Only a week after returning home from our holiday in Settle, I was up early and driving back to the Dales. When flicking through the walking guides on holiday I’d spotted several references to the Norber erratics and rather fancied basing a walk around them. I decided to start off in Clapham (not the one in London I would add) following the route in the Cicerone guide to the Dales (South and West).
Arriving in the small village, I parked up in the National Park run car park. It cost £4-80 for the full day, which I consider to be reasonable – compare that with what it costs in central Manchester. Several other cars pulled up and the occupants of a number of the large “SUVs” which have become popular, (often as a way of showing off) were quite put out by the fee, expressing their dissatisfaction. Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised that people who like to swank around resent making their contribution to the upkeep of the facilities, which they can surely afford. But if they’re that hard up maybe they should choose a cheaper car.
After a quick stroll around the village I changed out of my boots and then set of back home. It had been a sunny, but windy day. The weather forecast was looking good for the next few days. That gave me an idea……
On the last day of our little holiday in Settle, the weather forecast was predicting rain in the afternoon – the first proper rain we’d experienced during the week. However, it was sunny when I got up in the morning, so I decided on a last walk – a short walk around the Ribble to Langcliffe and back.
I passed the mill and then took a quiet minor road which led up to the B6479 just a short distance north of our holiday cottage. A few minutes later and I was back inside heading for the kettle! The weather had remained reasonably fine – overcast but interspersed with some periods of sunshine. A nice final walk of about 3 miles.
In the afternoon we wandered into Settle and did a little mooching and shopping. The rain arrived a little later than forecast and we were back indoors before it really got gong. Time to relax and do a little reading before a final meal.
Thursday, during our stay in Settle, was something of a grey day. I had to run a web tutorial early evening, which limited out options a little, so we decided to go out for a drive – the first time we’d used our car since we’d arrived for our break the previous Saturday.
We headed north on the B6479 up Ribblesdale, through Horton-in-Ribblesdale and on to Ribblehead where we stopped to take a look at the rather majestic Ribblehead viaduct.
The viaduct stands below Whernside, the highest of the three peaks, and is overlooked by Ingleborough. It takes trains across the windswept moor as they make their way from Settle to Carlisle.
The line was built by the Midland Railway company, which before nationalisation of the railway network, was in competition with the London and North Western Railway (LNWR). The Midland Railway wanted to use the LNWR’s lines to run trains up to Scotland but they refused. The Settle Carlisle line was the Midland Railway’s way of getting round this. The route was surveyed in 1865 and the Midland got permission from parliament to build it. However, before work started they had second thoughts due to the cost – but the Government insisted that they go ahead. So the line was constructed, running through some dramatic countryside in the Yorkshire Dales and Westmoreland.
Back in the 80’s, British Rail wanted to close the line. Ribblehead and other viaducts and bridges needed repairing and they saw this as an expensive luxury. However, a campaign was launched to save the line by rail enthusiasts, local authorities and residents along the route and they persuaded the government to save the line. As it turned out, the repairs were nowhere as expensive as projected and the renewed interest in the route has made it popular with tourists. Scheduled trains are run by Northern Rail (that’s one of their trains crossing the viaduct in the picture above) and special excursions are also run along the scenic route, on trains often hauled by steam engines.
We parked up the car and took a short walk up to and under the viaduct
After inspecting the viaduct and taking in the scenery, we got back in teh car and set of down the road through Widdale towards the village of Hawes at the head of Wensleydale. The road wound through bleak, but scenic, moorland. Not that I could see much as I had to keep my eyes on the road!
It didn’t take long to reach the village and, being out of season, we didn’t have any trouble finding a parking space. There’s been a market town here since 1307 and they still hold a market every Tuesday. We had a little mooch while we looked for somewhere to eat. Everything seemed to be constructed from stone and looked very quaint and attractive. I suspect that many of them aren’t as old as they perhaps first appear – probably Victorian (but I could be wrong)
After we’d had a good look at the viaduct we returned tot eh car. We’d decided to drive along Wensleydale to Hawes, where we hoped to get a bite to eat.
Being something of a honeypot, there were plenty of places to eat. Peering through the window I liked the look of the White Hart Inn. Although there wasn’t a menu posted outside I had a good feeling about it and was proved right as we enjoyed a rather tasty, freshly cooked meal far better than your average, unimaginative pub food.
We ate in a cosy lounge with a real fire in a range set in an old fireplace
After our meal we had an hour or so before we needed to return to our cottage. Now Hawes is known for being the home of Wensleydale the favourite cheese of Wallace of Wallace and Grommit fame.
