Walked Friday June 14th 2013.
Distance walked: 16.6 miles
Those interested in The Dales Way might like to look up the Dales Way Association website.
All the photos were taken on an iphone 5 and subsequently cropped and adjusted for exposure, highlights and shadows and contrast in Photoshop.
The four of us walking today (me, Bob, Dave and Paul – Short in Stature, Light of Foot) had stayed last night at The Station Inn and an excellent place it was too in all respects bar one. The television screen in the bar. I hate these restless, noisy intrusions into the peace and quiet of drinking places and the nicer the place the more I feel pissed off at them being imposed on me. Horrible. I liked their weather station though.
I had hoped that there might be a route over Blea Moor to regain our path but The Man With The Map insisted that there was none. The trudge back along the road was quickly done, though, and we were soon continuing the gentle climb across the moor to reach Dent Road. The skies were a little threatening but we were still afforded a decent view.
It seems surprising that for the next three miles we were required to walk on the road but the traffic was very light and it is always an advantage not to have to pay much attention to ones feet when there are engaging views around you.
The Dent Head Viaduct is, to my eye, a good example of how buildings can enhance a natural landscape, though I am sure there were those at the time of its building, who must have thought it a dreadful desecration.
The road gave us a close up view of this wonderful structure….
…..and then took us past this mossy embankment within a little wood to drop by the upper reaches of the River Dee.
The river’s limestone bed has been carved over the centuries by the action of its water and pebbles exploiting the natural jointing in the stone.
Pause for Paul to take a picture.
At Lea Yeat Bridge we left the road briefly only to regain it shortly afterwards where we were passed for the first time in the day by a young couple heading in the opposite direction who were heavily laden with full camping gear. All the bridges we passed over or by were works of beauty.
The Dales Way leaves the Dee for a while at Little Town to pass through gently sloping sheep-grazed fields and meadows of buttercup. I guess from the picture that we must have had some sharp showers though my memory is already hazy on this detail.
Actually, I do remember that I kept having to stop often to stuff my waterproofs back in my bag frequently as it wasn’t cold and despite the breathability of modern fabrics I still find that I overheat quickly.
The path rejoins the Dee for another mile or so of buttercup meadows…..
…..before reaching Bridge End (actually crossing Deepdale Beck here).
From here another short stretch by the Dee brought us near the pretty village of Dent, where Bob and Paul and I diverted to stock up on carbohydrates and I had an ice-cream from the rather sweet little museum.
Dave, meanwhile, had decided to stick by the river, necessitating a small confusion as to where exactly we were going to meet him again. As the others munched on their sarnies I popped into St Andrews Church for a mosey around.
I love the phenomenon of kneelers, which congregations produce for their faithful and which bring up childhood memories of sundays in the High Anglican church in Chislehurst in Kent where my brother and I were taken by our mother whist my father had a drink in a local pub.
We found Dave somehow or other and re-assembled to carry on the very easy route by the Dee to Brackensgill, passing hedges festooned with dense webs from caterpillas the names of which Paul knew but which have failed to find sufficeint cells to remain in my brain.
And then suddenly everything changed. We had to climb for a while and as we did so, the views over the surrounding hills and to the distant fells were so impressive that I felt almost as if I had been cheating myself ambling along by the river (Bob and I subsequently resolved that we would do High Dales Way another time).
I wanted to be up there with the birds. In his book The Dales Way, Speakman says that here a geological change occurs and with it, he suggests, that the landscape begins to more resemble the Lake District which lies ahead.
Walking into Sedburgh it was obvious that the town is dominated by its public school, whoose playing fields seem to circle the place. Lots of sporty looking young people were practicing in the cricket nets and tooing and frooing between tennis courts. It’s a most attrcative place.
And it was the parting of the ways. Dave needed to find his car and then make the drive back to Buckden where his bicycle awaited at the Buck Inn. And Paul needed to find his bed and breakfast. Bob and I were booked into The Dalesman Country Inn. The heavens opened as Bob and I neared the pub. Time to get inside.
We got together for an excellent meal at the Dalesman, indulging ourselves with pudding and the cheese board whilst Paul told us about the very nice lady in his bed and brekfast and her very smelly dog.