Day 7 – The Inn Way – £1815 to Park the Car, Searching for the Swaledale Seal,The Fastest Flowing River in England, Sid the Yorkshireman is laid to rest.x xs

Post 249: 23 April 2018, The Inn Way, Yorkshire Dales, Oxnop Head above Swaledale to unnamed waterfalls below Crackpot. 

We left home at 7.00am and arrived in Gunnerside at just before 9.00am.  This is Viking Country.………P1100964There was free parking in Gunnerside, near the Kings Head. This was a relief to Sid the Yorkshireman as we had been discussing an article in the Sunday Times, which said that parking costs the average UK driver £1815 per annum! In London owners spend £9,353 per annum. The average UK driver spends 35% more per mile than the average US motorist and 6% more than the average German. Sid the Yorkshireman brings the average down as he probably spend less than £20 per annum.

However, although relieved at the parking charges, he didn’t get ‘relief’ when he went to the toilets when he discovered they cost 20p. Unlike Geordie Caz and myself he decided to wait for a hedge or wall later on in the walk rather than spend 20p! Well he is Yorkshire born and bred! I can’t ever see him going to Iceland, where the toilets cost me £1.

Whilst I always feel at home in the Dales (must be my Viking DNA) Sid the Yorkshireman always feels a little out of his comfort zone. The names in the area are decidely Viking, Gunnerside, Muker, Keld, Thwaite and it is said that up until the 16th century Norse speech continued in these remoter parts of Upper Swaledale and Wensleydale.

Gunnerside had a Viking chieftain called Gunnar who first settled here in the 10th century. The Vikings introduced the system of farming that still exists in the area today. In the 18th century the lead mining industry developed until about 6,000 tons of lead were produced annually.  The Old Working Smithy still exists from 1795! Things change slowly in these parts, which accounts for much of its charm in a fast changing world. Swaledale lead was exported as far away as to the roofs of cathedrals in Rome and castles in Germany.

P1100965However, we were not in search of Vikings.  We were in search of the Swaledale Seal. Having entered the Humber Estuary from the North Sea it passed through York to reach the River Swale near the A1! P1100961Leaving Gunnerside we had to climb to about 1500 feet at Oxnop Head to resume the Inn Way where we had last reached it in thick mist. We soon reached the River Swale which s England’s fastest flowing river. This suggested the seal would not get this far unless it had the skills of a salmon.P1100966I was surprised to see this old limestone field barn with ‘door covers’. Each barn traditionally had an area for storing hay called a hay mew and a separate area of stables for wintering cows. They are less used in this way now as modern farm buildings house the cattle. P1100969We continued along the River Swale towards lovely shapely Ivelet BridgeP1100974


P1100977At this point we stopped on a bench for our coffee and banana break. Sid the Yorkshireman was still upset about the 20p toilet charge (they tend to be free on the North York Moors) and, being overcome, we laid him to rest on one of the old ‘coffin’ stones expecting that he would soon be picked up by the undertaker and finally taken away.P1100978No such event happened and so he would resume the walk with us.

In the meantime, we noted the ‘A Pennine Journey’ signs, a book I had helped to produce and I think my subscription of £2.47 a year to the Pennine Journey Supporters Club contributed to the production and erection of these signs. Further details can be found at:

There are wonderful hay meadows around June in the Muker area.  Alfred Wainwright in his earlier book A Pennine Journey – The Story of a Long Walk in 1938, said of Swaledale:

“Swaledale was in front now, unfolding a little more of its beauty with every step I took….I could see copse and woodland, rich meadow and pleasant pasture wonderfully blended in shades of soaring hill and ragged peak, and my heart warmed to the sight.”

P1100979We crossed the River Swale and Oxnop Beck, noting the older bridge over Oxnop Beck no longer in use. P1100980P1100981The climb to 16050 feet (503 metres) began with a vengeance and continued for over 2 miles. However, the views, particularly back, were fabulous.

Low Oxnop Farm was passed, which was built in the traditional way with a building attached to the main house for the livestock, presumably not used as such now that more modern outbuildings had been built.  P1100984P1100983A trap for catching maybe stouts or weasels can be seen over the streamP1100985P1100987P1100991Oxnup GillP1100992The quiet lane led up towards Oxnop Scar. It would once have been a busy, popular route for miners and passers by, sufficient to service a wayside inn called ‘Jenkin Crag’P1100989P1100997The dramatic and sheer limestone cliffs of Oxnop Scar came into view.

Soon after, we reached the route of the Inn Way and were able to begin our descent. The wind gathered a little, but the views to Upper Swaledale were far reaching.  P1100998After passing Gill Head,P1100999we left the lane and descended back to Ivelet Bridge, the River Swale and Gunnerside for a lunch stopP1110001Two cyclists were also having lunch and we discussed the prospects of the Tour de Yorkshire, which is being held between the 3 May and 6 May. Now a huge and successful annual cycling event it is one not to be missed. I and my wife, a keen cycling fan, will be attending 2 or 3 days and thousands of fans will turn out and Yorkshire can claim to be the cycling centre of the UK.

From Gunnerside, we crossed the River Swale again and headed towards Banks Head. P1110003Passing a limestone kiln P1110006There were fine views ahead towards Reeth. 

