Day 46 Hawes to Tan Hill Inn

20th May 2018

Weather: Overcast with high white cloud in morning, thickening later. Warm with cool breeze on high ground.

All Day 46 photos on Dropbox

Woke at 04:50 to a sunny morning. After a huge pan of porridge and some fruit I set off walking 06:20. It was hot in the valley yesterday afternoon so I wanted to start in cool conditions.

Was on Great Shunner Fell by 09:30, having met Simon, organic cattle farmer from Lewes, Sussex. We walked along & chatted for a bit. Spoke with a group of walkers from Leicestershire going towards Thwaite. I won’t forget the open-mouthed look from one lady on learning of my “quest”.

Had a “cyclists breakfast” at a hotel cafe in Thwaite 11:50 which set me up for some time. This was Swaledale, a most beautiful dale. The walk from Thwaite to Keld, high above a steep-sided limestone valley, with a wide river bed. Primroses and bluebells on the hillside.

Stopped at Keld 14:00-14:30 dipping my feet in the river. Then a walk across moorland: several noisy curlews, arriving Tan Hill Inn 16:30

Lots of fun chat in the Inn with Simon, two runners – who met Kat at Tan Hill yesterday.

View from Hardraw bridge

Simon on the ascent: Abbotside Common behind.

Great Shunner Fell summit

Thwaite in distance on descent

Tree fern fossil (?) on track.

Above Thwaite

Above Swaledale looking NE

Looking SE


Hawes to Tan Hill track as planned on ViewRanger

Day 45 HIR to Hawes

18th May 2018

Weather: Blue sky, sunny, warm. A cool breeze out of valley. Some afternoon cloud, a very warm afternoon & evening in Hawes.

All Day 45 photos on Dropbox

The campsite was very busy early this morning with large and small groups preparing to walk the Yorkshire 3 Peaks. And what a fine day for it.

I left 08:00, and the PW Route was rather a lonely one apart from where it coincided with: the descent from Pen-y-Ghent (walkers); the PW bridleway (bicycles); The byway on Dodd fell (motorbikes, and loads of them). One runner who was headed into HIR in the morning, she passed me going back to Hawes about 2 hours later!

Route followed mostly hard moorland track, some good views across Ribblesdale and away to the west on Dodd Fell. Descending into Hawes: Wensleydale and Great Shunner Fell: tomorrow’s route.

Arrived Hawes YHA at 4pm (I had a foot bath in the stream at Ling Gill bridge, a longish lunch about 12:00). An easy pace for the day with an “early” finish. The hostel seems deserted this evening: a few cycling groups presumably gone into the village for dinner. I am happily cool-bathing the left foot, it seems to be working well.

I debated with myself on taking a day off: but the foot is doing well, I feel well & the weather is certainly with me and forecast is good for days! I may stop at Keld tomorrow, in which case don’t expect a blog entry. It’s a further 2 hours to Tan Hill Inn where I should be able to connect.

Busy campsite just before 08:00 An even larger group left about an hour earlier.

I believe Beth named this “Water Aven” yesterday


An abundance of orchids at Ling Gill Nature Reserve

Foot-watering location

Cyclists at Junction of PW, Pennine Bridleway and Dales Way with Ingleborough & Ribblehead viaduct as background

Ingleborough (the knobbly one), peeking over the top of Whernside

Nice piece of Wensleydale Grommit!

HIR to Hawes planned route as track on ViewRanger

Day 44 Airton to Horton in Ribblesdale

18th May 2018

Weather: Sunshine, hazy sky. Warm in valley, cool breeze elsewhere.

All Day 43 photos on Dropbox

Sue & Beth (Parkrun friends) arrived by car shortly after I left the hostel, and after suncream faffs all round we were walking along the riverbank by 8:50

A snack of Beth’s banana cake in Malham, a climb up above the cove & “first lunch” at Malham Tarn, a little cool. Sue had brought me a fabulous salad of chicken, quinoa, mange tout, lambs lettuce, tomatoes, avocado. Lovely. There was cake and fruit at second lunch just below Fountain Fell summit. (Where I realised that yesterday’s incorrect identification of hills above Kirkby Lonsdale was really Great Whernside: the hills above Wharfedale)

Skylarks, curlews and Beth identifying flowering plants I wouldn’t have even noticed.

Arrived HIR 17:10, set up tent and we all went to The Crown for a meal. They left 19:00. Lovely company for the day. It will, unfortunately, be a much quieter day tomorrow!

