Calderdale Way – Day 2- Todmorden to Midgley

This is a part of the Calderdale Way. See more about the Calderdale Way

Calderdale Way Todmorden to Midgley.gpx

The route from Todmorden is not very well signposted, and even with constant referring to the map there is a lot of retracing to be done to get back on track. Part of the problem is that I wanted to stay on the marked footpath exactly, if you can be a little more flexible, then this is the way forward.

Calderdale council have used similar looking way markers for the Calderdale Way and the general footpath. If you find the older “3 circles” markers, they are much easier. Still, armed with a good map, a compass and a download of the gpx to your GPS navigator, you will be fine.

This section begins at the supermarket in Todmorden, or rather, on the opposite side of the road, and almost immediately there is a revision. the Calderdale way used to cross the railway line. It still does, but now you use a footbridge.

Somewhat safer, you can start the first of a lot of uphill sections. Signs are good so far, and you will soon be able to look out upon Dobroyd Castle. On the Sunday I passed by there were canoeists on the pond.

Now, keep your eyes open. you are soon by an old cow byre, and it is tempting to walk on by, but you need to turn left to stay on the route.

Heading generally North you will, after half a mile or so, come to Todmorden Edge. Don’t expect to see the sign, it is well obscured. A steep, short side road, hidden behind a road sign leads you to a couple of houses. A footpath sign has been “edited” to advise that bikes are not welcome, but it does at least point in the right direction. The right direction is a gentle but muddy path leading to the top of a wooded area with a very steep, very muddy pathway down to the road. This tarmac leads you down, past the school to the main road, the A646. Here, behind some crocuses (crocii ?) and dafodils, the river Calder is encased in a concrete gully. The Calderdale way turns left, and will soon be heading up the other side of the valley, so cross over whenever it is safe to do so, there is no beauty by the river, so nothing is lost by crossing earlier.

The next uphill takes you through a tunnel under the railway along Stoney Royd lane

On the skyline you will see Orchan Rocks. Your path does not lead directly to them, and the diversion is awkward, so content yourself with the view, there are more good horizons later on.

At the point where I took the above photo of Orchan rocks, there is a fork in the path. The Calderdale way takes a right turn to pass below Stannally Stones, but you can carry straight on. It is a bit steep, and you will need to turn right at the juntion with the Todmorden Centenary Way. This diversion adds about 00 yards to the walk and takes you around the top of the Stannally stones. Both routes meet up at Kit Hill and continue on a well marked route to Whirlaw Stones.

The Calderdale way here is a public bridleway, so be aware that you may come across horses, like this beautiful old girl, Bo, who was very well behaved when she was being photographed. She did think a little nibble was in order when I stroked her nose though.

If you have ever wondered at how the countryside looks so lovely, you are not on your own, but it doesn’t get like this all on its own. Today I was lucky enough to spot a lady taking on the task of making the world more beautiful. Sally was busy pruning an Alder so its branches didn’t get tangled. Nothing wasted either, the offcuts get used for kindling.

East Whirlam Farm is a muddy confusion with not much in the way of way markers, but if you negotiate the way through correctly you will be on a road made from old concrete railway sleepers leeding down to a junction. The Way marker leads you uphill again, this time through a muddy field, but easily followed until you reach a B road. You aren’t on this for more than a few yards before heading back into the mud. You are heading towards Law Hill then following the contour past Higher Birks to reach a minor road at the other side. Follow this road uphill and turn right at the T juction and before too far there is “Great Rock”.

The Calderdale Way pointer (bottom left) looks to point to the top of this ancient rock formation, but it means pass to the left of it. Only an idiot would take it literally and climb up the rock!

Back down on terra firma idiocy confirmed, the way follows a bridleway on the level before forking. The North fork is the one we want and it leads to Hippins Bridge and good signage through Hippins, Blackshaw Head and into Shaw Bottom.

Aiming to get to Colden Clough, which is a very picturesque series of waterfalls in a pleasent glade, it is easy to miss the left down a narrow path. You may end up as I did looking longingly at the river from the wrong side of the valley. Double back if you do, Colden Clough is just too good to miss

I wasn’t the only one to think this a great spot, I arrived at about the same time as a ladies walking group, “The Jessies”. Claiming the group name comes from them all being big Jessie’s I think is a bit of a fib. Whichever way they got here its a proper hike. Maybe I need to become a big Jessie too?

