Move The Calderdale Way and the Phoenix Shed

When this project was announced by the Active Calderdale Team, (ACT) the trustees at The Phoenix Shed were quick to get on board and engage their members.  Organiser, Chris Freeman, eventually engaged enough members and their partners to make up the 25 people required. Shed members and their partners have done us proud.

The ACT had done a great job with the paperwork and we were soon registered and raring to go.  But, how to move more?  Well it didn’t matter really, as loads of things count as doing more: like gardening, decorating, even housework, so what next?  Well, walking was the mainstay of our members, and they have walked, and walked, and walked.  Believe me, they have walked loads.  One member told me, ‘I needed to do more, but not how and I didn’t have the incentive, but this challenge has been the very thing that nudged me into getting out and moving more’

The Excel spreadsheet log sheet was very simple and a quick duplicate with ‘projected’ miles was a good guide for me, as to where we could be at the end of the challenge.  However, the first estimate of 500 miles was quickly replaced with 1000 miles.  Then, at the end of week three, that estimate went up to 1500 miles.  And now, at the end of the project, where are we?  Well, chasing members for their final figures, that’s where, but I’m confident that our Phoenix Shed members have done us proud.

Every person taking part has increased their moving and that’s what it’s all about.  Boris Johnson, via Sport England, set a challenge that Calderdale Council picked up and ran with, via the ACT; to get us all moving more and by jove it seems to have worked.  Fitness is habitual, so hopefully our group will also keep moving.

There’s a spin-off too.  We’re all older guys at The Phoenix Shed, but question: When did you last go walking hand in hand with your partner?  This challenge has meant that quite a few of our Shedders have gone out walking hand in hand with their partners, maybe for the first time in years.  Seeing this lovely countryside, talking about what they see and generally enjoying being out in our glorious county.  Is this what Boris saw?  Maybe, but probably not, but we see it and that’s a fact!  The Phoenix Shed guys and their partners, have done us proud and I thought 500 miles would be a good target, but what was I to know of the resolve of the guys, and their partners, of The Phoenix Shed? 

Now a quick question:  Where is Emily Stone?

Here’s a photo of me quite close to Emily Stone.  Kate wrote the poem carved into the stone, but below is my own poem.  And we would never have gone on that walk, and many others too, if it wasn’t for the Move The Calderdale Way Challenge.  (Okay, I know the photo is on a sunny day, but hey!  Poetry is all about imagination – isn’t it?)

This Place Called Home  

We trudged through mist and wind and rain
A lazy wind that refuses to go around us, but strives to go right through and drain our strength.
A wuthering wind that she had at her heart in this place that we call home.
We’re looking for Emily Stone, but it hides from view and Kate’s work lies hidden, as there is no clue, so seek her out and here, look not to the ground beneath your feet, but at the living rocks, although they are a treat, this rock hides nothing, not even clergy frock.
We find and read the poem, but lashed by wind and rain, we’re off home.
Although the rain beats hard upon our backs and the wind whistles in our ears and bends new saplings low, we gleefully walk the muddy pack horse track Back Lane, to where the car is parked and, cheerful in our heart at seeing what we sought, the rain seems kinder now and with our walk now short with tea rooms to our right not serving tea right now, but long ago they might have been the saving grace of travellers on the very trail we walked and found, eventually, the Emily Stone on Wuthering Height.  

Chris Freeman – September 2020   Ps.  Back Lane is an ancient pack horse trail from Ogden’s Causeway Foot to Thornton Moor and Long Causeway.  Emily Stone is about 1/3rd way from Causeway Foot.  At Emily Stone, a footpath also goes over Ogden Kirk via the top of the resideum lodge, to The Withens via the moor top footpath.  Wear muddy boots if going.      

Chris Freeman – Phoenix Shed Trustee – September 2020

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