30 August 2013 – 17.5 miles
Well, after a few months rest and a fortnight in the Alps when gentle walking went very well after a painkilling injection in Robby’s knee, we decided to get a few more days in, and it was a break away, even if we decided against the walking!
We camped at the National Trust campsite at Hardcastle Crags. Very simple site, to say the least, with a portaloo and a bowser for water, although there was a house a few hundred metres up the road with a toilet, shower and kitchen. We were the only people there – incredibly peaceful – just us, the rabbits and an unfortunate lot of midges (though they came and went). A nice site if rather expensive for what it was.
We walked from the campsite through the woods at Hardcastle Crags and along the river, rather further than we intended, getting to a dead end at a Scout Centre. We retraced our steps a little and headed uphill, and quite quickly found the path which brought us out on the road near Colden where we had finished an earlier stage.
We then took the path over the moors – fairly flat and easy, flagged in places.
The path led along two reservoirs – water levels rather low – and up the hill towards Top Withens, which is meant to have been the inspiration for Wuthering Heights. It’s many years since I’ve been here and it has been ‘health and safety-ed’ with the walls reinforced and stabilised. There were only a few people here, but more than we had seen all day!
We turned round and returned past the reservoirs, and along the road, an old packhorse route, complete with lonely inn.
A mile or two along the road we came to the head of Hebden Water and the Hardcastle Crags estate, and followed the path along the river.
Soon it became clear that this was no longer a footpath! so we trudged uphill until we met the forestry road, following it a few miles back to the campsite. A good day’s walking, further than we had meant to go, especially once we measure the mileage, and it felt a bit of a long way through the woods back to the campsite, but otherwise it was fine and no ill effects.