Tag Archives: Ponden Hall

Pennine Way – Day 16 – Ponden to Mankinholes (or Mist, Rain, Mist, Monument, Thief!)

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A delightful aspect.
A delightful aspect.

Clearly we were going to have a one of those days where I am immensely grateful that I never even considered for a minute not using GPS as our primary means of navigation! Breakfast was quite interesting. There was a couple staying who were going back over the bits of the path that the woman had missed out when she had done almost the whole thing slightly earlier in the year. It’s most unfortunate for others but our weather has really been delightful which somehow makes the achievement feel less than (though I am exceedingly glad we have had such good weather.)

Wuthering Heights!
Wuthering Heights!

When staying at Ponden Hall the owner had suggested that when a couple had asked for a short walk he had sent them on a little 20 minute trip to the House that supposedly enspired Wuthering Heights. Perhaps on a beautiful day if you know exactly where you are going, have no bags and are very fit you could it in 40 minutes, but I must side with his guests who came back a little exasperated that such a walk were a full scale hike and that it would have likely taken over two hours for a round trip. Assuming you were back in time for dinner it would likely leave you quite excited at the prospect of food, glorious food.

Flags!
Flags!

I know I have said it before but without having been up on the moors it is difficult to convey quite what a welcome sight they are when they arrive. It is sad really that they are not marked upon the map so that they could be really looked forward to and to make it less disappointing when they end or are very brief.

A beautiful path, slightly longer, but it doesn't go down.
A beautiful path, slightly longer, but it doesn’t go down.

With still enough days left for it to feel like a chore and the fact that this was all part of the walk that we had done before it was very difficult to resist the temptation to not take the Pennine Bridleway instead of the Pennine Way when it offered a very similar route only with less deep ravines and so it proved as we approached this particular stretch. My map progress software indicated that there was a totally unnecessary decline of 50m followed by an equally steep climb up the other side. When there was such a beautifully well made alternative it was no challenge to chose it.

Trimming the verge
Trimming the verge

Walking past the reservoir did, however, necessitate that we could see a group of men (one assumes working for the water board) moving the bank of the reservoir. I do not know for certain but I had always imagined these to be nothing more than banks of earth and thus it seems a little odd that they should need to be mown in this way. Can it really be true that if they are left to the sheep alone they can in someway degrade?

to a waterfall?
to a waterfall?

Over the hill and it seems we really missed out by not having a guide book with us. I saw a sign that advertised a shop which sells everything you can imagine and I must admit that I was briefly tempted but in my haste I decided to push on because what we really needed to do was go down a steep ravine to see this piddling little waterfall (rather than visit the shop and thus legitimately walk around it!).

Must we go down?
Must we go down?

My father has articulated a suspicion that Wainwright was simply a drunk who wandered aimlessly from Inn-to-Inn, rather than a genius crafting a walk to take in some of the best scenery in the country. I must confess that I can not agree with this idea but when you arrive at the top of a place like this to see that one is simply going to have to go down for no other reason than to come straight back up one can have a little sympathy. If we had shaved a day off the journey from Standedge to Malham we would probably have been stopping at Badgerfield’s farm which we were about to pass (a place we stayed ten years ago).

Must we go down?
Must we go down?

While we did take a few detours today it felt too much to walk around the side of Stoodley Pike and thus miss out the monument at the top. From the ground we could see it reasonably well and my map promised reasonable track up most of the way. I must confess I thought it likely that there would have to be some track all the way to the Pike since someone built the damn thing surely. Alas it transpired that they had built it in commemoration of the Napoleonic War some 200 years ago and so no track had been built to get up to it (you should see some of the paths the build now a days for nothing more than a Pylon). Thus having felt such temptation it seemed necessary to take a picture of the monument but even from 44m away (honestly where the picture below was taken) it was hardly visible. It looked as if someone had stolen it.

Who stole Stoodley Pike?
Who stole Stoodley Pike?

Which neatly brings me on to the issue of my walking socks. Left neatly in the drying room on a clothes hanger between my coat and my fathers I felt sure they would be safe. While I would probably not leave my iPad or laptop on display unattended for a long period in a youth hostel it would be a special kind of arsehole who would steal a fellow walkers walking socks wouldn’t it? I have no evidence but the circumstantial facts are these. They left the drying room suspiciously close to the same time that a large group of academics from Sheffield University left for the pub and someone from that group was drying a pair of identical socks along with their boxer shorts on the radiator after returning from the pub later that evening.

A not yet squished frog.
A not yet squished frog.

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Pennine Way – Day 15 – East Marton to Ponden (or Bridge, Up, Down, Up, Down)

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Good bye my lover.
Good bye my lover.

Alas with a case dropping into her dairy my most beloved Hannah was taken from me. The more observant of you will notice that this is in fact the picture of her arriving in Malham but who cares? Fortunately, or should I say unfortunately given our intended arrival back at Ponden this evening, it was not before she had driven us back to East Marton to restart our journey. Our delightful hosts at Ponden Hall are to be thanked for a most excellent breakfast but I suppose this should be expected at what was by far the most upmarket establishment I suspect we shall visit throughout this entire trip.

