After a slow wake up and struggle to move from stiff muscles, we eventually had an excellent breakfast, during which we spoke to our hosts about buses to the railway station. To our surprise they offered to take us to the station when we were ready.
Rooms checked nothing left behind; we said our goodbyes to our host/cook Judy then loaded up the car and were off to the station. When we arrived there were no trains due to rail workings so coaches were laid on to take us to Lancaster Station where we boarded our train to Wolverhampton to be met by our wives for the final stage of the journey home.
Burneside (Kendal) to Bowness-on-Windermere – 9 miles
After breakfast Mrs Brindley took us back to where we finished yesterday. We said our goodbyes and she was gone. We picked up the DW easily and were off across fields, heading to Burneside. At this point the weather was being kind to us, warm and sunny. We did a little road walking before following the way across fields. The trail later became closed due to flood damage of a bridge and an alternative route, shown on an official closure sign, was difficult to see so we looked around for the paths of previous walkers. As we were reading the sign, a lady came over to tell us why the bridge was closed and pointed out structural damage that had occurred. She told us she owned the bridge and had closed it for safety reasons, but did direct us to a road bridge which was open to walkers but closed to traffic,
again due to flood damage. We followed the directions to the road bridge and safely walked across and along the narrow road, passing Burneside Hall on our left. The path itself does go through the village but diverts around a small industrial park down towards the River Kent. As we neared the river we had lovely views ahead
and the village of Bowston where we crossed the old road bridge and then had a short walk through the village (the river now on our right), heading towards Cowan Head. We chatted to an elderly gentleman walking his dog. He told us a little about the area and how it had changed over his time living there. As we left him to his walk we continued along the river until we arrived at a modern three storey apartment building
alongside the weir, with fantastic views of the fells. We stood in awe, taking in the landscape and thinking what a lovely place to live, when the elderly gentleman re-appeared. He told us how the ground floor apartments had been devastated in the floods and, worst of all, the apartments had underground parking arrangements; this must have been horrendous for the owners. As we were leaving, the gentleman told us to look out for the foot bridge
that had been washed away in the floods, we should see it as we passed through to Staverley. Now taking a more leisurely walk, following the River Kent and soaking up the sun’s rays, we eventually arrived at Staverley near the level crossing. Going along the road in to the village, we came across a community bench and decided to stop for lunch and cool down the feet. The area was quiet even though we could see the main road leading to Windermere and its traffic.
After lunch we were soon ready for the final leg of the Dales Way. We crossed under the railway line
and passed a few remote cottages until we arrived at the road bridge taking us over the A591
to Windermere and, as we crossed, the noise was deafening. We now had a few hills to walk up but looking back was a bonus as the views were brilliant. At the top we began to see in the distance all the rolling hills
and fells of the Lake District. The problem with going up hills is that you have to go down again before ascending the next one. We were now heading for Brackenthwaite Farm, at the bottom of the valley. We could see the road leading away from the farm as we looked up to the top of the hill, the way we were walking. It is the longest drawn out hill of the Dales Way but when at the top the views are spectacular.
At the summit I told Steve that there was a cafe’ very near so we could stop for a refreshing pot of tea at Hagg End. We navigated across fields, becks and stiles only to find it had shut with no sign of ever opening again, so it was onwards across the fell. The route was now a little difficult as there were less signs around but luckily we soon got back on the track heading to Matson Ground and Windermere. As we left the hillside we just had to follow the road a short way before seeing the sign to Bowness. Stepping off the road, down the pathway, we were now heading downhill to Bowness, when we had our first sighting of Lake Windermere
and the distant fells of the Langdales and Fairfield. As we arrived at the finish sign we asked a passer-by if he would take our photo,
which he did. After a short rest it was down a steep hill into Bowness and the Royal Oak for that celebratory drink.
As we arrived there were some of the walkers we had met on the way; everyone congratulated each other over a well deserved pint. We then left to find our accommodation just up the road from the steamer piers and the pub. As we arrived our host talked to us about the evening meal and recommended an Italian restaurant which he very kindly phoned to reserve a table for us. We were then shown to our respective rooms to freshen up, not before phoning home to announce we had finished the Dales Way and were safe. After about an hour or so we were ready for a bite to eat, so we set off to the restaurant, taking a slight detour to the nearest pub for an aperitif to liven up the taste buds. The restaurant was busy, the service was good and the meal complemented the evening. Now fed and watered, we set off back to our accommodation and as we passed the steamer piers on the shore line you could see the refection of the moon on the lake – what a treat for the end of the day.
