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Monday, 26 August 2013

Four kidneys on the Dales Way

After having had a splendid time at Rick & Lindsey’s I set off on the short hop over to Leeds (via Oxford, for more tests) to spend a few days with my Brother Dave and the Masterful Debs.

By now Dave had been clambering around the Helvellyn horseshoe and was back in the swing of things at work and seemed to be back to perfect nick. So he took me on one of their favourite afternoon strolls in the Dales.

Grassington with Brother Dave

GRASSINGTON WITH BROTHER DAVE – CLICK TO ENLARGE

Now this was pushing the boat out. I had already done six miles with Lindsey, but this was a wopper; SEVEN miles, with about nine hundred feet of uppishness.

Grassington looked lovely, but we only had time to visit the pie shop, before striding off down to the River Wharfe’s gorgeous meadow. The river was running well.

RIVER WHARFE

RIVER WHARFE

This stretch of the river is really popular with walkers – easy to see why, really – as it is quite gorgeous. We were passed on the smooth-surfaced minor road by dozens of lycra-clad cyclists on impossibly slender bikes, swishing past with friendly waves. These cyclists seem like quite a nice mob.

This led us into Conistone, which looks like a rather splendid little place to live, and we had our pies on the little bench on the village green, as troops of ramblers trooped past.

I don’t know what it is about Ramblers groups. I’m sure individually they are all fine people (apart from the pair I know from Liverpool, who are despicable, stupid, drunken oiks), but when I see them in a group, I can’t help myself; I just descend into a mad dose of horse’s burial. The leader never appears to know where they are going. They all carry those ludicrous great map cases slung around their necks on green string, but they obviously haven’t a clue how to read them. The leader asks you where they are, and when you tell them, they shake their heads in disbelief.

How they ever get back to their cars I’ll never know.

We waited until they were long gone, and then headed up into Conistone Dib ourselves.

CONISTONE DIB

CONISTONE DIB & BROTHER DAVE – CLICK TO ENLARGE

This is a frabjous little hidey-hole, with pretty little flowers in every crevice. I’ve no idea what they are, so perhaps you’ll be kind enough to let me know? Ta.

PRETTY BLUE FLOWERS

PRETTY BLUE FLOWERS (ANY IDEAS?)

After leaving the gorge you enter a beautiful dry valley, which reminded me of Velvet Bottom in the Mendips; both are limestone dry valleys.

CONISTONE DIB & BROTHER DAVE

CONISTONE DIB & A HANDSOME BASTARD – CLICK TO ENLARGE

We clambered up on the Dales Way to a long shallow dry valley with sections of limestone pavement for added interest. Drystone walls, limestone scars and rocky atolls are all about. This is a glorious stretch, with lark-song as your musical backdrop.

HANDSOME DOG ON THE DALES WAY

HANDSOME DOG ON THE DALES WAY

You can’t possibly get lost as the route takes you straight as an arrow back to Grassington, with glorious views back to Grass Wood tumbling down to the Wharfe. We made it in time to visit a couple of the pubs, where there was plentiful supplies of Timothy Taylor’s Landlord and Black Sheep to occupy the remainder of the afternoon before Debs finished her stint at the library.

Dave pointed out that these pubs were on the Yorkshire Dales Inn Way, which is a six day walk of seventy six miles that takes in twenty six pubs. This sounds like just the sort of walk to get me back to full fitness… I can feel a plan coming together.

30 comments:

  1. If I didn't know better I'd say you were following me....Of course I think it more likely we both just have impecable taste! It is infested with the RA types tho!
    There's no holding you back now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah - you have a stalker!
      Be very afraid...
      :-)

      Delete
  2. Hee-hee, "despicable, stupid, drunken oiks"....I'm sure I don't know what you mean. ;-)

    JJ

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As Francis Urquhart once said: "You might think that, I couldn't possibly comment."
      :-)

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  3. Nice little circuit, that, and one I've done loads of times myself - but always in the opposite direction. Isn't it odd how we tend to be creatures of habit like that? Hmmm ... I might ring the changes next time, and do it cack-handedly. :-)

    Good to see you're improving - at this rate, double figure distances can't be far off!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anti-clockwise???
      A widdershin walk?
      No. That would never do!
      :-)

      Delete
  4. I think they are campanulas. Ring a bell ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very good, Sir
      :-)
      I have since Googled them and have come up with Campanula rotundifolia

      Delete
  5. A lovely area to both live and walk. The Dales Inn’s walk sounds like a plan. Get it done before the weather changes.

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  6. I also walked over that way from Grassington to Kettlewell on my LEJOG. That view looking down onto the top of Kilnsey Crag is one of the best in the Dales, and as far as I remember it was perfect walking on close cropped green turf. From the bits of the Dalesway I have walked I reckon it must be one of the best routes in the country.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Hi Conrad
      I stuck to the Pennine way on my LEJOG, but I think that your route through the Dales sounds quite splendid. I didn't really know the Dales at all back then - but the more I see of them the more I love them.

