Ask Google about the ‘Marsden Moors Heritage Trail’ and you get a range of links but none that definitively explain why there are a number of stones dotted around the valley and moors.. and why they are in those specific locations. Or what the specific number on each relates to.
I had a lovely morning walk out up the hills with the dog today and as I was glugging some water stood at Stone Number Nine it occurred to me I have no idea why it is Number Nine, or why there.
I asked the Peek District Countryside Ranger I saw half an hour later and he knew as much as me.. something to do with those other moors stewards, the National Trust.
Just after I left the ranger the dog did one of those sudden down hill lurches into the rust coloured ferns and rather than flushing out the usual slow witted sheep, two pheasants clattered a protest and flapped up into the blue sky.
They were cross, I was cursing as she nearly pulled my arm out of its socket, but she was really pleased with herself and they looked beautiful gliding away down the valley.
Back to the Mystery Trail Stones – when I got home I googled the term above because I’ve seen the stones on a few walks around the moors above my village, you can’t miss them, but as I’ve said, I don’t know what they mark.
I already knew the National Trust put them there as I’ve seen a blog post that details some of the installation work done with them. But I don’t know what each number corresponds to, or where they all are. I did see Stone Number Ten but didn’t want to stop and Foursquare that one so soon after the previous feel-stop.
So.. excellent reason for planning some walks that take them all in in some combo or other. And an excellent reason for outdoors geekery. I’m going to tag them all in foursquare as locations. And in lieu of them having qr codes (or just a simple information plaque on the reverse side if you want lo tech) or me finding a leaflet or website about them.. I’m going to work out what I can see from each one and figure out why that particular spot is significant. A mill here, a distant canal there etc
I noticed my flickr friend, great photographer and all round nice bloke Gary has take some shots of them:
And above is my far poorer (camera phone) capture of Stone Number Nine. Now a geolocation point on Foursquare.. you won’t get a free cup of coffee if you check in there but you will get a lovely view especially on a blue sky autumnal day like today
Update (7th Nov 2011)
- I found a map of the heritage trail with the Stone locations (and numbers) marked out :
I still can’t figure out what each signifies though.. there must be a key somewhere ?
On saturday I headed off across to New Lancashire for a circular walk that was about 10 miles in total.
New Lancashire is that part of Saddleworth that used to be Old Yorkshire before some chaps in brown suits commandeered it as part of a metropolitan area shake up, back in the 1970s. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saddleworth)
Anyway, they annexed off as many villages starting with a ‘D” as they could for Lancashire, before people on “t’other side of the hills” noticed.
These comprised of Diggle – where I walked to, Delph, Dobcross and Uppermill. I know Uppermill doesn’t start with a ‘D’ but they turned a blind eye to that.
I’m pretty neutral about the whole village-rustling thing, in that whilst I was born in Yorkshire, I spent the majority of my life (just about) in the south. But the Old Stock of those villages still fly the Yorkshire flag, metaphorically and literally in some cases.
Tech Alert :
Another quick plug for ViewRanger (the web service and the App on my phone) : I picked the route from this site (http://www.gps-routes.co.uk/routes/home.nsf/RoutesLinksWalks/standedge-trail-walking-route) , downloaded the GPX file and imported to ViewRanger, that I followed on the day. All really quick and amazingly easy to decide on a route , set it up and head off.
So, enough of the history and technology – the walk itself:
It was about a four and half hour walk across the moors, through farm lanes as I dropped down into Diggle and then back over the moors again. The views from above Diggle and then from above Denshaw (ish) were really clear. Here are a couple of photos from the walk – the first one is a bit of a badly stitched panorama but you can see the sweep of the valley below.
There was a bit too much road walking for me on this trip and the dog gets bored when she’s on a short lead. I can’t let her off the lead even on the open moors because of the sheep but its nice to let her roam a bit ahead of me when we’re out in the open. Except for when she lunges into peat gulleys when she thinks she smells a sheep. I’ve nearly landed face down in sodden 5000 year old tree remains a few times.
Near the end of the walk (fess up time : the bit just before I had a pint of Speckled Hen in the Great Western Inn ) I was walking on top of the longest and deepest canal in Britain ( built in 1811 and a few hundred feet below me). And just beside me was the route of the old (very old) Roman road between Chester and York. The Romans built the road around 80AD and it was about 20 foot wide (long since eroded or covered over. But that’s a big road and I guess it was the trans-Pennine (the hills round here) motorway of its day.
Which is kind of cool when you walk on it now.
Overall, this isn’t a walk I would do again soon due to the amount of road navigation but it was still a nice set of views and good to see some of New Lancashire.
suggested sites / links
So, I’ve decided that before I attempt the national 3 peaks I need to make sure I can find my way up and down them. Obviously paper maps are a must – actually, learning to read one properly is a must also – but I’m a geek so I also want to try out a GPS system. I’ve looked at the dedicated units and they look really cool – the expensive colour screen ones do anyway. Of course, always the way – I really like the full bells and whistles versions of things.
But I noticed a while back (and I think I’ve mentioned here before) an App from viewranger that works on the HTC phone (running Android) that I have.
Its taken me most of this evening to set up an account, suss out how to get credits registered (via my Paypal account, which is nice and easy of course) and have a quick look at what maps you can buy, so I haven’t really got a view on how it all works yet. Although I’ve had a really quick look at the wiki, which is good – and the fledgling / beta community area. What I haven’t done yet is download any maps or get my head around the actual App interface. Which looks feature rich – or in other words a bit (initially) tricky for me to digest in on evening after a mental day at work.
So I’m going to give it a real go this weekend with some small (ish) hills around Saddleworth.
Better to suss the App out there than for the first time in earnest halfway up Scarfell Pike..
I realised two things tho – my phone isn’t waterproof and also the battery life on The HTC Desire HD sucks. Bit better than an iPhone but still it wouldn’t last one mountain trek, let alone the 3 Peaks in 24 hours.
Problem one has been solved by buying this : http://www.aquapac.net/worldstore/land-electronics-phone-pouches-1054-0.html
Which looks good and is going to be better than the sandwich bags (oh yes) I’ve been using as rain protection to date
I now need to find a great solar charger attachment gizmo for Problem 2 and the extended hours out and about.
Review of Viewranger (the App and the extended community / wiki / guides support etc) to follow