Pennines and skulldugery

Fabulous Panaramas

Rishworth moors
Rishworth moors

Spring in the Pennines

Spring can arrive late in the high Pennine regions of Rishworth and Saddleworth Moor. The car dashboard might have read 5°C outside, but stepping out into the wind it felt as though the raw cold air was below freezing and had travelled all the way from the frozen steppes of Mongolia.

Much of the vegetation here is usually found in areas of the world known as tundra, as very little else will survive the harsh weather. The ground is boggy and dangerous to the unaware and there are deep black pools where peat has been dug over the centuries. Although the snow is still on the ground in places, the heather which is a very dark brown at this time of the year is tinder dry and there have been a number of fires already this year.

Rishworth Moors

A markerol3 uk -
Oldham OL3, UK
[get directions]

still a wild and forbidding place

Ice cream in a lay-by

Even in the towns and villages of this area have strange names, Rastrik and Sowerby we passed through the junction hamlet of Ripponden, to one side was Soyland and Barkisland. From Ripponden the road begins to climb until at its peak it reaches and runs alongside Blackstone edge reservoir its water always looks dark and forbidding and very cold whatever the time of year.

Bizarrely, there is always an ice cream vendor in a lay-by at this point; I must admit it is nice to eat a Mr. Whippy ice cream while staring from the very top of Yorkshire over the Lancashire towns of Rochdale and Shaw. To the right is the hamlet of Cragg Vale infamous for a gang of counterfeiters called the Cragg Vale Coiners; its cottages cling precariously to the hillsides and follow the steep road down to the town of Mytholmroyd.

Roman Road
Roman Road | Source

Lamb in spring

The one sure sign up here that spring has arrived are the new lambs that bounce with joy whilst there sedate mothers continue to crop the grass. It is an event that must have happened here since the farmers of the Bronze Age were attending their sheep and is somehow a connection with the long-lost past.

There are a number of Bronze age and Stone age sites in the area, they would have hunted wolves, deer, bears, wild boar and grown early forms of oats and wheat. Later on the Romans visited the area building a road across the moors linking York and Manchester.

Sheep with lambs

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sheep with lambs
sheep with lambs
sheep with lambs | Source
Source
Source
Source

Here's how to make money

A markercragg vale -
Cragg Vale, West Yorkshire HX7, UK
[get directions]

Cragg Vale where they decided to make their own money

King David's coins

The Cragg Vale Coiners whose leader was known as "King" David Hartley, obtained real coins from the landlords of Inns and merchants sometimes on the promise that they could "grow" the investment by smelting the original metals with base ores. They removed the coins' genuine edges and milled them again, collecting the shavings. The coins were only slightly smaller than the originals and then they were put back into circulation. Most of the counterfeit coins had French, Spanish, or Portuguese designs. They then melted down the shavings to produce counterfeits, and with a hammer and coining kit re punched designs into the blank "coins".

The men were betrayed and all came to a sticky end with King David being hanged at Tyburn in York in 1770.

. The Cragg Coiners were the subject of a children's novel Gold Pieces by Phyllis Bentley The story is seen through the eyes of a fictitious twelve-year-old boy who lives nearby and who befriends the son of David Hartley. All the places and the main characters such as David Hartley and William Dighton are given their real names. Gold Pieces was reprinted in 2007.

cold and dark
cold and dark | Source
Cragg Vale
Cragg Vale | Source

Rochdale

Looking down to Rochdale
Looking down to Rochdale

Looking towards Lancashire

In front of us is the White Horse Inn which has a fantastic view across most of Lancashire they say that the top of Blackpool tower can be seen from here on a clear day. The road is almost as steep as a ski run as it winds down the far side into Littleborough.

Then it was back home in time for tea.

White Horse Inn

Click thumbnail to view full-size
evening view
evening view

Guilty of Honour by Tony Mead

Guilty of Honour
Guilty of Honour

Young Ben Stone is fleeing for his life over the bleak Yorkshire Moors. From being a child, he has been besotted by the local landowner’s daughter Ruth, but after her wicked brother is accidentally killed, Ben fears that he will be blamed. Ruth convinces him he should go on the run; otherwise, her father who is also the local magistrate will probably have him hanged for murder.

Trying to keep out of the way of the law, he runs into a wandering band of thieves. They take him as a prisoner and he is forced to endure a desperate winter in their secret lair. When he does escape their clutches, his fortune changes, and he is taken in by a friendly parson. The parson runs a small orphanage in Cartmel, where Ben recovers his health and spirits.

A brief spell working at a chandler’s shop in Barrow in Furness is rudely interrupted when Ben is pressed into the navy. The year is 1801 and the Royal Navy is desperate for men.

Despite this poor start, Ben takes to life in the navy, and quickly gains promotion. He is set for a promising career, when his past returns to haunt him, in the person of Ruth the landowner’s daughter, who has been married off to the new Governor of Jamaica and needs transporting out to the Caribbean on Ben’s ship. During the voyage, Ruth takes the opportunity to revive Ben’s feelings for her.

When he returns to England, he is confronted by his past and has to face a court-martial over the death of Ruth’s brother. Can he clear his name? What part will Lady Ruth play in his future? Ben is in for many varied adventures before his life is settled.

 

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Comments 6 comments

kashmir56 profile image

kashmir56 3 years ago from Massachusetts

Hi my friend Tony, i have enjoyed reading your very interesting article and love all these very beautiful photos as well. You have a very beautiful country side where you live. Well done my friend !

Vote up and more !!! Sharing !


tonymead60 profile image

tonymead60 3 years ago from Yorkshire Author

Kash my old chum good to hear from you again. Thank you for your visit and votes. I'm pleased you enjoyed this peep into my world

regards Tony


stessily 3 years ago

Tony, The landscape of the British isles is truly fascinating. Especially the strange landscape of the moors is beguiling; it's almost a glimpse of some other world which was specially formed as a remembrance of other distant lands.

It's absolute genius for ice cream to be available in lay-bys.

The tale of "King" David and the Cragg Vale Coiners offers an interesting view into local history. Did they share the profits of their shady creativity with the poor? Probably not? Not everyone can play Robin Hood.

Your travelogue is well done, and your photos convey the atmosphere and the landscape of your part of the world.

All the buttons, Yorkie!

ttfn, Stessily


tonymead60 profile image

tonymead60 3 years ago from Yorkshire Author

Hi Stessily

thank you for your visit and comment. Next time I'm up on the tops, I'll try remember my camera and add a photo of Mr. Whippy; it really is nice ice cream.

The coiners did share out their ill-gotten gains, but only amongst themselves. I intend to keep adding to this site, there is so much more to tell.

regards

yer owd pud

Tony


Derdriu 3 years ago

Tony, This is a wonderful history/travelogue which leaves me feeling as informed as if I'd been with you all. In particular, I love the way that you convey the atmosphere of your group and of the place through your maps, observations, and photos.

Shared.

Respectfully, and with many thanks and all the votes for the whole wide world's Proper Champion Yorkshireman and my Owd Yorkshire Cousin (through Joseph and Tomasin), Derdriu


tonymead60 profile image

tonymead60 3 years ago from Yorkshire Author

Derdriu

a pleasure to hear from you and to think that you enjoyed this brief journey into the Pennines.

I intend to add more chapters to this fairly soon.

Thank you for the visit my Yorky Cousin now exported.

ttfn

yer owd pud.

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