Walk – Stoodley Pike

What a gorgeous day – it was warm and sunny and it wasn’t too windy!

Lisa and I decided to do the longest walk of the year so far. I wanted to go somewhere that we haven’t been to this year, and we ended up choosing a hilly stroll to the monument of Stoodley Pike, high on the hilltops between Hebden Bridge and Todmorden. I wanted to take some pictures of the Pike since I lost my old ones when my PC hard drive packed up a couple of years ago.

(Public Service Announcement: Back up your computers folks – Hard drives can and do fail! It has happened to me and it has happened to friends and colleagues.)

I wanted to test using my Garmin Etrex GPS on a walk. I didn’t need it for navigation today, but I wanted to see if it would work reliably hanging by its lanyard round my neck. I’m going to start logging my walks as well as my bike rides and perhaps one day I will put together a little collection of them.

The first part of the walk was what we do on our Horsehold route – a good warm-up along the Rochdale canal towpath, then up through Callis Wood. Today, instead of continuing along the top of the woods to Horsehold, we turned up the Pennine Bridleway.

Pennine Bridleway, Callis Wood

As we came out onto flatter ground higher up, we caught sight of Stoodley Pike on the hillside in the distance.

Stoodley Pike in distance

You wouldn’t think it from that photograph, but the monument is actually 121 feet high.

There are various ways to approach the Pike. Today, we decided to head up to Dick’s Lane and walk beside the top edge of the conifer plantation at Sunderland Pasture. We stopped for a while to have a little picnic and enjoy the sunshine. I realised that I should have put some sun cream on, the first day this year that it felt necessary. I am a prime candidate for skin cancer so I need to watch out (I burn very easily, I have moles and freckles. I’ve developed severe blisters on walks with other people who were relatively unaffected by the same exposure to the sun). As it happened, I just got away with it though my face was pretty red by the time we got home.

Conditions were dry today. Most of the usually boggy bits of the walk were much easier to cross.

Approaching Stoodley Pike

To give you an idea of scale – the little spec beside the monument is a man holding a kite! The monument is quite impressive when you get closer to it.

Stoodley Pike, closeup

I wanted to go up the stairs to the viewing platform so I stopped to put on my head torch. It is very dark on the internal staircase and it would be easy to fall. As I got to the foot of the stairs, I could hear voices above me. It turned out that a family were having problems with a ‘scaredy-cat’ dog! He’d been quite happy to trot up the stairs in the dark but he freaked out trying to walk back down and refused to budge. I passed my torch up to them so they could guide him to safety.

It was pretty nippy up at the Pike. At that altitude (1320 feet, or 400m) a stiff, cold wind was blowing.

I took a few pictures, then went back down the stairs to the hilltop.

View from Stoodley Pike

That photo shows the view down into the Calder valley. Hebden Bridge is down the valley to the right, Todmorden is at the other end of the valley off to the left.

We retraced our route back down Dick’s lane, and took a bridleway to the end of Kilnshaw Lane, and from there to Old Chamber, Weasal Hall, and back into town. I clocked it at 8 miles (12.8 km). The GPS seemed to work fine hanging round my neck, but I had to make sure that it didn’t bounce round to face my body – the satellite signals don’t seem to get through when it is like that. It definitely isn’t reliable in a bag or a pocket.

We had time to call in at Innovation for coffee and toasted currant teacakes (one each today!).

My legs felt stiff afterwards – muscles are definitely not used the same way walking as in cycling.

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