Tuesday, 2nd June, Blackshaw Head to Todmorden, 10.45 miles (including walk to pub!)
Rain-junk Sky-litter Some May mornings Atlantic storm-horses clatter this way, shedding their iron shoes in potholes and ruts, shoes that melt into steel grey puddles then settle and set into cloudless mirrors by noon. The shy deer of the daytime moon comes to sip from the rim But the sun likes the look of itself, stares all afternoon, Its hard eye Lifting the sheen from the glass, turning the glaze to rust. Then we don’t see things for dust.
Simon Armitage, 2010
I linger this morning, reluctant to go our into the murk and hoping it will clear before we set off. So I spend a bit of time making more modifications to the panniers with some more bailer twine. Spaghetti junction.
My waterproof trousers are getting a little worn in the seat by now and their waterproof ness is rather negligible.
However, we set off for a day of steep, cobbled paths, a stretch of horrid road where traffic doesn’t even seem to notice us or even bother to slow down for us,
the usual snagged flappy black plastic decorating the barbed fences, descending into more verdant green and wooded valleys, with paths lined with cow parsley.
Another lovely large stable awaits Tommy in a livery yard at Longfields and the light coming through the panels make a zebra out of him and catch the tips of his forelock like sparklers.
True to form, the rain buckets down as I have a bit of a walk into the town of Todmorden where I find my room in the Golden Lion, an eccentric establishment run by some lovely people. And also true to form, the sun comes out as soon I am settled into my room overlooking the pub sign.
I take the opportunity to make a call to my daughter to discover I am now know as the ‘galloping granny’. Ha. I haven’t actually had a gallop but on some particularly grassy tracks, we have had a few ‘Canterbury’ canters but not much trotting because that is too jiggly for the bags. Tommy seems to know what I am thinking because as soon as I ask, he goes from a walk straight into a nice collected canter. It feels good to interrupt the walking pace every now and again. But his walk is best of all. Once he gets into his stride, he has a wonderfully purposeful walk, striding out with a lovely rhythmical pace that feels fast and energetic which he can keep up for ages as long as we are on the flat……which around these parts is not for very long. I am happy to think of him safely tucked up in his large stable.