I am not normally a fan of driving around Halifax. I have to do it for work, but the valleys are very steep, and the roads wind narrowly along the valley sides, and if I miss a turn – which I frequently do in the winter gloom – I have to go about five miles out of my way before I can turn round.

It’s significantly higher up in the Pennines than my home in the foothills, so the valleys are deeper, the hills higher, and the roads low down in the valley rather than on the tops of the hills. Hebden Bridge, which nestles in a valley bottom around the River Calder and the canal,  is a particular bete noire of mine as it feels so dark and claustrophobic – I want to run screaming for the top of the hills no matter how many people tell me it’s a fabulous town.

But this week I encountered a couple of things which have changed my views slightly. First, early one evening I drove to my teaching venue along a new (to me) and slightly longer route which follows the Calder most of the way. I was running slightly late and had little time for contemplation, but as I hammered along with the window down I kept catching glimpses of bluebell blue among the trees which line the valley, followed by the scent of wild garlic drifting along on the breeze. Heaven.

Secondly, at the weekend I had to head out to a class reunion near Hebden Bridge. Lovely people and great to see them all with their babies, but at the back of my mind the major thought was “bugger, I hate driving to bloody Hebden”. I went there on the main road but, seeing as it’s now light til nearly 9pm, on my way back I headed up the valley side and followed the lanes. I didn’t make it to the top of the hill, but I did get high enough to enjoy views like this:

midgely may09

I can feel a return trip coming on with husband and dog.

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