Three Peaks: Day 2 – Ingleborough, limestone pavements and powdery primulas

9.28 miles 6h 22min ascent 470m

Ribblehead-Gauber quarry-Park Fell-Souther Scales Fell-Swine Tail-Ingleborough-Sulber Nick-Horton

Ingleborough is the second highest of the Yorkshire Three Peaks and the second of our Three Peaks’ walks. After a very wet outing the day before, we were expecting a better day, but the weather was actually better than had been forecast.. We decided to park in Horton-in-Ribblesdale, take the train to Ribblehead and walk back to Horton via Ingleborough. The long ridge walk had looked quite daunting from the road but wasn’t too bad.

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Three Peaks: Day 1 – Pen-y-Ghent in wild weather

8.73 miles 5h 56min ascent 533m

Pen y ghent on a clearer day

Horton-Brackenbottom-Pen y Ghent-Plover Hill-Foxup Moor-Horton Moor

As soon as we arrived in Horton it was obvious we would be walking in waterproofs. We began with drizzle (which my mother claimed would wet you more than any other type of rain), but did have some proper heavy rain though much of the day featured drizzle fine enough to be regarded as “not raining”. I would like to congratulate my jacket and waterproof trousers on a successful day. I cannot say the same for my boots, which have had the football manager treatment – sacked and replaced at the end of the week.

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Yeork-sher: wet boots, mired tyres and abandoned walks

That doesn’t sound particularly promising, does it? But I enjoyed it. The old adage is that good sailors are not made by smooth seas. And the philosophers suggest that enjoyment is perhaps heightened with a wee dash of adversity thrown into the mix. Certainly, the pain of the latter does seem to fade as the memory of the former blooms.

Our plan had been to continue southwards from the end of the Eden Way at Garsdale, to hook up with the Dales Way, which would carry us through the Dales. But we were dealt a middling hand at the outset, and what cards I had, I played poorly. And to cap it all I had developed a troublesome C5/6 radicular pain. That said: I now know where to find my car’s towing hook; I had a steak and ale pie that will be the one by which all others will be measured; Storm Babet kicked our plans in to touch but made the waterfalls impressive; we saw Swaledale sheep in Swaledale; walked in Wensleydale and ate Wensleydale cheese; crossed moor and dale in sunshine and mist; all while walking parts of the Dales Way, Ribble Way, Three Peaks trail, Pennine Journey, Pennine Way and Pennine Bridleway.

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Mull of Galloway Trail: 5 – moorland, laight, and stane

7.50 miles 4h 25m ascent 310m

Cairnryan-Glenapp-Finnart’s Bay

The final leg of the Mull of Galloway Trail took us along the Loch Ryan Coastal Path to Glenapp and from there we walked on to Finnarts Bay.

The name Glenapp might have arisen from LachtAlpin, (Grave of Alpin) named for Alpin mac Echdach, a ninth century King of Dalriada who was assassinated nearby. Laight Moor over which we would walk means Grave Moor, and the Taxing Stone on that moor is said to mark the king’s grave.

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Mull of Galloway Trail: 4 – Swans, Gorse and missed turns

7.12 miles 3h 56m ascent 38m

Stranraer to Cairnryan on The Loch Ryan Coastal Path

A puncture on the way to Stranraer had me thinking that we would have to postpone the walk but speedy service by Sandmill MOT Centre soon had us back on the road. But we decided on a shorter walk, to Cairnryan rather than Glenapp. As it was, that was for the best. The day proved hotter than expected and a jungle-like session with me carrying one of the dogs sapped my energy. I’m sure we could have made it to Glenapp but I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed the last four miles.

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Mull of Galloway Trail: 3 – oh ffs! off piste again

8.31 miles 4h 15m ascent 87m

Clayshant Bridge to Agnew Park

This should have been an easy stroll from Luce Bay to Loch Ryan. Not too far, indeed perhaps too short a leg. The weather forecast promised a hot sunny day, and was spot on. I expected an enjoyable walk with little in the way of challenges but the section between mile-markers 22 and 23 was the jalapeño lurking unsuspected in my sandwich.

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Mull of Galloway Trail: 2 – trudging over shingle and wading through bracken

9.42 miles 5h 48m ascent 68m

Myroch Point to Clayshant Bridge

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The Mull of Galloway Trail: 1 – overgrown, elusive and unfrequented

10.68 miles 5h 42min ascent 279m

Part 1: The Mull of Galloway to Myroch Point

It had been quite a while since we had had our walking boots on for anything more than ceremonial purposes, so I had planned a short(ish) section for our return. Just 10 miles. And how pleased I am that I hadn’t thought “way marked trail, no big hills” and gone for a dozen miles or more. The Mull of Galloway Trail has been allowed to mature into its surroundings and has, in places, been suborned by agriculture or reclaimed by nature. It seems to have been way-marked by the sort who look at the map but do not walk the trail they advise.

That said, it was an enjoyable outing. That is not to say that we always enjoyed it in the specious present, though it was agreeable at times. And just as sweetness is better appreciated with a relish of sour, our pleasure was perhaps enhanced by a pinch of adversity. By the time we could glimpse the car and the end of day’s walk was in sight, the sourness was forgotten. Mabel gave up the ghost a hundred metres from the car and had to be carried. Perhaps the dose of joy was just too much for her to carry.

I look back now and remember sunshine, hedgerow flowers, sea birds, rock formations, shingle beaches, cows and sheep on cliff-tops, deer bounding across the fields, the Scare Rocks and views of the Isle of Man, and her calf, across 25 miles of sea. The overgrown, and sometimes elusive path, the fences we had to climb and bramble-laced hedgerows we tramped through are still clear in my memory, but their emotional effects are melting away.

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