Sunday, 7 August 2016

Dales Way Day 4

Day 4
9.69 miles - 15.6 km

Well! What a windy night! It only just started when we went to sleep. I could hear it coming through the trees first, travelling down through the valley before striking at the tent. Tom was on the windy side so the tent flattened him first leaving me untouched. He eventually got out to re-peg the tent at midnight. I slept on and off through the night. Rain struck at some point and splattered sporadically. Waking for 5 am - by this point we'd have enough so were walking by 6 am. We didn't have to go far to reach Barden bridge following the track. Continuing on we follow the River Wharf and enter the Strid wood. It's a dense wood and lovely to be hiking through it. We pass by the Cavendish Pavilion which was closed till 8 am so we refill our water and keep going. It isn't far to Bolton Abbey as we follow the ebb and flow of the path. 

Outdoor activities for kids such appear around each bend and we occasionally get glimpses of Bolton Abbey. We head into the grounds and I chose to cross via the stepping stones. The abbey stands in all its crumbly beauty in the dull morning light. I'm glad it's free to venture inside. We take a moments rest and chill in the grassland and play Pokemon Go. Along the river and through a forest and then Tom's knee pain returns. Luckily only two miles remain and we soon got these done. Ilkley comes into view after the last bend of the river and we come back into civilisation after briefly leaving it. Then flower shop I'd read about in the guide book appears next to the old bridge and where we find the twin stone bench.

We're done! 😀

We take photos and chill out before walking into the town. I see a Greggs and gorge myself on pizza slices, a sausage roll and doughnuts. We then wander around waiting till 3 pm when Tom's friend will arrive. We settle into the grass area in front of the car park. Suddenly I’m knackered. I think the past three days have caught up with me. Then at 3 pm he arrives - car keys in hand! 
We profusely apologise and thank him promising baked goods in return for the good deed. Then we  set off to Windermere where thankfully Oyo is still there. I bid good bye to Tom and zoom home to the Yorkshire Dales where my bath awaits me.

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Dales Way Day 3

Day 3
23.73miles - 38.2km

Up quite early and were walking by 5:30 am. Topping up our water we begin our road walk through Cowgill and up beneath the viaduct. A lovely aurora dawn surrounded us as we ascended. A deep dark forest emerged on our right. We stopped for photos and food and soon realised that the midges were still out. We marched up the road fleeing the tiny beasts. We were now pretty high and had a good view of the surrounding area. A golden light shone over the hills and we turned off the road and met a path into the moorland. Long green strands of pointy grass covered everything and we inevitably got wet feet. We followed the trail up over the moorland as Pen-y-ghent came into view. Over numerous stiles and we finally arrived at the descent. We passed a farm with a sign welcoming us in for cake and a drink, we would if we hadn't been there at 7.30 am. 

Walking down a track we met a major road. Crossing it we got to the track on the other side. Through cow and sheep fields we headed up and up and its was endless. You think you're there and you're not, we stopped close to the top and ate our lunch allowing our feet to breath before hiking on. I powered on to the top as a few vans and trucks passed us. Heading into the logging site, a Pennine way thru hiker - passed us. We then headed down into a valley, our feet getting water logged. This was the highest point on the Dales Way. This was also when Tom my brother realises that he’s left his car keys in my car which is back in Winderemere.... I laughed as we are pretty much half way between Windermere and Ilkley. We trudged on gutted. Luckily this haze didn't stay for long as we pondered way to get the keys or spare keys. 

We hiked on and reach Oughtenshaw, another stunning hamlet. It was beautiful and on the way out we saw a deer grazing on the opposite hill. We descended down into another hamlet, crossed a river and follow it. We got to a pub called the George Inn where the kind land lord lets us use the landline and got us bus timetable. 
We were going to have to speed up our walking as Tom had managed to get in touch with a friend who was going to be in Ilkley tomorrow at 15 pm and was going to bring the spare keys. We decided to play it safe and get bus from Buckden to Grassington. It was sad to cutting out about 10 miles but this was a pick up we did not want to miss.

