Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019

Sue and Martin in Mallorca 2019
On the Archduke's Path in Mallorca

Thursday 8 September 2022

Thursday 8 September 2022 - The Dales High Way - Day 8 - Ravenstonedale to Appleby

Breakfast at the Black Swan, under a horned rabbit on the wall, was sedate and tasty. Cary had a huge waffle and I enjoyed scrambled egg on toast. 

We started, around 9am, past the King's Head, sympathising with those residents who may still be waiting for their breakfasts due to the chef shortage.

It stayed dry, under overcast clouds, for the first hour or so, during which we had good views from Ravenstonedale Moor back to the Howgills, and ahead to the Lakeland fells.

Then it rained, mostly drizzle, for the rest of the morning. On the road out of Newbiggin we had witnessed a brutal wasp attack on a much bigger moth.

The path should have offered stunning Lake District views, but those were somewhat muted in the moist conditions. 

We met a group of four Americans on a coast-to-coast walk, a lone mountain biker, and a few wet looking folk under umbrellas. Blue scabious flowers had sprouted in the grass beside the track.

Elevenses were taken on wet grass in the rain.

During the long descent to Great Asby, we passed a farm at Clockeld that seemed to hold generations of old tractors. Here's just one of them. I'd guess it must be around 55 years old.

Wheatears and a wren were noticed today, as well as a few herons, grey wagtails, and several large accumulations of mallards.

Lunch was taken in Great Asby's spacious bus shelter that doubles as a place to exchange secondhand books, tapes, etc, etc.

Sadly Cary had minimal lunch with him and the nearby pub was shut, so he had to make do with some of my old peanuts. Stomach ache followed. 

The drizzle continued all afternoon, but I removed waterproofs and Cary kept his on. We were probably equally damp by the end of the 24km walk, though sections of wet vegetation didn't help my cause.

Rutter Force is now only available to be admired from a distant footbridge, the mill by the Force having been converted into holiday cottages with their own private views. 

Our walk continued beside Hoff Beck, past hundreds of mallards, to Bandley Bridge.

From here I sauntered through Rachel Wood, expecting Cary to follow. He didn't. I returned to the bridge and met Nikki and James, who we'd seen in the pub last night. Between us, we found an obscure stile that put us on track for the rest of the walk into Appleby. Nikki and James, from Shropshire, had spent six days on the DHW starting in Ilkley. 

Cary arrived at the Crown and Cushion at the same time as me and we celebrated our most successful venture with hot chocolate after today's 7 hour walk and a total distance from Saltaire of nearly 100 miles.

Since then the Queen has died and we've enjoyed dinner in the pub after a foraged starter of puff balls and field mushrooms in Cushion Cottage, a two bedroomed house full of mod cons next to pub - our home for the night.

So that brings our eight day walk to a successful conclusion, subject to a scenic train ride home in the morning.

Wednesday 7 September 2022

Wednesday 7 September 2022 - The Dales High Way - Day 7 - Sedbergh to Ravenstonedale

The Dalesman hotel provided a nice breakfast, with perfectly poached eggs.

We left the cottage around 9am and were soon following signs 'To the Fells'. It was overcast, but still t-shirt weather.

We were soon marching up onto the Howgill Fells, to the cooing of pigeons and the whirl of crows circling high above us.

Past late flowering foxgloves, and fine views back down to Sedbergh. By the time we reached Arant Haw (605 metres), we had donned windproofs for the first time this trip.

The summits of Calder and The Calf were cloaked in mist.

The air cleared, and we spent the rest of the day in sunshine. It was a lovely walk over the summits, with fine views in all directions. We saw just one other person all day outside the Sedbergh dog walking zone.

Long slugs and large hairy caterpillars vied for the honour of the longest body. The slugs scored a narrow victory.

We passed flocks of rain bleached sheep, and avoided trampling the white bottomed spiders that shared our path.

After another leisurely lunch - quite a contrast to yesterday - in front of a wonderful panoramic view, we slowly descended north, past a recently planted plantation.

Then we left the main DHW route, and Cary skilfully navigated us to the Black Swan at Ravenstonedale, where a glass of Blonde ale went down a treat.

We did about 22km today - a fine day's walk in perfect weather, taking a little over 7 hours.

Later, a trip to the King's Head, as the Black Swan isn't doing food tonight. Looks like we will be waiting up to an hour despite booking for 6:30. The chef must be out catching red squirrels, which seem to loom high on the menu!

Tuesday 6 September 2022

Tuesday 6 September 2022 - The Dales High Way - Day 6 - Ribblehead to Sedbergh

A 9:30 start after more scrambled egg and smoked salmon than I could manage! There's a first for everything. Portion sizes at the Station Inn are not for the weak hearted. 

After leaving the convivial atmosphere of the inn, we headed alongside the impressive viaduct. Two fighter jets roared across the sky just above us.

A short climb led to Blea Moor Sidings, where Cary inspected the property he has in mind for his parents' next move. Swallows, unaware of their impending eviction, flew in and out via the cat flap. 

This is 'Three Peaks' country, and we followed the well made path up the flank of Whernside, passing the Force Gill waterfalls just as it started to rain.

