Day 3: Friday April 22 Buckden to Ribblehead

There is a full table at breakfast including the Scottish couple from the B&B in Ilkley. Gwen is famous for her cooking and certainly proved herself this morning. We started with french press coffee, cereal and sliced fruit, then a plate of ham and eggs, sausage and blood pudding plus tomato, mushrooms and fry bread. Seconds if wanted - I didn’t want! But I did save the sausage for lunch and got a roll from the shop down the street. With these huge breakfasts, I don’t need much for lunch.

Off towards the little settlements of Hubblehome and Yokenthwaite with their churches, inns and farms. The smallest places have the most incredible names. How about Giggleswick? Shades of Bill Bryson!! It’s another beautiful day. The Wharfe has narrowed and the valley widened. First class walking, passing remote farms, river getting wilder with tumbling rapids, overhanging trees and limestone slabs in and beside the water. And, of course, mallards. I wanted to photograph them in flight, but they refused to cooperate!

River Wharfe near Hubberhome

Following the river, I reached Beckermonds, site of a large farm, where two becks join to form the Wharfe. What an idyllic farm setting, but it was full of activity.


Then I climbed over the hill, following a narrow tarmac road to the small farming community of Outershaw with its little red phone booth. From here, it’s an indistinct path from a muddy farm, across a boggy hillside over stile after stile, through high, tough grasses to Cam Houses. Very difficult walking! Somewhere along there, I sat on a stone fence to eat lunch and rest. Cam Houses is reputed to be the highest settlement in England, very isolated. No sign of life at the farmhouse but the barn was being renovated. They must have plans for the place.

Cam Houses in the distance

Then it was a tough climb up Cam Fell to the old Roman road and junction of the Pennine Way footpath. No obvious way up, but I found the way by sighting on a cairn up at the junction. The ridge above the Roman road is a watershed divide; water on the west side runs to the Irish Sea, water on the east side to the North Sea. The whole fell is a big boggy mess! I followed the high Roman road, a dirt track full of rocks and mud holes, on it’s long, tiring, hard on the ankles descent to Far Gearstones Farm. Here I diverted from the Dales Way to jog a mile over to the Station Inn next to the Ribblehead railroad viaduct.

Station Inn

Station Inn is a charming old style railway inn with pub and restaurant. As I was going to my room, I noticed a computer in the nook of the stairway, so I asked if I could use it for email. Sure, no problem, help yourself.

The pub had a great selection of real ales including Black Sheep and Theakston’s Mild. First “Mild” I have seen! Thanks to the tourist in Burnsall for making me aware of it. The bartender said it was a dark stout so I tried it and loved it, smooth and tasty, somewhat like Guinness. The pub is very popular on Friday nights, being the only public place around. I talked to some locals. They seemed fascinated by an American coming across the pond to walk their beloved footpaths. The Scottish couple, Magnus and Karen, came in. Today is Magnus’ 40th birthday and they had just had champagne in their room, feeling a little flushed! Only Black Sheep for Magnus, white wine for Karen and another pint of Mild for me. After awhile, we went in to eat. For me, a great platter of lamb shank (meat falling off the bone) with mashed potatoes and, I think, carrots and turnips mashed together, grilled veggies, all with a tasty onion gravy. Fantastic meal! Isn’t Yorkshire lamb wonderful? My friends are vegetarians and each had a good looking vegetable lasagna casserole with a platter of salad. Karen taught me that you can usually substitute salad for the ubiquitous chips. Much healthier!

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