Trails and trials of the writer who walks
It’s 15 miles from Malham to Horton, including Pen-y-Ghent which has some useful rock steps for the steepest part to the summit but they’re somehow confusing right at the end, and I clamber up the last part like a clumsy four-legged beetle, the rucksack weight forever threatening to tip me off.
“You went a funny way,” says a man on the shelter summit, eating two Glovers meat pies from a bag. (My favourite pie, he never offered me any). It’s his Wednesday afternoon treat: he leaves work early and takes two pies up Pen-Y-Ghent.
The road down to Horton is easy but full of rocks and stones that turn my ankles this way and that so that they are quite painful by the time I arrive. Also there’s a big hole in the heel of my left boot where pebbles are getting lodged. I must be carrying half a pound of gravel with me. Hopefully, the boot will get me to Hawes where alternative clogging will have to be purchased at great expense.
A couple of handsome and fit local lads who are playing darts in the Crown at Horton (well, I can still look can’t I?) have explained to me where the campsite is. Now I know it’s nearby, I can settle down to another pint as it’s still only 5:40 pm – a good hour of daylight left – and there’s a nice choice of real ale in this pub
Holme Farm campsite is very close to yet another pub and is run by quite an eccentric character who carries out his business in a large permanent tent (when he’s not in the pub). It’s like walking into the office of the head Bedouin. The whole site has a lot of character: decorative little plates on the loo doors, flowering tubs dotted around the field.
Hare and tortoise meet up again. Of course, he’d arrived a lot earlier and already had a couple of pints in the pub nearest the campsite, but after pitching my tent, I dragged him back for another (that will be his story and he’s sticking to it). This was to develop into a pattern over the coming days – he kept going back to pubs he’d already been in.