Friday, 15 June 2018

Brontë Society Summer Festival Guided Walk

June is the month of the Brontë Society Annual General Meeting around which other events are organized. I'm not the one to attend the AGM, but I'm always interested in walks and coach trips to the places with Brontë connections that take place each year. Last Sunday a group of about twenty Brontë fans including myself, guided by a very nice Brontë Parsonage volunteer, went for a nine mile walk on the moors that the Brontë sisters loved and drew inspiration from for their literary masterpieces.
The circular walk took five and a half hours to complete. We set off from outside Brontë Parsonage in Haworth towards the village of Stanbury and from there headed to Ponden Hall followed by Ponden Kirk, Alcomden Stones, Top Withens and Brontë Falls.

This is the path at the start of our walk just outside Haworth with beautiful sweeping views over Worth Valley.

Stanbury moor with delightful cotton grass bobbing in the gentle breeze

This photo, and the next three, are of Alcomden Stones, a curious and fascinating scattering of large rocks. There are many stories and speculations about these stones, but they are likely to be just a natural phenomenon. It is this place that attracted me to the walk the most and the only place of interest on the walk I hadn't yet been to.  It is remote with the path to it rather rough and not always clear, and I was glad I had a chance to walk it in company for a first time. The rocks lie high up on Stanbury moor, and are surrounded by extensive, distant views. It's a perfect place for a rest, lunch or reflection, and I am looking forward to going there again.

After Alcomden Stones the path lead us down to Top Whitens, a ruined farmhouse which is said to have been the inspiration for the location of the Earnshaw family home named "Wuthering Heights" in the novel by Emily Brontë. 

I can now say that this must be my favourite walk I have ever done. I must admit I was slightly worried about its length. Being a photographer who stops every so often to take photos I usually don't go for walks longer than five miles. This time, being in a group I knew I wouldn't be able to take many photos, but that didn't bother me. I just hoped to get a couple of snaps of cotton grass and of Alcomden Stones, which I managed to do. I was pleased to find that the length of the walk was not too much for me at all. Besides visiting the fascinating Brontë landmarks, it was also good to meet some nice people, all fellow Brontë fans; some of them came from as far as France, Belgium and even America. It was a great day that I shall remember for a long time.

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