Monthly Archives: August 2013


Saturday 31 August. The weather changed overnight. The low cloud and rain of the last couple of days has been replaced by much fresher weather; breezy at times, a little cooler, but much improved visibility.

I didn’t want to do too much today so I set off straight from my caravan to complete the walk that I aborted a couple of days ago. The 4¼ mile route with just 320ft of ascent took me across fields to Burtersett from where I followed Shaw’s Lane to the village of Gayle. This is where the Wensleydale creamery can be found. I couldn’t resist calling in to try samples of the many cheeses on offer and bought some “Old Smokey”. As the name implies this is a smoked cheddar cheese which is absolutely delicious. I know that I shouldn’t have bought it and that it won’t be long before it has all been consumed. Good reasons for a 4 mile walk to buy some cheese. A walk through Hawes town centre soon brought me back to the caravan.


Three Peaks Country

Friday 30 August. I had to go to Settle this morning to visit my podiatrist. When I first saw him, 6 weeks ago, he made me a temporary orthotic for my left boot to relieve the pain in my metatarsal heads. This has worked well, but since then I’ve developed a similar pain in my right foot. Another temporary orthotic was made for the right boot and I’m in the process of trying it out. I hope that it will be as effective as that for my left foot. I have to ring the podiatrist on 18 Sep to make an appointment to see him again for the production and fitting of permanent orthotics. This will mean another trip to Settle but I’m sure that it will be worth it and I can tie this in with a visit to my brother in Harrogate.

Not wanting to waste the day, I stopped off in Horton-in-Ribblesdale on the way back for a short 6¼ mile walk with 900ft of ascent. Horton is the starting point for the 25 mile route taking in all three of the Yorkshire Peaks. Anyone doing it today wouldn’t have had much of a view as the tops were shrouded in cloud. I contented myself with a lower level route which followed the Pennine Way out of Horton. I then diverted on to the Ribble Way before coming back on a slightly longer section of the Pennine Way. I met a guy and his teenage son who asked me how far it was to the Ribblehead viaduct. He had a map and compass, so I don’t know why he couldn’t work this out for himself. I guessed that it was about 4 miles. I’m not sure, but it seemed that they had already done Pen-y-Ghent and were thinking about doing the full 25 mile round. I suggested that they should give Whernside a miss and pointed out a short cut to the top of Ingleborough. To his credit he did have a map and compass but no real idea of the lie of the land. I wouldn’t want to have been led by him.

I got back into Horton at about 13:30 and thought that I would treat myself to a cooked lunch. The Crown is the only pub in the village so I called in to order a drink and Steak & Ale pie. There were only 4 other customers and the pub had as much atmosphere as a graveyard. 20 minutes later there was still no sign of my meal so I enquired where it was. I learned that the chef was leaving next week and had ignored my order. I wasn’t prepared to wait any longer and asked for a refund. The landlady apologised profusely and gave me £10 back for the meal which would have cost £9.30. When I’m next in Horton, I’ll make do with a bacon butty from the café down the road.

Hawes Roadworks

Thursday 29 August. It seems like I’ve chosen the wrong time to stay in Hawes as there is road re-surfacing going on this week and next. This week’s works are on the approach road from the east with a diversion in place along the minor road north of the A684 joining Bainbridge with Hardraw and Appersett. This hasn’t caused me any problems but the fun starts on Monday 2 Sep when the one-way system through the town centre will be closed. For me, this will mean that I’ll have to head north from my caravan site towards Hardraw and to come back into town via Appersett. There shouldn’t be any problems from there to access the B6255 at the YHA junction.

My plan for today was to do a 4 mile walk straight from my caravan which would take me up to the hills through Burtersett and to return via Gayle. I’d hardly got out of town when it started to drizzle and I could see the rain approaching from the west. Although it was only a short walk, it was one that I’d done before and it wasn’t worth getting wet. So, instead, I headed back into town where I bought some Wensleydale cheese, crackers & pickle to enjoy whilst waiting for the rain to clear.

Gunnerside Gill

Wednesday 28 August. Other than crossing the upper part of the valley on my Coast to Coast walk 2 years ago, it has been quite a while since I’ve been up Gunnerside Gill. It has a special place in my affections as it was probably one of the first routes that I did on my own when taking up walking around 20 years ago. Then, it seemed quite an adventure as I made my way further up the valley to explore the disused mine workings. Not quite so daunting today.

The weather this morning was grey with low cloud on the hill tops but it was forecast to clear later on. So, unusually for me, I delayed the start of the walk until 12:45pm. The one drawback was that the few parking spaces in Gunnerside village were all taken but I managed to find a roadside spot about a quarter of a mile from the village centre. The first 2½ miles up the Gill were very familiar and I met a few walkers on their way back. It was too late in the day to meet up with any “Coasters” who would have passed this way a little earlier on their route from Keld to Reeth. At the main mining area I picked up the C2C route and headed up on to the moor tops. Soon after, I turned south to head back towards Gunnerside. Although there was a footpath marked on the map, there was little sign of it on the ground and I was glad that I had my GPS as I made my way across featureless moorland and heather. The last section of the walk involved a tricky negotiation of the dry-stone wall network that covers the lower valley slopes. As promised, the sun made an appearance on the latter part of the walk and added to the beauty of this part of Upper Swaledale.

This was a “look at the map and see where it takes you” sort of walk. The distance of 6¾ miles was much as expected but I was surprised by the 1,640ft of ascent as there didn’t seem to be any serious hills; just a steady climb for most of the way.

