" I was just worried you might fall off".
Words from a lady motorist on the other side of a pair of nine foot high wrought iron gates with spikes on the top. Why oh why didn't I take a photo? I was high up trying to get my left foot over the spikes and in perhaps more danger than I thought.
The gates are at the entrance to Cowan Head.
"Cowan Head is a luxury residential development of sixty apartments and cottages created on the site of an eighteenth century paper mill.
Look at the map below. You will see there are paths on either side of the river from Bowston, one is the Dales Way, the other is not. I took the wrong one.
At Cowan Head less than a kilometre upstream I realised my mistake. There is a gate with a notice saying "strictly private, residents only, cctv in operation" and a bridge connecting to the luxury apartments on the other side of the river, and the Dales Way on the adjacent road. There is another bridge a few hundred yards upstream so I marched on only to find it has been washed away. I returned and went over the private bridge into the Cowan Head complex and set off walking to the exit only to be confronted by the huge, electronically controlled locked gates. There was nobody about. I decided to climb. It wasn't going well when the car approached from the other side. I descended with not much dignity and the gates hummed open. The lady was quite kind, more concerend about my safety than my trespass.
|I managed to cull this from the Internet|
That epic took place long after my start at St. Catherine's Church when I elected to do the none Dales Way part first which again proved to be a super mélange of old country lanes and narrow roads, benign sheep-cropped fields, and mysterious streams bubbling off into dark enclaves. There is smug satisfaction in devising my own route from the map, especially when it turns out so well.
Towards the end of the route I met Julie and "?", sorry the gent's name has gone from my head. They were backpacking the whole of the Dales Way and on their way to the finish at Bowness. We walked and chatted together for half a mile or so until I left the path to return to my starting point. These two were experienced backpackers and full of enthusiasm and interest, (they had just wild camped on Cam Fell) and I wish I had obtained an email address to maybe compare our future exploits. I did mention this blog to them and hopefully they will read this and get in touch (firstname.lastname@example.org).
|St Catherine's Church. I parked in their car park, just off right of photo.|
This was built in 1887 - the remains of the originsal are just up the hill - see next two photos
|Minor roads with views.|
Did I mention it was drizzly when I set off? In Scotland a "dreish" day.
It cleared up later
|You know you are on the ancient paths|
|"...mysterious streams bubbling off into dark enclaves."|
|Just another relic|
|Old bridleways - a sense of history|
|Cowan Head, here on the other side of the river from my route - scene of my encounter with the high gate.|
All previous photos were on my outward route supporting my enthusiasm
|After the gate episode. Tranquil walking on the Dales Way on the correct side of the River Kent|