Monday, 24 March 2014

Dales Way - Day 3: Buckden to Ribblehead

Friday 21st February 2014 

My return to the Yorkshire Dales to walk along the Dales Way from Buckden to Ribblehead 

Distance 23km; Ascent: 550m; Mainly wet, but occasional dry spells; Solo

After several hours of travelling by train and bus I set off walking from Buckden in full waterproofs at around 11:30am this morning.  I followed the pleasant riverside path along the SW banks of the River Wharfe, in the rain, to reach the small hamlet of Hubberholme, where there were lots of snowdrops in the churchyard.

St. Michael and All Angels Church, Hubberholme
River Wharfe just west of Hubberholme
The Dales Way continued westwards along the north bank of the river and I soon reached Yockenthwaite, before continuing along the path to re-cross the river at Deepdale Bridge.  By now the rain had stopped and I took the opportunity of a dry lunch break near a small waterfall.

Looking downstream from Deepdale Bridge
Small section of rapids above Deepdale Bridge
The break in the rain didn't last long and I was soon continuing on upstream to reach the confluence of Green Field Beck with the River Wharfe near Beckermonds.  A couple of kilometres of road walking now lay ahead to reach the small village of Oughtershaw where I left the road behind.

Looking up the River Wharfe towards Beckermonds
Confluence of Green Field Beck and the River Wharfe
Lone postbox near Beckermonds
A farm access track made for relatively quick walking westwards past Nethergill to reach Swarthgill farm.  From here a muddy path headed further westwards towards the watershed near Cam Houses.

Looking west over the watershed towards Ingleborough
There were noticeably large areas of new tree plantations on the south side of the head of the boggy looking valley.  I continued heading west and soon crossed the Pennine watershed.  The River Wharfe, which I had been following for the first two and a half days of the Dales Way drains into the North Sea, whereas on the west side of this watershed the burns flow into the River Ribble, which drains into the Irish Sea.

Looking back towards the headwaters of Oughtershaw Beck
After passing Cam Houses I passed the edge of a forestry plantation, which looked to have suffered somewhat in the recent storms as there were quite a few fallen trees.  After a little bit more ascent I reached the junction with the Pennine Way and the Pennine Bridleway, which here both follow the Cam High Road.

Cairn at Junction of Dales Way and Pennine Way
A good track made for quick walking south-westwards, in a hail storm, and I soon came to a track junction not marked on my maps.  It appeared that a new access road had been built for the forestry plantation at Cam Woodlands.  This track joined the Cam High Road at this junction and followed the Dales Way all the way to the road.

New forestry road
Looking down the upgraded Cam High Road towards Ingleborough and Ribblehead
By now it was late afternoon, so I continued downhill along the upgraded track, which was now more like a forest road than an old track - it certainly seemed quite different from when I was late walking this way back in September 2008.  A new heavy-duty looking bridge across Gayle Beck brought me to the B6255 road, which I followed in fading light to reach my overnight halt at the Station Inn at Ribblehead.

New bridge over Gayle Beck
I reached the pub shortly after 6pm, where I enjoyed a good meal along with some excellent real ale after another good day's walking :-)

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