Sunday, November 11, 2012

Haworth to in between Ickornshaw and Lothersdale

I was the first one awake in my dormitory room, and so I snuck out and headed down for breakfast. Chuck was already up and writing. While he had been waiting for me to wake up, he'd been reading up on the Brontes and was now a true devotee (at least of Charlotte).  We decided to spend the morning exploring Haworth. (By the way, Haworth is not pronounced the way any American would think it should be; it sounds more like "Haw-with.")

The walk to the older part of town was all downhill, and unfortunately, this was no good for my knee. By the time we got there, I was really in pain.  I was determined not to spoil the trip or the day, and so I hobbled on and hoped that maybe the ibuprofen would kick in or some other miracle would remove the pain.

The older part of Haworth is on a hill and has a lovely cobblestone road running through the middle. The town was definitely catering to the Bronte tourists.  Almost every shop in town had some kind of Bronte reference in their names.  And, I have never seen so many tea rooms crammed into one small area.  I think there were more than ten within a one hundred yard stretch of the road.  They wouldn't want for business though, because even relatively early on a Sunday morning, we saw a flock of people following a lady with an umbrella through the streets.

One of the many tea rooms in Haworth
We carried on to the Black Bull Inn at the top of the street. Branwell Bronte, the brother of Emily, Anne, and Charlotte, used to frequent this pub, and there is a plaque on the front to commemorate his patronage.  Although some accounts claim Branwell died from too much drinking, he actually had tuberculosis.

At this point, I think I would have been happy to spend the day in the pub.  My knee was a serious problem, and I knew it.  It was time for a decision.  We agreed that I would take a bus from Haworth to the small village of Ickornshaw, and Chuck would continue along the Pennine Way to meet me.  I was so disappointed and frustrated. How could my body be letting me down this way?  I cursed my knees and tried not to get too emotional as I climbed on a bus taking me exactly in the opposite direction from the trail.

The bus took me to Keighley, where I had several hours to kill before I'd take another bus out to Ickornshaw.  There was a shopping mall next to the bus station, and I hoped they'd have a pharmacy open where I could potentially find something to help my knee.  Of course, I hadn't planned on a trip into a city, and so I was still dressed for the day's hike.  I certainly got some strange looks from people as I wandered through the mall with my hiking poles, backpack, muddy boots, and generally disheveled appearance.  I wondered if people thought I was homeless.  

I felt overwhelmed by noise and light and just the abundance of people wandering around.  So, I quickly found a pharmacy and purchased a brace for my knee so I could scurry back to the bus station and wait in a less crowded area.  Finally it was time to get back on the bus. I told the bus driver where I wanted to go, and he gave me a puzzled look. I thought maybe I wasn't pronouncing "Ickornshaw" correctly.  The guidebook, which unfortunately was with Chuck, said that it was "Ick-corn-sher."  But, my various attempts to pronounce the name weren't getting me anywhere. I decided I would just watch for the inevitable sign on the route.

The guidebook had made it seem that getting to Ickornshaw by bus was a breeze.  It was not.  There was no sign, and eventually I had to admit that I had probably past the place I should have gotten off the bus at. Chuck tells me that the unexpected is what makes the adventure, and it seemed I was about to have an adventure.  It was getting dark, and I knew I was in trouble - no map, no clue where I was, all alone.

Fortunately, there was a pub across the street. I went in, and the kind group of people at the bar welcomed me in.  One of the ladies in the group knew where Ickornshaw, although most of her friends also gave me blank stares.  The group suggested I get a cab to Ickornshaw, and the bartender even made the call for me.  I was so stressed out by the whole situation that I now don't remember the name of the town or the pub, but those people have my eternal gratitude for welcoming a stranger and setting her back on the right path.

After some driving around in the dark and a few phone calls, I managed to reconnect with Chuck. We were both so glad I had brought mobile phones for each of us on the trip, as otherwise, I doubt we would have found each other.  It was now definitely dark, and we had no arrangements for the night.  I was fearing a repeat of our Diggle experience.  There were actually only two B&Bs listed in the area. We were standing near one, but all the lights were out, and it really didn't look like they were open. We called the other, and it was full.

We had no choice but to hike on into the night.  We hiked a mile or two out of the village and back into farmland. There were no good campsites in view, and we were both tired and hungry.  Finally, we decided to stop in a pasture that seemed free of sheep.  We tried to make the tent as invisible as possible and settled down for the night.  After all my "adventure," I was emotionally exhausted.  I don't handle crowds and noise in the best of circumstances, and over-stimulation along with fear of being lost completely wore me out.  I think I was asleep in minutes.


  1. As a selfish reader of your blog I must say your misadventures do make for great blog entries. You will remember these days most clearly.


    1. Thanks Craig! I'm glad you are enjoying my story, and I hope you keep reading. :)

    2. I will Ruth. I look forward to it.