Post image for The Dales Way – Day 3 Buckden to Ribblehead (13.5miles)

The Dales Way – Day 3 Buckden to Ribblehead (13.5miles)

July 28, 2013 · 19 comments

Walked 13th June 2013

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.

We had stayed the night at The Buck Inn and had agreed to meet for breakfast at 8.30. There were two other couples in the room when we assembled. Our cheery waitress was very taken by Dave’s Bristolian accent and starting hamming up his rural overtones:  “Ooo arrah TRACTURE” she said. Loudly. Several times.  We laughed. She laughed. Dave took it in good humour.

Although clearly not overstretched we were perplexed, then exasperated that we did not have our breakfast served until well after 9.  Over which, John 2 made the shocking announcement that he had a swollen foot and so would not walk today and John 1 dropped out in solidarity, so our party of 5 was reduced to 3.

We hit problems again with our lady at checkout. Apparently last night’s staff had failed to record what we had eaten and drunk. This led to her all but banging her head on the bar and collapsing in a state of complete meltdown. We did our best to give an honest account but recollection of the later part of the evenings drinks consumption was hazy.

From Buckden we kept to the Wharfe’s   banks for a mile or so and then joined a minor road to Hubberholme, where we crossed the stone bridge over the river and passed by the Norman St Michael and All Angels Chruch.

The bridge at Hubberholme on the Dales way, photographed by Charles Hawes

One of the many fine bridges we were to come across on the walk

Dave and I popped in and were rewarded by some fine stained glass. It seems JB Priestly was also taken by the place.

Plaque to the memory of J B Priestly inside the Church at Hubberholme, photographed by Charles Hawes

Plaque inside the church

Me, too.

The Norman St Michael and All Angels Chruch at Hubberholme, on The Dales Way, photographed by Charles Hawes

I think that they might have made the tower a bit higher


Stained glass window inside the  Norman St Michael and All Angels Church at Hubberholme, on The Dales Way, photographed by Charles Hawes.

Stained glass window inside the  Norman St Michael and All Angels Church at Hubberholme, on The Dales Way, photographed by Charles Hawes.

To the right of the river bank the path climbs gently through buttercup meadows through the hamlets of Yockenthwaite and then Deepdale, where we crossed  its very elegant bridge (the view of which is somewhat marred by the insensitive placing of a post box)

Bridge over the River Wharfe at Deepdale on The Dales Way, photographed  by Charles Hawes

OK, its not so obvious in the picture

From here up to Beckermonds the river was shallow and stepped with rapids its solid rock bed moulded into little pools by erosion.

River Wharfe near Beckermonds on the Dales Way, photographed by Charles Hawes

We never did find out what engineering works were taking place by the roadside.

We stopped for coffee from our flasks  at Beckermonds  bridge where we crossed the river once more and had a chat with a very heavily laden Canadian couple who must have been well into their 60’s (which, speaking as someone well into their 50’s I found encouraging).

It was quite a steep climb on the quiet road from Beckermonds to Oughtershaw where a stone monument (erected in 1887 to commemorate Queen Victoria’s golden jubilee) marked where the path leaves the road and followed a wide farm track, still rising into the moor.

Stone monument (erected in 1887 to commemorate Queen Victoria's golden jubilee) at Oughtershaw on The Dales Way, photographed by Charles Hawes

But why a Celtic cross?

This cow near the start of the track was very pretty but not as pretty as my beloved Aubracs.

2013-06-13 12.21.05

It was a dull, overcast  day and we had the odd sharp shower so waterproofs were pulled out and stayed on for the rest of the days walk.   As we hopped across boggy bits and little streams we were grateful that it was relatively dry underfoot.

Approaching Cam Houses on the Dales way, photographed by Charles Hawes

Bob in the front with his very characteristic stance

This stretch could be hard work in the winter.  It brightened up and the views improved as we approached Cam House.

View to Cam Woodlands and Ingleborough from The Dales Way, photographed by Charles Hawes

I think that’s Ingleborough in the distance

The massive block planted coniferous Cam Woodland is a throwback to the days when the Forestry Commission did not really think about its landscape impact.

