Yesterday I braved the wind to walk along Blackstone Edge which used to form the boundary between Lancashire and Yorkshire. Names have changed but the ridge remains the same and is as popular as ever. Maybe not on a day like today when we did not see another person.
We started our walk from Hollingworth Lake, a compensation reservoir built to provide water for Rochdale but now also a thriving leisure centre. After some easy walking beside a stream and through a wooded valley we headed for the tiny hamlet of Lydgate along some overgrown paths and a couple of very dilapidated stiles.
At Lydgate we passed in front of the houses and then continued on a path heading onto the moor.
Just before reaching the A58 we turned right to follow the Roman Road.The road was steep and in typical Roman Style led straight as an arrow over the hill. The A58 contours round the hill but that was not the way the Romans did it. There is some dispute as to whether the road is in fact Roman in origin. Current thinking suggests that it is just an ancient packhorse route. When the Romans were here 2000 years ago they must have hated it. They would have been frozen just wearing their leather skirts. I bet they were thinking of back home in Italy with a bit of sunshine.
At the highest point of the road stands the Aiggin Stone which is inscribed with a Latin Cross and the initials IT. This was also once thought to be of Roman origin but is now considered to be a Medieval Guide stone on what was a packhorse route.
We now turned right to follow the path along Blackstone Edge. This is part of the Pennine Way and it threads its way over peaty ground and between gritstone boulders.
The route was easy to follow but there were white posts topped with yellow paint which may be useful in snowy conditions.
The trig point at 1080ft was on top of a boulder and a little awkward to get to but David managed it.
We managed to find some shelter from the wind between the boulders whilst we ate our lunch but soon we were off again heading south along the Pennine Way towards the M62, the Trans Pennine motorway. A combination of moss, algae and lichen had given many of the rocks a lovely greenish tinge.
We left the main Pennine Way path to walk along the edge of the escarpment.We could now hear the roar of the traffic along the M62 but we were not going that far. Instead we left the edge to descend towards Clegg Moor. Initially there was no path but this was not a problem as we knew we would meet Broad Head Drain which we could follow to our left until it fades out in a marshy area. A clear path led us over the shoulder of Clegg Moor passing Dry Mere to walk close to Benny Hill. I wonder if there is any connection to the famous comedian of the 70’s and 80’s. He was very funny but I wonder if his show would get any airtime in this PC age?
A track led us down to the cottages at Syke and then it was just a short stroll along a lane back to the car at the visitors centre with time for tea and cakes.
Only 8 miles but a challenging walk in the conditions.