Day Five on the Pennine Way – Horton on Ribblesdale to Thwaite

Click here to watch my video account of day five. 

Today was a late start (8am) after something that was described as a Continental Breakfast. The first part of the walk, to Hawes, was mainly over a good path. Height gained, height lost but nothing to dramatic. We met the camper on a dirt track near Outershaw. And Andy consumed what is now becoming a stable of fried egg sarnie.

We feared we where in for a telling off when a couple of gillies (game keepers in this part of the world) arrived in a quad vehicle. However other than saying it would be ill advised to drive the camper any further, they proved great company for the next quarter of an hour. We learnt all about the quad they where driving, how much it cost and how to keep the cost down and how important it was to have one in this part of the world.

That was followed by rather too much detail of carrion crows and other scavengers, gruesome stories, as well as accounts of walkers helped and rescued over the years. They also gave us our first contribution when we told them what we where doing. So the £2 will be added to our total.

From here we completed the long descent in to Hawes, a pretty but very tourist filled village in the Yorkshire Dales. At this point we still had 9 miles left and they weren’t going to be easy miles.

A long gradual climb up onto a ridge which then kept going up to the #harvestpalehighpoint of Shunner Moor. By this stage we had had about enough, but we still had to descend another 4 miles over high moorland and what proved to be more painfully, down boulder strewn tracks.

At the end, in the village of Thwaite, we collapsed into the Camper and were grateful to be driven back to Hawes Youth Hostel, a beer and some food.

Day Four on the Pennine Way – Gargrave to Horton in Ribblesdale

I’m going to start today’s entry with a reminder of why Andy and I are inflicting this on ourselves and your pockets.

The Dolly Parton Foundation and the Imagination Library provides a free, new book every month to kids and their parents every month from their birth until they are Five. Every pound we are raising is matched by the Foundation.

So I want to say a big thank you to everyone who has supported us so far, and if you feel like making a donation, you can do so here

So today was a walk in three Bs – Boring, Ball Ache and Brilliant.

Gargrave to Malham was a meander over fields, with the only excitement being avoiding cows and their calves. Coffee and sandwiches at Malham, we then headed off to Malham Cove in the drizzling rain.

We turned left at the cove up a perfectly formed National Trust staircase and then onto clint & grikes of the summit the limestone pavement. The limestone gets slippery when wet and we slid our way across. We walked up and round to Malham Tarn, joining the tourists and walked round the north coast before hacking off through fields and fell, to meet the camper.

We’d done 13 miles by this point and were shattered. Food and coffee and then a change of clothes,and I needed to get the walking poles out for the first time. With two hills to go, in low cloud, this was not something we were looking forward too.

As we headed off though, we discovered the route was on a well constructed miner’s path up to the summit of Fountain Fell and back down the other side. The coffee and sandwiches had given us a boost of energy and we made good time to our next meeting point at the foot of Pen-Y-Ghent.

Next fuel stop was fried egg sandwich, which exploded yolk all over me and Andy when we took a bite (Send us your best yoke) After that it was Pen-Y-Ghent, steep, precipitous and challenging from where we started, but surprisingly easy when we got on it.

The view would have be magnificent if we had not hit the summit in low cloud. This was the steepest climb so far and was today’s Castle Rock Brewery #harvestpalehighpoint. All we had left was a walk down to Horton in Ribblesdale.

On the way Andy met some Geordies. Turned out they lived 500 yards from where he was brought up!

Day Three on the Pennine Way – Grople Reservoir to Gargrave

So we knew it was going to rain today. But only from 10am and so we set the alarms for 4.30 out by 5.45 and headed up to the Reservoirs that we left the night before and got there about 6.30. This was the last of the route we’d done while working out whether we capable of working out if we were able to do 26 miles a day.

We headed out from the reservoir across the top of Withens past the ruins of a house that had apparently inspired Emily Bronté (the Earnshaw House in Wuthering Heights), a book that Andy has read three times but was all news to me, before gradually. Descending to Ponden Reservoir. We made good time ahead of the rain, stopping only momentarily for a Notts County Cricket photo shoot with their donated shirt. To tweet in support of their 20/20 1/4 final clash against Somerset (subsequently called off due to rain) So look out for our tweet again tomorrow.