After breakfast we set off on a cool sunny morning following a route leading us towards the River Lune and the Lune Viaduct. I decided to leave Sedburgh on the A683 towards Brigflatts Farm where the route joins the road anyway. This saved us some time rather than walking back to the river we had crossed yesterday on arrival to the town.
After about a mile or so, now on the A684, we came across the old church of
St Gregory, Vale of Lune, built in 1860 by the Upton family from Ingmire Hall. The London and North Western Railway was constructing the Ingleton Branch Line and the company sent a scripture reader to minister to the navvies. As the church was open we went inside to look around. It was like going back in time – there was old gas lighting
as well as electric lighting above the dusty pews, beautiful stained glass windows and an organ
that needed cleaning. Everywhere looked like it had been left, yet the church had a list of congregation events showing on the notice board. (Reading some history about the church
it is apparently now redundant according to Wikipedia). Leaving the building it was back to more road walking
before taking the trail at Lincoln’s Inn Bridge and following the River Lune towards Lune Viaduct,
an old and disused railway bridge. Walking along the river we met a gentleman with his dog and he asked if we were walking the Dales Way. He told us he’d bought a house in the area and had retired as he had spent most of his time abroad and wanted to return to the UK.
Walking on passing a B&B where I had stayed the first time I did the DW, we went across fields still following the river,
until we decided after a few hours it was time for a break.
We found a spot on the river bank, the weather was becoming warmer now. As we rested, we could see in the distance two people walking towards us and as they got near it turned out to be the Italian couple we’d met at Burnsall and at Conistone Pie. They didn’t linger but did say,” Hello” and asked how we were. Whilst sitting there looking around, it was amazing to see so much flotsam in the trees above our heads, plus boulders and dead wood in the river; obviously the remains of the floods that Cumbria had suffered over the winter months.
Break time over we set off, still following the river
and now heading for the Crook of Lune Bridge,
once said to be the boundary of Yorkshire & Cumbria. We crossed the bridge and went along the road, which was amazing. Trees had been washed up and were embedded into other trees along with all the debris.
We followed the narrow lane under the Lowgill Viaduct before crossing the B6257. Now climbing up into fields, heading towards Beck Foot and the M6, it wasn’t long before we heard the traffic. Still climbing higher we could see the M6 in the distance, winding its way north & south.
We arrived at the bridge that led us across the M6
to the other side and into the fields where we had our first good views – thanks to the sun shining – of the Lake District fells.
Here we decided to stop for lunch and to let the feet cool down by taking our boots off. As we were having lunch the fellow we’d met in Addington and the couple to whom we’d chatted in Sedburgh came and sat with us to talk about the DW so far. They didn’t stay too long and were soon on their way.
After half an hour we set off ourselves and as we neared a remote cottage we saw the same three walkers talking to the occupant. After a brief chat we all set off, now following a single track road. Our destination was a lay-by on the A6, which was our pick up point; we were based in Kendal for the night. It didn’t take long to reach the lay-by where I phoned to be picked up and we said our goodbyes to the others. It was now very warm; we were hot from walking and just needed a drink as our water levels were low. Before long our lift arrived. We loaded up and were on our way to Kendal, a shower and the pub. Our driver was Mrs Brindley with whom I’d stayed when I first did the Dales Way in 2011. As we drove into Kendal we talked about places to eat that night and how the floods had affected the town. Upon arrival we were invited into the garden for a chat and a refreshing drink. Mrs Brindley then phoned to reserve us a table in the French restaurant I’d visited last time.
Having now changed and refreshed ourselves, it was time to have a well deserved drink before going for our meal. Once suitably hydrated, we headed to the restaurant. Kendal was relatively quiet, not much traffic, although the restaurant was busy. The meal was very satisfying and filling; the wine was better though. We later took a stroll back to our accommodation for a little R & R in preparation for the final day’s walk.
At breakfast, a man on the next table was studying his map and books. Steve asked if he was walking the Dales Way, which he was, but after hearing his accent it was evident he wasn’t from England so Steve asked where he was from. He said he was from Holland and was walking to explore the north of England. He said his wife had given him permission so he was OK to enjoy himself, ha ha ha. After a friendly chat and discussion about Brexit etc, we were ready to jump into our awaiting taxi to take us back to yesterday’s finishing point, to then start our day’s walk to Sedburgh (locally pronounced Seba).
We loaded up our things, and were off to Cowgill where we finished the walk yestarday.As we arrived the weather became overcast and cooler. We walked via the river, crossing fields until we arrived back in Dent.
We walked around the village looking for places to buy lunch; the only place open was at the Post Office. The people here were very helpful and actually made up our sandwiches whilst serving other customers. Then we were off again looking for the trail and we headed back to the river where we saw other walkers we had met the other day. We continued on to the river and followed it for sometime before heading up into the hillside.
As we were passing a farm, there in a corner by stables was an alpaca,
but it could have been a llama (I’m not sure of the differences). It wasn’t long now before we were walking on a very quiet minor road, at the base of Combe Scar & Calf Top 609m, passing farms looking for a suitable place to have a lunch. We de-booted and set up our tranquil little lunch spot when suddenly a group of cyclists came by, then dog walkers followed by the occasional car and other walkers. So much for a quiet spot!
After lunch we set off again and
more hills, crossing a busy road then climbing before we saw a sign for Dales Way; leading us towards Millthrop
the views were very good despite some mist around. As we were following the trail up a reasonably steep section, again from out of nowhere, a low flying jet passed through the valley heading north. As we reached the high point we could see Sedburgh in the distance. Following the
trail to Millthrop we actually caught up with the three Irish ladies we had met by Cam Moor. After a brief chat we were soon on our way to Sedburgh for the night, passing what looked like a very public school with lots of ground around it. We were now looking for the Dalesman Country Inn.
We arrived in the town,
turned along the main street until the end, then headed back the other way. Guess what? It was the opposite way to where we were going. Eventually we arrived and booked in before being shown to our rooms.
After a rest, a cup of tea and a refreshing shower, it was time for dinner. As we were having a very welcome pint, we ended up chatting to a couple, also walking the Dales Way. Whilst talking to them, I noticed that in the background was the BBC news reporter Danny Savage; he later disappeared to have dinner.
After our meal and conversations with other walkers, we went on a walkabout around Sedburgh before retiring for the night.
At breakfast we met up with two other walkers who had arrived late in the evening; they were planning to walk some of the hills in the area before heading home to Manchester.
We had a wholesome breakfast as I knew the day was to be a long walk over Cam Fell to Cowgill where we were to be taxied to Dent, our next accommodation. We collected our packed lunches and were soon on our way, but didn’t stop to look around the adjacent church
(St Michael’s & All Angels) as we had visited it the last time we were in the area. The sky was overcast and it was cool so wet weather gear was used, just in case. The trail was quiet yet again as we followed the river
our final river crossing.
As we walked along the only person we saw was a postman delivering mail to a remote cottage. At Beckermonds,
(a place we stayed the first time we walked the Dales Way and the point where Steve had to leave) we decided to take a break as the weather had improved slightly. It was here we saw a farmer putting bird houses in the trees. As we rested three ladies walked by; they were also doing the Dales Way.
Once rested we set off for the first steep climb of the walk. Luckily it was only for quarter of a mile but on road
so we had to keep a look out for vehicles as there is no pavement.
We arrived at the small hamlet of Oughtershaw. Leaving the road to walk across Cam Fell we met the three ladies we’d seen a short while before. They were having lunch and on chatting with them we discovered they were from Ireland. Steve actually knew the places they were from so the conversation lasted longer than expected.
Now following the beck towards Cam Houses, which is probably the wildest part of the walk
with only a small section of road, the rest is a tractor path, we came across the first farm, Nethergill Farm with a welcoming sign
for Teas and Coffee, so we called in for refreshments. It turned out to also be an education centre for school parties/walkers etc and there were pictures/posters
of what to see whilst in the area. As we were making tea a couple of walkers arrived, so we chatted and found they were also on the Dales Way just heading to the Ribblehead Viaduct and their B&B. Finishing our drinks, and leaving money in the honesty box, we set off across the rest of the moor towards Cam Houses and to where the Dales Way joins the Pennine Way.
Arriving at Cam Houses,
probably the remotest houses in the area, we climbed up the hill through what was a forest the last time I was here; now all the trees had been forested/cut down ready for distribution.
We continued climbing up what can only be described as a steep bank until we arrived at the sign post showing the Pennine Way & Dales Way.
We turned left on to a track big enough for the lorries, walking towards the B6255 and the view of the famous Ribblehead Viaduct. The track was pretty boring
although we did have clear views of the surrounding hills. A couple of times we had to step aside to allow lorries to pass with their heavy loads, and as they passed they just left huge dust clouds which was horrible.
Eventually we arrived at Gayle Beck and the B6255 leading to Hawes. It was here we decided to stop for lunch. As the weather was cool and breezy now no sooner had we had lunch then we were off again looking for the sign to Winshaw and High Gayle farms up on the hillsides. This proved a little demanding as there was so much mud on the path, making the climb difficult. Eventually we got on to a level section of the path and following it towards Black Rake Road, -now on tarmac- walking down a long steep hill to Dent Head Viaduct
and continuing along the road till we reached the Sportsman Inn,
where we met the three Irish ladies who had just arrived. It was from here we were to be transported by taxi to Dent for our overnight accommodation and the arrangements were that we would be met at 4pm. We arrived at 3:55pm, (phew)
just in time, as the taxi appeared.
Now loaded up, we were taken to Dent village to our accommodation. On the way our driver was giving us his own version of a guided tour of the area, pointing out various landmarks such as Whernside Manor, and imparting historical information about slavery in the area. Upon arrival at Dent and our accommodation.
We had a well deserved pint after our 16 mile hike. After we had freshened up and booked a table for our meal, we took a stroll around the village prior to going for dinner and enjoying a pint or two before heading to our rooms for a good nights sleep.
We went to the main house for breakfast and met three ladies who were also walking the Dales Way. During conversation, one lady owned up to having arthritic knees; she said it was fine albeit a bit slow at times. Soon we said our goodbyes and hoped to see them on the trail. As we left the breakfast room, we met an Italian couple outside were preparing to walk, they who had stayed in another part of the house. We chatted to them and found they were from Italy, also doing the Dales Way.
As we set off, the sun began to shine and as we’ve walked this section to Grassington a few times now there was no need for a map or guide books. The trail was quiet,
the river flowed gently and the reflections of the surface of the river were stunning.
We met just the few walkers on the trail taking in the peace and quiet before the day became busy. At Grassington we decided to stop for morning coffee
as it was so quiet in the village. Steve wanted to post some cards and it was also a good time to phone home. After coffee we purchased sandwiches for lunch from the local bakery and planned to take a lunch break on Conistone Pie, overlooking Kilnsey Crag and Kettlewell. With the weather being so nice, we should get some good views. As we left Grassington and headed up into the hills,
the temperature was now even hotter than before. There’s no shelter on the tops and with a breeze blowing it seemed to cool us down, but the danger was that we could get sunburnt so I thought we may need to cover up later when we stop.
At Conistone Pie,
the views were fantastic, with 180 degrees of scenery looking back towards Burnsall one way, Kilsey Crag, Parsons Pulpit (538m) & Gordale Scar directly in front of us, then looking along the valley towards
Kettlewell/Hubbleholme – it was brilliant. Now boots off enjoying a quiet lunch and taking the obligatory photo when suddenly, climbing up on to Conistone Pie, were the two Italians arriving to have their lunch. They had seen us and thought it would be a good place to stop. By now we were ready to head to Kettlewell and having put our boots on we said our goodbyes again. We climbed down off the rocks and soon got back onto the trail. It wasn’t long after then that we saw the three ladies
from this morning at breakfast, plus the walker we’d met the other day at Addingham, all resting. The lady with the arthritic knees was happy to take a breather as she said her knees were sore. We wished them a good day and were off again. Heading down off the hills and on to the road, Steve was able to do a little bird spotting. As we passed Scargill House, a Christian Retreat, we didn’t expect the low flying jets that appeared from nowhere, as they do. The noise was so loud; it was deafening which also made us jump. As we neared Kettlewell, Steve was a little apprehensive as a few years ago, whilst climbing over a stile, he’d slipped and broken his wrist, so we just took things steady and he was fine. By now we were thirsty again and thought we should stop at the cafe’ we’d used the last time we were in the area. As we arrived
we found it was too hot inside so we sat outside in the shade. Sitting back on the chairs, with our boots off, and drinking a very refreshing cup of tea was wonderful.
