Walk – Rochdale Canal Towpath to Todmorden

Lisa needed to go to Todmorden and I needed to stock up with shopping after being away for Christmas so I decided to accompany her. It was really cold again today, with hard-packed ice everywhere after a deep frost last night, but we thought we'd see if conditions were safe enough to walk. We got onto the canal towpath near Hebden Bridge post office and saw that it was passable with care. Any bare ice was very slippery, but there were enough patches of powdered snow to give some grip for our walking boots. We just had to be very careful where we trod…

I took the precaution of putting on two pairs of socks, and had thin glove liners inside my normal pair of winter gloves. I was glad that I had, because I never felt overdressed and would probably have been too cold without the extra insulation.

The canal was frozen over in places and geese and ducks were wandering about looking somewhat bemused.

Ducks on frozen Rochdale canal
Ducks on frozen Rochdale canal

We came across a bush bearing bright red berries which made a lovely contrast to the white of the snow.

Red berries, ice and snow
Red berries, ice and snow

A mile or so further on, we spotted a car semi-immersed in the canal. It was badly damaged down its right-hand side and it appeared that it had tumbled down the hillside from a private access road above. I would be willing to bet that its driver had lost control on ice. Hey, hey, hey – Let's be careful out there folks!

Wrecked car in frozen Rochdale canal
Wrecked car in frozen Rochdale canal

The sun started shining and all was good in the world…

Blue sky over frozen Rochdale canal
Blue sky over frozen Rochdale canal

And then we entered Dog Shit Boulevard… Come on dog owners of Todmorden – clean up after your pooches! Every bloody time I walk into Tod that way, it's like crossing a disgusting turd minefield. There's no excuse for it – sort it out!!! 👿

Having run the Gauntlet of Crap, we wandered round the shops and then had lunch in Morrisons. We had planned to come back by train, but the bus is more convenient when carrying heavy bags since it drops us off 400-500 yards closer to home so we wandered down to the stop on the A646 opposite LIDL. The pavements were really treacherous with ice and I saw one person take a heavy fall just down the road. I don't know when councils in the UK decided that they would stop gritting pavements, but I'm amazed that they get away with it in these health-and-safety-obsessed times! Do they expect everybody to walk in the road, or just stay indoors for the entire winter?

And then I saw something which filled me with horror; the stupidity of it just took my breath away… A young couple were walking along the icy pavement, side-by-side, on the same stretch of ice where I'd just seen that other person slip over. I'd walked with extreme caution and I nearly fell there too. The husband/boyfriend was chatting to his wife/girlfriend as they strolled along. He had his left hand in his pocket, and his right hand was holding the right foot of their little girl who was balanced precariously on his shoulders. Her head was about 8 feet above the frozen pavement! One slip and she would have potentially had her head smashed onto an icy paving slab with great force. Her father wouldn't have even had time to get his other hand out of his pocket in time to protect her… 😯 I wondered afterwards whether I should have warned the father of the danger. He'd probably have given me a mouthful of abuse if I'd said anything, so I kept quiet but if he'd fallen I would have felt terrible for not speaking up…

That was another 6.2 miles of walking (10 km). I may not be cycling at the moment but at least I'm getting plenty of good walks in!

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4 Responses to “Walk – Rochdale Canal Towpath to Todmorden”

  1. Great report and pictures Colin.

  2. I just hope whoever was in that car got out in one piece – they must have had a hell of a shock!

  3. The ‘boulevard’ is not confined to the Rochdale/Tod section. It stretches all the way from Oldham. I walked the stertch from Oldham to Smithy Bridge on Saturday (16/01/10) and it was just one long dog lavatory.

  4. Oh, it just makes me so angry! 👿

    I like well-behaved dogs (though I choose not to be a dog owner) but to let them spread their filth in public is just so bloody selfish!

    There is always some of it on the towpath near Hebden Bridge but the problem is nowhere near as bad as round Tod.

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