|Day 33 – May 9||Glossop to Diggle|
|Weather: Sunny and Cool||B&B: New Barn Guest House (£28)|
|Departed: 9:00 Arrived: 14:15||Walked: 4h 30m Rested: 0 hr 40m|
|Distance Today: 14.2 mi / 22.85 km||Total Distance: 524.3 mi / 843.78 km|
|% Complete: ~ 46.03%||Pint of the Day: Black Sheep Bitter|
|GPS Track for: Day 33|
The sun shone on Middle Earth today and that took the edge off the cold wind that continued to blow in from the northeast. In fact I hadn’t walked more than 5 minutes from the b&b when I stopped to remove my jacket and apply some sunscreen.
The first couple of miles were along an A-road that fortunately had a pavement (sidewalk) all the way to Hollingworth where I intended to pick up the Pennine Bridleway. Arriving in Hollingworth I was greeted by a marching band from the local Methodist Church but not before getting hopelessly lost in a myriad of residential streets that supposedly contained a shortcut. After an unscheduled 15-minute tour I ended up in the exact same place I started from and decided to stick to the A-road for a bit longer. Once on the Pennine Bridleway it was a fairly straight forward march up Lees Hill. It passed through farms, woodland and pastures before emerging on moorland where I had spectacular views to the south. I passed a couple of large reservoirs before climbing across Slatepit Moor, where to the far west lay all of Greater Manchester (which appeared in a much better light today). The rocky track then descended down towards Mossley where I spotted, from a distance, a cricket ground being prepared for the afternoon’s match. I was hoping there might be a game going on in Diggle as it looked like I would arrive by early afternoon.
I followed a dirt track called Moor End Road which ran half way up the hillside, where the moor abutted farmland. At times the wind was bitterly cold and so I was looking forward to the shelter of the valley below. Eventually the track dropped into Greenfield where I followed an old railway bed towards Uppermill. Along the way I noticed what appeared to be a baseball game in progress but when I stopped to watch it became apparent they were not playing baseball. It turns out I had stumbled upon a group of women playing a game of Rounders. I’d heard of the game for years, as it is sometimes described as falling somewhere between baseball and cricket, and I can see why. The players run around a small diamond but grab poles rather than run over bases. A bowler / pitcher delivers a ball underhand and the batsmen / batter hits the ball with a small aluminum bat held with one hand. There are ‘no-ball’ rules similar to cricket’s and they play two innings rather than nine. Here’s a link to site that explains the game in more detail.
As I followed the Pennine Bridleway down into Diggle I could hear brass band music wafting through the air. The concert was being played in front of the Diggle Hotel which, coincidently, was where I intended to kill some time before heading off to my b&b. I was still a bit chilled from my walk and so I confess to giving the music a miss and supping my pint indoors. After a nice break I headed out in search of my b&b which I was soon to learn was extremely well hidden. After finishing my second unscheduled residential tour of the day I rang the b&b only to receive an answering machine. There was only one thing to do, and so back to the Diggle Hotel I went for a second pint, this time enjoyed outdoors. Eventually I got hold of the b&b and a good thing too … one more pint and I would have fallen asleep on the picnic table.
While in the pub I asked the Landlord if I was in Yorkshire. At first I thought this was a stupid question but it turns out to be one of the most popular topics of conversation in these parts. In fact in my b&b bedroom there is a pamphlet next to the bed entitled “Saddleworth: Yorkshire, Lancashire or Great Manchester?”. This area, loosely known as Saddleworth, was in the West Riding of Yorkshire for hundreds of years but is now administrated by Oldham Metropolitan Borough. Suffice it to say that for a majority of locals they still live in Yorkshire and even address their mail as such (and the Royal Mail delivers it too).
I have roots in this area, specifically a greatx4-grandmother, Mary Woodley whom was born in “Saddleworth, Yorkshire” in 1796. She married a James Etchells from Ashton-under-Lyne and their daughter Marian married my greatx3-grandfather, Jonathan David Marsh, a Baptist Minister who later became the founder of the Baptist Church in Quebec City. I wish I knew more about Mary Woodley but for now I will have to settle for the knowledge that she came from a beautiful part of the world.