Monday 22nd August - Ribblehead to Dent
Distance: 8 miles
Weather: poured with rain until 2pm then overcast
We looked at the weather this morning and a command decision was made by me and agreed by Mrs C: we would catch the train from Ribblehead to Dent Station. This is a ten minute train journey which would save us 3 miles walking through the deluge which greeted us when we opened the curtains this morning and had accompanied our interrupted sleep last night. As we were preparing to leave we met a couple from Stratford-upon-Avon who were also staying at The Station Inn and were walking The Dales Way which converges with The Dales High Way at Dent Dale. They had also decided to catch the train whereas the other Dales Way Walkers at the Inn were determined to continue to do the whole day on the trail. Time tables were consulted ( a handy notice above the bar in the Station Inn gave us all the information we needed) and we walked two minutes to the station through the sheeting rain. We sheltered in the warm, dry waiting room and the train arrived promptly and we were off. Our new companions (R & I ) sat with us and a chap opposite chatted to me about the weather and the floods in Carlisle and Cockermouth last winter. The train guard waved us off the train saying we were mad . I checked our route and R & I asked if they could accompany us which we were happy to agree to as they were good company as we splashed downhill along the river/road.
As we approached the River Dee, we could hear it thundering which was a surprise to me as on previous walks along Dent Dale the river was no where to be seen. Then we reached the bridge and the riverside path we were going to follow and we saw the river in full spate. The path was flooded and the trees overhanging the river were being tossed about by the force of the water. I consulted the map and I suggested we walk along the quiet road to Dent - all agreed immediately. The rain continued to pour: every beck, spring and stream coming down the dale sides was a torrent. In places, the road was covered in rushing water which hurried to join the overflowing river below us. We met a couple of ladies heading the other way and they told us that the water was quite deep in places further along the road. We soldiered on, chatting, getting wet feet and laughing in the face of adversity. Suddenly we noticed a river pouring across the road from the fields on the right. Someone said, "Shall we take off our boots and paddle ?" This was dismissed and we waded through with boots on and the water was over our ankles. The force of the water was strong and scary but we made it across. We continued along the road with many more flooded sections. The Tesco delivery van passed us and gave us a cheery wave - nothing stops them.
Eventually we arrived in Dent which, thankfully, was flood free. R had said he would get us all hot chocolates so we headed for the pub and enjoyed lovely hot chocolate drinks as we chatted and dried out in the bar. Goodbyes were said as R & I still had to walk to Sedbergh for their next night's accommodation. They checked our maps for a drier route and then they were off. We walked the short distance to our accommodation, The Sun Inn and shut the door on the weather.