Clapham village



I set off at 8:30, excited to be spending the day in the Yorkshire Dales. After our lovely excursion last month I was eagerly anticipating another challenging walk. I met up with Judith at Skipton. Our train to Clapham was full to standing room only, with holiday-makers bound for a weekend getaway in sunny Morecambe. The luggage racks were filled to capacity, testament to their owners’ need to pack for all weather possibilities.

On the Pennine bridleway

Clapham station is  a mile and quarter from the village itself, a reminder coming from the clerk at the ticket booth in Hebden Bridge this morning. “It’s the second farthest station away from its corresponding village.” “And the other one is Dent where you have to climb what feels like Ben Nevis after a 12 mile hike” I rejoined, since that was our trip last month!

Rowan tree showing off its berries

We were very fortunate with the weather. in fact, I felt a little over-dressed for the temperature, and there was no sign of the heavy rain we’d experienced in Hebden Bridge only a few days ago. We took a well defined track out of Clapham reaching Austwick where we stopped for a drink at the local, The Game Cock Inn, sitting outside and admiring the little limestone village. From there we took the narrow Pennine Bridleway to the little hamlet of Feizor, which I’d never heard of. Unfortunately my phone had not charged overnight and I was feeling seriously limited to taking very few photos. Judith helped out my letting me use her camera from time to time but I was disappointed not to have my camera to hand at every available opportunity.

Lunchtime – Naptime

We stopped for our picnic beside a gate and I could have easily sat and soaked up the view and the quiet for another half hour.

Lots and lots of stiles that were well camouflaged in the limestone walls

We followed the track marker signed Stackhouse which climbed steeply through sheep and cow pastures and reached a signpost.

Is that Ingleborough in the distance?

Soon after this we got lost – for the first time. The description of the walk in our guide book was somewhat confusing and we found we had to backtrack quite a way, involving a steep uphill climb. I was kicking myself that my phone was not recording all these ‘steps’ and ‘flights.’ They would have added considerably to my August average, this being the last day of the month! But backtracking we did find the sheepfold that we should have spotted earlier and  soon we reached the edge of Buckhaw Brow with the road in gorge below.

There’s a sheer cliff below my feet, Giggleswick Scar

We walked along the length of the scar, being careful not to twist our ankles on the limestone pavement which, unlike the pavement above Malham Cove, has been partially obscure by grass, making the grikes much more treacherous. We had wonderful views of Giggleswick quarry but, whoops, we were on the wrong side of it, and had to retrace our steps again until we had circumvented the rim and could follow a steep track over loose stones down into the woodland of the valley.  This involved me climbing a 5 barred gate, and though Judith had scaled it before I even looked up, I, on the other hand, as those of you who know me, struggled and heaved and hawed and screamed and cried, ‘I can’t” for at least 20 minutes, which is a vast improvement on my time taken at Ingleborough with Rachel three years ago!!!

Couldn’t resist stopping for a giggle!

On our way down  we met a couple of guys and sought confirmation that we were indeed now on the correct path for Settle. Yes, we were, but did we know that the last train of the day from Settle had already left? I produced cell phones to confirm this fact. We had no alternative but to carry on regardless of this information.

The River Ribble, by whose side I had walked in Preston 2 days ago, divides Settle from Giggleswick, and much though I’d have liked to saunter and stay awhile we pressed on, now a little unsure of homeward plans. By the time we got back into civilisation my feet were causing a minor rebellion but we headed for the railway station. Lo and behold there were lots of people there, waiting for a train going in our direction. There were lots of signs and timetable about the following day’s trains – yes, Northern are on strike for the next 6 Saturdays, but no indication of cancelled trains today, and within 5 minutes a train appeared. We jumped on and  two and a half hours later I was ordering an Indian takeway in Hebden Bridge. 14 miles, 12 hours, and looking forward to next month’s adventure!