Taru and Jenny had wanted to do the ten mile circular that navigates Pule Hill, Close Moss and March Hill. The weather looked like it would be pretty good to us. Although good in Marsden is relative: ‘fresh’ or ‘blowy’ would be kind euphemisms.
But as Simon Armitage says in ‘Snow’ (a great piece and a stop along the trail) : ‘We should make the most of the light”. That’s a pointer to the poet’s birthplace and conditioning right there.
The poems that we took turns reading out at each ‘waymarker’ (yes, I sprang that on them) were frequently snatched from mouth and hand.
And the winds crashing against the industrial cliffs of Pule Hill quarry knocked Taru and Jenny over at one point. Then threatened to snatch at least one of the three hounds off and away into neighbouring Lancashire.
The GPX / Viewranger file for the Marsden poetry trail is available. At some point I’ll add the actual poems onto that.
I really enjoyed ‘guiding’ us around the trail. The guys all knew the hills and the route that we took as well as I do. But having a new layer of experience placed over it, in the shape of the poet/poem waymarkers and the actual poems I had curated, meant a different dynamic for me.
I was chuffed they enjoyed the poems and the slivers of facts I had found on George Marsden, Ammos Wrigley, Samuel Laycock et al.
Here are the photos from the day. Fact-tastic waymarkers about the lives of Marsden-related poets past and present aside, it’s a great leg stretching ten mile yomp up hill and across moor.
With some fantastic vistas around all points of the compass as you progress around it.
Below is Taru reading Ian McMillan’s ‘Canal Life’ near Tunnel End visitor centre (the trail heads up to the hills along the Huddersfield narrow canal). I had read David Coldwell’s ‘Heron’ before that, back towards Marsden.
I was bemoaning the lack of a poem to add to the Marsden poetry trail on the section after Redbrook Clough and back into Marsden.
Then we walked past Hey Green, which was a Mill Owner’s house, then more latterly a hotel and bistro (which had a great menu actually) and is now a private house again. We stopped to look at the old engine house gate (which has been there a few years).
I’ve seen this gate innumerable times but never clocked the words running through the design.. a poem.
I think Jenny or Taru made the connection. I just need to transcribe it now and add it to the trail!