Friday, 28 August 2015

Day 19

Ingleton to Settle
14 1/4 miles
Weather - warm and sunny

The day dawned bright and sunny and we were ready to venture forth and conquer the final stage of this epic walk.  The path immediately started to climb and we could see Ingleborough in the distance looking dark and forbidding.  The stone track was good and easy to follow. A bench appeared at a strategic point where the walker could take a moment or two to gather their thoughts and body before tackling the steady ascent across the open moorland.  A lady fell runner trotted past us and looked fresh as a daisy; she gave us a cheery wave as she motored on by.

It was easy to see the path all the way to the summit so we put the map and guide book away as we concentrated on our steady plodding.  In places, stone steps aided our progress and the last stretch was a craggy, boulder strewn section but easy to negotiate.  At last we reached the top and touched the trig point.  The view was worth the effort.  Even though the sky was full of dark clouds, they were high and allowed us to see for miles in all directions.  The summit was busy with walkers who had ascended from different paths.   Photos were taken, sandwiches munched and those doing the three peaks challenge soon disappeared.

We found our cairn and started heading down hill towards Little Ingleborough.  Again, the visibility  was excellent.  We could see the path snaking down the fell side and Gaping Gill could be seen clearly so navigation was easy. A steady stream of people were now passing us on their way to the summit.  There was lots of huffing and puffing and red faces but everyone was jolly and managed cheery greetings as they struggled past.

Gaping Gill was a hive of industry.  The local caving group were setting up ropes, tackle and hoists and were offering visits down into the bowels of the earth to see the natural wonder that is Gaping Gill (It will cost you £15 if you are interested).  They had set up a camp village  with marquees, tents and a lot of barrels of beer.  I think they were going to be there for a while.

This is fantastic limestone country and the narrow defile of Trow Gill was splendid.  We scrambled down the rocks and boulders and then had a gentle walk to Ingleborough Cave.  The guide book instructed us to take a path just before entering Ingleborough Estate.  However, as we followed the path up a hill we could hear a bellowing animal.  I reached the top of the hill first and discovered a bull who was not very happy and was heading for the corner of the field where our next stile was located.  In an instant, I decided to retreat and take the path through the estate instead...

We walked through the villages of Clapham and Austwick and the path led us through green pastures towards Feizor.  I was looking forward to visiting Feizor as I knew there was a tearoom which I had visited whilst walking The Dales High Way.  It is a fine establishment and serves refreshing tea and delicious home made cakes.  Luckily, we arrived half an hour before closing so were able to sit down and refuel before the final section of the walk into Settle.  The last 3 miles were walked in glorious sunshine.  Attimire Scar was looking its best in the late afternoon sunshine and we descended into Settle and journey's end.  I had come full circle and it was glorious.

The satisfaction of completing a long distance walk which, at times, had been challenging was immense.  I would recommend this walk to anyone with a sense of adventure and who loves the remote moors and fells of northern England.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Day 18

Sedbergh to Ingleton
17 miles
Weather - sunny and warm

A quick visit to Spar to buy provisions and we were off through the pretty village of Millthorpe.  We had a delightful walk along a green lane and then woodlands to enter Dentdale.  This is a dale I am quite familiar with as I passed through it on the Dales Way and The Dales Highway long distance paths.  It is quite lovely.  We arrived in Dent and had a cup of tea and some cake at the heritage centre where we made the decision not to climb Whernside.  The day was turning into a hot one and as I had climbed the peak before we thought we would take a lower path to Ingleton. This is the route which AW took on his original walk in 1938 so we were following in his footsteps along minor roads through Deepdale and then Kingsdale.  

The road was fairly quiet although we did meet a few cars as we trundled along.  We also met lots of cyclists who were toiling uphill with pained expressions and lots of perspiration.  We discovered a beautiful waterfall by the roadside which reminded me of Rivendell in Lord of the Rings.  It was quite breathtaking and we would never have known it was there if we had not been walking - all the cyclists did not give it a second glance as they struggled past.  Down in the dale we listened to a farmer herding his cows like a wild west cowboy - yeehaa!

We passed from Deepdale into Kingsdale and the view was marvellous. The whole dale laid out before us.  Lunch was enjoyed on a grass verge surrounded by wild flowers and bees.  Our view was wall to wall limestone crags and quite splendid in the sunshine.   Tractors trundled back and forth bringing in the hay and the bees hummed whilst the butterflies flitted.

