Day 3: Arten Gill & The Source Of The Ribble
A slightly better forecast was offered up for today. With the Jubilee street party in Sedbergh scheduled for later on, and the prospect of an afternoon of closed roads and traffic chaos to come, we opted to head the other way out of Dentdale.
After parking in the shadow of the Dent Head viaduct, we followed the road uphill for a short way before striking off northwards along the flanks of Wold Fell. Although a pre-existing path this has now been incorporated into the route of the Pennine Bridleway (PBW). New gates and signage have been installed, and work on the path itself is still ongoing in one or two places.
The path rises from the road and soon big views begin to open up across to 3 Peaks country to the south, whilst sunshine, blue skies and white clouds added to the drama of the scene.
One by one, Pen-Y-Ghent …
… Ingleborough …
… and Whernside …
came into view. On a Bank Holiday weekend and in such glorious conditions, the summits and flanks of these mountains would be crawling with visitors. Here, as was the case nearly all weekend, virtually no one else was encountered, yet the views and the experience were the equal of anything the “big three” might offer.
In fact, for relatively little effort, the views from this area are quite stupendous, with many of the highest tops of the Yorkshire Dales clearly visible, and the not-too-distant Lakeland summits on the western skyline. On a day like today, they are hard to beat.
From the junction of paths near Dent Fell, we left the PBW and headed west down Arten Gill towards Stonehouse. Here we did pass a few other walkers, but soon we were alone with our own thoughts again.
Traffic periodically interrupted the short walk back along the road, but in-between-times we strolled slowly alongside the River Dee as it tumbled from pool to pool, soaking up the warm sunshine as we went.
After lunch we decided to do another recce of part of the PBW – this time the stretch between Newby Head and the Pennine Way at Cold Keld Gate. Again, this was with future plans in mind, but it proved an interesting little walk in itself. As well as the big views of 3 Peaks country and Lakelend on the horizon, we passed close to the source of the River Ribble.
In fact the Ribble Way starts somewhere along here, where the peaty waters of this great upland sponge first form into the rivulets that will eventually reach the Irish Sea as a powerful river. Just over the hill this same boggy watershed feeds other river systems that head east towards the North Sea.
On the way back the bulk of Ingleborough loomed darkly below thickening grey cloud, as though presaging the bad weather to come.
Next morning we squeezed in a short stroll around Barbon before setting off on the long journey home with another 33 miles tucked under our belts. All in all, a very satisfactory long weekend.