13th August – Keld to Baldersdale

20180813 Waterfall near Keld
Waterfall near Keld

Monday

Leaving Keld at 8.55 I was delighted that the sun was shining and the overnight rain had not materialised.  However, within 30 minutes I was putting on my rain jacket and over-trousers, which stayed on for the rest of the day.  I can only say that the weather has certainly changed for the worst, and at times the rain seemed to be falling in biblical proportions.

Two hours after leaving Keld I reached Tan Hill Inn.  Like the Windmill they never close, so I was able to get a mug of tea, and a very kind gentleman gave me a £5 donation for Sobell House.

20180813 Tan Hill Inn 1732 ft
Tan Hill Inn – the highest pub in England (530m) – they have their own Snowcat and snowplough!

Leaving the pub you enter Sleightholme Moor, best described as bleak and boggy.   Unfortunately this goes on for around 8 km.  I am sure it would have enjoyed it more without the driving rain.  Eventually Sleightholme Farm came into view and the path goes through a delightful limestone valley before reaching Trough Head.

20180813 Gods Bridge
God’s Bridge

Turning north the path descends to God’s Bridge, a natural limestone slab bridge, before climbing to cross the A66.  From here to Baldersdale it was a hard slog.  My rucksack was uncomfortable, the path was straight and boring and in danger of being washed away, as was I.  The only interest was listening to the guns blasting away at the grouse on the hillside opposite.  Eventually, just before 4.00 the best thing I had seen all day hove into sight: Alan’s car.

I barely had a stitch of dry clothes on me so did a rapid change at the car. Sometimes the small pleasures are best: just to be in dry clothes and out of the rain.

Returning to Middridge I was able to get some washing done but, as Alan does not have a dryer, I will have to use my Scotland kit until Jedburgh.  The Bay Horse next door provided a fine dinner and it was good to catch up with Alan.

12th August – Hawes to Keld

20180812 Summit of Great Shunner Fell
The Summit of Great Shunner Fell – 718m, the highest point on the trip so far

 

Sunday

After a quiet night, as there was no one else in the dormitory, I left Hawes at 8.45.  It took over 2 hours 30 minutes to climb up to the summit of Great Shunner Fell.  For over 2 hours the views were magnificent, if you like the inside of a cloud.  The weather had taken a turn for the worse, but luckily it improved after the summit.

Great Shunner Fell used to be notorious for its peat-bogs, but these now have large slab walkways.  When these were introduced they caused some controversy with traditionalists.  Personally I think they are wonderful as I have never found any pleasure in tracking through peat-bogs, a much overrated pastime.

20180812 Thwaite Village
Thwaite Village

From Great Shunner Fell the path descends to Thwaite, where I stopped for a pot of tea.  Leaving Thwaite, I climbed up to Kisdon with fine views of Swaledale.

20180812 Swaledale from Kidson Fell
Swaledale from Kisdon Fell

Traversing towards Keld I was swarmed by horse-flies which was very unpleasant. Do they serve any useful purpose?

20180812 Keld Village
Keld

 

Coming down to Keld it was time for more tea before arriving at East View, my B&B. Doris, who came from the Philippines, gave me more tea and cake and could not have been more welcoming.  I dried off and visited Keld Lodge for a beer before a delicious dinner back at East View, which is highly recommended.

11th August – Horton in Ribblesdale to Hawes

20180811 Bridge at Ling Gill
The Bridge at Ling Gill

Saturday

The main news is that I am in Hawes and my leg seems fine, which is obviously a great relief.

The day started early as for once my room-mates were keen to get up and get going.  I left the hostel at 7.15 in bright sunshine making my way up onto Birkwith Moor before dropping down to Old Ing Farm and the National Nature Reserve at Ling Gill. This is a small rocky gorge with rare plants. On the bridge at Ling Gill there is a sign starting that it was repaired in 1765.

20180811 Pen-y-Ghent from Cam High Road
Pen-y-Ghent from Cam High Road

From Ling Gill the path joins Cam High Road, an old Roman road and packhorse way.  This has good views over the famous Ribblehead Viaduct and Ingleborough.

20180811 Ribblehead Viaduct and Ingleborough
Ribblehead Viaduct and Ingleborough

At Kidhow you leave the road and contour around Dodd Fell at 580m with glorious views down into the adjacent valley.

20180811 Looking north from Dodd Fell
Looking north from Dodd Fell

Near Ten End the path left the track and I could descend steeply down to Hawes.  I was a bit surprised to find that it was only 1.15.  Luckily there was a tea-shop and I was able to get a snack and had an enjoyable chat with Jonathan, a walker I had met on the trail.

20180811 Descending towards Hawes from Ten End
Descending towards Hawes from Ten End

The hostel is Hawes is very quiet and at the moment I have a 6-bed room to myself. All the other people staying are around my age and all want twin rooms.

10th August – Moving Again

20180810 Horton-in-R with Ingleborough
Horton-in-Ribblesdale with Ingleborough on the skyline

Friday

After another 7 days of rest with new antibiotics my leg seems to have improved. Yesterday I went onto the downs and walked for 3 hours with no adverse effects so I decided to resume my trip.

I have come to Horton in Ribblesdale for a number of reasons.

  1. I could get there by train.
  2. I could restart with 4 fairly short days.
  3. The Craven Arms to Horton section is the lowest part that is left, and the weather there in October is likely to be better than in Scotland.
  4. If it all goes pear-shaped I can get my brother, Alan, to collect me.
  5. I have a few more days in hand before I have to be in Fort William so can shorten some days if necessary.

The train journey was uneventful and all the trains kept to time.  I arrived at the 3 Peaks bunkhouse at 5.00 to find it almost completely empty.  I have also managed to get into hostels for the next few days.

The big test will be tomorrow when I walk to Hawes.  If that goes well I should be back on track.

I am apprehensive about tomorrow as the future of the whole trip really hinges on what happens.  It is very frustrating that I have been forced to leave a section out, but I am happy with the decision that I have made.