The Krozzes

Dalesway 1999

Dales Way August 1999
This was to be our next big walk after the Cumbrian Way. We had prepared much better this time with many practice miles put in. New  boots 
purchased and broken in.  Ian and I had also been told that our feet could be guarded against blisters with a regime of surgical spirit wiping for days before and during the walk. Ian now lived in Connonley, West Yorkshire and had planned our walk from Ilkley to Bowness. My wife dropped me at Ian's house the night before the start and Dad arrived by train. A taxi had been booked for the morning to get us to Illey.  Much merriment was had and a fair amount of Ian's Alcohol stash was consumed.

Day 1 Sunday 8th August  Ilkley to Thorpe

We arose bright and early and had a good fry up courtesy of Ian and waited for the taxi which was to take us from Ian's house in Connonley to the start of the walk in Ilkley.start of dales way in Ilkley After the obligatory starting photo poses by the signpost telling us we had 84 miles to walk to Bowness we began our hike in good spirits and with good weather. The route took us along pleasant riverside paths following the Wharfe up stream. This was to be our companion for the next three days. We arrived at Bolton Abbey around lunchtime and sat near the stepping stones to eat the packed lunch Ian had provided. We were soon surrounded by several hungry Mallards which greedily consumed the odd crust thrown for them. The must have been hungry because they also ate the tiny pieces of banana skin which we offered them. We decided no to risk completely crossing the stepping stones as one stone appeared to missing, which created an extra large gap near the the middle. We crossed the bridge and made our was upstream towards the Strid which was quite spectacular even with just  a moderate amount of water passing through. As we continued onwards Ian pointed out an array of holes in the sandy bank on the opposite side of the river out of which many Sandmartins were leaving and entering. Restrictions were still in force after the recent outbreak of foot and mouth and we had to paddle through several disinfectant baths as we made our way onwards towards Burnsall. We arrived at Burnsall mid afternoon and stopped for a refreshing pint of ale before  making our way up through the fields to our B&B at Holly Tree farm in Thorpe. This proved to be a crossing of many high stiles to our destination for the day. Our lodgings were very pleasant and after a quick shower we were given a lift by the farmers wife into Grassington where we enjoyed a sumptuous bar meal and several more pints before being picked up at 9:30 for our lift back to the farm where we enjoyed a pleasant nights sleep.

Day 2 Monday 9th August Thorpe to Buckden
After a delightful farmhouse breakfast, our route today began with a walk down lanes and across fields to Litton Church and then to meet up with the official route at Litton falls where we crossed the Wharfe on the footbridge and headed for Grassington to stock up with provisions for the day. The rain began to fall heavier as we headed out of Grassington and up onto the limestone plateau and began to test my new waterproof coat. We trekked across the fell through increasingly heavy rain over many ladder stiles eventually coming down into a small wooded area where we paused under moderate shelter from trees and had a brief snack and drink. With the weather showing no signs of improving we continued down the steep path and eventually entered the village of Kettlewell. Being completely soaked and cold now we decided to try and warm up in the Kings Head. On removing my coat I realised why the coat had been reduced so much as my T-shirt was wet through. I decided to change into a dry shirt and enjoyed my pint in front of the welcome fire. Reluctantly we headed out into the rain and continued up the valley to our destination for the day at Buckden. We commented on the abundance of barns we saw in the riverside fields. Eventually we arrived at our B&B in Buckden and were delighted to be offered drying facilities for our wringing wet attire and boots. After a shower and a game of cards in front of the fire, we made our way down to the Buck Inn for some food which we all found less than impressive. A quick pint after the meal and we made our way back to the B&B for some more cards and a chat with our host who informed us that he was sorry he had not pointed out the tea room near the lodgings as they provided a much more appetizing selection of food. We were also intrigued to discover from him, that the Black Sheep brewery had apparently acquired its brewing equipment and brewers from the now defunct Hartleys brewery in our home town of Ulverston.

Dales Way Day 3
Tuesday 10th August Buckden to Ribblehead
Hubberholme Church

The weather slightly better today as we continued our way up the Wharfe riverside. Again we observed that almost every one of the adjacent fields contained a barn. Our path kept switching from the left bank to the right and vice versa as we passed the the hamlets of Hubberholme, Yockenthwaite and Deepfold befor leaving the Wharfe at Beckermonds to encounter our first climb of the last 2 days walk. The route climbed steadily up a country lane towards the settlement of Outershaw. We observed an advert for baggage transfers strategically placed half way up the steepest part of the lane. Once Outershaw was reached we headed west across the moors heading for Cam houses. The path  across the moor  was very wet in places and  care had to be taken to avoid  sinking into the mire. The track beyond Cam house bunk barn was  much firmer and  a pleasure to hike upon.  As we reached the section where the Dalesway shares the route of the Pennine Way  we were passed by  several  mountain  bikers heading in the  opposite direction. Eventually  the pennine Way route branched off to the south and we continued on wards towards the  Blea Moor road near Gearstones. Our B&B for the night was  The Ribblehead Inn, which we could see in the distance when we reached the road.  The sun  had become quite strong by now and we had built up quite a thirst. However as we made our way towards our destination for the day it seemed that  the pub was on wheels and was being being pulled away from us in the opposite direction.  We arrived at about 4:30  and knocked to gain entry as the pub was closed. We immediately ordered 3 pints of the landlords finest Black sheep ale. However the first round became 4 pints as I had downed my first pint before our host had finished pulling the third pint.  As the landlord wanted to return to his
chores we purchased another pint each and retired to our room with 2 pints each.The room had 3 single beds a TV and glass shower cubicle. We all relaxed on our beds and commented on how marvelous it felt to be relaxing with a supply of ale. After a short nap we showered and made our way down to the bar where some excellent steak and ale pie was consumed together with more Black Sheep.

