Mrs's Dales Diary
page follows the Dales Way down Upper Wharfedale.
11: Buckden to Kettlewell
miles driving for a four-mile walk might strike some
as a little lacking in the reward to effort ratio. Or
perhaps as economic madness. Or as ecologically
irresponsible. However that misses the point.
One of the joys of doing the Dales Way in chunks
like this is that the travelling becomes part of the
experience and we get to see places and sights of which
we would otherwise have remained pretty ignorant.
don't know which way Snockers would have taken us to
Kettlewell, left to her own devices. I have learned
the hard way that you have to give her a fairly detailed
briefing if you want to get off the main roads. So,
politely, I asked her if she could kindly guide is via
Langcliffe, Malham Tarn and Arncliffe and, just as politely
what a journey! Langlciffe and Arncliffe are two
delightful typical dales villages, both of which cried
out for a more serious exploration than we
had time for today. The road over the hills past Malham
Tarn provides splendid views of Ingleborough, Whernside
and Pen-y-Ghent before running alongside the dramatic
Cowside Beck ravine to drop down to Littondale and Arncliffe.
Whernside, Pen-y-ghent and Fountains Fell
here to Kettlewell was not very far in theory but then
we discovered that actually they have long miles in
this part of the Dales. Still, eventually we arrived
at Kettlewell and parked near the river for £1.50.
D'ye hear that, Dent ????? £1.50 !!!!!!!
Pay (on trust) at the local garage. And
you can see washing from the car park!
the garage man for parking
plan was to take the bus up to Buckden but we had an
hour to spare so first we broke the cardinal rule of
walkers and ate our packed lunch in the car. Next
we went for a little wander round this lovely little
first thing that struck us was how busy it was quickly
followed by how old the people were.
Margaret was lured by the galleries but the wallet came
out relatively unscathed. We spotted the Village
Hall that had been used for the W.I. meeting in the
Calendar Girls film but sadly there was no sign of a
naked Helen Mirren, nor for that matter of any other
naked ladies. Helen Mirren, clothed, was however
to be found on the cover of various items in the gifty
did those feet....?
Kettlewell yard. Plus more washing!
bus arrived a few minutes late and presumably this is
why the driver decided no prisoners were to be taken
as he hurtled our way to Buckden up the narrow valley
road, missing cars (some of whom had the sense to pull
in their mirrors, sharpish, like) by millimetres,
of the road
Exhibition in Buckden
rejoining the Way, we had a look at the National Trust
exhibition by the car park. It excellently describes,
in large type and a few short, well illustrated paragraphs,
the geological, political and economic history of the
a result, as we strolled along the wide flat bottomed
Wharfedale, we could learnedly contrast this glacially
carved valley with other valleys, narrow and V shaped,
that had been shaped by running water.
bottomed, glacially carved Upper Wharfedale
also observe how the dissolution of the monasteries
had given rise to the field structure and the wealth
of individual farmers. Each enclosure had its
own barn that in winter housed the cattle downstairs
and the fodder upstairs. And no doubt served the
same magic purpose as the barns in the alps- very different
construction but used similarly, agriculturally, and
described as magic because very often two people went
in and three came out.
bridge, ash tree and Way
there was no wildlife to be seen on the river- the nearest
to it being a white bag that we stalked thinking it
might be a heron. Quite a contrast to DW10,
in the report of which I forgot to mention my race with
a heron. It was playing cat and mouse with me
as I cycled up alongside the beck. It would let
me get to about 20 yards away then it would take off
again and challenge me to catch as it flew upstream
for a hundred yards or so.
the dullness of the day had driven the creatures away.
The sun did come out for short periods but it
was not the day that we had hoped for when we set out.
had not driven away the walkers, however. Again
we were taken aback at how we were significantly reducing
the average age. We wondered if we were trespassing,
having failed to qualify for the minimum years attained
to obtain a valid pass? Perhaps we ought not have
been surprised as firstly it was weekend, secondly we
were now in the part of the Dales that is more readily
accessible to the large urban conurbations and thirdly
the terrain is unchallenging, being fairly level and
very easy going.
along the stage we passed the intriguingly named hamlet
of Starbotton but as it was on the other side, did not
cross over for exploration. The bridge however
showed signs of an earlier, bigger specimen and and
even earlier ford.
and ford to Starbotton
picture near Starbotton
the risk of being called a pervert, I must say they
have some very pretty sheep round here, with their long
curly coats, almost hanging down in ringlets. As
I typed this, I had to stop myself bursting into song
and adding "at the dawning of the day!" John S.
will understand if no-one else.
her hair humg down in ring-a-lets...
Coate Scar above Kettlewell
we neared Kettlewell we saw the bus once again on the
other side of the river, not rushing this time. He
had made up so much time that he had actually left the
village ahead of schedule. There's a warning to
us for future stages- the time table is only an approximation
and the bus may go early.
before the bridge we discovered a massive bramble bush
and as Margaret had fortunately put her lippy and make-up
in a plastic bag to bring with her, we were able to
use it (the bag, not the lippy) to forage for our supper.
nestles under Gate Cote Scar on one side and, on the
other, Great Whernside. How it has that name is
a bit of a mystery as it is not as Great as the other,
unadjectively appended, Whernside. But then it
is not that small either, being higher than Pen-y-Ghent.
go home, we decided to stick to the bigger roads so
went south, past the spectacular Kilnsey Crags to Grassington
which looked delightful, and then over to Gargrave and
the A65. Next time, we will be more eco-friendly
(possibly), demonstrate greater economic sanity (perhaps)
and enjoy a greater reward to effort ratio (definitely).
