Dales Way – Day 6

Sedbergh to Kendal 12 miles

Next morning it was wet so after breakfast I donned my waterproofs, which I don’t like wearing, and then it was off into the rain after guidance of where to rejoin the Dales Way, which just happened to be round the back of the house.

As I was walking I could see two people (a mum and her daughter) coming towards me and they stopped to ask if I was on the Dales Way. They were walking the other way from Bowness to Ilkley as a treat for the daughter who had completed her exams. They looked soaked.

As we said our goodbyes & wished each other a good walk, it was on into the wet murky weather to find the 12th century Crook of Lune Bridge. I was nearing the bridge when I could see bullocks in the field ahead. I walked towards them only to discover the path led off to the right and as I followed it uphill I found I was now in the same field as the bullocks but I was higher so I felt safe. As I walked I could see my field exit point, but now the animals were breaking into a run towards the same exit. I increased my pace trying not to run and attract their attention. As luck would have it I arrived before them, so it was through the gate quickly, turning around with a confident look back to see where they were. They had stopped and were chewing grass again.

It was at this point the rain had stopped and I could hear a lot of traffic, checking the map I found I was close to the M6 motorway.

Crossing over the motorway I knew I was now well into Cumbria and the Lake District beckoned.

After careful negotiations of re-finding the route, as there was excavation work on the line of the path, I saw a farmer on his quad bike rounding up horses. As they passed a frozen Dales Way walker (namely me) I ended up talking to the farmer who told me all his troubles of moving farms, losing an eye in a farm accident, dealing with land owners and how he had diversified from dairy farming; the chat was interesting. As we said our friendly goodbyes he pointed to the path towards Kendal and the distant hills covered with rain clouds, typical of the area.

Further on it was time for lunch; I sat overlooking the railway line from Oxenholme to Windermere. Here several trains passed by with the passengers looking out across the fields, so I sat having a quiet time to myself.

After lunch it was a quick check of the map and away I go. I crossed the road bridge to the next field and could see the path line were so many had walked before me. Guess what?

Three cows were lying down, actually on the path, so by now with my experiences of dealing with them, I walked around them keeping a firm eye on their movements. They just lay there and watched me walk by – phew!!!

“That was easy,” I thought, following the way marker into another field and down the hill. Then my worst nightmare as I could see a whole herd of cattle, they appearing to be waiting for me.

I had no choice but to go for it. As I neared them my eyes were everywhere but not one moved towards me. I started to think I had been concerned over nothing, so I walked on confidently with head up high towards Kendal where I was looking forward to a good soak in a bath at my next stop over.

As I approached the A6, I made contact with the B&B as the arrangements were to phone the owner because the accommodation was three miles off the Dales Way.

I was met soon after my phone call and taken to my resting point in Kendal. The landlady informed me she was waiting to pick up two more people who were also walking the Dales Way. After a shower and a short rest it was time for dinner and I was advised to go to a little bistro in town where the food is good and reasonably priced.

The bistro was a little busy but I had no problems getting a table and I enjoyed my meal, washed down with a cool drink. After a steady walk back to the B&B it was time to rest and prepare for my final day of the walk.

It was a bit of a sad feeling really; I felt I had achieved something memorable and would like to do it again with others to guide them on the way.

Dales Way – Day 5

Cowgill to Sedbergh 12 miles

I was now leaving Yorkshire and entering Cumbria, although some of the locals still say they are in Yorkshire; they won’t accept the boundary changes. I headed towards the village of Dent and saw the Howgills Fells for the first time. This was an easy walk following the river again, but now it looked as though it might rain. When I was just outside Dent I met a walker coming towards me and we chatted for a while. I found out he was local, a retired policeman who, after moving to Dent from Blackpool, had spent many hours walking in the area. As we said our goodbyes he pointed me in the direction of a café which served good food and as it was lunchtime I took up his recommendation.

Lunch stop for a welcoming bowl of hot soup & a roll

After lunch it was on to Sedbergh, crossing meadows with wild flowers galore and I still hadn’t encountered any cattle. This part of the walk seemed to be a longer section as I felt I wasn’t getting any nearer to Milthrop & Sedbergh but then just over the hill

I could see Milthrop in the distance, and a cricket match being played.

