Standedge to Langfield Common

Sunday, 1st April 2012 – 16.5 miles

A bright, clear Sunday morning (Palm Sunday, in fact). It had been quite pleasant in Merseyside, but as we parked just above the M62, we realised how cold it was in the hills – and no gloves!!! Mind you, as we headed south over White Hill, we met a man wearing only shorts, socks and boots! Either he was very hardy, or had had a clothes related disaster – brrrr! It was a short walk to the road where we had stopped, then back to the M62.

We spent quite a bit of time photographing the bridge and the motorway – we have driven underneath it so many times, it was good to walk across it at last.

Then up onto Blackstone Edge – similar landscape to Standedge – dry, sandy with huge lumps of stone, shaped by the wind. We then met what is meant to be a Roman road, running down to the valley, and the Aiggin Stone, set up for travellers in the past.

Across the road at the White House pub, the path follows a line of reservoirs. These once supplied water to the Rochdale Canal, and we came across some carved stonework, which looks as if it has been reclaimed for future use.There were also rocky outcrops, with a poem carved into the rock face.

RAIN

Be glad of these freshwater tears

Each pearled droplet some salty old sea bullet

air lifted out of the waves, then laudered and sieved, recast as a soft bead and returned.

And no matter how much it strafes or sheets, it is no mean feat to catch one raindrop clean in the mouth,

to take one drop on the tongue, tasting cloud pollen, grain of the heavens, raw sky.

Let it teem, up here where the front of the mind distils the brunt of the world.

We turned round at the end of the last reservoir, Warland,  just able to see Stoodley Pike in the distance.

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