Saturday, 14 September 2013

Pennine Journey completion - Sedbergh to Settle

Day 21 Wednesday 11 September Sedbergh to Dent
(6.6 miles 600 ft ascent)
At last, after over two years, five of us are finally able to complete our final four day section of Wainwright's Pennine Journey.

Jennie - Judy - Yvonne - Phil (Writer of blog) - Geoff, Pennine Journeymen on this section
Here we are on Whernside the following day
We split this four day section into two easy, and two harder walks after deciding to base ourselves for three nights at the George & Dragon Pub in Dent. A combination or three cars and two taxis enabled this, and we returned to the hostelry in Dent each night in our own cars. 

Waymarking of Wainwrights Pennine Journey is now complete
After collecting Yvonne and Jennie at Settle Railway Station where one car was parked for the duration of the walk, we proceeded to Ingleton where my car was left. The five of us continued to Dent in Geoff's car, arriving at 1.00pm. From there we arranged for a Ladycabs Taxi (Tel: 01539 735086) to take us to Sedbergh to restart our walk from New Bridge, just outside the town, where we finished off in July. Our first port of call was lunch, so made for the centre of town to dine in style at Smatt's Duo Cafe Bar & Bistro. 

Sedbergh was quite damp as we departed the town
It was raining as we left the town, but not too heavily as we joined the Dales Way for a straightforward, easy six mile walk to the George & Dragon in Dent where we checked in at 4.00 pm.

A Pennine Journey Waymarker in Millthrop where we joined the Dales Way
We got a great deal on the cost of the accommodation, which was one advantage of staying at the same place for three nights rather than moving on each day, which we had previously done on the Journey. The food at the G&D was on the costly side, however it was of good quality, and we ate there on two out three nights. To be honest, there isn't much choice in Dent if you want a meal.

Day 22 Thursday 12 September Dent to Ingleton
(13.8 miles 2525 ft ascent) Departed Dent: 0925 am

Our plan today was to follow David Pitt's Guidebook and walk to Ingleton, where my car had been parked on the Community Centre car park for two days, by special arrangement with Craven District Council. Parking regulations dictated that the maximum parking period permitted is 23 hours, but the rules were waivered in our case provided two days parking and the overnight fees were paid. 

Leaving Dent at Church Bridge
Wainwright took a short cut in 1938 by using the road through Kingsdale, as his shoes were completely worn out by that time - they were old when he started the walk from Settle anyway, as were his old office clothes. He admitted this in his book suggesting that when paying for his lodgings his landlords took pity on him and charged him less as he looked "poor". He had also run out of handkerchiefs before he got to Hadrian's Wall and his nose still was streaming at this point, as it had from the beginning of the walk! 

So on to our ascent of Whernside from the west on a route up Whernside which none of us had walked before. The climb was gradual and we joined the Three Peaks Route at a stile 1 Km from the summit. This was my third visit up the hill this year and I suspect my last for some time. The same goes for Ingleborough which we will climb tomorrow. 

Leaving Dentdale
Leaving Dent at Church Bridge we again followed the Dales Way but only as far as Mill Bridge where we turned south. Leaving the public road on Dyke Hole Lane just south of Whernside Manor we climbed up towards a radio mast on the side of Rigg End. The track and route was well pronounced until we reached Boot of the Wold when we turned right on to pathless access land for the most part.

Arten Gill Viaduct at the foot of Great Knoutberry Hill
We followed the dry stone wall until it turned right. Eventually Whernside Tarns appeared abruptly, on the side of Knoutberry Hill at 645m and not to be confused with the slightly higher Great Knoutberry Hill at 672m, located four miles to the north east.
Three Peaks Route footpath improvement work September 2013
On joining the usual Three Peaks route up to the summit of Whernside we came across two workers and a digger who had been contracted to improve the eroded path by flagging it. The chap on the ground told me that they had started work on the Monday of that week and work was progressing very well.  I could see that was right. He told me that the digger had been driven across the moor from the Kingsdale Road - amazing!
The digger at work which came up from Kingsdale
I was bringing up the rear of the group with Jennie, whilst Geoff, Yvonne and Judy had forged ahead. Well before we reached the digger Geoff was already operating his VHF radio by the trig point and making contacts for Summits On The Air. I gave him a call myself when I was around 100m in vertical height from the top to claim my chaser points. At 12.45 pm we both arrived and joined the others in the shelter to eat our lunch, staying for almost 30 minutes.

