Wednesday 2 July 2014. Anyone who regularly reads this blog will know that I’ve been posting daily reports on my Dales High Way walk. These were done using my Samsung Tablet which is somewhat limiting and now that I’m home for a few days, I thought that I’d use the power of my fingertips and my Netbook to write a more comprehensive report. First though, I must thank Tony & Chris Grogan for their efforts in developing the route of the DHW and without them, there wouldn’t have been a walk for me to do. I must also thank Brigantes for booking my accommodation and moving my bags from stop to stop. The luggage was always there, waiting for me on my arrival.
The following table is a summary of each days walk and I’ll then go on to describe each section in a little more detail.
Saltaire to Ilkley – 8miles – 1,191ft of ascent
Ilkley to Skipton – 11miles – 1,714ft of ascent
Skipton to Malham – 13.7 miles – 2,218ft of ascent
Malham to Settle – 7.6 miles – 1,617ft of ascent
Settle to Ribblehead – 13.3 miles – 2,132ft of ascent
Ribblehead to Sedbergh – 13.5 miles – 1,683ft of ascent
Sedbergh to Newbiggin – 11.1 miles – 2,742 of ascent
Newbiggin to Appleby – 13.5 miles – 1,095ft of ascent
Totals – 91.7 miles – 14,392ft of ascent
Day 1 – Saltaire to Ilkley
This was a fairly leisurely and easy start to the walk. The numerous paths through part of Shipley Glen could have been confusing but by generally walking in a northerly direction I found my way through. The nicest part of the day was the crossing of Hawksworth & Ilkley moors and the views down to the town of Ilkley and beyond.
Ilkley to Skipton
The first half of this walk to Windgate Nick was good although visibility wasn’t great. I opted for the “Turner Lane” alternative to miss out Addingham. It was at this point that I had to endure the only rain on the walk in the form of a brief 10 minute shower. The last 5 miles across Draughton & Skipton moors were less enjoyable as the path was virtually straight and became rutted and difficult towards the end. I’ve already said in my daily reports that anyone short on time could easily miss out these first two days and start from Skipton.
Skipton to Malham
This was the longest leg of the route and, as it was a sunny day, it was one of the hardest. The walk through Skipton Castle Woods was nice but this was quickly followed by the trudge up to the top of Sharp Haw. I’d been there before and knew what to expect but the reward is a great view down towards Gargrave. Descending to Flasby, I then followed the beck to Hatton where I stopped for a welcome pint. More climbing then followed as I went uphill to towards Winterburn Reservoir and then uphill again to The Weets. I then descended steeply on the road to Gordale Bridge for an ice cream before following the Janet’s Foss path to Malham.
Malham to Settle
This was the shortest leg of the route and I’d walked most of it on previous visits to the area. Malham Cove is always impressive even if there is a steep climb to the top.
This is followed by another climb to the top of Watlowes.
There is some particularly impressive scenery on this section of the walk and I must come back to explore more fully the area around Attamire Scar and Victoria Cave.
Settle to Ribblehead
This was one of the longer sections of the walk and I made a couple of deviations from the “official route”. I didn’t want to go to Stainforth as I’d done this before. Instead, I cut across from Stackhouse to Feizor where I stopped at Elaine’s tearooms for a bacon butty and a pot of tea. From here the path took me up to the top of Crummackdale. My plan was then to climb Ingleborough and to descend from Park Fell to Ribblehead. However, I had a sore toe and decided that I’d take the easier “poor Weather” route via Sulber and Selside to Ribblehead. This had a couple of benefits in that it saved me about 800ft of up and down and also allowed me to explore a new path around the side of Simon Fell. I’d done my intended route before so didn’t miss out on anything.
Ribblehead to Sedbergh via Dent
Another long section at 13.5 miles. I’d arranged to meet Jacqui in Dent at about 11am and, as this was 8 miles away, I needed an early start. My B&B didn’t serve breakfast until 8.30 and I wanted to be away well before then so it was diy cereal for me. There was low cloud hanging over the tops as I set out before 8am for the climb around the side of Whernside.
A steep rocky path took me down into Dentdale and I arrived in the village about 15 minutes before Jacqui. Her bus from Sedbergh was delayed due to the number of people/cars at the Dent music & beer festival. I’ve never seen so many folk in this normally sleepy village. More bacon butties and tea were enjoyed before the climb across Frostrow Fells and a leisurely lunch in Sedbergh.
Sedbergh to Newbiggin
Despite being 11 miles with over 2,700ft of ascent, this was my favourite section of the walk. It was a beautifully sunny morning as I set out for the 3 mile climb to The Calf, the highest point of the Howgills. This goes up in sections with the 400ft climb up to Calders being by far the steepest. The next 6 miles were wonderful as I followed feint paths across wide open fells with views all around. The last 2 miles along quiet lanes to Newbiggin seemed never ending. My B&B normally ferry guests into the village for an evening meal but they were going out for the night so I missed out on supper. I took more pictures on this section than any other.
Newbiggin to Appleby
A long final section made even longer by a couple of minor navigational errors. The crossing of Ravenstonedale Moor and Great Asby Scar provided fine views. Quite a number of fields alongside Rutter Force had been badly poached by cattle and made for rough underfoot conditions. A couple of paths a little later on were badly overgrown but I made it into Appleby to the TIC to get my DHW completion certificate. I must have been so elated at having finished the walk that I left my walking poles in the TIC and had to go back for them from by B&B.
There is always a great sense of achievement when completing a long distance path. It had long been an ambition to do the Dales High Way and I can now say that “Ive done it!”. It was a good walk and I was blessed with good weather. I wouldn’t normally single out accommodation but 1 Tivioli Place and Tranna Hill at Newbiggin are two that I would certainly visit again.