Setting off at Airton Bridge

Just North of Hanliffe


Approaching Malham Cove

On limestone pavement above the cove

Ing Scar

Mountain pansies (spotted by Beth)

Just descending from Fountains Fell

Pen-y-Ghent in background

Another early purple?


Feet dunking in the river after dinner

The Gargrave to HIR planned route as ViewRanger track

Day 43 Ickornshaw to Airton

17th May 2018

Weather: Sunshine, blue sky with some milky haze. Cool breeze until warm evening.

All Day 43 photos on Dropbox

After leaving the restaurant and partway back, I realised that the bill was too small to have included the dessert. The feeling of guilt … but I really didn’t realise.

The campsite owner called me a “crazy MF” , and shook my hand when we talked of the quest. Told me of the out of date guidebooks- no campsite in next village, Lothersdale (it’s on the OS map) pub does no food. Good decision last night!

The tent was very wet with condensation this morning: hanging it up, I could have filled a mug as it ran off. So despite up at 6.30 it was some faff drying the tent & packing away. My experiment for breakfast of a tin of beans and pre-cooked packet rice actually worked well enough (shop in Cowling last night).

Set off 08:45. A lovely hike uphill looking back to the previous downhill, had me thinking of those sheds (yesterday’s text updated if this is a mystery to you).

Spoke to a heavily laden North-to-South PW walker who was positively enthusiastic about carrying a 50lb pack despite the blisters.

On Pinhaw Beacon it was 360-degree panorama. Pendle Hill, the Settle/Malham limestone escarpment, the peaks of Ingleborough, Whernside, Pen-y-ghent, then over to Kirkby Lonsdale. Or so I guessed. I also saw a weasel run across the path: only the second time I have ever seen one.

Shortly after Thornton in Craven I caught up with Californian Lewis (a different campsite owner asked me last night if I was Lewis). He too is suffering blisters, though with a modest pack. He was inspired to walk the PW 25 years ago when he met “a couple of old guys walking it”. He is doing it now he’s retired. Inspiration just passes down the generations. Shortly after I spoke to another chap who walked PW years before, just after retiring. He said he felt so good at the end he wanted to turn around and walk back again.

Stopped at Dalesman cafe in Gargrave for cheese & bacon toastie. Food for tonight, all of which added up to an hour at least & then another 2 hours to Airton, across green fields and riverside on a warm evening, where I am in a Quaker house bunk barn. One other person in.

I shall always remember this as “shed valley”

I have ruthlessly destroyed dandelions in my garden for years. They will now forever remind me of this walk, so I may have to cultivate a pot or two

Pinhaw Beacon and a zoom-in on Pendle

The three Peaks of Yorkshire panorama from Pinhaw

Lewis on the canal before East Marton

Wild garlic in full flower

The cake display in The Dalesman Cafe

Dandelion clocks

Eshton Moor




Newfield bridge

Local fisherman at work

Tonight’s foot treat

Here’s the planned track to Gargrave on ViewRanger

Day 42 Hebden Bridge to Icornshaw

16th May 2018

Thanks to everyone who has sent me good wishes by comment, text, email on the resumption of the walk. It buoys me up!

Weather: Grey skies until 13:00, sunny with little fluffy clouds from 15:00. A cold wind across the high points.

All Day 42 photos on Dropbox

A morning’s walk in the woods, then a day of marching across vast open moorland. Delightful! More skylarks than yesterday, a plover.

Approaching Ickornshaw: a line of home-made sheds down the hill. All with barrels of rainwater, chimneys, shuttered Windows. I wondered if these were the fabled rhubarb sheds of Yorkshire, except I am pretty sure I was in Lancashire.

Pleased to have finished the day before 17:30 after an 8:15 start. After a hint by Austin I found Kat’s daily blog (a little hidden from the start page) – impressive.

Looking South, probably Charlestown below, with Stoodley Pike clearly visible.

Ruined church at Heptonstall

Approaching the tree-filled Hebden Dale

After taking a downwards path too soon to the West bank, where no path was marked on the map, I was pleased to see:

Gibson Mill. A very popular place at weekends (I have visited before)

Retrospective view South to Hebden Dale from Walshaw

Walshaw reservoirs where I joined the Pennine Way

Which is paved across the soggy peat as far as Top Withins

The literary pilgrimage site



Ponder Reservoir with Oakworth Moor behind

Wolf stones edge, Pendle Hill behind (took me a while to work it out)

Cat stones, Ickornshaw Moor looking North

Three sheds in this shot …

Tonight’s rest stop is Squirrel Wood campsite

A bit of a trek into Cowling to get breakfast in a shop and tonight’s meal in the Harlequin, but not disappointed.

