4 February 2023


An aerial view of Scapegoat Hill

Today has been grey and blustery - typically February with some chilly drizzle thrown in for good measure. Tomorrow and Monday are destined to be clear and sunny as a large high pressure zone settles over The British Isles with zero chance of rain according to the weather people.

As it happens, I am home alone because Shirley headed north this morning with four friends to stay in a seaside cottage in Northumberland.

I thought that this might be a good opportunity for me to travel north myself - up to Huddersfield and then just beyond.it. Huddersfield is a large Yorkshire town on the edge of The Pennine Hills. It is about thirty miles from this keyboard and was an important centre for the production of woollen textiles in the nineteenth century.

But like I say, I am heading just beyond Huddersfield to the village of Outlane where I will park Clint before heading off on a long walk that will take in the curiously named village of Scapegoat Hill and a lonesome cemetery at Pole Moor. 

I have booked a room in the village's only hotel and on Monday morning I will set off on another somewhat shorter walk that will take in a very curious sheep farm. Stott Hall Farm  sits in a parcel of land between the carriageways of the M62 motorway which was constructed in the late 1960's. There is no truth in the myth that this situation occurred because the then resident farmer bravely  resisted the wicked  motorway planners. It was in fact all to do with the geology of the area.

By the way, I should have checked out the hotel via Trip Advisor reviews before booking my room. Some recent reviews are most uncomplimentary. I guess I didn't bother because it is a "Best Western" and that is usually a sign of decent quality. All will be revealed and it is only for one night.

Ah well. I must get back to the house  party. "Hey! Turn the music down!" While the cat's away the mouse will play. "Get your hands off me young lady!"


  1. Staying alone at Outlane's only hotel is like the start of an M.R. James ghost story.
    James, a Classics don and bachelor, was the A.E. Housman of Edwardian horror and repression..

    *The next morning I set off for the rather lonely village of Scapegoat Hill and was drawn to the very strange headstone of a weeping woman, a woman of haunting beauty suffering some grief of the soul ... *

    For some historic detail see :
    *Halifax, England in 1902 (auto colourised).*

    Think of those happy boys dying on the Somme.

    1. *Streets of Downtown Halifax England 1902.
      (Newer Version) Colorized, 60 FFPS.*
      YouTube. Vintage Archive.

      Talk about ghosts in sunlight !

  2. Very pleasant country side. No wonder you go for long walks at any time you can get way!

  3. I love the patchwork topography of your country as seen by aerial views. All the different greens and browns, villages and farmhouses.

  4. Jack seems to have mixed up Halifax and Huddersfield. The latter I only know from going through on the Transpennine Express from Manchester Airport to Leeds, where we usually change to a local train to Harrogate and there take the 36 bus to Ripon.
    You do well to take advantage of the good weather. Here, Monday is supposed to be pretty grim, but then the forecast is sunny for the next three days. I hope to be able to leave work early enough at least once for a substantial walk.

    1. Halifax and Huddersfield are twinned in my mind, Meike.
      In the mid 1960s I read my young sister's Puffin paperback novel.
      *Hell's Edge* is set in a town modelled on Halifax.
      The novel was written by John Rowe Townsend : I liked his name.
      Thus began my strange interest in the old industrial West Riding.
      It helped me interpret my own city's industrial townscape.
      The tall chimneys, engineering workshops, shipyards, steel plants near me.
      In 1972 Stan Barstow drove me round Halifax & Dewsbury.
      Stan had heard of *Hell's Edge* but had not read it.

  5. A room of one's own in Outlane. I thought maybe it would be in a traditional pub with the stench of alcohol wafting around the accommodation from downstairs. But no, a Best Western.

    One of our friends we refer to as a couple The Mountain Women has a farm in Huddersfield. Her accent is quite neutral, as is YouTuber Dylan who publishes train videos and also lives in Huddersfield. When I told the Mountain Woman from Huddersfield that our coach tour went past Huddersfield and did not stop, she stated that it was wise.

  6. Have a great trip, clean up after the House Party, and lock your hotel door,

  7. Look forward to hearing about your walks

  8. I feel an adventure brewing!

  9. Good luck with the hotel. I imagine it will be fine. Take lots of pictures and be sure to explain why Scapegoat Hill is so named!

  10. Sometimes I can't believe that as much land as you have roamed around in your retirement, you still find beautiful and interesting and new places to take us.
    I was thrilled that my daughter and SIL had wonderful weather while they were there the last couple of weeks. Bright skies, cold or chilly, but no rain to speak of. And she bought a beautiful!!! new saddle in Walsall.

  11. "Pizza delivery for Mr Pudding?" I remember that farm in the middle of the motorway.

  12. Don't forget to clean all those empty bottles out and put them in someone else's bin so she won't find them.

  13. Oh for a stay in a seaside cottage in Northumberland - I wonder if it is near where once lived? And yet here I am in West Wales about as far from there as is possible in the mainland UK. Funnily enough I realised this week end it was 35 years to the day that I moved to Wales. How time flies.

  14. You're having a house party, snort!

  15. Near as I can tell, several generations of the Shaw family were heavily involved as weavers of the wool from that area.


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