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Cowling to Keighley Reservoir (via Hitching Stone)
Submitted To Cowlingweb By: Greywolf
Difficulty rating: Moderate, though the last few miles are a bit of a balancing act at times!! Such climbs as there are, are very gentle.
Distance: 9 miles
Description: A quick walk to blow the cobwebs away.
Accessible by public transport: An hourly bus between Keighley & Colne, alighting at Post Office, Cowling (5 min walk to start of route).
Start Point / Parking: The village Post Office (SD 973 431). Park with consideration in one of the side streets.
Walk map: Walk Map ( Res: 654x707 )

Walk Map
( Res: 654x707 )

Walk Description
1) Walk up the main road for about half a mile to the former Black Bull PH, now a furniture shop.
2) Cross the road and go through the gate, then climb steeply but briefly up the slope to another rusty kissing gate.
3) Cross the next field at 1 o/c to the gap in the wall. Then climb to the squeeze stile and gate in the corner just above the house.
4) Cross the lane and take the stile. Follow the l/h wall via a kissing gate to a step / squeeze stile and turn left along the lane.
5) Bear right at the T-junction (SD 965 422). You are now on the Pennine Way. When you arrive at a gate, go through it and climb the track that runs alongside a small ravine with a charming waterfall at its head. The track hairpins back on itself – (SD 965 419).
6) Follow the track downhill, past a signpost and through a gate. (SD 965 418). Down some stone steps, over the single slab bridge and continue along the path at 11 o/c over some rather boggy ground.
7) At the fence go downhill, keeping to the right; cross the footbridge and climb the steps on the other side. (SD 970 417).
8) Continue up hill. You pass a deserted farmhouse on your left. Go through the gap in the wall and climb a very steep few yards. Follow the r/h wall till you reach a (usually flooded!) step stile at SD 972 417. Cross this.
9) The path is now very boggy, but you follow it, making for a cabin with a chimney, and a Pennine Way signpost to the side of it. You then cross a beck and make for a shooting cabin with benches outside to sit and admire the moorland views. (SD 969 415).
10) Cross the beck and follow the fairly distinct path running roughly parallel with the wall. Then you arrive at a signpost by a new metal gate (SD 969 412). You have now done just over 2.5 miles.
11) Head up hill towards a second substantial shooting cabin (SD 969 411).
12) Follow the path uphill, passing a shooting cabin on your right, and then descending past the right of yet another cabin made of stone. The path is now slabbed and provides an easy ascent up the gentle moorland slope.
13) Eventually the slabs come to an end. The path carries on at 1 o/c and reaches the area SD 972 402 where the slabs start once more and then stop again, as though someone really couldn’t be bothered with all this. The path is still pretty clear, if boggy, and at SD 974 395 it becomes slabbed again.
14) Finally you arrive at the end of a wall (SD 979 389) with a marker post saying “Millennium Walk”. (You’ve done about 4.25 miles). Turn left and follow clear the track and waymarker posts all the way down to little Keighley Reservoir (SD 989 392), 5 miles from your start point. Cross the dam, following the Millennium Way now (path 10) and turn right along the tarmacked access road.
15) Follow this for a mile all the way down to Morkin Bridge car park via a gate at Higher Intake Farm. (SD 002 403). Turn left, crossing the bridge and walk up the hill to Middle Slippery Ford Farm, where you take the footpath on the left which doubles back in the direction you’ve just come from.
16) The track is very clear, with walls on either side. Go through the gate at SD 999 407. The track follows the r/h wall. Pass through a gate, over a bridge by a waterfall, then over the stile (or through the gate) and pass across the front of the deserted farmhouse.
17) The path ahead is very tempting, but do not take it. (I did – and discovered the “pleasures” of floundering in peat bogs!) Instead go right, along the side of the house and follow the wall for about a mile until you arrive at the Hitching Stone (SD 986 417). Initially there is no sign of a path, but it eventually appears and remains clear.
18) From the stone (at which point you have done around 7.5 miles) continue on the same line downhill, keeping the wall and fencing on your right. The path here is reinforced – by a blind man, it seems. Play hopscotch with the little irregular slabs. Go through the gate and carry on uphill on rather drier ground to the gate in the corner. Maintain this line until you reach the road.
19) Turn left, then go through the car park on your right (SD 985 466), and follow the path heading straight for Wainman’s Pinnacle.
20) Pause here and admire the spectacular views across, from the left, Cowling, Glusburn and Cross Hills. Suddenly the slogging of the past hour seems worth it!
21) Turn left and follow the path along the crest of Earl’s Crag. After about ¼ mile there is a clear path zigzagging down the hill. Follow this all the way to the road at the foot. Turn left here, and follow the road.
22) Where the road bends right, take the footpath on the left into the farmyard and immediately cross the stile and gate on the right. The path goes down the l/h side of the field, then to the right of the big Ash tree and to the corner of the field.
23) Pass through the gate, cross the small close of council housing to the main road, turn left and walk back to the Post Office.
 
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