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Settle to Carlisle in 6 days.

Settle to Carlisle in 6 days.


Postby Buggiba » Thu Oct 16, 2014 10:11 pm

Date walked: 04/10/2014

Time taken: 6 days

Distance: 160 km

Ascent: 1750m

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I found it at last. A 100-mile walk that requires no back-up or bag-carrying service, where you can camp, b+b, bunkhouse, or hotel and, if you like, spend every night in the same location as the first. The reason? The Settle to Carlisle Way follows, and passes through, or very near, every station on the most scenic line in England, between Settle and Carlisle. Simply finish a days walking and catch the train back to where you started. Return tomorrow and start again.
Buggiba
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Posts: 53
Joined: Aug 4, 2012

Re: Settle to Carlisle in 6 days.

Postby Buggiba » Sat Oct 25, 2014 11:37 pm

Saturday 4th October 2014 saw me out of bed at 3am and driving at 4.15am. I arrived at Settle Station at 7.15 and prepared to get under way. A word of warning: this route contains hundreds of stiles of all sorts of manufacture and design. This makes some days more difficult than they would otherwise be and slows progress noticeably.

DAY 1. SETTLE TO RIBBLEHEAD - 15 MILES.
I started walking at 7.55am. The Rucksack Reader and the Harvey Map that accompany this route appeared pretty detailed. Sadly not detailed enough in parts!! It was raining as I set off, not much but enough. Left Settle by following the River Ribble and proceeded via the falls at Stainforth and Helwith Bridge to Horton-in-Ribblesdale. The rain had stopped by now. A climb at the rear of the Crown pub car park (part of the Pennine Way) makes for a little hard-going. At this point the guidebook becomes confusing and I miss my route, climbing through a field and having to exit over a dry-stone wall. I now find myself on the Pennine Way proper. I can see the Ribblehead Viaduct from here and, as this is my days' destination, I head for it. Mistake. I had planned to be at Ribblehead by 2.45pm to catch the train back to Settle to bring my car, carrying tent and sleeping bag, back. After a long walk on the Pennine Way, partly in a hailstorm, I turn left onto the Dales Way and descend to the Station Inn at Ribblehead. 4.15pm and not happy. There is still a train I could catch back but, fortunately, my son-in-law has arrived by road and gives me a lift back to Settle. There is a bunkhouse at Ribblehead and the pub does accommodation but I have picked the weekend of a folk festival and everything is fully booked. Hence the need for a tent for a bit of wild camping behind the pub. A cold and uncomfortable night follows.

DAY 2. RIBBLEHEAD TO KIRKBY STEPHEN - 24 MILES.
In the guide book this leg is shown as a two-day stretch. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. 11 miles before lunch and 13 miles after. Up at 5.30am. Proper preparation in a tent in the dark and out of the boot of a car is not easy. The weather is dry and we are walking at first light (7.15am). The day dawns bright and clear and, amazingly, stays that way. Walking alongside the Ribblehead Viaduct really makes you appreciate the quality of Victorian engineering. There now follows a long, steep slog over Blea Moor, where the Way rises to 1640 feet. Approaching the top we encountered ventilation ducts for the railway tunnel some 500 feet below our feet. All three peaks of the famous Yorkshire Challenge are in view at the same time. Breathtaking. At the top 2 further viaducts are also visible. A steep descent over steps and stiles and muddy paths follows, then on to a quiet road until we reach Arten Gill Viaduct. We ascend alongside and through the viaduct and begin an almighty climb of over a mile-and-a-quarter. This tops out at 1770 feet. The next 2 miles is pleasant, level walking. After another steep downhill, and a two-and-a-half mile road walk, we arrive at Garsdale Station, where a swift lunch is taken. 15 minutes later and we are back on the trail. One mile in (the half-way point of the day) and we pass the Moorcock Inn. Tempting but declined. There then follows another 1500+ feet climb for over 2 miles up to Lady Anne's Way. My son-in-law pointed out at this juncture that, adding all three climbs together was the equivalent of scaling Ben Nevis, and a bit. It felt like it. The walk along Lady Anne's Way is 5 miles of green and (mostly) pleasant, level ambling, dotted with millions of sheep and their droppings. On arrival at the Water Cut Sculpture we stop for a break. After a long and steep descent, and a short road section, we again take to the fields and stiles. Somewhere here we managed to lose the path again, tramping over fields and stiles in the direction of Pendragon Castle. We eventually discover a path that appears better worn than others and come out on the road into Kirkby Stephen. It transpires that we are on the road 2 miles too soon and are left with a 4-mile road walk to our destination. It is beginning to get dark. 6.45 pm as we enter Kirkby Stephen and 7 pm when we enter the converted church which serves as a bunkhouse. After a hot shower and a change we have a pleasant liquid supper and retire early for the night. Sleeeeep.

DAY 3. KIRKBY STEPHEN TO APPLEBY-IN-WESTMORELAND - 13 MILES.
It is Monday morning and we rise late. We can hear the wind blowing outside and the rain lashing against the windows. Great! A leisurely breakfast and a chat with the warden of the bunkhouse before donning our waterproofs and setting off at 9 am. The weather truly is awful but, after leaving Kirkby Stephen, we enter a path bounded by trees and high hedges. This gives us some shelter from the wind and the rain is easing too. The route is easy to follow today and we break for lunch at Great Ormeside. This is followed by another 2 miles of riverside fields and stiles until we arrive at Appleby. We pass the castle and make our way to the railway station. Why is there always a hill on the approach to a station?? It is 3.45 pm and our train back to Ribblehead to collect the cars is at 5 pm. After a hot coffee and removal of wet gear in the booking hall we catch the train and it is a sunlit journey back down the line. The walk is now over for my son-in-law who must return home as work calls. I drive back to Appleby for a pleasant night at the Bongate House B+B and a reunion with a former work colleague and friend, who was joining me for the last 3 days of the Way.

