Horton-in-Ribblesdale to Hawes
As expected after last night’s hassle with my phone, I didn’t sleep very well. I awoke around 5:40am exhausted and lied in bed waiting for the alarm to go off. Even then I couldn’t get myself moving straight away, finally dragging myself out of bed at 7:15am.
I couldn’t hang around as we had over an hour in the car before the day’s walk could start so the aim was to be on the road for around 8:30am. After we all got up and breakfast eaten we eventually got on the road a little late but I wasn’t too worried at that point as we were on schedule to start walking for around 9:45am. I only had fourteen miles to do today so I wasn’t too concerned.
The drive took longer than expected due to traffic and tractors and we finally headed off from the car park at Horton at 10:05am. Russ and Rachel said they’d walk with me for a bit which was very much appreciated as I was a little worried the longer break might have broken my rhythm. Plus of course the company would be great.
The morning was already pretty hot and I was a little anxious that the heat would beat me after not having walked since Friday. There wasn’t a lot I could about other than protect myself from the sun as best I could and just grin and bare it.
As with nearly all of the walks on this little journey of mine, the Pennine Way path immediately started to head up. It wasn’t too bad a slope but it was a bit of a shock to the system I can assure you.
Russ and Rachel walked just over three miles with me, fully aware that they’d have to walk it back again, taking about an hour and twenty minutes for us to reach this point. I think they enjoyed the scenery and the walk, Rachel saying that she’d never walked anywhere like that before.
Before we said goodbye we spotted another walker, carrying a pack at least as big as mine if not slightly bigger, coming down a hill in front of us. It was an old guy and as I found out later on he’d come from John O’Groats. He must have left quite early this morning to get where he did when we passed him. The most shocking thing was that when he came down the hill he wasn’t actually on the Pennine Way. It looked as though he was making his own route up. I guess he could have gone wrong but to have made it from John O’Groats you would have thought he was already adept at reading maps?
Russ, Rachel and I said goodbye – thanks again for a great weekend, it was very much appreciated, and thanks to Dawn for giving up her bed for the weekend – and I headed off over the hill.
About a mile and half down the track I came across Ling Gill, described by Wainwright as one of North Yorkshire’s finest limestone gorges and reputedly 200ft deep in places. Unfortunately it is full of trees and can’t be seen very well from the path.
The Pennine Way Ling Gill by an ancient 400 year old packhorse bridge, not over the gorge itself but over the little river that runs in to Ling Gill.
On the hill climb up to Clam End I passed a couple making their way to Horton. We had a little chat where they told me they god married in Tan Hill and were walking their way to Gargrave for their honeymoon. Different. They were a lovely couple and after congratulating them I carried on up the hill.
Fortunately the day had cooled down quite a bit since I left Russ and Rachel and after the hill the Pennine Way joined the Dales and took a nice few mile stretch along an old Roman road, making the going a little easier.
Half way along that stretch I decided to stop for a bite to eat so I found a spot on the bank, dropped my pack, took my boots off and enjoyed the view over the Cam Fell and the woods below. I had a little friend join me while I say there. A little rabbit sat a few metres away from me and stayed there pretty much for the entire time I sat there. Very cute.
Rested I headed off again hoping for a good few hours walking. There were only six and a half miles to go but the sun was beginning to warm up and I really didn’t enjoy the thought of walking in the heat again.
The Roman road allowed me to pick up the pace a bit and it wasn’t long before I was turning off onto another less than good track around Dodd Fell hill which slowed me down a bit but not too much.
Making my way along the track I came across a lady – Helen – sitting on the bank enjoying the view. We had a little chat and she asked if I’d like some company for a bit – more company for the day, great! We walked and chatted which made the next couple of miles go by very quickly.
Just before Ten End Helen decided to take a break so we said goodbye and I pushed on to Hawes as there were only a few miles left to cover for the day, most of which were down hill and not to steep, thankfully.
It didn’t take too long to get down and in to Hawes and I was all checked in and in my room by 4:20pm, just over six hours after I left Horton that morning. Not bad going at all even if I say so myself.
I spoke to the girls on the phone and then headed out to get something to eat – fish and chips again – and a well deserved pint of Black Sheep ale, which almost put me to sleep.
This was a great day’s walking and I really enjoyed myself. It’s been wonderful taking a few days off to try and catch up with myself, and to spend the time with Russ and Rachel, but being back on the trail to John O’Groats was like coming home. The weather was good, the terrain was good, the company throughout the day was great and the views were stunning. A great day for sure which really made me happy.