Under the dam 2

Having looked much more closely at the OS map, I worked out where Scammonden Cotton Spinning Mill was most likely to be. It is in fact a clear outline on the map but not named. I decided to continue my quest today. The map showed several footpaths that would get me from my side of the valley to the other side, all on one of my regular walks up to the M62.

The first path I investigated was so overgrown with brambles it wasn’t a goer so I reported it to the Ramblers using their Pathwatch app. This enables me to take a photo and it automatically sends them the grid reference. The Ramblers pass all this on to the local council and it saves me trying to find out how to do that with Calderdale and works for any local authority. I took the next path along which went through the same landowner’s property, always a bit nerve wracking even if completely legal. The path was not maintained, lots of overhanging branches, long wet grass, a dodgy stile and then lots of bog. I turned back. I considered taking the next possible path but this went through a very neat farm and I decided against it.

I carried on to the access path that gets you underneath the motorway via a tunnel (I don’t like the tunnel even though it’s not very long and you can see the other end). It’s a short cut to get to the Scammonden reservoir path, Chris and I used to do it on our bikes, it’s on Bike Route 68. Avoiding the tunnel I set off down the side of the dam. It is enormous and I did worry slightly having watched a movie last week called San Andreas which featured the collapse of the Hoover Dam! I then followed a track from the weir which went along the stream and whilst it isn’t a public right of way it very quickly (after 150 metres) got me to a footbridge across the brook and a proper marked footpath. The path mostly follows the water until you come to the mill after another 200 metres. It’s not far along into the wood. I found the mill a bit creepy and didn’t want to stay once I’d located it. I didn’t continue along the path because it would take me to the horrible farm with the barking dog I’d found yesterday so I retraced my steps but then went up and out of the clough along what would have been an access road to the mill which then met the new access tracks for Scammonden Dam. Back across the top of the dam amongst all the crap strewn out of vehicles and then home the usual way. Lots more traffic on the motorway today.

I was out for about 2 and a half hours, walked about 7.5 km and missed the rain. I reported the blocked path and added a photo of the mill to Geograph so other people won’t have so much hassle trying to find it. Grid reference SE 05523 17091.

It’s not totally wrong but is not to any known scale which doesn’t help. Also there aren’t any stunted oaks in Clock Face wood. There are no oaks anywhere in our locality that I’ve seen. I miss oak trees.
Scammonden Dam with M62 on top
Huge, spot the 2 people
A mysterious water building
Scammonden Cotton Spinning Mill
Scammonden Cotton Spinning Mill
M62 back in business

Under the dam

The other day, one of my nice neighbours told me about a walk to Scammonden cotton spinning mill. It was built but never saw any active use and is now a ruin in some woods near to Scammonden dam. The hamlet of Scammonden was flooded to create Scammonden reservoir which was built at the same time as the M62 running along the top of the dam. The reservoir filled up in 1969 and the motorway was opened in 1970. The reservoir has good paths around it and is often busy so I haven’t tried walking there during lockdown.

I decided to make the most of the dry morning and to do a longer walk and try to find the mill. The only slight problem being that my neighbour gave me a very rough idea of where it was. I looked online and found a hand drawn map which is not to scale making this quite a challenge.

I walked down my road and onto a footpath which was delightful, almost a hollow way in parts and sprinkled with bluebells, a bit gone over but great now that I know they’re there for next year. Down to a brook, across a footbridge and onto Hey Lane. Some smart houses with manicured gardens there in a converted mill complex, but not the cotton spinning mill I was looking for. Up Hey Lane and then I took a track off to the right. Before long I was passing through a mucky farmyard that looked like something out of James Herriot. On to another farm, a crude sign saying “private keep out”, a large barking dog and a public right of way padlocked up. For once, I wasn’t at all frightened by the dog but I decided not to continue (it would have meant climbing the padlocked gate) and retraced my steps. I continued up Hey Lane which is a very pretty narrow lane running higher up alongside old woodland, with a brook and waterfalls. Marred by the litter and fly tipping as I neared the motorway. I looked along the water to see if the mill was in sight but nothing showed up and I felt I wasn’t quite in the right place. There was another footpath I wanted to try but even though it is illegal to close a public right of way I decided to observe the request of the land owner not to use the path at the moment. I don’t want to annoy anyone if they feel that strongly about it.

