Day 27 – Wensleydale Cheese

Horton in Ribblesdale to Hawes

Every weekend a different charity organises their own Three Peaks Challenge in which participants have to climb the three big Yorkshire peaks and return within 12 hours. I had a farmhouse full of them last night and they were up at 4am preparing for the event. The poor farmer’s wife was cooking a full Yorkshire breakfast at 5am and they were all gone by 6am.

I breakfasted at 7.30 because I’m on holiday and enjoyed my usual cereal and toast. It was raining outside and the sky was thunderous so I put all my waterproof gear on and the farmer returned me to the Pennine Way in his big Mercedes AMG car. Strangely, there was no rain all day until I reached Hawes. I sat outside the first pub, ordered a pint of Peroni (£4.95 – I must get a Yorkshire accent) took all my gear off and the rain suddenly lashed down, from nowhere.

But I’m jumping ahead. I hadn’t gone far on the Pennine Way this morning when I saw a steady stream of Three Peaks people already coming down from Pen-y-Ghent. They shared the path for a kilometre before heading off to the next peak and they told me how much fun it is. One man said he did it in 8 hrs 15 minutes when he was 17 and then 8 hrs 21 minutes when he was 32 but now he was hoping for anything close to 9 hours. He sounds a bit of a softie to me: three hours per hill but he was a local man so he couldn’t have been.

It was a relief to see the throng heading away and to leave me once more in the solitude of the high wilderness grasslands. But hang on! Two people seemed to have missed the sign and were following me, perhaps thinking I was on the challenge. I waited to turn them around but, Praise the Lord, they are walking the Pennine Way and they come from London. Oh to hear people talking normally after all these weeks up north. Had it not been for the virus I would have hugged them like Stanley meeting Livingstone.

And what a lovely couple too. They live in trendy East London. Rich works for a fintech, writing apps and Becky works in the very very heart of Government and is being fast tracked to the top. Meetings with Dominic, Briefings for Boris, Coffee with the new man, what a fab job. I entertained them with my own appalling experience in Government before they put me on a COBOL course in 1980 (hello Roger) and then let me loose in the dazzling new world of Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. And then I gave them a taste of Top Shop in 1985, where I landed after making my escape from Westminster.

They are walking a faster schedule than me and camping, of course. I said I would normally walk much farther each day than the half days I’m doing but I had been over cautious and fearful that the terrain would be a constraint. They laughed and said the Pennine Way was a stroll and it was only the northerners who put out that myth to discourage too many people from down south spoiling the scenery. These are my sort of walking companions. I shall miss them.

Hawes is the home of Wensleydale cheese, my favourite English cheese. Too bad it’s the weekend because I wanted to see the creamery in action but they only make cheese during the week. I looked around the visitor centre and learnt about how they add the cranberries for the US market. I took some photos for you, cheesy woman, if you’re still here.

One of many caves and pot holes in this area

The 3 Peaks Challenge

Rich & Becky

16 comments on “Day 27 – Wensleydale Cheese

  1. 3 Things come to mind from your leisurely stroll:

    1) Are those sheep the ones they use to make the special Wensleydale Blue?
    2) Is that the famous Harry Potter viaduct?
    3) How do you pronounce “Peroni” in a Yorkshire accent?

    • Hi Mike, there are certainly lots of these blue sheep around here so I think you’re correct. It’s also worth mentioning that blue sheep are a favourite meal for snow leopards but I haven’t seen one of them yet. 2) I forgot the caption for the famous Settle to Carlisle viaduct. I believe the Harry Potter one is in Scotland but we’d have to watch all 8000 Portillo programmes to be sure. 3) if I knew that I would have been charged the £3.20 local price. Daylight robbery as soon as you open your mouth.

    • They are listing Syria as one of their 15 overseas markets. I was surprised to see that because I looked all over Damascus and Aleppo while on holiday there, a few years ago and couldn’t find any Wensleydale cheese. Perhaps it’s a new market for them.

  2. Philippa

    Thanks Tim for the spectacular photos. Yesterday it looked as if it might be as remote as the Aubrac, but I’m not so sure after today’s descriptions of all those walkers! I can see that it may be almost impossible to get real Wensleydale cheese here given that we’ve literally fallen off the edge of the map 😳. But I’ll see if any of it may have somehow reached the wilds of NZ when we next go to Auckland. Maybe SpaceX could drop some off in its next orbit 😊.

    • I thought you’d notice poor NZ off the map. Wensleydale is popular with the Flat Earth Society.

  3. Tassie Kaz

    Wow. It must be amazing to look at where you are now & think back to this time last year when you were in last-minute-flurry mode before flying out to Japan…what a contrast!

    • It’s a huge contrast but I feel so lucky to be able to walk at all in these times.

  4. Tassie Kaz

    PS. I’m going to look out for the Wensleydale cheese here too…although by their map, I’ll only find it in Outback Australia! 😆

  5. Hi Tim, yes I’m still here 🤗. I haven’t had Wensleydale for years, but I do remember the cranberry one. I am going to look for it again and I think it would be nice spread on a slice of hot toast. I am enjoying your travels immensely and all your very artsy photos. Carry on. And keep dry.

    • Hi cheezywoman, I think it would be excellent on hot toast. The locals eat Wensleydale on fruit cake as well. No limits.

  6. Hi Tim. I love the cheese in space fact! Perhaps Adam can help the children at school to send cheese instead of teddies next time. Not sure how to prepare a cheese for the experience in space?? Guess their space suits would need adapting somewhat.
    You have also prompted me to look for Wensleydale with cranberries on my next shopping session. (Perhaps you should get paid for promoting it on your blog). I hope you got some to munch along the way. Enjoy.

    • I’m going to look for some too. I love it. It’s good to know you can get it in space as well.

  7. David and Celia

    Laughed out loud at the price of the peroni, should have had black sheep but l guess it may take a while to cultivate a proper Yorkshire accent! That pothole looked mighty dangerous, is there any warning or barrier there? Better watch your step. David here good atmospheric photo of the Ribblehead Viaduct, over a hundred navvies died constructing it there is a story one of the men was blown off the top and a strong gust of wind put him straight back not sure on that one ! Well keep right on to the end of the road matey 👍🌈 ps I have been over the viaduct a few times on steam hauled trains .

    • I wish I had thought to check their price list. This whole area is riddled with potholes. Some near the trail have been filled with boulders but it’s not a place to be wandering around looking at your phone.
      I’ve always wanted to ride the Settle Carlisle railway. One day…

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