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Saturday, 17 September 2016

More Beer Trekkin–The Missing Link

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Last May me and Dawn attempted to walk between the four highest pubs in England (whether they were open or not) and met with mixed success. Due to superb planning on my part, by the time we reached Todmorden we were two or three days behind schedule. It was a duff schedule anyway. Mrs Pieman relayed us from Todmorden to Skipton and we carried on. Now it was time to fill in the gap between Toddy and Skipton. The team consisted of Me (Executive Planning Manager) Lucky the Dog (Young Executive Emergency Navigation Officer), Dawn( Executive Travel and Logistics Manager) and JJ (Excecutive Musical Director, Peace Negotiator and Director of Suntans)
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We rendons-nous (prolly duff French) en Todmorden at the train station. An Executive Co-Ordinating Committee Meeting was held in the beer garden of the Golden Lion. (We worked out a route)
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The route was this: Calderdale Way ….   enhanced by a few off-route explorations (i.e. getting a bit lost and encoutering “vegetation”, often “very wet vegetation” during which my best socks got wet.)
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It was very hot. We achieved the summit of Bridestones and visited the site of the Sportsman’s Inn – now somebody’s house and eventually turned up at the New Delight Inn just a bit North of Blackshaw Head. New Delight has a campsite, some very nice beer and some delightful scoff – and the locals are friendly too. We counted the New Delight as a Win.
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In the morning – a dewy, damp one during which the burning sun burned down hotly and stewed us a bit, frankly. We followed the Pennine Way not very well for a bit then turned off whilst being seduced by a sign declaring an Aladdin’s Cave of cold drinks, cakes and crisps. This turned out to be true. High Gate Farm provided cold drinks, cake and sugar and thus forified, we pressed on over the Pennine Bridleway to the Packhorse Inn at Widdop where a less-than-friendly landlord thought our route needed redesign. We had jinkies there, though before marching on up the Pennine Way over to High Withens, where we disturbed a  wobbly bloke attempting to take nudie selfies and where the thunder first rumbled in a dark and menacing kind of way.
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Ultimately, after passing several wild camping possibilities, we turned up at Ponden where the campsite is down a big hill in a wood next to a beck and where the showers and bogs are back up the hill next to somebody’s house. It was here that the sky went a bit mad for a few hours. The sky rippled with light and rumbled and cracked and banged for several hours. LTD hid panting under my down jacket whilst I sipped morale-building raw rum and shouted nervous jokes across to Dawn’s tent. In the meantime the rain came down in lumps. I mean big lumps. Not the little tiny lumps they have in rainforests, but big, huge fuck-off lumps.  It was all a bit mad.
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Another dewey morning followed. I explained our mission to a slug. It was a King Black Slug. A big ‘king black slug. We left in case it ate parts of LTD and pressed on for the Bronte Way to Wycoller. This started out reasonably well and we only got a bit lost a couple of times but then we entered The Jungle.
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The Jungle is the mile or two over the International Yorkshire-Lancashire border and ending, with some relief at Water sheddles reservoir. This is a bracken and rhodedendron hell. The bracken is eleventeen feet high and the rhodedendrons bite your legs. Some of the bracken is even deeper. I would say how deep it was but my bracken-depth monitor gave up in a puff of white smoke.
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And then we decided to visit the Herders Inn. This involved leaving the relative safety of the Bronte Way (we could hear Kate Bush singing in the distance) for the utter madhouse of the Keighley-Colne road. It was a waste of time. The Herders is closed and derelict and possibly being done-up. The paths that followed, though were a delight with big views over an escarpment and ancient walls and hedges of the Wycoller Country Park, leading down to Wycoller itself. This was the scene of several childhood visits for me and took me back many years to when almost all the buildings were empty and derelict. They’re not now, though and whilst we did have lunch here, in the heat, a brief exploration provided intelligence that the tea-room was closed. Bugger.
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We continued – inneficiently following the Pennine Bridleway and/or the Pendle Way over cow fields and the lovely Knarrs Hill to Black Lane Ends which happily was open. Were they still serving? (after 3:00 o’clock) – Yes –Would they allow LTD in? - Yes. Would they possibly have anywhere to camp out the back? – Yes…  And could we get a meal at night? Yes. We stayed, of course, camping out the back. We all had Pie-Of-The-Week  which was fab and substantial and served by the most personable waitresses you could wish for and me, LTD and JJ stayed carousing for a while as Dawn went for the dreamy-snoozy-sleepy option. We like the Black Lane Ends…
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And so, in another damp but promising to be hot morning, we steamed off to Lothersdale where the Hare and Hounds was closed and where the hot got hotter, and over the moors to Carleton Biggin and, finally, just by the crematorium, into Skipton.
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JJ went off for a train back to Urmston (There’s two ways you can go) and me, LTD and Dawn went for the Cock and Bottle which provided beer and respite from the heat.
And that, roughly, was that. The Beer Trek is complete. Maybe I should write it all up as a route. We went wrong in a few places, so there’s the route we did and the route we should have done.
Congratulations to anyone who made it to the end of this blog post by the way. It was about 33 miles…



Dawn Linney said...

It were reet ,ot, it were, I almost melted in a slathery heap!!

John J said...

Ah, I was wondering what we did! 'Twas good fun, even the nuclear attack of flash-bangs. Unless you're called which case the flash-bangs were terrifying.

Poor Lucky.

I must go back to the New Delight. And the Black Lane Ends. But not the Pack Horse Inn, aka The Ridge. Oh no. Some folk need to learn that the customer is king. Important anyway.

Dora Feenstra said...

I don't know how I got here but a very nice blog. Your adventures are a joy to read