Up hill, down hill, across the valley and up hill again, today was destined to be a series of undulations and plenty of field and the odd high point. By 9am we had managed 8 miles and I said to Andy that we should manage another 3 or 4 miles before the rain sets in, two minutes later, it started and we stopped to kit ourselves out with gaiters, waterproof trousers, jackets and gloves.

I say waterproof gloves but they proved to be anything but, having been purchased 25 years earlier. The Goretex and tape seams just disintegrated in the face of the increasingly heavier and heavier down pour.

As we came down of the hill we encountered another person on the Pennine Way, a village with a pub (closed) and we them started the long slog up another hill over fields through woods and ultimately, with some relief, onto the moorland.

The rain was really heavy now, and we were both getting cold as well as wet. As we walked down yet another undulation, we relieved to see the camper parked up under the bridge.

Sandwiches, coffee and, for me, a change of boots, shirt as well a new dressing on my blister meant that the pit stop was longer than planned.

However, revived we set off on the remaking five miles and yet another burst was a mile long trek along a canal (with the obvious advantage of it being flat).

The remainder of the walk hacked across fields,with no great challenge until with reached Gargrave just after 3pm just in time to hear the football scores. Which cheered me up after a wet miserable day.

Day Two on the Pennine Way – A635 Saddlewoth Moor to Gorple Reservoir

Click here to watch my video account of day two.

Up at half five and out by 6:30am we hit the trail from the same place we finished the night before. Today would be a day of reservoirs and edges and we were soon passing Wessenden Reservoir before climbing sharply before Swellands Reservoir before descending down to Stand Edge.

We crossed the A62 by the coach house were we had stayed the night before and followed the cliff line at the edge of Close Moss past March Hill and across Bleakedgate Moor before heading down to cross the M62 on a rather airy foot bridge. The ridge was marked in several places with newly painted, white trig points as we climbed to Blackstone Edge, the highest point was marked with another Trig Point.

Over the A58 and past Blackstone Edge Reservoir, Lighthazzles Reservoir, Warland Reservoir (I said there were a lot of reservoirs) before a great walk along the edges overlooking the Todmorden towards Stoodley Monument, where we had a rest and a sandwich.

Yesterday we’d hardly seen anybody, but today we met walkers, mountain bikers, dogs and their owners and even some Australians aiming to complete the first two days of their walk in the same way as us. They’d started in Edale, stayed at the Carriage House overnight, as we had, and as we headed down from the monument towards Charlestown, just south west of Hebdon Bridge we met and had a chat.

Crossing the A646, we took a welcome rest in the camper before climbing sharply up towards open countryside over fields and farmland before dropping steeply into a narrow valley and then up the other side and towards Colden. from there it was another sharp climb to open moor land the off on good paths to Clough Head Hill, before dropping Grople Lower Reservoir and finally finishing at the Car Park just east of Clough Foot.

It had been a sunny, breezy day but 25 miles of undulating hillside had meant we pleased to see the camper and finish. we shared a bottle of beer to celebrate. We drove back to Hebdon Bridge, set up in the hostel and then went out to eat. However as we bid to beat the heavy rain forecast for tomorrow, we aiming for a 4.30am alarm call and a 6am start. Early night then.

Day One on the Pennine Way – Edale to A635

Click here for my video from day one. 

And off we go! A 7am start with the classic Derbyshire (well almost Derbyshire) 3 Peaks to go. Kinder Scout, Bleaklow and Black Hill.

Dry but windy at the start it wasn’t long before the wind began to drive drops of rain. As the wind dropped the rain began to fall harder. It wasn’t long before we were wearing full waterproofs and walking through full cloud along kinder edges, across Kinder Fall before swinging around to Snake Pass.

Luckily at Snake Pass the camper was waiting because just as we arrived the heavens opened. So we dived in the camper, got a coffee and changed socks.

Snake Pass was also where we met the BBC- an interview that took place in the driving rain. I explained what we were doing, why we where raising money for the Imagination Library and how much of a challenge 268 miles in 268 hours was (tough enough in the sun, let alone the rain).

A separate piece explaining the challenges the council was facing as our funding declines and demand for public service increases was conducted in almost monsoon conditions and if it ever gets an airing on the Politics Show should be comedy gold.

Interviews over, we headed of over Bleaklow, the rain stopped and there was even a glimpse of blue sky. This lasted 50 mins before the rain came in again.

