Friday, March 04, 2011

Back Over Halifax (Pack Horse Over Halifax)


It is always tricky trying to locate the site of old photographs forty years after they were taken. With the picture of Janie and Isobel I featured last week, I had a vague memory of where I had taken it from but as Amy and I walked those streets this morning so much had changed. The cooling towers had long gone and wire fences and car parks seem to have taken over the landscape. But if you look carefully you can still make out the proud statement of the Town Hall spire in the middle distance.

The photograph was taken from half-way up Beacon Hill which watches over the town of Halifax with a kind of half-stated malevolence. It was on this hill where the beacon fire would be lit to warn the town of danger, and it was on this hill that convicts would be occasionally hung to teach their fellow citizens a lesson. The cobbled road you can see in the earlier picture is part of the old Halifax to Wakefield pack-horse route which was known as the Magna Via (or some insist that it was actually called the Alta Via and mis-transcribed from ancient documents). Whatever it was called it still climbs up the hillside with a gradient that makes you pity the life of pack-horses.

10 comments:

  1. This was Daniel Defoe's first view on arriving in Halifax I believe.
    Nice Shot Alan!

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  2. Thought it said "Black Over Halifax" at first, which is a saying here when we spot bad weather over Bath, although in our case it's "Black Over Bath" for obvious reasons.

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  3. nice...love that last shot...i would so be following that road...

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  4. Heh, heh! I'm with Brian; my feet would be itching to follow that road. And it's no steeper than some of the roads here as they climb out of Cumberland Valley and into the mountains. Great shots, Alan.

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  5. Very nice! I love the old brick road. Our village roads were originally brick and every winter some pot holes appear and expose a spot of it. Makes me wish they were still showing.

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  6. Cheers for this, Alan. What a star for retracing those steps in the line of blogging duty (raises virtual glass of Wadworth's 6X - I drank the real one at lunchtime...sorry).

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  7. Great being able to find where the old photo was taken. I too would love to walk this track.

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  8. I was reading about some of the old, long distance, packhorse tracks being re-opened for walkers, cyclists and horseriders. It sounds like quite an adventure to follow one.

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  9. What a terrific follow-up to the earlier post! Thanks for that.

    And... Beacon Hill? Isn't that in Boston, Massachusetts? Oh, wait, that's right. Many names in New England were "borrowed" from the British. (The most prominent example in New England being... well... New England.)

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  10. I enjoyed the follow up..hope you stopped for a pint as a reward:)

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