Day 5 - September 6th 2004

Lothersdale to Malham - 15 miles


For some reason, despite the fact I was pretty tired when we turned off the lights, I did not sleep as well as I would have liked. I found that this was not uncommon in my journey up the Way. I guess most of it was attributable to sore feet and general aches and pains. Today was supposed to be pretty easy and after yesterday, that idea sounded good to me. After a full breakfast, I was on my way, this time wearing just a T-shirt on top with my red fleece tucked into the web of my pack.

The path out of the village was easy to follow and there was just no one about. No sign of the Cheshire Boys who had camped near the pub. It was a long uphill pull to Pinshaw Beacon. The weather was overcast with a breeze. The perspiration I worked up climbing the hill coupled with the breeze cooled things off and on went the fleece. The view at the top was good but as I had close to fifteen miles to go, I did not spend much time looking about.

It was an easy downhill to Thornton-in-Craven and the route was easy to follow for a change. I had found during the infrequent walks through villages that keeping to the right track was not always easy but that was not to be the case in this village. After walking under the railroad bridge I followed the directions in Pennine Way South. I exited Thornton, first climbing and then descending to the path beside the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. The Way here was very easy walking but as always seems to be the case it did not continue for long. I paused at a cafe not far beyond the double bridge and had a cup of quite terrible and expensive coffee. I had only stopped here on the recommendation of a lodger at the B&B last night who claimed to have walked the Way four times. He said the cafe was an excellent place for a short break. I should have known that anyone who says they walked the Pennine Way four times probably has a few mental health issues.

After the terrible coffee, I continued on, with the route finding pretty easy as was the walking. Frankly, much of this part of the day’s walk is a bit hazy (except for the coffee) as there was nothing really to distinguish it. As I walked into Gargrave I heard and then saw the Cheshire Boys who were walking down a lane below and to my left. Once again they had wandered off the path but as always the case with the Boys they were having a great time. In town, we met up and had a brief chat, making an appointment to meet at The Lister Arms in Malham that evening. They were looking for a bank and some place for lunch. As I had my meal with me I carried on to a bench by a canal lock where I enjoyed a brief break which was cut a little short by a light rain. Once again, finding my way out of this village was not difficult.

The Way continued north up a pleasant lane in woodland. After breaking out in the open I gradually climbed up a hillside and although the route finding was not easy, as was usually the case when traversing fields, I eventually came to the wall marking the boundary of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. A bit more climbing and then downhill to the River Aire. The walk from this point to Malham was quite pleasant except for two things. The first was a bull, the size of a Ford F 250 pickup, who was guarding his harem in the same field I had to walk through. Fortunately, he appeared in a lazy mood and I was able to walk by him, around seventy five yards away. However, that distance and his demeanor still did not keep me from keeping an eye on the closest tree. After passing the Ford F250, the second concern was the short sharp climb up the hill by Badger House. Once up the hill, it was a quite nice stroll into Malham and to the Lister Arms where Connie was coming down the stairs to walk out and meet me as I opened the door and walked in.

It was upstairs, a shower and change out of my rather sweaty clothing. Although an easy day, relatively speaking, I was a bit tired which I put down to the constant wind in my face. I think I was being prepped for several future days. After the clean up, it was downstairs and a pint of Old Peculier, one of my very favorite ales. Just after my first sip, in walked the Cheshire Boys. Connie came down and shortly thereafter a couple, Andy and Christie, from the Isle of Man joined us. He was walking the Way in stages, from north to south, and his wife was the sherpa. A good meal, fine ale (three pints of Old Peculier for me) and a lot of laughs and good conversation followed. Tomorrow was a layover day for me, as for Andy while the Cheshire Boys were camping out this night and then tomorrow would be the last day of this stage for them.  

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