Sunday, July 3, 2016

Day 3 -- Buckden to Ribblehead, 13 miles

Today’s walk ascended the length of Wharfedale, crossed over the watershed divide, and descended into Ribblehead. It was a delightful walk to experience, except for the cold winds, the unforgiving bogs, the relentless ascent, and the difficult route-finding. There was no one else – absolutely nobody – in sight the entire day. Initially, I could see a few cars on a distant road, but before long, there were not even distant roads. It was the kind of walk that makes you thank your lucky stars that you’ve experienced all those conditions before (although maybe not all of them at the same time) and then to doubly thank your stars that your wife wasn’t with you. It was the kind of walk that makes you think if you can handle this, you can handle anything, even if you really can’t. It was the kind of walk that makes you think that if anything goes wrong, all of your other worldly concerns will never again bother you. And I loved every minute of it.

Those of you who followed My 1200 Mile Summer may remember the bad grades I gave to the Pennine Way, and that I vowed never to walk it again. Today’s walk eventually joined with the Pennine Way. I was never so happy to see the Pennine Way as I was today.

There’s no way I can possibly share the experience or the range of emotions, so I’ll just tantalize you with the scenery. But don’t be misled. Viewing the scenery in person is only for professionals – don’t try this at home.

Field of flowers

Alongside the Wharfe

Drystone walls

Shrinking stream

So remote that payphones still exist

Deserted trail

Nobody around

"I've been here before"

Weather rock

Un-ending moors

Nobody there