Left home shortly after 8 a.m. on the day that promised to be a “heatwave” (or at least, warm and sunny). As we neared Blackburn and it got a bit cloudier over the hills, I remembered that, although I had thought that I ought to throw a fleece in the car, I hadn’t actually brought one (I did have a waterproof though).
Horton in Ribblesdale was fairly busy, but not packed, and we managed to find a parking space on the road. The Pennine Way here restarts further up the road from where we left it, just behind the pub. It was a well made stony track between fields, going uphill quite steeply at first.
At the top of the track, there was a stony limestone stream disappearing underground (Sell Gill Holes). Some potholers had obviously gone down, as there was a rope attached to a metal bar. The rocks were unusually brown, so we wondered if they were stained by the peat in the water, or if there is some other mineral.
The way continued through large upland fields. I was startled once by a dead sheep lying across the path, but otherwise we were very impressed by the rams with their curly horns, just like the one on the National Park sign!
As we headed uphill, it became fairly cloudy and cooled down, so when we stopped for lunch, I was glad to wear Robby’s fleece while he put on his coat. I think I would have been uncomfortable without it, but not seriously cold.
We could see the Ribblehead viaduct in the distance. The conversation went something like this:
“All we need now is a steam train to go across.”
“Well a summer Sunday is probably the best time to see one.”
“Oh, look, isn’t that one now?”
We stopped to take some rather distant photographs. I don’t think it was the Hogwarts Express!
When we reached the turnround point at Cam End, instead of turning back, we had a circular route planned, so headed down the Dales Way to the road. It warmed up here too. A short way down the road, the Ribble Way led back to Horton. Now, it’s marked on the map as a “recreational trail” and waymarked, so we naively assumed it would be pretty straightforward to follow on the ground. Why don’t we learn?
Quite soon, we came to a stream. We could see the track leading clearly away on the other side but it looked a bit deep to ford without a 4×4, or wellies at least. Robby went across a rocky bit, I went a bit further downstream to find flatter, easier rocks, then we saw, a bit further downstream again – a footbridge!
The track ran out quite quickly, but using a judicious mixture of GPS and 1:25,000 map, we navigated our way along squelchy moorland to a farm where the path became a well made track. We followed this a while, until we realised it was heading in the wrong direction! Back to the map and GPS again … It was quite a pleasant walk, running parallel with the Pennine Way, with a small limestone pavement on one side and views of the valley on the other.
We rejoined the Pennine Way at Sell Gill and followed the track back into Horton, with a view of the returning steam train as a bonus!