Friday, 6 July 2012

Day 6 Burneside to Bowness

Last day and thankfully a shorter one. Only about 10 miles today but the weather forecast was poor with flood warnings in place and texts from home saying 'set off early' and 'good luck'. Hmmm, would we be lucky again or would our luck run out?
There was a good choice for breakfast including American pancakes with fruit and maple syrup. I couldn't resist that one!
Just before we left the heavens opened so we put on our waterproof trousers for the first time this week. Tony had told us that it was easy today and we wouldn't have any trouble finding the route. He was right and the rain stopped very soon and didn't return until we were on our way back to Skipton. How lucky was that?
Cowen Head

I wouldn't have wanted to live here with all this water about!

The only problem we had today was how to get through  a field of cows. We heard a lot of noise ahead and found the three ladies looking over a wall into a field.There was a cow looking very sick lying on the floor and a herd of cows with frisky calves and a bull heading down our path into the field. It seemed a good idea to wait a while until they calmed down a bit and settled down to eat the grass. One or two came up to the stile to see what we were up to.
Eventually I decided to go for it and we all made our way safely across the field.
Not far to go now and we all met up again at the seat at the end of the Dales Way.
After six days of peace and quiet and birdsong and rushing water it is quite a culture shock to arrive in Bowness full of Japanese tourists and swans!
We walked a little way along the lake side and managed to find a cafe for a celebratory scone and cup of tea. Job done, we had walked around 90 miles in 6 days without too many blisters and without getting lost. That's thanks to Margaret not me! It was a most enjoyable experience. The weather could have been better but it also could have been so much worse. We used the Sherpa Van Company to move our bag for us and we returned to Skipton with them at the end. It all worked very well and we stayed in some lovely places. The best place was Lakeland Hills, Burneside and the worst was Station Hotel, Ribblehead but not as bad as expected. The journey home was wet, more rain than we had seen all week but at least we got home quickly and safely.
Thanks Margaret, I really enjoyed it and you are a brilliant, thoughtful and well prepared leader!

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Day 5 Sedbergh to Burneside

The longest day today 17 miles at least. We awoke to a beautiful sunny morning and had a lovely breakfast cooked by Susy at Wheelwright Cottage. She even freshly squeezed the orange juice. It would have been good to stay longer chatting to her but we had far to go so after a quick photo call off we went.
Apart from a 10 minute shower in the morning the rest of the day was warm with sunny periods. Thunder was rumbling towards the end but it was in the far distance so didn't trouble us.

The Howgills looked splendid in the sunshine.

Margaret was a little concerned about the path today as a ford was marked on the map. She had made contingency plans but we need not have worried because someone had erected a lovely new bridge for us to cross the stream.

The paths were much kinder today and we made good progress to the Rawthey Viaduct.
We could see the couple from Pateley Bridge just ahead of us and we caught them up at lunch time and then left them behind as they were having a shorter walk today.
All was going well as we crossed over the M6, not very busy today.

It was such a lovely day we stopped for a few minutes in a field high up looking back to the Howgills and forward to the Lakeland Hills. We passed a couple of cottages advertising teas for walkers but as we had a long way to go we passed them by, and what a good job we did. Not long after the break we came across a notice that said 'Dales Way closed ahead, diversion in place as bridges washed away'

We found out later that this had happened the previous week and here is a photo of one of the bridges.

I have to praise Margaret here as she knew exactly where we were on the map even though the notice was telling us we were somewhere else! The diversion took us through Greyrigg and Patton Bridge on a lovely narrow road with great views. The only snag was it was an extra mile and a half!
It could have been worse, it could have been raining, misty, windy etc. Instead it was pleasantly warm so on we went. We found out later that the three ladies got a taxi at this poinr as they were running very late. We carried on and eventually reached Lakeland Hills at Burneside just after 6.00 pm having walked 19 miles. 

What a brilliant place to stay and what a welcome we got from Tony with a large pot of tea and homemade cake. Nothing was too much trouble for him and his wife Caroline. He offered to take us up to the pub for a meal but we didn't really want to go out again so he fetched us fish and chips from nearby Kendal. This is definitely the best place we stayed and I can't recommend it enough if you want to stay in the Southern Lakes.
Tony is very knowledgeable about walking and has walked all over the world and Caroline is a nurse so can deal with your blisters if you have any! I think I had the best night's sleep of the week here.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Day 4 Ribblehead to Sedbergh

16 miles today, our longest day yet. The cloud was still down as we had our breakfast. Nicely cooked but basic is how I would describe it. Margaret and I were first out and soon up the road to the place where we had left the trail yesterday. The cloud was beginning to lift and the drizzle soon stopped as we made our way up and along the moor towards Dentdale.
As we reached the road the impressive Dent Viaduct came into sight

And a little packhorse bridge under the viaduct.
 We had a quick drink stop there but once again those pesky insects were following us so we didn't stop long.
Next stop Artengill Viaduct showed up really well against the hillside. 

If only there was a steam train it would have been perfect. 'Let's just wait a minute' said Margaret and would you believe what happened next!
Be careful what you wish for!

From Lea Yeat the path goes right along the river bank and is very slippy, cobbles and tree roots etc. Fortunately that doesn't last for too long and you are soon higher up with good views.
Somethings you might not expect to see on the path.


A mobile hen hut

It was very wet underfoot in Dentdale and impossible to keep the feet dry but the thought of the tea room in Dent kept us going. Unfortunately when we got there it was full and loads of people were waiting to be served so we scrapped the idea of tea and scones and went to the pub for a drink instead. The only other people in there were the couple from Pateley Bridge..... small world! Once again timing was everything as there was a very heavy, thundery shower while we were in there. As you can see there was a lot of water on the ground when we came out. This is a road not a river!
We still had a few miles to go but fortunately the weather cleared for us. How lucky was that. I think we both thought that this was the most tiring day of the walk and it was with some relief that the outskirts of Sedbergh came into view.

We hadn't been in Wheelwright Cottage more than ten minutes when down came the rain again but we didn't care. That cup of tea was very welcome before going to the Red Lion for a meal and meeting up with the couple from Pateley Bridge and watching Andy Murray win his quarter final match. A very pleasant evening was had by all.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Day 3 Buckden to Ribblehead

14 miles today plus an extra 11/2 to the Station Hotel at Ribblehead. But first another lovely breakfast, fresh fruit and locally produced granola with yogurt and honey, very nice.
We soon came to Hubberholme which is the point where Wharfedale turns into Langstrothdale, a name meaning long valley. This is the place where the ashes of J B Priestley are scattered nearby as it was one of his favourite places in England.

Today we saw loads of lovely meadow flowers and masses of orchids near Yockenthwaite including butterfly orchids.
Margaret learned a lot about wild flowers today, must remember to test her later! It was a lovely clear day, no-one about, birds singing, sound of the river rushing along.
We even stopped for a proper tea break in the sun.

Finally we left the Wharfe behind us at Beckermonds and set off across the water shed.
Only three miles to Cam Houses, we'll soon be there! Well half of this was on a good track and things were going well and then we came to the boggy, marshy bit and the going was rather slow. We caught up with the three ladies at Breadpiece Barn and had a dry wall to sit on for our lunch break. Behind us we could see the other couple making slow progress through the mud.
It was a great spot for getting bitten so we didn't linger very long.

Cam Houses

We had been tipped off about this wood so took avoiding action by walking around it.
And then we were up on the Cam High Road and what splendid views of Ingleborough, Whernside, Pen y Ghent, Buckden Pike,Pendle Hill, Ribblehead Viaduct. Isn't Yorkshire wonderful. I do know Pendle Hill isn't in Yorkshire by the way!

We were staying at the Station Hotel today and having read the reviews we weren't expecting much so we weren't disappointed! Our bag was at the bottom of the stairs and the young men in charge didn't offer to to take it up for us. We were in a family room so had enough space but I think it could have won a prize for having the smallest shower! The three ladies and the couple were all staying there as well but there was hardly anyone else about. Two of the ladies had a room with a water bed and they weren't at all impressed! The other lady opened her bedside table and found it was full of empty bottles! Must have been the cleaners day off. At least the food is good. We hadn't been there long when the cloud came down and we couldn't see up the hill at all. Once again timing was perfect!

Monday, 2 July 2012

Day 2 Burnsall to Buckden

A bit longer day today, about 15 miles. A lovely breakfast at the B & B, big bowl of fresh fruit and fantastic scrambled eggs. We set off about 9.00 am and got as far as Coniston Dib before the rain shower arrived, but it didn't last long. We saw a lot of groups of teenagers today doing their Duke of Edinburgh's Awards.
Hebden....Stepping Stones!

There was plenty of water in the river and the noise at Linton was tremendous.
A few showers on and off and the bus shelter at Kettlewell came in very handy as a dry lunch stop. Not very scenic but very useful.
It wasn't really a nice day for taking your time and admiring the view so we pressed on and got to Buckden rather early, In fact there was no one in at the West Winds tea room where we were staying so we went for a cup of tea at the village tea room and booked in there for a meal later in the evening. I've no idea why he wanted us to book as only six people ate there. The Buck Inn has reopened after being shut for four years but apparently it had closed at 5.00 pm on Sunday and wasn't open Monday. Take note if you are walking on a Monday and want anything to eat as almost everything is shut on a Monday. Only the tea room in Buckden and the pub at Cray are open. There was a serious lack of people around and this must be worrying for these businesses that have to make their money in the summer months.
West Winds Tea Room

Anyway we did eventually get into our accommodation and it was very nice and comfortable. Free tea and piece of cake when you arrive, chocolates and fruit in the rooms. Mind your step when leaving the bathroom or you will fall down the stairs! And so much health and safety advice to read plus a useful sheet about midges. Yes I'm afraid we did encounter a lot of the little pests and also cleggs (horse flies) that you can feel biting you. They don't bother me much but Margaret must have been more to their taste. We met a couple from Pateley Bridge in this B & B and he had a theory that they only really bother people with blood group A.
Anyway after a bath, no shower, we went for our meal which was very nice, home made steak and kidney pie. The owner was most entertaining and also owned the village shop next door.

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Day 1 Ilkley to Burnsall

Thunder, lightening, rain, floods, yes all these things were happening elsewhere, but we walked from Ilkley to Bowness in six days without experiencing more than a light shower along the way.....yes really! We saw at least a glimpse of the sun every day. There were one or two heavy showers. The first one was as we arrived at Dent and were sitting in the Sun Inn having a drink and later that same day about 10 minutes after we had arrived at our B & B. Timing is everything! On the last day a heavy shower just before we set off and then just light showers for about half an hour. The forecast was amber warnings and thunder storms but we didn't see any heavy rain until we were on our way back to Skipton in the Sherpa van.

Sunday 1 July
My  leader!
Margaret was leading the walk, just as well as I don't think we would have got any further than Addingham with me leading! It was a bit drizzly now and then but nothing serious and it wasn't long before we arrived at Bolton Abbey where we had a lunch stop. They have removed the picnic tables from the grass near the Cavendish Pavilion for some strange reason.

There was plenty of water in the rivers throughout the week and plenty of mud on the paths as well! This was a Sunday in the first week in July and there were 2 cars in the car park at Barden Bridge and the car park at Burnsall wasn't even open. 
Barden Bridge

Onwards to Burnsall, our journey's end for today. Just as we arrived the sun broke through and it turned out to be a beautiful evening. We got there in plenty of time to visit the Wharfe View tea room before it closed for the day. A group of three ladies from South Yorkshire were staying at Wharfe View Farm with us and we saw them most days and at the end of the walk (though they did cheat a bit on one day!)
Wharf View Farm very nice.
Every one had the flags out, they must have known we were coming! It was such a lovely evening we went for a walk, just around the village. We were staying next door to a fabulous old school that used to be the Grammar School in the seventeenth century and is now the Primary School.
So that was our first day and we had done about 13 miles plus a bit more in the evening.