Monday, July 4, 2016

Day 4 -- Ribblehead to Sedbergh, 10 miles + train

I’ve admired the Ribblehead viaduct since I first saw it during My 1200 Mile Summer. Janet and I drove to it the following year, but as I recall we had difficulty finding a parking space so we could get a good photo. Or more properly, I had difficulty finding a parking space, probably because I was in a right-hand-drive car. But yesterday, I had no difficulty seeing it, and this morning I actually walked over to it. It’s essentially a stone trestle built to span a gap – there is no river underneath.

Ribblehead Viaduct

Today’s walk was supposed to have been 17 miles, but at the last minute I decided it would be fun to take a train across the viaduct. It was. I tried to take some pictures from the train, but it was moving at 60 mph, so I didn’t have the time to frame the images. This is the best I could get.

From train -- Penyghent in distance

I boarded the train at Ribblehead, and disembarked at the next station in Dentdale. The trip took exactly 10 minutes, covered 7 miles, and reduced the length of today’s walk to 10 miles. I needed a rest day anyway.

The walk followed the River Dee, descending the western watershed. It was perfect in every way. No wind, no bogs, gradual descent, and no route-finding issues. It was the kind of walk that makes you thankful to be in the countryside. It was the kind of walk you would want to take your wife on. It was the kind of walk that makes you think that if anything goes wrong, you’ll be totally embarrassed. And best of all,  there were other people along the way.


I met the first chap a short distance from the railroad station. He was a homeowner putting out the garbage, and was obviously enchanted by my accent when I told him this was a lovely area.

“Be perfec widdow thuh moor bice,” he replied.

“The moor bice? Are they like midges?” I asked.

“No, thuh miggies are in Scollan. Here itsuh moor bice.”

“I don’t understand.”

“The moor bice. The moor bice.” He took two steps toward me, and demonstrably reached out his hands as if gripping handlebars, and flexed his right wrist. “The moor bice. Yuh moo to thuh cunry to geh way from traffih, and moor bice kee racin’ dow thuh row. Mosely on wee enz, buh alla time. Weah yuh headeh?”

Not wanting to appear like a novice, I gave my destination the English pronunciation. “Sedbruh.”

“SeDberG,” he corrected me.

I nodded, wished him a good day, and moved on.

A little later I met Alan and Jo. They are walking the Dales Way in stages, as the British frequently do.

Alan and Jo

Brenda and Deryk are in their 80’s. They’ve walked from Land’s End to John O’Groats in stages, over a period of 16 years. But more importantly, they’ve been married for 62 years. So there you go, Richard and Teresa – another challenge for you.

Brenda and Deryk
Brenda asked where I was going.

SeDberG, I replied with my newly acquired knowledge of pronunciation.

“Sedbruh,” she replied. “It’s a lovely walk.”

“Yes,” I thought to myself, “unless my legs get tired and I geh a moor bigh.”