Cheese was first made in the area by monks from a nearby monastery and cheesemaking continued even after they’d left. In May 1992, Dairy Crest, Board, closed the Hawes creamery transferring production of Wensleydale cheese to the Longridge factory in Lancashire. This didn’t go down too well in Yorkshire! However, following a management buyout, production restarted in Hawes. The business has flourished – helped by the publicity to Wensleydale cheese in the Wallace and Grommit films.
We decided to visit the creamery where there’s a shop and restaurant and factory tours. Unfortunately we’d missed the last tour so had to console ourselves by purchasing some cheese in the shop.
Returning to the car we drove back along the road to Ribblehead and then back down Ribblesdale. The weather had brightened up a little and I stopped to grab a photograph of Penyghent, partially lit up by the sun.
The Tuesday of our holiday in Settle we spent mooching around the town and the “twin” village of Giggleswick and we went to a concert in the evening at the Victoria Hall to see a band called Moishe’s Bagel who played folk / world music. We’d never heard of them but thought it would be good to get out and we certainly enjoyed the evening. They are, apparently, regulars at the venue and it was certainly packed out with locals.
The following morning I planned a route that would take me over Giggleswick Scar, which we could see from the window in our holiday let, and then on over the moors to the hamlet of Feizor.
So, I booted up, packed my rucksack and set off over the bridge to Giggleswick.
I skirted the village and was soon walking up on the open moor towards the Scar
This was another good walk and I could see plenty of scope for variation – including climbing Smearsett Scar and visiting Catrigg Force waterfall. Further exploration of the area is certainly warrented.
The Monday of our holiday in Settle, the weather had changes somewhat, the skies having clouded over. However, rain wasn’t forecast so we set out on a walk. We thought we’d head along to Langcliffe on the old road from Settle and then, if the weather held, carry on to Stainforth- and that’s how it worked out.
We reached the small village of Stainforth. I’d hoped we might to stop for a bite to eat in the local pub. I was disappointed though – it’s shut on Mondays!! So we carried on, crossing the main road and making our way down the quiet, narrow lane towards Stainforth bridge
We made our back along the old road to Settle where we stopped for a brew in a peasant cafe on the market square.
Sunday morning I was up early and greeted by what promised to be a fine day. After a leisurely breakfast I mad up some sandwiches and a flask of coffee and got ready for a walk up on the hills. No need to drive anywhere to start the walk as I was able to set out from the front door.
A few months ago I’d seen Alistair Campbell (not my favourite person) walking in this area on a Winter Walk on TV. Watching this had inspired me to do some walking around here and when we were thinking of where we might stay for a short break, Settle came to mind. I’d seen a circular route from Settle on the Discovering Britain Website (the downloadable booklet describing the walk includes some very interesting information by a local) and had originally thought I’d follow that. However, on the day I decided to extend the walk, heading towards Malham and then looping back towards Langcliffe on the Pendle Bridleway. I could have extended further by popping into Malham, but a quick calculation suggested I’d have trouble getting back before sunset and didn’t want to get stuck in the dark on unfamiliar moors. Going into Malham was certainly doable but I’ll have to save that for another time when longer days would allow me to linger for a while.
I had to walk into Settle and then head up through the streets on to the old Langcliffe Road, before turning off onto the moor.
About 10 minutes before I arrived I got a phone call. It was J asking how long I’d be and did I want her to make a brew for when I got back. Did I? Silly question 🤣. And that was good timing!
To help transition to my life of (hopefully) increased leisure (i.e. working part time) we decided that it would be a good idea to get away for a break. We decided to take a week’s break in Settle on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales which, although is less than 1 1/2 hours drive from home, would provide a good change of pace and scenery. We hired a former mill worker’s cottage on the edge of the small town for a week and kept our fingers crossed that the weather would be favourable and not like just a couple of weeks before when we were faced by three named storms in close succession! I’m glad to say things worked out well for us and I managed to get out for a wander from the doorstep every day only going out in the car the once, on a grey day to drive up to Ribblehead and on to Hawes . We even had a night out at a concert in the old Victoria Hall- the first time I’ve been in the audience at a show for over two years.
We arrived on a bright, sunny, but cold, afternoon and parked up ready to explore the small town. It’s a small town centre, but has a number of independent shops (including a good little independent bookshop, Limestone Books) and plenty of interesting old buildings.
It’s an old town having it’s market charter granted in 1249. Historically it was a centre of the cotton industry but only on a small scale and went into decline with the growth of the industry in Lancashire. It has a railway station linking it to the industrial towns of West Yorkshire but is also the starting point for the very scenic Settle to Carlisle line. Today, with it’s proximity to the Three Peaks and some beautiful limestone country, it’s a popular tourist spot. Luckily, being out of season, it was quite quiet during or stay.
