Thursday, June 20, 2013

A lovely weekend on the Dales High Way

A couple of weekends ago, Jenny & I spent a lovely 2 days walking from Skipton to Settle on the Dales Highway. I’ve run just about the whole route this year and wanted to share this great route with Jenny.

We had a lovely weekend despite being thrown out of a pub for the very first time ever, thanks to one of the rudest men I’ve ever had the misfortune to meet. More on that in a bit!

We left early on Saturday morning and parked at Skipton train station. Our plan was to walk to Malham, where we’d booked a room in the youth hostel, Then, on Sunday morning, make our way either to Settle or Horton-in-Ribblesdale, depending how the mood took us, and get the train back to Skipton.

We were walking by 10:30, and made good time out of Skipton. As usual I had to slow Jenny down on the flats. She only has one walking pace and it’s fast. This is fine in flat Lincolnshire but a little pacing is required once in the hills.

Nearing Sharp Haw, I persuaded Jenny to get her new poles out and, after a bit of coaching, she found it noticeably easier going up hill.

After Sharp Haw, we had a pleasant walk down to Flasby and along the beck to Hetton. Here we decided to stop for a drink at the Angel Inn and have our sandwiches, and here our day became ‘interesting’. Our visit went something like this:

I approached a barman (B1) serving outside:
R: Is it Ok to eat our sandwiches at a table outside if we buy a drink?
B1: I’m not sure but I’ll ask someone.
I went inside to get a drink and some crisps.
B1: I can’t find the person to ask, but I’m sure it’s OK. I’ve got your back.
We sat down outside and started to eat. The crisps were brought to us in a bowl. A few minutes later another barman (B2) approached us in an angry fashion.
B2: There’s an £8 cover charge to eat you own food here. There’s clearly a sign by the door
            R: Oh sorry, we didn’t see the sign and we did ask the other waiter.
            J: We’ll pay then.
After some deliberation, we put our food away.
The second barman reappeared.
B2: I’ve decided to waive the charge, but just drink up and leave.
He turned to go. I have to say that I was amazed by his tone and immediately wondered if we were actually allowed to eat our crisps; which remember had come in a bowl.
            R: Excuse me, but……
He left the table.
            R: EXCUSE ME!
No response, so I followed him into the pub.
R: Are you saying we can’t have our crisps which we’ve paid for. We did ask the other barman if it was OK for us to eat our sandwiches outside.
B2: He said he’d find out – that’s not permission. I just think you’re incredibly rude to eat here. Just leave.
R: He said he thought it was OK. And most pubs on walking routes are OK with this as long as you buy something
B2: Just leave please
He turned his back on me and walked away
R (in a somewhat louder voice!): Thank you. I’ll make sure I recommend your pub!

We left.

I was absolutely staggered. I have never, ever been thrown out of a pub before. If we’d been told that we couldn’t eat there, we would have walked a bit further and eaten on the path. Perhaps we were a little in the wrong, but his manner, or complete lack of it, was staggering. The whole situation would have been avoided with a simple, but polite statement. As it was, it left a very sour taste in our mouths.

We wandered on for a few minutes and sat down to finish our lunch! There was a very sick looking cow lying down on the path. We were very concerned but couldn’t get a mobile signal, so as we are such rude and uncaring people, I walked back to the village to notify someone. At the first house I came to, an elderly couple said they knew the farmer and would phone him. They were very grateful for our concern.

The rest of the afternoon was uneventful as we made our way up to Weets Top, past Gordale Scar and down into Malham. Just before Malham, we met a man who was obviously doing the Pennine Way (he was carrying a very big rucksack!). He was very pleased to have got from Edale to Malham in 4 days.

We had a very pleasant cold drink at Buck Inn and then wandered up to the Youth Hostel. We had a comfortable twin room (bunks) with a shower/toilet ensuite for £33. The YHA has made a considerable effort and investment to modernise its hostels and make them more “family friendly”, and they have succeeded.

The Lister Arms was recommended for dinner but was fully booked. We had a very acceptable meal at the Buck. Looking at some of the meals coming out, this is the place to come if you have a large appetite!

Back to our bunk beds and we were soon asleep.

After a good night’s sleep we had breakfast at the youth hostel. Most acceptable it was too and only £4.99 each.

We set off up the Pennine Way towards Malham Cove. 

We had already decided to have lunch in Settle and get the train back from there, so we were looking forward to a pleasant morning’s walking. Up the Cove and along the familiar Raven Scar. We soon reached Langscar Gate
Not for 'larger' bottoms
No, it doesn't darling!

Then it was the long but picturesque walk along Stockdale Lane past Stcokdale Farm and on to Settle. We barely saw a soul between Malham Cove and Settle.

In Settle we had a quick browse in Castleberg Outdoors before having a really nice lunch at The Kitchen Café.

A quick stroll to the station, back to Skipton and the drive home.

A lovely weekend.

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