Soon we were on our way
for the final stretch of the day, crossing fields and the River Wharfe. We looked across the river towards Starbotton and Buckden as we passed by, until we came to Hubbleholm and our next resting place which, as luck would have it, was a traditional Dales pub with
thick stone walls, flagged floors, mullioned windows and oozing with character. We arrived to a reasonable welcome and before seeing our rooms had a lovely cool pint of well deserved Black Sheep beer.
We were then shown to our rooms, not before reserving a table for our evening meal, simply because there was no other eatery in the area. We adjourned to freshen up and arranged to meet later. The downside of the pub was that there was no Wifi nor mobile phone signal, so contacting home was out of the question.
The meal was reasonable and matched by the hospitality; it wasn’t long after the meal that we turned in for the night.
After a lovely breakfast we were soon on our way back into town, to the start point alongside the bridge & River Wharfe.
We didn’t need packed lunches as our aim was to lunch at Bolton Abbey where there is a cafe’.
We set off in brilliant sunshine following the river towards Addingham village which is a nice quiet place and, as before, we did not see anybody until we arrived at Addingham church. Whilst taking in the sun, a lone walker (doing the Dales Way), came by and following a brief chat he was soon on his way.
It wasn’t long before we were also on our way, after a quick look around the church grounds.
Within a short time we were walking through a very picturesque campsite of static homes overlooking the River Wharfe.
Soon we had to cross the B6160 road which was heading towards Bolton Abbey and, being a Sunday, it was likely to be busy with lots of people out for the day. After crossing the road we came upon the old Quaker Meeting House at Fairfield, dated 1689. The hall welcomes visitors, so inside we went.
It was interesting as well as nice and cool as the sun was quite hot now in open areas.
After reading a little about the history of the building, and a wander around the grounds, we were soon on our way again, crossing a few fields before eventually having to once more carefully cross the B6160. We walked along the road for about 200 yards before heading towards the river. We followed the river, passing under a road bridge before entering the Abbey grounds. The path led towards
the Abbey itself
where we could see many day trippers enjoying themselves and children playing in pools. As we neared our lunch stop there were more people and we thought that it would be difficult to find a place to sit, but when we arrived some people were just leaving – how lucky were we! We settled down to lunch, boots off, and checked the map for the next stage.
Having rested, had a snack and a drink (NO dessert, I must add), it was time for boots on and on our way again, heading towards Barden Bridge. We passed lots of people just strolling through the woods, taking in views. If you haven’t been to Bolton Abbey, I can fully recommend a visit.
On the route to Barden Bridge,
I reminded Steve it was his turn to buy the ice creams as I had bought them the last time (5 years ago, hee hee). When we got near the bridge, we saw the ice cream van waiting for us and thought it would be a shame to have walked all this way and not have one, so we indulged ourselves, looking on it as our dessert.
Now, it was time to walk the final section of the day to our B&B in Burnsall.
We eventually arrived around 5 o’clock, having first called at the Red Lion Pub to book a table for dinner that evening.
We found our accommodation quite easily and met our host, who showed us to our rooms in a cottage alongside the main house which was great as we had it to ourselves.
Having had a mug of tea, we settled in to our respective rooms and had a brief rest before wandering back to the Red Lion for dinner. After a very pleasant evening we returned to our B&B to settle down for the night.
Steve had arranged train tickets travelling from home (Stourbridge) to Birmingham and on to Ilkley. When we arrived mid-afternoon in sunshine, Ilkley was buzzing with shoppers and folks eating & drinking at the various open air bars / restaurants.
