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Monday, 21 March 2011

Mental Mapping Along the Pennines

107 kisdon fr track to tan hill day 9

This is not about yoof-crazy mapping like wot the OS don’t. Oh, no, this is about the maps that you carry about in your head.

Some pieblogreaders  have become a bit animated by the notion that I might well have a crack at walking about sixty miles of the Pennines without any kind of map ner compass ner nowt.

Y’see, people have been wandering up and down the Pennines for donkies years using the maps in their heads – I’m thinking itinerant traders, Scots herding cattle, packhorse men, soldiers, raiders and emigrants – and not a copy of a Landranger between them.

lovely seat 005

So, the other night, whilst contemplating the bottle of Vick’s vapour rub as a form of late night entertainment, I invented the route in my head. I haven’t checked it on a map and, in fact I’m resisting doing that as it feels a it would be a bit like cheating.

But the route I thought up was this:

From the High Force Hotel car park, there’s a path that crosses the River Tees just a bit downstream from High Force The Waterfall. Then, its a simple matter to follow the Pennine Way al the way to Malham by turning left.

This is not the way, though. I will turn right (towards Scotland!) and follow the PW past the quarries and up on to the ridge thingy with the railway wagon on it and then follow a path going South over Hagworm Hill.

stainforth 025

One option from Hagworm Hill is to keep going uphill towards ?Long Crag upon which is on the edge of the Warcop shelling range. Following the “danger” signs South (left) would bring me to the Cumbria/Durham County boundary. This would be rough going and , I suspect there’d be a significant river crossing, or, maybe two…...

Option two would be to keep following the same path to the Brough road and follow that to the County boundary.

Next, I would follow the County boundary over Stainmore, cross the A66 at the big layby on the top and continue to Tan Hill. A short period of celebration (SPOC) at Tan Hill may be allowed if I ever get there.

The Pennine Way then heads South to Keld, and this is the best way. I’d follow it to Kisdon and then go to Muker and up the mucky lane which gives access to Lovely Seat.

094 green dragon hardraw day 9

crossing Lovely Seat would bring me to Hardraw (SPOC), then Hawes (another short celebration)

From Hawes/Gayle I could go up Drumaldrace and along the Roman road to Fleet Moss, and down the other side to ? Oughtershaw. A path goes over the Birks fell/Horsehead ridge to Halton Gill and I’d rejoin the PW at the foot of Fountains fell.

The PW would bring me to Malham for a final SPOC and the bus to Skipton.

Or I could walk back, I suppose.

The end.

This is, in fact, I believe, pretty much sixty miles of handrailing, for which little sense of direction is required. There may be local difficulties if it gets really foggy.

But if its clear, most of the route will be laid out before me.

Another alternative is to lurk on the PW at High Force and follow somebody going South…………



4 Winds said...

Sounds a plan. I quite often run on Dartmoor without a map but not yet had the bottle for a mapless night run.

Have fun!


The Odyssee said...

It sounds very intriguing Mike. Like you say, people used to travel this way years ago. From INN to INN. Landmark to landmark.
Should be a good experience.

Al said...

I don't think you've included enough pathless floundering! I was looking forward to blog posts of exasperation, of a man reporting of areas that should be marked, "there be dragons". It does sound rather a good route though!

QDanT said...

Just keep the moss growing on your back and you'll be heading South, bet you'll miss the Dawg pulling you along ! cheers Danny

Charlie Penny said...

As you said, people used to walk without maps all the time. However, it'd probably be unadvisable in an area you don't know. Not conducive to good health should you walk off a cliff you didn't know was there 'n all that.

Often when I go running I don't take a map. But then again, any new routes usually consist of only a couple of miles on new terrain. Which is probably how people used to learn to navigiate without maps. You just go a little bit further/on a new path every time until you've built up a full picture of the landscape in yer 'ead.

Mike Knipe said...

I think the most dangerous bit will be crossing the A66, Charlie. The chance of falling off anything higher than a stile seem remote.
If there's hillfog for any length of time, though, I could end up badly off-line....