Pennine Way 3 – Horton-In-Ribblesdale To Blackstone Edge
Pennine Way 3 was our third week on the National Trail. In April this year we did another 4½ days from Horton-in-Ribblesdale to Blackstone Edge, a distance of 55½ miles. We travelled by rail to Horton-in-Ribblesdale and spent the night at the Crown Inn.
Day 1 Horton-in Ribblesdale to Malham (14.5 miles)
To start Pennine Way 3 we set out from Horton-in-Ribblesdale and took the wide track up to Pen-y-ghent. The weather was good and we stopped at the summit shelter for refreshments. The first day of this section of Pennine Way 3 involved two climbs. The first was up Pen-y-ghent at 694 metres/2,277 ft, then the climb up to Fountains Fell at 668 metres/2,192 ft.
Fountains Fell was a boggy place, like much of the Pennine Way and we were glad to be off it and on our way down to Malham. Malham Tarn is quite large and once round it we had the delights of Malham Cove which is one of the better sections of the Pennine Way 3. Soon we were in Malham and tasting the expensive £3.60 per pint Boddington’s bitter at the Buck Inn.
Not wanting to pay this outrageous price all night we left for our accommodation at the YHA. After a shower and clean up we headed for the Lister Arms, which was more reasonably priced and provided excellent food.
Day 2 Malham to East Marton (9 miles)
This was only a short walk today so after breakfast we headed along by the river to Airton. Then it was on to Gargrave, crossing the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and then finally the River Aire before arriving at the Masons Arms. We decided a few pints were in order and Barry and Dave also took advantage of the delicious looking steak pudding, chips and peas.
An hour later we were on our way again and joined the Leeds and Liverpool Canal on a short section to the Cross Keys pub at East Marton. We were staying at Elslack Grange this evening and the owner was picking us up from the pub to transport us to our accommodation in Elslack. After a few pints by the large roaring fireplace we phoned for the pick up and were delighted to see the standard of accommodation at Elslack Grange. It was certainly 5 star and one of the best places found on all our travels over the years.
We dined in the Tempest Arms in Elslack and the food and choice of ales was again excellent.
After a great breakfast we were dropped off at the Cross Keys pub in East Marton and started the day in dry weather. However this didn’t last long and soon we were walking in sluicing rain. This lasted all day and conditions underfoot were far from ideal. It was to prove one of the worst days for rain on this Pennine Way 3 journey, in fact in all of the Pennine Way.
We passed through Thornton-in-Craven, then started the climb up to Pinshaw Beacon. It was then back down to Lothersdale and as we were passing the Hare and Hounds pub, the idea of some respite from the rain crossed our minds. However, the notice outside the pub asking walkers to take off their boots and wet clothes didn’t appeal so we carried on unsated.
We passed through Ickornshaw then started the climb up to Ickornshaw Moor. This was a dreadful place, a virtual swamp, with even one part appropriately named ‘The Sea’. The tide was in full flood when we crossed it! It was then down through the swamp to Ponden. We didn’t go around the south of the reservoir as we were staying further along the road at the Old Silent Inn.
After a few hours spent in driving rain we were glad to get inside and sample the delights of the Theakston’s Ales, the Old Peculiar went down very well, in fact too well.
Day 4 Pondon to Hebden Bridge (11.5 miles)
The weather had now changed and the sun was out. We rejoined our Pennine Way 3 track near Duke Top. On the way to Top Withens we met three ladies who were walking the Pennine Way. Two were hiking and the other driving the motor home which was their accommodation for the trip. This struck us as an excellent way to save money on any long distance walk, as accommodation in Britain is becoming very expensive and camping is no longer an option for us.
From Top Withens we walked downhill to pass the three reservoirs, Walshaw Dean Higher, Middle and Lower before heading over the moors again and down to Hebden Bridge. The Stubbing Wharf pub provided a much needed pint or three before we headed down the road to sample the local fish and chips.
Our accommodation was poor and we dined in the Italian restaurant La Perla which was a great choice. We finished off the evening watching football on a large screen at the Trades Club.
This was to be our final half days walk of the Pennine Way 3 trip and it turned out to be a very windy one. It started with a long climb out of Hebden Bridge through Callis Wood and on up to the Stoodley Pike Monument. The wind took away my rucksack cover, which was never to be seen again.
From Stoodley Pike it was good walking along the rock outcrops above Mankinholes and on past the reservoirs of Warland, Light Hazzles and finally to Blackstone Edge. Our walking on this part of the Pennine Way 3 trip was now over and we adjourned to the White House pub for some food and liquid refreshment.