Day 2 - Crowden to Blackstone Edge
Pennine Way Day 2, via Black Hill, Standedge and Blackstone Edge.
Every tendon and tissue in my lower half ached when I woke on Sunday morning, but up I got to continue the long march north. As this second leg was due to end close to Rochdale and my family home, and it being a weekend, my dad had kindly decided to join me for the day and I was looking forward to his company.
‘The map says this should be a bridlepath. Is this a bridlepath?’
‘Would you bring a horse up here?’
‘I don’t think so. I hate horses.’
The morning was frosty, sunny and clear, which is pretty much perfect for long-distance trekking, though we had to watch for slippery ice patches. We began with a steepish climb up to Laddow Rocks, which offered a good view back over Bleaklow and the previous afternoon. From there we continued along to Black Hill (A). The column at the top is named ‘Solider’s Lump’, after the Royal Engineers who surveyed this vast boggy expanse in the 19th century—I can imagine it was a miserable undertaking. Before the path to it was paved, says the guide, ‘more than one reckless adventurer had to be rescued after getting stuck fast’ trying to reach it. Heavy stone slabs made it a bit easier for us, so we stopped for some tea from dad’s flask and a couple of biscuits.
The descent down to the Wessenden reservoirs on the other side afforded views over Holmfirth, Marsden and Huddersfield. Grouse Butts was an abrupt jump up to a long stomp over Black Moss and Rocher Moss, by which time we were both feeling a bit of fatigue. After six hours, we stopped at Standedge (B) to lunch on sandwiches and finish off the tea, using the large boulders as a windbreak. The view is south-west over Oldham to Manchester. Having first seen the city (now easier to spot at distance thanks to the Beetham Tower) from the south at the summit of Kinder Scout, viewing it from the north gave me some impression of how far I’d already walked. My pained feet confirmed.
The trudge along the edge and to White Hill felt very long indeed, but eventually we made our way down to the footbridge over the M62 motorway (C). Knowing this high crossing from the many times I’ve driven underneath it, I had been oddly excited about walking over it. It’s very noisy.
Blackstone Edge, above Hollingworth Lake, was our final ascent of the day. My mum and dad had taken us up here one sunny afternoon, maybe thirteen years before. Curiously, when we got up among the huge dark boulders I could remember the Liverpool away shirt I’d worn that day, and that my cousin Sam had been with us hopping over the rocks. We scrambled down to the White House pub where mum collected us in her car. Being so near home, I got to go back for platefuls of lasagne and a gloriously hot bath.
|2||28.8 km||1,005 m||8 h||2|