It seems a small thing to decide, but it changes everything. Before deciding the date it was going to happen sometime, and that was okay, kind of woolly, no pressure. Now, well now I realise I need to plan a whole lot more carefully. I need to prepare. Mentally, Physically, Financially and Materially.
So now I am getting myself organised, and will flesh out the bare bones of a plan that I have so far over the next 11 weeks. 11 weeks! heck!
The plan as it stands;
Daily Distance – apx 20miles
Overnight -Wild Camping
Carry – Up to 18 Kg (about 40 pounds)
( I told you it was basic)
Now on to my 4 To Do lists
Physical To Do over next 3-4 weeks
Up daily walking to 10 miles 5 days a week
Up Weekend walking to 15 miles minimum
Increase pack weight to 10 Kg
Financial To Do over next 3-4 weeks
Keep saving up (waterproof fivers!) aim to have £500 by end of March
Upgrade Bank card to contactless
Material To Do over next 3-4 weeks
Create a detailed list of what I will need
Check off against the list as each item is tested in the field
Mental To Do
Research the route
Research points of interest near the route
Get familiar with the plan
Get familiar with the gear
I think that the main focus for the next week will be increasing my fitness, (10 miles is 20,000 steps) and spending some time getting the route detailed.
The maps arrived this morning, Its a start.
“A journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step”
In my case the journey of 268 miles starts with 20,00 steps a day for 4 weeks! There may be some moaning about bloomin’ outdated Chinese proverbs to come before I set off
The Meltham Way
The village of Meltham lies to the South West of Huddersfield, in West Yorkshire.
Meltham famously holds an annual 40’s weekend with thousands of people turning up to take part. Many visitors dress in wartime clothing and arrive in their old cars. Last year there was even a WWII tank.
The 2017 event will be held on the 1st and 2nd of July. See more at their website here melthammemories.co.uk
Circling around Meltham is an 8.5 mile walk, The Meltham Way. It is, in my opinion, one of Huddersfield’s finest walks.
If you are planning to try this walk, it is possible to park your car on the roadside by Blackmoorfoot Reservoir. You can get here by bus from Huddersfield. It takes 28 minutes on Bus Number 393.
Coming at it from the West you will be close to the Wills’o’nats pub, well worth a call in afterwards, or alternatively, from the East or North take a look at grabbing a pint from the Bull’s Head
The walk around Meltham is not signposted as the “Meltham way”, instead, there are arrows on small green plaques which say “Walk Meltham”.
The terrain is often soft underfoot, and there are a lot of high stiles and walls to climb over. These are generally in good repair, but as always, please be careful. There is also a short ladder to climb.
You will be mostly walking on the flat, but the walk has aproximately 500′ of elevation change over its length.
Expect the walk to take around 31/2 hours.
Starting from the access road on the East side of Blackmoorfoot reservoir, walk clockwise around the reservoir to half way along the South bank. You will see the start of the Meltham Conduit, a man-made feeder waterway for the reservoir. Meltham Conduit
The entrance to the pathway is just to the left, and follows the banking along. At this end, the conduit is quite wide, and has some pretty bridges for the sheep to get from field to field, there may be trolls underneath, I didn’t hang around to find out
In the distance, you can see West Nab, the prominent point on the skyline
This stretch along the conduit is about a mile and a bit.
It is relatively easy going between the 4′ high walls, which have steps built into them to assist your climb.
Be careful, one of them has a long step down, and several cross onto roads which are fairly well used. The views are stunning though, so its worth taking your time.
It can be a touch windy, there is not a lot to shelter you.
Keep going until you come across an old set of lock gearing.
Hard to miss. At this point you are going to change direction from generally SW to roughly SE, it is here that you will come across the ladder, and you cross the spillway.
This shows the spillway, and the ladder, its below the level of the land to the left, so you get a bit of shelter, an ideal spot for a drop of #yorkshiretea
Back to the conduit, and the locals are quite friendly
The conduit gets smaller and eventually fades to become almost invisible, you cross a stile and are left wondering where to go next. At this point you are on a road/track turn right and walk uphill to see the steep sided valley of Royd Edge Clough. Then turn left and walk down the side of the valley. If its Spring, as it was when I did this, there are some really good opportunities for Easter Photos of Daffodils with Meltham in the background.
As you follow the path on a road, look out for a right hand turn which doubles back. The signs are there, but not easy to see. They get harder, there is a gate on the next corner, which gets hidden by parked cars. Make sure you go through this gate, then a few yards further, turn left in the valley bottom. You will believe that you have gone wrong as you go uphill along the path with overgrown tree roots and branches at head level, you are on the correct track, shortly you come across a farm yard.
In this farm yard is a viscious attack Turkey. I kid you not! For all the times you have had a Christmas dinner, this little devil wants revenge! Maintain eye contact at all times, and don’t stop until you are past. I turned to get this info from the farmer and the little sod had me! You have been warned.
Back to the walk, and across the Wilshaw Road you enter Meltham Gardens, which is a restful 5 minute stroll, sheltered and shaded, (and no Turkey).
Out of the Gardens and the Meltham Way goes Right and Uphill towards Thick Hollins Park. Or, alternatively take a left and walk along the bottom side of Meltham Mills. This naughty little detour reduces the walk by about 40 minutes.
Rejoin the Meltham Way by taking the second public footpath on the right hand side of the main road and follow the “walk meltham” signs right back to Blackmoorfoot reservoir and return to the start point
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