Well, that was it. Our short stint up North. Already had to leave our cottage Friday morning, but not without going out with a bang. Well, not out of the cottage but out of the walking part of our holiday.
Set off half 9 to drive just over an hour to Horton-in-Ribblesdale. After the walk from Kirkby-Stephen our second outing in the Yorkshire Dales. And the drive up was wetting the appetite for sure. As soon as we left the motorway it just got prettier and prettier. Lovely green rolling hills interspersed with the odd copse of trees, drystone walls everywhere and limestone built houses. And Ingleborough towering above all in the distance, clearly reigning over his kingdom.
Turned off in Ingleton to take two smaller roads to Horton with the bleak slopes of Ingleborough and Whernside right and left before Pen-y-Ghent came into view. All three of the Yorkshire peaks challenge there. And it really dawned on me that this was a proper challenge indeed climbing all three in just one day. They were not necessarily right next to each other. In fact, the whole loop to be done in less than 12 hours was just shy of 40k. Hm. I was intrigued.
Found ourselves a café in Horton and then made our way up Pen-y-Ghent on grassy slopes with a good path clearly trying to cope with the amount of footfall this popular hill gets.
It was quite warm and sunny with great views of the hill ahead which was seemingly basking in the sun and all the attention it was getting. And what a shapely hill it was indeed. No wonder we were just two of quite a few walkers making their way up on such a fine day.
Despite getting sweaty we really enjoyed the ascent, especially the last steep scrambly bit. For almost every pair or group of people there was also a dog on a lead which made me feel quite smug with my super comfy hands-free arrangement, haha.
For once there wasn’t much more to climb once we had done the steep bit. Just a short walk to the trig point where we were met by hundreds of midges keen for a nibble as soon as we stopped. No wind, no rain, balmy temperatures and an array of sweaty humans… They were out in force up here.
We bailed after a very quick summit photo. Indeed I had just ticked off Hewitt number 100. Yay!!! Only 216 more to go.
Of course I already had my eyes on the next prize, Plover Hill. Just further down the back of Pen-y-Ghent. Rich had enough energy to do some more walking and since the weather was great, why not.
The going was easy on a mostly grassy path with the odd big patch of dried bog. Very typical for those broad hill ridges in Britain apart from the fact that it was dry!
Slightly down, slightly up and soon we had reached the top of the very unexciting Plover Hill. Tick. 101 Hewitts. Glad we did it, I wouldn’t have wanted to come back for this one really.
Had a short break with an ever so slight breeze keeping the little buggers at bay. Munching a couple of very nice steak pies we enjoyed the views over bleak mountain scenery and the absence of people and noise. Almost everyone took the shorter way down. Good for them.
Heading downhill we soon met once more the long distance path that is A Pennine Journey. What a lovely name, innit? Named after a Wainwright book this 211 mile path is a modern version of Wainwright’s journey from 1938 going from Settle all the way to Hadrian’s Wall.
What a delightful path this section was. Soft thick grass with lumps and bumps and great vast views. We genuinely enjoyed it soaking it all in.
Eventually met the main path and people again. The going was not as easy on the broad path with small loose stones but it was the home stretch.
After 13k we were back in Horton in time before the café closed to grab some ice cream. Yum. Quick change of footwear at the car and some well earned food for Merlin, then a couple of drinks at the pub. Ah. Good times. Brilliant end to our brief holiday.
But end it was not yet. Drove on a lovely sweeping road right through the Forest of Bowland and over to Moorecambe to visit our friend Rosie. Had a great chilled evening of catching up and stayed over to spend a couple of days. Let’s see what we get up to.