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Day 7

 

Dent to Sedburgh (7.5 miles)

The morning view from the tent

The morning view from the tent

I awoke to a quite stunning morning in Dent, clear blue sky and the sun shining.  There was a heavy dew though and a bite to the air.  It must have been clear overnight as it had been a little cold at times.  Despite the sun the cold air meant that the tent was taking its time to dry out.  It was still soaking as I put it away in its stuff sack!

Ready to go

Ready to go

The owner at Conder Farm is quite willing to do breakfast for the odd camper.  He had a picnic bench outside his front door and it was a morning for an al fresco breakfast.  Wonderful.

After a brief diversion to get some lunch from the village shop (bumping into a couple of Dales Way walkers and the 4 friends from yesterday) I made my way through Dent and out the far side to pick up the Dales Way again.  It could only be described as stunning.  A fresh morning river walk in the sun.  It was over all too soon as I reached Barth Bridge with its precarious steps and “door” stile.

Leaving Dent

Leaving Dent

Here I managed to make a wrong turn, heading up the wrong lane (one too early), no doubt being distracted by the lovely display of wild flowers along the verge.   Looking at the map I was heading in the wrong direction, but rather than drop downhill there were a few options that would get me back on the right track.  It was at this point that the batteries on the GPS decided to expire, meaning that I had to stop, remove the backpack and huddle around inside for some new ones.

The Dales Way

The Dales Way

As I sat replacing the batteries, a ewe and her lambs came running up, obviously mooching for food and not in the slightest bit concerned with my presence.  In fact once I set off, the followed me to the edge of the field.

As impromptu diversions go, this wasn’t a bad one, and in fact I was furnished with some fabulous views of Dentdale from what looked like little used tracks.  The only downside was I had a number of old ladder stiles to negotiate before I got back on route.

The reason I went the wrong way

The reason I went the wrong way

Back on the official route I followed the narrow road up to the remote Lunds Farm, to be greeted by a rather enthusiastic Jack Russel.  From there, a rather curious enclosed bridleway took the path onto the open hillside.  It was wet and muddy in places, sometimes so narrow that a large quad bike would struggle to pass through and in other places it was as wide as a good sized road.  Eventually one wall ended, although I was still climbing, and I passed the group of four women who were lounging on the grass enjoying the sun (who can blame them?).   I stopped and chatted a while, explaining that I had managed to go the wrong way, much to their amusement!

Panorama from the diversion

Panorama from the diversion

From there it wasn’t far to the top of the hill, and at the brow the Howgills appeared, glorious in the sun with blue sky and just a few wispy clouds overhead.

Here disaster struck.  My SD card for the camera was full.  “No worries”, I thought, “I have a spare”.  The spare had a capacity of around 12MB and had space for just 1 photo.  Bugger.

Despite the warm day it was a wet and soggy descent into Sedbergh alongside Holebeck Gill, bog cotton and sphagnum moss weren’t in short supply.  There were still fine views of the Howgills and the town across Garsdale, and I lingered a while to enjoy them.  The forecast for the next day was superb and I was looking forward to the traverse of the Howgills – I was also contemplating the fact that I needed to find a new SD card for the camera as a matter of urgency.

Back on track

Back on track

The track turned into a lane and I was soon passing between farms and typical country houses before reaching the busy road into Sedbergh.  This, I would suggest, isn’t the best route into the town, and made for a nasty little section to walk along a road which had no pavements.

I passed the caravan site as my destination was a bunkhouse in town, and headed for the town centre.  I spent a while wandering about trying to find a shop which might just sell SD cards, with very little success.  Eventually I asked a local, and as a last resort they suggested I try a small office supply place up a back alley.  It was the last place I looked, and to be honest I hadn’t got much hope.  Amazingly they had one – 2GB as well, which should be more than enough for any walking trips in the future.

Last look at Dentdale

Last look at Dentdale

Finishing my quest I made straight for the nearest pub for a couple of light refreshments before heading up the hill to the bunkhouse.

The Howgills Bunkbarn sits just above the town on the lower slopes of the Howgills (as the name suggests).  As bunk barns go, it is a little expensive, but it is in fact worth every penny.  In stark contrast to the Station Inn, this ranks as one of the best places I have stayed in – ever.  I also had the place to myself!

I dumped my gear and walked back down into the town to get some food, and for some breakfast supplies.  I bumped into the group of 4 women who invited me for a drink, and I spent a very convivial evening at the Dalesman before heading back up to the bunkhouse.

Day Rating 10/10

The Howgills (my last photo)

The Howgills (my last photo)

 

Once again another stunning (if short) day.  Dentdale was just fantastic in, and the diversion quite possibly was an improvement on the original route, even if it did add an extra mile or so onto the day.  The Howgills looked really enticing as well and I was looking forward to a spectacular day tomorrow.  Once again a fabulous days walking.

 

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Day 6

Ribblehead viaduct an the Station Inn

Ribblehead viaduct an the Station Inn

 

Ribblehead to Dent (7.5 miles)

Despite the quality of the accommodation I slept pretty well overnight, and because it was warm, managed to get a number of items dry.  Also, despite the problems with breakfast (and my subsequent very late departure), it was rather good.  So, at 10am, I managed to leave Ribblehead – luckily I was only going the short hop to Dent and Conder Farm Campsite, a favourite stop over of mine from the Dales Way.

