Walked 12th June 2013
Distance walked (including our detour) 16 miles
I used Colin Speakman’s book “Dales Way” to crib the occasional note for the blog.
Those interested in The Dales Way might like to look up the Dales Way Association website.
All the photographs were taken on an iphone 5, the images subsequently cropped and adjusted for exposure, highlights and shadows and contrast in Photoshop.
The rooms at the Red Lion were small (some might say cramped) but comfortable. They were also very expensive to have to oneself but this is a deservedly popular area and there is little other accommodation nearby. The breakfast was pretty good though and the Two Johns caught a bus back to meet us so we were on the path again by around 9.30pm.
The path keeps to the east side of the Wharfe past Loup Scar where there are some rapids.
After a brief ascent and descent of the path, the river becomes wide and quiet until it reaches the attractive and quite bouncy Hebden Swing Bridge.
A mile and a half further along we paused to admire (but not be overwhelmed by) Linton Falls.
A short stretch on a lane brought us to the very pretty and busy village of Grassington where there was much debate about provisions for lunch. And a certain amount of friendly banter from John 1 in my direction who thought I needed to be kitted out more smartly from a Gentleman’s Outfitters that had caught his eye.
We walked through the village, climbing gently until we were open fields.
One of the group had earlier opined (apropos of what I can’t remember) that you either see dandelions in full flower or when they at the seed head stage. Always up for a challenge I amused myself by collecting dandelions at the various stages of their development thus proving them wrong and enriching all our botanical knowledge.
We were in unmistakably limestone country now as evidenced by the stone walls and outcrops that we passed by and by a profusion of wild flowers.
The orchids and large patches of yellow violas were particularly impressive.
Bob was the map holder and around Lea Green we (I mean Bob, of course) managed to lose our correct path. A temporary paralysis affected three of our party and there was much map studying.
I felt confident that the path I was on (from where I took this picture) was the correct one and in the face of no great confidence in my view but no better opinion we headed due East through the very pretty Bastow Wood (predominantly birch) which eventually came to a minor road that ran in the bottom of the valley whereas we should have been walking along the top.
The debate as to whose fault it was that we had added an extra couple of miles to the days walk continued until we reached the little hamlet of Conistone where lunch was taken by a flag pole. After lunch I sought to continue in the opposite direction to the one we required to get us back on the Dales Way but Bob, his fingers already burnt, was having none of it. We climbed the steep track known as Scott Gate Lane with good humour (well Bob and I were in good humour, the Johns may have been cursing but they were lagging behind).
It wasn’t a day for spectacular views as the clouds were quite low but the landscape was still impressive as we headed for Kettlewell and we began to pass through some very fine buttercup meadows.
Kettlewell was very sleepy and I feared that we might not find the tea and cake that we all needed but John 1 went exploring and came back with reports of a tea room on the far side of the village. Zarina’s Tea Room and Bed and Breakfast was an excellent place (apart from lack of wifi) with lots of cakes to choose from and some unusual local thing which John tried and which I thought was very bland. (so did he, but neither of us can remember what’s it called, so that’s not much help to you).
After Kettlewell we more or less kept to the banks of the Wharfe for another 4 miles or so.
It was easy and very pleasant walking though meadow after meadow of yellow buttercup (there were other plant species but I was surprised at how few).
Near Buckden the path passes through an estate where I began to notice a wide range of quite mature exotic trees. According to my guidebook many of the trees date for the 1850s when the then owner, John Ramsden, planted them to create a gentleman’s country retreat. It is now part of the National Trust Upper Wharfedale Estate.
At Buckden Bridge we turned right to head for the village where our bags were awaiting us at the Buck Inn. I had half expected to see Dave on the path who was joining us from there but there was no sign of him at the pub so Bob and I unpacked and showered – the two Johns were a little behind (again!).
By the time I had showered and changed Dave was in the bar resplendent in his cycling gear and hot and sweaty. The Johns had kindly bought him a pint though. Dave had left his car at Sedburgh had a very long cycle ride before driving here taking in some optional hills. Mad bugger!
There followed one of the best of evenings that I have had for a long time. Beer had a lot to do with it. Which led to some quite odd conversations and lots of giggling. It seemed to finish off as I remember with a round of malt whiskies being supplied on the house. After which we had another that we paid for. I had a pudding.