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The HB Loop on the Pennine Way

In September 2012, I completed the Pennine Way on the second serious attempt. Ten years before I’d managed just over halfway, to Dufton, before giving in to shin splints. At the time I reckoned it was the hardest walk I’d ever done – setting off alone for 3 weeks, with all my world condensed into an old Berghaus Rucksack. But also one of the very best. A personal triumph over adversity* and a peak experience that will be with me forever.

Along the trail I realised that Pennine Wayfarers were really losing out by following the Pennine Way down to the busy A646 and walking (or getting the bus) into Hebden Bridge. Not only were they missing out a beautiful walk directly into town, avoiding all main roads, but by leaving along that same A646 the next morning they were also missing out the historic (and equally picturesque) village of Heptonstall.

“…but some walkers don’t want to take a different route” came the objection
“if its not official then I won’t walk it”.
“What about the Bowes Loop?” says I “if Bowes can have a Loop, then so can Hebden Bridge”

When the time was right, I came across Richard Peters, of Hebden Bridge Walker’s Action – a group that has done many great things on the local walking scene including inaugurating the ‘Walkers are Welcome’ scheme, of which Hebden Bridge was the first such town.
Richard was intrigued, made enquiries and said ‘let’s do it’ and the rest is, as they say, history…

Dave Weirdigan, co-Director, Hebden Bridge Hostel

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*Many thanks to Michiel Van Gulik for his impromptu support and company over 3 of the most difficult days…

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