Monday 17 August Horton in Ribblesdale to Hawes

Miles walked: today 12.9 miles cumulative 718.9 miles

Drizzly when I woke up, it was dry by the time I started walking. The cloud lifted quickly and everything except the top of Wernside was visible. The sun even peeped out during the afternoon. Another great day’s walking in the Dales, mainly on tracks

I was escorted up an easy track out of Horton by two friendly dogs and their owner. As I gained height there were good views back to Horton, Ingleborough (scarred by its quarries) and Pen-y-Ghent, now clear of cloud.

Pen-y-ghent

After an hour or so I passed the most dramatic pot hole I have yet seen. I heard it before I saw it, the noise from the waterfall disappearing into its depths. The peat stained water had the colour of a good single malt. Apparently this cave is popular with cavers

Calf pot

A short distance further on, the path passes alongside Ling Gill. This is a gorge of special interest as it is too steep for animals to enter so it a rare place where the natural woodland has persisted. One of the plants that grows here is called melancholy nettle. Melancholy nettle? Sound like it should be in Discworld. (Terry Pratchett fans will understand). Does it weep? Maybe periodically it throws itself into the gorge. Perhaps St John’s Wort grows nearby to cheer it up.

I could see glimpses of the gorge between the trees. There are warning signs for would be adventurers to be careful because of the steep ground but I followed Wainwright’s advice and admired the gorge from outside the fence.

A little further on I crossed the beck.

The PW now continued up to Cam Fell joining a Roman Road. There were views back to the Ribbleshead viaduct. This was built in the 1860s. It carries the Settle to Carlisle railway. Underneath the viaduct there are the remains of the shanty towns the engineers lived in. 100 men died during the construction of the viaduct.

The path then ran parallel to the Snaizeholme valley before descending into Hawes.

I had a good view of my next hill: Great Shunner Fell

The slightly boggy path now dropped down to Gaudy Lane. I have no idea how this got its name, it looked normally coloured to me. There was a Gaudy House as well. It wasn’t. It was white. I was able to watch a farmer and sheepdog round up his flock. The path then dropped through Gayle to emerge by the church in Hawes, unusual in that it has a tower and spire.

Hawes is a lovely village, based around one street. It is the home of Wensleydale cheese, much beloved by Wallace and Grommit. The traditional cheese is made by a single creamery that almost went out of business in the 1930s. It was rescued by Kit Calvert only to be at risk of closure again in the 1960s, eventually being taken over by Dairy Crest. Threatened with closure again, it has been bought out by the management. While Wensleydale cheese can be made anywhere Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese is protected and has to come from the creamery. I am sure Wallace only buys the genuine article.

Hawes also has the distinction of being on the route of le depart at the start of le tour du France in 2014 .

Tomorrow is a day off to catch up with the blog, to do some washing and maybe to eat some cheese. Pass the crackers, Grommit.