Monday, 1st June, Wycollar to Blackshaw Head, 14.66 miles
Tommy has spent the night in the field behind the farmhouse where he can quench his thirst in the stream running through it.
The cattle and the sheep are gone from this farm these days, their owners having retired now but it wasn’t so long ago when the farmers supplemented their income by making worsted cloth from the sheep that grazed this moorland pasture. The old faithful collie lingers on to guard the place and Tommy and I have to run the narrow gauntlet to get past him and into the large barn to get ‘dressed’ for the day, Tommy high-stepping to avoid being nipped at the heels.
We head off up into the hills and into the Forest of Trawden which is remarkable devoid of trees but must once have been heavily wooded, and onto the Brontë Way. It is easy to imagine the sisters walking these moors, just a few miles west of their parsonage home at Haworth, in the West Riding of Yorkshire.
Some of the tracks become narrow and precipitous as we follow the stream up the valley.
Meeting a few friendly faces on the way.
Both equine and human as we meet our first independent rider since we started our journey down the Pennine Bridleway, Shelley McNeill on her pretty mare, Molly.
As well as some rusting casualties left lying in a deep valley gorge.
Before entering into a secret valley that is truly magical, a hidden gem.
With even a reminder of home!
Find these tracks fascinating and love these old bricks built into the lane leading to Workhouse Farm
The rain comes down about an hour before we arrive at our destination and I am so grateful to find a large stable in the big barn at Badger Fields awaiting Tommy’s arrival, while I once more start the process of drying out kit and clothes. Not far away is Hebden Bridge, once know as Trouser Town, due to its production of fustian, a cloth similar to corduroy.
“Rain. Be glad of these freshwater tears,
Each pearled droplet some salty old sea-bullet
Air-lifted out of the waves, then laundered and sieved, recast as a soft bead and returned.
And no matter how much it strafes or sheets, it is no mean feat to catch one raindrop clean in the mouth,
To take one drop on the tongue, tasting cloud pollen, grain of the heavens, raw sky.
Let it teem, up here where the front of the mind distils the brunt of the world.”
Simon Armitage, 2010