Waterproofs were donned, as we left the Three Peaks path in favour of the walk past Wold End to Deepdale. Meadow pipits flitted in the tall grasses. We joined the Dales Way footpath, along which we paused to consume huge Station Inn sandwiches below drippy trees next to the stony river bed. The water must have been underground here.

We met three blokes who were heading over Whernside to the Hill Inn. 'Good luck with that' we commented, looking up to the rainy route to the cloud blanketed summit. 

Later, we would observe that they must be having a delightful romp in bright sunshine.

Meanwhile, Cary and I found a sociable spot outside Dent Village Heritage Centre and Museum, where hot chocolate and Bakewell Tart went down well as the rain relented and Cary changed into dry socks.

The weather was lovely for our walk over Longstone Fell to Sedbergh, with good views back to Dent, with Whernside and Crag Hill prominent in the background. 

Ahead of us, tomorrow's country, the Howgill Fells.

We entered Sedbergh and reached the Dalesman Inn by around 4:30, after a 20km walk, taking 7 hours or so. Our 'room' for the night turned out to be a two bedroom cottage just down the road.

So we had a kitchen in which to fry in olive oil the sliced up puffball that we'd collected earlier on the hillside. A tasty starter before a more substantial meal at the Al Forno restaurant. Calzone for Cary, Carbonara for me, followed by tasty desserts.

Monday 5 September 2022

Monday 5 September 2022 - The Dales High Way - Day 5 - Stainforth to Ribblehead

After an overnight storm had cleared the air, a fifth t-shirt day beckoned. A perfect day was to follow.

We let ourselves out of the Craven Heifer before 9am, via the fire escape, after consuming what we could of the extensive continental breakfast that came with our room.

Beyond Little Stainforth, our path lay upwards through fields linked by high stiles.

There were lovely views across the fields.

Dropping down to Feizor, we were pleased to find Elaine's tea room open for coffee, hot chocolate and scones that tasted as if straight from the oven. (Tea also available!)

Pleasant paths took us through the heart of  the Yorkshire Dales, along enclosed bridleways lined with backberries and Welsh poppies, to the pretty hamlet of Wharf.

Near a field full of boulders we encountered a lady with two friendly collie dogs. Then we passed Crummack and enjoyed a grassy ascent to a prominent cairn on Long Scar. A mountain biker was enjoying the descent even more!

A good footpath next to beds of tormentil, and some lesser celandine, took us, punctuated by a leisurely lunch, past Simon Fell, and led inexorably to the summit of Ingleborough. 

There were 10 to 20 folk in the vicinity of the summit. More than the total number of people we saw during the rest of the day.

We descended along the Park Fell ridge, with good views back to the summit. On the way we met the lady with two dogs, who had bounded around a much longer route than ours, and we were surprised to find a cluster of red admiral butterflies.

A recommended route then took me past a quarry, pictured below, to a table in the sun outside the Station Inn at Ribblehead. Cary arrived a bit later by a different route (sorry about the miscommunication), and we enjoyed the rest of the day in this excellent hostelry. 

I was unable to finish my whale. No question of being able to fit in a dessert tonight!

Today we walked about 22km in rather less than 8 hours. A really fine day in the hills.

Sunday 4 September 2022

Sunday 4 September 2022 - The Dales High Way - Day 4 - Malham to Stainforth

Malham YHA was an adequate place to spend the night, especially as the rest of Malham was fully booked when Cary did the bookings last weekend. 

We set off around 9:30 and after a few seconds stopped to chat with a group of Danish fellrunners outside the Lister Arms. 

Passing Beck Hall, it looks as if the ambitious plans the owner once showed us have come to fruition.

The well used path to Malham Cove was pretty much deserted. (See above.)

Grey wagtails, as usual, flitted in the shallows below the towering cirque of the cove. House Martins feverishly hoovered insects. Here's the view back towards Malham. 

Some climbers were on the face of the cove, perhaps checking bolts?

There were a few people struggling to cross the limestone pavement at the top of the cove. Beyond here, we rejoined the main DHW path after our diversion to Malham. 

It had started overcast, after overnight rain, but as we strolled towards Malham Lings, the sun came out and Drone Age Man, sounding like an exhausted lawn mower, lurked above us.

After passing Langscar Gate, we rose gently, past harebells and eyebright, to Nappa Cross, an ancient artefact that has been restored.

There were more mountain bikers than pedestrians on this section to Settle. Plus a flock of agitated crows.

As we neared the town, we heard the distinctive sound of a steam engine, and admired it as it flew past.

We entered Settle, full of bikers, restocked in a Co-op and savoured a late, leisurely, baked potato lunch in the Naked Man Café. 

Leaving Settle to reach the riverside path to Stainforth, we noticed that lots of properties were adorned with flower pots, from the town's annual Flower Pot Festival. 

Rain was forecast, but instead the sun's strength seemed to increase. We pootled up to Stainforth Falls, which don't amount to much in the current dry weather.

Stainforth village is pretty enough, with our home for the night, the Craven Heifer pub, being near the centre.

Last orders for food on a Sunday here are at 4:30. At least we arrived in time for that, but given our recent lunch, we ordered sandwiches that could be eaten later. The place has a Fawlty Towers air about it.

Today's walk was 12km to Settle, then 5km to Stainforth, with no serious hills. It took us about five and a half hours.