Two longer stages in consecutive days, separated
by a night out in Grassington. Roll on- we are
really looking forward to it!
22nd September 2007
4.4 miles with 269 feet of climbing
and net descent of 145 feet
seeing the above, JPL wrote:
reading the report re Buckden to Kettlewell, Gill and
I visited the area last Thursday (by car not on foot!).
to Hawes then straight up through Gayle -thats
going from about 200 ft to just under 2000 in about
one mile and half.
down to Langstrothdale on the other sidepicking up
the Wharfe almost at its source- great views and then
through Starbotton to Kettlewell. Had lunch in the Racehorses
Hotel (casseroled Hunny Bunny) and on leaving car park
had to brake sharpish to avoid your deranged bus driver
as he virtually did a hand brake turn round the corner.
If he had had any passenger in they would have
all been on the floor.
the road towards Kilnsey then sharp right to Arncliffe
then left to Malham. On the hairpin section did you
notice the grit bins at each hairpin? The council
workmen were filling them with sand/salt so must be
expecting an early winter - swung right at Malham Tarn
to Settle --which Gill said she hadn't been to since
meeting up with you to pass over the supply of Training
Shoes manufactured by Willy Lamb of Bottomboat
a brilliant run---bearing in mind that you are no more
than 40 miles from the Leeds/Bradford conurbation, you
feel as if you are the the only people in the
world---interesting to see that there were a number
of strange cattle roaming free -not just the Highland
but ones with curving horns --seemed friendly - I swear
that if I had had the window open they would have given
me a lick
15th October 2007
12: Kettlewell to Grassington
that was not entirely what we expected. Having
spent much of the last three stages accompanying the
slowly developing Wharfe, I naively assumed that now
we were down into Wharfedale proper where the river
is bigger and the valley wide, this section would be
another easy saunter. Far from it. We saw
remarkably little of the river and for much of the time
we were out on the moors, which, in parts, seemed nearly
as remote as when we came over from Dentdale.
original intention was to put two sections together,
punctuated by an indulgent night at the Ashfield House
Hotel in the centre of Grassington. However other
commitments got in the way so once again we had a non
eco-friendly car-to-walk miles ratio (although 50% better
than last time out). However I don't why I got
so hung up about this. It's no worse in reality
than in the early stages when the travelling distances
were smaller but two cars were involved. And in
financial terms, I suspect it proved rather cheaper
than the night away.
parked at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Centre at
Grassington and caught the mid afternoon bus to Kettlewell.
I wanted to take some pictures of Kilnsey Crags
as I knew we would not be close to them on the way back.
However the driver had been to the same school
as the one on the last stage. It was rather a
challenge as he rattled along so I didn't really get
a good snap of the overhanging cliffs.
Crag from the bus
alighted at Kettlewell. Once again there were
no naked ladies to greet us, despite the sunny weather.
It must have been the slightly chilly breeze that inhibited
Way lost no time in getting away from the river. Up
we went, beyond the church to a footpath that ran parallel
the valley but was interrupted with great frequency
by stiles and gates in order to pass through the medieval
field enclosures and past countless sheep. Margaret
wondered how many we had seen so far on the Way?
this brought us back to the valley road and to Scargill
House. Not Arthur's home but a Christian Centre
"exploring and celebrating an inclusive world". Shortly
afterwards, at Highgate Leys Lane, the Way starts to
do a serious bit of climbing up towards the moor.
climb to the first stop
sun was shining strongly and the wind was absorbed by
a wood so it was hot work and as a result we decided
on a two stop strategy.
up on the moor, just below Swineber scar, the wind rejoined
us. There were good views, particularly up Wharfedale.
Kilnsey Crag was in shade.
Crag in shade
the intriguingly named "Coniston Pie" came into view,
looking initially like a huge barn on the hill side
but on closer examination a limestone outcrop and excellent
viewpoint, directly opposite Littondale.
and upper Wharfedale from Coniston Pie
Scot Gate Lane and a pleasant little ravine, the Way
seems increasingly remote. No sign of the Dale
remains and only the extensive stone wall systems remind
you that you are not really that far from civilisation.
no longer lonely Margaret
large lime kiln is passed and eventually the edge of
the moor is reached where Grassington comes into view.
We had our second stop before dropping down into
Grassington in the late afternoon sun.
walls in the evening sun
the fine weather, we had hardly seen a soul all afternoon-
a marked contrast to the previous section. Also
we had seen no washing. At a farm just before
Grassington, there was a line with pegs glowing in the
evening light but it was not until we entered the town
itself that we finally managed to get our washing picture!
is an interesting old place. The Methodist Chapel
has some unusual and attractive paintings over the windows
(see above and below). We had time for a bit of
a nosey round the town before reaching the car just
as the sun was setting.
at Car Park
then the Friday night, A65 convoy home to Kendal! Indulgence
will have to wait.
5th October 2007
6.6 miles with 787 feet of climbing
and net descent of 72 feet
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