Eventually we left the minor road in Kingsdale and headed to the top of the Ingleton Falls.  We saw the strange sight of a sheep stood on a stone wall.  My questions were how did it manage to get up there and how was it going to get down?  It was a confused looking sheep.  Then joy of joys, an ice cream van appeared.  This was strategically placed at the top of the falls to serve refreshments to the hoards who were ascending the waterfalls from Ingleton.  Of course, we both enjoyed an ice lolly whilst watching red raced tourists struggling up the last stretch of path to the van.  We rejoined the official route by Twistleton Hall and descended into Ingleton and found our B&B Inglenook Guest House. Another day finished in lovely sunshine but tomorrow the forecast is heavy rain...all day.


Sheep on a wall

Day 17

Garsdale Head to Sedbergh
13 3/4 miles
Weather - warm and sunny

We woke to find clear blue skies and sunshine and we enjoyed a tasty breakfast which included porridge so an excellent start to the day.

A short walk along a B road past the fine Dandymire Viaduct to cross the Settle-Carlisle Railway. We were feeling brave so did not use the footbridge and manfully crossed the railway lines listening out for the approach of thundering engines.  We were now heading for the interestingly named Flust which turned out to consist of a barn, a limekiln and some trees.  

The next stage of the walk, I will admit, I was slightly concerned about due to David Pitt's description in the guide book, 'the path is more on the map than on the ground.'  He calls it, 'a faint trod', in other words a path which is not even popular with the sheep.  We followed the trail past shake holes, over sphagnum moss and weedy, reedy tussocks.  I am happy to report that the ground was soggy but not too juicy so we were able to make steady progress with only the occasional outbreak of bog hopping. To our left Baugh Fell brooded and looked menacing.  There were few sheep around and not a bird to be heard or seen.  We were lucky that we had a fine day with bright sunshine.  I can imagine this would have been a bleak experience in the rain and wind.   The trail followed a dry gill for a short time and when the gill turned sharp right we headed straight on in a south westerly direction.  The path had definitely disappeared now and we struck out using Rawthey Gill as our guide on the left and the distant view of Flust to our rear to guide us to a wall and a gate.   The ground was difficult - full of bogs, tussocks, holes and so the going was slow.  Mr McD's sterling efforts with navigation guided us directly to the wall and gate.  At one stage we thought we had climbed too high above Rawthey Gill but, no, we were bang on the nail.  

After passing through the gate we aimed for a line of trees and negotiated our way past a bull and some cows.  Luckily they were more interested in each other than in two walkers struggling over hummocks.  We reached the Whin Stone Gill Bridge but not before enduring  twenty questions from a couple and their dog heading the other way.  They wanted to know where we were going today, tomorrow and the rest of the week.  As I was feeling a little jaded after the previous two hours slog across difficult terrain, my answers were a bit vague to say the least.  

Uldale House soon woke us up and focused the mind again.  A pack of sheep dogs, thankfully all chained up, started barking, growling and howling as we approached and then passed through their farm yard.  We beat a hasty retreat out of the gates and followed the farm track past more shake holes.  We were promised a shake hole big enough to swallow a bus.  We found it and it was.  

A hop across the busy and fast A683 and we lunched in a delightful fern filled gill.  A steep zigzag path took us quickly up the hillside and onto a path leading to Murthwaite but not before we spied a weasel escaping the galumphing interest of two dogs. (Weasels are bigger than stoats, have longer tails with a black tip).  We met a Pennine Journeyer here heading in the opposite direction and he had started from his home Stanhope in Weardale.  (Weardale - one of my favourite places on my Pennine Journey).

Our next goal was the seventeenth century Cross Keys Temperance Inn near Cautley Spout.  As we walked down the bridleway we discussed what drinks we could have - Sasparella, Dandelion and Burdock or Ginger Beer?  We also considered whether the Inn would still be open when we reached it - not something we really wanted to contemplate on such a tiring, hot day.  We need not have concerned ourselves as it was definitely open for business when we took a slight detour and crossed the River Rawthey to sample its delights.  We staggered in and were greeted by mine host who did not bat an eyelid at our muddy boots and clothes.  Drinks were offered and we retired to the cool, dark parlour and sank into comfy, squishy chairs surrounded by interesting Victoriana  including a piano, a range, a wind up record player.  I could have stayed there for the rest of the afternoon dozing and drinking.