After exploring the town and popping in to one of the local cafes for a brew, we drove over to the Booths supermarket on the edge of the town to stock up with supplies for the week. It was only a few minutes drive then over to our home for the week. We unloaded, settled in and spent an easy evening making ourselves feel at home. the weather looked promising the next day and I had a route planned out!
It was such a lovely afternoon that after my post walk coffee and cake, I didn’t feel like heading straight back down the motorway. Instead, I decided I’d have a short walk down to the River Rawthy.
Passing the church and Public School and a row of colourful cottages, I made my way to the Millthrop bridge where I joined the riverside path walking in the direction of the New Bridge further upstream.
The river was shallow – it would be much deeper and faster flowing after heavy rain and in the winter.
I passed a weir, after which the river became deeper and smoother
Reaching the New Bridge, I crossed over to the north bank, passing the picnic area
Carrying on just beyond the weir
Where the right of way along the river ended, so I cut up along the path uphill through the field and skirted Winder House, then making my way back to the car.
I rather liked the decoration applied to this window in one of the cottages I passed
I made my way back to the car via the Folly one of the the old “yards” which emerges on the narrow main street opposite the market square, by the side of the rather old fashioned ironmongers shop.
Like in Kendal, these are old, narrow passageways branching off the main streets.
This will be my last walk for a little while as the next Wednesday I had a minor op scheduled and I’ll be out of action for several weeks ☹️ (recuperating at home as I write this). However, I have a short break booked in Borrowdale in August, so something to look forward to – although I’m not sure I’ll be up to tackling the bigger fells by then.
I managed to take a day off work mid week to make the most of some decent weather and get out for a walk. I didn’t fancy driving too far so decided on Sedbergh. After my walk up Seat Sandal I realised I wasn’t “fell fit” so opted for a less strenuous walk exploring the hills to the south of the small town rather than attempting the Howgills and also explore an area I’d never been to before – Dentdale. I’d spotted a route on the Sedbergh town website and based my plans on that, extending the walk to start from Sedbergh town centre and taking in Dent village before looping back. It crossed the low fell of Frostwick but wouldn’t involve too much strenuous climbing. I should, however have taken more notice of a comment in the walk description
“The path, can be very boggy in places”
and taken a closer look at the Harvey map which is very good at showing boggy areas.
It was a Wednesday and I hadn’t realised it was market day in Sedbergh, but I managed to find a space in the Market Square Car park – the small town wasn’t exactly heaving. I had a quick look over the small number of stalls, mainly selling local produce – meat, cheese and vegetables – and wish now that I’d picked up some of the tempting goodies on offer!
I booted up and then walked through the town and crossed the “New Bridge” over the River Rawthey. I passed a snack van parked in the lay by just after the bridge and, although it was only about 11 o’clock, the aroma of the bacon was just too tempting, so I had to stop and buy myself a bacon buttie. Very good it was too.
I carried on along the A684 for a short distance and then turned up the lane that led up to Frostrow, passing a number of houses and farms.
After the last farm, the tarmaced lane turned into a stoney track and then, after climbing a ladder stile I was on the path that would take me up over the moor.
As i started to climb there was a great view back to Sedbergh and the Howgills
This part of the route was part of the Dales High Way and is was easy to follow on the ground. But there were substantial stretches of boggy land to traverse, despite the weather being reasonably dry of late.
It was impossible to keep my boots dry as I tried to hop from one patch of drier land to another, but for much of the way it was a lost cause. However, I didn’t get sucked in to the peat (well, not too often or too deep, anyway) and although my boots got wet they’re waterproof so my feet stayed dry.
It was quiet and lonely up on the moor. There wasn’t another soul up there. Real “social isolation”.
As I was walking up the moor, cloud had been coming in and patches of the sky looked pretty dark for a while. But the cloud didn’t persist too long and largely cleared during the afternoon.
Enjoying the walk and deep in thought as I walked across the moor, I missed my turning that would take me down in Dentdale, continuing to climb Aye Gill Pike. I’d gone probably a mile walking through the boggiest section of the moor before I realised my mistake and had to retrace my steps. There was a sign by the path announing the start of the area of Open access land, and this is where I should have turned right and gone through the gate to start descending off the moor. I didn’t miss it again, though, as I came back down from the bog.
I could see Dent village down in the valley as I descended down the path, which was still part of the Dales High Way.
I passed a farm
where the path turned into a lane which then took me down hill as far as the road from Sedbergh to Dent
After walking along a short stretch of road I reached the bridge which took the road over the River Dee (not, of course the one that runs through Chester). However, I continued straight on along a minor road that ran close to the right bank of the river
Looking over towards Aye Gill Pike .
After about a mile I took a path that cut across a field and then crossed the bridge and walked down the road into Dent. I needed to be careful now and keep my eyes open for one of those Terrible Knitters.
