Day 49: Lothersdale – Lane Ends – Slippery Ford – Oakworth – Haworth – Hebden Bridge

22.0 miles – sultry skies, but the air still gluey

The lane I traversed near Slippery Ford

‘I need a shower!’

‘I must buy a map!’

These priorities were uppermost in my mind all day. To achieve the latter required a town, and I thought Haworth looked the closest. So I set off, taking lanes for speed, and also because without a map route planning on paths would have been a nightmare.

Navigating with only my GPS still wasn’t easy. What I had to do was to zoom out until I could see both Lothersdale and Haworth on the tiny screen, find the midway point, and mark it; then I zoomed in a bit and repeated the process with Lothersdale and the midway point – and so on, until the distance between markers was short enough that I could see clearly the best route. Fiddly, but it got me there.

Sycamore leaves can be enchanting.

I had imagined Haworth to have the gaudy slap of tourism splashed over it, given its association with the Brontes and the Kieghthly & Worth Valley Railway (and hence, too, have shops which would sell me maps); in fact, I found the town drab, dusty, and grimey; plus Tuesdays are half-day closing, so the only shop which might have served me was shut. A greasy Chinese takeaway was the only sign of life, and not a tourist in sight.

Drab and grimy: an abandoned factory in Haworth
Haworth’s pretty little station was the only cheerful building I found.

Thus I was obliged to use the divide and navigate method to get me to Hebden Bridge too.

At about five o’clock the sun broke through the clouds, the air became thinner, and the last few miles into the town were through gentle, forgiving woodland. Peace!

Iron ore, spring water, and a naturally-occurring film of oil offset the green of the grass remarkably well.
The force of nature.
The river approaching Hebden Bridge.

I had been banking on staying at the hostel, which was the only accommodation under £100 per night; it was closed. I tried a random B&B which was shown on the Google map, but when I got there, the surprised couple who owned the house knew nothing about it. But they were kind, and took me to another B&B they knew; it was full. As a last resort I tried the inn (£140 per night); that was full too.

I was feeling desperate! However, passers-by had told me about a camping site, ‘Up there on the hill, behind those trees.’ It was a long shot, but there was nothing else. I asked everyone I met for directions, and finally I found it.

Oh joy!

And it had a shower (you can’t imagine how good I felt after that) and a power socket, so I could charge up my GPS and phone.

Terraced houses in Hebden Bridge: wheelie bins a-plenty, a few attempts at a garden, and one enterprising person, who rigged up a washing line on the pavement.
The canal at Hebden Bridge.
Joy at last: my pitch on the hill above Hebden Bridge.

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