Wednesday 31 May 2017

Dales way, Part two

My original plan for Saturday was to push on to a few miles past Sedbergh. However, a rather concerned lady at the campsite warned me of storms forecast for the afternoon. A quick change of plan. The map showed a campsite at Sedbergh and I decided to aim for that. Again, it was a fine morning. Once more the day began with a spell of following river banks.
The DW passes through some lovely hay meadows. The walking is straight forward but an eye needs to be kept on the map.
. Switching from following the river Dee, the DW heads up and over to descend down to Millthrop. It is fine walking on old farm lanes and bridleways. Heading up by Gate Manor, climbing through old woodlands. The views from the top are excellent.
The weather was on the change, it was close and muggy and dark clouds were starting to build in the distance. There was also the added factor that I was not doing good. Although still mobile, there was a definite need for a break.
The campsite was a half mile off route but that was no problem. What was annoying though was that when I arrived there it was obviously a caravan park. Worse, it was a posh one. The warden came hurrying out the moment he spotted me. His manner was, to put it mildly, frosty. "No, we certainly DO NOT take tents. Besides, we are full" Enquiring if he knew of any local campsites, the reply was blunt. " No, there are no campsite in the Sedbergh Area. You will just have to move on" What is it with these folk, they live on another planet! It may not appear much but wasting a mile was something I did not need.

It was tempting to  head in to Sedbergh and find a B&B. Instead I pushed on.

Thunder was beginning to mutter in the distance. Not good, with a storm brewing I really needed to stop soon.
Taking a chance, I nipped in to the farm at Hebblethwaites. The farmer directed me to the caravan park next door. After my previous experience I was wary. However, he reassured me that the warden would unofficially accept tents if it was only an overnight stop. The warden was not available. With the first drops of rain already falling, I cast caution to the wind and got the tent up on a small bit of grass. Ten minutes later the warden returned in his car. Yelling at me from his car, it was obvious he was not happy about were the tent was. Fortunately, with the storm coming in big time, he relented after I reassured him I would be away early the next morning. Mind, it cost me a tenner. At least there was a loo and shower available. It can be a tad daunting lying in a tent with thunder and lightning all around. Worse were the gusts of wind slamming in to the tent, the rain was a deluge and to cap it all hailstones also pounded the flysheet.
As promised, I was away shortly after seven thirty next morning. My aim was for Burneside. Roughly calculated it is was in the region of fifteen miles.
The walking was not difficult, the DW route though appeared at times to travel a long way to get not very far! Navigation wise a constant eye needed to be kept on the map.
There were some impressive red sandstone and iron viaducts to be seen along the way.
Unfortunately they are now only reminders of a time when railway branch lines covered much more of the country. They are certainly well constructed.
Was almost mown down by a speeding mountain biker at Crook Of Lune Bridge. The thing was, I was on the left hand side of the road. If it had been a car instead of me, he would have stood no chance.
It felt something like a milestone when I eventually crossed the bridge over the M6. Stopping for a break near Holme Park farm, I settled down for a nibble and a wee doze. It was not to be. Within five minutes I had an audience of a herd of cows. Arranged in a semi circle, gazing at me in the bovine curiosity sort of manner that cows do. Nudging each like naughty school kids, they would inch forward. As soon as I made a move though they scattered.
 It was on this section I met someone else who was on the DW. He was travelling light only doing a leg or two of the way at weekends. The guy did mention though that he found the Sedbergh to Burneside bit the most difficult navigation wise. It certainly called for a constant eye on the map. Reaching Burneside, I made for the local pub and booked in for the night. They did a very good Sunday roast.
It was raining when I set off on the Monday morning. Initially it was only light rain. but at times it became heavy.
The way up to Stavely was once more predominantly river bank walking. From Stavely onward the DW enters in to more rolling countryside. Several ups and downs, small lanes and ancient tracks. The area is more rugged than may be expected, with some fine rocky outcrops and crags. Enjoyable walking despite the rain. Once again, a close eye needs to be kept on the map.
As the route approaches Bowness the paths thread in and out of a lot of private land. Signs abound,'Private, no path, keep out'. Gates were, more often than not, padlocked. Some of the narrow kissing gates were not made with backpackers in mind. They took a wee bit of shoogling to wriggle through!
Bowness itself remained hidden until almost the last moment.

Heading down the hill in to Bowness, I was looking forward to a cup of tea and a spot of lunch. It was not to be. The place was wall to wall with people. Experiencing something akin to a panic attack, I was on the first available bus to Windermere.
The mileage covered varies from which ever guide book is consulted. Overall, my calculations give an average of eighty three miles over six days. That is four whole days and two half days. Surprisingly I coped ok, but did experience one fall, which is unusual for me. At times I wobble but that is about all.
The journey back was interesting. No trains running from Oxenholme northwards. Buses and taxis were running a shuttle service. It was fun ending up in a taxi to Carlisle, paid by Virgin trains, I may add.


  1. I did camp once at Pinfold site at Sedbergh but I think tents are now frowned upon. Please name and shame the sites you tried so that others don't fall foul.
    I was hopeful you would camp wild between Sedbergh and Bowness so that I could pinch your knowledge as I might be doing that section soon. Glad you made it through.

  2. Alan, a couple of possible places. Just before Millthrop, above Gate Manor. The other is Black Moss tarn before Burneside. In towards Bowness there is rough pasture before Crag House. It would most certainly be a case of stop late and be away early.

  3. Thanks for your write-up Dawn, a trip down Memory Lane for me!
    There's a nice little campsite at Burneside .....if you know where to find it!

  4. From I can recall John I did once camp somewhere in the area, this time I felt I deserved the treat of a night's B&B!

  5. Nice route and photos. Lots of interesting stuff on the Dales Way.

    Always astounds me why people who clearly dislike most of the public choose to interact with them as a job. I've come across far too many of this sort running campsites and hostels and normally struggle to maintain my irritation when they cross me.

  6. Thank you Andy. It certainly is strange, the way some folk who run these places respond to the public.

  7. I really enjoyed that Dawn. Shame about the caravan site jobsworths though. Tossers!