Tag Archives: Mankinholes

Pennine Way – Day 17 – Mankinholes to Standedge (or Bullying, Stone, Yorkshire, Lancashire, Tresspassing)

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It's gonna be one of those days.
It’s gonna be one of those days.

After a good deal of panic regarding my lack of socks it transpired that despite my advice my father kept back a spare pair of walking socks. I was concerned that having successfully avoided getting blisters for several days this change in socks seemed certain to lead to their renewal. The only alternative would be to take the bus (which I had astonishingly seen whisk pass the youth hostel at half past eleven last night) to Todmorden and hope that their was a shop there which sold outdoor equipment. If there was not a trip onto Skipton would have been necessary.

Flags! But not on the Pennine Way!?
Flags! But not on the Pennine Way!?

Having suspected that they had been accidentally been taken by one of the the large group from Sheffield I tweeted the man who seemed like their leader (he has an OBE don’t ya know) that ‘ I think one of your number have accidentally left Mankinholes with my only pair of walking socks ‘. This lead to an abusive exchange where he told me that now I knew how those on income support feel. At least he didn’t say filthy tory scum like the usual vile rants that left wing fruit cakes come out with. His bullying has in fact lead me to change my twitter handle to remove the reference to ‘tory’ since twitter is now used much more than just for commenting along with question time. Given his total refusal to engage (have a quick luck round and leave them at Torside) I could hope that they give whoever took them blisters but I’m bigger than that. Plus since dad’s socks worked out fine they actually did us a favour by lightening the load a little. Though I was kind of shocked at the total lack of respect for other walkers and their kit.

If man made does it count?
If man made does it count?

The bridge below with the flags above were the only examples we really saw of what was clearly a footpath being better made off the Pennine Way than on it. This bridge looks like someone has gone to quite a bit of work but it doesn’t seem to lead anywhere and is far too small for any kind of vehicle.

What a neat bridge.
What a neat bridge.

There has been no doubt that this walk has been greatly aided by the use of GPS. We have met people who think they are being clever / purists by refusing to use the tech but I think they are just stupid and I don’t really have any respect for it. If you want to push yourself further why not just add extra distance to your walk rather than playing a random game of ‘if I miss the turning I will do an extra 5 miles’. However, for those who did any kind of travelling in a time before GPS or, even further back before maps themselves, I have the upmost respect. Supposedly this stone was an ancient marker which was used to guide people but I don’t see how that can be true. It doesn’t stand out desperately and so only confirms that you are in the right place rather than helping you to find the right way.

An ancient standing stone
An ancient standing stone

I don't think we were supposed to touch it.
I don’t think we are supposed to touch it.

Today’s route took us past more trig points than any other (3 in total). I’m not sure we went past more than one on any other. Two of the trig points were on top of very large rocks and in order to get up for the view it required some climbing. Oddly (though perhaps not unsurprisingly) each had a divit that made for a rather nice foot hold. It does make me wonder what they are for and of course this being the age of wikipedia I was very easily able to find out! It seems that when they were built in 1935 from each it was possible to see two others and thus by careful measurement of the angles between them it was possible to build a very highly accurate map of Britain. (Well of these triangles anyway). I wonder if that would make a really interesting life challenge to visit all of them and make your own map. Though it isn’t something I will be looking to do in a hurray!

From the top of a trig point.
From the top of a trig point.

We met several walkers out today. Having been walking from North to South for the most part we had been meeting people who had already done substantial parts of the walk. For the first time we were now meeting people who had only recently started their walk. This brought home to me most at one point when I congratulated a young woman on getting this far and she pointed out that it is us that should be congratulated.

It doesn't look like it does in Wallace and Grommit
It doesn’t look like it does in Wallace and Grommit

Crossing the M62 I was deeply disappointed to discover that the Burger van that con sometimes be found there is very much a morning only affair. 10 years ago I think we walked sufficiently slowly that we missed it on that occasion as well. I suppose it is always possible that there is no longer a greasy burger van that greets those leaving Saddleworth in the morning so that they can sneak a greasy burger without their significant other finding out. There is, however, no doubt that for me personally crossing this bridge felt like a symbolic return to civilization (where civilization here really means the area where one grew up).

A lasting legacy
A lasting legacy

It seems that following the death of a loved one who walked up in the hills someone chose to erect this stone in their memory. It made me wonder if the medieval standing stone from earlier was similarly erected. Given how easy it would be to get lost on the hills above Greenhead or the moor on the way to tan hill perhaps the erection of such stones as memorials to this who have walked the way could be a great way to make it easier for those walking it in the future.

The race to the finish.
The race to the finish.