View over Cam Woodland from The Dales Way, photographed by Charles Hawes

Talk about insensitive planting!

We were not sure if the devastation of its upper edge was caused by man or nature.

2013-06-13 13.38.12

Either was it was a bit of a shock to pass through such mayhem.

Lunch was taken as the path joins Cam High Road by a cairn which marks the joining of The Dales Way with the Pennine Way.

Cairn on the Cam High Road where the Dales way joins the Pennine Way, photographed by Charles Hawes

A huffing and puffing solo walker passed us, clearly struggling under the weight of a big bag and in a hurry to finish the day and catch a train.

It seemed extraordinary how much effort had gone into re-surfacing this old coach road (pity those poor horses that would have had to have dragged the coaches up to this highest point of the path  -520metres, or around 1800 feet if you prefer).  We speculated that the upgrading was required for Forestry use. It certainly made for easy walking as we slowly descended this once Roman Road towards Gearstones.

The Cam High Road section of The Dales Way, photographed by Charles Hawes

“Is this the right way, Bob?”. Bob checks map.

Crossing Gayle Beck near Gearstones  was a challenge. They had removed the bridge and a pile of bales of straw in the wide stream was barely an adequate replacement. Bob and Dave picked their way over makeshift stepping stones and jumped across the bales. I thought wet feet were guaranteed by their route so I made for where they were working, only to be shooed away by some jobsworth. I was up for a confrontation but could then see that there was nothing to be gained by it and made the crossing on the bales, noting that a stiff letter would be written to the National Park Authorities.

I don’t know who had the daft idea that a few bales of straw would make an adequate temporary crossing

Although not late in the day we were feeling fairly tired of leg so the mile and half walk by the busy road to the Station Inn at Ribblehead was not welcomed, though the view of the viaduct was very fine indeed.  Not wanting to miss out on a closer inspection of the viaduct (tomorrow we would have to retrace our steps to Gearstones to pick up the path) Dave headed off for an explore.

View of Ribblehead Viaduct, photographed by Charles Hawes


Our bags were waiting and my spacious room looked out to the viaduct and I was glad of the view and grateful for the shower and a short rest before going to find out if my friend Paul (who was driving up from South Wales to join us for the rest of the walk) had arrived.

He had. He was installed in the BunkHouse (there being no room for him at the Inn). He’d had a somewhat challenging drive so we retired to the bar and were joined shortly afterwards by Dave and Bob (who had met each other before when we had walked on Hadrians Wall but neither had met Paul).

We scored the Station Inn highly for beer and food. For reasons I would have difficulty explaining I moved our conversation to an elephant that I felt was in the room – politics. Dave and I were the main contributors and we had a firm and frank but thankfully not fatal set to.

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Paul Steer July 28, 2013 at 4:52 pm

‘No room for him in the Inn’ ! I laughed so I did, and at the comment about the church tower. Great pictures and comments Charles.


Charles July 29, 2013 at 7:13 pm

Thanks Paul. I love to have a little Inn joke. That tower does look a bit stubby, doesn’t it?


Anne Wareham July 28, 2013 at 6:38 pm

What do you mean your recollection of the drinks consumed was hazy!? Very odd.


John July 28, 2013 at 9:32 pm

Mathematical failings don’t seem odd to me given that the narrative for day 1 starts by referring to a meet at the end of the preceding day’s walk (or, more appropriately, walks; otherwise why meet at the end?). Then 2 walkers seem to have disappeared at the beginning of day 3 (or 4?) and not reappeared at the end. So would not there be a room or 2 to spare at the inn, obviating the need for Paul to sleep in the garden shed? I guess, though, that the disappearance could have been planned and hence no room bookings made.

And, one might ask. why had not Charles (or another) had the foresight to check on (or make) a room booking for Paul? I think Charles owes Paul a drink, or several.

And, arguably, the Jubilee Cross is a Canterbury Cross not a Celtic Cross. Smartarse, aren’t I?


Charles July 29, 2013 at 7:11 pm

Hmm. I understand your point about Paul’s place at the Inn. Its a mystery which I am not at liberty to explain. But just to be clear, this was THE THIRD days walk. The next will be the fourth and we will be 4 walking it. I’ll try and get it out as soon as possible as I know the suspense will be killing you. Canterbury Cross, very good. My book described it as Celtic and I just copied his description.