Back on the trail and feeling refreshed, from a distance, we admired the natural wonder of Cautley Spout which has a 700 foot drop.  We were now in the Howgills and they looked just as magnificent and perfect as when I walked amongst them with Mrs C on our Dales High Way walk.  We followed the high level, terraced path and watched the farmers harvesting the hay in the fields below.  Soon we descended into Sedbergh and found our B&B Holmecroft where we met our lovely hosts and enjoyed homemade carrot cake and a pot of tea.

Dinner was at The Dalesman.  We asked for gin and tonics and were told 'they did not stock the likes of Gordons or Bombay Sapphire'.  Instead they had a range of American Gins for us to sample.  We asked them to serve us with their own recommendations and we tried 'Aviation' and 'Drop Dead'.  they were both delicious and certainly deserved after our long day treading invisible paths.

Dandymire Viaduct

The faint trod

The Howgills


Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Day 16

Kirkby Stephen to Garsdale Head
12 1/4 miles
Weather - overcast but warm and breezy.  Perfect for walking

A good night's sleep and breakfast, made by Denise, at 8 o'clock.  As with the old school YHA hostels - we did our own washing up. Then a trip to the good old Co-op and we were off on our adventures starting back at Frank's Bridge where we followed the Coast to Coast path for a short time.  (Kirkby Stephen was sadly lacking in parrots on this trip).

We started with a lovely walk with our old friend, the River Eden.  David Pitt (editor of The Pennine Journey guidebook) calls this, 'One of the most delightful stages of this journey'  And it was. We met two black horses near to Wharton Hall and they were very pleased to see us and chat for a while. Wharton Hall is a fourteenth century fortified manor house and a working farm so we could not have a look round and explore.  Romantic ruins were piling up now - Lammerside Castle stood in isolated splendour in the middle of a cow field.  It was full of cow muck but still gothic and romantic.  Then we passed Pendragon Castle overlooking the River Eden which was another of Lady Ann Clifford's properties.  Near here we stopped for lunch in a beautiful green, mossy woodland by the river and congratulated ourselves on spotting a red squirrel in a cottage garden at Shoregill.

Mallerstang was next on our map.  We joined the High Way which was used by Lady Ann Clifford when she was travelling between her numerous castles and houses.  We climbed the hillside just below Mallerstang Edge with Wild Boar Fell huge and brooding across valley.  The Settle - Carlisle Railway snaked  along the fell side.  Then, a lovely sound followed by a magnificent sight - a steam train chugging through.  Absolutely brilliant. This was followed by spotting two stoats charging around a stone wall.  They stopped and looked at us, decided we were too big to tackle and they disappeared into the wall.   As we climbed the fellside we could see  the 'Water Cut' sculpture on the skyline. When we reached it we rested for a while and enjoyed the views which opened up all around whilst two US Air Force trainer planes flew down the valley.  

The path was grassy and we made good progress as we followed the contours of the fell and soon we arrived at Hell Gill Bridge.  This is a deep, hidden gorge.  We could hear the water crashing down the falls but all was hidden by the trees and shrubs lining the chasm. We peered over the parapets but could only catch tantalising glimpses of nature's fury below.  We passed abandoned  barns and farms. At High Dyke, a ruined farm, we explored the property with its crumbling, leaning stone walls and collapsing stone roofs. 

We were now following the Pennine Bridleway, one of the newer national trails with nice shiny signs and new gates.  We left the fellside and descended to Garsdale Head and our B&B for the night Garsdale Bed and Breakfast.  Next door was the Moorcock Inn and the thought of beer quickened our step but, alas, the door was locked when we arrived.  The B&B was immaculate and full of little luxuries - bathrobes, slippers and a sitting room.  We sat with our host and enjoyed a refreshing cup of tea.  We had dinner at the Moorcock Inn and the food was delicious. Our waitress was very young and inexperienced but sweet.  However, the landladies could do with attending a charm course as they sadly lacked it in their dealings with some of the customers in the pub that evening.  
Kirkby Stephen Hostel

Horses at Wharton Hall

River Eden

Wharton Hall

Lammerside Castle

Water Cut

High Dyke

Day 15

Appleby to Kirkby Stephen (August 2015)
16 Miles
Weather - Rain, sunshine, wind (occasionally all at once...)

