Where nothing blocks your view,
freedom and possibilities are born.

Kamil, The Wandering Cloud

This second day on the Pennine Way was actually slightly longer than the actual trail is. I started in Hadfield, where I stayed overnight the previous day (AirBnB) and had a lovely chat with the lady running the house there. Hadfield is about 4 miles from where the trail actually starts. It was another great, sunny day and as you can see from the images just below, the views were rather good!

My route took me past two reservoirs, first Valehouse Reservoir and then Rhodeswood Reservoir before I reached the Crowden area, where I finished the previous time, and now I turned left, or north.

Valehouse Reservoir

Here, the route very quickly goes up, from about 900ft at Woodhead Road level to about 1,800 feet level. That’s quite an ascent (for those of you metric-oriented, 900ft is about 270 metres, so no mean feat!).

But, hey, look below, your ascent efforts and tiredness get rewarded with awesome views across the Westend Moss area. A slight descent and then further ascent took me to reach the peak of Black Hill (532m). The elevation/height of all peaks on maps and internationally is always given in metres, so I’ll be doing this on this website in this manner in the future, too.

The views on the way and from the top are spectacular – it’s difficult to believe that there “human life” going on somewhere – it’s so peaceful and quiet. I remember passing a group of 3 rather noisy people, but luckily, passed them quickly and tranquillity returned.

A gentle 2 miles now follow, continuing to lead north, of slow ascent towards Greenfield Road with superbly beautiful views all around, which I present to you below:

Closer to Greenfield Road, the trail slows down its descent and becomes practically flat, taking the walker through the moss, heath and the bog (in wet weather, without the walkway, I promise you, this would’ve been a nightmare).

Yet again, I was greeted by the enormous expanse of just space. If you consider that, in a city, it is actually impossible to not have your view blocked by something less than 20 metres away in any direction, these views, unblocked by practically anything, are freedom itself.

Upon reaching Greenfield Road, there is a useful coffee/tea/sandwich place that allowed me to replenish some of my walking energy!

It was a superbly hot day – even the sheep were looking for a shade!

Now, the trail shortly leaves the road and descends down a road and path offering superb, stunning views towards Wessenden Reservoir. The pictures do not do justice to this area. When I came back home later that day, I remember I was quite disappointed with what this looks like in the images, given how my breath was taken away by the beauty of the place. The vitality of the contrast of the green of the grass and the plants with the shiny blue waters of the reservoir just does not come through properly here. Does not look bad in the images at all, but it just doesn’t have that almost transcendental quality I experienced on the day!

Towards Wessenden Reservoir
Wessenden Reservoir

The trail goes past the Reservoir and then will turn to the west, towards Standedge, where the end of my hike that day was to be.

Shortly after passing the Reservoir and some farm houses, the route crosses a stream and a superbly steep, but short, ascent follows. I met a young lady at the top, who was taking a 2-week holiday walking the entire of the Pennine Way in one go. The short ascent was so steep that we simply had to sit down on top to recover from this. She was a teacher at a college in Leeds. After a short chat, we kept moving.

One of the fascinating things about hiking in Britain is how quickly the scenery changes. The trail leads through Black Moss (which, perhaps, is not as black as the name would suggest!) and very different flora surrounds you as you get closer towards Standedge, passing two other reservoirs on the way.

Standedge is not actually any kind of a town or a village. It’s actually the area where Standedge Tunnels pass through (3 railway tunnels and one canal going under the Pennines here). Where the trail reaches a main road is between the village of Diggle (to the south-west) and the town of Marsden, with a train station. Although I didn’t quite plan for this, and for some reason, I thought Marsden would be closer to Standedge than it actually was, I now needed to follow the roads to Marsden to get to the train station.

This meant 2 miles’ walk, but, as always, one is greeted by beautiful views, this time of the town itself, as one walks.

The view of Marsden from Old Mount Road, descending towards the centre of the town

All images from this trip can be seen in the video below:

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