Day 4 Wednesday 11th August Ribblehead to Dent

We set off in better weather and headed off up towards the Ribblehead Viaduct.
Ian set a fast pace but Dad just dawdled along with me and said he would have to wait for us. Today was to be a short day as we headed up the side of Whernside. We passed several walkers heading in the opposite direction clutching pieces of darkened gless in readiness for the solar eclipse which was due today. As the time approached we were disappointed that the sky began to cloud over.  When the eclipse began the temperature dropped considerably and the skys darkened even more. At the maximum coverage it was possible to actually see the sun in its crescent form through the clouds. The moment passed and the temperature began to rise again as we made our way down the fell towards the village of Dent. We arrived just after mid-day and went to the Sun Inn beer garden for a couple of pints and a bar meal. Our appetites satisfied we made our way to our B&B at Low Hall farm which was about a mile outside the village on the opposite side of the river across the bridge and along a pleasant riverside path.  That evening we made our way back to Dent and enjoyed several pints of Dent Brewery's Aviator and Kamikhazi bitter. We had another short day tomorrow so we made the most of the evening. Unfortunately we had forgotten that an eclipse meant there would be no moon. As country lanes have no street lights we were plunged into darkness as soon as we left the village and could not even see the road ahead. We decided to avoid the riverside path and slowly made our way along the lanes and were happy reach our destination.

Day 5 Thursday 12th August Dent to Sedbergh

This was to be our shortest day of the walk so we took our time getting started and made our way leisurely along the riverside path towards Sedbergh. 
The day was uneventful and we all agreed we could have easily travelled much further as we reached Sedbergh at lunchtime. Ribblehead to Sedbergh could comfortably have been covered in 1 day but the 2 short "rest" days probably were a bonus to allow us to take in the scenery and of course the excellent refreshments from the Dent Brewery.
We found our B&B and dropped our bags and headed for a stroll around Sedbergh. I could vaguely remember playing rugby on the school fields when we had played an away game from Ulverston Victoria High School. We found a pleasant bar where a pub lunch and liquid refreshment was taken.

Day 6
 Friday 13th August Sedbergh to Burneside
A quick trip down the main street to buy some buns and cheese to make our lunch and then off on the track towards the River Lune.
Our route for the morning passed close to the Lune for several miles. We passed under the disused Lune railway viaduct and made good progress to the Crook of Lune bridge where we crossed the river.
Our pleasant countryside walk of the last few days was now disrupted by the distant rumble of the M6 which soon came into view. A footbridge allowed us to cross the motorway and we headed away through the fields towards our next obstacle, the main railway line to Carlisle. However before we reached this I spotted some watercress growing in a pathside stream. Dad and I helped ourselves to a generous bunch to improve our cheese sandwiches, but Ian was not convinced we had the correct plant and declined. We soon reached the level crossing and gingerly crossed the high speed rail line.  The rain had now begun to get heavier so we found some shelter and sated our hunger with cheese and fresh watercress sandwiches. A pleasant afternoons walk led us to our B&B for the night at the Jolly Anglers pub in Burneside. After a shower and change of clothes we filled up with Wainwright walking food from the fish and chip shop next door. As this was our last night and we were staying in a pub we made the most of it and enjoyed the refreshments until closing time and a little bit after as we were indeed residents.

Day 7 Saturday 14th August Burneside to Bowness

We woke early and made our way down to the bar for a delicious cooked breakfast. We were on our way by 8:45 and were pleased to find the weather had improved a little.
Our route followed the river Kent upstream to Staveley where we crossed the Windermere railway branch line. Our route now began to gain height as we passed along country lanes and through woods and fields. We spotted several buzzards circling high above . We became both sad as our weeklong  outing as a family was drawing to a close and excited to reach our final destination. Eventually the lakeland mountains began to form the horizon as we began to make our descent towards Bowness. We made note of the seat sited just above Bowness for the use of those who had walked the Dales way. When we reached the road near Bowness pier it was a shock to the system to be surrounded  by bustling crowds after the solitude of our last weeks walking, We made our way to the shingle at the lakes edge and dipped our boots to conclude the walk.



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