We had breakfast at 8 o'clock followed by a quick visit to the local Co-op to buy provisions for our lunch. We were a little tired this morning as we had a late night the previous night attending a Folk evening at the Victoria Hall organised by Mike Harding. There was much dancing, drinking and listening to fine music which then continued over at the Lion Hotel...  

We shouldered our rucksacks and had a short walk to the railway station to catch our train to Appleby where our walk was to begin.  Settle has a fine railway station which is lovingly cared for by a team of volunteers.  It is a pleasant spot to await your connections.
The train journey to Appleby is a great opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the Yorkshire and Cumbrian landscape but not this day.  The clouds were down, the drizzle was falling and the fells were shrouded in gloom,They were the same fells we would be walking amongst over the next five days - the final stage in my Pennine Journey which I began in 2012 with my good friend Mrs C. This time I am accompanied by Mr McD. aka The Bee Farmer.

The train arrived on time and after a cup of tea and some cake we started the journey.  We skirted round Appleby Castle (one of Lady Ann Clifford's many) and reached the River Eden which was to accompany us for the next few days.  It was warm and still and every twenty minutes or so the rain would fall steadily so we were continually donning our wet weather gear and then removing it for the first couple of hours.  The riverside path was quiet  - just us, the rain, the mud and the cows.  We passed through a number of villages and hamlets - Great Ormside, Little Ormside, Warcop and Musgrave.  At Little Musgrave, we missed a diversion round a building site and followed the old path past the builders and their machines.  Fine, strong bridges punctuated the river and at Brough we admired the magnificent castle whilst negotiating our way past a group of dairy cows blocking the path and gate.

By the time we reached Brough, the rain had stopped, the wind had risen and the sun was shining and warm.  We arrived in Kirkby Stephen at half past six and walked up from Frank's Bridge to Kirkby Stephen Hostel to find a note from our host tucked under the door knocker.  She had been called away on urgent business but left us the code to enter the building and a note of which room we were in that night. This used to be a YHA hostel but was sold off as not being viable...  It's a great place - full of character, serving an  excellent breakfast and a splendid host - Denise.  We had a delicious 'carbfest' dinner at the King's Arms Hotel as 16 miles is a lot of trudging for a first day  Our waitress was entertaining, as we arrived she was just about to tuck into chips and gravy from the chippy down the road and later had to nip to the Co-op for milk as the hotel had run out after a busy day.  

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Day 14

Kirkland to Appleby (August 2013)
11 1/2 miles
Weather - Dry, overcast, warm and rainy at the end of the day

Our last day for this section of the walk.  We were driven back to Kirkland after breakfast and we were walking by 10:00am.  We did not follow the exact path out of Kirkland but it was close enough.  Just as we passed a house at Wythwaite we met two gentlemen.  They asked us where we were heading and were very interested to hear we were walking the Pennine Journey as they had just been talking about it. (There is a PJ waymarker just here).The two gents were locals and one lived at Wythwaite House.  They were full of advice about the next few miles.
We were keen to see the Hanging Gardens of Mark Anthony which are marked on the map.  Well, we saw them but they are not very hanging or wall like - more like a bit of a ditch...

In the next field we encountered our arch enemies - bulls, cows and calves - a large herd spread all over the field.  We ventured across and just as we got past them all they all started moving.  We walked calmly but purposefully to the stile and made a sharp exit over it.  We now had to cross Crowdundle Beck where two bridges have been washed away in recent years.  We did not know if a third bridge had been erected yet - the two gentlemen of Wythwaite assured us it had and it was there.  It is known locally as the Duke of Edinburgh's bridge as it was erected after a very irate group of Duke of Edinburgh teenagers objected very strongly to the lack of a bridge when they had to cross the beck and they had to do a detour of a mile or so.  A few weeks later the new bridge miraculously appeared. 

The next stage took us across fields, stiles, through gates, along farm tracks and paths to the village of Milburn.  Milburn is an example of a fortified medieval village and it has a giant maypole on the very large village green.  It's a beautiful and interesting place.  We sat on a bench by the green and had a snack whilst four farm lads and a sheepdog trundled past on a quad bike - I did not know you could get so many on one!  We departed Milburn over Stank Beck and headed for Knock where we had lunch sat on another conveniently placed bench.  A very quiet place but we chatted to a resident who had just returned from a trip to Appleby.  He had a lovely, well-behaved dog. We then got a bit lost in Milburn Grange as I missed a stile and sent us off floundering over a very boggy field full of cows for twenty minutes. Mrs C saved the day when we retraced our steps and found the stile.

