16.8 miles – Classic sun and clouds
I awoke at 4:20, teaed, breakfasted, and set off at five past six. I find it extraordinary, always having been a night owl, to be getting up at first light – that’s hiking!
As I approached Marsden I found what I had been hoping for, Standedge Tunnels. The canal tunnel on the Huddersfield Narrow Canal, opened in 1811, is the longest (at 3.1 miles / 5km), the highest (at 643 feet / 196m above sea level) and deepest (at 636 feet / 194m at its deepest point) in Britain, and it can still be used by suitable narrowboats.
But that’s not all; there are also three railway tunnels running parallel to the canal, and all are linked by ‘adits’ or cross-tunnels so that the whole forms an underground matrix. Fascinating and inspiring.
After breakfasting a second time in Marsden, I took to the moors – again – but at least the sun was bright enough to make them seem to shine – apart from Black Hill, that is: the moss really is darker on the top. And frankly, there was no practical alternative to the Pennine Way here. The path down from the summit of Black Hill is very slow; I only managed about 1.25 mph over loose stones and boulders, which (I can’t help it) I just find so dispiriting; it also meant I didn’t get as far today as I had intended.
I finnished the day with a gruelling ascent to Clough Edge, but it meant I would get a good start the next morning on the last stage of the Pennine Way.