Friday, November 16, 2012

Horton-in-Ribblesdale to Cam Farm area

Our night at the Golden Lion Inn passed uneventfully.  The first view out of the window in the morning was of the church across the street, cloaked in grayness and fog.  With a graveyard in the front and some black ravens flying about, it was decidedly spooky.
Horton-in-Ribblesdale's ancient church
As was becoming typical on our journey, we were short on supplies.  It's hard to carry a lot of supplies when the only means of transporting them is your back. With the Pen-y-ghent Cafe closed and the other store referenced in our guidebook no longer in business, our chances to restock didn't look good.  We asked the chef who prepared our breakfast (who was also last night's bartender) whether there were any shops nearby.  He thought for a while and initially told us that we were out of luck. Our hearts sank... Then he remembered a little "mobile shop" and told us how to get to it. Little did we know how accurate his description would be.

We packed up and headed out in the direction we'd been given.  We were soon doubting ourselves and our friend, the chef.  The street we were told to turn down looked exclusively residential in nature.  We were both a little cranky, but somehow I persuaded Chuck to proceed on faith.  Sure enough at the end of the lane, there was a silver camper with "Mobile Shop" painted in red on it. There was a handwritten note on the door stating that the owner had gone to Settle (a nearby town with a strange name) to get bread and would be back in around 10:45/11:00.  Chuck was not inclined to wait.  He hates waiting even at the best of times, but in a town that smelled of chemicals and exhaust (which we assumed were from the quarry nearby) there seemed to be no point.  But I used all my charms to convince him we would be happier sticking around for a bit longer.
"I hate waiting!"
Fortunately for me, when the owner came back and we got a chance to explore the shop, it was (again) worth the wait.  Fresh fruit and veg, biscuits, dairy products, juices, the aforementioned bread, all the basic supplies were there.  Maybe the Mobile Shop didn't have quite the selection of Aladdin's Cave or Gordale Gifts, but we weren't in a position to be picky.  We stocked up (at least to see us through the next day or two)!!!

Somehow, even though Horton-in-Ribblesdale is at best a one-street town, we got a little lost on our way our of town.  We did get to see some lovely chickens living in the town park though.  I wondered what the townspeople did when they wanted to use the park for something other than providing chickens with a home. Maybe they just played a complex version of football that had obstacles in the form of chickens...

Eventually we figured out where we needed to go and started climbing back up into the hills.  We passed a lot of old, abandoned stone buildings and outcrops of limestone and even place called "Calf Holes."  The guidebook didn't say much about this stream/ mini waterfall other than "Calf Holes - Water falls into a sink hole." But it was scenic, so we stopped and looked for a bit. It was definitely pretty, but I couldn't figure out why there was a wall, a wire fence, and a stile to climb over to get down by the water. Chuck and I figured maybe it was for people wanting to picnic by the stream.  (I've since learned that the sink hole is a deep cave and people like to go spelunking in Calf Holes.)
Calf Holes
We didn't tarry long; there were still miles to go before we would sleep.  Ahead of us was a deep ravine called Ling Gill, with a beck (stream) flowing through it.  The Ling Gill area has been deemed a "nature reserve,"  and the signs promised landscapes and flowers and wildlife galore.  In November, the flowers and the wildlife are no where close to "galore."  But the scenery was beautiful.  I tried to take pictures to capture the allure of the gorge, but unfortunately, they do not really convey either the depth or the loveliness.
An unimpressive picture of an impressive place
Past the ravine we walked along the beck and over a bridge with an unintelligible stone plaque on it.  The guidebook told us that all it said was that the bridge had been repaired in 1765.
A very old bridge

Ling Gill Beck
If it was repaired in 1765, when was it built? Neither the book nor the bridge gave us any clues.  I had to content myself with imagining it to be over 500 years old.  Pretty amazing. Definitely older than anything in America. I've seen lots of old things in England, but this bridge out in the middle of nowhere sparked the imagination.  Why would they build a bridge here? What happened to the roads that must have led up to it?  Were there towns nearby that don't exist anymore? Who used the bridge?

Often times in my past I've thought that I should have followed my gut back in college when I wanted to quit studying physics.  Every year that I was in college I would have a minimum of one (and usually many) "what am I doing?" moments which would lead me down the path of exploring a different major. Sometimes I went and talked with other potential academic advisors. Sometimes, I'd just start planning out what other courses I could take. I actually started my senior year in college trying to figure out if I could switch majors and still graduate on time (mine was a school that didn't allow you to take more than 3 classes at a time or spend more than 4 years).  I wanted to become an anthropology major.  The sad thing was I had one required course outside of my major that I still needed to take in order to graduate, and this made me one course short of being able to major in anthropology.

I wonder, had I been able to persuade someone to let me take four courses in one term, would I have ended up doing something I could be passionate about, like maybe archaeology?  I suppose one could have switched from physics to archaeology in grad school, but anthropology to archaeology seems like they fit together a bit more naturally. I've always been fascinated by ancient cultures - Egyptians, Mayans, Incans, Celts, etc.  History is so inspiring to me.  How late is too late to start your life/career over?

Anyway, back to the Pennine Way, I contented myself with simply wondering about the bridge and its "life."  We were now walking towards an old Roman pathway, and we were supposed to be able to see the Ribblehead Viaduct off in the distance.  Of course, we would have no such luck with the views.  The fog and rain were descending again, and our view of the viaduct is below:
Can you see the hint of a structure way off in the mist? That's the Viaduct
How disappointing!!! I guess that's one of the reasons not to walk in November. We trundled on, and were soon on Cam High Road. It was nice to walk on pavement for a while. We passed a couple of girls, walking with their dog.  We asked them how they were, and their response was "sore."  Chuck and I replied politely, but as soon as they were past, we asked each other "Sore from what?"  Neither of us had experienced any soreness so far on the journey.  Was there something far worse than our worst climbs ahead of us?  The guidebook hadn't indicated so...  Oh well, perhaps they had climbed up from the valley floor to the path.

We were getting close to the end of the day. The mist was descending quickly and the rain was starting to come down.  The ground on either side of the road was decidedly damp and soggy.  We kept looking for a flat spot to camp.  Finally, with darkness approaching, we decided that the best we were going to do was to camp directly on the road in the corner of an intersection.  The intersection seemed to have been designed to allow cars or trucks to turn around in each of the corners. So, we picked the flattest and least puddle-ridden of the corners and set up the tent.  It would be a long and wet night...

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