When two bridges collide.
When two bridges collide.

Sadly there is no evidence on the map that this bridge exists and certainly nothing I noticed pointing out that there is no way down from the road to the canal and thus we added at least a half of a mile getting from where we dropped off at the pub next to the bridge walking to the bridge and then walking back round so that we could pass under the bridge. Any hope that we might walk along the canal for a little while was dashed when we soon after came off and went into a field.

The top of Everest.
The top of Everest.

With the rain of yesterday passed a beautiful days walking lay ahead. Having been able to be moved about in a car allows for all but the last day to be less than 14 miles. Today was also the day that we would pass the symbolic milestones of having walked over 200 miles and have climbed more ascent than between sea level and the top of everest. It seems odd these two milestones should occur in such close proximity.

Well in a statistical sense.
Well in a statistical sense.

As a child I remember having three “life goals” of which one was to run a marathon and another to climb Everest. Given that I can think of no actual reward for achieving such a goal and the astonishingly high probability of death (approximately equal to that of Alan Johnson leading labour into the next election) I suspect I will take this as my proxy and think not of doing any such silly thing.

A patchwork quilt.
A patchwork quilt.

Is my father thinking of taking an extraordinary running jump at this wall? If I am honest by this point of our journey any novelty has completely worn off and from when we set off in the morning until we arrive at our destination in the evening I find myself paying less and less attention to the countryside we are walking through and of nothing more than putting each new step in front of the previous one.

Is that rain I see before me?
Is that rain I see before me?

Eventually we arrived back at Ponden and though we were not extravagant enough to stay in the exceptional Ponden Hall this evening we were fortunate enough to stay in the still quite delightful Ponden House which can be little more than 10 yards away from our previous lodgings! Oddly enough despite feeling like we were in the middle of nowhere Just-Eat were able to provide us with two delightful pizzas and (due to a perceived minimum spend on my part which may not actually even have been real) 8 cans of Pepsi.

And the award for the world's smallest Cairn goes to ...
And the award for the world’s smallest Cairn goes to …

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Pennine Way – Day 14 – Malham to East Marton (or Rain, Rain, Rain, Rain, Rain)

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To the rescue
To the rescue

Knowing that Hannah was coming to visit I had been able to book accommodation outside the immediate vicinity of Malham. However, never being wholly satisfied that Hannah won’t get a last minute High Court injunction I’d had to book somewhere on the path (6 miles away in Gargrave) we had a great evening in a lovely room at the Mason’s Arms and she was able to drive me back to meet dad in Malham for a decent start around 10 am.

Cow goes moo, sheep goes baa
Cow goes moo, sheep goes baa

Today was a rest day of sorts and it absolutely threw it down. We only had ten limes to do and so thus needing less water than might normally be the case and having to wear our waterproofs due to the deluge I decided to leave my rucsack in the car with Hannah. A lead my father seemed happy to follow.

The end of the BGFA
The end of the BGFA

It briefly stopped raining as we reached the BGFA limit. I assume this has something to do with a fishing association. It being a Saturday on fairly flat terrain but with nice views up at Malham we expected to see a number of other walkers though the number we saw was quite unexpectedly large! We would later pass a church hall with a LDWA sign in front of it near Gargrave so I assume that it was the “Long Distance Walkers Association” and that they all came from there.

We spin cotton.
We spin cotton.

What I found really odd though was that they all had their own maps and didn’t seem to be following each other which, for such a large group, seemed quite redundant. I suppose there would always be the risk that the person you happened to follow would not be part of your group and you would end up off in the middle of nowhere but that seems highly unlikely.

Can you see the path.
Can you see the path.

I was, however, once again very happy for GPS for we fell off the path several times as there was often a requirement to get from one side of a field to another with little to no information to guide you, or worse a false friend like this which was a completely different path that was clearly followed by many of the other not using a GPS.

A rising lock lifts all boats.
A rising lock lifts all boats.

We arrived at East Marton in time for a delicious lunch though sadly Hannah had not grabbed us a table by the fire and so we ate it without really drying out. However, the staff were kind enough to let us put our boots out to dry in front of the fire. Of course this would prove to be unnecessary.

Uh-oh
Uh-oh

Trying to find somewhere to stay for a Saturday night in so tourist friendly a part of the world as Malham with only a days notice is not very sensible and in fact is likely to leave you unable to find anywhere. Fortunately as Hannah was staying I was prepared to splash out on a little bit of luxury and Ponden Hall was found.

Have we stumbled into a palace?
Have we stumbled into a palace?

The rooms were huge and my and Hannah’s room even had a “box bed” which made it feel much more like a sitting room than a bedroom. Both rooms had delightful wood burners and the owners were very friendly even lending Hannah and I a chess board on which Hannah beat me. When we arrived they even invited us down to eat some cake and have a chat – really a most delightful place to spend the rest of our rest day.

Has, has Hannah won?
Has, has Hannah won?

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