Ribblehead Viaduct from the flank of Whernside
Army helicopter on manoeuvres around the three peaks  
I had a few more radio contacts myself for SOTA from the summit before we set off on the usual route off the hill south towards Bruntscar. Here again we noticed that the eroded path on the steepest section had been improved since we were last here in May, with more slabs laid. 

When we reached Bruntscar we usually head for either Ribblehead or Chapel-le-Dale, but today on Pennine Journey we went straight on for four miles following a bridleway through Kirkby Gate to Twistleton Scar End.

Phil, Judy, Yvonne, Jennie, Geoff west of Bruntscar
David Pitt's Guidebook mentions a fluted pothole on Page 192. You can't miss it as you pass it by on Ewes Top Moss at grid reference SD 707 764: 

Limestone pavements and a clear path led us to the top of the Ingleton Falls Walk at Beezleys (No charge as it was just after 4.00pm and the attendant must have finished for the day).  We found the steps and undulations hard work after one of the hardest days on the Pennine Journey and reached the town of Ingleton too late (4.50pm) to enjoy cake and tea in one of the café's which were either closed or were closing for the day. 

Huddled on a ledge at the Beezley Falls - Ingleton's Waterfall Walk which dates back to Victorian days
The hardest section of this 4 day leg now completed in good weather, we returned to Dent.

Tomorrow's target - Ingleborough from near to Bruntscar
That evening for a change, we dined in The Sun Inn, Dent. This was quite an experience - no nonsense pub grub served in "the locals local" by a pierced chef with tattoos in abundance. We enjoyed cheap drinks and a landlady who was far from welcoming, but who cheered up towards the end when we were paying.....!!

Day 23 Friday 13 September Ingleton to Clapham
8.85 miles 2300 ft ascent 

The George & Dragon Dent - our base for the last four days walking on Wainwright's Pennine Journey
On our penultimate day we had excellent weather. We motored back to the Community Centre Car Park in Ingleton, driving the longer route through Ribblehead rather than the gated road over the top into Kingsdale. Leaving Ingleton on foot back up the same road led us to Fell Lane, a bridleway which leaves the B6255 on the right just after a milestone. A track leads to a homestead called Crina Bottom and from then the track becomes more of a path.
Pennine Journeymen in the shelter on Ingleborough - the most visited mountain in Yorkshire
I hadn't climbed Ingleborough via this route and it proved to be excellent - and was more gradual an ascent than the march up from the Hill Inn at Chapel le Dale. We followed the same format as on the previous day with Geoff arriving on summit 30 minutes before Jennie and me.  After lunch in the shelter we headed down over Little Ingleborough to Gaping Gill and then on to Clapham. 

Looking into Gaping Gill
I knew this section of route having been up this way with my walking group in 2008. Trow Gill is never forgotten - a natural gorge of a few 100 metres long carved out of solid rock before reaching the sanitised footpath near to Ingleborough Cave.

This is Trow Gill just above Ingleborough Cave
After this we turned left to climb up to Long Lane which took us into Clapham. As we passed Thwaite Plantation near to Ingleborough Hall we wondered what the hidden dangers were lurking within the wood.....the most likely thing would be potholes I expect. The landowner clearly doesn't want people rambling in there as can be seen from the notice....

