Monday, 8 August 2022

MYTHOLMROYD: Bell House Moor

 Bell House Moor: another sunny day!

i) In the depot

The day started at the depot with Rich, Ken and Frank H unloading a CALVAG delivery. Rich then departed for the Cat Steps at Mytholm while Ken and Frank cut a batch of timber to make bearers, cross-treads, kickboards and stobs etc for part 2 of the Bell House/Erringden Moor boardwalk project. More cutting still to do!

ii) On the Moor

Ken and Frank then drove up to Bell House (well done Ken's van!) and walked-in to the worksite.

1. Nothing wrong with a short
break on a hot steamy day.
The day's tasks were a follow-on from the excellent work Ian V and Rich did on Friday.

In a "it took longer than expected" session, we: 

*Realign one of the bearers.
*Fitted kickboards to any stepped sections.
*Anchored sections of boardwalk (with stobs on both sides).
*Pinned the stringers to the bearers.
*Packed stone at intervals to give extra support under the boardwalk.
*Landscaped the sides of the boardwalk.
*Tidied the site.

2. Before: sides of boardwalk unpinned.

3. After: Sections of boardwalk
pinned and packed.

Wednesday's task will be to bridge a gap between two existing sections of boardwalk.This should be relatively straightforward . . . Mmm! We've said that before! In preparation, we offered-up sections of pre-constructed broadwalk to the gap and decided on the best combination of steps and angles for adjoining sections. Marker pegs were hammered-in as memory joggers! 
There will also be a stone slab to put in place to reduce erosion when stepping onto and off the boardwalk. It'll be another day of perspiration!

MYTHOLM - Cat Steps

Heidi and Rich's first go at clearing the Cat Steps* which are a great route to get from the valley bottom up to Lower Rawtonstall and Blackshawhead.

Path marked in yellow (Blackshaw 037)

The stone steps were very overgrown and, with lots of woodland debris on them, were not easy to use (especially going down). The path has been waymarked at the bottom to make it more obvious.

Before: At the bottom -not easy to see the path!

Before: Loads of debris and encroaching vegetation

Hedge cutters, shears, loppers, spades, trowels, azads (and hands!) were used to clear the bottom third of the steps. 

In progress: Heidi pulling out vegetation.

A pretty back breaking session, but a very satisfying result.

After:  photo of the bottom section

After: photo of section higher up

There are more of the existing steps to clear. An extra step is needed at the bottom and a few steps at the top need replacing. 

This work is being funded by the landowner and Blackshaw Parish Council.

* Why is it called the Cat Steps? According to Calderdale Local Studies Library, "East Lancashire and West Yorkshire term for a type of stone short-cut on a steep hill". Makes sense and explains why there are several Cat Steps in the area.

Why and when were they put in? Probably in the mid 19th century when the Mills at Eaves needed weavers to come down from Lower Rawtonstall and Blackshaw to work. The mill owner was a probably a bit mean as the quality of the steps was pretty poor compared with others in the area.

Friday, 5 August 2022

MYTHOLMROYD : Bell House Moor

Ian and Rich did some waymarking jobs before tackling the completion of one end of the boardwalks.

Extra signage to show the path has been diverted

A confusing junction now made clear.


After several discussions about how to tackle the end section of the boardwalk, we managed to install two lengths. 

Well secured but some finishing off to do.

Thursday, 4 August 2022

TODMORDEN - Great Rock

Today's "Strim and Trim" team of RJ and Fred continued their work of clearing the footpaths near Great Rock.  

Greystone Lane (Todmorden 011) runs between Chapel House and Greystone Farm. The route is overgrown and very uneven so the strimming will make it clearer and give walkers greater confidence as they descend from the Great Rock area. 

Our new brush-cutter is certainly making strimming much easier - it slices through all but the very toughest of bramble, bracken, nettles and willow herb.

1. Before: View of overgrown  FP up
to Greystone Farm.

2. After: The cleared path should make
for easier walking. 

Next week, conditions permitting, we plan to continue the strimming and cutting back on rights-of-way in this area.

Today's tasks were funded by individual donations to CROWS. Many thanks.

Wednesday, 3 August 2022

MYTHOLMROYD: Bell House Moor

Bell House Moor: marker posts and boardwalks.

Another warm, sunny day for the workforce to split into two teams:

Team 1: the marker post duo

Nick and Rich installed waymark posts, sorted a drainage problem and widened sections of the path..

1. It's difficult to see where the path
goes (especially in bad weather)

2. Look closely: waymark posts provide an aiming point

Team 2: the boardwalk band!

Construction work continued with Jan & Ian S building sections of boardwalk, and Andrew, Frank H, Ken, Paul and Ray installing the completed units along the pre-marked line.

1. Every boardwalk needs two stringers.
Good lifting technique, Jan - in
balance and a straight back. 
2. Ray and Ken in action,
pinning the the boardwalk.

3. Levels and alignments are paramount

4. "To you! To me! Down? No, up
and right a bit to touch the line."
5. "It's a miracle! Level lengthways
and transversely!

6. "Come on guys, put your
back(sides) into it!"
7. Stabilising the last section . . . for today!

8. End of session: "A neat enough 
run of boardwalk. Well done, guys."
9. View in opposite direction from
that in picture 8. Still looks good!

More sessions will be needed here but all the boardwalk sections have now been constructed and the painstaking task of alignment and installing is well under way.

Hopefully, with the long-term forecast predicting fine weather, this part of the boardwalks project will be completed before 20th August when we have Big Carry 2!

Details of Big Carry 2 are on our website at

Meanwhile, for entertainment (or otherwise) here's a parody . . .

The Sound of Squelching

{Any resemblance to "The Sound of Silence" (Simon and Garfunkel, 1964) is coincidental!}

Hello Moorland my old friend

I've come to walk on you again

Because ideas softly creeping

Became plans while I was sleeping

And the detail that was planted in my brain,

Still remains -

It's the sound of squelching!

In tumbling dreams I walked alone

'Causey paths of well worn stone;

'Neath a cloud so dark and grey

I found swamp and marshes in the way

When my legs were grabbed by a bog that held so tight

. . . Mud like night,

Which made the sound of squelching!

And in my fevered mind I saw

A gang of CROWS - six or more

Bearing timbers without speaking,

Bearing tools without moaning;

People building boardwalks for all to share -

It's only fair -

To lose, the sound of squelching.

Mmm! More sense next week?