Walking over a bridge I spotted a heron in the river so after a photo moment it was onwards to find my next B&B passing under the impressive Lune Viaduct.

It was here I met my biggest fear of the entire walk, CATTLE. I could see them in the distance so I stayed alongside the river. When I met a father and son going fishing, they enquired if I was on the Dales Way, so I asked them if they knew where Bramaskew farm was. “Yes,” dad replied, “go up top of hill past cattle, join the track then up to the farm you can’t miss it.”

I thanked them and followed the river but had to turn to walk up the hill. I was near a wall and thought this will protect me if I panic. As I was walking up the hill I noticed they weren’t cows they were bullocks and they had spotted me! With a little bit of quick thinking I turned around to walk away from them when suddenly there were two cows less than 20 yards away, so I had to think quickly again. I remembered what I’d been told, that if you make a lot of noise and wave your arms they will go away. This I did vigorously and guess what? They looked at me as though I had gone crazy and just carried on eating grass, so I now had to climb over the wall in to the next field where there were sheep, “I’m OK with this,” and breathed a sigh of relief.

Onwards up the hill when I saw the lady of the farm where I was staying that night. She was feeding the chickens and welcomed me saying that I must have gone off the track a little. I should have come the other way, pointing to where the cattle were.

The beauty of the farm is that it is actually on the Dales Way path.

I can thoroughly recommend this accommodation and, with a hearty packed lunch for the next day, it was well worthy off a stop over.

Dales Way – Day 4

Outertshaw to Cowgill 15 Miles

The next day whilst having breakfast we listened to the weather report and the strong possibility of heavy rain. It was time to say farewell to Steve ready for his long journey back home and to say goodbye to Mary & Kevin, the owners of this superb B&B.

As Steve drove off it was onwards & upwards to Outershaw for me, then over Cam Moor and

up on to the Pennine Way. These pictures are looking back across the moor where I’d just walked.

Along the Pennine Way towards Ribbleshead Viaduct I had occasional chats with other fellow walkers and then headed across the fells on the Ribble Way. Walking away from the viaduct towards Cow Gill, Dentdale, were more fantastic views of the Dales.

Following the long descent to Cowgill, I crossed the River Dee and on to the Sportsman Inn for my next overnight stop.

Dales Way – Day 3

Kettlewell to Outershaw 8 miles

We had, what can only be described as the largest breakfast ever seen by man, put in front of us. We couldn’t eat it all which was a waste.

As we set off it started to rain, which lasted all of ten minutes or so. We followed the River Wharf to Starbotton & Buckden

stopping for a refreshing pot of tea, now in sunshine.

We then made our way to Hubbleholm to the 12th century church which is well worth a visit.

The Dales path runs behind the church and as we were walking along the river we could this elderly lady up ahead, alone as we thought, looking to be in some kind of bother. As we drew closer we could see an elderly man lying on the ground and I thought he had probably collapsed or something worse. As we reached him we could see he was holding a video camera with a sound system and when we asked him if he was OK. he told us to be quiet! It turned out he was making a home documentary about wild orchids.

He wanted Steve & I to lie on the ground to pretend we were from an orchid’s society and had found a rare orchid, and he wanted to film us taking photos of the flower.

Up for a laugh we lay down with the camera whilst the gent videoed us. We stayed for about three minutes then went on our way and with the elderly gent still trying to tell us what to look out for, we waved a hasty goodbye.

Further up the path we met somebody walking the opposite way, from Bowness to Ilkley, and he was looking a little tired so we stopped to enlighten him about the orchid film director which brought a smile to his face.

So back on track we headed along the River Wharf

to East House Farm, Beckermonds.

And this is what we walked all the way from Ilkley for, a view like this:-

AND, yes, we got our scones – a whole delicious plateful. Not only that we also enjoyed a most sumptuous evening meal.

Dales Way – Day 2

Burnsall to Kettlewell 11 miles

We left the Manor House after breakfast, heading towards Grassington. As we set off we noticed that two women were about 30 yards behind us and we could hear them talking, they were even talking over our conversation! We tried to increase the distance between us but they were still there 30 yards away, so we decided that when we get to the suspension bridge we would stop for a photo shoot and let them pass.

