Dipping and wagging

As we walked out on a warm sunny morning life felt good. A spring in our step and Ed and Jackie’s best wishes beckoning us on round Hubberholme churchyard.

A 15 miler is today’s effort and there’s some consternation in the female ranks. Concerns disappear when you walk alongside the upper reaches of the Wharfe in Langstrothdale. To my mind it is the most beautiful of the river walks in the Dales.

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We hear Cuckoos and see Grey and Pied Wagtails and juvenile Dippers cavorting in the river. One moment the young Wharfe is dashing along and suddenly it’s gone to reappear later.

The sign at Nethergill invites us in for flapjacks and coffee. A farm with fine eco credentials bringing in school parties to experience rural life. We chat to the owner and hear how urban kids often come in with drooping shoulders and limited interest. After a few hours they are transformed.

I hope the Nethergill folk see a world famous botanist on the TV in 30 years time. Talking about how as a poor kid in Bradford he or she was inspired by a day at Nethergill. That would be deserved.

The landscape now gets bleaker and boggy underfoot despite the sunny weather. Massive deciduous reforestation is going on to restore the landscape. It’ll take time but already the Red Squirrel are back. The flat top of Ingleborough looms in the background reminding me of that vicious ‘up’ for the last peak of the Yorkshire Three.

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At Cam Houses we turn off the Dales Way and a friendly farmer offers water bottle refills. A small gesture that means so much on a hot day. Lunch on the limestone outcrop at Cold Keld Gate on the Pennine Way.

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We leave the road for the Pennine Bridleway cum Ribble Way. A grassy track then gravel that wends it way twisting and turning until meeting the road near Newby Head.

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Descending rapidly we have fine views of Dent Head viaduct on the Settle to Carlisle. Steam train at 6pm…we’ll press on. Welcome to Dentdale says the sign. A private garden kindly welcomes Dales Way walkers and offers them the chance to rest their weary bones. Time for the last of the water rations to be shared out and flapjacks to be scoffed.

On to tonight’s billet, the Sportsman’s Inn. A simple place but we are but ordinary folk seeking simple victuals. Pub grub and ever changing beers mainly from small micros.

A golden Citra fuelled creation and a standard malty bitter. Can’t help but think this is Brewing by Numbers by companies subsidised by tax relief. Nothing special and well below the standards of, say,  a combination of Wainwright and Jennings’s Cumberland, or the impressive brews of Dark Horse yesterday.

 

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