P1110008A tree that was soooooo… big it had to be hugged. P1110009 Followed by more expansive viewsP1110010We then reached a delightful, unnamed waterfall (see video on Facebook) and then left the Inn Way,P1110011to descend to the River Swale and follow it back to Gunnerside.P1110012

No Swaledale Seal was seen but, like the Lochness Monster, who knows where it is now?  

Miles Walked 13 

Steps 28,000

Calories Burnt 3,700

Get the Suncream Out, A Walk around York, Feeding the Yorkshire Dinosaurs, A Skeleton of Someone just like Me, Viking DNA but little Hair.

Post 248: 16 April 2018, York 

I had a hospital visit in the morning to have tiny skin ‘mark’ checked. Walkers are high risk in relation to skin issues and despite having put suncream on and worn hats on a regular basis, it was confirmed that I do have to have minor surgery. It should rectify the issue and, as it is not urgent, I can still go to Bavarian Alps. I would however urge all walkers and others regularly in the outdoors to wear suncream and a hat, even in winter. My dentist, yes dentist,  has even told me that many of her ‘outdoor type’ patients have skin issues.

The appointment didn’t last long and so I decided to play tourist around York and have a walk around the beautiful historic city and visit a couple of museums. You can see the history of England in York. 

I first headed to Roman Britain in the Yorkshire Museum in the Museum Gardens. I was pleased that I will soon be heading to the Bavarian Alps in Germany, which the Romans called Germania Superior. It sounds promising. York was called Eboracum.

IMG_E1675IMG_1674I then went to Yorkshire’s Jurassic World area in the museum and was able to feed huge dinosaurs with tree branches that I picked with ‘special equipment’ and wearing ‘virtual reality googles’. It was too realistic for comfort and only those above 5 years old can partake. I just qualified by over 60 years! IMG_E1672There are huge bones on display of actual dinosaurs. IMG_E1673IMG_E1670IMG_E1669There is an interesting geological map created in 1815 by William ‘Stata’ Smith, which represents the first complete geological map of this country. There is also a floor map as below made of pebbles.IMG_1679I then headed to the Viking area of the museum as York has been described as the Viking Capital of England. It is said that Viking men had long hair and elaborate engraved combs (see lower photograph) as it was more attractive to women. Despite having 32% Viking DNA, I don’t have much hair now!IMG_1663I therefore moved onto the Medieval section and thought the skeleton had some likeness to me as he was also very tall. However, he had a sad and violent end so that didn’t cheer me up either.

IMG_1668IMG_E1667 Leaving the museum, St Mary’s Abbey looked splendid in the sunshine with vibrant daffodils around it.  This was a Benedictine monastery founded by William II in 1088 and was one of the wealthiest in the country. In 1539 the Abbey was closed during Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries. IMG_E1700IMG_1696IMG_1699IMG_1703Nearby is the Hospitium, a timber-framed medieval building, once used as the guest house for St Mary’s Abbey. The ground floor was built in 1310, the first floor in 1420 and a new roof added in 1930. IMG_1698I then wandered through Museums Gardens to the excellent Kings’s Manor. This was originally the Abbott’s house, part of St Mary’s Abbey, its earliest remains dating from the 13th century. After the dissolution of the monasteries the Council of the North was held there until 1642. The coat of arms are of Charles I and also James I  to mark his stay there on the way to England to be crowned in 1603. The buildings are now used by the University of York for the Departments of Archaeology, Eighteenth-Century Studies and Medieval Studies.IMG_1693

IMG_1694I continued to the nearby  York Art Gallery,  which has an extensive ceramic collection IMG_1684IMG_1682There are other substantial art works and regular temporary exhibitions. IMG_1690IMG_1687This is a very old painting of Robin Hood’s Bay, which particularly attracted my attention IMG_1688At the back of the gallery are some fine gardens and walled quiet areas.IMG_1680IMG_1681I then wandered past York Minster, built between 1220 and 1472 which is the  largest Gothic cathedral north of the Alps and the largest medieval cathedral in England.  The Great East Window is the largest expanse of medieval stained glass in the world.

In doing so the adjacent St Michael-le Belfrey church is also passedIMG_1707IMG_1710It was a fine, enjoyable, unplanned walk using only my mobile phone for photographs and a reminder of how interesting and beautiful York is.

Miles Walked 5.7

Steps 11,000

Calories burnt 2,400  







Day 6 – The Inn Way – A Dank Day – Little and Large.

Post 247: 12 April 2017, The Inn Way – Yorkshire Dales – Bainbridge to Above Swaledale 

We arrived at Bainbridge at just before 9.00am and started walking shortly afterwards on a dank day. We came across the following sign, which showed the rocks we had been on the previous Monday.

P1100901We climbed up to Brough Scar, where even the lambs were sheltering from the cold. P1100904We soon reached a poor imitation of Stonehenge. P1100905We descended to Worton. P1100906The Victoria Inn there dates from 1698 and is the last remaining example in the Yorkshire Dales of a farm-cum-pub. Unfortunately, it was closed both in the morning and when we passed on it on the way home.

Sid the Yorkshireman had offered to take us for a drink there for his 65th as it is a ‘pub of great character. However, he has this ‘unique’ ability to offer us a free drink only to find the place he wants to take us is closed. It said open all day on the door so we reckoned he must have used the internet to check opening hours! We weren’t born ‘under a bush’.

