Snow and rain

We’d planned a long distance walk last week, just Mr A and me. The Stanza Stones trail from Marsden (home of poet laureate and author of the stanzas,  Simon Armitage) to Ilkley; nearly 50 miles over 3 days. The forecast for the week was wet, getting wetter: rain and more rain. The walk could be a miserable one. Our accommodation being cancellable, we cancelled.

We, or mostly he, kept watching the forecast. We knew that we could still do the walks, setting off from home by train and returning each evening. Forecast for day one was wall to wall rain, so we stayed home. Pent up like caged animals, we bickered like small children on a wet playtime.

Day two, the forecast was better so we caught an early train. Changing twice: Leeds and Huddersfield, we arrived at Marsden station well before 9am. It was damp and drizzly, but good to be out in the fresh air. We set off along the canal towards the Standedge tunnel, through which I had travelled on a narrow boat some forty years ago or more. This time we walked over the top, past the ventilation shafts of the canal and railway tunnels.

The first stone, Snow, sits in a quarry above the A62. We stood in awe and sunshine reading the chiselled verse. Then off we went, in excessive anticipation of the bridge carrying the Pennine Way over the M62. It’s fascinated me since the early 1970’s when we made our first journey over the newly opened motorway, avoiding the stress of navigation through the hills from our home in South Manchester to my Gran’s in County Durham. Dad would point it out as we drove under it, each and every time. I did the same with my children. Walking over it did not disappoint and no doubt next time I drive beneath it, I will need to mention that I have walked over it.

On we went, passing through a corner of Lancashire and back into Yorkshire. Over dams built high in the peaty hills to create reservoirs and manage the canal system. The second stone of the day was Rain. Experienced on a damp, but not washed out, day.

A brisk walk from there, on the level and then steeply downhill to Hebden Bridge just in time for the train home. Nearly 20 miles covered, with 2 of the 6 watery themed stanza stones visited.

Day 3 was wetter than day 1. We stayed dry in a National Trust property. Just 2, not too wet, commitment free days required to finish the walk.

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