Day 24 Mon 23-05-2005
Crowden to Diggle
There was a fair bit of rain during the night, but it was dry when I eventually set off at 8:30 (disgraceful!). One of my fellow campers was looking for the path (not easy to find) and we looked, and then walked together. To my amazement, Richard was doing LEJOG! As we slogged uphill around Bareholme Moss, towards Blackhill, we compared notes.
Richard had been walking for seven (!) weeks, but he has taken a much harder route. Starting off on the South West Coast Path (a notoriously hard walk, which exhausted me after one day), he then went up the Welsh borders on Offa's Dyke. Finally, to reach the Pennine Way, Richard made his way east, across country. In Scotland, he planned to take in the West Highland Way, which involved many more miles than my planned route.
It was good to have someone to walk with, but we split up just before midday and I walked on as Richard took a break. I was heading for Standedge, where there was a pub, and a bunkhouse, and we agreed to meet up later.
The terrain was as bleak and wild as yesterday, but I reached the A62 at Standedge by 1:30, and walked 300 yards down it towards the pub. I wasn't sure whether to stop here as it was early in the day, but I was ready for a beer... no pub. Apparently it had changed to a private home about ten years ago. And no bunkhouse either. I had to decide to follow the Pennine Way onwards, in the knowledge that the next habitation was 15 miles further at Hebden Bridge, or walk a mile or two south west down the hill to Diggle, where I was reasonably sure to find some accommodation.
I found the New Barn B&B as I entered Diggle, the landlady had rooms, and even better there was a bus in the morning which would take me back to the point where I left the P.W. It wasn't cheating, and I would be spared a steep one and a half mile climb at the start of my day.
After killing time looking at the railway tunnel which emerges in Diggle, I had a delicious meal in the Diggle Hotel, where I was made to feel welcome, despite my scruffy appearance. I tried not to dwell on the thought that I was close to the infamous Saddleworth Moor, and focussed on the more noble aspects of human nature - for example the friendly welcome I had received at nearly every pub, B&B, and campsite I had visited.
Harrop Green Farm