After a peaceful night at the Youth Hostel, aptly named as our combined ages are only 138, we had an early breakfast, collected our lunches, and left at 8.30.
The weather was fine but very cold and with some of Yorkshire’s finest scenery before us we set off with a spring in our step. This enthusiasm soon waned when we started up the 400 steps to reach the top of Malham Cove. On December 6th 2015 after Storm Desmond a waterfall appeared for the first time in living memory. At 70m or 230 ft that must have been quite a sight.
Avoiding the limestone pavement above the Cove, by using a higher route, we dropped into the valley which led the way to Malham Tarn.
Walking on the level made a pleasant change and although we did not see a roe deer buck in the woods, as we did in 2008, there were some very fine carvings and sculptures.
Leaving the Tarn the track to Tennant Gill was a delight: short, soft grass and easy walking. From the farm at Tennant Gill the work of the day started, 3k of continuous ascent to the cairns on Fountains Fell.
By now we had lost the sun and the wind made it very cold. Our lunch stop in a sheltered depression was necessarily brief.
Once at the cairns it was possible to look north across the intervening valley to the imposing bulk of Pen-y-Ghent with Ingleborough visible on the horizon.
The descent of Fountains Fell is rough, long and steep and we were wary of aggravating Wyn’s knee. Having reached the road at Dale Head around 3.00pm a decision had to be taken. Taking into account the time and the fact that we were going quite slowly, the nature of the ground and Wyn’s knee we resolved to miss out Pen-y-Ghent.
By taking an alternative path via Brackenbottom, which still involved a knee jarring descent, we reached Horton in Ribblesdale at 5.30.
Wyn and I had a small celebration as I have now linked up with where I recommenced last summer. I have therefore walked from the Lizard in Cornwall to West Linton in Scotland.
Wyn returns home tomorrow and will rejoin me at Fort William for the Great Glen Way. Thanks are due to Wyn for his grit, enthusiasm and, as always, his good company.
Tomorrow I am being picked up by my brother Alan who will take me up to West Linton on Monday. I will restart the walk and the blog on Tuesday.