Saturday, November 10, 2012

Just below Gorple Cottages to Haworth

We woke this morning to sunshine, which was good because essentially everything we had was soaked from yesterday and last night.  Fortunately, the bridge next to our campsite made a great drying rack.
Let the sun shine!

Since our scenery was so lovely, we didn't mind just hanging around the campsite while the sun did its work.  We had a short chat with a man out for his morning "constitutional."  He warned us that the upcoming town of Haworth was not all it was cracked up to be anymore.  Duly warned, we figured it was time to pack it all up and head off again. 
Warning us to stay away from Haworth
The first part of our walk was paved, and although I know Chuck doesn't always like road walking, I was happy not to have to stare at the ground all day.  I took in the scenery and enjoyed the sun, and my feet fell where they wished.

Soon enough we were back to difficult walking as we passed the Walshaw Dean Reservoirs. Well, it wasn't too difficult, but it was muddy and even a little slippery. No surprise there.  The water was calm and very blue, and the grouse were out in force.

Not the best picture, but most our grouse pics are worse!
It was hard to remember that it was November, except for the chill seeping to my skin.  We stopped for a short rest and a snack at the edge of the reservoir and were passed by a couple we'd seen parking their fancy and undoubtedly expensive convertible earlier (despite the cold, they were driving with the top down).  They had their wellies on and seemed genuinely thrilled to be out in the mud and muck. In fact, they looked more thrilled than we did, but they didn't have packs on their backs and their clothes were considerably less muddy.
Lovely blue sky, not lovely muddy path
Leaving the reservoirs, we headed back into the brown heather and the moors. After a bit of uphill slogging, the ruin known as Top Withins came into view. Top Withins is famous (world-wide apparently) as the inspiration for the Earnshaw home in Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte.  This "fact" is strongly disputed by the Bronte Society.  All the Society was willing to state was that "the situation may have been in her mind when she wrote of the moorland setting of the Heights."
Top Withins
Yes, we were definitely in Bronte country.  There were several groups of people milling around the ruins, and the Pennine Way signposts had even been translated into Japanese. Apparently the Japanese LOVE the Brontes.  Legions upon legions of Japanese flock to Bronte country each year to see where Emily, Charlotte, and Anne lived and wrote.  Now, I have always been a fan of Jane Eyre. I've read it many, many times,  I've seen film adaptations, etc. And I absolutely love  Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series, the first book of which partially takes place inside the story of Jane Eyre. But, Wuthering Heights.... I have never liked it. In fact, I can't stand it.  I find the characters so unlikeable that I can't even focus on the story.  In fact, despite having forced myself back through the book in the last couple of years, I still couldn't even remember who the Earnshaws were in the story, much less how the house had been described.  So, I looked at the ruins and tried to attach some meaning to it.  I didn't end up with much other than - wow that house was pretty small and people were short back then.
I have always been a prolific reader.  I started reading British classics (including the aforementioned Jane Eyre) while I was still in grade school.  My mother studied British literature in college and grad school, and so our house was full of books by British authors.  I read as many of them as I could.  I think this is how my love affair with the British Isles began.  I remember the first time I visited London. It felt like coming home.  And despite my dislike of Heathcliff and Cathy, I really did want to see the village that had produced three classic authors in one family.

Chuck is not a fiction reader, and he had never even heard of the Brontes. So, I had to spend a little time persuading him that I really wanted to see the town of Haworth, which was a little bit off the track.  But, I had sat and waited on Bleaklow while he went to check out the airplane wreckage - I figured he owed me.  As we started on our way down towards Stanbury and eventually Haworth, I started filling him in on the story of Wuthering Heights.  

The way down was windy, cold, and muddy, and to make things worse, my right knee started to hurt. "Just great!" I thought, "The one thing Chuck told me he was worrying about was that I would get injured."  I was resolved not to let it get in the way.  I was following behind Chuck anyway, so I don't think he noticed the slight limp I had acquired.  But, I was back to worrying about my performance on the trail and about how I might potentially make Chuck's journey worse.

We finally made it to Stanbury, where we caught a bus to Haworth and to our beds for the night (in the Haworth Youth Hostel).  We were both very tired, and so we decided not to explore Haworth until tomorrow.  We ate in the hostel, played a little Scrabble, and called it an early night.

1 comment:

  1. It is important to let your readers know who won the Scrabble game, methinks.