Our hotel was the one that Steve had stayed at before, (Rombalds Hotel) on his first attempt at the Dales Way, so he knew the way. Unfortunately it was at the top of a steep hill, onto the edge of Ilkley Moor. We looked around for a taxi, as we had cases and all our gear with us, but there were none to be seen, so it was onwards and upwards dragging our cases along the Victorian pavements and cobbled roads.
At the hotel, looking back towards Ilkey
and gasping for breath, we booked in at reception who then showed us to our rooms – on the TOP floor and there wasn’t a lift!
Once we had settled in and got our breath back from the climb, it was a case of back down the hill into town to have a look around and take in the atmosphere of the day. It was now nearing the evening and Steve announced he had a discount voucher for 2 meals, so after deciding where to eat, we did find a taxi which took us to the Cow & Calf Restaurant
overlooking Ilkley town. After an excellent meal and the evening drawing to a close we able to get another taxi back to our hotel, where we each had a well deserved good night’s sleep.
After the three of us (Steve, Lynn and I) did our epic Coast 2 Coast in 2015, we decided we wanted to do a more leisurely walk. As we had spent three to four days in the Dales in 2014, we thought it would be good to now walk the Dales Way.
In 2011, Steve and I had actually started off together on the Dales Way but he was only able to complete 3 days due to family commitments, so I therefore continued the walk alone.
After we all agreed on a date, I made arrangements with Mac Adventure, our usual travel company.
Unfortunately our training was down to a minimum. What with Steve’s work and holiday commitments, plus myself buying a motor home and going off on trips around the country, time was limited for us too. However, we did manage to get some walks practice and a few times we walked along the River Severn from Kidderminster towards Bridgnorth, some 15 + miles round trip. We also occasionally walked from one end of the Malvern Hills which, with the steep gradients and descents, was a good leg stretcher at the time. Lynn, on the other hand, was left to train at his home in Llanelli, South Wales. All was going well until he suffered a knee injury and was advised to cancel the walk a few days before the start. The good news is that he is improving and will be walking with us on our next adventure.
At breakfast I met the other couple the landlady had been waiting for, they were walking the Dales Way also. They had finished their walk in Burneside, further than I had yet walked. They were mother & son; he was over here visiting his family as he now lives in Australia.
After breakfast we piled into the car to be taken back to our respective start points. The weather was kind again and the sun was shining as we said our farewells and wished each other a good walk.
As I was getting near Burneside the path became fairly easy, just following the river to Staveley. As I neared the bridge there was an old timer walking his dog, we chatted for a while before leaving to go in to Staveley Village.
After walking partially through the village the distant hills were coming more in to view.
The scenery was amazing and the bonus was the weather, it was so clear. Following the path way I eventually arrived at the last tea shop on the route, Hag End Farm. As I arrived I met the two people I had had breakfast with this morning. We discussed how things were going and that we were nearly at the end and after a refreshing mug of tea we joined company to finish the rest of the walk together. We chatted endlessly finding out about each other and our enjoyment of walking. We headed through a farm where there must have been 200 or 300 sheep all bleating, the noise was almost unbearable. Obviously the farmer had reasons to put them together but we didn’t hang around.
As we walked, checking the map several times, we saw the sign for Bowness, we knew we were close.
We entered what we thought was just another path but as we continued downhill we had our first glimpse of Lake Windermere.
As we were walking down the path the view became more impressive and I could also see the seat indicating the end of the Dales Way. As we approached I realised someone was sitting on it (you can just make out the image in the bottom left of the picture) and I said to my fellow walkers that I hope the person clears off before we get there. As we got closer I started to recognise that person, it was my wife Liz. To my amazement – and hers – she had walked up what is probably the steepest hill I have ever known her walk up…..hihihi
We met up with hugs & kisses followed by an introduction to my two companions and then it was time for our last photo shot of the end of way.
After saying farewell to my fellow walkers, we went our separate ways. They had to head off to meet their transport back to Ilkley whilst Liz & I went for a pot of welcoming tea & cake to celebrate.
As an appropriate finish for someone who likes the lakes as much as I do, I dipped my boots in Lake Windermere, before boarding the launch to sail to Ambleside with Liz, where I would celebrate my 63rd birthday with a few days break to recover. But Liz had other plans. She decided the I needed a cooling down walk to get over the past week’s activity, so she took me shopping around Keswick……How thoughtful is she ????