’t pulling , less rabbit or hare scents maybe and certainly no sheep to feel compelled to chase (which is why she’s always on a harness and lead up there).
I grabbed some short ‘footage ‘ of the space up near Swellands.. gives you a feel for the area if you’ve never been there (the audio was poor so I added some music with Youtube’s new instant soundtrack thingy .. ever the geek):
We cut around Swellands res and past another reservoir – Redbrook. Keeping that to my left I picked up a really faint track away from the well-worn path that seemed to aim straight to the bottom (south-facing) side of Pule. It got a little bit boggy in parts but we got to the base of Pule (and Mount Road) at which point I decided not to head up it but to complete the trip downhill and home.
I was running out of time, so the poetry stone and a general mooch around the top up there will have to wait.
Turns out I wasn’t the only hiking blogger using Pule as a waymarker or pivot this weekend – have a read of Paul’s Walking blog.
We seemed to have circumnavigated oposote sides of Pule in circular walks .. doing a figure of eight and possibly at the same time.
- Keep Our Rights of Way Open (stravaigerjohn.wordpress.com)
I’m a bit of geek (and also the writer of bad blog post titles – as above) and I work in the (relatively) new industry of digital marketing. (social media to my granddad would have been a shared newspaper). Apart from some tweets, Facebook updates, reading some blogs and reading wired.com ; I’ve had a break from new technology over the holiday season.
A couple of recent walks had me focusing on much older industrial / technological endeavours.
Firstly, I got to see ‘behind the scenes’ of one big ‘old tech’ industrial effort this week with a walk along our local canal. The village where I live has a canal running through it which was built around 1794. Not the oldest navigation in England but pretty old! And when you stop to look at the sheer industrial effort and ingenuity that went into making it, its amazing. You can currently see how the locks and pounds were constructed (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canals_of_the_United_Kingdom) because they (I presume British Waterways) are renovating sections of it. So there’s a long stretch between my village (Marsden) and the next (Slaithwaite) that has been drained. I took a walk down to Slaithwaite (pronounced Slawit in these here parts) and took longer than I would normally, as I was having a nosey at the drained sections and dismantled lock gear.
Only one photo taken .. but gives you a feel for the canal area I hope
The canal in Marsden has a claim to fame being the highest canal section in the UK (when it enters a tunnel to cut across the moors and through to the the next county). Marsden’s other canal link is that it is home to England’s only (as far as I know) theatre company , Mikron Theatre Company, that tours (the UK) via canal boat (narrowboat). Check them out here : http://mikron.org.uk/
Anyway – back to walks and the industrial thing.
I wanted another longish walk later in the week and thought about theming that with an industrial angle. Unfortunately you can’t do much exploring in many of the (now derelict) Mills in the area so I went to higher ground this morning and checked out some quarries. Where all the stone for those Mills and canal lock walls came from. And for the houses around here, and the hundreds of miles of field walls and ..
I’m lucky enough to be able to walk out of my back garden and join a public footpath that takes me up to the moors in 30 minutes or so. Where there are quite a few old quarries. So that’s what I did earlier today. One of the biggest has been annexed by a shooting club but some of the smaller ones are good to have a mooch about around. You have to be careful – I think we can go over board on health and safety warnings but you do need to heed the signs that say ‘falling rock’ .. and I didn’t get too close under some of the overhangs.
The effort to carve out those ancient lagoon beds and transport the stone down to the growing industrial villages of yorkshire must have been enormous. No pyramids but lots of temples to industry. Whilst I was up there ‘on the tops’ I had a longer walk with the dog – she was pretty bored at one point , idustrial heritage not being her strongest interest. Rabbits, sheep and Grouse are more her thing and we picked up a few scents : enough to nearly have me fall over an edge when she (again) lurched forward and caught me by surprise. one day…
Here are a few photos of from up high in and around the quarries.
By the way , my geek blog is over at markkelly.net if you are interested
- Canals (intotheorchard.com)
- Huddersfield Narrow Canal locks get a £500,000 repair boost (examiner.co.uk)
I had a walk out this morning with my son Joe as we both wanted to blow away the cobwebs. Him from being stuck indoors a lot finishing his 3rd year dissertation and me from having overstretched myself in the present buying and wrapping stakes (amazing how tiring that can be). And I fancied I should build up some credit in the health bank before I eat my body weight in turkey and chocolate in the next couple of days of course
It wasn’t much of long walk really and certainly didn’t really trip into ‘hike’ mode (e.g no mountains or wilderness and only about three and half hours in all) but it was really nice. Firstly for the company : having a geologist with you makes for interesting conversation (fracking, who knew, obviously not me.) .. and he’s a great conversationalist about anything from music to quantum mechanics. I know I’m biased but if I do a long trek (vague thoughts for Nepal at some stage) or another road trip (like we did in Iceland a couple of years ago), Joe would be on my list for trek buddy. And he should be on yours. Professional trek buddy , is there such a thing ? He’s looking for work from summer onwards, hire him. I’ll pay the outward travel fees, contact me.
By the way , we got talking about the what and the how of ‘a good walk’ and I mentioned a book I read recently that I’m passing to him. If you like your walks and hikes (and guessing you do if you’re here) then get hold of Geoff Nicholson‘s ‘The lost art of walking‘, its a personal and historical essay on what it means to be a walker (remote, rural or city based).
Oh – just googled to get a link whilst typing this and Geoff has a blog about walking in hollywood area .. it looks great, some holiday reading for me I think (http://hollywoodwalker.blogspot.com/)
It was also a nice walk because despite some rain and a lack of blue sky, it took in some great views back down the valley to our village. And also involved some deer spotting (not hard as they are enclosed in a deer farm) and some Ram avoidance (the horns on the biggest were really impressive). And we had a good chat with the ladies in the road side mobile cafe at the top of the valley. (So the health credit thing didn’t really work out – it was a bacon sandwich for me).
The route we took was straight up the Wesenden valley along some reservoirs .. and straight down again, nothing complicated but still really nice to spend time with my son and chew the fat (and the sandwiches).
happy Christmas / holidays to you
Some photos (bit blurry I know) from the walk
- A snowy hike .. nearly (nearly) the Black Hill circular (halfwayhike.wordpress.com)
As will be obvious from some of my initial posts, I’m pretty new at planning biggish walks/ hikes.
A site for planning hike routes I’ve stumbled over which is really good is the Ordnance Survey’s ‘getamap’ site / planning tool. This is UK only so I can’t point any USA vistors to a similar service but I’m sure one exists.
I think my friend Jeff mentioned it to me in passing and I googled it as it sounded like a really useful site for planning then printing bespoke maps. You pay for some features but the costs look good and if you’ve got a Garmin GPS system I think you can transfer data between the website and the handheld device. Nice – that’s a gadget for another day
I just centered on my village, looked at doing about a 10 mile walk this weekend to keep my hand (feet) in and having quickly plotted a route, I get a cool map. With automatically refreshed distances as I plot along the footpaths I choose to follow and estimated completion times at the bottom of the screen as I drew the route out. That’s really neat.
Actually, I extended the plotted route to 14 miles and according to Naismith’s rule, should take me just short of 6 hours.
I’d never heard of Mr Naismith before, always good to learn new facts.
Experienced hikers will know the service already but I’ve posted about it here if you are a hiking noob like me.
My route, for the curious amongst you: