Tuesday May 2 Arrival at Hebden Bridge

Its a wet and cold day in a cemetary, what a way to start a walk, but my search for David Hartley, the famous “coiner”, was successful. I am standing over his grave in the Heptonstall churchyard cemetery where he is buried along with five family members all under one gravestone. I suppose they are tucked in together to save money. My other quest here, the grave of poet Sylvia Plath, is locked away within the church. Oh well, another time!

I had flown from San Francisco, arrived in Manchester early in the morning and took the train from Victoria Station for the two hour trip to Hebden Bridge where I had chosen to jump onto the Pennine Way. I’ll be walking the middle section of the PW, 150 miles north to Alston, approaching Hadrian’s Wall. For the ten days of the walk, the average ascent and descent is 2200 feet through quite a bit of uninhabited country. I’m carrying 14 pounds in my backpack, everything I’ll need since I’m staying at B&Bs or hostels every night and eating in the pubs. I took some wonderful photos with a new digital camera, but sadly, all were lost. More on that later.

It was a steep, steep climb up to Heptonstall, a small village on meadow land high above Hebden Bridge. The nice lady at the TI in Hebden Bridge had turned me onto the story of Hartley who scraped by in the 19th century by scraping gold off coin edges until he was caught. After my grave hunting, I stopped in the village pub for a pint of Timothy Taylor Landlords ale, then off down the road to find the PW path which would lead to my B&B for the night. There was no sign of the path, so I asked a fellow who pointed me through the fields on the route his kids took to Colden Water. After a non-intuitive jig and jog through the fields, down steep stone steps to Colden Clough and crossing the beck on an old packhorse bridge, I climbed up Pry Hill fighting a fierce wind with rain and finally arrived at Badgerfield Farm.

Miriam had been looking out for me and greeted me with press coffee and chocolate cake in the lounge. After this, all I wanted was a hot shower and a long sleep to get my body over jet lag. I can hardly keep my eyes open writing in my journal as the windy storm pounds against the window

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