Signage on the fence around Thwaite Plantation
Walking into Clapham meant that we left the Pennine Journey route and used the tunnels close to Ingleborough Hall to reach the village. After enjoying tea and cake in a cafe in Clapham we missed the 3.46pm bus which would have taken us back to Ingleton.... the chap running the Post Office in the village was very helpful and suggested we phone for a taxi, providing us with the phone number for Austwick Taxis (01524 251364). The driver came immediately, enabling the retrieval of my car from Ingleton, which allowed all five of us to return to our base in Dent for our dinner at the George & Dragon. 

Day 24 Saturday 14 September Clapham to Settle
7.7 miles 870 ft ascent 

Our last section, and an easy half day walk to finish off, with lunch planned at Ye Olde Naked Man Cafe in Settle. I wondered if the Naked Rambler had ever paid a visit there? (See my Pennine Journey High Force to Greenhead blog for when we met him on Hadrian's Wall). 

Bound for Settle on our last day of Wainwright's Pennine Journey
Repeating the last section of the route from the previous day we walked down Thwaite Lane to Austwick. The weather had been improving each day and it was a beautiful morning on which to complete our long walk. After a drink break in Austwick we were delighted to see a family of Red Kite flying around the crags above us close to Meddings Barn. Then I photographed a shepherd near Feizor on his quad bike gathering his flock with his dogs :

Approaching Feizor
There were plenty of people out walking the route, you could tell it was Saturday. We joined the Ribble Way near to Settle and made our way into the town via the riverside path. In this blog I have mentioned the various things we have found along the way and today was no different. This time it was alive, as we came across a small, old and smelly distressed dog trapped at a gate on the path wondering where to go, close to the sports ground on the outskirts of Settle.  

A small dog to add to our list of finds
Found dog reunited with owner

All five of us are "doggy people" and so we walked on, carrying the small dog having decided to head for Settle Police Station to ask for advice. Five minutes later we found the lost dogs owner, but were left unsure if she was happy to see it having allowed it to venture so close to the fast flowing River Ribble.... 

Earlier in the day Geoff had announced he was carrying a heavier load than usual as he wanted to celebrate the completion of the Pennine Journey. Champagne! I was grateful he had thought about this as it was not something I had considered as the planner of our long expedition....

We crossed the Ribble, turning into the back streets of Settle which after passing Booths Supermarket (I never knew they had one) led us to the Railway Station. Our first task was to find the blue plate commemorating Alfred Wainwright's Pennine Journey, which we located in the waiting room of the platform on the town centre side of the station. 

A Wainwright = 210 miles..... David Pitt's Guidebook = 247 miles... Our route = 265 miles with 36000 feet of ascent!
So why did we walk an extra 18 miles? The distance and ascent were accurately measured throughout by GPS and copied on to computerised Ordnance Survey Mapping. David Pitt's guide book splits the route into 18 sections but we split the route into 24 sections. In some cases our accommodation was away from the recommended guidebook route, so extra mileage was walked getting to it. The other increase in the stated mileage of 247 miles was due to the occasional navigational error. It happens. We never got lost, just slightly misplaced, but not too often I am glad to say.....

Geoff opens the champagne on Settle Station assisted by Yvonne
After the waiting room emptied and the train departed we got on with celebrating becoming Pennine Journeymen and quaffed the champers:

Jennie, Geoff, Yvonne, Judy and Phil (Writer)
Then our friend Chas arrived with a present for his partner Yvonne. Chas had walked with us for nine days on the Journey but was unable to join us on the rest due to work commitments. 

Chas's present - a personalised T Shirt for Yvonne
The T shirt says it all and harks back to when we walked from Keld to Bowes via Tan Hill in April 2012 in torrential rain and Yvonne's new Paramo jacket failed to keep out the wet. 

Celebration over we made for Ye Olde Naked Man Cafe (or the Bare Bloke as it is also known) for our lunch before returning to Clapham in Yvonne's car, which had been parked in Settle for three days awaiting our arrival. 

My memories of Wainwright's long walk in 1938 will remain with me for ever......  

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