Walk Day 34 – Diggle to Hebden Bridge

Day 34 – May 10 Diggle to Hebden Bridge
 Weather: Snow, rain and wind  B&B: Laurel End Guest House (£35)
 Departed: 9:00 Arrived: 16:00  Walked: 6h 00m Rested: 0 hr 35m
 Distance Today: 19.0 mi / 30.58 km  Total Distance: 543.3 mi / 874.36 km
 % Complete: ~ 47.57%  Pint of the Day: ? Golden Ale
 GPS Track for: Day 34

Mother Nature was in full retreat today as I spent my first full day on the Pennine Way. I was away from my very friendly and warm Diggle b&b at 9am and into a very cold and drizzly morning. The jacket was zipped up, the gaiters were on and I even dug my gloves out from the bottom of my pack. It felt like February 10 rather than May 10.

The walk began, as most seem to do, with a steep climb up a dirt track for about a mile and half before crossing the A62 onto a ridge known as Standedge. It was here that I picked up the Pennine Way and it was here that it began to snow. The driving snow was mixed with sleet and I quickly dug my rain trousers out of my pack … there was no danger of overheating this morning.

The track was pretty well defined and despite the weather it was good underfoot. The PW followed the Oldham Way for a bit before veering north towards the A640. I could see another walker about half a mile ahead of me and passed one other heading in the opposite direction. My gear offered good protection from the elements and so I quickly became accustomed to the environment and quite enjoyed the somewhat surreal experience.

After crossing the A-road I continued on and over White Hill and eventually to another A-road where a portable food stall had been set up. I had a chat with the owner who has seen a lot of LEJOGers in his day and he told me I’d be in Hebden Bridge by 3pm, 4pm at the latest. Almost immediately I crossed the M62 via a very slender pedestrian footbridge and continued on to Blackstone Edge Moor. The navigation became a bit trickier after a rock formation known as Robin Hood’s Bed but the destination, another A-road, was never far from view.

Along the A-road was The White House Inn but I wasn’t ready for a break so I continued on and past a series of reservoirs. The snow had turned to rain by now and it had stopped by the time Stoodley Pike came to dominate the horizon. This 121-foot monument was built in 1856 to commemorate the end of the Crimean War. To be honest it’s more impressive from a distance than it is close up but there were some great views to the valleys below.

It was now downhill all the way, through moorland, farms and then a dirt track through a wood to the river and canal below. I followed the towpath for about half a mile and then into Hebden Bridge. First stop was the Tourist Information centre were I picked up some information on buses. Next up was the Post Office where I picked up my second parcel containing maps that will guide me into southern Scotland. The last stop was my b&b where I sank into a comfy chair and consumed several cups of tea. I enjoyed a great supper at a little Turkish restaurant called The Olive Branch.

After 12 days of walking it’s time for a break and so I’ll be taking two days off in Hebden Bridge. It’s now Tuesday morning and as I type this last sentence I can’t help but notice it has started to snow.

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