Gary arrived at 9:30 – with a plan – yeah. Two places that I’d heard a lot about were Cragg Vale (with some association with Jimmy Saville, and it’s on the opposite hillside above Hebden Bridge from Heptonstall), and Ripponden (which is noted for the flower festival and the views as you get there), and lo an behold Gary had selected a hike which took in both places. We had to leave immediately to catch the bus up and and up the hillside to
Cragg Vale and we got off at Baitings dam which we crossed. it was foggy and drizzling, the sort of rain that wets you through. We were just below the hilltops here as we arrived at Parrock Nook . Here’s one of the most isolated churches I’ve seen. There are 4 farms visible and the vast majority of gravestones have 4 surnames – presumably the names of the families that have farmed there for several generations. The church closed permanently one year ago.
We hiked along footpaths some of which go through farmyards. Some have been turned into sumptuous residences surrounded by beautiful gardens. The Commons had a koi pond just like the one at 3rd Bungalow, geese and two pigs who were sleeping it off. Others are still working farms.
We stopped to view the pig sky sporting a satellite dish and then met some rather boggy sections of the path where our boots sank totally into the stagnant water and sphagnum moss. At Arkin Royd farm I stopped to take a photo of the horseshoes outside the barn which promptly had the farmer coming out to see what we
were doing. When I told him I was interested in the horse shoes he was happy to show his collection and the clog irons too. He’s been farming there for 30 years and he had 3 tractors, highland cattle, chickens. He talked about how difficult it’s been to bale the hay because of the rain – one of the wettest Junes on record.
Further down the trail we met the postman who delivers by van. He explained his shorts by saying that bare legs dry quicker than trousers. It brought back memories of the postman driving down to 3rd Bungalow (but never in shorts as far as I can remember).
At Rishworth we passed the famous private school that has used a lot of abandoned mill buildings for classrooms. I looked up the fees. Eight thousand pounds per term for the boarders! Passing the sites of several mills along the creek the path was very much like the one through Hardcastle Crags with the stream confined by ancient walls on either side. We arrived in Ripponden where we passed the cafe frequented by ladies who lunch – but we were heading for the fish and chip shop which we ate in the gardens opposite. Then we were off to The Bridge pub for some liquid refreshment. It’s reputedly the oldest pub in Yorkshire (around 700 years old) constructed like the Rivington barns. A group of high
level business men were in the snug doing what pubs were originally for. Feeling rested we headed for the bus but, with now an added spring in our steps, we got off early, in Mytholmroyd and hiked back to Hebden Bridge, not along the canal as I had done, but through the meadows, even ending up in a field of horses. We suddenly came upon Hebden Bridge station. I hadn’t recognized where I was until the station building was directly in front of us. Gary hopped on the next train back to Halifax and I wandered back t’th’ mill. It was 5 o’clock and we’d been out for 7 hours – talk about fresh air making you tired . . . .