The Mrs's Dales Diary

This page follows the Dales Way down Dentdale.  



Stage 6: Millthrop to Dent

Stage 7: Dent to Cowgill

Stage 8:  Cowgill to Gearstones


Stage 6:  Millthrop to Dent

Tuesday 22nd May 2007

For once the weather turned out to be much better than forecast enabling an impromptu second attempt to progress as far as Dent.

There was an amusing incident on the way.  As we passed the drive to Holme Park School we noticed a crowd of people standing around, gawping at a low loader that was carrying a rather large caravan.  It was one of those residential type vans that has a sloping roof so the roof line on the left hand (or rear) side is much higher than on the right hand side.  And when loaded onto the lorry it proved to be high enough to have a serious argument with a bough of a tree!

We arrived at Dent Car park at 3:15 p.m. properly prepared this time with the right money, £4.50, which gave us occupational rights for 24 hours.  It dawned on me that the optimum time for parking at Dent is 4 p.m..  

On this occasion I read what they actual do with the money- it's to maintain the toilets.  They must be the best kept in the country with what we have contributed so far!

Having left the Yaris we returned to Millthrop to leave the Forrester by the bridge and start walking.  

Millthrop is a pleasant little hamlet with some really nice gardens and a strange shaped old chapel that is being converted to a strange shape new house.  


Millthrop garden

Farewell to the Howgills

Gap Farm Washing!

From here there was a gentle climb over the shoulder of Long Rigg where we said farewell to the Howgills and had our first glimpse of Dentdale.

Descending, we passed Gap Farm where we were kindly provided with another washing photo opportunity.

Shortly afterwards we went down round the back of Gate Manor which offered several gate photo opportunities- our two specialities in less than a mile!  Plus a bonus donkey!

Back Gate

Gate Manor

Side Gate

From here we crossed the main road and made our way down to and across the River Dee.  How many River Dees are there in England? We wondered.

River Dee

Bluebell Field

The next mile and a quarter is along the back road and then the Way cuts through fields by the river with superb views first to Green Maws and then to Great Coum until you reach Church Bridge behind Dent.

Green Maws and Brown Knott

Along the river you could see how much this is an "Oak before Ash" year, the latter- driven by daylight hours- only now coming into leaf whilst the Oak- driven by temperature- has been in leaf for weeks.  And yet again, what a splendid year this has been for bluebells.  And buttercups.

There was plenty of bird life to be seen, including Grey and Pied Wagtails, House Martins, Swallows, Swifts, a Heron and a Woodpecker.  No Kingfisher however.  It is some 20 years since I have seen a Kingfisher in the UK but I know they are there- twitchers have told us.

Team Picture

Dent and Great Coum

The stiles by the river have been enlivened by an imaginative Millennium project. Drawings done by local children have been converted to metal plaques that are attached to the woodwork and several of them are really charming and appropriate.





From Church Bridge we returned into Dent, which is like a time capsule, a little gem. Sadly the Church was closed.  The Sun Inn, on the other hand was open and this time I thought we deserved our reward but Margaret said that I would get my reward when we got home.  Sorry, Sun Inn, but a nice trout was waiting for me.

Adam Sedgwick's Memorial Fountain

Dent's New Car Showrrom

Terry Marsh had got full marks this time for his directions (although you could hardly go wrong on this stretch).  However he had warned that this was a strenuous section which we did not think was the case.  Some of the earlier parts had been considerably more undulating and, although Dentdale is lovely, we both thought the Lune section was even nicer.

On the drive back to Millthrop, Margaret regaled me with all the information she had gleaned from the very instructive notice board by the car park.  I now know that the "terrible knitters of Dent" were so called because they were terribly good and that it was Dent geologist Adam Sedgwick who explained why there were few stone walls on the Howgills- they had pushed their way up the Dent Fault, between the limestone hills, and as such had no stones on them.  It's amazing what you learn on these walks.

Having picked up the other car and headed off the Kendal, we paused to see if the caravan was still stuck at Holme Park.  It wasn't but there appeared to be a tractor doing something.  Gluing the bough back on the tree perhaps?

Don, 22nd May 2007

5.5 miles with 509 feet of climbing (most of it in the first mile).




