Walk – Withens Clough Reservoir, London Road

It was a sunny day, and time for another walk with Lisa ‘over the tops'. We caught the bus to Cragg Vale, then walked down to the Hinchliffe Arms and up the lane to Withens Clough Reservoir where we stopped for a picnic.

Cragg Vale from Withens Clough Reservoir
Cragg Vale from Withens Clough Reservoir

Considering how much rain we had in July, the water levels in the local reservoirs are remarkably low. I suppose that we didn't have as wet a winter or spring as we've had in recent years.

Low water level at Withens Clough Reservoir
Low water level at Withens Clough Reservoir

After the picnic, we walked round the far side of the reservoir. We normally just walk along the bridleway on the north side of the reservoir and I can't remember ever going the alternative way so it made a nice change.

We rejoined the bridleway as it climbed up over the hillside and I noticed that it has been ‘sanitised' since the last time I was up there. It used to have some very boggy patches in wet weather but they seem to have been filled in. I'm not a great fan of mud so that's okay by me!

Withens Clough Reservoir from bridleway
Withens Clough Reservoir from bridleway

As we came towards the top of the hill, we spotted a large black spider devouring something caught in its web which was suspended between two stone pillars at a gateway. Another chance to try out my camera's newly-discovered ‘macro' mode…

Big black spider in web
Big black spider in web

Big black spider in web, close-up
Big black spider in web, close-up!

YIKES! 😯

The bridleway goes down the far side of the hill to Mankinholes. It is a steep cobbled descent which always makes me nervous on my hardtail MTB. It probably wouldn't be too bad on a full-suspension bike, but it always feels as though I am going to get bounced off mine. Either that, or be launched over the handlebars if I brake too hard.

I've never even attempted to ride up the bridleway. It would certainly be possible to do it without dabbing but it would take a lot of strength, skill and fitness to ‘clean' it. One day perhaps, but not until I'm much slimmer and fitter than I am now.

Anyway, we weren't on bikes, but on boots, mine having developed some holes which will let in water next time I get caught out in wet conditions. I can't afford a new pair of walking boots so that is a nuisance, but at least I got about 10 good years out of them. Perhaps some kind family members will club together and buy me a new pair for Christmas? (Hint! 🙂 )

Cobbled bridleway to Mankinholes
Cobbled bridleway to Mankinholes

Time for another photo-shoot, including the now near-obligatory Stoodley Pike shot (with a pair of contented-looking cows in the foreground)…

Stoodley Pike from Mankinholes
Stoodley Pike from Mankinholes

And another, featuring a pair of very hardy-looking creatures, well adapted to their surroundings…

Stone sheep at Mankinholes
Stone sheep at Mankinholes

For some reason, Lisa was labouring under the misapprehension that we were almost back in Hebden Bridge so she was shocked to find out that we still had 4.5 miles to go, including some 300 feet of climbing before we began the long descent back into town. I don't know how her sense of direction could be that far out after 20 years of walking these hills, but there you go.

We had an urgent appointment to keep, so our walking pace had to be increased as we ascended the ‘London Road' (not a road, and it doesn't go to London – sneaky these locals, eh?). You got it – we were after coffee and teacakes at Innovation; we made it with 20 minutes to spare! 😉

Another nice local walk in the bag – I measured it as 8.5 miles.

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Reply