Dufton was the next village.  Another trip down memory lane for Mrs C as Dufton is on the Pennine Way and has a youth hostel, a pub and now, a tea room.  Another lovely village with a green, a fountain, chickens scratching around and red sandstone cottages..  Only three miles to Appley now.  We continued through fields, by streams, through some beautiful woodlands.  The Pennine fells were with us, just to the left and it was splendid to be amongst it all.  Through out this walk we had been promised red squirrels but again we did not see any.  We did see lots of pheasants today - they scattered in all directions as we plodded through the woods.  A dip under the busy A66 and then we were in Appleby.

We felt a celebration was called for so we adjourned to the Midland Hotel next to Appleby Station to enjoy a G&T outside.  I popped in to the loo and when I came back Mrs C had acquired a dog on a lead.  Probably the funniest moment of the walk.  I looked at the dog and then at Mrs C.  She looked back at me as did the dog.  Once I'd stopped laughing I asked why and how?  It seems a gentleman arrived and asked if Mrs C liked dogs.  Mrs C said "No" then the gent gave Mrs C the lead and said, "I won't be long, just going to buy a pint.  He's no bother, he's seventeen and blind as a bat." 

We headed into town to change and shower for the evening.  It was Bank Holiday weekend so everywhere was very busy.  We decide to head back to the Midland Hotel and have dinner dogs this time.

It has been a most excellent week. I am looking forward to the last stage next year - Appleby to Settle.
 The highlights...

  • Hadrian's Wall - 2nd day Once Brewed to Greenhead
  • The Italians
  • Sycamore Gap
  • Bleckinsop Castle
  • East House - walled gardens
  • Bats flying round me outside Kellah B&B
  • Lambley Viaduct
  • Climbing Cross Fell
  • The view from Cross Fell
  • Seeing an Adder
  • The curious incident of the dog at the pub

Day 13

Alston to Kirkland (August 2013)
15 miles
Weather - war, sunny intervals, rain on Cross Fell, no wind

An early breakfast this morning made by our lovely landlady Pat - porridge and poached eggs and home made jam.  We were on the road by 8:15 and it was a lovely, clear morning.  We followed the Pennine Way out of town past the Youth Hostel and by the banks of the River Tyne.  The first four miles were idyllic - river on the right, farmland all around and nobody about - just us and the sheep.  We remembered to turn and wave at the white house at Low Nest and hoped that Pat was looking out for us on the other side of the valley. 

We arrived in Garrigill and had a drink and a snack ready for the climb up Cross Fell.  The village is perfect - a post office, a pub, a green and...public toilets. 

Then we were off along the Corpse Road to Cross Fell.  A steady climb out of the valley with views of the moors opening up around us.  We passed old lead mining areas with piles of spoil and gaping holes.  We could hear guns firing so we knew the grouse hunters were around.  Then we saw all their vehicles parked up - mostly Range Rovers.  We saw lots of grouse but the hunters were over the moor, a 1/4 mile away.  Intermittent rain fell and then a downpour arrived but no wind and fairly good visibility and still quite warm.  I guess we were very lucky that the weather was being so kind to us.  We trudged through Black Cut which had extensive mine workings and spoil heaps from the old mines.  Eventually we spotted Greg's Hut - our lunch stop.  We had great views across the moors and saw only two other people out walking.  After Greg's Hut we left the Pennine Way.  We were not visiting the summit of Cross Fell as we had to be in Kirkland by 5:00.  We crossed the shoulder of the fell and started the decent to Kirkland via an old miners track.  It was a long, slow slog down the hill but we had the most splendid view!  Crossing the watershed the weather cleared and we could see for miles - the Lakeland fells, the Solway Firth and Scotland beyond - marvellous.  I loved Cross Fell and walking across it was another walking ambition realised.  It's vast, brooding, stark and desolate.  It's a no frills landscape with place names to match - Black Cut, Leadgate, Low Sikes.
We arrived in Kirkland at 4:00 which gave us plenty of time to sit a spell and have a snack before our taxi picked us up to drive us into Appleby to our next B&B.  The sun shone, we watched the tractors coming and going with their loads of  silage and  we chatted about our day's walking.  A lovely remote spot - just a couple of farms, some cottages and a church.  We arrived at  Bongate House B&B and found we had the same room as last time we visited whilst walking The Dales High Way.  A great B&B and the owners are fellow Mancunians.

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