Our route to Nappa Mill took us along the edge of the River Ure and followed The North of England Way. All that water will be heading to York, along with water from the Rivers Swale and Ouse!

P1100910Arriving at Nappa Mill we noticed that a car had seemed to have an argument with a lawn mower and come off worse. P1100911

P1100913A little further on sheep had taken over the old dismantled railway line that used to run to Hawes. P1100914Nappa Hall, a fine fortified dwelling or ‘pele tower’ built in about 1450, was passed.P1100915Newbiggin Beck was then crossed as Sid the Yorkshireman tried unsuccessfully to repeat his Basil Fawlty silly walk. P1100916He then suggested we take the scenic route into Askrigg. P1100918We passed The White Rose Hotel, Lodge Yard and the King’s Arms.

The main street widens in front of the 15th century church of St Oswald’s and has as a focal point an iron bull ring in the cobbles, where we stopped for our coffee and banana break. You have to keep Sid the Yorkshireman and Alf under control by some means.

P1100922Opposite is Crinkly House, the ‘Skeldale House’ of the BBC television series ‘All Creatures Great and Small’.P1100923 The church is the largest and most imposing in Wensleydale and its interior is worth a visit.P1100924P1100926P1100928P1100929We then left the village past the Crown Inn, heading north along the road into the mist towards Swaledale.

P1100930The views were impressively bad in the increasing mist as we ascended steeply along the road for about 3 miles.

Unable to see Swaledale, we descended back towards Wensleydale to leave The Inn Way and to find a route back to the car. We should have seen the view below but in fact saw only mist.

P1100940It had been reported that on Carlton Bank on the North York Moors a rare and large Eagle Owl had been spotted.


We wondered if this was the Dales version. P1100942We left the road along Low Straights Lane (Track) and reached Mill Gill and the waterfall for a fine lunch location. See video on Facebook. P1100944P1100948There used to be two comedians called Little and Large, but this is an optical illusion of Sid the Yorkshireman and Alf , caused by the differing rock levels. They also reported that the ground beneath their feet was vibrating. P1100952

That’s better.  If there was vibrating I didn’t notice it with sorbothane insoles inside my boots.


After lunch we came across a sequence of bridges, a packhorse bridge and one belonging to the old railway.

And one over the River Ure

P1100958Arriving back in Bainbridge we noticed no expense had been spared on the bus signs. P1100959The Rose and Crown was passed for the last time on this walk.

P1100960Despite the weather, it was a fine walk and it could have been worse as it rained whilst driving back home.

Miles Walked 11.2

Steps 25,000

Calories Burnt 3,300

Drinks bought by Sid the Yorkshireman  0 (again). 


Adopting My Trig Pillar, Away From It All, Paradise.

Post 246: How to adopt a Trig Pillar and get away from it all. 

P1080289There has recently been a lot on the 1,000 Mile Country Walking Magazine Facegroup Group about trig pillars (also known as trig points and ordnance survey columns)  and so I have decided to tell my story about my adopted trig point north east of Helmsley on the North York Moors.  It is a story of what happens when you put one foot in front of the other and things turn out in a way that you could never imagine.

As this Evening Press photograph shows it really is the place to get away from it all.


I first discovered it when I was planning my ‘The North of England Way’ coast to coast walking route, which was published in 1997.

Walking from Sutton Bank, which James Herriot described as ‘the finest view in England’, I had been disappointed that I had not really come across what I regard as the definitive character of the Moors, that is heather clad open moorland. I was walking up a dead straight lane past Low Farm, Middle Farm and High Farm just north of Pockley. Below is Canadian Tara who was walking this section of my coast to coast in August 2015 in heavy rain. I felt very sorry for her to travel all the way from Canada and walk solo 162 miles to find it pouring down with rain at this point. Canadian ladies are tough and determined.

It is possible to park carefully at High Farm as I had done on this occasion, but do not to block any farm entrances. P1060173.1jpgAfter the farms the tarmacked lane became a track leading to Beadlam Rigg Plantation.  From Middle Farm to the trig point it is about 2 miles. P1080279P1080281I emerged from the woods to follow a heather lined, ascending track.P1080282P1070819On reaching a gate at the top I reached the escarpment of Rollgate Bank  and a huge expansive view, as far as the eyes could see, of an open heather clad moorland  – a ‘patchwork quilt’ that on a good sunny day will take your breath away.

The Landons_3515_edited-1White Rose Walk_2902_edited-1I then turned right along the track to find the trig pillar. I knew then my book would be completed and published.My trig point_2837

My trig point_2831


Trig Pillars  are looked on favourably by walkers as they usually indicated the highest point in the area and give 360 degree views as this one does. If lost in mist or fog when you find one you should be able to identify your position from the trig symbol on your map. Even Bill Bryson included them in his list of favourite British items in his 2015 book The Road to Little Dribbling.

I also learnt in 1992 that trig pillars were coming up for adoption. I already had two children and this seemed a lot easier than adopting children They don’t answer back, they don’t keep moving, they don’t request pocket money, they don’t need to go to the Doctors or A&E, they don’t require feeding, they don’t smoke, take drugs or drink, they don’t have boyfriends or girlfriends. What could be easier?

I wrote off to Ordnance Survey and my interest was registered in December 1992.

