Friday 10 April
When I told Mick, before this trip, that I had worked out starting points and route options for 14 hills, he exclaimed “Fourteen!” in such a way that I promptly reassured him that I had no intention of squeezing all 14 into the space of a week, but that it was best to be armed with information so that we could pick and choose accordingly.
Thanks to the glorious weather that we’ve enjoyed, it turned out to be no squeeze at all and today we went up the fourteenth and final hill of the trip: Birks Fell.
Although we could barely make out Buckden Pike across the valley, such was the haze, it was another lovely sunny day. So, when we had visited the summit we figured that, rather than going straight back down, we may as well walk the ridge to the south east, via the tarn and the trig point, to pick up the bridle way which leads down to Starbotton.
The Dales Way then took us along the river (with a clear high-water mark which told us that the path had been underwater sometime this last winter) back to our start point in Buckden.
As tempting as it was to pop up Buckden Pike to see what it was like when not under drifting snow and in a howling wind (and by now the haze had cleared), we opted instead to journey south in search of an ice-cream vendor. It was, after all, turning out to be the warmest day of the year so far. (Incredibly, it was only last month that we were on Buckden Pike in full winter conditions.)
So, that’s it for this trip; we now have three days of rest before we start the Southern Upland Way on Tuesday.