Our first day of rain. Also the day on which I learnt I needed to reproof my boots.
In the B&B over breakfast there was hot debate over various conflicting forecasts for the day. There was one contingent of cyclists who believed there wouldn’t be any rain, one forecast threatened rain in the afternoon, and then the Met Office website suggested rain at 9:00, until 10:00/11:00. As we prepared to depart, at 9:00, it started raining. The continent of cyclists had a few choice words to say about it.
So we donned our waterproofs for the first time and made our way up to Malham Cove to begin the day’s walking. It didn’t take very long at all for the novelty and refreshing qualities of the rain to become utterly tiresome, though we were of course very glad of the cooler temperatures.
We stopped to visit the Cove, and take various photos atop the limestone pavement.
On rounding Malham Tarn we came across a couple of locals – we commented on the weather, and they shrugged and said “Back to normal then.” The rain started to show signs of desist, but these were false promises, and the rain continued to fall as we made the climb up towards Fountains Fell.
After the climb up to Malham Tarn, this was the second major height gain of the day. It was also very long and tedious. The cloud had dropped to such a level that the fact of it raining was really a moot point – we were walking into the cloud that was bearing the rain.
Fountains Fell, in the mist at any rate, has several “false summits”. You reach what you believe to be the summit, the land levels out, there doesn’t appear to be any higher ground, but then there’s another kick uphill. Eventually, we were only able to determine our having reached the top by a warning sign about abandoned mine workings.
It was on the descent from Fountains Fell that the rain finally stopped and the clouds gradually began to part. The clouds lifted just enough to show the scale of Pen-y-ghent, but while shrouding the summit as if as a hideously dark portent. The clouds clung to the huge lump of rock as if mischievously concealing the true extent of our coming torment. It wasn’t until we were within vomiting distance that the sky cleared sufficiently to display the full horror.
As you might expect, it really wasn’t too bad, by the time we actually started the climb. Don’t get me wrong, it was certainly a big challenge – a couple of hundred vertical metres in but perhaps a dozen horizontal metres. It’s certainly the closest that I’d like to get to free rock climbing, and I was very glad indeed that we only had day sacks this time, rather than our full packs (which we have to go back to on tomorrow’s hike).
After spending a few minutes atop Pen-y-ghent, we began the descent. The long, long descent. It certainly felt long at any rate. As I alluded to in the introductory sentence, my boots got soaked in the wet grass, and let in a fair amount of water. This developed into wrinkly skin blisters, which, along with tendonitis (I believe this is what it is anyway), served to make the last three miles rather long and painful.
But not to worry – when we arrived at the Pen-y-ghent Cafe, we’d be able to refresh ourselves and restock our first aid supplies, and I’d be able to purchase some boot proof spray. This was not to be though. The Cafe, which is an important hub for walkers on the Pennine Way, and a check point for the Three Peaks Challenge, is closed from the 9th to the 20th of July. No reason given, and no alternative venues for checking in provided, just… no, closed, sorry (read into that a shrug of the shoulders and a “I don’t really mean that apology” expression). There was also a charming notice in the carpark of this important meeting place declaring that it wasn’t in fact a meeting place, quite the opposite actually, so gatherings of this nature were not at all welcome and most certainly not to be encouraged. There was also an aggressive white plastic chain across the entrance to the carpark, attached to the brick wall at one end, then the bottom half of a patio table umbrella at the other. The chain had clearly been driven over a number of times judging by it’s sag.
So, tomorrow is Horton in Ribblesdale to Hawes. Last time it was the wettest day on our whole hike – quite fortunate that the youth hostel in Hawes has one of the best and most effective drying rooms ever. We shall see how the weather treats us this time.
|Day #||Date||Start||Destination||Miles Walked||Cumulative Miles Walked|
|5||11/07/2018||Ponden||Thornton in Craven||11.5||71.2|
|6||12/07/2018||Thornton in Craven||Malham||11.9||83.1|
|7||13/07/2018||Malham||Horton in Ribblesdale||15.2||98.3|
|8||14/07/2018||Horton in Ribblesdale||Hawes||14.9||113.2|
|19||25/07/2018||Trows Farm||Kirk Yetholm||14.7||279.1|