P1100894They also issued guidance on how I ‘care’ for my new friend.




My Adoption was eventually agreed and in 1997 I decided it definitely needed a coat of paint before my coast to coast route opened up. I first had to get the approval of the owner of the land and got this in January 1997.

The only person I could persuade to join me in the painting ceremony was Penny, another Canadian walking friend. It was a cold but sunny February day!

P1030233Penny painting David's trigThe place clearly left a great impression on Penny as some years later, when she became seriously and terminally ill in Canada and then Australia, she left instructions that this should be one of her final resting places.  I had already indicated in the Conclusion of my book that this should also be my final resting place and so I will be in the company of another great lover of walking and the outdoors.

I have been back to the trig pillar with friends on other walks which pass this way. Sid the Yorkshireman, Geordie Caz, Alf and Victoria.

P1070815There is even a bench just a little further on down from the trig pillar off Rollgate Bank. A fabulous place to listen to the silence, feel the breeze in your hair (if you have any) and admire the views.

The trig pillar is at a height of 971 feet and there are circular walks in the area.


I only request that if you pass this way (very few people do) leave no litter and please respect this is a ‘special’ place. Leave it as you find it.

Or, if you are a really keen walker, you can walk 38 miles to the North Sea at Scarborough or 162 miles to the Irish Sea at Ravenglass on The North of England Way!

I will finish with a beautiful poem, which fits the scene perfectly.

I came across in Dent Youth Hostel in an old Dalesman Magazine. I have tried to trace the author without success.


Immobile Moors


Never Changing

From age to age.

Yet ever changing

Moment to moment

Sunshine, shadow

Silvery rain

Fleeting over their vast beauty.

A tangible peace

Refreshing ourselves

World weary

The silence

Sometimes splintered

By the trickling becks


Not yet!

The best is yet to be

Our birth into Eternity


PS: I have recently checked and the adoption scheme is no longer running. However, with the landowner’s permission you may go to a trig point and keep an eye on it and report any issues regarding it to the Ordnance Survey. 


Day 5 – The Inn Way – In the Stocks, An Early Bath, Fog Bound, The Naming of Geordie Caz, Walking on Water, Frogs for Breakfast.

Post 245: 9 April 2018, The Inn Way, Yorkshire Dales, Stalling busk to Bainbridge. 

Carol and Sid the Yorkshireman had returned from their holidays and were now able to join me on the next stage of The Inn Way. As Sid the Yorkshireman is allergic to traffic we decided to leave home at 7.00am. This worked very well until we hit fog! This put Sid the Yorkshireman in a very bad mood which, combined with the longer journey to the Dales instead of the Moors, persisted most of the day.

After we left the A1 and headed into the Dales the fog miraculously lifted, the sun came out and all was well with the world. We parked with the Rose and Crown  Inn in sight.P1100770However, things got worse for Sid the Yorkshireman when he discovered there was a charge of 20p for the toilets. Needless to say having paid my 20p he was waiting outside and got in free. Due to Sid the Yorksshireman’s grumbly mood, nothing was right, and due to his non payment of toilet fees, we decided to punish him by putting him in the stocks.P1100771Not having any tomatoes or such like to throw at him, we gave Carol a turn who was much more cheerful, having just retired. P1100777Sid the Yorkshireman then decided to apply his sheep ‘whispering powers’, which totally failed as the sheep bolted. P1100779P1100780It was time for an early bath.P1100781We were heading to the start of the next section of The Inn Way at Stalling Busk. 

We had an ascent towards Greensley Bank Farm where there had been a slight route change compared to our map, now going through the farm to the right of it before turning back 45 degrees towards a big tree and the Cam High Road. The farmer kindly pointed this out to us. The scenery was delightful.

P1100783P1100784P1100787P1100788The Cam High Road, a Roman road, is straight in the manner of Roman road construction and is at high level, before descending to the Roman Fort of  Virosidvm in  Bainbridge. P1100789The views from the Cam High Road on such a day were stunning. Yorbrugh at 1686 feet (515 metres) can be seen ahead.P1100790P1100791Leaving the steady climb up the Cam High Road we followed a steeper, boggier path signed MarsettP1100792I got a little ahead and waited at the top as a skylarks sang and planes flew overhead.  I am not sure whether they were classed as near misses. P1100795Soon afterwards we decided to stop for our coffee and banana break as it was now about 11.00am and sometime since we had eaten breakfast. See separate video on Facebook. 