Julia July 29, 2013 at 8:12 am

Lovely to see stone used in so many ways – and can feel the wind and the damp issuing forth from this post. Too extreme for me but not because well into my 60’s necessarily.


Charles July 29, 2013 at 7:06 pm

What an interesting observation. But yes, all those walls and wonderful bridges and barns….But surely not that extreme? We were only on the fell for a short while.


Alex. Footpaths August 20, 2013 at 4:10 pm

Buckden to Ribblehead
Great photos, some look like paintings.
The water works going up Outershaw are to provide mains water up the Dale. The farms have either a spring or a bore hole. Whether any of them take it up is doubtful due to the conection charge, so the workmen said
On other parts of our web site there are videos of the forest “harvesting” and surfacing the road for the waggons.



Charles August 20, 2013 at 5:35 pm

Thanks very much Alex. And thank you for the information about the water works. Always nice to have questions answered.


Chris Grogan June 26, 2014 at 7:15 am

You’ll be pleased to hear all the construction work is finished and there’s now a bridge where the bales were. The trees are being removed and there are plans to replant with a mixed wood. We (Dales Way Association) had “strong words” with the National Park Authority about the impact on walkers and heads were hung (in shame).
ps the engineering work at the top of Wharfedale was the installation of pipes for a mains water supply to the farms which all have their own water and didn’t want mains. HeyHo!


Charles June 27, 2014 at 10:45 am

Hi Chris
That is good news and not before time!All power to the Dales way Association. Thanks for the clarification about the water works.


Alison McKee July 27, 2014 at 6:03 pm

I’m doing it solo at the end of August and having looked at various photos wonder how visible the trail is around the Cam Fell to Gearstones moorland area? My navigation’s not great so would I be likely to get lost if it were misty? Are there any other similar dodgy areas?


Charles July 27, 2014 at 7:32 pm

Hi Alison. Well I’ve walked over much more difficult areas to follow. The path is well worn so if you stick to the obvious trail you should be fine.
You can be the first to know that I am walking the section from Bolton Priory to Burnsall with Clare Balding for the R4 Ramblings programme in two weeks time. Should be fun!


Alex. Footpaths.DWA July 27, 2014 at 8:07 pm

Hi Charles, well done. The first one we have heard of. Hope it is not too windy, not good with a mike.
Enjoy yourself and give us a plug.




Charles July 27, 2014 at 8:17 pm

Thanks. She is covering the whole path. So great exposure. Will certainly get a plug in for DWA. Surprised they haven’t approached you.


Alex. Footpaths.DWA July 28, 2014 at 9:22 am

They did several weeks ago and we will be there at the end of the walk.

Re Alison. As Charles said the trail from Buckden is a well marked path. From Outershaw it is a farm road up to Swarthgyll farm, from there you are on the moor, which if the weather changes could be muddy. There is a faint path but the rule is keep straight on if it is misty, to Breadpeice Barn. After Cam Houses there is a new footpath through the harvested trees, then a bit more moor up to the cairn on Cam High Road. The new wagon road takes you down to Gearstones. Always take a guide book. Colin Speakman’s latest edition has excellent strip maps of the whole route which will get you there. Our web page has many useful tips and information with some videos of Cam forest. Get our DVD from our web page which covers all of the Dales Way footpath. Have a good journey, in fine weather we hope.
Alex. Footpaths


Charles July 28, 2014 at 3:18 pm

Hi again. Thanks for posting this very helpful advice for Alison.


Chris Grogan July 28, 2014 at 1:06 pm

Hi Charles

Good to hear you’re one of Clare’s companions. I’m walking the Dent – Sedbergh section to no doubt whitter a bit about being a Dent-onion. Did I ever send you a copy of the Dales High Way route guide? I know we tweeted about it but I was away at the time and can’t remember what happened next!


Charles July 28, 2014 at 3:21 pm

Hi Chris. That’s great! We can listen to each other witter. No, you didn’t send the guide. I would still like it please. Going in September.


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