Tackling the Backbone of England

Rarely able to say ‘no’, I didn’t hesitate to accept the opportunity to revisit some of my favourite geographical locations in the North of England this summer. Walking a section of the Pennine Way from Malham Cove, some 85 rugged miles north, was not only a pleasure but an honour, as the reason that lay behind the hike was to support Scoliosis research. We walked the Backbone of England to help those whose own backbone is cruelly misshapen, and with some amazing young people who are testament to the wonders of modern surgery.

Arriving near Malham by train in beautiful July sunshine, we couldn’t quite believe how lucky we were to be surrounded by such a stunning landscape. Every day of our walk brought different delights, but it was the first that was perhaps the most memorable simply because it was so challenging! The 100-plus steep steps beside Malham Cove rewarded us with the sight of peregrine falcons wheeling high above the impressive limestone cliffs. After a snack beside Malham Tarn we began another climb up towards Fountains Fell, and as we climbed the main summit of the day really began to dominate the horizon.  No-one in the group confessed to their feelings but it’s true to say that our lunch stop on the brow of the Fell was quite silent as we sat and contemplated Pen-y-ghent lying straight ahead.

As we walked down the Fell, it was hard to work out the upward route that we’d taken, but one thing was clear: we needed to walk all the way down and then all the way up to the summit of Pen-y-ghent!  From the bottom it looked tough. The day was very warm and we’d already covered about 10 miles – but there was only one way to go. The final scramble to the top was exhilarating and the view from the top was … just amazing. By the time we reached Horton-in-Ribblesdale that evening there was a shared sense of achievement and delight, and I knew that I had definitely picked a fantastic challenge to undertake.

Find out more: Julia’s walks are enjoyed by a growing number of local people and are not all huge hikes! To find out more please email her at Julia@icelandtraveller.co.uk  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *