Tag Archives: Pennine Way

Pennine Way – Day 12 – Hawes to Horton-in-Ribblesdale (or Track, Flags, Flags, Bridge, Peaks)

Does walking the Pennine Way look hard to you? Well why not sponsor me here

1201-pennine-way-west-cam-road-view
Perfect walking weather

Having found the Hawes laundrette last night our start was slightly delayed by our having to use it. I had expected to have to set 2 hours aside for a wash and dry but we were done in under an hour. For some reason rather than this leading me to be at the shop for its opening time of 0930 and getting all of our admin completed for 1030 we were instead not away until 1115. Dad, however, finally had two sticks of his own which allowed me to return to having two sticks of my own. Whatever I may have thought before we set out I am satisfied that ski poles make a long distance walk much, much easier.

Flags, roman style.
Flags, roman style.

The road out of Hawes was beautiful. I assume, Romans had laid out humongous flags that made the track out of the town a very easy walk. Having left so late we stopped for lunch quite quickly and I really do have no idea what these markings are on the hill opposite where we stopped for lunch.

1203-pennine-way-strange-hill-markings
Funny Walls

Hawes falls away very quickly and before you know it you are out on the West Cam Road. It is astonishing to me just how different the locations of Roman settlements must have been from their modern counterparts. I can not imagine what the cost must have been to build this road between two (or more) places which one assumes no longer exists.

1204-pennine-way-open-view
The road to nowhere

In actual fact on the section above we are supposedly heading towards a farmhouse of some description, though we actually came off the path before we got to see it. For a breif moment we overtook only our second group of walkers (they were completing the dales way) who advised us that if we were having trouble with Midge bites we should use Avon’s skin-so-soft. Of course not being within 300 miles of my Avon representative (my sister) this wasn’t a huge amount of use.

1205-pennine-way-down-to-horton
No photo filters.

We passed a small group of what I assumed (or hoped) were soldiers as they had set up some sort of camouflaged tent with a very large radio antenna. We would later discover that there was something going on called the Lanyard trophy which had booked up all the camping in Horton-in-Ribblesdale. I think they had lovely weather for it anyway.

1206-pennine-way-view-of-the-viaduct
Really, I wish I knew how I’d done that.

Which does bring me to an interesting question. If Horton is called Horton-in-Ribblesdale and Middleton is called Middleton-in-Teasdale why is Hawes not called Hawes-in-Swaledale. I assume that the lack of a ‘ton’ at the end of the name implies it was not named by anglo saxons but if anything the land looks more fertile than the others so it would seem odd for it to have been left fallow.

1207-pennine-way-quaint-little-bridge
An actively maintained bridge?

With less than six miles to go we stopped for our final snack of the day by this idyllic bridge. It looked far too well maintained for it to be original but the track was far too green to be being actively used by a farmer. Perhaps it was maintained by the parks service. Whatever the case it was very beautifully done and as there were not many flies made probably the most idyllic stopping place that we have had so far on the walk.

1208-pennine-way-little-waterfall
Almost there

Horton was the limit of our trip when we attempted to go South-to-North back in 2005 and so was the point at which it would have been most legitimate to pack the whole thing in. I made it very clear to dad that I was indifferent to carrying on and he admitted that the previous evening he had gone to bed expecting that today would be our last walk. Of course as we had accommodation booked in Horton the decision would not need be made until the morning after by which time we will have had a shower and a nights rest. My suspicion is that if we don’t immediately pack it in upon arrival then we will continue.

1209-pennine-way-horton-visable-at-last
The first view of Horton

We were overtaken by a couple of people who were out running (I assume on the Three peaks) and I must say that I can think of nothing that would interest me less than running on such uneven terrain. Sadly I had not properly researched Horton and had booked us into the Golden Line (admittedly very nice) but not as close to the path as the Crown. This led to a certain level of disappointment when we arrived and my map was showing me that the building was a public house and then it was but it was not ours! Given that I remember walking past it on the way to the Railway station back in 2005 perhaps it is just more evidence of quite how woefully lost we used to get back before GPS.

1209-pennine-way-final-approach-into-horton-in-ribblesdale
The final approach

Does walking the Pennine Way look hard to you? Well why not sponsor me here

Pennine Way – Day 11 – Tan Hill to Hawes (or Path, Mist, Track, Hill, Laundry)

Does walking the Pennine Way look hard to you? Well why not sponsor me here

1101-pennine-way-leaving-tan-hill
Leaving Tan Hill Doesn’t Look so Bad

Inside the Tan Hill there are many pictures that suggest that arriving at Tan Hill is considered to be a moment of great relief, and I am sure it is. However, arriving on this track can be nothing in comparison to arriving through a bog so deep that people have reportedly fallen in it up to their necks. Don’t get me wrong the journey from Hawes is not easy but I think the journey from Middleton is harder and that the South-to-Northers doth protest to much.

1102-pennine-way-bleak-moor-tan-hill
Let’s hope we don’t fall in a bog.

Having walked through an incredibly thick mist yesterday today’s much better weather was a great relief. It was possible to see a little farther than yesterday and it was arguably perfect walking weather, if not perfect viewing weather. Unfortunately we got going on a path and as can happen the path was of such high quality that when the little footpath came off it to the side we kept going and ended up climbing up a rather steep bit of someone’s drive. Very frustrating!

1107-pennine-way-signpost-with-fifths
Distance measured in fifths!

Seemingly for very little reason the path goes round the wrong side of a hill to get from very near Keld to the Tiny village of Thwaite. The distance in meters is probably not so great and neither is the ascent the problem is that on the way up the path is appalling and on some parts of North Gang Scar we did not go very fast at all. I was rather envious of those we could see at the bottom of the valley on what looked like a beautiful flat level track to Mucker.

1105-pennine-way-beautiful-path
Stop running.

Eventually we reached the top and thus could begin our descent at which point the path seemed to change from a horrible little niggly thing in to a big wide beautiful track. Having been slightly late of at breakfast though I’m not 100% sure that dad even saw this waterfall (which was surely the whole point of all the walking) as having been given both my sticks he seemed to have taken to a kind of half run down hill which I am sure can not have been good for his knees one bit.

1106-pennine-way-waterfall
Not exactly cauldron’s snout.

It isn’t really a fair comparison but given the high visibilty we had on the day we went up cross fell and the enormity of Cauldron’s Snout I doubt very much if anything we see in the rest of the trip is really very likely to compare.

1103-pennine-way-the-hill-to-come
Doesn’t look so big from here

Hawes is hidden behind a hill which is actually very high (even for the Pennine Way) but for some reason even though you start off at a similar elevation it just doesn’t look anything like as imposing as Crossfell.

1104-pennine-way-idyllic-low-land-farms
Thwaite, so small it’s hidden by this hill.

We met several walkers today who relayed news of a delightful little Tea Room in Thwaite. If only we had been able to walk a bit faster. Our average pace was quite a bit below two miles per hour and thus desperately keen to avoid being stuck out in the moors at night I was always very reluctant to stop anywhere for more than the minimum possible amount of time and so sadly we had to give it a miss.

1108-pennine-way-trip-hazard
Have you had a trip or fall anywhere?

We did, however, receive very exciting reports of beautiful flags all the way up Great Shunner Fell and they proved to be every word true. The final descent into Hawes was even described as “like a bowling green” which I think was a very slight exaggeration but even so it really was a delightful walk.

1109-pennine-way-flags-all-the-way-to-the-summit
Flags, Flags, Flags!

Some of the Carins on the way up the fell were a little on the high side for me and I am quite sure my dad leaned against this one which struck me as a rather dangerous thing to do as it genuinely looks like it is about to fall over. I can imagine, however, that in thick mist having a taller Cairn can be a great advantage.

1112-pennine-way-great-shunner-fell-stack
JENGA!

Rather surprisingly the Pennine Way is a little short of OS declared view points and Great Shunner Fell is in fact the only one that is officially declared. Sadly it was far too misty for us to get a trully impressive view. My pictures have not done Crossfell justice but it is very hard to imagine that the view from here could really be superior but perhaps it is. Since I don’t know what the criteria are I suppose I should not really judge them too harshly, perhaps accessiility is one of the criteria?

1110-pennine-way-the-view-from the-summit
We made it to the top.

On our final descent into Hawes for the first time on our trip so far which actually overtook someone. Sadly, for our ego at least, they were simply lost. I’m not sure why they were so worried as they were on the only path off the hill and it was going to where they wanted to go but they kept stopping and seemed very worried. We advised them to follow the Acorns to Hawes which they did successfully.

1113-pennine-way-near-green-dragon
Like a Bowling Green

Much to my shock the YHA in Hawes does not have laundry facilities but it does cook a very good three course evening meal for less than a tenner. It took me a little while to find it with map provided by the tourist board but the laundrette was real but sadly would not be open until tomorrow morning.

1111-pennine-way-laundrette
Is that a laundrette I see before me?

Does walking the Pennine Way look hard to you? Well why not sponsor me here

Pennine Way – Day 10 – Middleton to Tan Hill (or Mist, Mist, Mist, Mist, Mist)

Think this walk looks hard? Why not sponsor me here. I am raising money for my old scout group and donations can be made here.

IMG_1464-0
Mist
Yesterday was a long day and when we first arrived in Middleton I was a little apprehensive that it might be the last day. It was such a hot day I ran out of water and with it being over twenty miles when the first ten were over the usual ‘only six miles to go’ was replaced with an. ‘Eeek we are not even half way!’

IMG_1460
This mist is not rising.
We were away at a sensible time as today was another long (though not quite as long) day coming in at a little over 17 miles. However, with no where that I can find to break this journey there are no ways to get that distance down. Today was thus the first real test of the GPS and there is no doubt that it really excelled itself. Apart from a few tens of meters right at the start we were on the path all the way to Tan Hill.

IMG_1469
Half way there.
Due to Tan Hill’s position as the highest pub in England the walk today certainly felt mainly up hill. Perhaps the only problem with using GPS in the way that we have is that it creates a very strong insentive to follow the blue line on the GPS rather than letting local circumstances override. We learned this lesson the hard way over the top of Greenhead and for future walks I have thus been trying to plot the route to use the black dotted line that indicates a path over the green dotted line (or diamonds) that indicate a right of way.

IMG_1471
It’s not lifting
As we approached the top of our first hill we clearly came across our first set of South to Northers of the day. They were clearly quite a large group and had followed a path rather than the right of way (probably very sensible without GPS) and so they were about 100 meters away to us to our left when they passed. I wish I had a photo because they really looked like ghosts in the Mist.

IMG_1474
It’s almost a view
We met a youngish camper who was hoping to complete the route in 19 days who told us that the half way point was nearing. My GPS had told me it was much closer to Middleton but as he had a book I assume he is probably more likely to be right plus my count includes coming off and on at Trows farm and the spur to the top of the Cheviot (even though we did not do it!) so perhaps he is right.

IMG_1470
Will this be excluded in the prenup?
As the end of the day approached we met a couple of runners and I was at first a little concerned as surely if they had only got this far from Tan Hill today then they would never make it to Middleton. It turned out they weren’t from Tan Hill they had come from Hawes! Though they had stopped for a pint at Tan Hill and stayed long enough to be warned (and warn us) off the bog for the final approach into Tan Hill. They were planning to complete the route in 10 days. Thats a Marathon a day! astonishing really. Dad was most impressed by their T-Shirts and the fact that they “had” to eat 4000 calories a day just for the running. I imagine they will make it since they were already ahead of target.

IMG_1472-0
Still not quite a view,
This walk crosses a lot of grouse moor and there were clearly many people out shooting today. As we approached one road my heart rose a little as I thought that what I could see was clearly a burger van. I was confused though as there was only a dirt track on my map and I there didn’t seem to be any body about. Perhaps it was abandoned? Turned out to be for those out shooting and though we didn’t ask, I imagine was thus no taking open payment.

IMG_1476
Are we in Malham?
The shooting party did however seem to have a lot of dogs and one of them seemed overly aggressive. I do wonder what the legal situation is with kicking an aggressive dog in the face? Do you have to wait for it to bite you before you can strike? Who knows. The final approach involves going under a road (since we were not going on the Bowes loop) and we later recommended this a potential bivvying spot to a couple of Eastern Europeans we met only a couple of miles away from the pub.

I can see ... nothing
I can see … nothing
Having missed out the bog section and taking the 500m hit of extra road we arrived at the Tan Hill. I had thought it compared very well with Youth Hostels at £25 for two people to bunk but it transpired this was only for one person. Originally I tried to book a twin room but these were all booked so I asked to book into the bunk house instead. I don’t know why the owner thought I wanted a twin room when there was only one of me but only one bunk was booked. Fortunately we were able to upgrade to a twin room and after some hearty food a peaceful nights sleep was had.

IMG_1481
Invisible at 250m
Think this walk looks hard? Why not sponsor me. I am raising money for my old scout group and donations can be made here.

Pennine Way – Day 9 – Dufton to Middleton (or UP, down, down, waterfall, down)

0901-pennine-way-still -misty
Who is that tall golfer?

Thanks really must go out to our exceptionally kind host Anne Perry at Mid Town Farmohouse in Long Marton. I imagine that she will quickly get a sale (and that the new owners will not be running a bed and breakfast) so if you want to enjoy the best hospitality in Cumbria you had better book quick. Consequently we were away from Dufton by 0730 having had a very filling and breakfast and a lift from Long Marton back to Dufton.

IMG_1405
Out of the mist.

Great Dun Fell Radar station is above the cloud line for two thrids of the year and as we were going almost as high I suspect that it is no surprise that we rose above the clouds. In the distance the Lake District was clearly visible and the weather was delightful or at least it would have been if I hadn’t kept sitting on my drinking spout and wasting water.

Into the mist?
Into the mist?

As we approached the summit of our journey (the day was skewed towards a steep climb at the start followed by 15 miles of steady decline) I was briefly concerned that we would be entering the cloud line again which at the time seemed like it would be a great labour but actually with hindsight some cloud cover would have been really useful.

Man-made cave?
Man-made cave?

As we approached the top we found this man made cave. I wondered if it might be a lime kiln but inside it appears not to be covered in soot. It required a little extra climb to go and have a look at it which I wasn’t wholly convinced was effort that was really worth it but dad seemed keen so we went to have a look.

Out of the frypan and into the cauldron.
Out of the frypan and into the cauldron.

The highpoint of todays trip was a waterfall known as Cauldron’s snout. The climb down the side of which was very difficult and seemed rather treacherous. My altitude graph gave the impression that the resultant walk into Middleton would be a delightfully easy stroll along the river. Unfortunately I hadn’t factored in the many requirements to scramble over sections of stones which proved to be difficult, slow and probably dangerous. In a previous post I said that crossing the road at Greenhead had probably been the most dangerous thing we have done so far and while this is likely true climbing down here was surely the second most dangerous.

High Force isn't very impressive
High Force isn’t very impressive

IMG_1441
Do people really come here for this?

Once we’d scrambled over three separate sets of stones and calmed a fisherman by assuring him that there was no fishermen further upstream nicking all his fish the path became quite well maintained. I had hoped that this would continue all the way into Middleton but it turned out to only be a nice path up until the car park to allow you to see the waterfall that was actually High Force.

Ahh, this is High Force
Ahh, this is High Force

On the way to highforce at about 4 o’clock in the afternoon we met a small group near to Langdon Beck who wanted to know how far it was to Dufton because they had accommodation booked there. They seemed to be optimistic of finding a tax to take them to Dufton (there is a pub in Langdon Beck so they have a chance) I tried to encourage them to stop at the Langdon Beck Guesthouse as they had 14 miles ahead of them and had only managed 6 miles in 6 hours. I hope I was successful. The end of our nice path was clearly marked with a delightful set of sheep statues which my father kindly agreed to model.

IMG_1450
The path is ending.

Fortunately I was essentially right and though this path ended as we approached Middleton proper the amount that had been spent on the path clearly began to increase and eventually we arrived at the best path yet. Not only was it flagged but there were trees to provide shade.

IMG_1452
Contender for best path on the Pennine Way?

The end was now in sight and for those with a nervous disposition you should look away now, We arrived at the B&B in time for an evening meal but had not been sure that we would so had cancelled it. This was probably a mistake but given how tired we were going to bed was the only sensible choice. I did, however, have time to snap a picture of my blisters. If I can work out what the difference is between the days that the blisters all go wrong and the days when it goes well perhaps I can stop it going wrong.

Not the worst, not the best.
Not the worst, not the best.

Day 8 – Garrigill to Dufton (or Hill, Hut, Shelter, Radar, Bog)

Oh what a beautiful morning
Oh what a beautiful morning

What a beautiful morning. I can’t think of a nicer day to head off up over Crossfell. We had been warned many times about how bad it was going to be up there but it was simply beautiful.

I feel like singing a song
I feel like singing a song

What’s more the path was an absolute delight. The breakfast had been served promptly and accept for a minor delay created by my remembering that I wasn’t wearing any sun screen or insect repellant we were out of Garrigill before nine. I had hoped that this would allow us to arrive at the half way point before three in the afternoon I was sure to be mistaken.

You only get the nice path if you have a PONY!
You only get the nice path if you have a PONY!

Crossfell was certainly one of the most well marked paths we have been on so far. Much more so than on the Cheviot. 

All the other hills have clouds!
All the other hills have clouds!

Unfortunately a little after five miles we moved off the beautiful path and on to a disused “level”. I don’t know what a level is but it seemed to be a road along a fixed contour. There was clearly once a village here (and we later discovered that there had been a lot of lead mining around these parts) but if there was it had been well destroyed. The only remnant was a Bothy named Greg’s Hut.

Come in from the cold.
Come in from the cold.

The George and Dragon contained information which would make me doubt that there had been a village here as in at the turn of the 19th century the town clerk had written a very detailed description of the surrounding area that had made no mention of it. 

And get warm!

Take away your rubbish mind - I'm watching!
Take away your rubbish mind – I’m watching!

This refurbished bothy is rather wonderful. We were apparently seated next to the Greg’s Hut AGM Dinner party last night in the George and Dragon. The hut itself used to be an the Smythy for the lead mining as well as accommodation for the minors (maybe only the senior minors?) during the week with the 7 miles to Garrigill being completed only on a Monday and Friday. In a way it is a shame we weren’t camping / bivvying as this is the sort of place that it would be great to say you had stayed at (along with the huts on the Cheviot) but I really keen to take any steps to avoid taking a “wild one”. I’ll even eat my greens!

What shall we do with al this stone?
What shall we do with al this stone?

We arrived at the top of Cross fell in pretty good time to find even another awesome shelter and though we had only stopped at Greg’s hut to write in the visitors book it felt impossible to pass by such an immaculately curated wind break so lunch was eaten and celebrations had for making it to the highest point of the whole journey. Quite literally it is all down hill from here.

First!
First!

Yeah, right, you are just stood on the left!
Yeah, right, you are just stood on the left!

With half our journey completed all that remained was to climb Great Dun Fell (the second highest peak) to have a closer look at the Radar station which dominates the skyline around here. From what had been said by locals and those we met out here today I had generally assumed it to be something to with the “4 minute warning”.

I thought weapons systems were supposed to be phallus shaped.
I thought weapons systems were supposed to be phallus shaped.

Looking on the internet though I can find no evidence for this and instead can only find suggestions that it is used as part of the National Air Traffic System.

Well protected against the Cravendale cows.
Well protected against the Cravendale cows.

The total lacking of any security would back up this hypothesis though I was in no rush to confirm that the “Men in Black” do not come and arrest you should you cross the cattle grid.

And those who forgot their bolt cutters.
Don’t forgot your bolt cutters.

Well apparently there was some security which would probably stop you driving up with a car (unless you had a pair of bolt cutters).

Flags make everything better.
Flags make everything better.

Unfortunately up on the tops there was some bogs (and I don’t mean the kind to help you avoid a wild one) but there is one good thing about bog. Flags!

Bridges! Keep your feet dry.
Bridges! Keep your feet dry.

It seems that the the responsible park service has recently placed a lot of flags on along the final stretch of today’s walk. Unfortunately they have not yet lead them out apart from the view that made this wonderful bridge. (Again, sadly I can’t capture the sound of a babbling brook).

The hedge and sitch presumption?
The hedge and ditch presumption?

The final decent into Dufton was along an old (ancient?) road, Hurning Lane, much of which I was clearly being at least occasionally used by a farmer (as it was still clear). Along much of it had been placed, at intervals, some (I want to say Hazel) trees. I am taken to understand that there is a legal principle called the Hedge and Ditch presumption which assumes that a landowner always begins digging his ditch at the edge of his land and tips the waster further back into his land. However, the way that the ditches were dug on the outside (from the lane) of the hedge would suggest that that the owners of the lane had done this digging which opens a whole new series of questions. Who owns a lane, why would they go to all this effort, why was the tract of land set aside for the lane so wide? 

This could be heaven (only it's missing Hannah).
This could be heaven (only it’s missing Hannah).

As we approached the village of Dufton there was some truly brilliant lowland views of what (on a nice day like today) simply looks idilic. Sheep frolicking in flat lush green fields with a brook bubbling gently in the background.

Sod Kelvin, I want to do this one up.
Sod Kelvin, I want to do this one up.

Our final approach on our final approach into town a cyclist informed us that the pub had “run out of beer” which made me rather thank full that we had not been lucky enough to get into the Youth Hostel and were staying with a very generous lady in Long Eaton who had kindly offered to pick us up from outside the pub. Her B&B is lovely and can only be empty because of a lack of advertising. I can not emphasise how delightful it is when there is the ability to get a even a small amount of washing done. Though I am curious what story is represented in this artwork. It’s a long day tomorrow and as the proprietress also has a regular job we are able to have breakfast at 0630 making our long trip (20.52 miles) to Middleton achievable in-time for dinner!

I think they are making beer ...
I think they are making beer …

Day 0 – Birmingham to Kirk Yetholm

Photo 29-08-2015 10 23 06
Is this my train?

Here we go – why have I agreed to do this? Well I think it is a (not very) secret ambition of my father to complete the Pennine way and it isn’t something that would be a huge amount of fun on ones own. We tried before (in the month before going up to Cambridge 10 years ago) and failed.

Did I say this bag is heavy, really heavy (though probably not soldier heavy) weighing in at a whopping 22kg!

Of course if you are going to follow me over this trip you are likely to do it for 2 main reasons:

  1. Awesome pictures of the Pennines (though I think almost any such picture is likely to look awesome)
  2. Gruesome pictures of blister pain. I can promise these but you’ll have to wait until my just giving page is live it seems like a good opportunity to tap you up to donate to the Scout group I am doing this in aid of.

It probably won’t be to see pictures of Train stations like these:

Bye Bye Birmingham
Leaving Birmingham for 3 Weeks!

Not been here since the night after my Cambridge interview!
Not been here since the night after seeing Christ’s for the first time.

I understand that to get people to read a blog its important to create suspense and surprise so here goes. While travelling on the above train in to York I checked my National Rail Enquiries App and it told me I only had 4 minutes to make my connection at York. With Dad also catching that connection and with us both having Advance tickets I began to get nervous. Would we get on the train, would we be able to use the later train, would he be able to use a later train if his train arrived on time, would we get to sit in First class and enjoy a complementary sandwich.

It turned out that the app shows departure and not arrival times! Can you believe it something about trains that I didn’t know!

Eventually we arrived in Berwick

Berwick
So this is what all the fighting was about.

After taking two buses (which between them went past 55 stops) we arrived in Kirk Yetholm were we stayed in a lovely guest house Blunty’s Mill which was run by a young man named Charles who I rather cringe-worthily kept referring to with the feminine pronoun (her) when speaking with a man who was either a father or neighbour despite having corresponded with him by e-mail several times and each of them having been signed off as Charles. It’s an example of everyday sexism and I am ashamed.

00lodgings
Blunty’s Mill

With an early start planned we were early to bed following dinner at the Border Hotel who very kindly moved our reservation from 8pm to 6pm. Though I should say I found it a little unusual the way we were asked to sit in the bar but I am sure no one came in to take our table in the Restaurant but the food was quite good and at £80 for 3 courses between 2 people with a bottle of wine made me Dinner at Gaucho with Mark and Hannah last week look very expensive.