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Snatching words on the Marsden Poetry Trail

I set out last Saturday with friends Jenny, Karl and Taru, after the Hare surveying training, to walk the Marsden poetry trail that I put together last year.

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.

Marsden Poetry Trail up Hill and across Moor

Marsden Poetry Trail up Hill and across Moor
Karl reading one of Samuel Laycock’s poems, next to what was the family’s weavers cottage below Pule Hill
Marsden Poetry Trail up Pule Hill and across Moor
Heading up Pule Hill, Marsden below us
Marsden Poetry Trail up Hill and across Moor
Old field gate post (large hinge still embedded in it suggests that) .. Jenny timing things nicely
Marsden Poetry Trail up Hill and across Moor
Jenny reading Snow (Simon Armitage).. From the (Stanza) Stones itself but with paper backup in case some of the words were obscured by lichen..
Marsden Poetry Trail up Hill and across Moor
Scout watching Jenny and Taru climb out of the quarry and into the blasting of the wind .. the A62 down below.
Marsden Poetry Trail up Hill and across Close Moor
Some National Trust guys working on damming up some of the peat channels (I think? that or laying heather?) on Close Moss. Pule Hill in the background and the twin-Nabbed saddle of Shooters Nab and West Nab in the distance.
Marsden Poetry Trail up Hill and across Moor
Leaning into the wind in Millstone Edge.. which didn’t give an inch. Castleshaw and wider Saddleworth below.
Marsden Poetry Trail up Hill and across Moor
Cutting across from Millstone Edge and The Pennine Way, towards March Hill. New walking compadre Shorty Hound in the background, Scout to the fore.
Marsden Poetry Trail on March Hill
March Haigh Reservoir from March Hill
Marsden Poetry Trail up Hill and across Moor
Cold, windy but a beautiful spring day. No poetry at this point but the views were food for the soul
Marsden Poetry Trail March Hill
Looking back to March Hill across March Haigh Res.
Marsden Poetry Trail up Hill and across Moor
A quick dip for Brodie and a more committed one from Scout .. March Hill Res
Marsden Poetry Trail up Hill and across Moor
The obligatory pause on Eastergate Bridge before the final leg back into Marsden
Marsden poetry Trail walkers reading a poem
Karl reads ‘Small Fry’ by Alison Lock.. by the weir at the bottom of Redbrook Clough

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!

Marsden Poetry Trail up Hill and across Moor

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