This morning I went on a hike – and, in order to be prepared for rain I took my big backpack, reminding myself not to forget anything from my small day bag. It wasn’t until I was on the bus to Luddenden Foot that the one thing I had forgotten was my iphone, and thence my camera. I wondered for a few minutes if I should continue and do the hike since I wouldn’t have a means of calling for help in an emergency – and the sky was full of wonderful clouds and casting lovely shadows for photos. But, what was one day out of 45? I’d go on the hike and just wouldn’t have any photos, so that’s what I did.
I was using In the Steps of the Brontës book- which had felt like taking coal to Newcastle when I put it in my luggage in California.So today it was Branwell’s turn.
“Three weird sisters
Of a stone god
Cut into gravestones
The brother, who tasted the cauldron of thunder
Emptied and scarred black.
In a land
Emptied and scarred black.”
from Haworth Parsonage by Ted Hughes
He’d worked Clerk in charge at the station in Luddenden foot and though one of the streets is called station road there’s nothing left of the station. He drank at the Lord Nelson pub in Luddenden where I’d planned to have lunch but it doesn’t open til 4. The climb from Luddenden Foot to Luddenden wasn’t very interesting, just modern housing. But soon I was in the old village, steeply set into the hillside with a church and pub close to the river. In Branwell’s time the pub and a good library upstairs. Unusually the graveyard was across the river from the church, and also surprisingly the church door was open. It felt rather creepy going in. There was a quilt made in commemoration of the Queen’s reign and a notice said that it had been inspired by a similar quilt – in Ullapool (from where I’d sailed to the Outer Hebrides). The path followed Luddenden Brook to the hamlet of Goit Side. The old school is currently for sale. Opposite the school I climbed some steps and set off diagonally crossing a very steep field where the nettles were head high. I got lovely views of open moorland as I continued on to Jerusalem Farm. I’m sure I can recall my mom talking about staying there. It’s now an educational center. I retraced my steps, coming upon a man with his two little children feeding Poppy, the donkey. They gave me some carrots so I could join in – very sweet.
Dodging the cars back on the main road in an effort to get to the bus stop was a major obstacle but I got back to Hebden Bridge in time for a late lunch and waited for Keith to arrive from Bath. he’d never been North of Stratford-upon-Avon before so Hebden Bridge must have been quite a culture shock for him. He parked at the Coop and walked onto the canal bridge so that I could see him, and he could see my window . Though he’d tried to book a B and B it turned out to be in Cragg Vale, so off we went to find his place. It was way up on the tops with magnificent views. It was an old farm form the 1700s that had been entirely rebuilt in 1987, by one of the 9 founders of Oracle. His wife was Keith’s host. His
room was lovely, overlooking a field with 2 alpacas! and a truly magnificent bathroom. We made tea and chatted for a while then headed up to Heptonstall for what I think is the most stunning view of Hebden Bridge. We parked at the Top o’t’ town and strolled along the cobbled streets, wandered around the ruined church and had dinner at the White Lion. We found lots to talk about before he dropped me off back in Hebden Bridge.