Colin and I left Grassington on what was also the Dales Way path, but we soon deviated north-east towards Conistone and Kilnsey – famous, with climbers anyway, for it’s crag. (By very strange coincidence, last weekend, back in Switzerland, and only a few days after I’d seen it for the first time in my long(ish) life, Judith and I met the niece of the farmer who owns that crag, but I digress…)
A long road section then followed, before we crossed a field to the hamlet of Hawkswick. Even though this path was only half a mile long, our feet were soaked due to the long, wet grass. So we took the executive decision to avoid the possibly even soggier path next to the river and go along the road into Arncliffe. “Enjoyment, not endurance” was the mantra a lady had used in one of the pubs to describe her approach and, at this point, we couldn’t agree more. So much so that we repeated the road ‘trick’ into Litton, where we swiftly despatched a pint of their finest ale, before taking the path over the moor and back into Wharfedale.
The guide book says that this section is “often boggy”, so alarm bells were ringing. But we were pleasantly surprised to see the path at the top was laid out for two or three hundred yards with huge stone slabs. Presumably this was to encourage the use of this path and in order not to lose anyone in the bogs! However, we soon came down to earth (me literally once) on the descent, as the path ran out and we had to jump over several streams of running water and negotiate some very wet ground.
Even before setting off on our journey, we knew that the pub in Buckden was closed, so we detoured to Hubberholme and the George Inn but, unfortunately, it wasn’t open until the evening! 😦 Our spirits were raised though when we arrived at the White Lion in Cray, our home for the night, as the beer and the food were excellent. 🙂