~Ribblehead to Horton~
1st September 2012
This walk from the Settle-Carlisle Railway links two stations which are only 4.5 miles apart. Weather forecasters said it would brighten up in the afternoon, so I delayed the ascent of one of the Three Peaks until after lunch in the hope of better views.
St.Leonard's Church, Chapel-le-Dale
Settle Railway Station
Freightliner at Settle
Settle Railway Station
For a change, I boarded the train at Settle. This would give me the option of a bus journey back from Ingleton if that's where the walk finished. But it didn't.
It's a drab day, so far. Who would want to go walking in this weather? Lots of Three Peakers, that's for sure, they all have dirty trousers by the time they pass the viaduct and this reveals their ambition to do the set.
Heading for Whernside with the quagmires of Pen-y-Ghent well behind them. I'm walking up to Blea Moor Tunnel for the usual purpose.
There are more spoil heaps than ventilation shafts. During construction they dug seven shafts, so as to provide as many as sixteen workfaces - you do the maths! Spoil was lifted up the shafts or taken out of the tunnel entrances. Three were retained for ventilation.
A4 No.60009 "Union of South Africa"
On time, the Cumbrian Mountain Express heads into Blea Moor Tunnel. This is the last of the current season of Saturday steam-hauled charter trains. Two more Sundays (2nd and 9th Sept).
Full Steam Ahead!
I don't suppose the passengers are too bothered, or the casual bystanders concerned, but this is the wrong engine for these tracks. These distinctive streamlined A4 locomotives were LNER locomotives and used mainly on the London, York, Edinburgh route. "Mallard" and "Sir Nigel Gresley" are two of the other five (six in total) preserved members of this class.
I walked back along the track towards Ribblehead and then followed a path under the tracks towards Winterscales Farm, then Broadrake and as far as Ellerbeck. All the time a gloomy, cloud covered Whernside was on my right.
Ribblehead Viaduct from Broadrake
Home of The Boggard. I'm not going down there!
With the arrival of the railway, from 1871, so the activity at this church increased. Many navvies and family members perished at Batty Green (Ribblehead) and were buried here, not all earning a headstone. One grave belongs to Job Hirst, the "builder" of the viaduct - the man in charge of the vast task just up the road. He died tragically before the work was finished, the victim of an ambush as he brought the wages from Ingelton - he died the morning after he was violently assaulted.
Job Hirst's Grave
Visit this church and graveyard and see what else you can find that relates to the railway.
Crossing the road, I headed for the area below Ingleborough known as Tatham Wife Moss. At this time, I was still debating the merits of climbing the fell or taking the "mouse" option of a saunter down to the tearooms of Ingleton. There has been a cool wind in my face for most of the last few hours, the felltops are plagued by cloud. What would you have done?
Tatham Wife Moss
The day hasn't brightened up yet, but the cloud level has risen. Ah well, up Ingleborough via an unusual route.
A steep, scrambly, unfrequented route up Ingleborough.
Ah the rich rewards of the fellwalker! Lofty heights and impressive views!
Simon Fell Breast
The route down to Horton flanks Simon Fell and then along Sulber Nick. It's about four miles from here to the railway station and I'm a little tired of taking photos of dull landscapes. I walked the last couple of miles with a "Three Peaker" - John from Pudsey. I had trouble keeping up with him and he'd walked double the distance, most of which was done with dirty trousers!
Horton Railway Station
I passed one team of four "Three Peakers" on the descent and I asked them how they'd done. They'd managed to get to the top of only two on this occasion. Hmmm, I wonder how many folk "clock out" at the cafe in Horton who might not have actually reached the top of all three?
Walkers: Just Me.
Time taken: 7hrs, over a distance of about 14 miles.
Route: Ribblehead Sation, Blea Moor Tunnel, The Scar to Ellerbeck, Chapel-le-Dale, Braithwaite Wife Hole, Tatham Wife Moss, Ingleborough, Simon Fell Breast, Sulber Nick, Horton-in-Ribblesdale.
Weather and Conditions: Dull and cool.
Greetings Count: Usual masses on the Three Peaks walk. Much quieter on the non-tourist tracks.
Richard's Refreshment Review: Nothing to report today.
Other reading: "Thunder in the Mountains" The men who built Ribblehead by W.R.Mitchell
All photos copyright Richard Ratcliffe 2012 ©