Making the most of campsites being allowed to open again, me and my lovely wife booked three nights away at the Old Chamber campsite in Hebden Bridge. As much as we like the Lake District, we felt it wasn’t right to visit at this time. There have been a number of alarming news stories about people parking and camping all over the place, and then leaving a mess. Hebden Bridge seemed like a perfect alternative and not too far to drive from Lancaster. It is an area that apart from visiting briefly last year the day before I did Canalathon (read about it here) we haven’t visited.
We arrived nice and early on the Friday, set up our tent and settled on down with a good book and a couple of beers, before our usual first night camping tea of sausages and beans, which was made all the better with a quick visit by Helen’s eldest son on his way from Lancaster to Wakefield.
The view from the campsite was amazing, across the whole of the valley. The campsite was surrounded by bridleways so we could watch mountain bikers and runners going past, sometimes quickly and often a bit more sedately. I love how the valley from Todmorden to Sowerby Bridge is so narrow, with the river, road, canal and then railway all squeezing into it, along with houses perched all over the place.
Helen is in training for the final leg of the Bay Limestone Round (read about it here and here) and wanted to run at least two of the three mornings. I had managed to create a couple of routes for my Garmin 920 (read about how to do this here), one of which would head up to Stoodley Pike. You can read Wikipedia yourself for more information, but the skinny is that the monument was initially built to celebrate winning Waterloo in 1815. The first one collapsed due to weather and lightning, so a replacement was built in 1856. The monument is very visible standing 37m high on top of the 400m Stoodley Pike, and on a clear day can be seen for miles. The day we ran up to it the weather was wet and misty and we could only just see the top.
There are steps going up inside, although we didn’t venture up, partly because of the smell and partly because it was completely pitch black inside.
Stoodley Pike is also on the Pennine Way, with the Pennine Bridleway skirting around the bottom of it. From the monument we followed the Pennine Way briefly before dropping down to Withens Clough Reservoir.
We met a few local runners in the other direction near to the dam, before we headed on up the steep and never ending hills, following old tracks and bridleways back to the campsite. 10km with almost 300m of climbing, but done at a very steady pace. A great little start to our Hebden Bridge break.