Tuesday, 23 July 2013

No 36 The 3 Dales Way

A gap of over 3 weeks between ultras. Oh no. Partly I was wanting my ribs to mend a bit more but I have also squeezed in the SLMM, a weekend of DoE with pupils from work and a rather lazy restful weekend when we broke up. Typically the weather sort of changed today- warm and humid with a mixture during the day of cloud, breeze, heavy drizzle and sun. I wanted something fairly easy (ie no big climbs) and given the forecast not too high in case the thunderstorms materialised. I have found a very interesting walking company on the web and have been using their walks to get ideas.

I knew I could park easily and for free in Threshfield so I skipped the Burnsall bit. It was strange to be there on such a quiet day and without all the normal Fellsman trappings. I climbed up into Grassington and was soon on a wide mowed grassy path - the Dales Way.

 I passed a group of walkers and then did not see a soul until Kettlewell.The views were not fantastic given so much low cloud but the ridge above Cracoe with  the crags and crosses stood out.

At Kettlewell I left the Dales Way and climbed the spur of fell and crags that was hiding Littondale. As I climbed and the breeze got up I realised how wet I had got in the earlier drizzle. I was soon dropping to Hawswick and admiring the cttages for sale. The river path took me to Arncliffe and I turned up over Malham Moor. The paths were wide and grassy and although I was not running fast my ribs didn't seem too bad. Fountains Fell and across to the 3 Peaks looked gloomy so no panoramic photos today.

Some rangers were rebuilding a wall and said I was the first person they had seen all morning so I was surprised to arrive at Street Gate and be greeted with 'Hi Karen'. An LDWA group and a fellow SLMM parking attendant. I stopped for a chat and a breather before heading off towards Malham Cove. The westerly wind was pushing all the low cloud further into Yorkshire and it was now warm and sunny. My fall the other week has made me cautious but I must have been getting cocky today and took and slip on some greasy limestone- I did stay upright though.

 The limestone pavement always amazes me and I stopped for a quick explore. Only quick because I was almost out of water and thirsty. It wasn't crowded but there were many more people as I dropped to Malham. Peregrines were nesting on the main crag and cameras and telescopes had been set up to watch them.

I pushed on and then treated myself to an ice lolly. Great idea but I stupidly forgot to refill me water bottle. The lolly sustained me but it meant I passed the campsite at Goredale Scar without realising my need. The next hour or so was hot, humid and thirsty. It was also very quiet again and I saw nobody bar one farmer for the rest of my route.

I did eventually find a beck that looked reasonably fast flowing but was even thinking of asking at a farm house. The last streams on Threshfield Moor were decidedly brown and I did not risk it. The track dropped and dropped so at least I was on the home stretch now. I promised myself a drink at the pub on the main road. Ha- they too were out of water- their taps were giving out brown muck and the problem was not due to be sorted for a couple of hours at least. I downed a small coke and jogged burping back to my car the other side of Threshfield. A quick explore out and back along the river path towards Linton Falls and the stepping stones made the route just over 29 miles. I cannot believe how shattered I feel. I know I have had a rest but this is ridiculous. I also think I must have been running tense all day to protect my ribs because my back aches like mad, not something I am used to. Still the thunderstorms did not materialise for me until I had been hoome for an hour so I made good use of the day and am happy to have been out.

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