Friday 17th August
15 miles walking
This was the day we went over the moors from Wharfedale to Dentdale. We had breakfast at 8.30am with the other family staying at Low Raisgill Cottage (two women and two delightful small children, washed out of a camping holiday), picked up our packed lunches and set off around 9.15am. It had been a lovely stay and it wasn't raining! Indeed, there were only a few spots of rain all day and although it wasn't particularly warm, it was excellent weather for walking.
We crossed the Wharfe at Yockenthwaite and then followed it upstream, first on one side of it and then on the other.
We climbed up the road to Oughtershaw and then followed the drive to Wethergill and Swathgill farms. After Swathgill Farm we left the track and climbed, following a footpath across very boggy ground, first to Cam Houses (a farm which appeared to be in the process of extension) then higher, across Cam Pasture and across the corner of some woodland. We eventually got off the muddy ground (I'd only fallen over once!) at Cam High Road, a track that carries both the Dales Way and the Pennine Way. We followed the track for a short distance to a cairn and a signpost, at 520 metres (1705 feet) the highest point on the Dales Way.
After lunch we continued along Cam High Road, once a roman road and now something of a 'motorway', with the fell damaged by too many walkers and cyclists. We parted company with the Pennine Way and descended towards Gayle Beck (the infant River Ribble) at Far Gearstones,
We walked a short distance along the B6255 and then up a farm track to Winshaw Farm. From here there was a fairly steep climb and a distinctly boggy stretch of walking over Gayle Moor.
We eventually joined a track, possibly built by the builders of the railway (currently in a tunnel somewhere beneath us). The track took us from Yorkshire into Cumbria and eventually down to the head of Dentdale.
We passed the former youth hostel and the Sportsman's Inn, where we would have been staying had they not decided that they didn't have room for us, and reached the phone box at Lea Yeat. To describe this simply as 'Cowgill' would be ambiguous, as we'd passed the the sign telling us we were entering Cowgill shortly after the Dent Head Viaduct.
The plan was that we would get a taxi from here to Sedbergh, then reverse the process tomorrow morning.
The taxi (a white minibus with a woman driver) arrived slightly early and we had an excellent journey to Sedbergh.
The taxi cost £22 but when we got to Sedbergh the advantages of the two-night stop became apparent. We're staying in a small cottage (Dales Cottage), owned by and close to the Dalesman Country Inn, so we have plenty of space and can eat take-aways rather than going to a pub or restaurant (which we enjoy but can be a bit repetitive, day after day when walking a long distance footpath). We had a chinese take-away and a bottle of wine from the Spar Shop.