The view back towards the plain of York was superb as the fog we had driven through was still there and appeared as a bank or wall of mist at the end of the valley. I was tempted to walk a couple of miles to the next hill to view and photograph it more closely but Carol and Sid the Yorkshireman were not keen. P1100796Instead we enjoyed the sound of the Raydale valley skylark and took in the wonderful views in the warming sunshine. There could be no better place for a coffee break? The village of Marsett, our next destination, could just be seen lower down.P1100797Raydale once formed part of the hunting forest of the Lords of Middleham Castle and means valley of the roebuck. It is enclosed by the wonderfully named Yockenthwaite Moor at 2109 feet (643 metres), Fleet Moss at 1955 feet (596 metres) and Drumaldace at  2014 feet (614 metres).  Raydale seen from our coffee location on some outcrops of rocks is probably one of the most breathtaking views in the Yorkshire Dales. P1100798Semer Water glistened, reflecting on itself itself far below. It is one of only three natural sheets of water in Yorkshire, the others being Malham Tarn and Hornsea. P1100801However, we couldn’t stay forever and eventually began our steepish descent, whilst watching out for the odd hole or two in the soft velvety grass that it would have been easy to turn an ankle on.  P1100803P1100804After a dog gate, which Sid the Yorkshireman decided he wouldn’t fit through having just been on a cruise, he got a bit snap happy with my camera phone.  P1100806 IMG_1607IMG_1608IMG_1610IMG_1613If your wondering why I had a MS Midnatsol (meaning midnight sun) hat on, it was a prize for winning a winter Facebook Hurtiguten photographic competition. It was probably appropriate that, in order to get the winning photograph, I had to climb up and down 418 ice covered steps to the top of Mount Askla in Alesund Norway, which of course is good training for the ups and downs of the Yorkshire Dales and vice versa. Fortunately, I had spikes on but a Norwegian young lady didn’t and came down on her bottom! Quite a sight! It is as well to remember that descending is often harder than ascending as I found out later on this walk. Norway 2010_1570_edited-3By now we were in the midday sun and I think it had affected Sid the Yorkshireman. Given a choice between a ford and a bridge Sid the Yorkshireman will invariably opt for the ford with the premise that is will clean his boots. Note the Basil Fawlty silly-walk style as he crosses Crooks Beck. Very appropriate. P1100811As we climbed to the village of Stalling Busk at 1,100 feet there were fine views back across the valley.P1100814Arriving at the delightful church I could now resume The Inn Way.  

Given that Carol had just retired from work and that she would now be able to walk more often with us we decided that she should be given an official blog/trail name. Poor girl.  After a celebratory lunch on the bench, without champagne, we decided to have an official naming ceremony and there just happened to be an outside font.  She was named Geordie Caz after her original Geordie roots (Newcastle area) and Caz being short for Carol (they do speak funny up there). At least that means that I probably can’t be sued now for defamation of character. P1100818There is fine memorial outside the church. WE WILL REMEMBER THEMP1100819

Leaving the village on The Inn Way we came across a fine house for sale at relatively low cost. For someone who wants to get away from the hustle and bustle of urban life it would be a great opportunity. P1100820P1100821Semer Water came into view again. It is a glacial lake, a last remnant of the Ice Age, when moraine debris was left to retain the glacial meltwater. P1100822The remains of the original church was reached, dating from 1722.P1100824P1100827There were some interesting gravestones in the graveyard; WE WILL REMEMBER THEM. Thomas Hodgson was only 25 when he died for his country and our freedom. P1100831The hand on Ann Tate’s grave is very realistic.P1100835Agelika Davey from the 1,000 mile Facegroup has indicated that the text on the gravestone below is from Psalm 84:
“The bird has found a house, And the swallow her nest. Blessed are those who dwell in your house.”

We think her father’s gravestone was nearby. She was only 47.P1100836It was time to leave the graveyard and the views from it.P1100833Semer Water is home to many species of migrating birds and there are rare plants in the surrounding marshland. It is an area of Special Scientific Interest and is managed by The Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, a charity.

P1100838P1100839As if to prove the point a frog came along to greet us on the path. It was clearly a ‘show off’ as it has some unusual face extras. Frogs will do anything to find a mate at this time of year as we discovered later.  One of my reader’s reads the blogs over breakfast and, as a warning, some later photographs of frogs may put her off her breakfast. They are X-rated and only suitable for over 18s. I think she just qualifies! P1100843After squelching through a lot of mud we reached the end of Semer Water and the clouds were starting to appear and it felt a bit cooler. P1100847

P1100848P1100852 It is possible to walk on water in the Yorkshire Dales.IMG_E1618Especially after writing these blogs with a beer and gin and tonic. IMG_1623It is also possible to become a modern day legend. P1100853Clearly I am the old hermit in the story and Sid The Yorkshireman and Geordie Caz are the couple.

P1100862P1100863Now you will remember that earlier I said it is easier to ascend than descend. This applies on slippy glacial erratic boulders too!

P1100865P1100866P1100867 Any breakfast readers (they know who they are) should now look away. If you try to count the number of frogs there are more than you think. Count the eyes which are the give away. Spring is here!  P1100869P1100871P1100872The River Bain, which can just be seen here as we look back to Semer Water in the far distance, is England’s shortest river at 2 miles. It found a passage through the glacial moraine and finishes in Bainbridge where it joins the River Ure. A smaller river than this is often referred to as a stream, creek, brook, rivulet and rill. P1100878Over the two miles I collected a bag of rubbish – shocking. I wonder if I can get some of that extra high energy stuff as, being suitable for pregnant ewes, growing lambs and tups, it should give me just the sort of boost I need.

P1100883Arriving at Bainbridge the River Bain certainly provided us with a fine finish to a fabulous walk. Note an Archimedes Screw can just be spotted at the end above the waterfalls.  P1100885P1100888P1100889

Miles Walked 10.8 

Steps 23,000

Calories Burnt 3,900












Day 4 – The Inn Way – The Horseless Carriage Services, Highest Inn, Hell, An Out and Back, The Dales Last Remaining Glacier, The Greatest Cock-up Ever, Should have gone to Specsavers, A Public Enquiry.