This thought was soon efaced from my mind when, taking the woodland path to the right after the bridge, I happened upon a pregnant ewe. She had managed to get herself stuck in the barbed wire, and really didn’t look too happy about it. As I couldn’t find a telephone box to change into my superman outfit, I had to content with just taking off my pack before climbing up to her. Holding her head still while tugging upwards on the wire soon freed her, but left a large clump of fleece behind to mark the spot. Somewhat dazed she wandered off a few yards, then stared at me with a look that said “Don’t expect thanks, I never asked to be rescued!”

Even though my undoubted heroism was unacknowledged by sheepkind, I was sufficiently boosted to walk with a marked spring in my step (and a sheepy smell on my hands 🙁 ) for the next mile or so.

Shortly after, I found a trough with a clear running spring, so I gave my hands a really good scrub. Just as well, because after the next stile I met Eddie. Eddie was very friendly, and couldn’t wait to jump muddy paws on my trousers. When you are already muddy this is not a problem, and she is so cute, how could you refuse her love?

Reluctantly leaving her behind I almost take the wrong route, but make a quick correction and follow signs which indicate that the Pennine way has been given the addition of the “Hebden Bridge Loop”. Regardless of the merits or otherwise of such a loop, it does take you very nicely to Heptonstall, which is incredibly pretty. It also has a pub.

Even better than a pub, it has clear, accurate signs for the Calderdale Way, which direct you onwards and into a short sharp downward woodland section towards Midgehole.

The name may strike fear in the hearts of men, particularly men who get eaten alive by midges! Worry not, Midgehole is actually a nice place, with a weir and a working mens club. Very nice, though I would imagine it is under-used. The reason I suspect this is that only 100 yards further along is the main entrance to Hardcastle Crags. A super spot owned by the National Trust, it isn’t actually on the Calderdale way, its a small detour. Not sure which way the Calderdale Way path was, I asked a member of the National Trust staff for directions. I was 500 yards into Hardcastle Crags before I realised that he was wrong. I doubled back and showed him the route on the map, “oh yes”, says he, “I did know that, Ooops”

Lesson learned, trust your own map reading, not directions from anyone else, no matter how authoritative they look 🙁

Girding my loins (is that actually an expression used in the 21st century?) I set off up what should be the last uphill of the day, past Shawcross Farm and on to the strangely named “Bogs Eggs Edge”

The next mile or so, it is difficult to go wrong. The path walks the boundry between tended fields and fells. A beautiful, but uneventful section, keep a look out for the abandoned quarry working at cock hill.

Having walked 17 miles of the Calderdale way last weekend, I had set myself the target of 18 miles for this section. That was not to be, I only managed 15 before nostalgia got the better of me, and I found an excuse (the weather), to take one of the many link paths and visit Midgley and Luddenden Foot. This was where my childhood was spent, and where I left age 18 to join the Navy.

A walk down memory lane

Today started out much like any other Sunday, having prepared a plan for a route. The weather as I got off the bus in West Vale was glorious. Real blue sky for a change.

I grew up in the Calder Valley, only a few miles from Huddersfield. Strange how it never crossed my mind to come back. It still wouldn’t, but for a comment from Mum. She said she didn’t really know Huddersfield, and was at a point of overload with the images. I can see how it might be so.  Well, how about somewhere she does know? The Calder Valley, and what better than the Calder Way.

The Calder Way is about 50 miles long, too much for me to tackle as a single walk at the moment, so I will attempt this in pieces. Today is West Vale to Todmorden.

I will give a more detailed description of the path elsewhere. This post is about the memories a long unvisited place brought back.

For a short time, I actually lived in West Vale, just after I left the Royal Navy. It was at a dance here that I had my nose broken, giving it its odd sideways shift. But with a warm sun in my face it was not a day for thinking anything negative. Before long I was on Norland Moor, a place we visited as children with parents and Grand parents. There used to be good bilberry picking, and I still remember Grandad P having a special stick to grab the best blackberries. I miss my grandad. The view from here looked down on Sowerby Bridge and although I couldn’t see it, I know his old barbers shop is down there (now a tattooist).

