Dales Way – Day 6 – To Bowness on Windermere and the end

The taxi dropped us of back in Burneside and we made our way by the large paper mill on to the footpath by the banks of the River Kent. This was a very pretty section, ranking highly amongst the highlights of the whole Dales Way. Goosanders were busy with their morning activities in the River and we also caught a glimpse of a dipper or two feeding.

We walked through Bowston passing the chandlers and headed on to Cowan Head. The apartments here in the old paper mill looked very exclusive and had great views over the river and wildlife.  We crossed the boundary of the Lakes National Park, and  as we reached Staveley it was time to say goodbye to our journeys by the riverside and we crossed under the branch railway line, crossed the A591 and started out on the final few miles to Bowness.

There were good views back to the Howgills in this section and the landscape ahead had changed to be more craggier. There were distant views of some of the Lakes biggest fells such as Bowfell and the Langdale Pikes.

The walk finishes above the Lake at a simple stone bench above Bowness on Windermere. It seems odd that it doesn’t finish in the town, but the formal finish does provide a peaceful spot.

It was a shock to the system to walk into the shops, attractions and general hustle and bustle of a Saturday in Bowness.   We headed up the road to the railway station in Windermere and had a sandwich and coffee in Booths, before getting a taxi back to Ilkley. We had covered 11.2 miles on our last day’s walking.

Our trip was organised by Mickledore who did a great job in ensuring our bags were transferred each day. The walking information and rout guides provided were first class and the accommodation they booked for us was all of a high standard, with owners used to looking after weary walkers.

Dales Way – Day 5 – Towards the Lake District

 

We left Ash Hining Farm at around 8.45am after a filling breakfast (lovely food here with lots of local produce) and retraced our steps to pick up the Dales Way again at Lower Branthwaite . Today we would be crossing the M6 and the West Coast mainline railway.

We were following the River Lune again and the ground was fairly soggy in places.  We left the River at the 16th Century Crook of Lune Bridge and passed under the very impressive Lowgill Viaduct (27m high). At this point we left the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

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Before we crossed the M6 we used an honesty box by a farm to buy a can of orange drink, which went down a treat.

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The next section after we crossed the M6 on a footbridge was very muddy and had been well used by cattle. There was mud (bog) nearly up to the knees in places and some determined walking got us through – although we were starting to look a bit odd with two-tone mud encrusted legwear…

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Close to Black Moss Tarn we stopped to don waterproofs and put the camera away, but as often happens when waterproofs appear, the rain never materialised.  We cracked on from here significantly adding to the walk’s stile count and arrived at Burneside just before 3pm.

We were picked up by the signboard for the Dales Way and taken the short distance to Kendal. We stayed at the Premier Inn  which was very good with a powerful shower to remove the many layers of mud !

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It had been a tough 13.2 miles today,  and the scenery whilst pleasant wasn’t up to the high standard of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, but we had enjoyed the challenge…

This evening’s food treat was fish and chips in town. We even sat in the Chippy! (Fish Express on Highgate).  We wondered what our last day would bring as we made our way into the Lake District National Park to the shores of Windermere.

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Dales Way – Day 4 – Dipper Day

We left Cowgill behind and headed out into the sunshine walking alongside the River Dee. It was good to be lucky and see a dipper or two in the first few miles. We went by the road to Dent Station (oddly named as it is 5 miles from Dent), and headed off towards Laithbank. This section included lots of isolated and abandoned barns. We carried on along the River Dee and saw goldfinches and the occasional dipper busy feeding in the river.

The route passes by the small village of Dent and we took a detour and visited the very pretty village shop and stocked up on crisps and a sausage roll. Dent reminded us of a film set with cobbled streets and old shop signs. Today was going to be a long distance day as we were heading for the other side of Sedbergh. The Howgills were coming into view now and we pressed on passing by Millthrop and Birks (the name and location of one of “houses” of the famous Sedbergh School.

The next 2 miles were tough going, but we finally reached our B&B Ash Hining Farm for the night after walking 16.1 miles and were treated to tea and an excellent red wine and chocolate cake. The owner kindly gave us a lift into Sedbergh. A very pleasant meal was had at the Al Forno Italian Kitchen in Sedbergh – highly recommended.

Dales Way – Day 3 – Rain and high point of walk

Today it rained a lot, but we made it to the end and completed 16.3 miles.

