Doing One Of The Less Easy Walks Around Hebden Bridge
We took a breather. Five lads and a labrador were having a minute on one of the (still just about) easy walks around Hebden Bridge: Burnley to Hebden Bridge via Hepstonstall, over the Gorple Reservoirs and down off Heptonstall Moor.
A Scottish bloke, old enough to be all of our grandads, was on his way up the hill we were coming down. "Huff! I might need to get my oxygen out in a minute," he said, nodding towards his backpack and leaning on his stick. We laughed but he went on, "Yeah, seriously. I got diagnosed with a terrible lung disease not so long since. I'm not meant to be walking, but, oh well, it's in my bag if I need it. It won't stop me. Anyway, I'll crack on."
Later, when we were sat enjoying a couple of pints in The White Lion, Mick got a text from a mate who was on another walk that day. It'd been cancelled because it turned out that the bloke we'd heard had fainted had actually had a mild heart attack.
After we'd checked he was okay and joked how there's always one who spoils the day for everyone else, we thought about the oxygen wielding maniac we'd seen a couple of hours earlier. If he does go down because his lungs have given out on him, at least it'll be out on a walk instead of stuck indoors at home. Good on him.
And, in essence, that's why we were walking to Hebden Bridge too. To get out, get yomping and have a couple of well-earned pints.
Where We Walked
This was one of the easy walks around Hebden Bridge. We headed out from Worsthorne, Burnley, towards Gorple Reservoir, skirted past Walshaw and Widdop on the hill across from Hardcastle Crags. Then we headed across Heptonstall Moor, before dropping down into the final resting place of Sylvia Plath and finishing by doing the popular Hebden Bridge to Heptonstall walk the best way: downhill.
Aidan was the navigator and, barring setting us off in completely and entirely in the wrong direction, he got the entire route and day organised to perfection. The only other hiccup was my waking up fully clothed, with a wine hangover, on the settee at 4am, resulting in a delayed departure.
We set-out from East Lancashire's nicest spot at 9.30am, took it easy and arrived in Heptonstall at just after 12. A pit-stop to check in on Sylvia and grab a drink in the first White Lion pub of the day, then we dropped down into Hebden.
The White Lion, Heptonstall, had a well curated selection of lagers and ales so everyone was more than happy. Two Chinooks, a Wainwrights, two Peronis and a bowl of water for Reggie were all well-enjoyed. It's a top pub.
We also ended up heading to The White Lion in Hebden Bridge, primarily for food reasons but they also had a good selection cask ales. Their Golden Pippin was ace. Their burgers and famous pork pie were even better.
Given that Burnley v Palace was kicking off that evening and everyone had plans for watching Joshua and Klitschko in what turned out to be the best heavyweight bout in Britain for our generation, we headed to the train station bar (80 gins and more craft ale than you've ever seen) for a flyer before the 1555 back home.
Onto The Next One
If you're looking for easy walks around Hebden Bridge, this is a sure fire winner. It would be right at the top of the class in terms of difficulty for "easy walks", but it's perfect for something more than a ramble yet still being only 10 miles. There's no scrambling and well maintained under foot.
Trainers and a small bottle of water is all you'd need on a dry, overcast day like we had. There's no real map skills needed either. The route went from res' to res' and they're all very well sign-posted. A bit achy the morning after, but that was likely influenced by alcohol dehydration rather than purely the walk itself.
Next up will likely be the Haworth Hobble. A 36 mile-ish circular which sounds more like one of the ales you'd enjoy once arriving in Heptonstall.
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