10: Beggermonds to Buckden
13th September 2007
must admit to feeling somewhat guilt ridden. I
had fully intended to go to the Westmorland County Show
this year. However when the new foot and mouth
outbreak in Surrey had the illogical consequence of
stopping animal movements 300 miles away, it rather
lost its appeal. So when Margaret suggested that
we might tackle the next Dales Way section before the
weather deteriorated, it seemed a good idea.
problem was that this was a tricky logistical stage
as we were not yet down into bus route territory. Or
to be more correct, it was easy logistically, provided
we were prepared to take two cars for a 90 mile round
trip lasting maybe 3 hours in total. I did check
with five different route-planning services. AA
said go via Aysgarth, 45 miles, 101 minutes. RAC
suggested going via Skipton, 58 miles but only 94 minutes.
Green Flag on the other hand agreed with AA but
thought it could be done in only 66 minutes. Michelin
suggested going via Chester- well, they are French.
And Snockers, bless her, was just a touch less
optimistic than Green Flag at 46 miles and 67 minutes.
did not believe the faster times and the trip was veering
to being decidedly off when I had a brainwave. "There
is another way," I said. Margaret replied,
logically, "We can't start another Way until we have
finished this one." "No," I explained, "There
is another way- the Norman Tebbit way- On Yer
Bike!" One car loaded with bike. Bike left
at the finish point. Car left at start point.
And one of us retrieving bike at the end of the
walk and returning to pick up the car whilst the other
rests in the nearest pub. Why we hadn't thought
of this months before escapes me- it could have greatly
simplified several stages (especially the one where
we left the car keys in the other car!). The "one
of us" would, of course, have to be me.
is some time (i.e. years) since my bike last had an
outing and Margaret was concerned both about its fitness
for purpose and mine. However once tyres were
pumped and chain sprayed with WD40 it worked absolutely
perfectly and an exploratory trip down our drive proved
I could still ride it without falling off. And
it did fit in the back of the Forrester. And a
300 foot climb in five miles did not seem too daunting.
So "on yer bike" it was to be. Accordingly,
under my walking trousers I put on my cycling knickers-
the ones that turn ordinary trousers into cycling trousers
thanks to the ample padding of the nether regions..
journey to Buckden via Aysgarth was complicated slightly
by a detour on the way to Sedbergh for the strengthening
of Firbank Bridge, which added a mile or so. Traffic
was also quite heavy in Hawes (it, too, having an event
devastated by lack of animals). Consequently the time
to complete the 47 miles to Buckden was 90 minutes.
Points victory to the AA.
left the bike chained to a fence in the Buckden car
park. I took a photo of it in case we never saw it again
before driving up the valley to Beckermonds. The
Cicerone guide book had said that the road was "undulating".
And it was. 300 feet in five miles might be the
net climb but the gross figure was going to be more
than twice that. Too late to panic! We,
or rather, I was committed.
Way, The Wharfe and The Forrester
the car parked at Beggermonds we once again set off
along the Way. This is very much a transitional
stage in which the Wharfe develops from a small fell
beck into an embryonic valley river and the surrounding
countryside similarly gradually changes character.
Way mostly chooses the opposite side of the river to
the road so when one crosses the river, the other mirrors
the move. It is, it must be said, very easy going.
Provided, that is, that you are not wearing cycling
knickers that turn ordinary trousers into something
of a cauldron generating a heat of which Damart would
be justly proud and which insisted on becoming ever
and the Giant's Grave
could not help but notice the bus that kept
running up and down the road on the other
side. This was not shown on any timetable
I had consulted and we could not help but
wonder if the bike (and the knickers) had
really been necessary- especially as there
was quite a breeze blowing down the valley.
I was unable to direct it internally.
discovered the Giant's Grave- the smallest
prehistoric stone circle ever seen.
stopped for a snack, seated by the side of the river
on thrones considerately grooved out of the rock - the
King and the Queen of the Wharfe.
and Queen of the Wharfe
we admired the stone work on a Lime Kiln.
Yockenthwaite we spotted washing but the dogs spotted
us so whilst I photographed the washing the Westie barked
his head off. The Tibetans looked as if they were
more likely to give us a licky welcome.
widening vale and Wharfe
Hubberholme, the Wharfe and the valley are starting
to broaden. The village boasts a fine little church-
remarkably squat in appearance. The graveyard
contains the ashes of J B Priestley. Inside, it boasts
one of only two oak rood lofts in Yorkshire but we were
more interested in the pews that were made by the Mouse
Man of Kilburn and bore his mark. It reminded
me of our wedding. The first words I said to my
new wife, whilst kneeling at the altar, were "Look-
there's a mouse!". The Mouse Man had made the
Candleholder and had similarly left his mark.
the church with oak rood loft
there's a mouse!
Hubberholme, the road and the Way share the same side
of the river.
Manor looks a delightful place to stay B&B where,
if my information is correct, they run you down to the
village pub at night for dinner and pick you up at throwing
out time. And they have washing!
have made little reference to the Cicerone Guide lately,
mainly because it was virtually impossible to go wrong.
However I have to record a distinctly "blond"
error on the part of Terry Marsh where he says that
300 yards after Grange Farm you "leave the road by branching
right through a gate" to rejoin the river before arriving
in Buckden. Left, Terry, Left. Not Right.
Manor with washing
bike was where we left it but it had now been joined
by the bus that had puzzled us. Unmarked, we can
only conclude it was a school bus or some private hire.
Not for the likes of us. Bike redeemed.
cyclist's way back
he goes back up the dale!
changed shoes, donned helmet and set off back again,
leaving Margaret sat outside the Buck Inn. I am
proud to say that although the ride was undulating,
I only had to get out of the saddle once and never needed
to resort to pushing. In fact I was quite smug
about my performance- 5 miles uphill in 20 minutes is
not bad going for an old 'un. The strange thing
is that when I drove back down to Buckden, the road
seemed much steeper than when I had cycled up it!
at the Buck Inn it was reward time. Black Sheep
Ale, bangers and mash for me, scampi and chips for Margaret
go home, I decided to use the route that I would have
chosen had I not consulted the route planners- the direct
route back up to Beckermonds and over the moor to Hawes
and then Sedbergh to Kendal that jamie had taken us
on the previous stage. Only 40 miles and about
90 minutes in the dark. Who needs route-planners?
To be fair, I have to confess that it was quite
comforting to have Snockers' gentle voice confirming
the route whilst we were in the deep isolation of the
pitch black of moors.
13th September 2007
5.2 miles with 420 feet of climbing
(net 318 downhill).
of course 5.0 miles and 682 feet climbing by bike!