After the day walking from Ilkley to Burnsall, the temperature on the next day was about 19 degrees, something like 11 degrees less than the previous day! After breakfast at the B&B in Burnsall, I set off on the huge almost 27 mile hike.
The first three miles of the walk continued along River Wharfe to Grassington in the north western direction. It’s a pleasant flat walk along the river and some sheep-dotted pastures on the way.
At Grassington, there is a quick and steep ascent when walking through the streets of the village and the trail turns in the generally northern direction. Soon, the walker reaches an area with lots pastures, cows and sheep lazily grazing with some ascent into the hills.
I stopped at the highest point for a drink of water. The morning was very humid and muggy as you would imagine looking at the cloudy skies in the photos.
Now the walk takes the walker north to Kettlewell, 5 miles from here. First, there is the wide open area of Lea Green.
The flat walk slowly changes into slightly more hilly near Old Pasture, east of the village of Conistone.
There are some wonderful craggy views near Scot Gate Lane.
Now over to Kettlewell, now about 3 miles away. The walk is high up overlooking the valley down below where River Wharfe flows. I wish the skies had been less cloudy – it might have provided better views – but there were still pretty darn good anyhow!
Eventually, the trail joins Highgate Leys Lane and descends steeply into the valley.
From down below it’s a short walk to Kettlewell. Ketlewell is a small peaceful village of just a few streets. Having found some benches in the middle of a small roundabout here, I took a short food and drink break here before moving on.
The trail rejoins River Wharfe here and will follow along it north-west for the next 9 miles. A lot of it is easy and flat walk. Closer to the village of Kettlewell – and there are other small hamlets nearby such as Starbotton – there were some family walkers with dogs here too; for the first few miles.This is a lovely and easy part of the walk, with gorgeous views of the surrounding hills. It was beginning to clear up now a bit, with better visibility.
At Hubberholme (15 miles in), the trail crosses a bridge over River Wharfe from the west to the east bank.
Now, the path continues west along the river to Beckermonds. It will pass some hamlets and farmouses on the way, slowly but steadily ascending (which you would expect when walking towards the source of a river). The scenery around here is becoming more and more dramatic, a prelude to the last 10 miles of this walk. The river is visibly more dramatic, too, taking more tiny twists and turns. There are many places here where the rocky river bed forms natural pavements or bridges from one bank to another.
At Beckermonds, one crosses a small bridge and now continues north over a steep hill on a road to the hamlet of Oughtershaw, about a mile away. The surrounding countryside and the views are purely enchanting.
Enchanting, yes, but the trip was getting somewhat tiring! No matter, there was another 7 miles to do! The last part of the trek was to be extremely remote through Oughtershaw Moss with just two farms (essentially two houses) for the next 4 miles (until reaching Cam High Road) and uninterrupted views of the hills, including the famous Yorkshire Peaks, in any direction one looks. Pure heaven.
Eventually, in what I can only describe as glorious splendour surrounding the walker, one reaches Cam High Road after a rather steep final climb over the pastures. The views from up hilly are nothing short of spectacular. It’s recommended to stop here and simply enjoy the views.
This is where Dales Way meets Pennine Way, by the way. I had previously been here, but that previous time I had seen nothing of the surrounding peaks and hills – it was that cloudy!
Now it was just a little over 2 miles to Gearstones, mostly on the wide (as you can see in the photos below) Cam High Road. Gearstones is just a few houses near Ribblehead with the famous picturesque viaduct there. If you look closely, you can see the viaduct in one of the photos below, too. I took a few minor detours on the way onto the grassy pastures just off the road for better photo opportunities here. How could one not?
My bed and breakfast stop for the night, seemingly in the middle of nowhere overlooked by a Yorkshire Peaks ridge, was just 2 minutes’ walk over Blea Moor Road, delightfully hidden (and quiet) from the busy road.
I have to say that it was lovely to be treated by the lady running the B&B to a three-course dinner that night with a glass of wine – my feet needed to rest after that walk! What a great way to finish the day and to celebrate the natural beauty I had encountered that day. I’ve got to say, nothing man-made comes even close to the sculpting that nature gets up to!