Saturday 25 July 2020

The Long Wait

Normally a hike like this wouldn't make the blog, I don't blog much and I save what little I do for the longer and more “interesting” trips. However, as we all know 2020 hasn't been a normal year and this hike feels as important as any of my others, if not more.

I hadn't hiked for a while, actually, my last hike was back in January. Winter is normally when I concentrate on building gear and that can be all-consuming. I don't get out much during this period. I had been due to start hiking again in late March, I even had train tickets booked, but the lockdown ended that. Lockdown dragged on for months, and even as restrictions were slowly eased, camping was still prohibited. That continued into July.

Finally, on the 6th of July, I went hiking. It was only 5 days, and to an area, I am very familiar with but that didn't matter. However, the virus hasn't gone away and I wanted to minimise risks as much as possible so I set some rules. No campsites, no resupply, quiet hiking routes and as little public transport as possible.

I got dropped off not far from my house, at Harewood House Estate, and followed the Ebor Way towards Ilkley. I’d never hiked this local trail before but it was an enjoyable route. After the first night's camp, high up on Ilkley Moor, I picked up the Dales High Way and followed that, on and off, to the summit of Ingleborough. On the way, I camped in an old quarry near Malham. From the busy Ingleborough summit I took the quiet route over Park Fell, then past Ribblehead Viaduct and up high onto Blea Moor, where I camped. From there I made use of the Ribble Way and a number of other routes to get me over to Buckden Pike and then a very boggy section over to Great Whernside, for the final camp. Then it was the Dales Way to Grassington where the hike ended.

I cannot tell you how good it felt to get out in the hills again, even if it was only for 5 days. It’s easy to take what we have for granted and this whole 2020 experience has made me appreciate these moments more.

Harewood House Estate

Otley Chevin Forest

Bingley Moor

Twelve Apostles

Cowpers Cross

Ilkley Moor

Addingham High Moor 


Flasby Fell

Kirkby Fell

Old Mine, Ewe Moor

Attermire Scar


Ribblehead Viaduct

Blea Moor spoil heaps

Blea Moor tunnel vent

Great Whernside