Post 266: 7 June 2018: The Inn Way, Yorkshire Dales, West Burton to Horsehouse
After 10 fabulous days in Upper Bavaria and some minor surgery on my face (which I have since learnt wasn’t necessary!) my feet were just starting to get back on the ground again, even if my good looks were temporarily affected by the surgery (or more the dressing). “What good looks?”, I hear you say.
So after a slightly later than normal start (8.15am) due to Alf’s car repair Geordie Caz, Sid the Yorkshireman, Alf and myself left for West Burton to resume The Inn Way.
There was some discussion as to the route out of West Burton as surprisingly The Inn Way route doesn’t include the beautiful waterfall there, although it is mentioned in the guide book as a ‘detour’ there and back. We decided we would visit it on our route on the way back. We climbed a very quiet lane above the lovely Valley of Walden (Valley of the Welsh as native tribes were known) and Walden Beck. We stopped for some Bavarian rhubarb crumble cake, a recipe I had picked up from Victoria’s mother in Bavaria. It seemed to go down well. It is an incredibly quiet valley as the road leads to nowhere except to the end of the road at Nell Bank and the flanks of Buckden Pike.
Leaving the lane and ascending further, we came to an area that in 1992 James Herriot described as:
‘It was an empty landscape where no creature stirred and it was silent except for the cry of a distant bird, yet I felt a further surge of excitement in the solitude, a tingling sense of the nearness of all creation.”
Alf and Sid the Yorkshireman got excited (it doesn’t take much to excite them) at the swathes of cotton grass, which seemed like falling snow. However, what got us all excited was the symphony of haunting curlew and lapwing calls, which were to remain with us for the rest of the day. In this remote area I think we had found the curlew centre of the UK.
As we descended towards Coverdale some rhododrendons came in view, quite out of character in the remote wilderness. Again the cotton grass ‘snow’ appeared:James Herriot’s wife Helen said that it is one of her favourite places:
“…high above the tree-lined Walden Beck, is to escape easily from the workaday world. And if you leave your car and walk the old path over the moor till the fell tilts into Coverdale and the vast stream-furrowed face of Little Whernside rears up across the valley you will be richly rewarded.” One of the rewards is the pub the Thwaite Arms at our Inn Way destination of Horsehouse. Not to mention lunch. Sid the Yorkshireman came up with the great idea of buying us a drink in the pub, only to ‘discover’ he hadn’t brought any money! It’s an old Yorkshire trick.
There is a lot of history to the tiny and little known village.The church offers prayer for cyclists. No wonder northern cyclists are so good!
The peonies in the village were out, but mine in York weren’t. They were also out in Bavaria! On the route back to the car the ‘white’ turned to ‘yellow’ as we headed through meadows towards the River Cover (which eventually leads to my North of England Way walk). Simply stunning. Ascending from the river we came across a remote lime kiln in excellent condition. The views back to the secluded Coverdale were glorious. I don’t think I have ever seen a hedgehog on a walk before, which the local sheep found fascinating. After speaking to a local farmer the ascent was relentless towards the Howden Shooting Lodge, where a cuckoo welcomed our arrival to add to the symphony from the curlews. Quite incredible sounds in this remote wilderness. We then descended to Bowber End,where we found ‘The Real Angel of the North’ – Goerdie Caz. Looking back there was a lot of tree planting going on. Near the bottom we encountered, a lead smelting mill in good condition,
sheep being herded to pensand the lovely West Burton Falls, also known as Cauldron Falls, where Walden Beck cascades over rocks in an amphitheatre. It is a favourite among photographers as it is near parking and many photographers don’t like to walk far to get a shot – they miss so much! Entering West Burton there were welcoming colours and the Cat Pottery!
A fine walk indeed in good weather.
A traffic jam on the way home.
Miles Walked 12.7
Calories Burnt 4,382