Wednesday 8 January 2014

Dales Way - Day 2: Burnsall to Buckden

Monday 16th December 2013 

A mixture of moorland and riverside walking, in intermittent rain, from Burnsall to Buckden 

Distance: 23.5km; Ascent: 490m; Overcast with lots of rain showers; Solo

After yesterday's surprisingly good weather, it was perhaps no surprise that the overnight rain had yet to clear when I set off walking in full waterproofs at around quarter to nine this morning.  When I reached the river it was clear that the rain had been heavy last night as the river was now even more swollen than yesterday with a couple of sections of slightly flooded path to negotiate.

Swollen River Wharfe near Burnsall
Flooded path near Burnsall
I passed Loup Scar on the far side of the rapidly flowing river and continued on upstream, slightly drier now that the rain had stopped.  Soon I reached a footbridge, which I crossed to reach the north bank and slightly calmer waters.

River Wharfe at Loup Scar
Suspension Bridge
Two to three kilometres of walking westwards brought me to the impressive white water of Linton Falls.  The footbridge just above the falls allowed me to get a good view of the huge volume of water tumbling down the falls below.

Linton Falls
By now it had started raining again so I continued on upstream past a weir to reach the busy market town of Grassington, where I stopped for a bite to eat on a handy bench in the town square.

Weir near Grassington
Grassington marked the point that I left the river behind for the moorland to the east of Wharfedale.  I ascended northwards out of town on a good track, which became a grassy path after around a kilometre.  By now it was dry again and there were good views across northwards and westwards as I continued across the pleasant grassy moorland of Lea Green, with occasional areas of limestone pavement, past a 150 year old Lime Kiln before reaching Scot House Lane.

Lime Kiln
Crags near Scot Gate Lane
Here a puzzling footpath sign seemed to indicate a right of way down through the crags below to the left.  Unfortunately although it looked interesting I was up against the clock if I was going to reach Buckden in time for the mid afternoon bus; therefore I left any exploration for another day.

Looking across towards Knipe Scar and Middlesmoor Pasture
There were good views across Wharfedale towards Knipe Scar, which marks the end of the long ridge that extends SE from Birks Fell (on whose summit I finished the 2000ft peaks of the Yorkshire Dales).  Soon the rain started again, so I sought shelter in some woods in an attempt to stay dry whilst eating lunch.  To save time I opted to follow the road into Kettlewell before picking up a footpath again on the west bank of the Wharfe.

Beck in Kettlewell
Looking downstream from Kettlewell Bridge
By now it was 1:30pm, so it was clearly going to be touch and go whether or not I'd make my planned bus from Kettlewell; therefore I quickened my pace along the riverside footpath.  The ground was quite damp in places, with occasional sections of flooded field to negotiate.  I passed a number of barns on the way to the Starbotton footbridge, which I reached at quarter past two - things were now looking better for catching the bus from Kettlewell so I continued on up the valley.

Barn in upper Wharfedale
Meander in upper Wharfedale
The walk to Buckden passed without incident, although it was quite muddy in places with flood debris evident along some of the river bank.  In the end I made it to the bus stop a whole five minutes early!  Soon I was on the warm bus starting my four hour return journey home via Skipton, Leeds and Manchester.  It had been a good couple of days of mainly low level walking and I plan to return to complete the remainder of the Dales Way at some point.

Buckden Bridge
See also my Social Hiking live map from the walk.


  1. Hi Alistair,
    Which bus did you get back from Buckden. Did you find that to be the only way back. I presume that transport is quite infrequent but any info would be useful. I did the Dales Way in a similar vein to you many years ago but transport changes frequently now. Thanks.

    1. Hi Alan,

      I caught the 15:10 Pride of the Dales bus back from Buckden to Skipton. There seems to be 6 or 7 buses a day (Mon-Sat) on the route, which I guess is pretty reasonable. More details can be found here:

      Not sure about Sunday services though - I think DalesBus may organise one? In fact this was one of the reasons why I did my two-day walk over Sunday-Monday rather than Saturday-Sunday.