River running by Hebden

Hebden Water, a tributary of the Calder fed by Widdop, Walshaw Dean and the Gorple reservoirs, is a small river I had considered paddling some time ago. Winding its way along the bottom of the steep sided and densely wooded valley south of Shackleton Moor it is easily overlooked.
Yet accounts of continuous grade 3 rapids with little requirement for prior inspection had whetted the appetite, though on every subsequent visit over the winter, the levels were far too low. Today, despite the rain, the river was up no more than a few inches. But then I hadn't expected to see anything more dramatic, this being more of an exploratory run, the purpose being to gauge whether it would be worth returning with the boat or sticking to the bank, there being good riding and running in the immediate vicinity. 
Today was a day for running. As a rule I prefer the open moor or fells, but running these wooded trails is a joy on days like this, sheltered from the winds and occasional heavy showers, intermittent sunshine lighting the first leaves of summer.
Looking east along the valley from close to Widdop Gate before I turned and dropped back into the valley... 
...to pick up one of several trails that lead back towards Hardcastle Crags. Looking down on the river through open woodland I disturbed a heron...
...only to come across the same bird again a little downstream.
Climbing out of the valley for the last time, heading back for Pecket Well.

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