The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Sunday, 21 July 2013

Monday 15 to Wednesday 17 July: From Hebden Bridge to Gayle Wolds

It felt to Mick like he had barely walked through the front door a week last Friday, after his few days on the Pennine Way, before I told him that I was sending him back out again. The weather forecast was still so good (albeit perhaps a little warm for backpacking) that I couldn’t bear the thought of him languishing at home whilst I was at work. So, I booked him a train ticket for early Monday morning, printed him some maps and some meals were quickly cooked and dehydrated, then he was off.

His train journey ran far more smoothly than last week’s, and at 11am he walked out of Hebden Bridge station to pick up the Pennine Way, opting to get there via Hardcastle Crags (so it’s a good job we omitted it in last Friday’s walk as twice in four days may have been excessive repetition).

Not long later the Pennine way heads up towards Top Withins, where it seems flagstones are soon to form the surface of the Pennine Way:IMG_2965

We first walked the Pennine Way was in 2008, so not very long ago, and each time we venture back out onto the route we find yet more of it has either been flagged, or is about to be. Whilst I don’t doubt the necessity of giving it such a surface in some places, it is starting to feel to me like one day there will be a paved surface the whole way from Edale to Kirk Yetholm. Or perhaps I’m just turning into a grumpy old woman…

Anyways, across t’moors Mick went, roasting in the heat-wave and thankful when clouds obscured the sun:


Tuesday’s early start gave Mick a treat, as not only did he get a head start on the heat of the day, but he was also treated, as he ascended Pinhaw, to a cloud inversion. He was so taken by it that he took a 360 video snippet from Pinhaw:

Soon all hint of clouds had burnt off, which gave gorgeous skies, but temperatures which were arguably excessive for walking:


With temperatures so high, every opportunity for a cup of tea or lime-and-soda was taken, including a break in Malham before that pull up to the top of the cove. Once at the cove, Mick didn’t disappoint, by taking the obligatory photo:


And, of course, no trip up the Pennine Way would be complete without a picture of Pen y Ghent too:


Down in Horton, Mick found himself with some hours to kill, so some rehydrating was done, with two pints of tea in the cafe and two pints of lime and soda in the pub at the north end of the village. From Mick’s description of that pub, and its many signs giving instructions as to boots, backpacks, not drying clothes and not washing in their toilets, not to mention their general ban on filling up walkers’ water bottles (even when said walkers have spent £5 on a couple of glasses of pop), you have to wonder whether the publicans would be better suited to running an establishment where their life-blood of clientelle are not the very people who annoy them. Maybe a city centre would be more their thing?

With four pints of water in his body and five litres in his pack, he set off mid-afternoon for his final few miles of the day, hoping as he went that he would get a mobile phone signal somewhere around where he found a pitch, as he had an important text message to send …

… to be continued

(Mick’s stats for the week so far:

Monday: Hebden to Lothersdale – 18.25 miles; 3500’

Tuesday: Lothersdale to beyond Malham Tarn – 20.5 miles; 3500’

Wednesday: beyond Malham Tarn to Gayle Wolds – 16.1 miles; 3100’)


  1. Replies
    1. All was going well for Mick - except for the fact that I held him back on Day 3 by making him stop short so that I could reach him at a reasonable hour!

  2. Mad dogs and Englishmen and then their was Mick. Poor lad and so obedient too.

    1. He is obedient, isn't he ;-)

      I don't think he objected too much to being sent out onto the hills, though.