Archive for the ‘Notes from Hebden Bridge’ Category

As spring has arrived, with its soggy load of pissing rain (rain! How much I haven’t missed thee), let’s take a look back to last week when we had a fleeting taste of proper cold in this, the mildest winter on record. I love snow, and have been most disappointed by the last couple of years, but hey, that’s climate change for you.

On Saturday Benny, Magnus and I went up to the tops to our favourite place, The Bridestones, whose magnificent, wind sculpted formations have appeared here before. The snow fell on Friday. It didn’t last in the valley, but as usual, the moors were practically arctic. Very cold, and dazzling bright in the intermittent sun. Up there, there was around 25 centimetres of snow, or thereabouts. We did a bit of sledging, with Magnus doing a little pulling.

The Bridestones are amazingly beautiful whatever the season. I recommend you visit them, should you get the chance.

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A view down the Calder Valley.

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My lad Benny, giving the thumbs up before he got wet and cold.

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Looking out Todmorden way.

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The majestic Magnus in his natural environment. He’s on his lead because, you know, sheep.

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And now for something completely different.

Hebden Bridge town centre, December 26th, 2015. The water rose another few feet after I took this picture.

Hebden Bridge town centre, December 26th, 2015. The water rose another few feet after I took this picture. Sorry for the picture quality. It was raining rather a lot.

It’s been six weeks, give or take, since the big floods here. They happened on Boxing Day, which was unpleasant. I was lucky. Despite living less than ten metres from the River Calder, my house remained dry. It’s quite high up, I suppose, and there are lots of easier places for the river to escape from than right by my front door. Nevertheless, when the water was lapping at the boundary wall at the foot of my property, I figured it was time to move all my stuff out of the lower ground floor. This is where I have my office, all my many, many books, and all my many, many goblins. It took me the entire day to move it out. Then the rain stopped, and the water ebbed, and I spent all the next day moving my stuff back. A lot of people had it a lot worse. (more…)

I probably take more pictures of natural sights in autumn at any other time. We have some exciting weather around Hebden Bridge during the season, with conditions that range from the summery to the wintery and everything in between. It is often stormy. Provided I’m dressed appropriately, there’s little I find more invigorating than being on my own in the middle of nowhere, being blasted by freezing wind and rain. That I enjoy it is fortunate, because by any sane man’s definition Yorkshire’s climate is awful.

Here are a few pictures of weathery stuff, and a bonus deer.

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Season’s first snow, Saturday 21st November, 2015.

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Leaves stacked like Pringles by flooding, Friday 20th November, 2015.

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The River Calder in full spate. The usual level is two metres lower than this. The picture was taken from my kitchen window. Luckily, it never floods where we live. Monday, 9th November 2015.

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Roe stag against the sky. Now the leaves have fallen, it’s much easier to spot deer. Shortly before I saw this, Magnus and I started a group of three, and saw another trio some way off down the hill. Friday 20th November, 2015.

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This last Hallowe’en I had a fine time meeting up with a bunch of school friends. Three nights of heavy drinking inevitably took its toll, so after I collected Doctor Magnus from his dog hotel I headed up to the moors to blast out the cobwebs. It is freezing down in the valleys, and still very foggy. Up on the tops it’s glorious sunshine and stunning vistas over mist-choked valleys. Here’s a few pictures.

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Mist in the Calder Valley and Cragg Vale. Often this is caused by a temperature inversion – warm, moisture laden air trying to rise meets a cap of cold air that prevents it from doing so and forces its moisture load to condense as fog. This foggy air then sits in place, even when the air above becomes warmer, as it did today. There was a three degree temperature difference between the valley bottom and the Tops. For once, it was warmer on the moors.

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The sun filtered by a tree at the top of Cragg Vale.

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Where the woods meet the moors at the top of Cragg Brook.

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This Sunday gone (26th April), Benny and I ascended Blackstone Edge. My boy’s quite a hardy little walker, although I suppose he doesn’t really have much choice, and he had a great time clambering over the rocks on the summit. He only had one meltdown about how far we had to go, about normal for him. Once he gets over that, he genuinely can go for miles at some speed. In fact, he insists on running large stretches of our walks.

I’d been on my good pal Jes Bickham’s stag-do the night before and had consumed prodigious quantities of booze. So a walk up a wind-blasted hill was just the ticket to reinvigorate my half-poisoned organism.

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The summit of the ridge looking Northwest. The trigonometry point is visible to the right. The dark hill in the far distance is Pendle Hill, about 15 miles away. At 557m it’s the tallest hill in the area, and a candidate for genuine mountainhood.

Blackstone Edge is a high ridge topped by large millstone grit formations. I’ve never been up there, despite growing up in the area. Here the Pennines plunge dramatically down to the Lancashire/Cheshire plain, and you can see for miles. All the towns from Littleborough to Manchester are laid out like models, and in the distance is the grey band of the Welsh mountains. To the north the height of hills round Calderdale obscure the view, but you can see far south into the Peak District. The Pennines stretch off like broken teeth, giving one a firm impression of geographical decrepitude. In these brown stumps are the memories of long dead mountains.

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This is the view to the Southwest. The hills pretty much just stop here, plunging three hundred metres straight down to the plain. Blackstone Edge is 447 metres tall, and affords fantastic views. Hollingworth Lake and Littleborough are in the foreground. Rochdale beyond. If you click on the picture to enlarge it you can see on the horizon a dark bar in the haze. That’s Wales, well over 65 miles away.

This was our second attempt to climb the hill. The first time we were blasted back by a frigid wind that tortured our gloveless hands. A foolish oversight on my part, as I should have known better. The weather in the valleys has been unseasonably clement, and tricked me. Blackstone Edge is, however, terribly exposed, very high and therefore bloody freezing.

If you fancy going yourself, park by the White House pub off the A58. The walk to the top is around three miles. As a note of further interest, there’s an old paved road on the way. For many years this was believed to be Roman, but it’s now believed to be a packhorse route or turnpike dating from the early 18th century.

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A bold six-year-old explorer freezing his nuts off on Sunday 19th April as he surveys the lands of Lancashire. After restorative sausage rolls by the old road, we were forced to turn back for base camp.

Cooking, USA

Posted: March 20, 2015 in Notes from Hebden Bridge
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I’ve had two pumpkins in the fridge for months. They were taking up too much space, so I made them into a pie yesterday. An American dish I’ve not attempted to make before, it is very tasty.

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