We took the Pendle way for a bit, and after some time got to a town we thought was a major hub of activity. My knee has been getting worse since I smashed it off a rock outside of Settle; today I was the slow one (at some points). We limped into Trawden, Robert and Euan spotted a biscuit factory and immediately walked through the door like bees attracted to honey, whilst I tried to lean casually against a bridge. They emerged ten minutes later, victoriously, with what would become our lunch; cookie off-cuts. We supplemented these with pies from the post office. This town was strange, and when I asked if there were any other shops nearby the woman in the post office said:
“In Trawden? There are no other shops in Trawden.” I was waiting for her to tell me that the post office was a local shop for local people, but she just looked puzzled and slowly exhaled in my face. Perhaps this was a shrewd business tactic to maximise her profits, but as we continued through and out of town we saw no evidence that she’d lied to us.
We mounted a steep hill and followed a lacrosse ball down the other side to a tea room, at which we stopped for a second lunch. We had to remove our boots on entry (entering the through the wrong door), and we sat with our socks exposed and stared at the paintings on the walls whilst cultivating stares from the clientele (the average age of which we lowered by over forty years on our appearance). Only one member of staff was on duty, but she must have alerted others to the presence of young, rugged types (ourselves, not the swarm of pensioners hoping to siphon off our virility for their own devious uses), as the chef emerged personally to present Euan with his soup.
Soon we started off again and came to really intense hill (every other paragraph starts with a giant hill, possibly because, despite dispensing with the Pennine way, we’re still left with remnants of the Pennines). After taking this in our stride we paused to eat oranges at the end of a reservoir, thinking we’d made great progress. It started to rain, and I decided waterproofs would be inessential, but soon the down-poor was torrential and I was soaked.
We made it to the target footpath, after trying to shelter from the blanket of rain under the dark branches of ancient tree that surrounded a church in the middle of nowhere. We trudged, our feet squelching, over hills and through bogs hoping to strike out in the right direction (our map was too wet to read). We were somehow lost again, and emerged in a stretch of houses, leading to a peculiar village that seemed to be designed and owned by dogs. The village had cobbled streets and miniature houses, with door frames a person of normal stature would almost have to crawl through. The only inhabitants we saw were canines craning to peer at us through the dim windows. It was built on a slope and as we gained momentum through the strange streets we suddenly found ourselves out the other side.
We hobbled down the hill meeting a winding river which took us past abandoned mills and closed down hotels towards our turning. A nice couple asked us where we were off to, and we replied that Mankinholes YHA was our destination for today. Ah, said the guy, a nice hostel indeed. He told us that they have a good chocolate selection, and to ask the owner for his recommendation. However, after we parted ways and perceived the strong aroma of good quality cannabis we reconsidered his advice in a different light.
The final few miles were up hill and we eventually made it, relishing the warm living room, massive kitchen and, most importantly, the drying room.