Sunday, 30 October 2011

Pennine Way

Monday 29 August: Ribblehead to Malham (20 miles). Changeable. Breakfast is at a greasy spoon burger van where I get into a conversation with a long-distance cyclist . . .
Cyclist: "The best way to get from John o'Groats is to cycle, you should have cycled."
Me: "What I usually say to cyclists at a time like this is I really wouldn't like to spend all that time on a child's toy."
Cyclist: Silence.
Me: 'I've said this to cyclists a few times and no one has ever given me a clever answer."
Cyclist: "Fuck off."
After lunch at Helwith Bridge I take country lanes to join the Pennine Way at the pretty expanse of Malham Tarn. Above the tarn is the curious limestone pavement of Malham Cove where slightly acidic rain has dissolved the rock along cracks and faults to form deep grykes. In Malham I have Hill Top Farm Bunk Barn all to myself and enjoy an evening in the Lister's Arms.
Tuesday 30: Malham to Earby (13 miles). Cold and cloudy with some rain. Today I cross the Leeds and Liverpool Canal at Gargrave before calling it a day at the dry haven of the YHA hostel at Earby.
Wednesday 31: Earby to Haworth (16 miles). Cloudy. It's a tough climb out of Earby and a few hills later I sidetrack to the splendid YHA hostel in Haworth.
Thursday 1 September: Haworth to Todmorden (16 miles). Sunny. Another hilly moorland day, lunch at the Pack Horse Inn and a rest day at Mankinholes YHA hostel, the Top Brink Inn and the nearby town of Todmorden.
Saturday 3: Todmorden to Crowden (26 miles). Dull and warm with afternoon showers. A steep start up Stoodley Pike, over the busy M62, along Standedge and I reach my first trig point atop the murky bog of Black Hill. The scenery improves on the long haul down to Dendale and a nice single room in Crowden YHA.
Sunday 4: Crowden to Castletown (16 miles). Cloudy. After a fairly easy morning I drop down to the Snake Pass Inn for lunch before struggling up the long tough climb to Kinder Scout and the High Peak. I'm nearly as relieved to reach the trig point now as I was when I first saw it through the mist in 1977. Dropping down to The Old Nag's Head in Edale I continue past Booth campsite and over Hollins Cross to reach Castleton YHA for the evening.
Photos along the Pennine Way. I've now walked 701 miles.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Dales Way

Friday 26 August: Bowness-on-Windermere to Staveley (7 miles). Drizzly afternoon. Across Lake Windermere and it's a short afternoon hop to Staveley, the site of Hawkesbury Brewery with it's comfortable bar and nearby campsite.
Saturday 27: Staveley to Sedburgh (16 miles). Sunny then heavy rain and a little thunder & lightning. Skirting north of Kendal I'm heading east now and cross over the M5 to follow the Lune valley with pretty bridges over the river. Just past Beck Foot viaduct (pictured above) the skies open and I get soaked to the skin. So when I approach Staveley "I'm singing in the rain, just singing in the rain . . ." but I'm happy, that is, until the Dalesman Country Inn charges me twice the single rate for a tiny double room. Yes, I can have two breakfasts if I wish. I shouldn't have asked as my breakfast only has half a black pudding. Poor value.
Sunday 28: Sedburgh to Ribblehead (17 miles). Cloudy. Out of Sedburgh, Millthrop is a pretty village and along Dentdale the scenery opens up before I reach Ribblehead viaduct and the great value bunkhouse and fine food at the Station Inn.
Photos along the Dales Way. I've now walked 594 miles.