Walk – “And when they were up, they were up…”

Apart from nipping out to the shops a few times, I’d been hiding from the cold weather since the walk to Todmorden on Monday, but it was a lovely crisp winter morning and time to get outdoors again. I rang Lisa and arranged a walk with her…

We decided not to venture too far into the wilds today because of the snow and ice. A stroll to the cafe at Gibson Mill in Hardcastle Crags would do.

We took the riverside route through Salem.

Hebden Water, Salem in the winter
Hebden Water, Salem in the winter

At first we enjoyed our stroll in the winter sunshine, but presently a sense of deep foreboding descended upon us. It wasn’t clear why we felt so uneasy. We became more and more anxious. What could possibly be wrong? And then, in one terrible moment, the ghastly, grisly secret was revealed…

Attack Guinea Pigs!
Attack Guinea Pigs

Phew – these northerners, eh! 😉

Before we even got to Hardcastle Crags, I’d already come to the conclusion that there wouldn’t be much chance of the cafe being open today. Sure enough, a notice by the car park informed us that the mill was shut due to the wintry conditions. We decided to divert our walk up the bridleway behind the Blue Pig instead, and head for a cafe in Heptonstall.

This gave Lisa a chance to entertain us with a new game she’d invented called “And when they were up, they were up…” This involves dropping your door key in deep snow and then walking up a big hill. When you are almost at the top of the hill, you notice that your hands are getting cold so you pull out your gloves and put them on, then you continue up the hill. A few minutes later you get the feeling that perhaps you dropped your key when you put your gloves on. Quite why you wouldn’t get the feeling as soon as you dropped it, wasn’t made exactly clear to me. It’s an obscure branch of feminine logic, one with which I am as yet unfamiliar.

The next part of the game involves walking back down the hill to where you put your gloves on, while staring at your feet and scanning the snow for a key embedded in the surrounding snow. This of course fails to turn up said key, so you turn round and walk back up the hill again. This is despite the suggestion that perhaps it would make more sense to continue retracing your path until the key is found.

Having got back up the hill, it suddenly occurs to you that perhaps the key actually fell out further down the hill when you took that orange out of your pocket? So, another snow-scanning descent ensued, once again failing to turn up the key. Time, therefore to walk back up the hill again!

At this point though, all males in the group will naturally conclude that a further search lower down the hill would make more sense than hiking straight back up it again. Gender war! The womenfolk go up the hill, while the menfolk go down the hill. Staring at snow, while doing so, and muttering the kind of things that put back gender equality by 3 whole generations…

The aim of the game is to see how far the menfolk will actually walk down the hill before getting totally sick of the game, calling it a draw and running back up the hill before hypothermia sets in!

And so I was reunited with Lisa. The cafe beckoned, but first a photo-opportunity presented itself. The town below was looking rather splendid in its winter finery, so I whipped out my Fuji and took a few snaps.

North Hebden Bridge, winter, from Heptonstall
North Hebden Bridge, winter, from Heptonstall

After that, the cafe. A chance to warm our feet and enjoy a nice cup of coffee each and to share – you guessed it – a toasted currant teacake!

After that, a little jaunt down Heptonstall Road to the top of The Buttress. To our surprise, that actually appeared to be safe to walk down!

Lower Buttress, Hebden Bridge, winter
Lower Buttress, Hebden Bridge, winter

We passed a young couple staggering up towards us. The man was obviously from out of town because he could hardly believe that anybody would build such a steep thoroughfare! Whoever did was clearly directly descended from the Romans. No namby-pamby hairpins round here, matey! 😉

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