My blog about developing a passion for walking, seeking out the landscape and industrial heritage of Northern England, and hopefully getting in some healthy exercise before I turn 40, and maybe getting money raised for charity too.
August has been going well so far, so I think this is a cue to go against the clock again, not because I'm feeling like i should be going at a healthier clip, but more because I've got a hot date in the late afternoon (or that's how I've been teasing it on Facebook, more prosaically it's a barbecue at my supervisor's house in Garforth, scheduled in whilst we can still claim Summer is in the air). I've realistically got one bus ride from my destination that will get me home in time, and that's due at 2pm, so a very early start is in order, rolling through Dewsbury town centre as the low sun glowers down into my eyes, long before the citizens emerge to hit the shops and the only people about are busy setting up the urban beach around the town hall for August bank holiday weekend. One thing to ponder at this early hour, however, regarding the statue of two figures in the town hall square, notionally titled 'The Good Samaritan', it actually looks like someone tending their drunk friend after a heavy chundering session and ought to be titled something like 'I think that's the last of it' or 'That curry was a really bad idea'. Also, I'm not the only person on the internet to have made this observation, so look it up, but anyway, I think I'm starting to digress, so onward...
Kirklees Way #4: Dewsbury to Clayton West 12.6 miles
On my wanderings this year, I have already discovered just how extensive Kirklees district seems to be, spreading into areas that i would have placed within other sections of West Yorkshire if you had directed me to do so. The start of today is within territory that I would have considered as being the outer suburban fringe of Bradford, and the course of today will lead us ridiculously close to home, and that shouldn't really come as a surprise as Morley sits at the bottom left corner of Leeds district, I clearly cannot get the my mind to accept the that the Dewsbury / Batley / Cleckmondegde agglomeration is a component of the same district as Huddersfield and all the rural land and the moors to the south. It comes so close to home, like the Leeds Country Way, that it could be met within a 10 minute of a bus ride from my flat, but after checking the route profile, there's really no way of breaking up the route to start from Howden Clough Road and get a satisfactory division of the route into five or six legs, as one day always turns out to be far too long, and so, we just come close to home for a while on part of a longer loop, and even when we will be finding paths previously walked, it'll also be good to find that there might still be some virgin territory right on my doorstep.
This is not a particularly original thought, but following circular trails is not usually a good way of getting from A to B and today is not going to be any sort of deviation from that idea, following a long s-curve for 14+ miles when a rapid dash along the M62 would have the whole day done in less than 9 miles. still, we should have learned that it's all about the journey and if I'd wanted to get places quickly I would have taken up jogging by now. It's also good feeling to be back onto the trail on a Saturday, this being my first trip out on the first day of the weekend in four weeks, it makes me feel like I'm getting myself back in order and taking charge of my walking life again, after all I did say that hitting a long trail was the best way to getting yourself focused once more. Also Saturday travel is the way to do it after all, no need to worry about irregular trains or getting stuck at remote bus stops, I can get from my front door to my start point on Halifax Road in just over an hour, and getting an early start means that the ride from Huddersfield today took less time than the trip in the opposite direction a week ago, despite being uphill all the way.
Kirklees Way #2 Birchencliffe to Oakenshaw 14.7 miles
August has to count, it's that simple, Summer has proved to be more climatically unpredictable than previous years and my motivation drop has had me having to reschedule most of the later part of the year, and what better way to focus yourself than to embark on a long trail, making sure that each coming weekend has another portion to draw you out, and so the Kirklees Way drops onto my schedule because I had wanted to see this district's high land and byways during the height of summer, rather than risking a conclusion during the seasonal turns of Autumn. Of course, I'd hoped to be on this 72 mile trail a month ago, and to be half way round by now, but there's not much point in further lamenting the failures of July, and we should instead look forward to this long tour of this district of marked contrasts, where the moors, towns and agricultural fields both pile up in close proximity and also spread out to provide a terrain that is both remote and crowded at the same time. Additionally, I'm on to Sunday walking again, not because I want to but because a Saturday that provides weather and moods that are distinctly uninspiring means my start has to get shunted so I can make hay whilst the sun shines, and with the trains landing right, the ride to Marsden is only 20 minutes longer via the crappy Sunday service on the Huddersfield Line, and I also get the bonus of a ride into platform 2 as well, the one that never seems to get used.
Kirklees Way #1: Marsden to Birchencliffe 12.2 miles