Day 2 to 4
Three days' walking in the Yorkshire Dales with travel to and from the walks on the scenic Settle to Carlisle railway. Dinner each evening is in the hotel restaurant.
Our proposed itinerary for the holiday is as follows;
Day 2 Dent to Ribblehead - We take the train from the picturesque Settle Station up the Ribble Valley and over the Ribblehead Viaduct to the highest mainline railway station at Dent. From the station we walk up a minor road to a track which skirts the high pastures and gives extensive views back down Dentdale. Along this track there are also views down to two other impressive viaducts on the Settle-Carlisle line. The route continues along the flank of Wold Fell, giving views towards Wensleydale, before descending to the head of Dentdale and the entrance to the Blea Moor Tunnel. We then follow the line of the tunnel over Blea Moor, passing evidence of the construction of the tunnel, completed in 1874, ventilation shafts, an inclined trackway and the original spoil tips. Finally the Ribblehead viaduct comes into view, an impressive curving structure, which we pass to reach the end of the walk at Ribblehead station. If we are too early for the return train the Station Inn is a very welcome ‘waiting room’! About 10.5 miles, ascent/descent: +540m/-565m.
Day 3 Horton to Ribblehead - Today we take a shorter train ride to Horton in Ribblesdale, the start of the classic Yorkshire Three Peaks walk. We follow a stretch of the Pennine Way along the hillsides above the river Ribble. This is classic limestone country and as well as the stone walls we should see shake holes, entrances to pot holes and caves, and some impressive deep gills. Having reached Ling Gill, we leave the Pennine Way to join the Ribble Way, and cross an area renowned for geologists as there are numerous drumlins, small rounded hills made up of debris from glaciers at the end of the last ice age. This stretch can be rather boggy until the deserted hamlet of Thorns is reached. This area was on a major drove route from the Dales, and we cross a dramatic packhorse bridge over a deep narrow gorge before reaching the edge of Blea Moor. If there is time the remains of Ribblehead Viaduct construction site can be explored on the way to Ribblehead station. Although the workers villages have completely disappeared some trackways, a brickworks site, an engine inspection pit and some abandoned masonry can still be seen. About 9.5 miles, ascent/descent: +355m/-285m.
Day 4 Dent to Garsdale - Taking the train again through the 2.9 km Blea Moor tunnel to Dent this time we descend into Dentdale and walk alongside the river Dee on the Dales Way for a short distance. Then we walk up out of Dentdale along an ancient track lined with stone walls. As we go up the views open out, back towards the railway viaducts at the head of Dentdale, and the Knoutberry Hill end of Whernside. Having reached the high point of the ridge between the two dales we strike out over the moorland and descend into Garsdale. We descend the valley for a short distance, through the village of Garsdale, along the A684, before heading back up the valley towards Garsdale station. Along the valley we pass through woodland, cross many of the small irregular fields that line the valley, and pass a number of field barns. Garsdale station, once the junction with the now abandoned Wensleydale line, has interesting photographs of the station in its heyday and a statue of a dog, Ruswarp, the faithful companion of one of the key figures in the fight to keep the Settle-Carlisle line open. About 7.5 miles, ascent/descent: +430/-420m.