Wednesday 12 August. Crowden to A635

Miles walked: today 6.8 cumulative 654.6

Today started Ok. Angela dropped me off in Crowden and I headed up the Way towards Laddow Rocks, popular with climbers. The day started clear but by 9am it was getting hot and hazy. As you can see the valley is rather nice, especially with the heather coming into flower.

Laddow Rocks from Crowden Great Brook

As the path steepened I realised my rucksack was too heavy, it was too hot and I was thirsty. Fortunately the path crossed several streams so I was able to top up my water bottles regularly. However progress was really slow. I was not too concerned at this point as I am usually slow on steep gradients.

The path climbs to the left of the rocks and then traverses the edge, which you can see is fairly flat. By this time I knew I was in trouble. I could only walk for about 15 minutes without resting and, I found out later, the temperature had risen to 30 deg C. I finally reached the top of Black Hill at about 4pm, after 7.5 hours walking. I came up here for a training walk after lockdown and it took about 2.5 hours.

Trig point Black Hill

The top of Black Hill is boring! It is a flat (aptly named) peat bog about 1km across so the views are not great, particularly in the heat haze. Before the slabs, it used to be one of the worst parts of the Pennine Way, particularly in wet weather. By the way, where do the slabs come from? Some have been worked so I presume they have been recycled from derelict buildings. Some have the shape and size of gravestones. I hope if you turn them over it doesn’t say “here lieth John Smith” on the back.

This was another trig point that isn’t at the top of the hill ( see start of Cotswold Way). I can imagine the conversation: Workman 1 “come on it is only another 200 yards.” Workman 2 “ I don’t care, I’ve carried this B@#£&r all the way up from the b@#£&g valley and it’s going right here!” Workman 1 “but you haven’t even set it straight”

Wonky trig point with Holme Moss mast in the distance

Holme Moss mast has been the VHF radio and TV transmitter for the North-West of England and parts of Yorkshire from 1951. It reaches a large area, the TV signal could be received in Ireland and radio broadcasts reaches Scotland and the South of England. The TV transmitter became obsolete with the switch to UHF in the 80s but the mast is still used for analogue and digital radio.

I dropped down to Dean Clough. I needed to refill my water bottles and I was pleased I had a filter system as there were sheep around the stream uphill. So far I have not had any ill effects so it must work. I felt a bit better after some food but I was still 6 miles from Marsden. I admitted defeat and rang Angela to come and get me.

Is this the end of Lejog? I have shed 5-10lbs weight from the rucksack so hopefully it will be easier. I have had a day off and feel much more confident. I am now in Hebden Bridge planning an early start tomorrow. I would have liked to re-start from where I left off but all my accommodation is pre-booked. Hopefully I will repeat these missing days in September .

Lessons learned

1 buying lightweight gear doesn’t make the rucksack lighter if you fill it with unnecessary stuff

2 if you bother to read other people’s’ blogs and books and they say to keep the pack weight down LISTEN TO WHAT THEY SAY!!!

3 your support crew (I.e Angela) is essential. Maybe she will follow me by car when she retires, then I won’t need to carry anything.