So you know what yesterday’s wind meant? No fucking midges! I mean, we weren’t swarmed as we poked our heads out of the tent this morning but we were definitely forcibly relieved of a small amount of blood. Fortunately we were armed this time, after we ended up being a tasty snack for biting insects on the West Deane Way we definitely remembered to pack the DEET and we liberally applied it to every surface the little buggers might take a fancy to.
We actually got to see the River Ribble today and, in fact, we followed it for ages. We woke up on our little hill, shovelled some food into our chops and followed the Ribble Way into Horton In Ribblesdale. Not that you’d know it was the Ribble Way, this section is shared with the Pennine Way and that’s all the waymarkers banged on about. It’s also a particularly pretty section of trail too, seriously Yorkshire, how do you look a hundred times better than I do at 6.30am? Or any given time on any given day for that matter.
There are toilets and a tap at Horton which my guts were quite pleased about because they’re precious little darlings which will not allow me to shit in a hole if they can help it. I don’t know what their problem is to be honest. I don’t know if it’s the fear of being caught whilst dropping the kids off in nature, or if they’re in collusion with my legs which dislike squatting more than anything else in the world. To be fair you should be using toilets where ever possible rather than shitting in six inch holes but at some point there won’t be a bog and I’m not sure there’s enough room in my body for the sheer quantity of shit that falls out of me every morning AND all of my internal organs. Something will have to give. Whatever. The public toilets were a welcome sight and we made full use of them before filling up our bottles from the tap outside and heading on our way.
The trail hugged the river for a good while before it veered away and rejoined at the lovely little village of Helwith Bridge. You’d think with it being a walk that more or less follows a river that it’d be flat. Ha. Nope. Is it fuck as like. The trail crossed the river at Helwith Bridge and we were faced with a beast of a hill back up into the wilderness, just so we could walk all the way back down another hill into Stainforth. Stainforth, however, will reward you handsomely for your gallant effort in the form of a little waterfall just after the village. I adore waterfalls. What’s not to love about them?
The area is obviously popular for picnics as indicated by the scorched rectangles on the grass where people have had BBQs, and there are signs up reminding you that jumping into bastard freezing cold water could actually kill you. I had no intention of jumping anywhere on account of not wanting to inadvertently cryogenically freeze all of my organs, but I did dip a toe in, just so I could say that I’d immersed some manner of body part in the river the trail we were doing was named for.
We pretty much followed the river into the sprawling metropolis that is Settle which has all kinds of exciting things to separate you from your money such as cafes and restaurants and a Co-op. We happened to rock up on market day which isn’t as fun as it sounds, it just seemed to sell essential stuff such as sensible shoes and duvets and shit. What we were actually here for though was socially acceptable drugs. We’d decided not to carry tea and coffee with us and instead we’d grab vessels of our respective poisons when we got to towns with cafes. This would save us having to carry a cup, the tea or coffee itself, plus the extra water needed for said beverages. Also I like tea with milk and I didn’t want to carry milk, and Tarrant likes a soy latte. It’d feel like a treat, a reward for all of our hard work not getting lost in the hills.
We chilled at Car & Kitchen which is a homeware shop downstairs with a cafe upstairs, but they had seating out the front. We loitered like flies round shit until a table became free and nabbed it. It was nice, sitting in the sun, enjoying a tasty hot beverage. I eyed up the ice cream van too but I was very aware I still had days worth of snacks in my bag that needed munching through. Pah. At least this was just an experiment to see if we could take the weight. When we do this for real next year we’ll only carry what we need between resupply points leaving me to cram as much frozen dairy sugar into my chops as I want.
After our cuppa we popped to the church because it had a bench outside and we had some lunch there. Day two and I’m already fed up of the sight of peanut butter wraps. Then we cracked on with the trail, it’s pretty much flat after Settle I think, one or two brutal inclines but nothing we couldn’t handle as long as we were dosed up with the maximum permitted paracetamol and ibuprofen so our respective knees shut the fuck up with their whinging.
We started looking for somewhere to camp but it’s that fine line isn’t it; we wanted somewhere tucked out of the way with no livestock knocking around, but it also had to not be too early. We found a spot in a dip by some fenced off woodland but we still had a couple of hours before we could pitch and the flies were driving us mad so we pressed on. We started getting pretty tired. It’s not like we were going to lose the light, it’s June in the North of England, it barely fucking gets dark, but we really were flagging.
Every field we climbed into over increasingly unkempt stiles had some manner of animal in it. We saw a couple of farmers out on quad bikes too. Then we saw a field which looked completely uninhabited. Yes! This would do! It was only just out of sight of the farmhouse over yonder but we could just tuck ourselves away in the corner and hope an angry man on an ATV wouldn’t wake us up to throw us out at 2am.
Horton In Ribblesdale to Halton West, North Yorkshire
Stayed at: Wild camp in the corner of a field just after Halton West
Activity: Hiking the Ribble Way from north to south.
Useful shit to know…
- There are toilets at Horton In Ribblesdale, Stainforth and Settle, and there’s a tap outside the toilets at Horton.
- If you have a water filter there are places along the route today where you can easily access the river to fill your bottles. I’ve pin-dropped a couple on the map on the main page.
- Settle has everything you need to resupply, including cafes and a Co-op. I’ve heard there’s also a shop in Horton but we didn’t visit so I can neither confirm nor deny this.
- Maintaining the paths in the Three Peaks costs £28 per metre. I know this because a sign outside the toilets at Horton told me so. The sign also contains information on how to donate should you choose to and they ask for £1 per hiker which is two tenths of fuck all in real money. You can even use Google Pay.