1. Hike, exploring new territory
  2. Find a connection with my ancestors
Baitings reservoir

I’d been to Baitings reservoir a couple of times before, once with a hiking buddy, once with friends Jean and John when Anna came to stay but though I’d walked across the dam I hadn’t walked around the entire reservoir. So, bus up Cragg Vale on t’th’ tops and then a walk around the dam.

Lovely old farm

It only took ab out 45 minutes to walk around the reservoir, about the same time as walking round Lafayette reservoir so I decided to walk into the little town at the foot of the valley, Ripponden. This required passing through the ‘Dam Car Park.’

There’s a new series of Last Tango in Halifax airing at the mom ent and in last week’s episode there was a scene in which sheep were being herded across the old bridge in Ripponden. Perhaps that was what reminded me of the little town and brought me to it today. Rather than follow the main road down I headed off across to the other side of the Ryburn valley and followed Blue Ball Road.

This pig’s pen had its name on it but I couldn’t make it out behind some farm machinery

I was enjoying the lovely Spring sunshine so I decided to extend my walk to Soyland, a tiny upland village which I haven’t been to before. My reason was that one of my ancestors kept a pub there. Just as I arrived at the village a man walking his dog came into view. “Are you local?” I asked. Yes, he was and so I asked him about the pub, the White Hart. He told me that there was once a pub in the village and he remembered it. “You’ll see a big stone flag attached to the wall by the front door. That used to be the urinal!” I thanked him for this interesting snippet of information and walked on. “Oh, by the way,” he called after me. “There’s a White Hart Fold” about a mile up from Ripponden on the Rochdale road. There used to be a pub there.” Sure enough just around the bend I found what must have been an former pub with the stone slab for the urinal! But whether this wasw, or was not The White Hart that one of my ancestors used to run I have not yet been able to ascertain. “License of the White Hart, Soyland, transferred from Mr.John Bell to Mr.Henry Redman of Heptonstall. License of the Black Bull, Heptonstall, transferred from Mr.Henry Redman to Mr.George Greenwood. (Halifax Courier, 12th May 1855)” This was the same man who had been the licensee of Handle Hall Inn, Calderbrook, Littleborough which I’d visited a couple of days ago.

Was Henry Redman licensee of this former pub?

The road eventually became very steep as it headed into Ripponden and I made a beeline for the Bridge Pub for some much needed refreshment. It was far less busy than usual and I sat at a table well removed from others, keeping my distance.