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PW day 05: Fri 26 Feb 2016; Ponden to Gargrave

PW day 05: Fri 26 Feb 2016; Ponden to Gargrave
Walk descriptor Pennine Way Day 05
Date Fri 26 Feb 2016 Start to end time 07h 53m
Start point Ponden End point Gargrave
Miles today 16.20 Cu miles 82.08
Ft today 2,774 Cu ft 14,471
Route miles left 201.18 Route ft left 29,520
Today’s weather Continuous cloud cover all day though some breaks and brighter around lunchtime.   No rain.   Light south easterly wind.  About 3C
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Today’s location
(the red cross in a circle shows where I am at the moment)
GPX based track of today’s walk
(click button to download file) GPX
Commentary

Every long distance walking trip has its particular annoyances.   When I did “LEJOG” in 2014, it was earworms – irritating bits of songs that get stuck in your head and which won’t go away no matter how hard you try not to think about them.   In fact I almost had an unpleasant earworm incident with Kate Bush last night, probably inspired by the Top Withens visit.   But luckily I was able to dispel it by downloading “Wuthering Heights” from iTunes and listening to it repeatedly.   Eventually I was so sick of the sound of Cathy wailing at the long suffering Heathcliff, that the worm retreated and I was able to go to sleep.

But on the Pennine Way I have been struck down by a far more serious affliction – bacon.

One of the side effects of knocking half your teeth out in a cycling accident is that you have to have them replaced with artificial things called implants.   These bionic teeth are carefully designed to have gaps between them which are just big enough to harbour frustrating fibres of bacon.   They take up residence and, like earworms, are impossible to shift.

Unfortunately this morning I chose bacon for breakfast.   A mistake.   A bit of bacon approximately the size of a thick rope stuck between my teeth and no matter how hard I poked and sucked it with my tongue, it was stuck fast.   To compound the problem, when packing for the trip, I had decided to leave my dental floss behind, in the interests of weight reduction.   This was a bit daft as my packed lunch alone weighs about eight hundred times as much as the floss and adding it to my pack would have made no difference at all.

I was only able to remove the rope when I got to the B&B and could investigate it with my toothbrush.   The relief was instantaneous. A bit like giving birth to a telegraph pole, actually.   So, naturally, I have never vowed never to eat bacon again – or not, at least, till I can find a shop which sells dental floss.

I was so busy with my tooth, that much of today’s walk went un-noticed.   Actually, it was a straightforward day’s hike over two lofty moors – Ickornshaw and Elslack – separated by the surprisingly industrial but rather charming hamlet of Lothersdale.   The weather was less dramatically bright than in previous days, but it was dry, clear and cold if not sunny.   Once again the views were far-reaching and it was nice to spot the familiar landmarks of Pendle Hill and Ingleborough appearing in the northern distance.

The last part of the walk, from Thornton in Craven to Gargrave, was actually probably the least enjoyable section of the PW so far.   It passed through lowland agricultural land, full of livestock, farms and mud, and was quite tricky to navigate.   This is my very least favourite form of hiking, and I’m looking forward to regaining the hills tomorrow.

Speaking of tomorrow, I realise that I have made a bit of tactical error by stopping today’s walk at Gargrave – at “only” 16 miles.   I could easily have pressed on a bit further up the valley towards Malham, which would have shortened the distance to be walked tomorrow.

This next walk, which runs from here to Horton, is over 22 miles and has around 4,000ft of climbing.   That makes it by some margin the second-hardest day of the whole PW (the actual hardest will be the last day – but more on that as the walk progresses).   It also takes in two significant climbs, over Fountains Fell and Penyghent. So I’m expecting it to be tough and I’m rather regretting making this strategic mistake.

Anyway I just need to man up, get a good night’s sleep and load up on carbs at breakfast.   And definitely avoid the bacon.

Today’s photos (click to enlarge)
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On the top of Ickornshaw Moor, with Pendle Hill beyond Amazing collection of snowdrops on path down to Lothersdale
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Just like people, they are appealing when they are small Shame they have to grow up to be grumpy adults…   (I now know that these are Blackface sheep, of the generic type, not Welsh)
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Burning off the heather to create new shoots which grouse feed from before we shoot them I was surprised to learn from the map that the place where this curious feature is located is called “Double Arched bridge”
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I love the trees in winter.  Like the earth’s lungs.
The previous day’s blog follows below the blue line