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Day 3 – Malham to Hawes

Day 3 – Malham to Hawes

Area: Yorkshire Dales
Starting point: Malham
Ending point: Hawes
Date of walk: 10th May 2016
Trails: Pennine Way, Dales way, A Pennine Journey
Distance: 22.49 miles
Difficulty: Hard
Terrain: Straight up Dales, mountains, road walking
Weather: Sun, light clouds

Spending time alone, walking, walking, and more walking, up and down through the hills & valleys. Expectably people ask on the way why I go for such long walks. The short answer is, because is brings me true happiness. And this day, reflects strongly this. Spending time alone can get more and more difficult by the untold amount of reasons, especially in this day and age. However, ultimately in the end the choice is ours as to what we do. If we are not there in person with another, we are there on the phone, connected via some sort of device. Which is great. However, whats often forgotten, is that everything is contained in spirit. Walking alone, step by step, being present & focused is good walking & a good way to be reminded of those things which are truly important. When walking through bleak moors and the sometimes annoying dales, I personally learn a lot about myself & my connections with people and how they affect me. Know Thy Self. The body is alone, with none other but the sheep, cows and beetles on the floor. But in spirit all is connected.

For no particular reason, today is a day I’ll never forget. One of those days, that by the end of it, you tap yourself on the back and say well done. I woke up at the crack of dawn, feet are getting more blistered by the day. But today that doesn’t seem to matter. A long walk ahead, but today I’m not focused on the end, or how many miles I need to cover, I’m focused on the now. The present moment.

Malham itself is a popular village located in the heart of the Pennines. As I exit Malham on the Pennine Way I first reach Malham Cove, which is a steep climb upto the top. Today, thank god for clouds. Today they nicely block the scorching sun, and that gentle breeze well needed. I walk amongst 3 major trails, and alot of unmarked one’s today. It’s one of those as the crow flies days, up and over a few mountains.

dav
Approaching Malham Cove
Looking back over Malham
Looking back over Malham

For another couple of miles I come across a glacial lake called Malham Tarn which is the highest lake in England. Pretty windy up here & the lake does look grand..

Highest lake in England
Highest lake in England 

From Malham Tarn, we only go higher, onto our first mountain of the day, Fountains Fell. This is spectacular, a beautiful mountain in a beautiful part of the world..

View going up Cross fells
View going up Cross fells 

I bump into some helpful locals on top of Cross fells, they help me plan out a good route on my map to my destination of Hawes. They also kindly offer to take a photo of me by the Cairn..

Caaiirrrrnnn
Caaiirrrrnnn

On the way down, Pen – Y – Ghant seen in the distance..

Pen Y Ghant
Pen Y Ghant seen from cross fells

At the foot of Cross fells, I turn right with a bit of road walking, my 1st time off the Pennine way and get out the map and compass for some orienteering across unmarked, barely pathed moors. I walk down the road less traveled, crossing more bleakness, through territory people rarely walk down. You can generally tell by the way the animals behave. The sheep are acting strange, extremely defensive, and giving it the large. I don’t think I’ve ever been moved on by sheep before! well what do you know, Fearless sheep. It’s lambing season, so they are protecting their young.

Lambs pon road
Lambs pon road 

I reach the tiny hamlet of Halton Gill, near enough the half way point for the day. I sit and rest, eat some oatbran cake and head out of the village on a trail called A Pennine Journey. Although I’m only this for 10 minute until I branch off over the fells back down into another little village called Oughtershaw. I bump into 3 ladies walking the Dales Way, we slowly walk together. It’s moments like this, that really give you a push and bursts of energy come from nowhere. The 3 lovely ladies are from Matlock, Tansley to be more precise. They offer some encouragement, which I am grateful for. Than we part ways, I find out later on that evening they have donated for the cause. Puts a big smile on my face, 2 people so far on just passing by walking have now donated. They must see the weary look on my face, and my strange limping walk due to my blistered feet. Perhaps they take pity. haha. The rest of today is the road in Hawes for 5 miles, up and down again. Road walking is tricky, as it burns the feet a lot. But I grit and bear it, as I hoddle into another wonderful North Yorkshire village…

on the road into Hawes
on the road into Hawes
stumbling into Hawes
stumbling into Hawes
Day 2 – Earby to Malham

Day 2 – Earby to Malham

Area: Yorkshire Dales
Starting point: Earby
Ending point: Malham
Date of walk: 9th May 2016
Trails: Pennine Way
Distance: 13.01 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Terrain: Straight up Dales, River & village walking
Weather: Sun, blue skies, Scorching

I need to do something about my feet, I need to do something about my feet is the reoccurring loop I wake up with this morning. Every fellow walker I bump into today hears about my feet. Every long distance walker knows the inconvenience of blistered swollen feet, and if they don’t…. well either they know something the rest of us don’t or they’re not long distance walkers at all. When it boils down to it, there are many variables – socks, boots, moisture and there’s no ‘right’ solution as everyone’s foot is totally different. Anyway, for today it’s all about staying focused, simply ignoring the pain and keep on going.

I pick up some supplies at the co-op, and head out of town early towards Thornton In Craven. It’s another one of those days, where the sun is beaming down. A lovely day, but makes for slower than usual walking. Coming out of Thornton, I come to realise I’ve left my walking stick at the hostel. Oh well, item number 2 long gone. It would have really been helpful on today’s walk, especially, once again when I am welcomed by the typical dales, up and down, up and down. However I’m pleasantly surprised once I hit the River Aire. The remainder of the day mostly follows this lovely river through more quiet Yorkshire villages. This place reminds me of Maida Vale area, Grand Union Canal in London. A strange comparison to make, but down the Grand Union Canal, on a quiet day can be equally as peaceful.

River Aire

As I continue for a few miles along the river and out back over the dales (again) heading towards Gargreave, A lady catches up with me and we both stroll together into the village of Gargreave exchanging stories. She than goes on to tell me she’s walked all the way from Zurich since January! That’s quiet a distance I think to myself. We depart ways in Gargreave and I head to the pharmacy to grab some supplies, and to the post office to off load a kilo of weight to post back. Followed by a cup of tea and slice of date, apple & walnut cake in a local cafe. Yummy!

Sweetshop in Malham
Sweetshop in Malham

The rest of today I meet back with the river, and follow it through the small villages of Airton, Hanlith & than finally into Malham. But did I mention, its up and over a hill to get to each village? Oh yes, that common theme of the Yorkshire Dales, Up and Down. Ups and Downs, like a heartbeat. And what is the best way to manage it all? Keep your feet on the ground, no matter how high you are or how low you are. Stay rooted and keep on going. The sun today has turned me into a darker shade of brown & as I enter into Malham, there’s alot going on in this tiny village. I explore a bit, grab some dinner, and jump into the tiny corner shop before it closes to grab some snacks for tomorrows journey. As I exit the shop I notice my phone drop out my pocket, & the screen becomes half smashed. Oh well, item number 3, although this is still functional for now.

The Pennine way is quite a famous walk you see, it is special & I can see why people do it. However, most people walking it, seem to want to talk about them walking the pennine way and how they are walking the Pennine way. Oh, and you mustn’t stray from the Pennine way, because if you do, you’re not a true Pennine wayer and you’ll be struck down by lightning. I’m surprised a lot of these folk don’t have the route tattooed on their foreheads. Anyhow saying that, tomorrow I’m stuffing the Pennine way for a day & heading north through more treacherous territory exploring the Dales way & the Pennine Journey (Other trails)….. and I’m glad I did , as the following day was the best day yet…

Chilling out before heading down into Malham
Chilling out before heading down into Malham