Taxi booked to meet us by the old Globe House Farm we missed the turning, and seeing the track, I chose to make a bee-line for it. There was a fence but it was so poorly maintained that without doing anything more than a bit of limbo (i.e. I did not need to climb over it and an animal would not even have noticed it) we made it through a field to the path. Some local decided that he would try and give me a telling off for this, “you know your off the path, you’ve had to climb over walls and fences to get here.” One of the many problems with knowing a little bit about the world works is that irrespective of it being theoretically trespassing with no prospect whatever of a criminal convection and the damages being less than ten pence I couldn’t really give a rat’s nose. If the owner wants to sue me then please go ahead in advance I make you a part 36 offer for the aforementioned ten pence.

Our taxi awaits.
Our taxi awaits.

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Pennine Way – Day 16 – Ponden to Mankinholes (or Mist, Rain, Mist, Monument, Thief!)

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A delightful aspect.
A delightful aspect.

Clearly we were going to have a one of those days where I am immensely grateful that I never even considered for a minute not using GPS as our primary means of navigation! Breakfast was quite interesting. There was a couple staying who were going back over the bits of the path that the woman had missed out when she had done almost the whole thing slightly earlier in the year. It’s most unfortunate for others but our weather has really been delightful which somehow makes the achievement feel less than (though I am exceedingly glad we have had such good weather.)

Wuthering Heights!
Wuthering Heights!

When staying at Ponden Hall the owner had suggested that when a couple had asked for a short walk he had sent them on a little 20 minute trip to the House that supposedly enspired Wuthering Heights. Perhaps on a beautiful day if you know exactly where you are going, have no bags and are very fit you could it in 40 minutes, but I must side with his guests who came back a little exasperated that such a walk were a full scale hike and that it would have likely taken over two hours for a round trip. Assuming you were back in time for dinner it would likely leave you quite excited at the prospect of food, glorious food.

Flags!
Flags!

I know I have said it before but without having been up on the moors it is difficult to convey quite what a welcome sight they are when they arrive. It is sad really that they are not marked upon the map so that they could be really looked forward to and to make it less disappointing when they end or are very brief.

A beautiful path, slightly longer, but it doesn't go down.
A beautiful path, slightly longer, but it doesn’t go down.

With still enough days left for it to feel like a chore and the fact that this was all part of the walk that we had done before it was very difficult to resist the temptation to not take the Pennine Bridleway instead of the Pennine Way when it offered a very similar route only with less deep ravines and so it proved as we approached this particular stretch. My map progress software indicated that there was a totally unnecessary decline of 50m followed by an equally steep climb up the other side. When there was such a beautifully well made alternative it was no challenge to chose it.

Trimming the verge
Trimming the verge

Walking past the reservoir did, however, necessitate that we could see a group of men (one assumes working for the water board) moving the bank of the reservoir. I do not know for certain but I had always imagined these to be nothing more than banks of earth and thus it seems a little odd that they should need to be mown in this way. Can it really be true that if they are left to the sheep alone they can in someway degrade?

to a waterfall?
to a waterfall?

Over the hill and it seems we really missed out by not having a guide book with us. I saw a sign that advertised a shop which sells everything you can imagine and I must admit that I was briefly tempted but in my haste I decided to push on because what we really needed to do was go down a steep ravine to see this piddling little waterfall (rather than visit the shop and thus legitimately walk around it!).

Must we go down?
Must we go down?

My father has articulated a suspicion that Wainwright was simply a drunk who wandered aimlessly from Inn-to-Inn, rather than a genius crafting a walk to take in some of the best scenery in the country. I must confess that I can not agree with this idea but when you arrive at the top of a place like this to see that one is simply going to have to go down for no other reason than to come straight back up one can have a little sympathy. If we had shaved a day off the journey from Standedge to Malham we would probably have been stopping at Badgerfield’s farm which we were about to pass (a place we stayed ten years ago).

Must we go down?
Must we go down?

While we did take a few detours today it felt too much to walk around the side of Stoodley Pike and thus miss out the monument at the top. From the ground we could see it reasonably well and my map promised reasonable track up most of the way. I must confess I thought it likely that there would have to be some track all the way to the Pike since someone built the damn thing surely. Alas it transpired that they had built it in commemoration of the Napoleonic War some 200 years ago and so no track had been built to get up to it (you should see some of the paths the build now a days for nothing more than a Pylon). Thus having felt such temptation it seemed necessary to take a picture of the monument but even from 44m away (honestly where the picture below was taken) it was hardly visible. It looked as if someone had stolen it.

Who stole Stoodley Pike?
Who stole Stoodley Pike?

Which neatly brings me on to the issue of my walking socks. Left neatly in the drying room on a clothes hanger between my coat and my fathers I felt sure they would be safe. While I would probably not leave my iPad or laptop on display unattended for a long period in a youth hostel it would be a special kind of arsehole who would steal a fellow walkers walking socks wouldn’t it? I have no evidence but the circumstantial facts are these. They left the drying room suspiciously close to the same time that a large group of academics from Sheffield University left for the pub and someone from that group was drying a pair of identical socks along with their boxer shorts on the radiator after returning from the pub later that evening.

A not yet squished frog.
A not yet squished frog.

Does walking the Pennine Way look hard to you? Well why not sponsor me here.