Apparently, I had the idea for this walk back in 2011. Then, forgetting whatever happened in 2011, I had the idea again in 2015.
The idea, should you still be reading this and have not deserted the pieblog for tales of derring-do on the TGO challenge, is to connect on foot the four highest pubs in England.
England, it seems beats the other UK countries by hundreds of feet in having more pubs at a higher altitude than any of the others, despite the others being more mountainous.
In addition to linking up the four pubs, as many other pubs of altitude, or of consequence to hillwalkers had to be included, and beer or other liquids taken at each one where possible.
A sensible walk would visit three pubs, of course as a sort of mirror or counter-weight to Three Peaks walks of various types. The problem with this is that two of the highest pubs are quite close together and the other one isn’t and three pubs would fail to include Kirkstone Pass Inn and walking there was an attractive proposition. An alternative pub trek might well continue North from Tan Hill Inn and end at, say, Allendale.
So, the four altitude pubs in order are:
Tan Hill Inn
Cat and Fiddle Inn
Travellers Rest at Flash
Kirkstone Pass Inn.
Dawn joined in the jaunt and Lucky The Dog was recruited as a furry hot water bottle. (This only went wrong once when he was sick all over my bumbag, camera and maps at 3:00 am during a stealthy camp near Kirkstone Pass.)
I’ll be doing three blog posts about this altogether, by which time I expect you’ll be thouroughly
We began at Buxton and caught a bus to Flash. We had light packs and it rained more or less all day. I had developed a cold overnight and the easy route and inconsequential packs hid the fact that I couldn’t really walk very far, and certainly not uphill.
The next day we covered 14 relatively easy miles to Peak Forest. We got a bit lost. My bolt had been shot. Luckily, Dawn’s bolt wasn’t very happy either, so the next four days where we covered ten or eleven painful miles each day made us at least a day behind. Contours, specially those close together were proving tortuous. I told the wife about it and, as she happened to be in Calderdale and wanted to visit a fabric shop in Embsay, she met us at Todmorden and took us to Skipton where we regrouped a bit and started again. I took solace with an ex-school pal in the Cock and Bottle.
Slowly our daily mileage crept up and by careful rejigging of the route we managed to stay on schedule, covering all of 17 miles on one day.
The rejigging resulted in the final day being split into two. Unfortunately, Dawn couldn’t make the final lurch over the mountains to Kirkstone Pass, so, I abandoned her, in her tent to a grissly and lonely fate and sailed over to Kirkstone Pass with a sudden apparent fitness and in superb, cloudless conditions. I did tell the police where she was and that she’d contact them when she managed to get to a phone. The police thought that this was a good idea. Just before they realised that if Dawn forgot to tell them she was safe, they’d probably have to mount a search…. The local keeper would have eventually found her mouldering bones anyway, though whilst checking his foxholes, which he was doing when we met him.
And the next day a short walk brought me and LTD to Ambleside.
We’ll have to return to Todmorden to complete the route by walking to Skipton – a distance by a new and improved route of some 31 miles. I will have maps of the “official” route available for anybody who wants them although these won’t show our navigationally challenged wanderings and the couple of easy alternatives we took to save a bit of time.
I covered 180 miles in 15 days – and, I have to say, that the route is mainly a specially fab one. It goes roughly like this:
Travellers Rest at Flash – Cat and Fiddle – Buxton (19 pubs available but The Eagle is dog friendly and is near the bus stop) – Midshires Way – Monsal Train – Limkestone Way/Pennine bridleway to Peak Forest – Limestone Way – Edale via Mam Tor –Ringing Roger – Blackden Moor – Snake Pass Inn – Doctors Gate – Pennine Way to Crowden via Bleaklow - Black Hill – Saddleworth Moor – Standedge –White House Inn – Withens Gate – Lumbutts – Calderdale Way to Todmorden [missing link: Calderdale Way to Sportmans Arms – Widdop – Pennine Way to Stanbury – Bronte Way to Wycoller – Pendle Way to Black Lane Ends – Earby – Elslack –Carleton – Skipton] back on track – Sharp Haw – Hetton – The Weets – Gordale Scar – Malham Moor – Arncliffe Cote – Knipe Scar – Kettlewell – Dales Way to Buckden – Cray – Semer Water – Hawes – Hardraw – Pennine Way to Thwaite – pastures to Keld – Pennine Way to Tan Hill Inn – Ravenseat – CtoC (whichever route is available) to Kirkby Stephen – Lanes and old railway paths to Smardale – CtoC route to Shap – Keld – Swindale – Mosedale – Gatesgarth Pass – Harter Fell – Thornthwaite Beacon – Stony Cove Pike – John Bells Banner – Kirkstone Pass Inn – Ambleside.
As this walk is all about pubs, the next blogpost will be about pubs – good, bad, snooty, abandoned , closed…