Finish: Hebden Bridge
Miles walked today:15
Total miles: 472
Brian is one of those people blessed with a natural charisma. He's also got a vocabulary which is a little... colourful.
"**** me, another ****ing walker" he cries from behind the counter of his snack wagon, parked in a layby where the Pennine Way and the A672 intersect. A crowd of truckers huddled under the awning eating bacon sandwiches and drinking tarry tea snigger.
"They never spend **** all, either!"
(Insert your own expletives every three or four words from now on. You get the idea.)
He has the whole crowd in the palm of his hand. Pouring tea with one hand, turning bacon and eggs on the hot plate with the other, he keeps up a machine gun rat a tat tat of wonderful banter.
"Did you want black pudding with that?" he asks a trucker from Leicester, "Make your mind up!"
"Coffee and a bacon and egg roll," he says, confirming my order. I pay up.
"No tip!!!!" He exclaims, "Typical!!"
I tell him that I enjoyed my visit ten years ago so much that I felt I had to return.
He reminds the assembled throng that he's been in that layby for 38 years.
"I'm famous, I am. Been on all the TV shows. Coronation Street, Emmerdale, and in that **** Wallington's book!"
"Come on, one minute to go" he tells new arrivals. Apparently, he likes to finish at 11 am. Not surprising, if he starts at 4.00 am. No weekends any more, either.
I raise my phone and tell him I'm going to take his photo.
"**** off, it'll cost you £45.00 for a snap of me,"
He makes a pantomime of running up and down behind the counter to avoid my lens, then poses with tea pot and cup to make sure I do get a good shot.
I have to say that apart from visits from family and friends, this is perhaps the highlight of the last four weeks. Brian is exactly the same as he was ten years ago. There is something surreal but wonderful to walk out of the cold wind and rain and fog and find Brian's oasis smelling of bacon and tea.
The day started with fog and a wet tent. I did sleep well and awoke quite late. Chris was packing up at the same time as me, but I set off up the hill to the path before him to get a phone signal and find out if Lesley (my lovely daughter) had managed to get some accomodation for us. If so, she would meet up with me tonight.
Lesley had succeeded. But not at my destination, Hebden Bridge. The nearest she could book was a B&B in Todmorden. No problem. I'd walk to HB and get the train the four miles back.
I set off along the path. Not such a steep climb today. Visibility was around 75 to 100 yards. There was a wind from the west blowing drizzle across my face. Chris never did catch me up, so good luck to you Chris and I hope to see you further along the PW.
I did meet Martin walking the opposite way with his friend. He has done LEJOG in....
He must be made of steel.
I walked the rest of the way into Hebden Bridge with Mike, a Mancunian PWer. We passed the huge Stoodley Pike Monument,
perched on the edge of a ridge. Truly massive, it stands 38 metres tall, yet we couldn't see it from 100 yards away due to the fog.
At HB, I got a coffee, then made my way to the station, and asked for a ticket to Todmorden. The ticket man said that I might have a little trouble with Yorkshire folk if I pronounced it that way.
"It's Todmadon" he kindly advised me. I was duly grateful.
Lesley and I met up at our delightful B&B
and hit the town. The Golden Lion to be precise. There was a live guitar duo belting out numbers which we knew, and excellent food. Perfect.