Distance: 25,9 km (16,1 mi) for a total of 1124,6 km (698,8 mi)
Ascent (ca.): 985 m (3235 ft)
Weather: Dry and windy most of the day, first fog then also rain later in the afternoon
We had spent the night at the youth hostel in Malham and opted for having breakfast as well. This would mean a comparatively late start, but the way to Horton in Ribblesdale wasn’t as long as what we had done the last days and could even been shortened by not going up Pen-y-ghent. At breakfast Geoff told me that his blisters had worsened and that he prefer if we walk separately at our own paces today.
It was a bit later than I had hoped to leave, but I knew that I still hadn’t to hurry. So I took my time around Malham Cove, a really impressive structure which truly looks like the waterfall which had initially formed it.
Just when I started my way up to round Malham Cove and packed away my jacket Peg and John, an American couple walking the PW we had first met approaching Stoodley Pike, came up the way as well. We chatted a bit and of course they enquired about Geoff.
Climbing up the crags behind the cove I was involved in a chat by a man out for a half-day stroll. He assured me that he never before had met a LEJOGer and that he was deeply impressed. It’s interesting to see how much easier people address a solo hiker than even a pair of walkers.
Shortly afterwards Malham Tarn came into sight, a large glacial lake. It took me quite some time to walk around its eastern and northern shore on the PW.
There were some fields to cross to get to Tennant Gill. As chance would have it here six Pennine Way walkers met, two and a dog going south, three going north. There was the usual exchange about what lies ahead in either direction.
Up Fountains Fell I soon left the others behind me. It was very windy, but the path was good. After a stretch being a bit more muddy it became a gravel path which allowed to admire the views because I didn’t have to look all the time where to put my feet.
Getting around to the other side of the hill not only confronted me with a much stronger wind but also with the first view of Pen-y-ghent which was to be climbed today as well (although I had decided previously that I was going to leave the final decision about ascending or heading directly for the endpoint of the day to the junction with the respective footpath). At the point where the PW left a minor road it was following for a short time I met Clive again, another PW walker we had met before, but he was on his last day today.
Clive finally opted for the direct way to Horton in Ribblesdale whereas I chose to go up. It involved a bit of scrambling in places but despite of the really strong wind it was not as bad or difficult as I had expected after the warnings. But I won’t forgive the hill that during the time it took me to get up it clouded its summit completely to a visibility of perhaps 30 m and thus denying me some fine views. So the only proof of having been up is this:
The way down was no problem, the wind stayed strong and while still descending it started to rain in increasing intensity. As I’m not especially keen to pitch on wet ground in the pouring rain I rewarded myself with a room. You can call me a wimp for this, but in the end it’s my holidays for two years and I want to enjoy it. It cleared up later and Geoff who also made it here has pitched his tent and we just met in the pub to discuss tomorrow’s plans.