I could have stayed longer, maybe I should have done, but the rain had started and I had a long way to go.

Each little village seemed to hold a memory of a girl long since forgotten, I smile at a past long since faded. My cousins, Caroline and Christopher used to live in Ripponden. Christopher is no longer with us, and so, when I found myself at the Church here, I went in. There was a service in progress, so I didn’t enter, I sat in the porch and listened to the congregation sing and thought of happy days playing hide and seek in Grandma Mally’s big garden.

Even the smells seem different here. Back when I helped the milkman, getting up at dawn I would walk up to his farm. I’m not sure I was much help, but at the time, I was indispensable. Right here, in this valley, the aroma pulls my mind back through 35 years in the blink of an eye.


Eventually getting a bus from Todmorden back to Halifax, I travelled past my old school, the cross country route, Walkley’s the clogg factory, which I saw burn to the ground. Past the chip shop where we spent our bus fares on lunchtime treats and had to walk home because of it. As the bus drove through Luddenden foot I came close to tears as the memories assailed me. I had a good childhood, and this was a good place to have it.

I wonder how I will be affected next week as the walk takes in Luddenden Dene. I may have to detour and revisit Jerry Farm, where in my memory I nearly drowned.


Upcoming Guided Walk – Marsden Moor -12th March 2017

The National Trust will guide you on a walk around the valley.

The walk leader will meet you at Marsden Train station at 10:00 on Sunday 12th March 2017.

Planned to be around 5 1/2 hours, this route is 8.5 miles long and will have some fairly steep climbs. The guided walk is rated as moderate and will include cobbled tracks, paths, moorland and woods.

I believe dogs are welcome, and the walk is free. I am sure the NT would appreciate a donation on the day if you are able.

Enjoy your walk! I will be on day 2 of the Calderdale Way, but would really like to see how you get on, send me comments and pictures.

Next walk after this is 25th March 2017

Upcoming Adventures with Friends and Radios

I am looking forward to the adventure coming up on the 19th March. A trip that has been in the diary since January. Planning is nearly done, Team get ready!

I will be joined for the day by Big Dave (of Black Hill fame) and Mike.

Our intended outing will start at Horton-in-Ribblesdale, ascend to the top of Pen-Y-Ghent, where we will attempt to activate the summit for SOTA. Then, our return route will take in the spectacular Hull Pot, the largest natural hole in the country (I know! I thought it was TB too.)

You can download a .gpx file of this route here

Pen-Y-Ghent and Hull Pot.gpx

The walk is only about 6 miles, but has 1300 feet of ascent, and we will be carrying a fair amount of weight with the radio equipment.

To get ready for the day, Dave has been working out daily on his Hamster Wheel, to make sure he can handle the miles. Mike has been for a long pub crawl in the caribean to make sure he can handle the ales. I have done neither. Hopefully if I start to fall behind they will help me along.

The map for this route is all on the West Sheet of OS Map OL2, which is also the map you need for the Yorkshire Three Peaks.

If you would like to track our progress, you can follow my spot

This is the GPS tracker I have with me on all the walks I do. It updates live on the day, and keeps the detail for a week, so if you check it out on the day you will know when we are in position for transmission. We will be using Yaesu Ft-817’s and will try and work 2m FM and HF 20m and 40m SSB. Dave may even try CW. Call signs to look out for 2E0KUK (Andy) and M0RIU (Dave). I expect to be on air from about 11:30 to 12:30, but this is a very rough guess. Watch the spot!

SOTA Details. Summit Ref: G/NP-010

WAB Square SD87

Notes for the Team!

Good boots, waterproof and windproof clothing. I will have hot drinks to make with me, but bring your own mug and some sarnies.

There will be beer at the The Crown when we finish!


