Sue, Andrew and I were joined by Richard, who we had first met on Wednesday at our slide show to Stockport Walking Group, for this scenic stroll from New Bridge car park, the access point for Hardcastle Crags - just beyond Hebden Bridge.
We set off into the pretty woodland of Hebden Dale before rising to admire the churches and museum at Heptonstall. A fine view south drew our eyes to the sun drenched valley in which the village of Mytholm nestled comfortably below the prominent monument on Stoodley Pike.
Ambling west along the Calderdale Way, above the sunlit trees in Eaves Wood, we soon reached the Pennine Way. A rocky outcrop provided a fine location for elevenses - tea and CCS - much to Richard's amazement. The people with whom he usually walks have yet to discover the pleasures of the mid-morning break! The sun lit up the valley below us, with the fields by Colden village shining in the low November light. The section of the Pennine Way over Clough Head Hill was only moderately gooey, with large stone slabs aiding us across the wettest bits. With the yellow orb on our backs it seemed no time at all until Gorple Lower Reservoir came into view. Here we descended to Graining Water for our picnic lunch. It was very warm for mid-November and Richard relished in daubing himself with sun tan cream.
A 10 minute stroll found us outside the Pack Horse Inn, enjoying pints of Black Sheep ale. We said hello to Waggy's double (TGO Challengers will know the type) as he continued on his hike/pub crawl. A mountain biker arrived, alone, forsaken by the other 20 members of the Swaledale Outdoors Club. His back tyre had been shredded on a rock, and had been patched up using a new inner tube, lots of gaffer tape, and a toothpaste tube. But an off-road route was out of the question for him, so he would continue happily along the minor roads that abound in this area.
Heading north, a text message from Gary and Sue, who like several others had hoped to join us but had other commitments, indicated that we weren't the only ones enjoying a good day out. Passing alongside the picturesque Walshaw Dean Reservoirs, we then turned south over Dean Gate, the highest point of our walk at over 400 metres, before descending to Walshaw.
A steep and slippery path led quickly down to the track along Hebden Dale that drew us inexorably back to the car, on an increasingly busy path, with the sun slowly leaving us as we strolled contentedly along.
A short slide show (19 images) is here.