Saturday, July 28, 2007


Yesterday I had the shittiest run ever, so I decided not to try to push it today. I went with plan B for the day, and decided to go for a day walking in the dales instead.

The run I had planned involved getting the train out of town and running back. I actually ended up on the same train, because once it's got out of industrial West Yorkshire it heads over the Settle-Carlisle line, and that's where I fancied going. I've never been over that line before, and it's something I've been meaning to do for a while.

The logical thing to do is, of course, to get the train to a high point and walk downhill, and where is higher than Dent station. It's the highest mainline station in England (possibly the UK, I can't remember). It's also nowhere near Dent town - when I did the Dentdale run back in March I ran 14 miles up and down Dentdale from Dent and went nowhere near the station. That was the first time I'd ever been to Dentdale and I really liked it, so I decided it was a good starting point to discover a bit more of it.

I managed to resist the temptation to walk towards Dent itself (although my tastebuds still remember the cake at the end of the race and were trying to persuade me to see if I could locate the source), and headed back down the line towards the Ribblehead viaduct. There seem to be quite a few groups round here which organise walks from public transport - from the Dalesbus on sundays and from the train on other days. There were at least two different groups from the train I was on. I was vaguely tempted to tag along, but I had something I wanted to try today.

I bought a compass during the week, and I wanted to learn how to use it and how to map read a bit better. Even though (I hoped) my route was relatively straight forward, I wanted some practice checking against the map to make sure that I was indeed going in the right direction, and I didn't think walking with a group would help that. Also, the age profile of the walkers I saw didn't really fit me, so I preferred to walk alone. I like having space to think anyway.

I headed up the higher reaches of Dentdale where I hadn't ventured before, and it was lovely. Then I headed uphill through a bit of forest, and over Blea Moor, with the train below me. The ventilation shafts from the tunnel stood out against the landscape, but helped keep me heading in the right direction as a check for my compass. And then coming down off the moor, it hits you. The Ribblehead Viaduct. There are other viaducts on the line, but this is the famous one.

Last weekend while we were busy climbing it was opened for people to walk across for the first time ever during engineering work elsewhere on the line. I missed that so could only see it from beneath, but it was still pretty impressive. I even caught a train going over the top, although sadly it was a goods train rather than the significantly more romantic steam trains that run across from time to time in summer.

I stopped and had some lunch staring at the view (and due to my fluorescent yellow rain jacket got approached by random walkers to ask how to get up Whernside - because I looked like some kind of marshall - oops!). Then, as there wasn't too much at Ribblehead other than the viaduct, and I wasn't ready to head back yet, I carried on walking down to Horton in Ribblesdale.

This was the only point where I got marginally lost. Or at least I headed off up the wrong track, realised pretty quickly and managed to get back where I should have been without any drama. Yay for the map and compass! I met up with the Ribble Way, and then the Pennine Way, and made it to Horton a bit after 3pm. I had been having thoughts of cream tea for the last few miles, but got there, realised there was a train fairly soon and that I'd just managed to walk away from the village centre towards the station. I didn't want it enough to walk back to hunt out tea shops, so I just made do with the remnants of what I'd brought with me.

In total I covered about 14 miles. Slowly, and struggling a bit with the bogginess of the terrain in the absence of waterproof shoes, but I had a really good day. I ended up absolutely knackered and nearly fell asleep on the train, but I suppose that's partly because that's just what happens when you wake up at 6am without the help of the alarm at weekends because you're so used to it during the week.

And look at the piccies! No rain! (Well, a few spots while I was waiting for the train home, but nothing significant. Woo hoo!)


Blogger Ann said...

I have been reading this blog, and thoroughly enjoy it! Those pics are gorgeous!

2:11 AM  
Blogger K said...

Oh, pretty pretty.

Sometimes it's good to get away from things... sadly, about the best I can manage is going for a run on my own.

9:50 AM  

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