The Mrs's Dales Diary

The Lakeland Sections

The Lune & The Rawthey



Upper Wharfedale

Mid Wharfedale




Stage 6:
Millthrop to Dent

Stage 7:
Dent to Cowgill

Stage 8:
Cowgill to Gearstones


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Stage 7:  Dent to Cowgill

Saturday 28th July 2007

Thanks to this awful summer weather, it was over two months since we had last tackled a section of the Dales Way (and seven months since we started!) so given a window of opportunity, we grabbed it.

If I were in any danger of having forgotten how to get to Dent Station, there was no need to worry as I had my new friend Snockers (Jane, the younger cousin of Norma) to whisper directions to me whilst Margaret followed on in the Yaris.  However, Snockers and I had a serious falling out over which way to go from Sedbergh.  For some reason, she preferred Garsdale whilst to me Dentdale seemed much more logical.  Frantically she urged me to turn back but when I wouldn't, she threw a hissy fit, leapt out of her seat and into my lap and refused to give me any more directions.  Gave me quite a surprise I can tell you.  At this point, however, I should make clear that the seat was on the dashboard and Snockers is my new Sat Nav and Jane its voice!

Snockerless, we drove up Dentdale and found a place to park the Yaris on the far side of Cowgill.  Margaret then joined me and we returned to Dent, anticipating that we would have to make another large contribution to the maintenance of the village toilets but this time we managed to find a suitable free space by the river bridge, right where we needed to be to start this leg.

Upper Dentdale

We followed the river to its confluence with Deepdale Beck where, rather than take the stepping stones, we went up by the beck to Miller Bridge.  Here we initiated a detour from the official route, which heads back to the river and Tommy Bridge.  However, we had reason to investigate Whernside Manor.  

Stepping Stones

Whernside Manor

This fine old Georgian Building is owned by friends of Margaret's cousin Dinah (whose husband Alan has the original Snockers, Norma, for use on his motorbike).  Whilst having a nosey over the wall, we spotted Gerry mowing the grass so Margaret plucked up courage to introduce herself which led to us being warmly invited in to meet Elaine and entertained to tea and cake, purchased from the village auction at which two caravanners had competed to bid a chocolate cake up to £17!  More stories of Dales life and characters followed and we left with the instruction that we had to visit the Sportsman's Inn for a tincture.  

Once boasting 25 slaves and possibly the inspiration for Wuthering Heights, Whernside Manor has a long tradition of hospitality with guests including Lloyd George, Winston Churchil and Princess Ann and is currently offering bed and breakfast.  Sadly for visitors to Dent Dale, this is not likely to be continued much longer.

The official Way rejoined the road not far beyond the strangely titled "Woman's Land" and on heading up into the fields we passed a series of farms each of which seemed to have a different creature to keep an eye on us.  A cock, a horse and a goat preceded a couple of lamas!  





And of course some washing!  And a bathing machine for gnomes!

Tubhole washing

Bathing machine!

Little Town Wood was distinctly spooky and chilly, after which we rejoined the road.  We took another slight diversion at Ewegales Bridge where a farmer who looked as if he had been sat there for a hundred years engaged us in conversation.  

Little Town Wood

St James' Church, Cowgill

The Way continues on the south side of the river but we chose the north side, where we helped weary DofE students read a map to find their campsite, had our first glimpse of Artengill Viaduct, admired St James' church and took our team picture at Lea Yeat bridge in Cowgill.  Margaret's lack of attention is due to the fact that a vehicle was coming and it was a close call between car and timer.

Artengill Viaduct

Lea Yeat Bridge team picture

The cottage by the bridge was a treat with plenty of flowers and brass instruments.

The Yaris was parked just beyond the bridge so we did as instructed and drove a little further along the Way for our tincture.  Once again, unusual creatures were watching our every move- this time a pair of motionless Muscovy Ducks sat by the roadside outside the Sportsman's Inn.  Apparently there used to be three but according to the landlord's son, the third had been eaten by the Poles!

