Another walk from Dent to Ribblehead, this time on the eastern side of the train line.
Following the road up from Dent station I joined the Pennine Bridleway as it follows the contours of Great Knoutberry. Leaving the track I followed a fence up towards the trig point, from which all three peaks can be seen – visibility was good if a little hazy. Curlew were disturbed on the way up, although I don’t think it was only me as there was a large bird hovering above. As well as the trig point at the top there is a also a nice wind shelter; a section of wall with stones protruding as benches on either side.
Navigation was so easy as to verge on boring but I still almost followed the wrong fence down from the summit. The correct fence is also the Cumbria/Yorkshire border. Eventually I met the track at Aysgarth Moss which was a cross roads of bridleways; the west-east track being an old drovers road between dales. I took the north-south route around Wold Fell which is a restricted byway, although given the more stringent restrictions on the surrounding routes I’m not sure how you could make the most of it. This is a fine track and I would like to revisit it on a mountain bike. There were lots of wheatears which were curious but seemed to find rabbits’ burrows a useful shelter when I got too close.
The track meets a road for a few hundred metres before continuing around Blea Moor. I stopped for lunch at the first gate and was visited by a curious weasel – it looked at me as if I was sitting in its way. After a couple of laps of what is presumably a well-trodden route, followed by discrete surveillance from a patch of reeds the weasel disappeared. Very quick and difficult to photograph but a lovely moment.
Although following bridleways was easy it had become a little dull so I decided to change my plan and head up to the summit of Blea Moor. This involved more fence-following and lots of bog-dodging. A vehicle had been driven over here recently – probably to repair the fence judging by the old rusted sections and new posts and wire – which made tracks to follow. At the most difficult section I thought I was going to have to use the fence as a bridge but instead found a reasonably clear crossing. I saw a couple of traps and wondered if they were for the weasel…perhaps it had been threatening the grouse population. I only saw a couple of grouse, maybe after the 12th most of them have gone.
A fence junction was near the trig point of Blea Moor – there are air shafts near but out of sight, over the railway tunnel. The best way down seemed to be to follow yet another fence – one now fully in Yorkshire. A bit of bog-dodging was required, and eventually I met the path which follows the railway. This was the first time I had seen other walkers since I left Dent station.
I saw the 3.42 pm train come and go, so was happy that I had a couple of hours before the next one to spend in the Station Inn. A better back garden is hard to imagine.
9.7 miles, 1,657 ft climbed
Great Knoutberry Hill, 672 m; Marilyn, Hump, Hewitt, Nuttall,
Bleh Moor, 535 m; Hump, Dewey