It didn't take long to reach Buckton where we got an ice cream and chilled in the Buck Inn where Tom sampled their Ales. We got the bus and sat back feeling a tad guilty as we cruised by the lovely and sunny views outsides. The miles we were suppose to be hiking....

Grassington was only 10 miles away but we felt justified in skipping it. Its was a smooth ride and at Grassington we got some food and devoured it on a bench. We then hiked on and walked easily to a field just before Barden castle where we wild camped. It was easy evening walk and lovely to do again as I'd walked this section back in May.


Friday, 5 August 2016

Dales Way Day 2

Day 2
19.5miles - 31.4km

I woke at 5 am but dozed till 6 am. We were packed and gone just before 7am returning the chairs we'd kindly been lent. Since we camped a little earlier then we had planned we were playing catch up all day we set off through the dewy, water laden grass getting wet feet. Commuter trains whizzed by as we ascended to the road to then cross over the tracks. Over a road and into a field followed by rows of glorious farm houses. Through a field to then arrive at the first viaduct - Lowgill viaduct. We walked beneath it eating raspberries. Over Crook of the Lune bridge we then rose up the road and arrived at some cottages. We passed one called Half Island House which was stunning! A little river flowed through it's grounds and flowers were everywhere. We had a little break to eat and aired our feet. 

Next we headed up into a field to arrive at the Lune Viaduct - a continuation of the first viaduct. Glorious sunshine spilled forth as we passed into Millthrop which was full of flowers. Every garden was brimming with them. Up the hill and out of the village we ascended over fields with sheep. The opposite hill's sheep were being herded. We walked along the road naming as many of the original  150 Pokemon we could in 6 minutes. The road went all the way to Dent and we headed into the Sun Inn Pub for some grub. I had a tuna sandwich followed by a chocolate pudding. We took advantage of the WiFi and after an hour we eventually headed back on to the trail. It took us two hours to walk the four miles to Cowgill where we stayed at a campsite.


Thursday, 4 August 2016

Dales Way Day 1

Day 1
14 miles - 22.5 km

After preparing for a few weeks the grand 4 days or so was about to begin. My brother was driving to Ilkley and would leave his car there. We would then drive to Bowness on Windermere to the start. Once together we set off. It was a smooth drive to the Lake District. Even though rain accompanied us, once we were out on the other side it cleared. When we got to Bowness we hit huge crowds of tourists and traffic. I’d totally forgotten it was the summer holidays which were combined with the tourists. We drove round a few times until I found a verge out of the town to park my car. My car who is called Oyo is old and currently had no back seats making her an undesirable object to steal. I hoped! It was a 15 min walk back into the town and up the slight hill to the start.

Up the road and to the stone seat which read Ilkley 81 miles. After the small hill we were already taking off layers. A few walkers passed us and I asked for a starting snapshot. Time to walk! It’s was a gradual start as we followed the rocky path up to our first kissing gate of many. And our first bramble bush and raspberries bush! Never seen so many wild raspberries. We proceeded to devour them as we walked. Following the signposts we marched on and gained height.

We passed a few people and two women who were also hiking the route. It was nice to see other people walking the trail - I think doing the Wolds way/Cleveland way in spring we missed other hikers, plus the Dales way is quite popular. We chatted briefly before they headed down to the finish. Sheep stared as we passed them. We carefully closed all the hand made gates behind us. Since we set off just before lunch we decided to have lunch 2 hours into our hike. It consisted of a tortilla wrap with meat slices, cheese and polish peppery sausage. This was accompanied with chicken and mayo sandwich, a clementine and a cereal bar. The sun then decided to come out so we blathered on some sun cream. We were using the hand drawn map in the guide book map backwards since we were doing the trail backwards. Down a track road and then up again. I stared at the stone house, there were so many and they were all stunning. We got to the town of Burneside and missed the turning and ended up walking on the road. Its had a pavement so weren't road walking the entire town. We passed a pub, school, church, train station and a convenience store so it was a quite a decent sized little town.