DAY 4. APPLEBY-IN-WESTMORELAND TO SKYGARTH FARM - 9.5 MILES.
An excellent breakfast and a leisurely start as today is such a short day. First day walking with my mate, Steve. I take the car back to the station to make it easier to collect tomorrow night. Tonight's stop is nowhere near access to a station on the line. Walking at 10 am. Dry and fine but rain forecast for mid-afternoon. Non-stop chat with Steve as I haven't seen him for ages and there's a lot of catching up to do. The day passes quickly and the route is easy to follow, mostly following the river. Still lots of fields and stiles and the clumpy grass makes walking difficult at times. No serious hills today. We stop at a bench in Kirkby Thore for lunch and a long talk with one of the locals. Setting off again, alongside the river, we get talking to the water bailiff who knows the owner of the farm where we are staying. Another fifteen minutes lost. Not to worry, we can see where we are headed. Oh no we can't, the gate that we are heading for is the wrong one and we lose another half-an-hour looking at a fishing lodge that we thought was the farm. Eventually find the right gate and walk into the farmyard at Skygarth Farm where I have booked B+B. It is 3.30 pm and, at 3.35 pm, the heavens open. We are safely in the dry and warm. The bedroom and the lounge are huge and the farmers wife is really pleasant. She offers to drive us to the pub in Temple Sowerby so that we can get a meal. She also picks us up afterwards!! What hospitality! A glorious nights sleep.

DAY 5. SKYGARTH FARM TO KIRKOSWALD - 15 MILES.
Another fantastic breakfast, and a bacon sandwich to take with us. Set off at 8 am and walk through Temple Sowerby, past the pub where we had dined last night. Easy going again today, through Culgaith to Langwathby. Here we have a decision to make, as there is an alternate route. Do we go via Long Meg or Lacy's Caves? The Lacy's Caves route follows the river and the railway so this is the choice we make. Probably not the best decision. A lot of woodland paths with rocks and tree roots. The worst part, without doubt is a quarter-of-a-mile of wooden 'boardwalk'. No grips and slippery as hell as they slope up and down but never level. No fun in muddy boots. Eventually exit the woodlands and make our way to Lazonby Station, arriving at 4 pm. We catch the 4.40 train back to Appleby and collect our cars, before driving to the bunkhouse at Mains Farm, Kirkoswald. Raining heavily now and it is dark. The bunkhouse is a strange/unfamiliar set-up. The accommodation is basic but sturdy. This is however, separate from the kitchen facility and the toilet/shower block, so you had to get dressed to go for a shower!! Pleasant and warm enough, though. A good night's sleep.

DAY 6. KIRKOSWALD TO CARLISLE - 21 MILES.
Up at 6 am, breakfasted with a bacon roll, orange juice and coffee at 6.45 am and back at Lazonby Station ready to walk at 8.15. Light rain as we set off. We walk past the pub in Kirkoswald where we dined the previous evening and proceeded to Armathwaite where we halted for a hot drink and a bite to eat. Started raining again as we resumed with another climb up to the station. From here-on-in the route is pretty level but the showers continue. Wetheral soon comes and goes and so does Scotby. Only 4 miles to go now till we finish at Carlisle. The weather takes a turn for the worse and the constant rain is heavier now. We cross a bridge over the M6, traffic rushing by below. It seemed a long 6 days since I had last seen so much mayhem. The walk in to Carlisle from here follows the river but, I would imagine, most people would walk the 2 miles along the main road into Carlisle and the Citadel Station. We duly arrived at 5.05 pm, leaving us 70 minutes till we could catch the train for one last time, back to Lazonby to collect the cars. By 6.45 pm we were heading for the recently visited M6 and the long drive home. I WALKED THE LINE!!

OVERVIEW:
The Settle to Carlisle Way is a recently devised route and is not way-marked in any way, other than by public footpaths and where it follows other way-marked paths. The warden at the Kirkby Stephen bunkhouse was unaware of this walk. The scenery, particularly in the early stages, is fantastic, as befits the most scenic railway line in England. Maybe not on a par with Scotland but very pleasant nonetheless. As mentioned previously there are literally hundreds of stiles on the route, stone, wooden, step and ladder, as well as kissing gates. Some of these were impossible to access whilst wearing a rucksack of any size, necessitating its removal. This is a walk that is not for the inexperienced or faint-hearted. With 2 maps, a compass, years of experience and know-how it was still possible to get lost. The proximity of the railway for long stretches of the route is, somehow, quite comforting. 6 days was probably too short an attempt, 8 would have been preferable. Nevertheless it was worth taking on and I am glad I did it. The availability and opportunity to catch the train at the end of the day is also satisfying.
Buggiba
Mountaineer
 
Posts: 53
Joined: Aug 4, 2012

Re: Settle to Carlisle in 6 days.

Postby ramblingpete » Thu Oct 30, 2014 2:24 am

Interesting that. Thanks for posting. Was wondering what to do next year and this one seems like a good choice with easy logistics each day....assuming the trains and legs run on time.
ramblingpete
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Joined: Nov 29, 2011
Location: Manchester

Re: Settle to Carlisle in 6 days.

Postby Buggiba » Thu Oct 30, 2014 11:09 am

Hi Ramblingpete,

I note where you are from and think you will find this an entertaining and exhilarating walk, reasonably close to home.
Buggiba
Mountaineer
 
Posts: 53
Joined: Aug 4, 2012

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