The e-mail message said South  Pennines grid ref. 018 362 at 9.45am.

Twisty roads over from Colne made me late into the car park.  I wasn’t too sure of my whereabouts, but a huge white sign on a hill ahead spelt out Welcome to Yorkshire – the Tour de France had been through last weekend. The other five were booted up and ready to go. Two are from Yorkshire, so the score is 4 – 2 in favour of Lancashire. A long straight track took us onto Haworth Moor and then a descent into a pretty valley at The Bronte Bridge and waterfalls, mentioned by Charlotte in 1854. Everything around here has a connection, true or fabricated, to the Bronte Sisters. Today the stream was running empty, so the waterfalls were disappointing. Signs directed us up towards Top Withens – this is the first time I’ve noticed Japanese characters on a sign post in England, obviously reflecting the Brontes’  popularity with those tourists. The farm is now mostly ruined, though one room has been restored and wooden benches added to serve as a refuge on The Pennine Way, which we were now following. The situation is said to have been used by Emily in Wuthering Heights. Lovely open space walking led across the moor and down to Walshaw Dene Reservoirs. As it was the PW, the path had been flagged through the peaty terrain. An early lunch break was called at the emptied middle reservoir. Time for a debate as to our onward route and much map gazing.

Four men and a map.

Refreshed, we climbed over Wadsworth Moor and down to the attractive hamlet of Walshaw. Then up again past old farms and down to Paddock Beck on sketchy paths. A long  ascent of the old Hebden to Haworth road proved to be very sweaty in the afternoon heat. We had actually been walking most of the day in Lancashire, but we then descended steeply to the Leeshaw Reservoir back in Yorkshire. Yet another uphill took us back to the car park, the walk planner was getting some stick by now for all the descents/ascents [2700ft] packed into what was a relatively short walk [11miles]

We needed a visit to The Friendly pub up the road in Stanbury to restore our composure with a pint of Goose Eye Brewery’s Maillot Jaune, a blonde summer ale produced to celebrate the tour in Yorkshire. Delicious.  Out of interest other local breweries have come up with the following imaginatively named special tour brews — On Yer Bike,  Le Champion and Saddle Sore.

Get them whilst you can.

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