: A Journey of Discovery
30th April 2019
phone rang. I had to stop the car.
I switched off the engine (honest,
officer). It was the Dearly Beloved.
she said, << I’ve found a blue bag
by the door. I think you forgot it.>>
ok, I was thinking of walking in my trainers
anyway. Anything else?>>
ok, I can buy some on the way. Anything
Here am I heading off
to Yorkshire without my passport.
if they declare YEXIT? Or
for the younger readers- if
any- WR stands for West Riding.
It used to be a region
of Yorkshire but, to the chagrin
of many Tykes, exists no more.]
decided to take the risk. After all,
I was meeting up with a true Yorkshire man
who, I was confident, would vouch for me.
was Bryan. He was reconnoitring (recce
is much easier to say, spell and type) an
outing for the A team of the Kendal Fell
Walkers. He reckoned it was a 16 miler
but when I saw the map I was sure it was
an underestimate. I didn’t feel confident
plan was to go from Clapham via the Norber
Erratics to Austwick then a circuitous route
almost to Settle and back. I have
visited the Erratics several times. I wasn’t
bothered about a re-visit. It was
the other part of the walk that interested
me and, boy, was it interesting.
who currently lives in Clapham, accompanied
Bryan for the first part, surviving a near
vertical scree gully on his Proctor Scar
cliff. He then departed for the dentist,
a less fearful activity.
met Bryan just outside Austwick and set
off on the remarkable journey of discovery.
first discovery was the climb up into Oxenber
Wood then Wharfe Wood.
were full of bluebells and primroses and
all sorts of other wild plants and funghi.
I could pretend to know their names
but I don’t. Apart from the wild orchids.
Clearly, it was a well-known trail
as we met dozens of folk enjoying the sunshine
and the ambience.
we emerged onto open fell where we had a
superb view (if you ignore the quarry) over
to Pen-y-ghent .
Smearsett Scar we dropped down through
the other side of the valley you could see
the limestone cliff face, cut from out from
train rushed through a cutting so that only
its steam was visible.
Stainforth is an attractive old hamlet.....
a Force where the River Ribble cascades
down the rocks.
followed, I can only sum up as astonishing.
Until Bryan told me, I had known
nothing about it. It isn’t marked
on the map and signs to it are minimal.
is a structure that could be compared to
a Victorian Hadron Collider. It is
a semi-subterraneum oval shaped tunnel that
from late in the 19th century until 1939
held a series of 22 large furnaces. It
is huge- about 150 yards long. It
is called a Hoffman
If you want to know more about it,
see also the
and Murgatroyd Limestone Kiln.
Better still, go and see for yourself. You
will be amazed.
thereafter was a bit of an anti-climax.
The path alongside the Ribble and
through Stackhouse was pleasant. The
quarry at Giggleswick was large but so well
fenced off that its full impact was hidden.
Schoolboys Tower cairn made a good viewpoint
and place for a coffee stop. The walk along
Giggleswick Scar and over to Feizor was
enjoyable. I seem to be damning them
with faint praise. They were truly
worth visiting but can’t match the astonishment
still lingering from the Hoffman Kiln.
Feizor we received a call from Robin. He
had survived his visit to the dentist and
had set off in search of us. He spotted
us across the field and we (including Holly,
his Labrador) all returned to Austwick.
neither could be enticed into the Game Cock
Inn- they were on a mission back to Clapham
to complete Bryan’s recce. Consequently
I sat solo outside the pub. No, not
with a lonesome pint. I had discovered
the local shop. And in it, the final
magnificent discovery. A Magnum ice cream
lolly. What a day!
Tuesday 30th April 2019