744 Metres Ascent
For once I had time on my side and had no real deadline. I had this route in mind for a while but due to one thing and another I hadn’t got round to it. The weather was OK, overcast and windy but it wasn’t raining!
The first part of the route was very familiar, up the rake and around the top of Watergrove. Things are still very wet but the Pennine bridleway is probably the best track in the region. I decided to climb Clay Pots hill as an added extra. It seemed a good idea at the time, adding about 2 miles and 200 metres to the day.
From Calderbrook onwards this was all new ground to me. Heading up the west side of the Todmorden Valley, you get great views down to the canal and across to the other side. This does introduce the slightly negative thought of knowing that at some point you have to go down there and back up the other side!
The track drops quite steeply into the valley bottom, at times it’s hard to remember that this is a bridleway and used by bikes and horses. I don’t fancy trying to ride up some parts, or walk along it at busy times. Some blind corner on sections where I’d expect bikers to be flying along could be fun on a summer’s day!
I knew the climb out of Bottomley would be tough, but it’s fair to say it kicked my ass. It was steep and the heart rate was through the roof. I had to have a few breathers (3 to be precise!). Only a few months ago I would have needed a few more breathers, but it was still another reminder that I’m not fit enough for all the things I want to do.
From Bottomley the track is a bit of a roller coaster following the contours along the valley, a few up and downs to help with my love of hills! The final climb takes you over the moors to Pike End. From here I took the ‘Calderdale Centenary’ path down to Todmorden. It’s fair to say I got muddier, wetter, dirtier and frustrated in this last mile than the previous 13. It highlighted just how good the Pennine Bridleway is.
The day ended at Todmorden train station, where I caught the express to Rochdale. 14 miles in spot on 5hrs, I can’t really complain about that pace really! My left heal is even more sore now! Though usually on day 3 of a multiday walk I’d have heal blisters on both feet and sore knackered legs. To only have one dodgy heal is a sign of improvement, despite how frustrating it is.