Wharfedale Wanders. Day 3: One little step at a time climbs great mountains…

(Buckden, North Yorkshire)

28 September 2022

When I mentioned to Andrew tonight that I now had to remember everything we did today, he offered the following: up, down, eat food, along, cold shower, eat more food. Whilst an excellent summary, I’m not sure that paints a sufficiently detailed picture, so here’s my slightly more verbose version.

Andrew slept in. I woke at about 8am, but started in bed, reading, until after 9.30. After getting ourselves up and having breakfast (porridge with fruit/bacon and scrambled egg on toast), we decided that yesterday’s six miles and 600 feet of elevation gain had been enough and we didn’t want to do a longer walk. Instead, we decided to do one that was shown as five miles, although there would be an extra third of a mile each way to get to shed from the start point.

We eventually left at 12.15 or so. The route took us through the car park where we started yesterday’s walk, but immediately turned right and wound across the hillside to a crossing of Buckden Beck. This stream was very pretty, with water sliding down across limestone rocks and a lovely little plunge pool that, had it been just a few degrees warmer (and if we didn’t have most of the hike still to go) I’d have been very tempted to dip in.

From there, the path led up, and up, through a woodland, offering views back down to Buckden, including of our little cottage, which is built into the garden wall of the original Manor House, now an outdoor activity centre.

The path continued, still going up, turning into a great path bordered by bracken, before getting even steeper as it passed dry stone walls, and climbed up towards the open moorland. It looked steep and was even steeper than it looked.

After crossing a field of high-altitude cows, we reached the peak of our route. From there, we gently descended whilst following the edge of the canyon (sorry…dale…). We had some great views before the trail began to point just as steeply down hill as it had up. We were soon in Starbotton, where we headed for the pub, the Fox and Hounds, for lunch. I had a broccoli and cauliflower soup, whilst Andrew had a BLT sandwich, and we shared a rather large bowl of the best fries I’ve had in a long time.

Suitably replete, we left the pub, only to encounter an either very early, or very late, nativity scene. We strolled down a narrow lane and crossed the river on a bridge, before turning back to walk along the Dales Way to Buckden.

As we walked the clouds rolled in and became darker, the wind picked up and the temperature dropped. We were sure rain was on the way, but we kept our pace up, reaching the cottage without getting wet.

The rain did come during the evening, in a very wet and solid manner, but as we had decided to stay in for dinner that wasn’t a problem. Pasta for dinner helped restore our energy levels, which is just as well. Having decided that yesterday’s walk was quite enough, today’s turned out to be exactly the same length – 6 miles – and with even more climbing – 865 feet.

We’ll wait until the morning to decide what next!

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