Snatching words on the Marsden Poetry Trail

March Hill Marsden Moors hike Hiking Yorkshire Walking rambling

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.

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Mountain Hare Surveying with the National Trust (@marsdenmoorNT)

Millstone Edge Close Moss Marsden Moor hike

I met up with a few other folk (including walking compadre, Jenny) above Marsden, early on Saturday morning. We were going to be shown how to spot for signs of the (elusive, as it happened) Mountain Hare. Signs that will help us complete an NT survey within the individual 1Km squares of Marsden Moor that we have been allocated.

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A choice of sleet or sun.. a walk around Close Moss

Photograph of Close Moss on Marsden moor Pennine Hike

I had a choice this weekend: go for a long walk around the Marsden Moors on Saturday (forecast: sleet / snow and low cloud on the tops) or Sunday (forecast: sunshine). I went for Saturday, as I’m perverse like that and I fancied a bit o’ weather to get me in the zone for a trip in early February up to Crianlarich.

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Looking back from Black Hill

Halfwayhike Hike photo Marsden GoPro photo

A look back at 2014 walks:

I was stood in the dark at a festively decorated Black Hill trig point with some of my outdoorsy compadres and reflecting on my year of walks. This was last night, the Friday night before Christmas and some of the assembled group had run up from Marsden (they’re addled like that). Jeff, Mac, Steve and I had walked, the plan being to rendezvous with those tapped runners for some festive fare and bonhomie.

It had been a bit of a slog from the Isle Of Skye Road up to Black Hill, with low cloud, driving rain and strong wind. And the ever-slippy Pennine Way flagstones to add to the fun. Once at the top, I couldn’t actually see much from Black Hill itself (Stars, distant Holmfirth and Huddersfield all temporarily obscured by cloud and rain). But that was okay, the focus was on the merriment around me.

Carol singing on Black Hill
Martyn, Andy and Ali carol singing with gusto above the roaring wind.

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Crossing The Pennines – a new Heritage Trail

Marden Packhorse Trail

I’ve been talking recently with the folks behind a great new Pennines heritage trail that’s been devised in my area (the Colne Valley in West Yorkshire). They had incorporated a couple of my photos in their social media updates (very flattering) and I got in touch to find out a bit more about what they are doing.

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Hiking navigation skills course – a ‘refresher’.

Marsden Moor National Trust Hike

I’ve just completed a four-part navigation skills refresher* course organised and hosted by Mountainfeet, a great outdoors shop that’s based in Marsden, where I live. The theory being that I’d be relearning some forgotten skills. Learning afresh was more to the point, it was a great course.

The sessions (two indoors/class-based and two on the hills) were led by Keith Saunders. Keith is a retired RAF Navigator and also leads walks with Saddleworth Walking Club so he knows his stuff and is great at explaining things. Which was good, as I realised early on that I was starting from scratch!

* I was taught map and compass skills on a school trip thirty three years ago, during an outward-bounds break in Snowdonia. Starting from the baseline of having an appalling memory, thirty three years of lack of practice essentially equalled zero ability.

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