I got up to the motorway and was surprised that the road continued underneath it. I went under to look at the motorway from the far side and there was a wide open gate leading straight onto the westbound carriageway! I went back under the way I’d come and looked from the north side where there was a matching gate which was shut. As I looked across to the open gate, a car zoomed off the carriageway and through the gateway! I was taking some photos of the motorway when an unmarked police car came to where I was to open the gate to go onto the eastbound carriageway. I told them I’d just seen a car go through the opposite gate and they laughed and said it was them!!

That reminded me of when Chris and I returned to our flat on City Road in Bristol. There were some dodgy looking men outside the entrance and a police officer in uniform was standing on the corner so I went up to him and said those people hanging about our door look very suspicious. It turned out they were plain clothes officers raiding the flat below ours!

I went back down Hey Lane and took quite a long route back to my house. It was fun seeing my house from across the valley. I saw very few people and didn’t get rained on. I did about 9 km and was out for 2 and a half hours. I didn’t find the mill but am going to give it a go from the other side of the valley. It was lovely finding new places to explore.

Stones above Todmorden 24th June 2018

I decided to do another of the AA Walks, this one from Lydgate to the Whirlaw Stones, the Bride Stones, the Hawk Stones and the Orchan Stones. I’ve done some of this with Cath and also most of it with Chris who loved it.

The AA description is a bit out of date. I’ve sent them some amendments so hopefully they will update it on the web, they make a lot of reference to the Sportsmans pub which is long shut. The first hurdle was a very overgrown path in Lydgate but I reported this to the Ramblers via the Pathwatch app which sends the Ramblers a grid reference and a photo which they then send to the relevant local council.

It was pretty hot but the first section is nice and shady, the path is no longer sunken but a concrete track and very steep. Into the sun and then yet another dead sheep, this one very smelly and with lots of flies. I walked under the Whirlaw Rocks and sat on a bench to eat my lunch. Then up a bit more, past Windy Harbour and the stone head, past a new build called Mast Farm but no mast in sight and definitely not where the map was saying it was. Up onto the Bride Stones where someone was drumming in a cleft in the rocks. Across to the non pub and along the road passing the Hawk Stones on the right. Down Mount Road, past a very ancient stone cross that I don’t remember seeing before but maybe I just wasn’t looking. Along a section that the AA needed to explain in a bit more detail. Then down past the Orchan Rocks and back down another shady wide track to Lydgate.

Under the railway at Lydgate

At Windy Harbour

Stoodley Pike from the Bride Stones

Bride Stones

Mount Cross

Orchan Stones

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Oxenhope circular 17th June 2018

Babs and I did a route from the AA. Babs led the walk and I followed on the map. We did about 6 miles, good walking weather. Stopped at the Dog and Gun for the loo, on the moors for lunch. Saw a dead lamb, also what I thought was a dead fledgling but it moved so Babs put it off the track so at least it wouldn’t get trodden on.

We finished up at Oxenhope station which has nice loos and sat on the very uncomfortable seats in the stationary buffet train. I had a nice ice cream and Babs had toast and jam.

Disused graveyard between Leeming and Sawood

Very much alive lamb

Viewranger route

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Wycoller 10th June 2018

Just a little bimble around. Did a bit of nav practice. Had an ice cream.

Pendle Hill

Let me out!


This looked like a restored path

Wycoller Hall

Ye olde bridge

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Todmorden circuit (and Calderdale Way section) 23rd July 2017

Cath and I started from Kava Kafe in Tod. We went along the Burnley Road, into the graveyard, into Centre Vale Park and then off up the Calderdale Way rising steeply with views over the town with almost no buildings in sight despite it being just a few hundred metres away, just lots of greenery. We stayed on the Calderdale Way until Whirlaw where we shifted onto the Todmorden Centenary Way. The Calderdale Way goes in much the same direction but takes a lower route. We stayed up, passing the stone face below Windy Harbour. The Tod Cent Way is an old packhorse route with clear stone facings on one side. We crossed Hey Head Lane and continued to the next minor road which we walked along and then turned down Matthew Lane. This has a part with a sheer drop which is quite exciting. We trotted down to the main Halifax Road, along for a short stretch and then took the road to Harvelin Park so we could get onto the canal towpath. Back to Kava for refreshments.

Stoodley Pike


No selfie stick!