Cottage at Lea Yeat Bridgee

Sportsman's In with Muscovy Ducks

The next section of the Way promises to be quite different- for the first time we can use just one car and catch a train from Ribblehead to Dent station and walk back.  We intended to go the next day but got up too late and opted for the Windermere show instead.  Sat on the top of Orrest Head in fine weather, we enjoyed twenty minutes of aerobatic splendour from the Red Arrows.  Thinking that was all there was, we then set off into the country and made our way around the back of Orrest Head only to discover that there was a stunt plane now entertaining the crowds, and us had we stayed put. Returning to Orrest Head by Common Wood, the noise got louder- something much more serious was now showing its paces.  We reached top just in time to see the end of the Eurofighter's display.  I know this has nothing to do with The Dales Way but it is an excuse to put in a couple of photos from a memorable event!



 Don, 29th July 2007

miles with 545 feet of climbing.


Stage 8:  Cowgill to Gearstones

Having returned from Wales a couple of days earlier than expected and given a half decent weather forecast, we had a window of opportunity to knock off the next section- the Escape from Dent Dale!

Logistically, this was the easiest of all sections.  One car only to Ribblehead Station where, burghers of Dent please note, parking is free!  Train to Dent station.  Drop down into the valley and carry on where we left off.

Across the tracks!

Our carriage arrives

The train passes over three viaducts, of which we would see much more later but it has to be said that they look considerably more spectacular from the ground looking up than from the train looking out.  Ribblehead, when the viaduct was being built, was home to around 7,000 labourers- hard to imagine now.

Dent Station delighted Margaret as it provided the first of several opportunities to indulge in her current fetish- photographing other people's washing!  I suppose it's slightly better than actually stealing knickers.  She says she is going to paint them.

Washing at Dent Station

Two Viaducts. Really!

The road down from Dent station to Cowgill is quite steep- doing this in reverse would be something of a challenge!  There is a good view up the valley of the Artengill Viaduct and beyond that you can just see the Dent Head viaduct, which was our first objective. As is the norm, if you click on the photo above you will find an enlargement.  If you still cannot see the second viaduct, click here.

The Way follows the road for 2½ miles up the valley.  We passed the Sportsman's Inn where this time we avoided the temptation to drop in for the previously recorded tincture. We only saw one Muscovy Duck.  Had the Poles eaten yet another one?  On past the old Dent Marble factory, some Belted Galloways and the former Youth Hostel.  How did the Youth Hostels Association manage to acquire so many fine buildings in wonderful positions?

Belted Galloway

Ancient and not quite so Modern.

On and on, up alongside the dwindling stream until at last we reached the Dent Head Viaduct under which was an interesting old bridge, a marked contrast the the great Victorian structure dwarfing it.  

We began to emerge from Dent Dale, there encountering very different scenery. Soon we left the road for a track named Black Rake Road that skirts Blea Moor. 

Train obligingly crossing Dent Head Viaduct

Team  picture

We had our picnic and team photo at the Cumbria - North Yorkshire boundary. Then we carried on around the moor with Pen-y-Ghent increasingly dominant on the skyline. As we prepared to drop down to the B6255, more charmingly known as the Lancaster to Richmond Turnpike (and less so as the motorcyclists graveyard), Ingleborough next came into view and with it the Ribblehead Viaduct once again.  And finally, to complete the trio, Whernside appeared, albeit not all of it thanks to cloud.




Washing at High Gayle

The Turnpike

Reaching the road near Gearstones, once a drover's inn and now an outdoor centre, the Way went left and we went right, heading back to the station.  

Or to be more precise, the Station.

Ingleborough to the left, Whernside to the right, Ribblehead Viaduct and the Station right ahead!

Although, earlier, we forwent the tincture opportunity at the Sportsman's, we felt we had earned it at the Station Inn.

This is a slightly oddball but seemingly thriving pub with a "loo with a view" (true) and an eclectic selection of literature for clients ranging from a booklet on "Sheep and Shows" dating back centuries to one to help you test how bad your memory is and whether you are heading for serious trouble in the Alzheimer department.

Having remembered all that, mine can't be too bad.

The Loo with the View

However, I have to confess there was third "S" in the title of the Sheep and Shows booklet and I can't recall what it is.  Send for the ambulance!

Hang on! Was it Steam?  

It certainly should have been judging by all the photos of steam trains crossing the viaduct.

  Don, 10th August 2007

miles with 1,076 feet of climbing.


Next:  Langstrothdale

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