Calderdale Way – West Vale to Todmorden – Day 1

This is a part of the Calderdale Way. See more about the Calderdale Way

You can download a .gpx file of this route here

Calderdale Way – West Vale to Todmorden.gpx

The Calderdale Way was created in the 1970’s, so its not a new route, but it is worthwhile giving it  a try. The Calderdale Way is 50 miles long, and being a circular route you can start and stop at any point on the walk. Continue reading Calderdale Way – West Vale to Todmorden – Day 1

Friends Reunited, almost

You know how sometimes you just can’t find something, but you are sure it is somewhere safe.

When I walked to Stoodley Pike a couple of weeks ago, I had my trusty walking staff with me, When I walked the Standedge Trail, I didn’t, because it was lost. Standedge was the first walk since Stoodley that I was wanting to take Keira with me, so I was a bit cross that I couldn’t find her.

Well, the perils of drink have come become clear. I remember having a pint after my walk, so on a hunch, I called the White House Pub, which is by Blackstone edge reservoir.

She is there. The little minx has been having a two week holiday in the pub, propping up the bar.

I will drive over this evening and be re-united.

At least that is one mystery solved. Now where did I leave Suzi’s keys?

Standedge Trail Heritage Walk from Marsden

This wonderful walk seems to be one which the National Trust don’t have a leaflet for, so I set off with map and compass to create my own take on this historic trail.

  • 11.5 miles, with over 2000 feet of ascent
  • Duration 4hrs+ (allow 5hrs)
  • Dog Friendly, but you need to use a lead in certain areas
  • No facilities on route, but cafe at start and Pub at apx 1/2 way
  • Stout Boots are required
  • Route Crosses a Ford – in winter this can be deeper than boots

You require two OS maps to cover the whole route


Starting off at the National Trust Barn by Marsden Train station, you can park you car for free, always my preferred option, so that is where Suzi got left.

Leaving the car park and heading down the hill, you are almost immediately given a choice. The road to the Right heads towards St.Bartholemew’s, the pretty Parish church of Marsden, or head along the main road to one of the café’s.

On this occasion, I diverted from the true path, and went for a bacon butty.

If you are led by tummy, you need to back track, or head up to the A62 to get back on the Standedge Trail, not difficult as its still on tarmac.

Look for old mount road. Old Mount Road was originally an old turnpike road. Head uphill. It’s quite steep. As I was huffing up the hill, I found myself trying to imagine how this would have looked and felt when pack-horses were plodding up here, heads hung low, weary from the trek from Huddersfield, bags stuffed with wool or cotton bales from the mills. I was hot about the collar and I was only recently stuffed with breakfast. Still, as I got my old body up the hill, I was able to look down on Bank Bottom Mill, which was opened in 1824, and didn’t cease making woollen cloth until 2003. It looks such a benign building, but what horrors must have been seen inside in its lifetime?

Bank Bottom Mill

Just over a mile into the walk, you will need to look for a footpath on the Right, The path is muddy, and as it nearly doubles back on itself after 50 yds it gets wetter, water flowing like a stream. My feet found most of the deep spots in this part stream, part footpath. It leads to a green lane, which the Standedge Trail follows until it meets another old turnpike, currently called Mount Road. When the barges sailed through the tunnel, the bargemen would push the heavy loads by laying on there backs and walking their feet along the ceiling. At the same time, the horses relieved from the job of pulling the barges, had to walk over the moor to meet the boats again at Diggle.

I diverted again from the set route, as I wanted to have a look at the old quarry workings. I believe that this was the area where a lot of the building material for the tunnels was quarried. Beneath my feet there is a tunnel for the canal, and  a tunnel for the train, (completed in 1811 and 1848 respectively). The tunnels are hidden from view, but you are in no doubt as to where they are, as you can see the round air vents standing proud of the moor all along the route. There is another quarry on the other side of Pule Hill, which is bigger and has more evidence of its industrial past.

I enjoy meeting other people while I am out on these walks, and having left the beaten track and visited these old workings, I was fortunate to meet Andy, James and Mark, three intrepid travellers, who I was informed by James, had already conquered the “big hill”. It is nice to see a new walker in the making, James is 6, Andy and Mark are at my end of the spectrum, being 51 and 59 respectively.