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Wycoller and Boulsworth Hill 9th July 2017

This is walk 16 in Cath Dyson’s “Navigate your way around… The South Pennines”. I’d had my eye on Boulsworth Hill or more precisely on the summit Lad Law, because I like the name, for a long time. It’s accessible from Walshaw Dean which is one of my favourite spots but I’ve never done it from there.

I parked up at Wycoller and walked to the village, checked the time the cafe shut and decided to get back there in time for an ice cream. I followed Cath’s route but omitted the micro nav challenge up on the top. It’s a great walk with lots of variety, history, farmland, moors, access land, green cloughs with tinkling streams, big stones, woods, bog (only a short section, how I missed my bog pal there). When I got to the road leading out of Trawden, I could hear a brass band so I speeded up to get away. It seemed to get louder the further I went.

Back at Wycoller, I stopped for a very nice vanilla with a flake stuck in it. This is the cafe where I thought I saw Celia Imrie. Wycoller is also where Chris saw a ghost on the clapper bridge. There is a well known ghost in the hamlet but that one doesn’t fit Chris’s description.

This mitre be the Bishop Stone

Lad Law

Little Chair stones

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Calderdale Way 2nd July 2017

The latest project, at least I think it is. Carol and I did most of it 11 years ago when I was going through a rough patch and it helped. Both the physical act of walking and the obsessive recording of what we had done.

Because it’s mostly on footpaths it’s harder to find places to park the car to make sensible routes, this means the sections have to fall between roads. I remember this was the hardest bit before.

Babs is keen to join me I think!

We started in Millbank and headed up for quite a way until we got onto open moorland. Then we went back a different way down lanes with very few cars. All lovely in the warm sun. Quite windy.

B  had chores to do so she went off. I returned to the bit with the soggy looking field and went a good bit further. There were some brick and concrete walls which turned out to be the remains of a WW2 decoy site, intended to confuse German bombers. I wonder if it did. Along Water Stalls Road but this is a green bridleway and not a metalled road. I turned back where this lane turns to descend to Catherine House. There were a lot of fidgety cows which made me not fancy it today.

It was apparently very cold when we did this in January 2006. I don’t remember it at all.

3rd July

I finished off the bit from the day before down to Catherine House which has a big old barn and big old chimney next to it. The cows were all a long way away this evening.

Towards Mytholmroyd

Sun in my eye, Stoodley Pike should have been in this!

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High Cup Nick 25th June 2015

This has been on the list for a while. It’s dramatic from a distance and close up. I parked on the Pennine Way (sounds bad but this was a road section) in Dufton.

It took an hour and 3/4 to reach the head of the nick where I had my lunch. Very windy and cold. The wind went straight up the fell. I practised some micro nav as I went along. The map I used (1:25K) had a GP abbreviation near the head of the nick. This means either a Gas Plug or a Guide Post. I didn’t check it out but reckon it’s probably the latter.

Tremendous views. The nick is the result of lots of volcanic and glacial action and more latterly, mining. See the village web site.

Back down in 1 hour and 1/4. Reversed the route because I didn’t fancy a long scree section to go back along the valley.

From about 8 miles away

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MTL Holme Chapel to Hurstwood 14th May 2017

The last section. Very glad to have Babs with me to finish it off. After a bit of confusion on my part at the Ram Inn and giving the man who was minding the pub car park a good laugh, we set off. The morning’s hail storm was a memory and my wet clothes soon dried off in the heat of the sun.

The route takes you to the Long Causeway via lots of lime hushings which are the hillocks caused by all the flushing of the stone they had to do. There were once 50 kilns in this area but now dismantled and turned into walls.

Then it’s across to Cant Clough reservoir and a short hop to Hurstwood reservoir and Babs’s car. Back to the Ram where we had a drink which I had promised the publican we would do!

Now it’s over. The route is only 47 miles and tough cyclists do it in a day. I’ve walked nearly twice the miles. Babs and I did the 2 car thing twice. I did a short and not very nice section by bike. I walked in all weathers. So what’s next? I’m probably going to walk the full Calderdale Way because Carol and I never actually finished it when we did it about 12 years ago.

The last few sections from Lumb were top notch and I feel sure Chris would have loved it too. Here’s to you my darling love.


Babs says I have an invisible dog on a lead!,

Hurstwood reservoir

Huge area of hushings

Oh my, so camp!

Stuart and Cath’s seat

More hushings

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