Yesterday I was in Yorkshire doing a reccee for my local rambling club. Our destination was Hawes, a quaint village which is a maze of alleyways, nooks and crannies. On our drive up the M6 the weather was perfect with not a cloud in the sky, but would it last. A weather front was moving up from the south bringing rain.
We set out from Hawes and walked along the flagged path towards Buttersett. It was typical Yorkshire countryside with enclosed fields each with their barn and tree. At the edge of each field there was a squeeze stile, some of them very narrow. On the edge of the village of Buttersett was one that was a very tight squeeze. I had to take my rucksack off and even then I only just managed to get through.
We then began a steep climb to reach Cam High Road which follows the path of an old Roman Road.
It was only 470 metres of ascent but it felt like much more. I was perspiring. I was dressed for winter but it felt more like a summers day. We crossed the Roman Road and then lost all the height we had gained to drop down to Marsett where we paused for lunch by the bridge.
Visibility was superb and there was a beautiful panorama looking towards Semer Water.
We then followed a path alongside Bardale Beck heading towards Bardale Head. It was full of interest with lots of beautiful waterfalls.
At Bardale Head the way became a little bit confusing as there was no sign of a path. After a couple of unplanned diversions we walked on a compass bearing to reach a minor road.
After a few hundred metres of road walking we forked right to re-join the Cam High Road. This old Roman Road led straight as an arrow.
The weather was still marvellous for the end of October but as the sun began to sink towards the horizon it began to get chilly. The plus point was the lighting on the moors.
I was exhausted and we still had over 6 km to go.
We branched off the Roman Road to head towards the village of Gayle. Thankfully it was all downhill.
The light was fading fast and we could not see any sign of human habitation. At last we could see the lights of Gayle but then, right at the end of the walk we took a wrong turn. Our excuse was that we could not see the marker post in the dark.
The final section of the walk was along the flagged path from Gayle back to Hawes completed in total darkness.
We had pushed ourselves. 18 km and almost 700 metres of ascent over rough ground. At least it had stayed dry.