Day 44 – Standedge to Hebden Bridge

As always, I felt much better after my short day yesterday, and sallied forth with a renewed sense of purpose this morning. I’m still not really getting on with the new boots – they are much heavier and stiffer than any I have had before, and while I’m sure they will be great boots in about a year or so, I’m not really feeling friendly towards them as yet and still in mourning for my Lowa boots (no response from Lowa to my email as yet).

This was a good day’s walk though – nice variety, easy to follow paths, and a real feeling of making progress. Starting in the middle of the moors at Standedge, it was up and over more moors before a heart-stopping footbridge over the M62.

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A nice climb up through a series of dismally-named places (Lad’s Grave, Black Moor, Slippery Moss, Sun’s End) and I was able to have lunch sitting on a big flat boulder, sheltered from the wind, looking down into the valley at Littleborough and Rochdale.

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On the way down I passed a medieval waymarker stone (the Aiggin Stone) and promptly lost the path, so negotiated my way rather gingerly down the slope through (fortunately dry) peat patches.

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There then followed a dull few miles walking on flat stony paths round reservoirs, before heading over the moor towards Stoodley Pike. Stoodley Pike boasts a 121-foot monument marking the end of the Napoleonic Wars, which was rebuilt when the original collapsed; it is breathtakingly ugly, in a stolid impressive sort of way, and remarkably phallic. Up close it doesn’t improve, but there are great views.

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From the monument it was a long steep descent into Hebden Bridge in a rain shower. Our campsite for the next few days was Todmorden Cricket Club – as Arran said, we were in fact very nearly camped in the outfield, giving us a ringside view of the team’s practice session!

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