Distance; 6 miles
Route; Colne Valley circular route from Slaithwaite up to Marsden Moor and past the viewpoint overlooking the village of Marsden. The route then descends to Marsden and follows the canal back to Slaithwaite. There is some steep climbing in the first half of the walk and a couple of descents where the arthritic knees caused a bit of concern but the return leg along the canal is very easy.
Facilities; according to the walking book there are public toilets in Slaithwaite but I couldn’t find them. No problem as this is not an over popular walk and privacy, once you climb above the town, is almost guaranteed. There are a couple of lovely coffee shops and wine bars with outdoor seating on the last stretch; the perfect place to wind down after this walk.
This is a walk of spectacular views and, far from the grim moors that I expected, was one of rolling hills, occasional dips, wooded land and fascinating industrial and agricultural buildings, some empty and ruined, some thriving and busy. On the way up to the viewpoint there is a lovely little memorial to two local men and a number of trees planted in memory of other people. It is a beautiful peaceful place to stop and reflect on recent events.
We don’t often go to West Yorkshire to walk and the significance of this location didn’t hit me until, on the way over, we turned on the radio. We heard that Jo Cox’ husband was taking the children out camping that night as it was something their mother would have loved to do with them. I don’t know if they were camping anywhere near here but, if they were, I could really understand what a wonderful way that would be of remembering their mother. You can see why they call it ‘God’s Own Country.’* Walking in this landscape is a constant reminder that there is more to life than our everyday cares and worries. I hope that Jo Cox’ family found some consolation there.
*the brilliant but disturbing novel of that name by Ross Raisin clearly depicts the sense of beauty and the potential for social isolation in this landscape. Highly recommended food for thought.