Post 244: 5 April 2018, The Inn Way – Yorkshire Dales, Buckden to Stalling Busk

After previous posts I was no longer Home Alone or Billy no-mates.

Leaving home at 7.30am, with Alf under protest that he had to get up so early on his holiday week, we arrived in the Yorkshire Dales to a glorious morning, here just passing Kettlewell.P1100724We arrived at Buckden car park at 9.30am and parked next to the Horseless Carriage Services! Sid the Yorskshireman was still not available for the walk so we were able to pay the car parking charges, without being made to feel guilty. It pays for the repair of bridges etc. P1100725We climbed a wide track, called Buckden Rake, and had views towards Hubberholme further up Wharefedale.  The track passed through Rakes Wood and skirted the lower flanks of Buckden Pike. It was once part of the Roman road between the forts at Ilkley and Bainbridge. P1100726P1100727Then Cray came into view below us, a small hamlet of old farmhouses, barns and the White Lion Inn. Cray is noted for a series of waterfalls along Cray Gill, which we would shortly walk alongside. The name of the hamlet relates back to ancient tribes of pre-Roman Britain, as Cray is a Celtic word which means fresh stream. P1100729The path ahead was muddy but clear. P1100730Our route ahead could be seen partly on the road ahead in the distance and over Stake Moss.P1100731The views back were superb. P1100732The White Lion Inn at Cray came into view far below. There was no time to divert to what is the highest inn in Wharfedale. This old drovers’ inn dates back to the 17th century. P1100733Our first waterfall encounter was at Cow Close Gill. Some photographers were there early, but there was no obvious easy access to the falls other than climbing over a wall and so we carried on walking.

P1100734We soon came across a couple of signs. P1100735The Pennine Journey sign had particular significance for me and I was pleased to see that the route is now being signed as I had been involved in the book coming to fruition and received an acknowledgement by the Editor David Pitt in his introduction to the book which was also supported by the Wainwright Society. P1100769

The route follows Alfred Wainwright’s 1938 walk described in his book A Pennine Journey, published in 1986. Wainwright’s editor was Jenny Dereham who was later to become my editor.

The 100-mile Lady Anne’s Way is not well known to me and runs from Skipton Castle into Cumbria and the Eden Valley. I think it is one to walk for the future.

We soon reached the B6160 from Buckden to Wensleydale and were able to look back at our route.

P1100736 We soon left the B6160 along a track and stopped for a sheltered banana and coffee break, near a  small waterfall adjoining Hell Gap and looking back into the sun towards Buckden Pike. This is some of the finest open moorland walking in the area. P1100739P1100740We left the main track at a footpath and met a couple from Brighton who had started walking from Stalling Busk and were heading in the opposite direction to the pub at Hubberholme. They confirmed that, despite the recent heavy rain, the route was passable over the streams in the area. P1100742We then decided we had found the Yorkshire Dales last remaining glacier from the Ice Age.P1100743It even had a glacial snout and some terminal moraine and an outwash area. We also have vivid imaginations on our walks. P1100745After completely easy navigation we suddenly arrived at this gate (this photograph was taken on our return journey).P1100761Alf, who was standing in front of the stile to the left, then read the sign saying:

No right of way  through gate. Footpath through stile to left. 

Now somehow, beyond all reason and comprehension, Alf missed the stile and said we needed to follow the wall further down the hill. I didn’t see the stile as Alf was standing in front of it. That’s my excuse and I am sticking to it.

It was a monumental cock-up the likes of which I had never experienced on a walk  before. The Greatest Cock-up in the history of walking, which will be submitted to the Guiness Book of Records as such. 

I have immediately asked for Alf’s wife to make him an appointment at Specsavers to get glasses that he wears all the time, like mine.There did seem to be tracks as we descended the hillside, but I started to question whether we had somehow missed the stile? Alf was adamant that we couldn’t have done and I also said I hadn’t seen one. We eventually arrived at a cracking waterfall where the two streams of Shaw Gate Gill and Silky Gill joined to lead to Cragdale Water. Every cloud has a silver lining as if we had kept to the correct route we would have missed the waterfalls.

We knew we had gone wrong and now had to cross the streams. We eventually found crossing points.  P1100746P1100747We had lost a few hundred feet and had a steep climb back up to the High Lane (track), which we were supposed to be on.

To make matters worse sometime later at Stalling Busk I found that my automatic camera lens cap had gone missing and I believe it may have somehow got detached in this area. If you also get lost and find it there please let me know!

It is likely there will be a Public Enquiry into this monumental cock-up and heads will roll.  Not mine of course as it is well known amongst my friends that I am never to blame for cock-ups.

Back on the High Lane we could only admire the fantastic and expansive views before us.

P1100748P1100749P1100750We dropped down to Stalling Busk for lunch on a bench in the sun at the delightful Church of St Matthew. We watched a paraglider way above us in the blue sky keeping his height using the thermals. We hadn’t expected to see a commemoration plaque on a nearby cottage in such a remote venue. P1100751

P1100753P1100756Stalling Busk, known locally as Busk, is 1,100 feet above sea level.