Crosby Garrett

Tuesday 27 August. Yesterday’s transfer from Northumberland to Hawes was uneventful and I was pleased when I had set up my Sky satellite system and discovered that I had also had wi-fi and 3G signals so that I could stay in touch with the world. The sun was shining and the weather forecast was good. What more could I ask for?

Well, it was too good to last and it didn’t take long to go downhill. Today could best be described as “problematic”. I woke at 04:30am feeling the chill as the temperature had dropped through the night to just 9c. Awaking from my slumbers, I discovered that there was no electricity supply to my caravan. I couldn’t quite understand this as when I went to bed last night, I fell asleep listening to the radio on my TV which can be programmed to switch itself off after a set number of minutes. It was still dark and too early to try to get to the bottom of the electricity problem so I hopped back into bed listening to my portable radio to pass some time and to try to get back to sleep. This didn’t work and I was up again before 06:00am. No electricity meant no hot water so I took myself off for a shower using the site facilities. It transpired that my on-board electrical water heater had caused the mains supply to trip-out and this couldn’t be reset until 09:00 when the site wardens came on duty. This was fixed in a couple of minutes but water heating for the remainder of this holiday will have to be by gas. It’s a good job that I have a dual fuel system. No electricity also meant that I couldn’t boil a kettle; that was until I remembered that I also have a traditional hob style whistling kettle which I was able to boil using gas. At least I could have a coffee whilst I waited for the site warden to get out of bed. All this before breakfast!

It was a lovely sunny morning in Hawes so I thought that I’d make the 20 mile drive to Ravenstonedale for a walk on the northern edge of the Howgills. When I arrived they were just starting roadworks opposite the only suitable parking spot in this very small village so a change of plan was required. My second choice walk was from the nearby hamlet of Crosby Garrett. The only problem was getting there. I programmed my sat nav which, despite being in RV mode, took me along some impossibly narrow roads and through a ford. The roads were so narrow that the foliage was banging on the car wing mirrors. I had to endure this for at least a couple of miles and I was thankful that I didn’t meet anyone coming the other way.

My reason for choosing this 7½ mile walk with just 1,000ft of ascent was that it took in a short but beautiful section of the Coast to Coast path in the vicinity of Smardale. The main climb of the day was out of Crosby Garrett and up to Nettle Hill. I didn’t see anyone else until joining the C2C path where I met a couple from Lichtenstein who were doing the C2C in 14 days. I did it in more leisurely fashion taking 17 days. I could see that they had a good guide book but asked them if the carried a GPS, which they did. After a few minutes chatting, I took my leaving saying that I would give them some space to enjoy the walk on their own. I then crossed a style in a wall, telling them that they needed to go this way. They obviously had no confidence in my directions and continued on the other side of the wall, walking away at a tangent. A few minutes later they realised the error of their ways and scrambled across the wall to join my path. I had lunch looking down on Scandale Beck with views out across to the Howgills. Truly wonderful. My return route took me alongside the beck to the disused Smardale viaduct. I had confused this with another in-use viaduct a mile or so further on and couldn’t understand why my GPS showed that I still had to cross the viaduct when I just done this. I was convinced that my GPS was malfunctioning and suddenly felt vulnerable not being sure of where I was. I needn’t have worried as I have two other GPS devices to fall back on but it demonstrated to me just how much that I’ve come to rely upon electronic aids. I sat on a nearby bench, switched my GPS off and on again and it still gave the same position. I think that my early morning adventures had left me with a muddled mind. More sleep is needed tonight. I found my way back to Crosby Garrett, walking over a bridge alongside the ford that I’d driven through a few hours earlier.

All I had to do now was to find a more driveable route out of Crosby Garrett and back to Hawes via Kirkby Stephen. This must be the most inaccessible hamlet on the planet as the road that I used to make my exit was no better than that on the way in. Single track with few, if any, passing places. I won’t be coming back in a hurry unless it’s as a passenger in someone else’s car.

You might think by now that my problems were at and end, but no, I toasted a teacake for an afternoon snack when I got back to the caravan. The teacake got stuck in the toaster, burned and set of the smoke alarm in my caravan. Can anything else go wrong today – I hope not!


Sunday 25 August. It rained for most of yesterday so I spent my time watching TV. My final walk on this holiday was directly from my caravan, around East Hill to Ingram and back alongside the River Breamish. It was a misty murky morning, not good for photography, but still good to get out in the fresh air. The walk was only 5¾ miles and not too taxing. Just enough to make it worthwhile.

Windy Gyle

Friday 23 August. Having done The Cheviot earlier this week, I couldn’t leave without tackling Windy Gyle. The weather forecast was good so I drove down the length of Coquetdale to the starting point of this 7½ mile walk with 1,790ft of ascent. The climbing started immediately on leaving the car as I followed “The Street” up to the border ridge and the Pennine Way. I came across a couple of wild Cheviot goats, one of which kindly posed for a photo. I thought that the climbing had finished when I got to the Pennine Way but there was one more pull to tackle with a further 300ft to the summit shelter & trig point on Windy Gyle. It lived up to its name as there was more than a strong wind blowing on top. It had taken me 2¾ hours to do the 4¾ miles to the summit and I hadn’t met another soul on the way. The return route was much shorter at 2¾ miles and, as it was all downhill, it only took me 65 minutes to get back to the car. The shorter route up to Windy Gyle seemed more popular as I passed 8 walkers making their way to the top. One of them was a lady with a prosthetic leg; not something that I’ve come across before.