Day 4 - Ponden to Gargrave
Pennine Way Day 4, via Wolfstones, Lothersdale and Thornton-in-Craven.
As you may have noticed, I had been a bit miserable on Monday. I was hoping that a new morning might bring a better mood. It didn’t. Some pissy rain made putting the tent down a pain and then I remembered I had no chance of hot food or even a tea. Gah. I’d set off from Blackstone Edge with the wrong gas canister for my stove, and foolishly thought it might be easy to pick one up along the way. I was currently two miles from the nearest, er, anything, and that was in the wrong direction. I ate my last banana and read the guide’s prediction for the morning: ‘a grey day’ of ‘moors and mires’. Best get going then.
Ponden being nowt but a few farm houses, I was quickly out onto bare hills again, and striding out toward Wolf Stones (A). Thankfully the wildlife is a bit tamer now than it was back in the 16th Century.¹
When I dropped down into Cowling, I became concerned because I had already drunk one of my flasks of water, was still feeling very thirsty and had most of the leg ahead of me.
To make things worse, I dropped my one full flask as I tried to unscrew it. Idiot! I checked each driveway on the way out of the village for an outdoor tap, without success.²
Gaining altitude over another couple of hills, I gave it up again easily into Lothersdale (B). There the guide and Ordnance Survey both promised a Post Office, which I thought might sell me a bottle of Volvic or a Lucozade; on arrival I was informed that it’d been closed. The day had begun to brighten just as noon passed, and I was glad of assistance from a man out trimming his hedge. He filled my water bottles up for me and I gulped away my thirst.
I got a bit lost in some farmer’s fields on the approach to Thornton-in-Craven (C), which is always irritating. I only ever notice when I get to the edge of a field and realise there’s no stile so I must shuffle all the sodding way back. However, I was still making reasonable time so I stopped by the side of a lane to eat some biscuits and nuts—all I had left to eat by then. I switched my phone on to check for messages and Livy happened to be on her lunch break so she called me. It was lovely to hear her voice, and this brief chat turned out to be my watershed in mood—everything picked up from here on and I soon reached the towpath of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. Easy to follow and flat (obviously), I could admire barges and take in the afternoon sunshine.
Gargrave felt like the promised land on arrival. Not only did I spy two pubs—it had a Co-op! After finding a campsite, I set off in search of hot vegetarian food. The Mason’s Arms obliged with a cannelloni. It probably wasn’t that great but, being my first warm meal in two days, it tasted wonderful. I washed it down with pints of water and bitter, charged my phone and listened to stories from the bar stools.
‘…and she went off with that bloke, what’s his name? He came back from laying pipelines in Arabia.’
‘Oh, you mean Pipeline Pete?’
‘No not Pipeline Pete, the other one…’
I stopped by the Co-op on the way back to stock up on plasters, bread and fruit, and also found a pack of doughnuts reduced to 35p. I ate the lot for dessert, and climbed contentedly into my tent.
|4||25.1 km||776 m||8 h||5|