It was a journey just over the Pennine watershed to reach the start of this walk from the small town of Marsden. We set out westwards following a short section of the towpath beside the Huddersfield Narrow Canal. At Tunnel End the canal enters the Standedge Canal Tunnel which at 5,698 yards is the longest in Britain. Building the tunnel was an ambitious plan and took much longer to build than expected and one of the main problems was put down to poor organisation. Construction began from either end and it was later realised that the Diggle end of the tunnel was being cut several feet higher than the Marsden end and there was even the risk that the tunnels wouldn’t meet in the middle. Another problem was the vast amount of water running into the workings but despite all these problems, the canal was finally opened in 1811.
We now had a steady ascent to the summit of Pule Hill (437 metres) where we encountered a stiff breeze despite it being a fine day and at a sheltered spot on the southern slopes we stopped for our morning break. The next few miles were over the open moorland following good paths and passing Black Moss Reservoir. Much of our route followed the Pennine Wayand a line of flagstones aided our way over this notoriously boggy landscape. Ait was a steep descent from Blakely Clough down to the sheltered valley of Wessenden Brook. There are four reservoirs along this valley and we would walk alongside two of them – Blakeley Reservoir and Butterley Reservoir and by the latter we stopped for lunch.
For the afternoon we joined the Colne Valley Circular Walk, a recreational trail which contours high above the Colne Valley with almost like aerial views over Marsden. We stayed with this path as far as Top Hill and here we took a connecting path down to the towpath of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal at Shaw Carr Bridge. The last two miles back to Marsden was via this towpath along this fairly attractive section of the canal. The day was rounded off with tea and cakes in a local cafe.
The following photographs were taken on the recconoitre.