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Sunday, 16 July 2017

Backpacking Off the Settle–Carlisle Line


This was the second walk based on a proposed review of a CAMRA walking/beer drinking guide (wot? walking and beer? Moi?). This one involves a linear walk from Malham to Giggleswick (although the guide says it goes to Settle) and, public transport not being the best if you need to get to Malham and it’s not a Sunday or a Bank Holiday, we (me and Dawn and LTD) thought that we could do a greater – that is to say, bigger linear walk of a few days using the Settle-Carlisle line, which is exactly what we did.


We got the train to Horton-in-Ribblesdale and, since we didn’t arrive till half past three in the afternoon, we were provided with an ideal excuse to make Day 1 very short. So we walked just under three miles to a rather lovely piece of flat grass just about where the old Three Peaks path crosses Hull Pot Beck. This also has access to several deep-looking pools which turned out to be not-quite-so-deep-really but were refreshing on what was quite a hot afternoon.

A quiet, lovely, moonlit night  followed during which Nothing At All happened.


In the morning we climbed Penyghent via the old 3 peaks path, meeting the crowds, many of whom had never seen a dog carrying panniers before and who made the usual comments about making the dog carry the gear, do all the work, oooo look a feckin dog with a feckin pack on etc etc etc – we try to be nice, but it’s getting trying and very predictable…


They’re rebuilding the path up Penyghent. It’s now a staircase of square blocks – much easier and safer than any Fix The Fells path, but it’s so safe and industrial and urban. All it really needs is handrails and some useful Health and Safety notices in red.

Having passed over Penyghent, we passed over Fountains Fell and decided to camp near some nice stream water at Tennants Gill, rather than bash on to Gordale Scar. It wouldn’t make any difference at all to our route timings since we had two days to get to Settle train station. A couple met on the climb up Fountains Fell recognised Dawn first and then said that I must be “Mike”. Apparently we’d met them before on the Coast to Coast. No idea. People usually just recognise the dog… and his panniers…


Another chap was met as he fell into the thistles trying to get water. He’d just crossed a nice stream only a yards earlier, so his fight with the prickles seemed a bit odd. I had him down as a botanist who’d just identified a brand new thistle and his enthusiasm for a closer look had been his downfall. This was not the case, he was just a daft bugger to be fair.. He was determined, though to walk over Penyghent to Horton to catch the train home. Bless ‘im. I trust he made it home.


It rained heavily overnight and we were visited by a group of ATV’s who didn’t bother us. Hearing an ATV approach whilst wild camping in England is always a bit unnerving for me. I’ve never yet been asked to move, though. I don’t like hearing those engines…


The next morning was still driech and damp and we pressed on to Malham Tarn and then to Langscar Gate where we joined the Camra Malham to Settle (that is to say, Giggleswick) route.


After some poking around, we managed to find a spot to camp in some old mine workings just off the bridleway from Malham to Settle, being discreet not to disturb the two rangers fixing gates on the path. Later, following a brief visit to the summit of Rye Loaf Hill, I noticed that a cow, a bullock and a huuuuuuge bull (I do mean huuuuuge by the way) had made their way through one of the gates which the rangers had left open (presumably on purpose). This meant that the rest of the herd would probably be following shortly and this would put said bovines in the same massive field as us. We didn’t really want this, because it’s a contra-indicatiopn to a good night’s rest, specially with a dog who barks at cows,  so Dawn was sent in to resolve the issue. This she did by creeping up behind them, jumping up and down, waving arms and doing some shouting, resulting in the wandering cattle escaping whence they came – back into “their” field. Dawn then closed the gate, which we re-opened in the morning. They were nowhere to be seen in the morning, but then again, it was so foggy, there was not much to be seen anyway.


A wet and windy night followed and , in the morning, all that could be seen was a grey/green landscape and lots of hill-fog.

We walked, damply, to Settle, had a cuppa outside ye Olde Naked Man cafe (not allowed in with a dog), and beer, chips and crisps at the Talbot Arms (allowed in with a dog). The beer was all very nice.

I’d call it slack-packing up to a point, so I would. We did about 23 miles or so… it’s all-right to be relaxed about the effort you put into these things y’know. Life is too short for too much in the way of hard work We’re supposed to be enjoying this stuff. And we are..

I’ll do the guidebook review shortly.



Dawn Linney said...

A slackpack maybe, but an enjoyable one. A bit of pottering around, drinking tea, snoozing and reading, never did anyone any harm!!. By the by, the bull was ok, it was the huge black cow that had me more concerned.

Meanqueen said...

Did you see me waving at you? I was on the train going over the viaduct. I stayed at the King Billy B & B next door to the Talbot. If I'd known you were there I would have had a jar with you.

Mike Knipe said...

We needn't take our backpacking too seriously, Dawn
Ilona - I didn't see you waving! I know a rude song about King Billy by the way...

John J said...

Nice. Very, very nice.
What was the beer like?
Just packing my kit for a little excursion into deepest Lancashire, I need to get know what it's like.