After some recuperation we then had to return back to Buckden along the same route as it is not possible to do a circular walk without extending the mileage considerably. We had already walked about 6.5 miles up to 1840 feet (561 metres). However, on this route it is not a problem returning on the same route as the views seemed very different, especially with some cloud emerging. Also we were able to determine where we had gone wrong at the now ‘infamous’ gate and stile.

We thought we saw in the distance the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust working on the moorland, filling in old drainage channels to reduce flooding lower down, to recover some of the open moorland due to its contribution to reducing C02 and to encourage other wildlife conservation work.  Their website is:

P1100763P1100764The earlier waterfall on Cow Close Gill was now in the afternoon sun.  P1100765There was a pleasant descent back to the car to arrive at about 4.00pm.


The end of a fabulous walk, despite the almighty cock-up. 

We decided to head back home by a different route driving over into Wensleydale which would be the focus of our next few walks on The Inn Way.

Miles Walked 13 

Steps 30,000

Calories Burnt 3,900

PS: We hit bad holiday traffic on the way back near York and be warned we are thinking of bringing in a ban on visitors to Yorkshire on walk days as it is interfering with our walking schedule! However, interestingly, despite the busy roads, we only passed 5 walkers on our walk.








Day 3 – The Inn Way – It’s a Mystery, Home Alone, My First Lamb, Going Over the Top, 16% Age Discount, Arcadia, To Provide a Bench or Not? Penguins in the Dales! A Mountain, False Summits, Time for a Sleep.

Post 244: 29th March 2018, The Inn Way – Yorkshire Dales, Arncliffe to Buckden. 

The alarm clock went off at 3.45am! My gear was already packed in the boot of the car, apart from my rucksack with food and flasks still to be done. The forecast was for good weather and I planned to resume The Inn Way again for the second time without Sid the Yorkshireman, Carol and Alf, all of whom were still unavailable.

But first my wife Celia was off on an adventure, going on a Mystery Cruise, and so I was dropping her off at Leeds Coach Station for a 6.30am depart to Dover.  I would be ‘Home Alone’ over Easter.

Celia had been invited to join me on a walking holiday in the Bavarian Alps later in the year with a German walking friend but, not being a walker, preferred to cruise. I have been surprised by how many people when told she is going on a Mystery Cruise have asked me where is she sailing to?! That’s the point you don’t know. Today I have heard that she docked in Ghent but, because you don’t know which port until you dock, she lost an hours sleep as the time zone is different! We are cruising together to Greenland and Russia (Baltic) later in the year!

The ‘drop off’ in Leeds went well but I had a bit of trouble getting out of Leeds, despite the sat nav. Give me driving in the countryside every time over cities.

As I got towards Grassington the fog came down for the second time this week, but I still prefer that to driving in cities. It cleared and I parked in Arncliffe near the Falcon Inn.

At about 9.00am I left the village along a road that was closed – at least it said it was until a landrover came hurtling along and I briskly stepped out of the way. It screetched to a halt and this bubbly, cheerful, young lady jumped out and headed for the lambs and starting feeding them. She then asked me if I wanted to hold them. Having never held a lamb in my life, how could I say no? They are surprisingly light, not surprisingly – very warm and certainly not nearly as cuddly as I am! However, they are a lot cuter than me.

I explained to the lady, who was a keen walker and local to the area, I was walking The Inn Way and ‘going over the top’ twice! She said I ‘should’ be alright. Now the ‘should’, should have been a would to increase my confidence so I asked her to guess my age. She said 55. Now this is over a 16% discount on my real age and as a bus pass holder I was delighted.

I said goodbye to the welcoming lady (my friends later said asked whether she had been to Specsavers recently as they were worried about her eyesight) and headed off the road to the not too promising path. There had been heavy overnight rain and I hoped the paths weren’t flooded like this all the way.

P1100639My fears were soon allayed as the final mist lifted and wonderful green velvety grass paths welcomed me. P1100640I had entered ‘Arcadia’ (as opposed to arcades in Leeds)  with wonderful soft paths, stone barns and the ancient Skoska Wood, which is the largest ash and rowan wood left in the Yorkshire Dales, now protected as a nature reserve.   The valley of Littondale was carved by glaciers and the meltwater thousands of years ago with its Yoredale rocks lining both sides of the flat valley floor. It has changed little since then and it felt like I stepping back in time to a less hurried world where nature predominated. P1100641P1100642P1100643The water in the River Skirfare was crystal clear and the low sun was casting ethereal reflections of the trees onto the river.P1100644P1100645P1100646P1100647The sudden contrast from Leeds or for that matter any city was stark.

Despite the rain overnight, the river had largely dried up in parts through the permeable limestone, only to emerge further downstream where there were less permeable rocks. A very strange phenomena.

P1100648P1100650Certainly the sheep and lambs were enjoying the warming sun, peace and tranquility of the day as they sunbathed. No other walkers were about. Many birds were singing their hearts out.

Litton soon came into view and The Queens Arms. It was time for a coffee and banana break on a small bench in the sun, just beyond the pub (Arncliffe please note and get the Parish Council to cough up for one. Even 55 year olds would appreciate it, not to mention those like me with a bus pass.). Rumour has it that Arncliffe won’t provide a bench as people might sit on it! I would be happy to come to the ‘opening ceremony’ and try it out when built.  

