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.


  1. Eeee I wouldn't mind doing that walk.... oh Some nice pics there too...

  2. Thank you Mike, we only have the wee bit in the middle to do now.

  3. 'Twas looking so good, Dawn, such a shame you weren't well. Hope you're feeling much better now.

  4. It happens Chrissie, am feeling fine now thanks.

  5. Gutted for you about the last leg. Was there no chance of taking a day off and then finishing together? Love the pictures. The Dales are wonderful.

  6. Unfortunately Alan, Mike had to get back. As it was i was still a tad wobbly the following day.