Sunday, 29 May 2016

Mike's pub round part 2

Our time in Skipton was spent eating fish and chips and doing essential shopping. Accommodation on the edge of town had been booked in advance. Mike went of for a convivial evening with an old friend and I took time for some domestic duties.
The following morning we linked up with the Dales Highway. It led us over Rough Haw and delightful green meadows to Hetton. The air was alive with the call of birds. Curlews, oyster catchers and peewits to name a few.

It was obvious that much money had been lavished on the village. The majority of houses heavily modified with large panoramic windows and all the accoutrements of the twenty first century. The local pub had seen the same treatment. A bow tied water hovered between the outside tables taking orders. The sign on the door requesting walkers to remove boots before entering, summed it up. We passed on by. Is there not an irony here? The original patrons would have been rough shod farming folk. What would they have made of today's genteel clientele? A village in the countryside but not of it.
Up and over Weets Top, where there was a brief glimpse of a badger cub. It was then down to Gordale and the campsite. Now that is one 'fascinating' site. One would have to visit to see why!

Intermittent showers of rain during the night but we managed to pack the tents fairly dry. We made our way up and over Gordale Scar. Not quite so easy with full packs. Lucky was passed up through with no problem.
It was then up and over and down to Hawkswick. Another stiff climb and a descent down to Kettlewell. A quick visit to the local shop and a refreshment break at a local hostelry. We then followed the valley up to Buckden. A torrential downpour had us hurriedly getting tents up in the first available spot.

From Buckden it was an uphill plod to Cray, Gilbert Lane to Semer water and the a steep uphill and on to Hawes.
A quick bit of shopping, a visit to a dog friendly pub and on to Hardraw. The Green Dragon had only just come under new management so no food was available that night. This was a pub I felt distinctly uncomfortable with. We appeared to be blanked by the locals and there was a distinct atmosphere to the place. The one good thing was that they agreed to open the campsite for us.
The following morning saw us heading up Great Shunner Fell. Squalls of heavy, driving rain accompanied us and at one point hail. It was cold too. On to Keld and a fantastic cafe. Generous portions of toasted tea cake and a large pot of tea.
From Keld it was once again upwards. We were glad to reach Tan Hill. A warm, friendly pub with very helpful staff. For me the day had been a hard one and it seemed only sensible for us to have a night in. The place is dog friendly, the staff welcoming, the food is good too. There was even a folk group playing that night which Mike assures me was excellent. Another added bonus to Tan Hill is that the camping area has been cleaned up and is much improved since my last visit. A place well worth  visiting. A thumbs up to Tan Hill.
Our next day was to be another fairly long one. Our aim was for Mardale Bridge. Tea and home baked scones served with jam and cream were a must at Ravenseat farm. A few supplies picked up in Kirkby Stephen and a portion of chips shared between us. Somewhere after that I must have been running on auto pilot. From what I can recall we turned on to a series of footpaths leading to Smardale Gill viaduct. There is little recollection of us stopping for the night or even setting up camp. Something I do remember is waking up and finding a cold mug of tea beside me. Needing fluids, it was drunk.
For most of the following day we stayed with the Coast to Coast path to Shap. There is a fairly new campsite in Shap, just down from the Kings Arms pub. From what I can recall it is Greenfield Farm? Well worth making a visit. An informal sight, plenty of good pitches, a loo, showers and outside tap. Also the place is dog friendly.
We had a cooked meal in the Crown pub. A friendly place, dog friendly too and good food. The following day was to be a quite short one. Thus it was we dawdled in Shap, did a bit of shopping and left a little later than we usually would have. Footpaths, bridleways and a little road walking brought us to the upper reaches of Swindale. A lovely area, very scenic. A stiff climb out of the valley led us over to Mosedale. The bothy was clean, neat and tidy. Our preference though was to camp outside.
It was pleasant to stop quite early and just relax. We were both looking forward to the last push on to Kirkstone Pass. For me it was not to be though. During the night I was woken with chronic diarrhoea, nausea and generally feeling ill. There was no way I could continue in the morning. Mike, after being dissuaded from calling the rescue team had to continue alone. A bitter disappointment for me. Probably it is down to my Parkinson's. Certainly I have had this problem a few times previously. My day was spent shuffling to the loo, sipping water to attempt to keep hydrated and taking medication. By the evening things had settled a little and I moved in to the bothy to save time in the morning. A cup of soup was my supper. A mug of tea and a little porridge served as breakfast.. A cold wind was blowing as I set off, hat and gloves needed.
Coming down to Brownhowe Bottom there was a temptation to push on and complete the actual route. Common sense prevailed, I was still feeling weak and a little light headed. Instead I pushed on down to Sadgill. A handful of jelly babies saw me up and over and down to Kentmere and on to Stavely. A phone call on 101 to let the Cumbria police know I had made my own way out. Mike had been adamant that he would give them a heads up on the situation.
From Stavely it was just a question of catching trains back to Newcastle. My rough estimate of total distance is one hundred and eighty six miles. Mike's estimate is a little shorter but close.