It is believed that the inn probably provided refreshments as far back as the 17th Century. It is a classic example of an old drover’s inn with flagstone floors, low beams open fires and wood burners, and is the home of Litton Ale Brewery. The inn uses local ingredients and provides homemade food and great ale. I was surprised to see penguins in the area and that was without a drink!P1100662I then began the ascent of Birks Fell to Buckden in Wharfedale. This is now a designated mountain (a hill above two thousand feet at 610 metres or 2,001 feet). On old imperial maps the highest point was shown as 2001-feet, but this was revised to 608 metres (the trig pillar is currently shown at 607 metres on maps) upon metric conversion. In 2006 the Ordnance Survey agreed with walkers that it was indeed over 2,000 feet just north-west of Birks Tarn.

In Alfred’s Wainwright’s book ‘A Pennine Journey – The Story of a Long Walk in 1938’ he says:

“There is only one way to know a hill, and that is to put your feet on it and walk. Wander about leisurely if you wish, but better still, make the summit your objective and struggle up it. Plunge into the bracken and heather, and wrestle with the thousands of tentacles that would hold you back; splash through the streams that silver the hillside; scramble up the rocks and know the thrill that enslaves the mountaineer; sweat and pant, slip and tumble, and curse if you are so minded, and rest often. But get to the top………..

Either you will never want to see a hill again, in which case you may safely assume that the rot has settled in your soul so deeply that nothing will remove it; or you will hunger for the next opportunity, do it again and again and keep young forever.”

He also mentions about running down on the descent, but this is unwise for a so called 55 year old + 16% like myself as I am likely to trip up and be stuck on the fell. Given my wife was away I could be there for a while until someone found me ‘dead or alive’. I only met one other person on the climb I was about to start.

I soon passed an unnamed farm (on the map) and clearly the sheep were desperate to join me on the mountain.

P1100664As I ascended I kept looking back to the stupendous views. Who decided the shape of each field with its drystone walls and what was the rationale behind the shapes and sizes of the fields? IMG_1536P1100668P1100671P1100672P1100673P1100674P1100677The ascent looked long! IMG_1537And looking back was long. P1100678Nearing the top a little snow was clinging on. P1100679After the gate the trig pillar came into view and the descent, sometimes slippy and boggy, began. P1100680P1100682IMG_1538I was surprised to see frog spawn on the path. P1100683I passed a young man who was walking the route from Starbottom in reverse to me.

After a long tiring descent I reached Bucken to find both the Buck Inn and cafe closed. I had hoped to get a Dales ice-cream having missed out on one on my previous walk. This contrasted with when I did the Dales Way in 1990 and On Foot from Settle to Hadrian’s Wall in 1997 (see earlier blogs) when the cafe and pub were thriving. However, the cafe is for sale and it is planned that the inn will re-open.

Fortunately, I was carrying my own provisions and was able to have lunch on a huge bench (Arncliffe please note).

There was a bed and breakfast for ‘Mad Hatters’.

P1100689It was time to leave The Inn Way and find a route back to the car at Arncliffe.

I then joined The Dales Way towards Starbottom and it’s velvety level grass paths were a delight to the feet and the mind, as the sun came out again in the sheltered valley.

I would strongly recommend The Dales Way for anyone wishing to walk their first long-distance walk. But do it in 6-7 days in order to savour it (see 1990 blog), not in 4 as I had been encouraged to do by my walking companion at the time.

I was somewhat surprised to see a propeller aeroplane come hurtling low down the valley. P1100693There are some delightful colourful enclosed ways on The Dales Way, which offer shelter from any breeze. P1100695Opposite the bridleway to Starbottom I took the ascending bridleway in the opposite direction, leading towards Old Cote Moor. This climb was particularly noticeable coming at the end of the day’s walk and there seemed to be many false summits where I got to what I thought was the top, only to find there was another one ahead. However, the views below of the meandering River Skirfare, slowly finding it’s route like a large snake, made the effort well worthwhile. Also, given my car was over the hill, there was no choice – I had to keep going. My bus pass was no use. P1100696P1100697P1100698P1100699Before the top and the heather line, I passed the young lad again. It was about 2pm and he said the Falcon Inn was due to close at 3pm. I hoped to make it for a cup of tea and icecream or cake as all my provisions had now gone. P1100700The descent followed with some relief. This is when most accidents happen and so it was important to keep concentrating on where I was putting my feet. It was clouding over, getting cooler and felt as though rain would arrive soon. P1100701P1100702P1100703Just before the village it was only appropriate the walk would end with lambs just as it had started. P1100710P1100711I arrived at the Falcon Inn at 2.40pm and fortunately the landlord was welcoming and provided a pot of tea and a warm delicious scone by a warming fire. A proper Dales Inn. A great end to a great and challenging walkP1100713P1100715P1100717P1100719

Miles Walked 13.2

Steps 30,000

Calories Burnt 3,200

PS:   When I came out of the Inn it was raining!

On the way home I found a delightful cafe at the bottom of the main street of Pateley Bridge, which had loads of varieties of Dales home-made ice-creams, pancakes and cakes, all reasonably priced.  A well earned reward.

It could become a regular stopping point. There is 50p parking for an hour just off the road a little further up on the right. IMG_1542I hit bad holiday and works traffic just after Knaresborough and so had a 30 minutes sleep in the car until it died down.

It had been a long day for a 55 year old!