The Yorkshire Dales! I can’t help but be in love with the place. Ok so as a Yorkshire lass I’m a bit biased, but the Dales are a bit further North than where I live, in Huddersfield, the heart of post-industrial, wild moorland Pennine West Yorkshire.
I’d been looking forward to this mini-break for a while, so on Tuesday, when the Coldsore Kid (you can tell I was somewhat ravaged and in need of a holiday) landed in the village of Horton-in-Ribblesdale, loadened up with bags and baggage, the sun was shining.
My first thought, after dropping off my stuff, was to hop up Pen Y Ghent, the smallest of the Yorkshire Three Peaks, but still the third highest in this county. For those of you who haven’t read my previous three posts on the Yorkshire Three Peaks, this mountain is first on the official route of doing the full 24 mile in under 10 hours (I think) challenge which I attempted 2 years ago.
So I’ve been up Pen Y Ghent before, but not by myself. An adventure awaited.
Last time I did this, I was with folk who knew the route backwards. I remembered where to go, or so I reckoned, so with the map my daughter had bought me for my birthday, off I trotted in the warmer-than-expected sunshine.
I remembered I had to turn off somewhere, but sailed on gaily down the lane, missing the footpath, before realising that uh-oh, something didn’t look right. I turned back, found the footpath I’d not overshot by much, and continued up through the fields. It started looking familiar again, following a drystone wall upwards over limestone outcrops.
Not too far up I noticed this rusted old upturned bath in the shelter of a wall. Maybe it was once used as a drinking trough for the gazillions of sheep which wander about here. It was the perfect place for me to sit and eat my dinner, looking straight up at Pen Y Ghent.
The weather had decided to be extra-specially kind and I had to take my cardi off and tie it round me with my hoodie. Didn’t expect to be ascending a mountain in North Yorkshire today in a t-shirt. It was freezing at home yesterday!
The picture above shows Pen Y Ghent from where I ate my sandwiches. I’ve always thought it looks a bit like one of them monkeys which have a heavy-set brow and longish snout. I quite liked the view, so I made the image in B/W as soon as I’d taken this, to compare.
Packing my bits of dinner back up, and having a decent gollup* of water, I set back off again.
This is a bit further up, among the rocky outcroppings. The flatish-topped high point on the horizon is the daunting Ingleborough, my nemesis mountain, second highest of the Three Peaks, and my nemesis!!!
Looks like I’m nearly there…
…wrong. Have to scramble a bit first…
…and then go just a bit further…
…and there it is, the trig point on the summit of Pen Y Ghent.
Now, it being me, I didn’t leave it at that, to head straight back down. I wondered what the path looked like, which carried on. So I went for a squint. Much further on, I wondered if the dark indistinct line I could see was the enormous landmark Ribblehead viaduct. I reckoned it was in the correct position for where it ought to be. I asked a passing walker, who said he couldn’t see anything. Undaunted, I carried on, eventually trying to zoom in with my camera. I took a few shots, but it was too light through the viewfinder to really see what I was doing, so I headed back up towards the trig point and the correct circular path back down to Horton, and the pub for tea.
At this point, I had better mention that there were diggers and machinery up on the top, making a right racket. When I reached all this, work seemed to have stopped and not a soul was about. It looked like they were working on improving the footpath, and had roped an area off. Come to think of it, I’m sure I’d heard workmen earlier talking to walkers. Maybe they where directing them on a diversion.
Looking about me now, I couldn’t see a path, only the roped off existing one. I headed along roughly in a similar direction across uncertain ground, hoping I’d pick up the existing path further down. It was a bit anxious for a moment, but I could soon see where I was going, and with a huge sigh, finally came in sight of some familiar landmarks.
Part way down, another walker caught up with me while I was taking some photos. He was heading back to a B&B in Horton so we walked the rest of the way together. He was doing a 21 day Pennine Way walk, and the company he had booked with found all his accommodation on Route and arranged for portage of all his stuff between places. It cost, of course, but he was well up for it. He was 72 years old, and doing the walk with a friend even older than him, who had had to cut short the last two days due to ill health. He’d set off from Malham that morning, and was going to Hawes tomorrow. He was already familiar with Marsden Moor, the part of the Pennine Way where I’m from.
By the time I arrived back at the Crown where I was staying, the sun had crozzled me and I was ready to be inside for a bit. A nice cold pint of bitter, and a meat and potato pie with chips and peas was eagerly guzzled while I planned day 2 of my little trip. “I’ll see how I feel,” I thought. ” ‘appen I’ll climb Whernside.”
And when I checked on my camera, I was correct in my assumption about the viaduct.
So, in my best Yorkshire vernacular, I’ll see thi.
*gollup this word is a cross between gallop and gulp, and obviously in this context means to drink a lot quite quickly.