Andy (51) James (6) and Mark (60 next)

I get back on track, but for only a few yards as the trail appears to vanish over a cliff. Actually it doesn’t vanish, but winds down a steep cut to the ford at the bottom. Look for a standing stone as your waymarker.

Waymarker showing the way off Mount Road

This steep cut in the gully side continues up the opposite bank and leads you onto an area of wet and muddy flat ground. The Standedge Trail joins the Pennine way, and can see Redbrook reservoir shining in front of the ever present Pule Hill on your right. There is a ford to cross along this stretch, is it too romantic to imagine the tired horses getting a break to drink and get there breath back?

Does anyone else picture history in monochrome?

Keep going until you get to the car park at Brun Clough Reservoir and at the exit at the other side, take a left, watch your step, its slippy. This path heads down to get close to the vents, and I very nearly ended up on the wrong track again because I started daydreaming. In my minds eye, the decay of long years fell away from the house, and I tried to imagine its former glory.

Daydreaming aside, you need to head past the house a few yards, then drop down to the right. You pass one of the spoil heaps, still no grass on the steep slope after a hundred years and more. You are almost in Diggle, and if you are lucky the Diggle Hotel will be open for foaming glasses of local cask ale. Or it may not. It wasn’t.

The route on the OS Map shows the Standedge Trail turning right just before the Hotel, I would suggest that you stay on the main road and cross the road bridge over the railway. This adds maybe a hundred yards, but avoids a very dicey looking slope. Once over the bridge, I turned right to wade through the latest flood. I say wade, I skirted the edge ankle deep. This little detour is along an older road, and avoids a section of the main road, just to give a little change, I don’t always follow an exact path. Putting on my Zen hat, you could say, “you are only lost if, you care where you are”. Still, this is supposed to be a guide to the Standedge Trail, so back to it. If you have been good, and followed the map, you will be on the Huddersfield Road. If not, find a footpath which links to it from Ridge Road, where I was.

Heading uphill, I am being careful, as there is no pathway but fast moving traffic. I try and always be on the side of the road on which the cars will be going up, as I feel that gravity can help them brake if they see me late, a split second might count. Looking out for Dean Head Lane, you head down this little road and will find yourself enchanted by the smell of fresh pine and damp moss. I was 12 again, playing in the woods in Halifax, with dirty knees and mucky hands.

As you round the corner another gentle slope takes you to the A62, which is crossed carefully, onto yet more mud, but very soon you will be turning right to follow the tarmac in the direction East North East. A marked alternative is to head 50 yards downhill and then turn uphill along the original drovers path. This is the path I took, and was smiling to myself as I decided to make some notes for my “creative writing”. What I noted was the flags of fleece on barbed wire, waving in the wind like long forgotten bunting.

Make the most of the opportunity to romance, for when you reach the next turn (a left) you are heading to the Standedge, which shows here as a long prominent scar of millstone grit. And you are going to the top of it, albeit up a pass between bluffs. The wind, which has been around, but starting to be ignored, reminds you of its power. Stay away from the edge, it wants you off its hill. Most times I would assume its not this bad, but as I arrived I rendezvoused with Storm Ewan, Storm Doris’ little brother. You are not on top of the bluff for a long way, but be aware of the different paths, there are several meeting here. You need to be East North East which will take you back to the A62, left then Right brings you to the foot of Pule Hill. If you decide you want to climb up Pule Hill, go for it, its not on the Standedge Trail, but the views from the top are tremendous. Ewan was still with me as I reached the summit, to find I was not the only one who wanted to meet him.

There is a path heading North from the stanza stone at the summit, if you take it, and you want to get back to the Trail, you will risk life and limb down a steep hillside. I found myself thigh deep in stagnant water, twisting ankles all the way down. Far better to retrace your steps South and rejoin the marked route at the bottom.

Cross the A62 again and you need to go down a narrow dark ginnel. Possibly the steepest part of the walk, its certainly the slipperiest.

but at the bottom, wow. You will need to ford the river at the bottom, but that leads to Easter Bridge, which is very pretty.

