Day Four - Stainforth to Chapel-le-Dale, 15.4 miles.

Total ascent, 1033m.

Most of today's walk was not on the Dales High Way. The main route heads straight for the mountain of Ingleborough but I wanted to climb another of the 3 peaks, Pen-y-Ghent, as well. As the day was basically two long mountain walks with a village in the middle I had a simple plan based on the weather.

The simple plan:
1. Spend 3 hours walking over Pen-y-Ghent and down to Horton in Ribblesdale.
2. Spend 3 hours relaxing outside a Horton cafe, sitting under an umbrella, drinking coffee and reading.
3. Spend 3 hours walking over Ingleborough and down to Chapel-le-Dale.

What could possibly go wrong? Well nothing actually, as another glorious day passed by exactly as planned, with added breeze! In fact on top of Ingleborough at 6pm I could safely describe the weather as 'not really hot'. My watch did record 34 degrees at one point, but that was probably in Horton while I was sitting under the umbrella, the average was a much lower 25.

Approaching the final pull up Pen-y-Ghent.

The only conversation that amused me I overheard today was when I stopped for a drink close to a family on the way down the first mountain:

Son: Dad, can we play I-spy?
Dad: OK. I spy with my little eye, something beginning with P.
Son: Pen-y-Ghent.
Dad: Right. Your turn.
Son: I spy with my little eye, something beginning with G.
Dad: Grass. Well I guess that's covered everything round here.

The Yorkshire Three Peaks have a special place in my heart as the first proper day's walk I ever did. I was actually 19 when I did it as I couldn't see the point of walking for fun before then. It was organised by Oxford Poly geography department and was, to say the least, a baptism of fire. In retrospect I'm not sure how I thought I'd cope with a 23 mile (or thereabouts) hike over three mountains involving 6400ft of ascent, wearing jeans, a donkey jacket and suede boots and after 3 hours sleep in a caravan in Ingleton following a heavy drinking session. In the event I didn't cope at all, and felt ill all the way up Pen-y-Ghent (the last of the three, we did it the 'alternative' way round). I still maintain it took us 14 hours (including several pints in the two pubs en route), though others I was with insist it was less.

The descent of Ingleborough with relaxing sheep.

Regardless of the details it had three important effects. Firstly, and most inexplicably really, it began my love of mountain walking. Secondly, it introduced me to Theakston's Old Peculier beer. Thirdly, it provided me with my first visit to the Old Hill Inn, still my favourite pub in the world. I therefore feel privileged to be staying here at last after all those fleeting visits. I'm sitting in the bar drinking Black Sheep (sadly they no longer sell Old P) and looking out at the evening sun on the flanks of Ingleborough. Ah, bliss!

All hail the Old Hill Inn.

My room at the top of the pub is great as well, with low beams all over the place. The only downers are the couple on a nearby table by the bar, who are commenting far too loudly on things other people are doing. I've so far had the pleasure of, "He's reading the last Adrian Mole book. It's really funny. She's dead you know.", "He's eating lamb. I hate lamb. It's really smelly." and "Where's he walking to? I can't see his book properly from here."

My room. Olde Worlde and beame.

-- Posted from Kev's iPhone