Planned kilometres: 26 (cummulative 739)
Kilometres walked: 32 (cummulative 788)
% Completed (based on 1800km trip): 43.8%
Pubs visited: Riverhead Brewery Tap
Pints: 1 (cummulative 88)
Kms per pint: 9.0
Blisters: 0 (cummulative 3)
Glossop to Marsden (& Manchester)
Another beautiful sunny day, however a slightly crisp 6 degrees when I left the pub to start todays walk. I have been very lucky and have had the most amazing weather since I have been here.
At breakfast, I started looking at the route to take to get to Marsden and found that the Huddersfield Narrow Canal went straight to Marsden from Stalybridge, so after a walk on the roadside up and down the hill to Stalybridge, canal walking it would be again.
The Canals have lots of swans, geese and ducks and they all have young now, so swans and geese are very aggressive. The first challenge on the canal today were geese with young, who decide that sitting in the pathway is the best place to be. As you approach the adult geese start hissing at you and so I try to give them the widest berth possible as the last thing I want to report is that I have an injury after been attacked by a goose (though I’m sure some of you would find that very amusing). This is also where I hold my walking sticks out in front of the goose just in case.
Next up was the Scout Tunnel which I got to walk through. Most of the long tunnels are boats only, so this is the longest tunnel I have been through. Tunnel is 188m long and has no light except from natural light from each end, so I got to walk through it mainly in the dark hanging on to hand rail for guidance.
The canal today was a very pretty walk as there were lots of old Mill houses that were right up against the canal and in some places the canal ran right next to the River Tame.
I was supposed to meet my mate Steve at Marsden at 3:30 and was making good time along the canal, so decided to stop at the pub for lunch. Meal was great but took a while to get served and when I left the pub, all was going to plan, and I had 2 hours to cover last 8 kms and expected to arrive early in Marsden.
About one km later, my plan went out the window when I got to the Standedge Tunnel, which was something I hadn’t noticed when looking at google maps route. The Standedge tunnel is the longest, widest and deepest canal tunnel in the UK and is 5.19kms in length and takes approx. 2 hours to go through by boat.
The problem for those of us not in boats is that the only way to get to Marsden is to climb over a bloody big hill. Walking up a big hill wasn’t in my plans for the day, so getting early to Marsden was not happening. The walk up the hill was part of the Pennine Bridleway, so gave me an indication of what I’m going to be doing for the next week. My walk up the hill was from the train line on right had side of photo (half way up photo)
On the was across the top of the hill I meet a couple with a dog going the other way. Even the dog had his own special backpack on (brand is Outward Hound).
On the way across the hill, I get a message from Steve asking where I’m at. My response was ‘on top of a big hill’. I did give him more specific location from google maps and he was waiting for me at the end of the road down the hill. The first question from him was ‘what took you so long’. Steve does lots of walking and when I said I got held up by a big hill his comment was ‘there aren’t any big hills around here’.
Walking into Marsden the town is dominated by an old abandoned textile mill. The Bank bottom mill was only finally closed in 2003. We went down to the mill site and had a walk around the buildings.
It was then off to the Brewery Head tap for a well-deserved beer and then onto Manchester. I am spending the next two days in Manchester with my friends Steve and Kate and resting up before tackling the Pennines.