After they had passed us we let the gap get bigger, a least 50 yards or so ahead, and we could still hear them talking, (its amazing how far sound travels when it’s walking away from you).

With a pause at Linton Falls, it was on to Grassington, where we purchased lunch from the local bakery.

As we left the bakery we heard the same two women again but this time they said “hello” so we had a few friendly words before they walked back to Burnsall whilst we went in the opposite direction. We returned to the Dales Way trail leaving the town for my first contact with cattle. I followed the path close to Steve and watched for the slightest movement towards me, with walking pole at the ready to defend myself. However, as informed by many, the cows just watched us walk by.

Further on we took a slight deviation off track (not intended!) where we met an American family who were also walking the Dales Way, but were also lost. So we improved US & English relations by guiding them back on to the trail. We walked to Conistone Pie and had our lunch overlooking the valley.

These are the views from Conistone Pie

After lunch and an airing of the feet we were on our way to Kettlewell and as we arrived we found a lovely tea shop where we had Yorkshire tea, a slice of home made cake and a bit of banter with the staff, it was brilliant. Then on to the Blue Bell Inn to book in for the evening. After a shower & a change we took a stroll around the village where upon we found the Kings Head pub, so we had an aperitif or two of Black Sheep before returning to the Blue Bell for dinner.

Dales Way – Day 1

Ilkley to Burnsall 13 miles

The next morning Steve and I posed at the start of the walk for the typical photographs near the bridge. Then, with goodbye kisses to my wife and waving farewell, we set off on a slightly overcast day, Liz drove off home to the Midlands – at the weekend she was going to stay with friends near Blackpool before meeting me at the finish in Bowness.

We walked on to Addingham where we saw a church with a blue clock face. How unusual.

The sun came out to join us and at Bolton Abbey, where the crowds had gathered, we stopped for the first lunch of our walk. We found a table free and then took it in turns to get food so that no one would take our table. We rested, kicking off our boots letting our feet cool down ready for the next section to Burnsall.

We walked towards Barden Bridge, passing the Strid on the way, where we had to try the local ice cream from a van parked at the side of the road; this was our dessert. The route became

very quiet from here on, not many people to be seen until we got to Burnsall, 
Here we were booked in to the Manor House, next to the Red Lion, where we had a quick pick me up tonic (a pint of Black Sheep beer), well deserved after our 13 mile walk.

Up to our room for a shower, a change of clothes and preparation for the next day’s walk. Then it was back to check on the tonics (Black Sheep) to see if our taste buds were still OK before having dinner.

Dales Way

Preparation / Planning

For my preparation I used to walk a regular 10 – 12 miles to build up stamina. There were also occasional days over Long Mynd and up the Llanberis path, Snowdonia.

Steve, a friend of mine who is also an avid walker, often accompanied me on my training walks and became interested in doing The Dales Way but unfortunately he would only have time to complete the first 3 days.

The travel company Mac Adventure sorted everything for me and they were brilliant. They arranged for my bags to be carried on to the next B&B, all I had to do was plan what to take with me each day.

This is how my first long distance adventure started.

The Route

Day 1 Ilkley to Burnsall 13 miles
Day 2 Burnsall to Kettlewell 11 miles
Day 3 Kettlewell to Outershaw 8 miles
Day 4 Outertshaw to Cowgill 15 Miles
Day 5 Cowgill to Sedbergh 12 miles
Day 6 Sedbergh to Kendal 12 miles
Day 7 Kendal to Bowness 11 miles

The Adventure Begins:

Late on a wet Sunday afternoon my wife & I arrived at the Riverside Hotel in Ilkley – we found it to be very comfortable with good food, drink and very pleasant staff. After a relaxing meal and nightcap it was bed time after our long journey.

The next day it was time for a Dales Way preamble, a walk around Ilkley’s shops and a pot of tea in the famous Betty’s tea room before meeting up with Steve.

When Steve arrived he booked into his hotel and then we took his car to East House Farm, Beckermonds near Outershaw ready for his return to the Midlands after his third day of the walk.

Whilst at Beckermonds the landlady, Mary, promised us a welcoming pot of tea at the end of our day’s walk (Read on). 
So it was back to Ilkley for a pre-Dales Way dinner and drink before retiring for the night.