Bleaklow summitted, we descended down towards Crowden and the A628. First on a broad path and then an increasingly narrow and steep edge. Finally passing a farm and reservoir before crossing the A628. We ate our sandwiches in a pine wood as the weather broke again but the rain was short lived and as it cleared we started the trek up to Black Hill. A long and at first quite steep trek, before levelling out to another narrow path along the edge of a cliff.

So far on the walk we had hardly seen anybody, except for a small group of(very wet) young people doing their Duke of Edinburgh near the top of Bleaklow and 3 other walkers heading up from Crowden as we descended.

On the ridge to Black Hill we met two other walkers who helpfully warned us that some of the rivers we were about to cross could be a bit challenging, and so it proved with stepping stones submerged and fords covered in feet of water.

We managed to get across on the occasions we needed to without falling in, but with wet feet we continued the tramp across bog and flag stones. The newly white washed trig point at the top of Black Hill. From there it was just 2 more miles to our destination, a steepish descent before a sharp left turn to follow a path across Saddleworth Moor to the A635. We could see the camper in the distance but as the minutes ticked by, it never seemed to get any nearer. Two deep cuts meant two down climbs and river crossings before scrambling up the other side delayed us but finally we reached our destination and celebrated with a Harvest Pale (Thanks Castle Rock)

Half an hour later, we were at the Carriage House Pub. And we were pleased to see our room had a bath. After a two hour soaking, changed clothes and sorted packs, headed to the bar for dinner and a pint.

Cllr Jon Collins and Andy setting off at Edale.

Beginning my 267 miles Walk for Dolly Parton Imagination Library!

Today I have started my 267 mile walk of the Penine Way to raise money for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library. I will be completing the journey across 10 days which means I’ll be walking more than a marathon every day- which really will be a serious challenge. I have no idea whether I’ll be able to do the whole of the challenge, but it’s all for a great cause. Getting children reading at an early age is important, and the Dolly Parton Imagination Library makes that possible for many children in Nottingham.

Due to all the amazing donations I have already received my fundraising target has now been raised from £2670 to £5340! Nottingham’s great local sport teams have also been very supportive with Nottingham Panthers, Nottingham Outlaws, Nottingham Forest and Nottingham County all donating t-shirts for me to wear along walk. The t-shirts will also be auctioned for charity – after a good wash of course!

I have set up a Facebook page (@CllrCollinsCharityWalk) which you can like to keep up to date with my progress. I will also be regularly tweeting from @CllrJonCollins.

If you haven’t already and are able to, please consider donating through the Just Giving page. I have included information about the Dolly Parton Imagination Library and the work they do in Nottingham below.

About the Dolly Parton Imagination Library
In 1995 Dolly Parton launched the Imagination Library in Sevier County, Tennessee. Her vision was to get children to fall in love with reading by giving them a specially selected free book each month from birth until their fifth birthday. By 2000 the scheme was so popular it was rolled out to different communities across the US.

The Nottingham story – The vision of the Imagination Library was first sparked in Nottingham in 2009 by Cheryl Mitchell, a Teaching Assistant at Fernwood Infant School, Wollaton. Cheryl campaigned to raise funds and encouraged people to support the charity.

Momentum gathered when the Rotary Club of Nottingham worked with Nottingham City Council to set up the Imagination Library in the Nottingham neighbourhood of Bilborough. Nottingham City Council’s Children’s Centres were enrolled to administer the scheme and Health Visitors promoted the scheme to parents.

The scheme is now running successfully in nine of the city’s 20 wards. The scheme is currently supported by the Rotary Club of Nottingham, Small Steps Big Changes and Castle Cavendish. It currently has more than 4,000 Nottingham children signed up and has delivered more than 100,000 books since 2009.

Children’s literacy in Nottingham
In Nottingham children can start school with reading skills 14% behind the national average. The Imagination Library is proven to change this. Children who get these monthly books are 28.8% more likely to be ready for school by their fifth birthday.

The Imagination Library ignites a love of books and helps children to develop early literacy skills such as listening, concentrating, talking about new ideas and using their imaginations. These are all skills children need in order to be ready to start school at age five. Ultimately the data shows that children who start school with these skills are more likely to leave school with better grades at age 16.