Day 7 – Dent to Thwaite Farm

We were in a B&B overnight, and so had after a nice relaxed breakfast we had an earlier start than on previous days. A good job too, as we were aiming to get to Sedbergh in time for lunch with friends visiting from the USA. The day was a lovely one – sun all the time, allowing Elspeth to put on her sun glasses.

 A bright sunny day

Just downstream from Dent there is the Dentdale ‘network of gates’. This appears to have been a millennium project, where a dozen or so of the gates, bridges, and stiles that we crossed have a motif on them depicting some aspect of Dentdale life. We were able to decipher the pictures in only about 60% of cases, but it made a nice addition to the walk.

 Elspeth on one of many little bridges

For those of you who read my description of the aniseedy plant/cow parsley question on day 4, it was this morning that Elspeth spotted both plants within comparing distance of each other. You’ve no idea what relief it was to have that resolved after it had been troubling us for half of the walk. On the same stretch of road we saw a couple of pretty large spider webs in the hedgerow, glistening in the sun, only to walk another hundred yards on and find that we were mistaken. There were whole stretches of hedgerow stripped clean on leaves and covered in the web. We’re pretty sure that this must be the work of silkworms or similar, based on the strength of the web and the cocoons hanging in a couple of spots. Whatever they were, they left a trail of destruction.

 Silk worm destruction

 Silk worm cocoons

Marisca was loving this walking thing. We had barely any complaints when she was up on my back. She seemed to spend a quarter of the time snoozing, a quarter of the time rocking side to side or jumping up and down ‘faster daddy, faster’, with the remaining half of the time spent pointing out every sheep that we passed. The sheep fascination has continued since we’ve been home, which is rather nice.

We’d been able to keep Marisca stocked up on raisins and bananas, and she’d taken to drinking from our platypus in addition to the milk we were able to refresh every morning in her very own thermos.

 Giving Risky a top up

 A drink of milk

 Do you like my hat?

 Two person shadow

The route emerges from Dentdale over the shoulder of the valley and suddenly there are views of the Howgill Fells above Sedbergh, with Lakeland proper over in the distance.

 Hills and mirrors

We weren’t particularly enchanted by Sedbergh. We were happy enough to be passing through it, to enable us to restock our supplies, and to spend 20 minutes in a bookshop or two while we waited for our appointed time to meet with our friends, but it didn’t seem to be much of a destination. It’s all school.

We enjoyed meeting up with James & Daniel at the Dalesman, as well as James’ dad who had done the Dales Way a year or two previously, enabling us to compare notes.

After lunch we decided that we did have time to return to the route to circle around Sedbergh along the river, rather than take the more direct route. I’m glad we did, as it was nice to add a couple more rivers to our list. We had a brief dalliance with the Rawthsey, including seeing the confluence (see, Geography GCSE did me some good) with our friend the Dee. When we got to the Lune, we were rather distressed to find it flowing the wrong way. We both thought it should have been flowing northwards rather than southwards. Perhaps because we’re now on the second, downhill half of the walk, we expected to be walking with the current all the way the Windermere. Seems daft in retrospect: we all know that north is uphill and south is downhill, after all.

 Viaduct near SEdbergh

We enjoyed the detail provided on this footpath sign, and later in the day, another unusual Dales Way sign.

 Detailed directions

 Dales Way, left

The guidebook had encouraged us to go a furlong or two out of our way to visit Briggflatts meeting house, which is supposed to be in some way impressive. Perhaps we’d shot our meeting house bolt too early, on day 2, or perhaps the combined action of the sun and the lunchtime pint meant that I was just keen to reach our destination. Elspeth spotted that I was flagging and came up with a second inspired KMC moment of the walk at Lincoln’s Inn Bridge. What more could you want in a wife than someone who can see when you need mint cake, and even better, has some on hand at that moment?

It was plain sailing after that, although Marisca lost her hat and we passed a dead cow (not seen one of those before – plenty of dead sheep but not a cow. No ghost cow in sight mourning over the body, I note).

Not a dead cow, but two photos of other things we saw in the afternoon.

 Yorkshire foxgloves

 Sheltering sheep

We scrambled up the way into Thwaite Farm, where we were staying the night. We were welcomed by Dorothy & Billy and made to feel really at home. Dorothy made us tea with scones when we arrived. Yes, we definitely prefer B&Bs. I banged my head again – by now it was representing the Howgills up there. Marisca and the smallest farm dog seemed to find each other mutual fascinating.

 Marisca with a little dog

We were upgraded from a B&B room in the farmhouse to the self contained cottage which they rented out week by week, but which was empty tonight. This was really nice, as it gave us space for a proper evening. Dinner with Marisca, putting her to bed in her own room, and sitting in the lounge doing puzzles and watching TV. And the view was really awesome. The lounge has a huge window that looks out over the fells, with hills behind hills behind hills. We’d come back and stay here for the view alone.

Next >>   Day Eight