We set off at 10:45am, again visiting Bronte Bridge and Waterfall, but then branching off towards Top Withens. How different the landscape appeared compared to yesterday! It was still quite chilly on those wuthering moors. My head was beginning to ache a little from the cold, and so I tied my scarf around my forehead and ears — not the best look, I know, but it did the trick. I later used my scarf to shield my face from the sun when I suspected my sunscreen might have lost its effectiveness.
We climbed up to Top Withens which was once part of an estate that was divided into 3 sections (top, middle and lower) for the sons of the deceased owner. The ruins of an old house sit on top of the hill.
From Top Withens, we continued over the moors, descending down the valley past 3 lakes/reservoirs, and then across a river and up into another valley. Fortunately, along the way we passed a fairly secluded little nook (next to a house!) where I was able to relieve myself — after multiple cups of tea and 3.5 hours of walking, I was rather desperate!
We continued along the top of the valley for several kilometres, eventually descending into an area called Hardcastle Crags. The car parks here were almost full, leading us to wonder what everyone was there to see. When I asked a young woman, she replied that it was a pay and display car park, obviously completely misunderstanding my question. I tried again — she replied that she didn’t know as she’d never been here before; they had just come to take their dog for a walk! My research has since revealed that it’s a popular recreation park with an old mill and a couple of waterfalls.
From the car parks at Hardcastle Crags, the road climbed upwards before descending into the town of Hebden Bridge, our final destination. We passed a couple of bus stops, but not being certain of which direction we needed to go in, we pushed on into the town centre in order to find out. By now, my leg muscles were really complaining, particularly my calves and shins.
Just next to the town centre, we noticed a group of people gathered in a bus shelter, clearly expecting a bus to arrive at any minute. A quick check of the bus timetable revealed that it was already a minute late...and that it was heading to Haworth. Moments later, it pulled up and we took our place in the queue to board. Just before doing so, I suggested we catch the next one in an hour’s time, as our first impression of the town was that it was worth checking out. We let the bus go and spent the next hour wandering around the pretty little town of Hebden Bridge.
Early in the morning, we had contemplated doing the return walk from Hardcastle Crags, but given that we took 5.5 hours to reach Hebden Bridge (about 20 minutes further on), I reckon we would have still been walking back at 10pm! The bus ride home took about half an hour — there’s no way I could have walked all the way back. The hike back up the steep main road of Haworth was difficult enough, with Michael having to help drag me up the hill!
Dinner consisted of instant noodles (not nearly as tasty as those we can buy in Australia), bread, tomatoes, basil and the salami we had left from a few days ago. Our hosts very kindly let us keep our supplies in the small fridge in the communal area.
Michael couldn’t keep his eyes open to watch a movie on his iPad and was soon fast asleep. I transferred my photos (181) from the day, edited them and then uploaded them to my blog, ready to write this entry over breakfast in the morning. I drifted off to sleep just after 10pm.
P.S. I didn’t take an antihistamine before this walk, given that the weather was fairly cool. My lower legs ended up getting the urticaria rash on them...perhaps because I did get quite warm during some of the uphill climbs. Note to self: take an antihistamine whenever planning to do a long hike, regardless of the weather! (I took one back at our B&B when I noticed that I had developed the rash. Experience now tells me that I still need to take an antihistamine, even after the walk is over, otherwise I don’t sleep well.)