We rejoined the Way and had to contend with our first of two diversions due to bridges being washed away in the December floods - Storm Desmond. We followed the diverted road and come across a plot of land that’s gone back in time...

 A swing hangs from an ancient oak over a grassy area. An artificial caterpillar made from several balls of twinned wood curls it way up a branch. Two child-sized fold out chairs sit beside a pond. A bicycle is in the courtyard on it’s stand. All the doors to the buildings are open. The first is the house and as I pass by I can’t help but gawp at the content. The wooden windows frames hold a single pane glass. Dust and cobwebs cling to them. Old fashioned sinks and taps sit in the window. An orange wall and tall white creepers plant against it. Opposite the house a tall beautiful white mill sits. I peer inside and see a workshop of wood. A worker's bench sits surrounded by wood filings. About 30 different numbers plates are nailed to the door. I didn’t realise how big it was. It was 5 floors high. I would love to roam about it rooms. Breath in the unique artifacts, touch the year of ages encrusted to it. It’s all lovely. The bridge we have to cross is wooden and actually closed. Red banners are draped over it blocking people. It’s doesn’t look too bad so we go for it. A couple hiking the way with their grandson told us they crossed it without any trouble.

I took a photo and we continued on our way. Up a lengthy cement track which seems never ending. One continuous slog. I’m sweating at the top. Passed a white house and we arrived at the top. We took a breather and can see the hills of the Lake District behind us. Next we passed the black moss tarn and we met a second diversion. It lead us down into a hamlet and we took the first right. Big mistake. We ended up passing some houses and entered a field of sheep. We fence hopped and go up to the main road again. We figured out where we went wrong and head back to the start of the diversion. I took a photo of the diversion and off we go again taking the second right.

We reached a field brimming with long lush grass and plump white fluffy sheep. Down we went and met the road. Crossing it and we happen upon the 100ths beautiful farm house of the day. Barn houses, out houses, grand farm house. We passed through and appreciated their stunning lawn. I need to get water so we stopped at the bridge and I filled my bottle. Then we heard shouting and turned to see two men and 3 excited dogs. He called to us and at first I thought that we’d upset them somehow. Amazingly he was offering his lawn for us to camp on and gave us access to his toilet and provided us with deck chairs.

It reminds me back to the PCT where people often quote: The Trail Provides.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

The Dales Way - Preparing

Off T' Yorkshire Dales

Beginning in the Lake District where England's deepest lakes exist, the highest mountain lives and inspiration for poets strikes everywhere. Then crossing into the Dales where limestone country begins, wild meadows run wild and dry stone houses are the norm.

The Dales Way - Preparation 
To follow up on the Wolds Way my brother and I have decided to hike the Dales Way. We're aiming to complete the 84 miles or 135 km trip in 4 days whilst wild camping en route. We'll be starting in Bowness-on-Windermere and will end in Ilkley. This is backwards as traditionally hikers start at Ilkley - however there is no right or wrong way to hike. Hike your own hike!

I've only done a bit of wandering around in the south of the Dales so looking forward to exploring the west section of the National park. Bring on four days of pure hiking, just hope the weather isn't too bad.

The Route
We'll be walking this route backwards meaning steeper climbs but these will be swift instead of gradual ascents.

 My Gear

  • 40ltrs backpack
  • 2 season sleeping bag
  • 2 man tent
  • Thermals
  • Hiking poles
  • Camera
  • Guide book
  • Toiletries
  • First Aid Kit
  • Food!!
  • Water Bottles
  • Steripen
  • Water Proof Jacket
  • Battery Pack

For more info head to the Dales Way Official Website.