Looking back at Ingleborough

Looking back at Ingleborough

As I left it was overcast, threatening rain and muggy.  The enforced late start meant there were a large number of walkers out, including four ladies who were also walking the Dales High Way on a similar schedule to myself.

The location of the inn meant that I passed almost directly underneath the viaduct, a really impressive view point.  I even manage  to catch a train passing over it.  It’s not long before I’m back on the official route, passing the remote signal box  at Bleamoor.  There was a steady stream of trains every few minutes, surprising me with how busy the line actually was.

The signal box

The signal box

The path here is part of the three peaks route to Whernside and was well maintained – it needed to be.  Without the work the path here would be a quagmire.  The railway was crossed via an extremely impressive aqueduct which also carried Force Gill.  Then began a long steady climb along a very stoney path which was hard on the feet.  There were plenty of rest stops, and I spent a few enjoyable moments looking back towards Ingleborough, dominating the view behind Ribblehead.  The line of the railway which had entered a tunnel was visible by the line of ventilation shafts which littered the slopes of the adjacent hill.   Despite the cloud cover, there was very little wind and a warm humidity which hadn’t been present during the last few days.

Railway and Ingleborough

Railway and Ingleborough

At the brow of the hill, the view opened up to the east, giving a first glimpse of the very top of Dentdale and the Arten Gill Viaduct.  This brought back some good memories of the Dales Way, which passes almost directly underneath it.  The path here had changed into a lovely lush grassy track.  I paused for a while to rest close to some grouse butts, an enjoyed the stillness of the day.  It wasn’t silent though, the constant burble of skylarks, another call which I could only describe as sounding like a squeaky hinge (possibly a Bull Finch having listened to the RSPB website) and the occasional grunt from a Grouse all disturbing the stillness of the day.

Looking into the top of Dentdale

Looking into the top of Dentdale

Dent Station was also visible from here, and it only demonstrated how far it actually was from the village it was allegedly serving. Would a better name not be Dentdale?

Wolds End

Boot of the Wold 

After an enjoyable rest, just watching the world go by I continued on to the Boot of the Wold, a series of gates entering a walled lane which heralded the descent towards Dent.  The view opened up here and I was treated to an exquisite view over Dent and the lower part of the Dale.  The cloud had broken up as well, and at times the sun was breaking through dappling the landscape below with a mixture of light and shadow.  The RAF seemed to be out enjoying the reasonable weather also, a number of jets flying up Dentdale at my eye level, and in between, a number of the propeller training aircraft appeared as well.

First view over Dent

First view over Dent

While the views were fantastic, the path wasn’t.  The soft grassy track was left behind and was instead replaced with a hard, rocky and uneven surface which began to take a toll on my feet.  It was with some relief that Deepdale appeared to my left heralding the final push to the bottom of the hill.

Panorama of Dentdale and Deepdale

Panorama of Dentdale and Deepdale

The track finished on a road at Whernside Manor and it was with some interest that I noticed the way mark for Wainwright’s Pennine Journey – a book of his which is a must read for any walker, detailing his walking holiday immediately before the outbreak of World War 2.

Finally, I met up with the Dales Way to complete the last mile or so into Dent across lush pastureland.  The whole of Dentdale had been one of my favourite sections of the Dales Way, and Dent especially so.  I was making for the stunning little campsite at Conder Farm, which, despite its rather rustic facilities is still one of my favourite campsites.

Back on the Dales Way

Back on the Dales Way

However, before I could reach Dent there was the small matter of a thunderstorm to negotiate.  As I had approached the village the sky had been getting darker and a large swathe of heavy rain was falling in the distance.  The wind had risen considerably since reaching the road at Whernside Manor, but the worst of it looked as if it would pass in front of me, the wind blowing it across my path rather than towards me.  I took a chance an pressed on, hoping to get to Dent (and the pub) before the heavens opened.  I was literally 200m away, when the rain came down in floods.  Rather than take a soaking I took refuge under a reasonably sheltered hawthorne hedge.

Lightning appeared just after this photo. I got very wet soon after

Lightning appeared just after this photo. I got very wet soon after

While I was reluctant to put the waterproofs on, common sense won the day and I relented, completing the journey to Dent.  Rather than head for the campsite, I walked straight to the pub to dry out and await the passing of the rain.  A couple of pints later the sun had appeared with the cloud all but disappearing leaving the village swathed in sunshine.

After the storm in Dent

After the storm in Dent

Walking back to the campsite I pitched the tent and used the opportunity to dry a few things out.

Day Rating 10/10

Another quite fabulous, if short day.  Once again, there was a real change in the character of the walk – the rather bleak and imposing Ribblehead to the softer and gentler feeling Dentdale.  Dent is one of my favourite places, it really is somewhere I should spend a bit of time walking (I’m sure I said that in the Dales Way blog again).  The village itself was lovely in the evening sun, and the campsite almost perfect.  A quite lovely days walking.

Lovely evening in the village

Lovely evening in the village

 

 

 

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