Sunday, 23 March 2008

Pennine Way: Day 5 - Lothersdale to Malham

Sunday 23rd March

Distance: 24.5km; Ascent: 540m; Dry, sunny but windy; with Lynsey

I was woken up at around 3am by Lynsey due to her concern about the strange sagging of the tent roof.  Looking outside, my fears were confirmed as it was snowing heavily.  Our Terra Nova Voyager tent is indeed an excellent 3-season backpacking tent, but it wasn't handling the snow particularly well this morning with lots of it settling on the top flattish section of the flysheet.  And so I dressed up warm and headed outside to clear a substantial amount of snow from the tent roof on this jolly cold start to Easter day.  It continued to snow heavily for the next hour or so, which meant that I had to stay outside to keep the tent clear.  However by around 4:30am ish I decided that the snow had now calmed down enough for me to safely return to the warmer confines of the tent :)

The weather had improved significantly by the time we set off walking at around 9ish, with sun and blue skies!  And what a difference there was in the scenery, which was now covered with a reasonable layer of white stuff (that which the tent complained about!).

On the way up Pinhaw Beacon
Pennine Way signpost
We climbed up through the snow to reach our only summit of the day: Pinhaw Beacon (HuMP).  The views from up here were indeed excellent, enhanced today by the snowy landscape - not quite what you expect on Easter Sunday!  I regretted not having brought my sunglasses with me as the landscape was quite bright today!

On the summit of Pinhaw Beacon
After sufficient time to take in the views we descended to the road just to the west before continuing downhill for the next few kilometres to reach Thornton-in-Craven.  Around half an hour's walk later we reached the banks of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and the famous double arched bridge.

Leeds & Liverpool Canal
Double arched bridge on Leeds & Liverpool Canal
We pushed onto Gargrave, where I have a feeling we might have stopped for tea and cake somewhere but I'm not too certain!  And then it was onwards to Airton followed by the home straight into Malham where we set up camp at the nearly deserted campsite in the gathering gloom of the pre-clock change dusk.

Due to the clear skies it soon became very cold, and so we took the sensible decision to retire to the pub :-)  It was around this point that I discovered that the map was nowhere to be seen :(  After a thorough search I came to the conclusion that we must have dropped it at some point, which was a tad annoying!  We were planning on setting off early in the morning, which was likely to be before any map selling shops were open.  However I guessed that the YHA were likely to sell maps at their reception and so nipped in and was in luck :)

After a some pleasant ale (probably Black Sheep), we wandered through the chilly streets of Malham to retire to our tent for the night in preparation for a long day in the hills tomorrow: Malham Cove, Fountains Fell and Pen-y-ghent.  However not all would go to plan tomorrow...

Written up in August 2012 from photos and memories

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