Dent is a small village and is one of those places that are frozen in time, with lots of attractive old cottages and other buildings and with minimal more modern development.
I passed the old chuch of St Andrews, built in the12th Century but obviously having undergone several modifications since then.
I spotted a branch of Martins bank. I was definitely in a time warp then, as Martins was taken over by barclays in 1969!
After wansering around the streets of the village (which didn’t take long) I set off on the return leg of my journey. I’d now be following the Dales way back to Sedbergh which initially took me along the south bank of the river
After a couple of miles the route left the riverbank and joined a quiet road for about a mile.
At brackensgill farm I turned off the road on to a path through the fields
and on to a footbridge where I crossed the river.
The path then took me to the Sedbergh to Dent road which I crossed and then took the track that started to climb the fell. The Dales Way, which I was still following, then veered to the left gradually climbing and contouring along the side of the hill heading towards Sedbergh.
After a while Sedbergh, backed by the Howgills came into view
I came down off the fell into the small settlement of Millthrop, a very pleasant former mill village
I walked down to the road and crossed over Millthrop Bridge. Built in the 17th Century it’s a listed building.
A short distance after the bridge I took a path that cut across the fields up to towards Winder House, which is part of the Sedbergh Public School
The path then took me past sport fields down to the centre of the village.
It was almost 6 o’clock now, so, as everything in Sedbergh shuts no later than 4 o’clock, there was nowhere to stop and treat myself to a brew. So it was off with the boots and back in the car for the drive home.
Yesterday I drove up to Sedbergh to set out for a walk on the Howgill Fells. I had a route in mind that world tackle the Calf from the west side of the range of high hills, then walking along the ridge back into Sedbergh. I’d had it in mind to go for a wander on these quiet fells, just over an hour’s drive from home, for a while but I’d read a post on John’s blog, Walking the Old Ways just a few days ago which reinforced my decision.
Sedbergh used to be in Yorkshire, but since Local Government re-organisation in 1974 it’s been part of Cumbria. It’s quite a sleepy place, a little frozen in time, with some attractive little houses that I passed as I walked through the quiet streets, early on Sunday morning, heading towards Howgill Lane.
The first three miles of my walk entailed walking 3 miles down a lonely, leafy country lane, a good part of which follows the route of a Roman road.
There wasn’t much traffic to worry about other then the occasional car,a number of tractors pulling bales of silage and a couple of quad bikes.
Soon, good views over to the hills opened up over teh fields
After a couple of miles I passed Howgill church, built in 1838 to replace a small chapel on built around1685.
Howgill is a strange place. It’s not a village proper, being a series of scattered dwellings and collections of buldings. It’s rather odd that the fells are named after it rather than the larger settlements to the north and south of the range (not that they’re that big!) Apparently the Howgill Fells were so named by Ordnance Survey surveyors as the range of hills didn’t have a collective name.
About a mile further on I took a path across the fields heading to Castley Farm and then onto the fells
I had to cross the fast flowing Long Rigg beck, which was a little tricky, but I managed to stay upright and make it to the other side
Then it was time to start the long, and in places steep, ascent up White Fell
As I climbed views opened up behind me of Morecambe Bay and the Lakeland Fells, silhouetted on the horizon.
Since I left Sedbergh I hadn’t seen any other walkers, and during my slow climb up the fell the only other people I saw was a fell runner high up on the ridge across the valley, and a couple of walkers who passed me as they descended down the fell.
I carried on with my slow progress up the steep hill side until I reached the top of White fell and then made my way along the ridge towards the Calf, the highest point in the Howgills.
Looking north east from the top of the fell
The view west from the top of the Calf
There were a few walkers and fell runners on the summit, but it wasn’t exactly crowded. many of them seemed to have come up either from the north of the range or via Cautley Spout to the east
I set off south along the path to Calders
Where I stopped for a bite to eat while I took in the view
Then it was time to set off again heading south, back towards Sedbergh.
As I walked I could see the Lakeland fells to the west
and the Yorkshire Three Peaks in the distance to the south
– there’s Ingleborough
I carried on, by-passing the summit of Arant Haw, but rather than head straight down to Sedbergh, I decided to walk on to the top of Winder
Looking back from teh summit across to Arant Haw
and down towards Sedbergh
I retraced my steps a short way and then started the descent down towards the village. On the way crossing the only boggy stretch I’d encountered during the walk.
The final stretch was a little tough on the old knees, but I made it back down to the car where I loaded my backpack in the car boot before having a wander round the village. It was a brief wander as it’s only a small place and most of the shops were shut. But I did pop intot he Information centre where I bought a leaflet about the Quaker Trail, mentioned by John in his blog post – one for the future!