Day tripper – walking The Rochdale Canal
We chose possibly the grimmest day of the year for our 4 mile walk along The Rochdale Canal in the Calder Valley from Todmorden to Hebden Bridge (the ‘grey area’ between Lancashire and Yorkshire). It was a real adventure. Click here for more information on the route.
I’d never been to Todmorden and I’d never been to Hebden Bridge – so I was in unchartered territory!
I’ve driven past the junction for Milnrow and Shaw on the M62, hundreds of times. But I’ve never taken it. And as we gained altitude, leaving the A58 from Rochdale, a big red sign told us whether the roads were open or closed. It was foggy, there was snow. It was like entering the Alps!
Arriving in Todmorden
I’m exaggerating of course – but it was quite exciting and I was wearing a thermal hat with ear flaps and plats.
“This is a bloody marvellous town” I overheard someone say in the Market Place. Well the price of a hair cut seemed very reasonable, that’s for sure, and there were some top items to browse through in the market.
The Rochdale Canal
But we couldn’t stay. We were looking for The Rochdale Canal! We found it eventually, hiding at the back of Lidl’s car park.
The tow path was incredibly icy and there was quite a lot of orange dog poo! But we were soon able to stop looking at our feet and appreciate the icicles and remains of an industrial revolution.
Onwards along The Rochdale Canal – past some crazy people in canoes and nosey ponies. The good thing I tend to find about canal walks is that it’s quite hard to get lost. As someone who got off the train once at Crosby and walked away from the sea – having something to follow is always a bonus!
Progress on the ice was slow – I was mincing about at a snails pace. It was only when we were overtaken by some pensioners that I finally realised that at our current speed we were unlikely to reach Hebden Bridge before dark. At that point I sat on a lock and had a tantrum!
So we bobbed back up onto the main road and continued on our way. It was a bit grim!
But then we arrived in Shangri-La, where homes and shops were painted in Farrow and Ball’s ‘Lulworth blue’ and ‘Lichen’, there were shops called ‘Snug’ and ‘Home – Oh’ and you could get a grilled haloumi panini!
Hello Hebden Bridge!
I’d walked into a magazine shoot!
As I worked my way through a piece of Lemon Drizzle cake and a nice cup of tea served in mis-matched china, I thought what a cracking place it was. Designed to seduce me into parting with a serious amount of cash for lovely things that I’m not sure I really needed.
All this – and just on our doorstep. I’ll definitely be back, but next time in the Summer, when I think we’ll bring the bikes and carry on and cycle to Sowerby Bridge.
A properly Grand Day Out. You should try it!
Alison x (your 4Manchester Women Editor)
Photographs: Alison Staples
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