My fourth day on the Pennine Way started in Stanbury, about 1.5 mile east of where I had finished my previous day and where the trail is in Ponden. This was the closest I could get to using the public transport!
The weather was very varied that day, from sunny spells to brief moments of rain, but the visibility was great. The flora was changing rapidly by comparison to the previous day, which was very moorland-like. Today’s way to Gargrave was far greener in general.
The first 1.5 – 2 miles were mostly along a quiet Stanbury – Ponden road. The image below was taken just past Ponden. This is, indeed, the beautiful Ponden Reservoir as I was leaving it behind me.
Sometimes, it is the simplicity that appeals. I caught this sight of the horse in a field and there was something visually appealing about the scene; particularly the contrast of the darker field with the sun attempting to break through the clouds.
The trail, once past the Ponden Reservoir turned north-west, past farmland, with adorable views of fields bathing in the morning sun peeking through the clouds.
Although early in the day, I took a sandwich stop here, looking at the landscape from high above.
The route now ascends towards just past Maw Stones Hill, a familiar moorland area with views for many miles in any direction, before descending back down towards Ickornshaw.
The day was slightly breezy, so the movement of clouds made it was 5 minutes of sun followed by 5 minutes of cloudy almost constantly throughout the day, resulting in such beautiful views on the way as the route was taking me north past different villages and farms.
The weather might have been very changeable, but it does mean you get to see superb light effects against the sides of hills and this is one wonderful example of this. Just waiting, watching clouds move for mere 5 minutes, was enough to be taken in.
Out of the blue (or purple?), the surroundings suddenly changed to a huge area covered by heath. This is the area of Pinhaw Beacon (430m). On a clearer day, I would have been able to see all the way to Pen-y-ghent and other famous Yorkshire peaks in the far distance, but the day was too cloudy for it.
The view down Clogger Lane was just incredible – now, I was walking fast in the north-western direction towards the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, about 3 or 4 miles away, just past Thornton In Craven.
Attention to detail seems to run in my family, with my brother a very good photographer and my father with keen interest in visuals – in both film and photography, so I suppose I have got the bug. The visual appeal of such places and their geometry is never lost on me. Here, the little path across the field disappearing at the top of the hill, leading to the unknown, is striking.
A very (very) unusual section of the Pennine Way comes now for the last couple of miles of this stretch – easy, flat 3-mile walk. First, as you can see below, the trail leads just past the picturesque Leeds and Liverpool Canal, with its quite, graceful waters accompanying the walker.
After about a mile, the trail leaves the canal and takes one across a series of fields towards the village of Gargrave, with stunning hilly views on the horizon.
By comparison to day 3 on the Pennine Way, day 4 was a comfortable, pleasant walk, with very beautiful views, and the hills to the north were the taste of the amazing things to come on the next day.
All images from this trip can be seen in the video below: