Day five – Pennine Way – Ponden to Thornton in Craven.
Well we didn’t expect our journey to go without some challenges and today certainly presented us with that. I was woken around 4am by Harvey’s first visit to the toilet and was informed that all was not good.
A moderate days walking was planned but Harv had been struck down by sickness and diarrhea. I had breakfast (for both of us), Harv had some tea but couldn’t manage anything else.
I’ll spare the details but Harv was struggling however we had an agenda that could seriously be derailed here and now. If we stayed put we probably wouldn’t catch up.
A few miles forward and we could, so I persuaded him to make 5 miles to Lothersdale.
Harv was repeatedly ill as there were some long hard stretches of uphill walking. We made our target and rested and agreed to attempt the short 2-3 miles to Ickornshaw.
We hoped for facilities and sustinence once we made our destination however there was nothing. Our plight was recognised by a resident pensioner called Eric who invited us into his garden for tea and Jaffa cakes. Refreshed once again we attempted the short hop to Thornton in Craven.
We arrived after spending a very long day making slow progress at about 18.30 when Harv set down and said that he couldn’t go any further.
We’d got significantly further than I dreamed we could. What a star Harv has been today, if we hadn’t made progress the show was probably over.
I’m immensely proud and humbled by what Harv has achieved today.
Because of what this means I can’t see anything making him give up.
What i’ve seen today proves he’s worth every penny he’s been sponsored and it’s an honour to be sharing in it with him.
By Paul Courtney
A good nights sleep was had after our first visit to civilisation after tramping the moors for three days. My knees didn’t wake me with pains like before which is promising (maybe the WD40 is working).
The White Lion was comfortable and the food adequate. Surgery was performed by myself on Sherpa Ian on Harvey ‘s shredded feet after a quick trip to Boots for more supplies.
We left Hebden Bridge on a near vertical lung busting climb to Heptonstall Moor. But the terrain soon levelled off amid blue skies and more remote stunning scenery.
It was clear Harvey was half a yard short of pace today because of his injuries but time was of no importance.
Contouring round Colden Clough we passed Gorple Reservoir before stopping for lunch at a pretty juction of streams below the Packhorse Inn.
We continued onwards and upwards past the Walshaw Dean reservoirs and over the top to “Top Withens” famous for inspiring the Emily Bronte novel Wuthering Heights.
From here the descent was slow and gentle down and onto Ponden Guest House delightfully situated at the end of the reservoir.
Sherpa Ian arrived and forced us off into the neighbouring village
of Haworth for some refreshments.
Total trail miles of 55
After the persistent rain of yesterday it was a delight to wake up to a lovely sunny day.
Breakfast was taken at the White Lion Hotel where we had managed to get in on the day instead of camping in the wet conditions.
It was good to catch up with Jon and Tim again who were also staying at the White Lion.
Serious remedial action had to made to my feet which were degrading rapidly.
Paul had gone beyond the call of duty the night before demonstrating his pedicure skills along with lancing blisters with needles.
Sherpa Ian became feet specialist support before we headed to the nearest chemist to stock up on compeed.
The day then got serious with a stiff walk out of Calder Valley up to Heptonstall Moor.
This was a real throw back as the surrounding area is the start of the Greenwoods looking back on the family tree. Gives you an eery feeling thinking your forefathers were there centuries ago!
The weather broke into a cracking summers day with fantastic vistas over the moors which was hugely enjoyable even at my slow pace with very painful feet.
A visit to Top Withins (allegedly linked to Wuthering Heights by Haworths Emily Bronte) on route was followed by a drop down the valley to Ponden Reservoir and on to Ponden Guest House which is a real oasis of calm with a fantastic outlook over the reservoir.
Feet rested, very sore, cut and battered however tomorrow is another day.