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Pennine Way 1978

Attempt on the Pennine way in August 1978 with Neil Shuttleworth and Simon Bullivant


Tuesday 15th - We started from Edale at 8.50 and walk up Grindsbrook, from here we took a compass bearing and walked across to Kinder Downfall. At Kinder Downfall it started to rain and the spray of the waterfall was being blown back. We unexpectedly found a survival shelter made from rocks and crawled in for some coffee. We met a chap and made him some coffee, he had a degree in economics. The clouds drew in and visibility was down to 30 feet. The rain was very forceful, we walked down Kinder Downfall and then up Mill Hill. On top of Mill Hill there was a terrific thunder storm. There was a flash of lightening just behind us immediately followed by a thunder chap over head, we all lay flat on the ground and waited. We walked across the moors to the Snake Pass and then up the plastic path and then up Devil's Dyke. Then we walked on to Bleaklow Head. It was there that Simon fell in a bog and it took five minutes to get him out. We then came down Torside Clough and onto the campsite at Crowden. Cook some pop corn in the evening.

Wednesday 16th - Spend a lot of time carefully putting Simon's new tent away. Started from Crowden at 11.20. Climbed up Black Hill, terrible. 18 miles of hard walking. The Black Hill peat pulled at the knees at every step. Bad rain all day, we get soaked. The tents are still wet. Wave to cars on the M62 but nobody waves back. Arrive at the White House Inn at 8.45pm in the dark. Harsh wind, we all have very tired feet.

Thursday 17th - Started from the White House Inn quarry at 11.20am. Walked quickly to Stoodley Pike. Went up and had a look around. Went down to the spring, great water. Went down to a farm for some cheap meals, lots of sandwiches. After ¾ of an hour we go down to the Calder valley. Hill out of valley is very steep. A lad selling orange juice at the side of the track tells us that there are people only a couple of hours in front. Found an excellent shop and brought lots of supplies, went on after a long rest. Caught people up after a hard slog to Withins (Wuthering Heights). Fast walk down to Ponden Hall, decide to stay in the Hall. Ponden Hall is warm and very welcoming. Yorkshire TV are making a serial about a family that used to live here. We are still on our walking schedule, but only just. It has been hard going, our main problem is getting up in the morning.

Friday 18th - We started off from Ponden hall with an excellent breakfast and a good nights sleep. We walked towards Ickornshaw stopping at a farm shop on the way for ice cream and a drink. We then walked on to Lothersdale and then on to Thornton-in-Craven where we stopped at a Post-Office for refreshment. We then moved on to the Liverpool-Leeds canal where we saw the double bridge. We walked across some fields to Gargrave where we camped. We walked 17 miles in the day.

Saturday 19th - Gargrave to Malham 7 miles, we counted this as a rest day. Morning up early, Neil now does most of the cooking. Simon and Chris went to the village and brought a few things. Started walking at 2pm. Most of the way was along by the river, easy going, have an hours rest by the river, bathed our feet. Arrived at Malham just before 6pm. Walk up to the cove to have a look.

Sunday 20th - Malham to Horton-in-Ribblesdale, 15 miles. We started from Malham at 10.40, climbed up the cove and had a look around, too misty for good views. Walked along to Malham tarn house, easy going. Crossed Fountains fell, not so easy. Dropped into the valley and walked up-stream. Had a snack and started the assault on Pen-y-Gent, easy going except the gritstone climb to the top. Dropped down from Pen-y-Gent into Horton. I get my first ever blister. Arrived at 6.15 and went into the café.

Monday 21st - Horton to Hawes, 15 miles. Wet equipment, very misty and raining. Neil has a bad headache, stop for an hour in a barn to wait for it to go away. He had been hit on the head by a canoe last week. Steady climb up onto the Roman road, then good going. Still very misty, not see many people. Walked along cliff edge and then dropped into the valley, Simon's feet bad. Brought fish and chips for supper, upset Simon's stomach. Look around and find a Doctors, decide to visit next morning.

Tuesday 22nd - Stayed in Hawes all day. Visited the doctors at 9am. Neil could have a cracked skull. They request an ambulance to come and pick him up later from outside the tent and take him to Northallerton hospital. We have to give directions to our tent in a campsite full of small hike tents. The x-ray later reveals that it is not a cracked skull. Simon's heel also mystery disease, told to rest it if possible. PW not doing it any good. Debate what to do and come to the sad decision that we must give up. Preparations are made to journey home tonight and tomorrow morning.

Wednesday 23rd - Get the bus to Northallerton, there are no trains south from there that night. They tell us to try York. Get a late train to York, but there are no trains home from there either. We sleep in the waiting room. We are woken at 3am to have our tickets checked.

Thursday 24th - Get home just in time for our O level results to be announced.

Pennine way practice - 15th July 1978 - Me and Simon do the first three days as practice. I open a tin of beans with a stone.

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