Monday, 11 May 2009

Day 37 Monday - Gargrave to Horton-in-Ribblesdale

Walking 7.30am to 6.00pm
Distance walked today 18 miles
Total distance walked 533 miles
Distance left 519 miles (I've passed the half way point!)

A promise of a fine day. I joined the Pennine Way out of Gargrave up a lane and then across fields, climbing up to Eshton Moor and then dropping down to the River Aire which I followed for about three miles, passing by Airton and Hanlith.

River Aire near Airton

Riverside path near Airton
This was glorious Yorkshire Dales country, lots of undulating green fields and a lacework pattern of drystone walls. With the weather being so good (but not hot), this was almost perfect walking and the river was so attractive.

The path then moved away from the river and up to Aire Head where I got my first view of the magnificence that is Malham Cove before going down into Malham.

Malham Cove in the distance
Here, I went as if on tramlines into the Barn Tearoom where I had a sausage, egg and bacon bap and a pot of tea. I wondered whether only hikers get a mug rather than a cup and saucer. The two mugs I got out of the pot were very welcome and helped power me up to the top of Malham Cove. There were a fair number of people around but, within fifty yards of the top, I'd left them behind and had the path to myself.

For those stopping overnight in Malham, there is a bunkhouse at Hilltop Farm and camping at Town Head Farm.

The path then led to Malham Tarn, a deep shade of blue.
And then on through the grounds of the field study centre and up to Tennant Gill with Fountains Fell to the left. This was where my schedule had me spending the night as a wild camp but it was only lunchtime so I went on. Water was available as I crossed Tennant Gill and so an overnight stop would have been possible somewhere here but it was quite windy. There were warning signs to keep to the path because of open mine shafts.

Once the top was reached, Pen-y-ghent came into view across the other side of the valley. There was then a long descent to the valley bottom, a road walk of maybe three-quarters of a mile before a turn to the right at Dale Head past a farm, the path then approaching Pen-y-ghent from the south. The Pennine Way goes over Pen-y-ghent but I took a path directly down to Horton-in-Ribblesdale where there is a campsite. There is also a bunkhouse at the Golden Lion pub.

At the campsite, I had my third meeting with Vinnie but this is to be a very brief encounter as he continues on the Pennine Way tomorrow whereas I head west and then north-west towards the Howgill Fells.

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