Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Trip Report - Pennine Way - Edal to Hebden Bridge

I have always wanted to walk the Pennine Way and before I have never had enough time do it. After a bit of research I have trawled through maps and books and found Daniel Staniforth's guide on YouTube - Pennine Way. I only had three days to walk in and what I didn't know was where to end my chunk of the full 270 miles. After studying maps I planned to see if I could get to Hebden Bridge. 

I planned three nights food and took my shelter and caught the train to Edale for 3p.m. on Monday 3rd October 2011. It was a beautiful afternoon and so began the steady approach to Jacobs Ladder. 

Once I got to the top the weather started to change and become extremely windy. There was more cloud coverage. I continued on to Kinder Low and there was not a sole in sight. The solitude was nice compared to the crowd that I normally see at the top. 

I bought a tiny plastic tripod for my camera a couple of months ago and wanted to try it out so I took loads of shots of me walking "action shots" by putting the timer on.If anyone was watching they might have thought there is a strange one.

I made great progress onto Kinder Downfall which due to the dry spell we had was a trickle. I was hoping to get some great pics there. I carried on to Mill Hill where it began to get dark. It was very overcast so no chance of a great sunset. I had to pitch just below the summit of Mill Hill to escape the strong wind. I went to get some water out of a stream and found this was totally clear, normally water I have had in the Peak District has always had a look of whisky about it due to the peat changing its colour. 

The next morning the light was strange, although beautiful. Wind was strong and it was dry................
a bonus.

I pressed on, my plan was to just find a place to pitch at 6p.m. shortly before sunset. I had never walked passed Mill Hill before and was pleasantly surprised. Before long I was at Snake Pass. Crossing the road and then onto Devils Dyke. The scenery was great. I took more action shots.

Then onto Bleaklow Head.............

As I came down Bleaklow Head I could hear gun shots. I did not think it was close until I saw a woman lying in the heather with two dogs. The way that she was dressed she certainly was not a walker and she was part of the shooting party. "Am I OK to continue?" I asked not sure what the response will be.
"No problem, just keep your head down", was the response. WHAT there are people firing guns yeah sure. I walked carefully on and as I turned on a bend there were several people with shot guns in font of me. I STOPPED AND DID NOT MOVE!!! I could see in the distance other people waving what seemed to be white flags through the heather trying to get the grouse shifted. One of the gunmen turned and said, "GET YOUR HEAD DOWN, you know............. just in case." I hid behind a rock and got a thumbs up form the gunman. I was able to peek through a gap in the rock and observe what was happening and after a short while a horn sounded. and it was over. The gunman beckoned me on. That was an experience. All the shooting party then began to hunt their kill with the dogs.

I continued onto a view of Torside Reservoir and had a spot of lunch. The view was great.

After lunch I headed down a steep track to the reservoir and then back up the other side. The walk from then on was great. Leaving all signs of civilisation and the Woodhead Pass behind. The clouds cleared briefly   and made going rather warm. Now was the long initially steep climb up to Black Hill.

The path was good to the top of the rocks and looking down sometimes got a bit knee wobbly, after this was a crossing of streams which generally was good. After this was a paved path, this made going easy and with the strong wind behind me was made easier. Once on top of Black Hill I could barely stand up as the wind was so strong. As I came down the other side there was no wind at all, a completely different environment. I made my way down towards Wessenden Reservoir time was pressing on and soon would be dark.

Needed to find a pitch. I headed down passed the farm and then a left up a steep climb to a very boggy open flat area. I just needed to find a flat piece of ground big enough for the tent. After searching for about half an hour I found a place beside a stream. Perfect! I settled down and drank my whisky and listened to a bit of Bob Marley. Perfect! Next morning I could not move. I don't have GPS or any fancy mile reading equipment but I am estimating that I possibly covered about 18 miles. My legs and back were sore.

It had rained heavily in the night and the tent looked rather damp through. Need to look at that when I get back. Onwards and upwards, packed up and then head on into winds. Across passed two reservoirs I had to lean side on into the wind wow it was strong.

Kept on to the path to Standedge met some walkers and passed them. Again on the North East side of every hill it was quiet and warm. At this point I did toy with the idea of finding a bus route. No keep on moving. Onto and over the M62. I live in Leeds and used to commute to Manchester every day to work and to see this foot bridge every day and imagine walking over it was a dream to me. Once on it looking down almost makes the world spin, the bridge feels like it is moving. I am glad though I don't have to drive this route any more, petrol prices and the long drives, I feel really sorry for people that still do.
The next part up the hill to Blackstone Edge was for me the hardest with the strong wind. The walk up took me about 45 minutes and looking back would take half the time, this was a real test of strength and stamina. Once at the top I was rewarded with fantastic views over Manchester and Rochdale, I could see as far ahead as Birkenhead, although this does not really come out in the pictures.
On to the summit of Blackstone Edge and then Aggin Stone. I carried on and I was so hungry at this point. I remembered that there was a pub called the White House on a road after the next decent. I had to call in Steak and Kidney Pie with chips and a shandy. Wow well needed, I did not want to leave. I had voices telling me get a bus now to Halifax!! My feet were shouting this too, they were in agony. I really did not want to stop now. I knew I could do it to Hebden Bridge.
So off I went to Stoodly Pike monument and then onto Callis Bridge. There are fewer pictures here as I just could not focus other than walking.


                                    ............................well the hardest 2.5 days walking that I have done. I am glad that I went as far as Callis Bridge / Hebden Bridge. This was a great 2.5 days and was glad to get home, however, I dream of completing a coast to coast one day and to continue the Pennine Way to completion. My fitness levels will need to improve and a serious review of gear. I did not weigh my back pack but I think the volume rather than weight was a factor in this. The tent takes up about 8 litres of space even squashed down. It is good for a one night trip but not for multi day stuff. So goal for the next one get fitter and lighter / smaller load.

BUT I thoroughly enjoyed these 2.5 days. I have experienced some of the countryside that I have never seen before and the determination that I never realised I had, even though I walked like a penguin for two days when I got home.

Hope you enjoy......please feel free to comment. And I will be planning another Pennine Way instalment pending days of work.


  1. I recall running to Stoodly Pike as the wind was roaring in like a steam train. on my Pennine Way trip years back. All good fun. lessons learnt there for you. I am sure you will soon be able to extend the miles. Last day from Byrness to the end is a lot longer than 18 if you do it in a day. Hills a plenty as well. Thing is after you have walked for days to get there your fitness is not bad anyway. Fitter and lighter load I am sure will see you doing some big walks. That one was not bad and like the report and photos.

  2. Thanks for your comment. I have had plans to complete the next stage, fell through. So looking next month. Trailstar has arrived and has been sealed, makes a huge difference to the size of the pack.


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