      You're correct - it was sheep nibbled springy turf, interspersed with lovely limestone pavement.
      :-)

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  7. Blimey.
    Dave's kidney has certainly transformed you sir, rather fine that you two chaps got up them hills.
    That is a bloody huge step that Dave is standing on.
    They really ought to do smaller risers you know.
    Soon be time to apply for 2014.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Obviously, Dave hauled me up. I had my eyes shut.
      Can only be a couple of weeks now to the entry form
      :-)

      Delete
  8. Map Case: Definition. A large plastic sail carried by inexperienced walkers so it can batter them to death in a high wind.

    Map: Definition: Something to put in the case to stop it blowing away. Covered in lots of squiggles, meaning unknown.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I love the Dales. My early walking with family on holiday was done around those hills. I'd love to go back, but that would involve going South of the Border. Tricky, that bit. Tricky.
    Entry forms soon. Eek! Need to prepare for Ls Belles Tea Shop Tour of Scotland, oh yeah! :-D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A Tea Shop Tour of Scotland with Laura? That sounds jolly civilised.
      :-)

      Delete
  10. 26 pubs in 76 miles, about 3 miles between each then. Hmmm....might take a very long time that.
    Velvet Bottom - sounds like a 70s band, or indeed, some of the monstrous trousers I wore back then.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Hello Sweetie

      From what I understand of the route, it's one pub at lunchtimes and then a few in the evenings.
      :-)

      To me, "Velvet Bottom" reminds me of a girl I used to know.
      *sigh*

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    2. That sounds very civilized. I suppose the reason I haven't heard of it before is that it simply isn't masochistic enough to include regular pleasurable, comfortable breaks in a long distance walk, and so it hasn't caught on?

      Delete
    3. The pub we were sitting outside seemed to have quite a few with the guidebook in their hands. Very popular with the drinking classes, I understand.

      I really quite fancy it. Perhaps in the Spring... as a Challenge loosener.

      Delete
  11. Hi Alan,

    Just catching up after a trip to Scotland.

    Don't bash the Ramblers - let their map cases do it for them.

    Good to see you are back in the saddle - so to say.

    I'm looking forward to futher rambles from you.

    Cheers

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    Replies
    1. Hi Gordon

      There will be more rambles shortly. I'm slowly getting a bit fitter and will shortly be getting out to the Chilterns for a few walk.

      Good to hear you've been out & about, fella.
      See you in May, hopefully.
      :-)

      Delete
  12. Worra load of harebells... Pies, eh? Get them in Skipton next time you're passing - at the shop near the Church (celebrated pork pie establishment) nom nom - the juice runs down your amrs, so don't wear your best shirt.

    Used to go climbing at Coniston Dib. Bits of it were Very Scary. But not as scary as a scouser with a map.

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    Replies
    1. I should point out that the delectable pies we purchased in Grassington were not pies of the Northern Variety; They were more of a southern confection, to suit a southern softy's delicate palate.

      They were an open pie with a pastry case, filled with egg, bacon, sausage, tomatoes and those fancy green strandy things that you see on Masterchef quite a bit. (I believe the technical term is "herbs"). There may have been a stray anchovy or two.

      They are not as robust as the Northern Pie and so great care was taken in their transportation to Conistone.

      I shall seek out your Northern Pies the next time my elbows need greasing in Skipton. They sound delicious. Thank you, Mike

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  13. Really good to read you are out and about again, Alan.

    Cor, that photo does indeed look like Velvet Bottom in the Mendips. As a former resident of Cheddar I know that area well. About 10 years ago I had a fight there with a pit bull type thing that attacked my dog. I had enormous big boots on and me and my retriever won in the end.

    Rambling groups have been responsible for a near heart attack for me on a number of occasions. I HATE being behind a large group and go to lung and heart bursting efforts to walk passed them. It was ok when I was younger but nowadays....

    And finally, I will keep reminding you - Shropshire Hills would be excellent recovery walks :-)

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    Replies
    1. Hi David
      :-)
      I used to visit the Mendips a lot (my ex-outlaws lived there) and one of my favourite walks was Blagdon, Beacon Batch, down alongside the quarry into Cheddar for a liquid lunch, then back up the gorge, Velvet Bottom, Charterhouse Church (a real gem) and back to Balgdon - a lovely little twelve miler.

      Here it is, written up LINK

      I must get around to Shropshire - I went close to there and visited Herefordshire, which was gorgeous. I'll have a think...
      :-)

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  14. Alan

    Thanks for the link to your Mendip Walk which I will read with interest later. As ever my offer is open to point you towards some splendid Shropshire walks if you manage to get here - or even do some unpaid guiding. If the latter we would, of course, get lost but we wouldn't look like members of a rambling club, I promise. I would recommend Church Stretton as a base - as would everybody else, or a small but perfectly formed rudimentary camp site I know near a pretty stream and a pub a mile or so outside Church Stretton.

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    1. The small but perfectly formed rudimentary pub near that camping site sounds like a plan...

      I'll ask the consultants for an estimate of when I'll be ready for this.
      I wouldn't worry about the getting lost thing. It makes the walk more fun working out where you are.

      :-)

      Delete

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