PW day 02: Tue 23 Feb 2016; Crowden to Diggle
|Walk descriptor||Pennine Way||Day||02|
|Date||Tue 23 Feb 2016||Start to end time||07h 35m|
|Start point||Crowden||End point||Diggle|
|Miles today||15.20||Cu miles||32.65|
|Ft today||3,021||Cu ft||6,118|
|Route miles left||247.09||Route ft left||36,716|
|Today’s weather||Clear blue sky with little cloud. No rain, light northerly wind, about 2C|
(the red cross in a circle shows where I am at the moment)
|GPX based track of today’s walk
(click button to download file) GPX
At “just” 14 miles, today’s walk was a good three miles shorter than yesterday’s so I allowed myself a bit of lie-in this morning and didn’t leave the B&B until 9:30. There was frost on the moorland as I set off, though I remained warm, fired up by the obligatory full English breakfast I’d enjoyed earlier.
I took the walk at a fairly leisurely pace today, barely averaging 2 mph. But I wasn’t in a hurry – I knew the walk would only take 7 or 8 hours at most, and I didn’t particularly want to finish before 5pm. But why rush through one of those one-in-a-million days to savour? An opportunity to fill the memory with images of crystal clear distant hills and valleys, sparkling sunshine and electric blue skies. Images to be recalled next time I’m slogging up a mountain in driving sleet and fog, and wondering why on earth I do this. Today was why.
Just like yesterday, the parts of the walk which had proved boggiest and most unpleasant in 1977 had been paved and it was possible to over the ground at a pace which would have been inconceivable 38 years ago. The summit of Black Hill (which is, by the way, the highest peak in Cheshire) was a joy to visit – fabulous views all around from the summit at the trig point, and dry feet too. What a contrast today with Wainwright’s description of this place: “no other shows such a desolate and hopeless quagmire to the sky, this is peat naked and unashamed”.
Possibly the best part of today’s walk was the elevated path running high above Crowden Great Brook. From this lofty viewpoint there were tremendous vistas back down to Torside reservoirs, and the inviting prospect of a riverside walk beyond, up into the higher parts of the desolate moor.
The day finished in the same spectacular fashion as the rest. The path reached the main A62 transpennine artery at Standedge, right on top of the rail and canal tunnels, some 636 ft below my feet. The ventilation shafts of the tunnels (which rail and canal share) were clearly visible in both directions but to the south west, the moorland dropped away to reveal the lowland plains and the massive conurbation of Manchester. The green and brown slopes were bathed in golden evening sunlight and it felt like a scene straight from “the last of the summer wine”.
So, mind filled with images of Nora Batty, I made my way to the B&B in Diggle, and now to the pub for a beer and more lard pie, or similar.