We set off from Church Farm at around 8.45am after a filling breakfast and cracked on as best we could in the pouring rain along Langstrothdale. It was a day to keep the big camera in the rucksack, so most photos were taken with the phone.

We soon reached Yockenthwaite and then Deepdale. We hit the road at Beckermonds and pressed on, passing by the old chapel and Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee stone. The section from Swarthghyll Farm to Camhouses was very tricky with lots of streams to be crossed and bogs to be avoided. We had a quick break at Camhouses and changed to dry gloves. We soon crossed Cam Woodland Plantation and went uphill to join the Pennine Way at 522m the highest spot on the Dales Way. We had great views from here and could see the bands of rain in the distance.

The walking was a lot easier from here and we sped up and soon reached Far Gearstones, admiring the views of the Ribblehead Viaduct as we walked along.

Blea Moor was next up – more boggy terrain but at least the rain had stopped. The views had really opened up in this section. We made it to the Dent Road, finishing the last of the day’s sweets (chocolate eclairs and humbugs) and carried on down Dent Road to the 30m high Dent Head Viaduct. It was just a short hop from there to the Sportsmans Inn by the River Dee.

It was great to arrive and get dry again. A bath in peaty water was interesting and dinner was booked for 7pm. What will the weather have in store for us tomorrow as we aim for Dent and then Sedbergh?

Dales Way Day 2 – The day of the stiles

Today’s walk started with a very filling breakfast at the Red Lion. We met a chap about 15 minutes in who tipped us off about a dipper in the River Wharf just ahead. We managed to get a couple of photos from the other side of the river. We were soon at the a very wobbly and narrow suspension bridge and crossed carefully – we should probably have gone over one at a a time. We have done a fair bit of walking, but never come across as many gated stiles as we did today. We carried on along Wharfedale and after a few miles came to Linton Falls just before Grassington. Here we saw another dipper busy in the river.

Pastries were purchased in Grassington at the well named Walker’s Bakery and we said we would come back sometime to explore all the shops. We walked out by the Old Methodist Church. The next stage over to Kettlewell was very pleasant but tough as the wind and the rain were making an appearance. We walked over part of the Trail Trekker route (Oxfam 100km fund raiser from a few year’s ago) – although last time round this section was walked in the dark.

The stiles per mile count went up to over 20 – with 14 in the last 5/8 mile to Kettlewell. We had a look at the Youth Hostel in Kettlewell, which also doubles as the local post office. We took a break for food in Kettlewell and then pressed on for the last 5 miles to Hubberholme passing by Buckden and Starbotton.

We covered 15.4 miles today and 30,000 stiles -perhaps not quite as many as that. Tonight’s stay is in Church Farm B&B – a very comfortable farmhouse – hopefully the farm animals have a lie-in tomorrow. Tonight’s food was at the White Lion in Cray about a mile away. Great food and service was had and we are ready for a day full of weather tomorrow as we head to Cowgill in Dentdale.

Dales Way Day 1

After a decent night’s rest at the Riverside Hotel, we were pleased to discover the start of the Dales Way was only a couple of hundred yards down the river at 17th Century Old Bridge at Ilkley. This was the first of many bridges we would see over the River Wharfe as we hugged its course during the day.

Our trip had been organised by Mickledore Walking Holidays and we knew our main luggage was in safe hands and would meet us at the end of today’s walk at Burnsall. We had seen various distances for the walk ranging from 76 to 84 miles but the sign says 82 so we will go with that. The River was in spate and today’s weather increased the flow even further. We made it to Addingham in one piece although the camera has been in and out of the rucksack 3 or 4 times as the showers came and went. Our next stop was Bolton Abbey owned by the Duke of Devonshire.The stepping stones were not to be seen due the high river levels.We crossed on the bridge and made our way to a coffee and quick break at the Cavendish Pavilion. Next up was the very pretty Strid Wood. Wildlife sightings today were limited due to the weather, but we did see ducks, robins, wrens, squirrels and rabbits. Any kingfishers or dippers were in the pub staying out of the rain ! After Strid Wood we crossed the River Wharfe again at Barden Bridge. There was then a very quiet section to Appletreewick. Eventually we reached the Red Lion Hotel at Burnsall – 13.9 miles in the bag. The Red Lion was just what was needed, a comfortable room and good food. Red Lion HotelToday’s weather was mainly for……