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Pennine Way
Gargrave to Pondon
Sunday 31st August.
Day:11 - Distance:16 miles

A clear bright night brought the tempreatures down to just a few degres as day break appeared on the horizon. We were well into our morning routine by this point in the walk. 60 minutes from the alarm going off to packed, fed, and moving out onto the walk. The Pennine Way follows the road right through Gargrave. Famously in the middle of the town is a finger post pointing south and proclaiming Pennine Way 80 miles to Edale! You can also find an assortment of shops in town if you need to top up your supplies.

The walk takes to the fields south of the town and walking through the rolling english countryside on this warm sunny Sunday morning was a wonderfull experience. After 3 miles the Pennine Way joins the tow path of the Leeds and Liverpool canal through the village of East Marton and south west for about half a mile before turning south across the fields towards Thornton in Craven. In Thornton you cross the A56 and turn west following the track to Brown House farm and then on across the fields climbing to Pinhaw Beacon. This was a great place to take a break and enjoy the views. Carrying on after our break we followed the marker stones and got a little lost. It would appear that somebody had been rearranging the markers and we were walking to far West. After a few minutes walking this became apparent and we stopped to decide on a course of action. We had desended along way down hill and did not want to climb back up the hill if we could help it. Luckily a local game keeper came up the moor in his Land Rover and gave us a ride back up the hill and set us back on the correct route.

The Penneine Way continues southbound down the hill into Lothersdale which was particularly quite on this Sunday lunch time. We walked straight on through the village and climged over the next hill towards Cowling. The route wanders through fields and along lanes before arriving in Cowling. It was lunch time so picked a nice grassy area over the road from the pub and cooked up lunch.
The afternoon walk carried on up the hill from Cowling and onto Ickornshaw Moor. Even though the weather was good navigation was a little tricky as there are no landmarks on the horizon. Walking with the compass kept us on the correct route. As we didn't have a specific camp site for the evening and there were a least 2 to choose from we walked down to Pondon reservoir with some choices to make. The first campsite we found was in the grounds of the historic house, Ponden Hall. The grass was long and the facilities no exisitant so we moved on climbing up the hill on the south side of the reservoir and found The Heights camp site which is excellent. Great views and good facilities make this an excellent camp site. We pitched our tent and after a hot shower settled down to cook and eat our evening meal before truning in for a nights sleep.

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