The Dales Way: Day 2 – Burnsall to Cray

(12th February 2012 – 15 miles)

The weather was no different: snow hadn’t melted, cloud and mist hadn’t lifted, the sun wasn’t shining and it was still very cold.

Burnsall Bridge Dales Way

Burnsall Bridge

But Wharfedale was still very beautiful, in a bleak kind of way.  After another fat-soaked breakfast (and a fruit salad that I wanted to pour into my rucksack and take away with me), I set off on my second day along the river.

Dales Way Day 2 Burnsall to Cray (1)

Almost immediately, I had to stop and fish out my Yaktrax again.  My boots couldn’t get a grip on the polished ice.  I used my Yaktrax several more times during the day.

Dales Way Day 2 Burnsall to Cray (2)

The riverside path would normally be busy but the ice made it unsafe for long stretches and I barely saw a soul.

Dales Way Day 2 Burnsall to Cray (5)

I arrived in and passed through Grassington without stopping.  The DW leaves the river just beyond the town as local landowners and fishermen opposed granting a right-of-way along the riverbank – thanks, guys.  Instead, the route climbs quite steeply onto limestone.

Dales Way Day 2 Burnsall to Cray (8)

These few miles away from the Wharfe and high up above the valley, are a highlight of the Dales Way – thanks, guys.

Dales Way Day 2 Burnsall to Cray (10)

As I scrunched through icy snow

Dales Way Day 2 Burnsall to Cray (11)

(followed by THIS man)

Dales Way Day 2 Burnsall to Cray (12)

I was captivated by the views

DSC_0175

and scenery all around me.

Dales Way Day 2 Burnsall to Cray (16)

Unlike the Coast to Coast (which I walked in March 2013), the DW is well signed … though you’ll still need a guide-book.  (But this signpost is wrong – the distance between Grassington and Kettlewell is six and a half miles.  A part of me, with bobble hat and nasal whiny voice, simply had to tell you that).

Dales Way Day 2 Burnsall to Cray (19)

I eked out this section as much as I could;

Dales Way Day 2 Burnsall to Cray (20)

stopping regularly, stretching out time and then slowly walking on again.

Dales Way Day 2 Burnsall to Cray (21)

I have rarely seen a more lovely,

Dales Way Day 2 Burnsall to Cray (22)

breathtaking landscape.

Dales Way Day 2 Burnsall to Cray (23)

Today alone was vindication for travelling up to Yorkshire in February, in snow, to walk an 80-mile path.

Dales Way Day 2 Burnsall to Cray (24)

When the path finally began its descent back to the river, disappointment slowed me down even more.  I didn’t want to leave that high, brittle landscape … but a marvellous steak and ale pie at The Racehorses Hotel in Kettlewell was good compensation.

Dales Way Day 2 Burnsall to Cray (25)

After lunch, I rejoined the Wharfe for the last few miles of the day.  Buckden (usually considered a natural end to day 2) used to have three pubs, but the last of these had closed shortly before my trip.  (The Buck Inn has reopened since I passed through).  With nowhere to sleep in Buckden, I had a further mile’s traipse, up the road to Cray and my bed.

White Lion Inn Cray

The White Lion is an old, unspoilt pub but it was comparatively pricey at £57.50.  (It has changed hands and been refurbished since my stay).  And whilst my room was OK, the landlord seemed reluctant to heat it.  When I rested on my bed on arrival, the room was so cold, I needed to get under the covers.  Maybe it was a ploy to lure me from my room to sit in the bar, by the fire, supping his beer.

If it was, it worked.  Damn him.

6 thoughts on “The Dales Way: Day 2 – Burnsall to Cray

  1. Lovely photographs and descriptions, I feel I am on this journey with you, except with very dry feet and a glass of wine in hand whilst I read. The scenery is spectacular.

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