Ponden to Cowling

I have to admit, I was not sorry to see the campsite at Pondon behind me, although it was a pretty spot, the many campfire remains spoilt it completely.  Climbed back up the hill, up the road and down on to the major road at the bottom, along which I had traversed many times on a motorbike before!  It seemed quite imposing now as there was no footpaths on either side, and the traffic was really very fast.  With relief, I soon found myself climbing over a style to access a field full of sheep, which in itself was a little amusing as all on its own, was one completely black sheep.  I felt so sorry for it.  The climb up this hill was pretty steep and the path a little uncertain until I emerged onto an access track for a dwelling which was under renovation, and was really pretty.  I was met by the biggest dogs with the biggest curly covering of hair I ever did see, they were so friendly, and must have felt very hot in the now increasing heat of the day.  The track swung to the left over a bit of rough land, which had sheep dotted about, and all of a sudden they made a beeline to a man behind me, who clearly was the food bearer!  I stopped for a wee rest and a drink, and as I took Bernie off, two particularly large but cute lambs came over to investigate my bag, and were happy to let me pet them and stroke them.  I named them Ronnie and Reggie, clearly, one was distracting me whilst the other was trying to raid Bernie – he was disappointed to find only my solar panel!

 

The climb up onto Oakworth Moor was a little tedious to begin with, but as height was gained, it became more pleasurable as the moor opened up and became less farmland type.  Solitude at last and the views as always, just stunning.

As I traversed the moor further – heading for ‘the sea’ – Ian told me if i could see the sea at any point of the walk, then I had gone wrong.  Not to worry, why it had been named the sea is anybody’s guess, but I thought it looked like an oversized puddle!

Looking back south east from this view, and I could see for miles.  (the photos really do not do justice).  The landscape did seem familiar somehow, and utilising my camera zoom to good effect, I could pick out the moble phone mast on the top of Beacon Rd hill.  That’s a bit specific i hear you say, well I spent a lot of time going over that road in my youth, and the views from there are pretty phenominal, as are the views from the end of Sheep Hill Lane in Clayton Heights where I used to live, which I think I could also make out, I know that behind me to the north north east lay Ingleborough hill, and on a very clear day, that was visible from my parents house, so it would only follow that i would be able to see their house from where i was now, approximately 30 – 40 miles away.  I did try waving, but I’m not sure i was seen.

 

 

 

 

The top of Ikornshaw moor was deceptively pretty with masses of cotton in bloom –

 

The bliss was going to be short lived as the decent off the moor started to deteriorate.  The lovely paved track deteriorated to a small muddy track barely discernable among the reeds and rushes, following a stone wall around the outskirts of a field.  Occaisionally, i came across little wonders which lightened the soul –

 

I wonder what it was like to live here???  Further down the path were a number of wooden huts, all in perfect condition and well maintained, with some kind of outhouse outside.  Not sure what they were, or what their purpose were, but they were rather intriguing and cute.  The path continued to be difficult and very boggy in places, and I was so glad it was a very hot dry day that i was traversing this section as i can imagine it being very difficult if very wet.  The ultimate obstacle came when the path traversed a 5 ft wall via a ladder style, only it was so delapidated, only the top few rungs were present, and they looked very dodgy.  My only hope was the large metal gate to the left of me, which was securely chained and locked, and the gate itself was encased in barbed wire.  Anyone would think the farmer had something against walkers traversing his land, but still, it was a right of way, and quite a famous one at that!  So up and over the gate I gingerly climbed, together with Bernie, we managed not to get snagged on the barbed wire.

I could see Cowling in the bottom, and it was tatilizingly close, but so far away!  the moorland came to an abrupt end, and grazing land began.  I traversed a couple of fields, and a footbridge or two, to climb back up onto a farm track in the middle of a field full of sheep.  Happily I trod, admiring the view, until I came to a bend in the track by a wall, when I realise  there are also cows and calves in the field too.  I carefully and quietly trod on, trying to show the cows that I really did not want to tread on their hooves by going as far away from them without actually falling over the edge of the gorge that had suddenly appeared.  Once around the wall, all was ok, and there was no thundering of hooves.  The track went around a very pretty little waterfall which was so sweet.

 

Eventually, I followed the track down to a very overgrown steep path into a field, and finally across someones access road and back into a field before dropping onto the main Cowling road, which was a bit of a culture shock as buses and trucks thundered by.  I paused by a field and watched a sheepdog preparing to round up a labrador as I phoned my campsite to ensure there was still room, I asked what to look out for.  As she asked me what was near, I started to read the sign on a building just next to me, realising I was outside the entrance to the campsite, and the dog I was watching belonged to the campsite owner.  What joy!  I was there early, and it was so sunny.  She came out to welcome me, show me the facilities – at least they were on the same bit of land this time, be it they were very primitive.  She then showed me where I could pitch my tent – among the chickens.  She did warn me I would be spending the night with some school children, and I so prayed it would not be the same ones as last night.  However, I bagged the flattest spot, put tent up, did a bit of laundry and laid over tent to dry feeling sure in the hot sun it would soon dry.  I donned my sandals, and decided to go a wandering into the village on the hunt for food.  I had been advised there was a pub, a shop and an indian restaurant.

I had already googled the pub, and the one and only review was appalling. Still, thirst, heat and sheer desperation led me to give it the benefit of the doubt, and go in and try.  My initial question of do we serve food was met with a stern no, but my obvious reaction to this, along with my obvious needy look meant the owner then apologised profusely stating she had run out of sandwhiches which she had served to the local cricket team, and could only offer crisps.  I then got her life story, and discovered she had retaken the pub over after the last landlord had led everything to ruin.  She did recommend the local indian restuarant, which I thought I would give a try.  I was waiting at their door at 5:30 – not trying to seem too desperate of course.

The meal I had was lovely, and I got 2 courses, a beer and a glass of wine for 2 thirds of the price of the cost of the meal at the old silent inn.  Hmmmm, something to be said there.   I was pleasantly satisfied, and waddled my way back to the tent for an early night.

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