Day 7 - September 8th 2004

Malham to Horton-in-Ribblesdale - 14 miles


I slept pretty well last night and was ready for another day of walking. At breakfast I asked the waitress to skip the toast, give me some bread and I would make a bacon sandwich for lunch, along with a banana and cookies. No problem there. The weather was again beautiful, clear and a little cool with a slight breeze. I hit the path at 9:15. The route finding to the top of Malham Cove was pretty easy. The climb was steep but straightforward. Once on top, it was a hop and skip across the limestone pavement, stopping to take in the view of Malham below although most of the village was hidden by trees. There were not many people about as I saw only one person off in the distance.

After leaving the top of the cove, it was a pleasant walk up Watlowes Valley. I found this dry limestone valley to be really beautiful and a place I will always remember. Once out of the valley, it was an easy walk to the road just before Malham Tarn. Connie was waiting for me in the parking lot just north of the road and she walked with me on the path until I got to the trees just before Malham Tarn House. We had visited this area once before, in 1999, when we spent several days in the Yorkshire Dales.

After we parted company I continued around the Tarn House property, easily finding the route after I left the woods. From there it was a long uphill run to the top of Fountains Fell. Close up, the scenery was nothing special but in looking back from where I had come, the views were quite lovely. I found the walk up to the top of the fell to be long and somewhat boggy in spots but not difficult. I once again thanked the many hours I had put in on the Stairmaster. On the path I passed a couple who were also heading up. He was perspiring heavily. Once at the top, it was a pause to take in the view, including wondering how I was to actually climb Pen-y-Ghent which was definitely looming in the distance. Knowing I was going to have to climb it anyway, I soon headed off downhill on a steep and difficult path. Once at the bottom a left turn and easy walking up a road to Dale Head where I made a right turn and had a meeting that was to be very fortuitous for me. It was where I met Brian Lawton from Stoke-on-Trent, a gentleman with whom I would share many days of walking and someone I now count as one of my closest friends.

Brian was finishing his lunch and we started talking. He, too, was walking the Way as a through walker although taking eighteen days with no layovers. After conversing, while I was eating my lunch, he asked if I fancied a bit of company. I did and after I finished my lunch, we tackled Pen-y-Ghent. There were quite a few people about, climbing, descending and at the top. Many of them were school children who had arrived on scene by bus and were accompanied by their teachers.

Brian and I found the climb to be steep, particularly the last bit but not too difficult. The weather cooperated as it was warm but not hot and the breeze cooled things off. At the top there was quite a crowd, mainly what appeared to be the students out for a day. Brian and I took in the beautiful vistas, took some photographs and then headed out and down to Horton-in-Ribblesdale. The route finding here was very easy and the path was not difficult. As we neared the village, we met Connie walking back up the track to meet me. As Brian and I walked down the path we talked about the rest of the Way, deciding we would certainly do Cross Fell and the last day over the Cheviots together, if not most of the rest of the walk. We took into account that he would be behind me for a couple of days before Dufton as his destinations on those days would be shorter than mine. However, after my Dufton layover, we had the same plan for each day.

At Horton, we parted company with Brian going to look for a B&B and Connie and me to our booked room at The Golden Lion. It was agreed to meet the following day for the walk to Hawes. We found the Lion to be OK but certainly no Lister Arms. Connie and I headed up the main street to The Crown where I had a nice pint of Theakston XB and Connie a gin and tonic. The weather was so pleasant we sat in the garden. The couple I had passed on the way up Fountains Fell were also in the garden, enjoying a pint. We had dinner there and Connie initially ordered a peasant pie which caused the bar man and me to almost double over with laughter. After recovering, I quickly assured the bar man that my wife would like a pheasant pie. With dinner I had a pint of Old Peculier. We then walked back to The Golden Lion where we found Brian sitting in the dining room having dinner and a pint. Seems that there was no one at the B&B he went to so he booked in at the Lion. Connie went up to bed and I joined Brian, having a pint of Timothy Taylor Landlord, one of my favorites. Unfortunately, the ale was not as well kept as I would have liked.

This was a good day with fine weather and really lovely scenery, particularly Watlowes Valley and the views from the tops of Fountains Fell and Pen-y-Ghent. Also meeting Brian who, again, has become such a close friend.  

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