Across the bridge a gentle stroll back to the visitor centre awaits. From here, after a brief stop for refreshment ( I highly recommend the Blueberry tea) the last stretch along the Standedge Trail is the canal tow path, 10 minutes walk on the flat and you will see the first (last?) lock on the Huddersfield side of the Pennines. You are back where you started from, 4 or 5 hours ago, a bit tired, but I hope very satisfied.

The Photo Album


Write what you know

I would like to be better at writing, to be able to engage a reader, by creating a picture through description. I am, however one of many who missed the opportunity to learn creative writing skills at school. Being a firm believer that it is never too late to learn, I have signed up for a free course with the OU

I had no idea that it is so hard to “write what you know”. First exercise; describe in 150 words the room you are in (i’m paraphrasing, there is a little more to this exercise). Here is my attempt, unedited, I’m quite pleased.

The room is quite large, with a prominent chimney breast, papered with a floral design. The walls are a dull green, livened up by groups of prints in wooden frames. In the hearth, the last log sputters a small flame, just enough to warm the bones of an old cat laying prostrate, feet crossed in front of it. To the left of the fire, a tired armchair waits for its owner to return with her tea, a half open laptop perched on the arm, and a discarded book by its feet. A log tossed into the fire stirs new flames, the crackle echoing the sound of hard soled slippers on the oak floor. To the right, a sideboard supports an old valve radio, its top festooned with the ornaments of a happy couple. Above the fire, the television is a window to a life of adventure the old man watching may never see.

I had to resist the temptation to rewrite parts, and copy this straight from my notepad. Kate said that she thought it was good for a first attempt, and for me, that is praise enough.

Calm after the Storm

Yesterday was quite a day. Storm Doris caused a bit of stir. Such a fuss, and I was contacted by a local newspaper, who wanted to put my short video on their website. If we all get 15 minutes of fame, I have 14 minutes and 51 seconds still to go, the video is a 9 second clip (please, no more autographs!)

This morning was a different world. Full of the joys of the spring to come I left for work. With the sun shining, car windscreens deeply frosted, and the air very still, it made you feel glad to be alive. Feeling in such a chipper mood, I set off will wings on my feet. Minutes into the walk, I get a text. “Thas getten thisen in’t paper, lad” my very Yorkshire pal wrote. (translation- you are in the local rag). There I am, page 7.

Of course, this new celebrity status went straight to my head, and I decided to have a live podcast. Both viewers thought it went well 😉

To celebrate, Lily Virg and Phoebe are coming for tea, and the outlaws are coming too. Celebrity or not, I’m still doing the cooking.

For today’s walk set off from Marsh

then headed down into Milnsbridge. Just for fun, I let the facebook group choose my route. Of course uphill is much funnier than downhill, so up I went. Great views from up Blackmoorfoot road, so maybe it was a good idea.

Walking through Butternab Spring and Beaumont park was idyllic. Birds singing away, really peaceful and calm. I had photographs taken in Beaumont Park on my wedding day 15 years ago, this is the first time I have been back since. I don’t know why, its beautiful. Maybe I can persuade Kate to come back for a walk there with me.

Its been a long week, but an enjoyable one, I am undecided whether to continue making the daily montages of photos, or reduce it to perhaps weekly. Anyway, we will see. Here is today’s PhotoVid

At lunchtime, I will be at the tower again. That will be 5 days in a row at Huddersfield’s Castle Hill. Surely it is doing something for my fitness?

The day I met #StormDoris

What a day.

edit: The local newspaper has picked up on this and featured the 9 second clip on its website as Andrew Mallinson vs Storm Doris

edit2: I’m in the examiner newspaper too. Got a text from Lily, who thinks it is cool. 🙂

Tucked up cosy inside my waterproofs, I set of to work as usual. The paths in Huddersfield are slick today, so it shouldn’t have been a surprise when I went down. No injuries except a bruised ego.

My new favourite jacket is my North Face Point 5. It met Doris head on and won. Two hours of gales and heavy rain, I am still dry inside.

As I walk I take pictures on my phone, and post them in a Facebook group. The group is called Huddersfield Then and Now.

If you are interested in Huddersfield, the town, its history or its present, this is a really good group to get in. Lots of pictures both old and new, including some from yours truly