Saturday, 28 May 2016

Mike's pub round part one

This was the brainchild of Mike's and I will leave it to him to give a more detailed account of our wanderings.  Indeed, all credit must be given to Mike for his in depth research and meticulous planning.
With a date set for the start, the ninth of May, tickets purchased for the far off town of Buxton. The team met up on board the train somewhere between Newcastle and York. Eventually we arrived in the said town. A wander about, a few last minutes supplies purchased, and bus times checked for the morrow and then a long uphill plod to the campsite.
Unfortunately the Cold Springs campsite does not now really cater for backpackers, proffering large school groups and the such. Also, we were told booking in advance is now required. On top of all that they do not accept dogs. Fortunately Lucky does cute and somehow we managed to obtain a pitch for two nights.
Our first day was to be an easy one? We began with a full breakfast in Buxton and then strolled up to the bus stop to catch the bus to our starting point, The travellers Rest, near the village of Flash. It was closed, as was the pub in the village
It began to rain as we walked through the village and it was on with the waterproofs. They remained on for the rest of the day. By way of bridleways and footpaths we made our way onward to the Cat and Fiddle pub. The views would have been great on a fine day, however, the weather was dreich and we walked with bowed heads in cold, swirling, wet greyness.
. Arriving back in Buxton we agreed that a bus up the hill to the campsite was a viable option. With time to spare it seemed only appropriate to nip in to a pub that was actually open. The first we tried was not dog friendly. However, the Eagle made us welcome. As we settled in for the evening church bells could be heard ringing in the valley below. Quite a harmonious sound they made too.
Wednesday was to be our first full day of backpacking and it was with heavy packs and unfit bodies that we headed out of Buxton. Our intended route began with the Midshires Way. The trail was poorly marked and a close eye had to be kept on the map. Footpaths and bridleways led us through lush, verdant pastures.
 From the Midshires Way we continued on the Monsal trail. The old rail track cuts through towering rocky outcrops and beetling crags.
Deep rocky gorges.

A large group of youngsters from an education centre were preparing to abseil from a high bridge to the river far below. To our delight an ice cream wagon was parked in the car park. Tea and ice creams were much enjoyed.

From the Monsal we switched to the Limestone Way. Some steep uphill bits made weary legs ache all the more. We knew that camping may be difficult due to lack of water. Mike though had received information that there was a good possibility of being able to camp at Peak Forest. The last few miles meant road walking. Oh my, what footsore, weary miles they were too. A warm, friendly pub in the village and then joy of joys, an excellent campsite. Nothing posh or fancy, a loo, a tap and a comfy bit of grass for the tent. Chrissie you came up trumps with the Old Post office, thank you.!

The following morning saw us once more heading uphill. Soon we were back on the Limestone Way. in the distance we could see Mam Tor looming large. As we approached it was noticeable the amount of folk out and about. A long descent down to Edale where we indulged in a pub lunch of bread and soup.

The ascent back out of Edale proved to be long and hard, upwards, ever upwards! Finally though we made the top and then negotiated our way through the peat hags to the crags on the other side.
Finally we began the descent down toward the Snake Pass. A family picnicking by the river, enjoying the countryside, car doors wide open and music blaring forth?
The Snake Pass Inn is dog friendly and was most welcoming. The food served up was excellent, good traditional fare with very generous portions. 
The road is obviously a race track for those so inclined. The scream of motorcycle engines at full throttle, the howl of cars moving at high speed echoed up and down the valley. It was with some trepidation that we left the pub to hurry up the narrow verge. Fortunately we had only a short distance to go before a footpath led us down through the woods to the river and a fine camping spot for the night.
The following day we joined up with the Pennine Way at Dr's Gate and stayed with it for the next couple of days.

There was some hard going and at one point water was a problem. We managed to find a drop that looked potable but was filtered and boiled just in case.

It was interesting to see two young lads come striding purposely past us as we set off one morning, Trekking poles swinging in synchronised movement, light packs on their backs. As we came over the trig point at Robin hood's Bed and dropped down to the pub for lunch, there where these two young lads having just arrived , obvious by the fact they were just shedding packs and ordering lunch.

Something else that piqued our curiosity at the pub was when I noticed a chap dressed from head to toe in red, clambering over a fence, odd! Even stranger was when said figure was observed heading up the hill followed by a group of large African ladies dressed in flowing white robes and billowing headdresses.

We go thataway to the next pub!
As we were running behind schedule, Mike's wife had kindly agreed to pick us up in Todmorden and deliver us to Skipton. That will be in part two.