Wales Coast Path: Aberdaron to Rhiw

wcp-aberdaron-rhiw-420 November 2016 – 11.14 miles

We left our nice B&B, turning down the offer of a lift for a linear walk so that we had the option of lengthening or shortening the walk as we felt like it! We parked again at Aberdaron, heading slightly inland up a small river valley and through fields. wcp-aberdaron-rhiwWe did head down to a caravan site before realising it didn’t look right. Further back up the track there was a waymarker, more easily visible when you were going the ‘wrong’ way! wcp-aberdaron-rhiw-2

This took us back towards the coast, over rolling hills high above the sea. It was another beautiful day, sunny and clear, and fairly warm for November. We looked across Cardigan Bay, taking a bearing and decided that we actually could see Pembrokeshire on the horizon! There were a few sheep grazing and a number of ponies.wcp-aberdaron-rhiw-3

We headed inland up a lovely valley with a stream and waterfalls, and the remains of old mining industry.wcp-aberdaron-rhiw-5

The path then headed back to the coast on open access moorland, again high rolling hills. It appears that the path has been diverted and improved to run closer to the coast than it does on our map, although it has been pretty well waymarked. wcp-aberdaron-rhiw-6

We reached a minor road, close to the National Trust property of Plas-yn-Rhiw and at the western end of Hell’s Mouth Bay, and decided to make that our turnaround point. wcp-aberdaron-rhiw-7

We followed the quiet minor road back to Aberdaron, reaching it just as the sun was beginning to set. wcp-aberdaron-rhiw-8wcp-aberdaron-rhiw

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Bowes to Baldersdale

Thursday 4th April 2013 – 12.5 miles

above Bowes

above Bowes

The last walk of our Easter break, and the dullest weather so far. Grey and overcast.

We drove to the small town of Bowes and parked on the main road near the church, pretty much where we had parked to do the southern loop. The Way leaves town on a bridge over the dual carriageway of the A67, then heads uphill on a counry road through old, disused military land. There were the foundations of buildinsg visible and rather alarming warning signs to keep out. It all felt rather bleak …

Warning

Warning

This felt like quite a long slog up the road, but must have been less than 2 miles. We then got onto the moorland, at a rather nicely restored isolated farmhouse at Levy Pool. We liked the hen hut!

P1010277

Levy Pool

Hen hut

Hen hut

We crossed the stream at Levy Pool and headed uphill. Some snow on the ground, but not too deep, although it did make wayfinding a little harder being unable to see a path on hte ground. We did fairly well, but had to keep checking as there weren’t many distinguishing features for much of the morning. We headed towards a large, rocky outcrop, marked on the map as Goldsborough. It seemed to take a long time to get there, as we were tired, the weather had turned grey and miserable, and there was a fine snow starting to fall.

Snowy

Snowy

Eventually, of course, we made it and made good use of a bit of rock to sit on and have some lunch. Then it was a short walk to the road where we had finished yesterday.

Goldsborough

Goldsborough

The return journey, as usual, felt much shorter, and the weather brightened up. We even met another human being – a shepherd and his dog on a quad bike. The sheep were very glad to see him.P1010293I definitely need new boots – the snow was seeping in for much of today, and when we got back to Bowes and I took them off, my damp feet were literally steaming in the cold air!

Bowes

Bowes

Robby was talking about his knees, and said he has pretty much decided to see the doctor and go for a replacement. On the drive home, his knee locked up and we had to swap over drivers!

The rest of the Pennine Way could be on hold …Old SignBowes to Baldersdale

Baldersdale to Middleton-in-Teesdale

Wednesday, 3 April 2013 – 13.1 miles

Baldersdale Reservoir

Grassholme Reservoir

We parked at the car park near Grassholme Reservoir, a short distance from Middleton-in-Teesdale. Today’s walk was a figure of 8, starting in the middle. Another clear bright day, slightly warmer than the previous ones.

Snowy hills in Baldersdale

Snowy hills in Baldersdale

We set off south and uphill, soon getting into snow. A fairly pleasant walk over the hills to the next road, but a bit of a slog in the snow.

Drifted snow

Drifted snow

The next section took us past “Hannah’s Meadow” and High Birk Hatt Farm, where Hannah Hauxwell had lived, in a farm without electricity or running water. I do remember her being a bit of a celebrity when there was a series made about her in the 1970s although I never saw it. The traditional way the farm was run has led to the meadow being designated a site of Special Scientific Interest, crossed by a boardwalk.

Hannah's Meadow

Hannah’s Meadow

We walked across past two more reservoirs to a convenient turnaround spot by a waymarker, then returned to the car walking along minor roads (easier than the snow!). We hopscotched along the road with a farmer in a van putting out feed for the sheep at various points.

Farmer with sheep

Farmer with sheep

Over the hills we came across several curious brick structures, which we thought probably had something to do with mining, but we couldn’t work out what they were. (Found out later they are mining ventilation shafts)

Brownberry

Brownberry, with ventilation shaft

Stopped at the car to put on suncream, which we had forgotten earlier. I have caught the sun a bit, and after we went home, I was asked if I had been somewhere exotic over the Easter break …

We then followed the Pennine Way over the hills towards Middleton-in-Teesdale, passing a farmhouse with an impressive tracked vehicle outside, and a footpath filled by a snowdrift.

Family runaround?

Family runaround?

Just past here, I climbed over a gate that was blocked on one side by drifted snow, and promptly sank thigh deep when one foot touched the other side. I had to get Robby to push my other foot over the gate!

There's a footpath under here!

There’s a footpath under here!

At Middleton, we took a footpath over the hills, heading for the road. We came across what looked like an army exercise, seeing first a Range Rover with aerials sprouting from it, then several men in camouflage with large packs.

We returned to the car by road. It felt quite a long way, but again, easier than going over the snowy hills.

Middleton to Baldersdale

 

 

 

Horton in Ribblesdale to Cam End

Sunday, 22 July 2012 – 16 miles

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.

Sell Gill Holes

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!

Dalesbred sheep

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!

Steam train over Ribblehead viaduct

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?

Milepost

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!

Crossing the stream

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.

Fasen all gates

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!

Steam train at Horton in Ribblesdale