Fresh veg!

Jam roly-poly & custard!

I recorded the route until I met the Pennine Way, then followed PW waymarks

Hebden Bridge to Walshaw on ViewRanger

Went further than original plan (Stanbury) because I started at Hebden Bridge, (instead of a Westward diversion to Mankinholes that cut off about 2 miles)

Day 41 Marsden to Hebden Bridge

15th May 2018

Weather: Sunshine and blue sky. Comfortably warm

Day 41 photos on Dropbox

A busy commuter Tram into Victoria, then train to Marsden, set of walking 9.30. A sunlit panorama over Marsden I felt a thrill to be back on the hills.

Cirrus cloud and vapour trails in a slightly milky blue sky on the big open moorland. All mostly dry underfoot. A skylark close by, and curlews later. Pale blue butterflies by a reservoir. The roar of the M62 reminded me of a madder, busier world. Walking from South to North, walking across West-East valleys, so an up & down day.

The lambs were younger here (high moorland prone to April snow) and there was a second flowering of dandelions alongside their gone-to-seed predecessors.

Another panorama from Great Manshead hill: East towards Rippondon and distant Halifax; West to a horizon accumulating clouds, with the Stoodley Pike ridge prominent. From Cragg Vale I had to resist the temptation to walk to that magnificent ridge & a photo opportunity of Stoodley Pike and was rewarded by the green views from Bell House and Errington moors. Listening to Jimmy Hendrix, (“all along the watchtower”, very appropriate) Pink Floyd, GenesisA balcony walk above the valley before a steep descent into Hebden Bridge.

Both feet twinging a bit today. Taking it carefully.

Panorama back to Marsden

More moor

Above the Madness62

Skies above Booth Moor

Painted on the wall: “Footpath” and an arrow

A pylon moot

Great Manshead Hill approach

From the summit looking NorthWest

This bit of farmland had discarded tractors, farm equipment, trailers, mounds of plastic and even a discarded farm building (which looked the prettiest by far)

Cragg Vale: a beautiful green valley

The worst stile ever:

Looking back at Cragg Vale

Broadhead Clough from Erringdon Moor

Hebden Bridge

Day 41 track on ViewRanger

Back in the saddle

14th May 2018

Weather: Too nice to be staying at home

The green grass (mowed yesterday), and red tree, of home:

A visit to NHS minor injuries unit reassured me there was no fracture (wish I had taken a photo of the X-Ray image). Gardening, shopping, cooking, some family meals, and quite a lot of sleeping last week has refreshed my energy levels. The warm sunny weather says “the Pennine Way is going to be rather good in this”, and the foot, while not 100%, is substantially recovered and feels OK. I am ready for “back in the boots”

Clothes washed, boots cleaned I am rather keen to be off and planning to restart from Marsden tomorrow (15th May)

Essential kit update (two iPod shuffles)

I was contacted by the walker of Kat’s Big Walk telling me she was 4 days behind me until I stopped. Looking at her itinerary: I was reminded that there is a ‘new’ John O’Groats trail along the East Coast North of Inverness. Andy Robinson had pointed this out after I had already finished my itinerary.

I have now considered more options (not wanting to finish after 30th June), and hoping to complete the spreadsheet planning, routes & map printing tonight (all that time wasted on failed home-made gnocchi tonight)

1: From Spean Bridge: taking the Great Glen Way and JOG Trail should take a few days less than the original planned route.

2: Stop at Kilsyth or Callander for this year & do a Munro-bagging trip of three outstanding (Meall Ghaordiadh; Ben More, Mull; Ben Sgulaird)

* Both options leaving the more challenging backpacking expedition across glens & Flow County from Spean Bridge to Keiss as an adventure for May 2019.

Kit obsession corner:


Fixed-prongs USB charger plug (40g); Black Patagonia long-sleeved top (220g); Dexshell waterproof socks (150g)

Total: -410g


Folding prongs USB charger plug (65g); green iPod shuffle, (LOTR, Under Milk Wood loaded) & charger lead (50g); purple iPod shuffle (15g), music loaded; Sealskinz waterproof socks (115g); midge head-net and bag (20g)

Total: +265g

Net: -145g

I tested the waterproof socks by putting my hands inside and holding them underwater in the sink. Surprisingly a pair of my “old” Sealskinz I thought were no longer proof passed the test (I have 2 pairs so maybe it was the other pair)