Sunday, 19 January 2014

Some more bits and pieces on... the Pennine Way (Footpath No. 7) - Part II: The Yorkshire Dales National Park and on and ever on to Hebden Bridge.

This section of the way heads out from the Inn at Tan Hill, an incredibly isolated building on the northernmost boundary of the Yorkshire Dales National Park – the nearest town is some 11 miles away.
The trail then descends a stone valley called Stones Dale towards the village of Keld.  From Keld the route passes the waterfall, Kisdon Force, crossing the side of Kisdon Hill and along to upper Swaledale.
From there it is a steep ascent of Great Shunner Fell, where having conquered this mighty hill, Big Dave will no doubt collapse for a while. Once regaining consciousness and having had time to consume most of his rations for the day and take in the vista, he will begin the 5 mile descent down the opposite side of Great Shunner Fell to the hamlet of Hardraw.
The route then crosses Wensleydale (insert your Aardman inspired humour here... more cheese Gromit!) and then it climbs to a ridge that runs from Sleddale to Widdale past Dodd Fell Hill.  From there the trail follows a roman road and coincides with the Dales Way. Then it’s a stumble downhill from Cam Fell and past the eastern end of a narrow valley called Ling Gill. The walk then continues in a downward angle through Ribblesdale along an old packhorse road to the village of Horton.
At that point, it’s time to get all psyched up again before starting the strenuous climb to the summit of Pen-y-Ghent. After taking the opportunity to soak in the amazing view and take a few pictures for the charities, there is a very sharp descent from the nose of Pen-y-Ghent after which the trail crosses the shoulder of Fountains Fell to the glacial lake, Malham Tarn.
From the lake the way follows the limestone pavement at the top of Malham Cove (recognisable to many as having featured in one of the Harry Potter Deathly Hallows films) and descends some steps to the actual village of Malham. Hopefully having recharged with a pint of the black stuff there Big Dave can follow the field paths downhill through Airedale and out of the southern boundary of the Yorkshire Dales National Park towards Gargrave.
From Gargrave the route passes through noticeably gentler country as it runs for a distance along the towpath of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal before crossing Pinhaw Beacon towards Lothersdale. From that village the route strikes out across another expanse of moorland to Ponden Hall, before ascending to the ruins of Top Withens, which are said to have been the inspiration for Wuthering Heights.
It then passes the Walshaw Dean Reservoirs, crossing Colden Water using an ancient clapper bridge, descending into the Calder Valley to the town of Hebden Bridge, which is probably the largest settlement near to the Pennine Way.
Still to come... The Pennine Way - Part III: Hebden Bridge to Edale via the Peak District National Park.

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