Monday, January 21, 2008

Day 10 - Soulby to Dent

Day 10 is the penultinate day of the walk and is the day that Wainwright was ready to get on the train at either Crosby Garret or Kirkby Stephen and give up. If he were to consider his options nowadays they wouldn't include Crosby Garrte for its station closed in 1962 - details would be useful as to why. The sight of the Howgills spurred him on and although he continued he did so still covering the miles seemingly as fast as he was able by following roads that are too busy with current traffic. So for the most part of day 10 the new route follows Wainwright's route as closely as possible but does so without using busy roads any more than is necessary.

The day starts by heading south from Soulby via a quiet single track road toward Waitby, passing beneath another disused railway- any details of this branch line would be interesting as it is not easy to see where it was serving with it being so near to the main line. The route then joins, for a short distance, a path that is now part of the Coast-to-Coast path leading up Smardale Fell.

Whilst Wainwright passed close to Kirkby Stephen station with renewed vigour he then followed the road to Sedbergh without deviation. The new route heads over Ash Fell, passing Ashfield down to Bowber Head before rejoining the old route for short distance on the Sedbergh road, passing the Fat Lamb Country Inn at Crossbank. Was this inn here in 1938 as Wainwright was in agony with his boots yet he pressed on for some more miles before calling at a farm to get help in mending them - he makes no mention of an inn and would surely have stopped - any details would be useful.

After approximately one mile the new route branches left onto a quiet byroad, passing "Foggygill School". Any details about the school would be interesting as it is hard to imagine that there was ever enough population to merit a school.

The byroad descends to join the main road at Rawthey Bridge but the old and new routes only coincide for a short time before the new route turns left on a footpath in the direction of Bluecaster Fell.

ON leaving Rawthey Bridge the route enters the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the path climbs and then follows the contours before dropping at Bluecaster Side to cross the main road at High Wardses. Once across the road the path crosses the river Rawthey at Beck Side and follows the river to Crock Holme before climbing to a higher path where it turns south to Thursgill.

It is somewhere down in the valley adjacent to the river Rawthey that Wainwright sought help at a dairy farm to carry out repairs to his boots - does anyone recall such a meeting with a bedraggled walker during the floods of 1938?

At Thursgill the path follows a narrow lane before leading down to pick up the Wainwright route on another narrow byroad toward Millthrop. Once at Millthrop the route then joins another long distance path, The Dalesway, and follows the route through to day's-end at Dent.

The river Dee follows the flat valley bottom and makes for pleasant walking as it passes through Barth and finally rejoins Wainwright again for the last few hundred yards into Dent village.

In Dent Wainwright had stayed with the Masons in their house with its external staircase. Any details about the Mason family would be useful. Mr Mason was a wheelwright with his workshop on the ground floor under the dwelling part of the house.

Wainwright was scatheing about Dent and said that "...Blanchland is a dream, Dent a nigthmare." His judgement was impaired though by his days spent in awful weather.

The day ends in the delightful Dent where there is plenty of accommodation to choose from with its cobbled streets and quaint houses. Dent has a history of hosiery knitting and details of this would be useful. Were the Masons' knitters? From Wainwright's description it is considered possible to identify where he syated on the last overnight stopover.

No comments: