10th April – Ickornshaw to Gargrave

20190410 Lothersdale
Lothersdale

Wyn and I woke feeling refreshed, and after a cooked breakfast left Winterhouse Barn at 8.30.  Tony and Olwyn could not have been better hosts.

The day was easier than the previous days being both shorter (18k) and with less ascent (520m).

We started by walking up to Gill before passing over Cowling Hill and descending into the picturesque village of Lothersdale.  The pub provided seats for a short break, but was being renovated.

Leaving Lothersdale we walked on past Hewitts Farm before the big climb of the day to Pinhaw Beacon.  The paths were not as rough and rocky as previously and we made good progress.  We met some friendly walkers on the summit and were reassured that they were even older than we were.

Pinhaw Beacon marked the end of the South Pennines and the Yorkshire Dales could be seen before us.  We descended from the Beacon towards Thornton-in-Craven, and after a little more gentle ascent arrived at the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. Walking on the towpath for a while made a pleasant interlude.

20190410 Church at East Marton
East Marton church

We passed East Marton Church near the site of the curiously named Fish Ponds Hall. Next came the famous double arched bridge which carries the A59 over the canal.

20190410 Double-arch bridge at East Marton
Double-arch canal bridge at East Marton

Finally the much awaited Bridge 162 appeared and the Abbot’s Restaurant and Teashop. As it would have been impolite to deprive them of our custom we felt obliged to stop for cream teas.  I also needed to instruct Wyn in the correct (Cornish) way to apply the jam and cream.

20190410 Afternoon tea at the Abbots Restaurant East Marton
Everything stops for tea…

Much refreshed we left the canal and set off up a road with “garlic-scented ramsons” in the woods.  Leaving the road went across rolling drumlin hills and ascended Scaleber Hill to see Gargrave in the valley below.  We arrived at the Mason’s Arms at 5.10 after a much better day.

One of the pleasures of the past few days has been listening to the curlews and lapwings.  For the ornithologists: we saw a red kite, near Walshaw Dean Reservoir, being bombed by lapwings.  Apparently they are rare up here despite being so common in Oxfordshire.

After a fine dinner and the opportunity to rehydrate, we could look forward to an easier day on Thursday.

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