Pennine Way adventures in the Yorkshire Dales: Part 112th April 2007
Easter Sunday saw me tackle the section of the Pennine Way between Horton-in-Ribblesdale and Hawes. It is mostly on good tracks through open country with big skies. That the day itself was sun-drenched added to the enjoyment.
Transport to Horton didn’t work to plan and could have derailed the proceedings. Rail engineering works between Leeds and Shipley meant that trains were replaced by coaches and we ended up with a coach driver who didn’t know where he was going. That he turned up late as well didn’t help matters either. The result was that those on the coach wanting to proceed to stations on the Settle-Carlisle railway missed our connection. As you can imagine, there was a spot of confusion before we ended up on a train to Skipton from where taxis got us to our destinations; information screens didn’t aid our cause either.
The Sunday morning laggardness with transport made my start from Horton an hour later than planned, but that wasn’t to make much of a difference to my enjoyment of the day at all. From the YDNP car park, I made my way onto the track that was to carry me on towards Birkwith Moor and there were ample views of glorious Three Peaks country. In its vicinity, the Pennine Way leaves the track to pick up another near Old Ing. Between tracks, a very nice reconstructed path performs the honours with suitable deterrents for those wanting to take wheeled transport over it.
From Old Ing, another track drops you into Ling Gill nature reserve (I took a spot of lunch between these points with a view of the Ribblehead Viaduct in the distance and the rest was welcome too) before you are hauled out again to join the rutted High Cam Road at Cam End. I very soon encountered the reason for the ruts: green lane enthusiasts with their off-road vehicles.
While I was unsure as to the legality of their enterprise, I left them be rather than starting a futile one-man protest against it. Seeing people driving vehicles at little more than walking speed does make me wonder at what they get out of their pursuit when walking would be more carefree.
Eventually, my wandering took me on to a tarmac road before I left that for yet another track, one without ruts this time. However, while I should have been enjoying the delights of the sights below, a strong wind began to harry me. With the shelter of a stone wall, things weren’t too bad but it didn’t last. Care was required so that I didn’t get blown over and this was at 500–600 metres above sea level. I’d hate to think what things would have been like higher up. It was with some relief that I left that track to continue on the Pennine Way as it descended to the Hawes on the floor of Wensleydale; the breeze was then at my back until the hills started to offer some shelter. Eventually, I encountered Gayle and wound my way on to Hawes.
I reached Hawes at around 17:30 after a ca. 11:00 departure from Horton, so good progress was made. If things had gone to plan with the trip to Horton, I might even have caught a bus taking me all the way back to Leeds. Instead, I had an hour to kill in a pleasant Yorkshire town until a bus took me to Northallerton for an onward train journey; sadly too short for a meal in a pub or even for a fish supper at the chippy. The slow service of the latter and its vibrant trade ensured that I didn’t succumb to any temptations. It was a matter of finding a quiet corner and relaxing in the sunshine after a wonderful day; finding the right bus stop in the town’s marketplace was also a priority, but that wasn’t to prove too painful. The next phase of my Pennine Way adventures from here might allow me to sample more of Hawes’ delights, yet that’s for the future.
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