BB1526 : A Discourse On Paving

Wednesday 22nd July 2015

Stan was at first somewhat disparaging about my suggestion that we should visit Pen-y-Ghent again, not having been there since BB0933.  He thought it too short for a “proper walk”.  Bryan then suggested that we add in Plover Hill, which had been my intention, in order to make it a proper day out.

Horton-in-Ribblesdale was our start point where we saw a group of squaddies preparing for an expedition.

Soon we would see them again.

Meanwhile, we paid a visit to the Norman church.  

To my uneducated eye, it is a nice old church but without any features of particular interest.

Not surprisingly, the residents of the village think otherwise and describe its history in great detail on their website page dedicated to St Oswald.

St Oswald's with Pen-y-Ghent behind

A campsite warning

We approached Pen-y-Ghent by the Brackenbottom route.  I could see some folk ahead and wondered if I should attempt to reel them in.  Actually, I didn’t seem to be going that strongly so I was relieved to discover they had two young children with them who want to stop thereby allowing us old stagers to go through.

Squaddies heading up the steps to Pen-y-Ghent

Then I looked back and what should I see coming up behind us but the army. The soldiers we had seen in Horton were on the march up the hill. Should we seek to keep them at bay?

It looked for a while that Stan would give them cause to reflect but he decided not to embarrass them so we let them pass.

More annoying were the young lads who came up next. They didn’t seem to be going that fast but soon they were well ahead.  Of us, not the squaddies.

I did have a chat with one of them, to ask him why he was carrying a cricket ball in this hand- a seemingly strange things to do when scrambling up rocks where four points of contact were essential for me.  “So we can play catch at the top” was the reply.  Pretty obvious really.

There is a cairn at the summit with one of those strange signs that seem all the rage these days.

John explained to me how you could photo them with your mobile phone then use an app to read what they were trying to tell you.

I feel increasingly like a dinosaur.  It seems that not only can I no longer (despite last week's minor triumph) give chase up the hill, I don’t understand this new technology. That's me who was the first person in the company to use and program a personal computer!

Mind you that was about 45 years ago.

What I did understand was that the two people we met on the way to Plover Hill in the clag were well and truly lost.  Fortunately I had a spare map with me so we gave it to them and Bryan directed them to the safe way off the hill. Hopefully they followed his instructions.

Our descent from the Plover Hill summit had one short section traversing above an uncomfortably steep drop.  We all survived and likewise managed to cross the Hull Pot Beck without incident.  On the map are marked “Stepping Stones” but we concluded that this was a reference to some natural rocks which emulated a stepping stone appearance rather than a man-made structure for when the beck was in spate.  The rocks were lethally slippery but fortunately there was no need to use them.

The Stepping Stones ( ? )

A different type of stepping stones!

The countryside round there is fairly desolate moorland, mostly featureless although we did sometimes see Ingleborough emerge from the cloud and, likewise, the Pen-y-Ghent summit.



However, soon there was a real feature, Hull Pot, about which I had totally forgotten from our previous visits.

How that could be I don’t know as it is quite a remarkable sight, a huge chasm into which the beck had disappeared.

Although we could see and hear a little trickle, there we could also hear the deep sound of water running underground, probably through a large tunnel.


I thought for a moment that Stan or Bryan might want to climb down into it. John and I certainly were not tempted in the slightest!

On returning along the old track we met a farm lass who had an impressive off road vehicle.  She was blocking the lane whilst her father drove the sheep up then into a field. Technology hasn’t quite made the sheepdog redundant.  There he was on the back of dad’s quad bike, keeping the old man company.

Daughter waiting for.....

..... father, sheep & dog (hidden on quad bike)

Now for the discourse on paving.  Various attempts have been made to save the ground from erosion caused by people undertaking the Pennine Way or the Ribble Way or undertaking the Three Peaks challenge or just out walking like us. The paths must take an enormous amount of hammer and it was interesting to compare the different techniques that had been taken in various parts to pave or protect the ground.

The first example was a trail of slabs of rock seemingly and incongruously imported from Scotland which is rather sad given that they were set in clear view of the local (and active quarry).

Then there were steps of more indigenous looking smaller rocks.

Perhaps the most interesting paving was the path of large slabs of slate or yellow sandstone that had obviously been removed from the floors of old buildings.

You could see where the holes had been cut for door posts.

At the Foxup Moor watershed few people pass that way so finding any sort of path was a challenge at times.     

Shortly after the Hull Pot we turned west on a path that is not marked as being part of the Pennine Way but must be used by masses of people who don't see the need to visit Horton and so take the logical short cut. It is a Three Peaks route.

Here was a real motorway, seemingly underlaid with some sort of mesh and plastic to support the non-indigenous slate chippings on top.  

What next?  Tarmac?

It is easy to be critical of such efforts and deplore the scarring of the countryside caused by these artificial means but where there is such a large number of people regularly passing through, could the alternative of doing nothing be far worse? On the other hand, some of these measures can become quite treacherous in bad conditions, especially when coated with snow or ice, in which case people do have to be on their guard and tred with caution.

Finally, a sight that could become our new signature photo:

Don, Wednesday 23rd July 2015


Post Script:  Sorry boys, I forgot to take a Comitibus photo.


The Priest's Hole

Following his return to Scotland, Peter Macd sent me this photo of Stan looking into the Priest's Hole last week on BB1525 .




Wednesday 22nd July 2015

Distance in miles:

10.6 (Garmin)

Height climbed in feet:

2,205 (Anquet)


Pen-y-Ghent, Hull Pot


Bryan, Don, John, Stan

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BOOTboys 2015



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