|Day 37 – May 15||Malham to Low Reisgill|
|Weather: Sun and Cloud||B&B: Low Reisgill B&B (£35)|
|Departed: 9:00 Arrived: 15:45||Walked: 5h 26m Rested: 1 hr 00m|
|Distance Today: 17.2 mi / 27.68 km||Total Distance: 594.2 mi / 956.27 km|
|% Complete: ~ 51.94%||Pint of the Day: Black Sheep Bitter|
|GPS Track for: Day 37|
I was away at 9am under bright and sunny skies as were several other walkers staying at my b&b. Most of these had hired taxis to take them to some designated point, presumably so they could walk back to the b&b that evening. I on the other hand set off on my “plan b” walk to Wharfedale, necessitated by the lack of accommodation in Horton-in-Ribblesdale.
Wharfdale is a good 5 miles away and to get to it I would need to climb out of Malham and cross what I would describe as a large plateau before descending into the village of Conistone. The climb up provided excellent views over Malham and particularly of the valley rising up from Gordale Bridge (where there is a beautiful campsite for those LEJOGers with tents). The descent to Gordale Bridge was steep and was followed by a long, slow and sweaty climb up Hawthorns Lane to the plateau above.
The plateau was pretty impressive and definitely remote. There were a few large farms but the Highland Cattle and sheep outnumbered the human inhabitants by hundreds to one. I followed the evocatively named Smearbottoms Lane through large fields, one of which was being fertilized with a fresh load of muck being sprayed from a truck. This begs the question: how much muck can a muck truck chuck if a muck truck could chuck muck? Smearbottoms Lane abutts Mastilles Lane and it was the latter I would follow for a couple of miles through Kilnsey Moor.
By now the clouds had rolled in and the light wind had turned decidedly cold. I hadn’t met a single walker yet but once I began the descent into Kilnsey I passed a group of about 20 who were in the process of slowly climbing the rough track. I took a shortcut and crossed a bridge over the River Wharfe and into the tiny village of Conistone. I had a brief rest on a bench in the centre of the village before following a local road north for three miles to Kettlewell. I was in need of a longer break so I sat myself down at the Kings Head for a pint of Black Sheep. There was a roaring fire going and the landlord’s dog was sprawled out on the flagstone floor in front of it. It’s a dog’s life.
For the last 7 miles of the walk I followed the Dales Way, a dead flat amble along the River Wharfe passing through, or next to, Starbottom, Buckden and Hubberholme. The section between Kettlewell and Starbottom was particularly popular and I passed a steady stream of walkers.
My b&b is situated just above the hamlet of Yockenthwaite and when I arrived there was a message on the door telling me to check the voice mail on my mobile. Unfortunately I couldn’t get a signal and so I sat outside for 10 minutes wondering what to do. I figured the owner had left a message telling me that they had left keys so that I could let myself in. My hunch proved correct as after a short snoop I was in.
Today marks the half-way point of my walk from Land’s End to John O’Groats. I hit the 50% mark yesterday however that calculation is based on actual miles walked plus estimated miles still to walk. My estimates have been a little low and so I waited until today to claim this milestone. With almost 595 miles in the bag I’m reasonably confident I have less than that remaining. Unfortunately there’s no pub or restaurant nearby so I will have to celebrate with a sausage roll and a few cups of tea.
Tomorrow I’m off to Hawes and it will be a relatively short day. I expect to be in my b&b by 1pm and my first priority will be to find a pub that will be showing the final of the Cricket 20/20 World Cup Final: England vs. Australia … it should be a good one!