Tour de France Fever Hits The Dales!
It was perfect timing for us. We had planned a rest day at Hawes, which happened to coincide with the Tour de France weekend. So not only did we get to sample some fine cheese at the Wensleydale Creamery, but we too got swept up with the excitement in the village and stayed an extra day to see the competitors cycle through!
But before all that, we had to get to Hawes, which meant walking 17 miles from Horton in Ribblesdale, the start of the Pennine Way ‘Central Section’.
The Wensleydale Creamery – A major tourist attraction in Hawes.
Day 10 – Horton in Ribblesdale to Hawes. (17 miles) – Thursday 3rd July 2014 – ‘The Never Ending Cam Road’
We left camp early (ish) at 8.30am (we’re getting better) and set off for Hawes. We were in high spirits knowing a ‘rest day’ was ahead of us, as well as a chippy! (The lady in the Pen-y-ghent Cafe had informed us of its existence!) But it was a walk along a hard stony road that seemed to go on for miles, which was really hard going on the feet. Oh how we wished to be back on the moors again!
Leaving Horton in Ribblesdale.
Wayne’s daily chat with a fellow hiker passing in the opposite direction on the Pennine Way.
Setting off on the Cam High Road that never seemed to end!
And the road continues…
We were both in pain – me hobbling along with my blisters and Wayne with an ache in his lower leg. Time for Ibuprofen to do its job again! We kept plodding on, having only 2 quick rest stops, eager to reach Hawes and get set up at the campsite.
The cairn marks the way… Any sign of Hawes yet?!
Finally the village of Hawes comes into view!
Whilst on route, Wayne did his second good deed of the week rescuing another not so clever sheep that had got it’s horn stuck through a fence. We’re expecting some good karma from all this sheep saving! Well at least that took our minds off our ailments for a while.
Wayne to the rescue!
We reached Hawes late afternoon and was immediately impressed with the town’s efforts supporting the Tour de France. There was bunting and bicycles everywhere. Shop fronts were decorated with cycling regalia and local houses were trimmed up too. There was a lovely community feel as it seemed everyone was getting swept up with Tour de France fever. Including us! We decided straight away to stay for 2 rest days and make the most of visiting Hawes on this special weekend.
A lovely arrival into Hawes village.
Tour de France fever sweeps through the Dales!
Cyclists descend on the village in anticipation of ‘Race Day’.
Luckily the campsite we picked, Bainbridge Ings, never turns away hikers and they were happy to extend our stay.
Our pitch at Bainbridge Ings Campsite. We would definitely add this to TrekSnappy’s Top Ten UK Campsites!
After a lovely hot shower we headed straight to the centre of town to find the long awaited ‘chip shop’. We could tell it was really popular as the adjoining cafe was full and the takeaway had a queue going out of the door. We waited patiently unable to decide what to have. In the end we settled on large chips and battered black pudding. Great northern grub!
With our chippy takeaway in hand!
Battered black pudding – not posh nosh but very, very tasty!
We also splashed out on a bottle of wine, which we enjoyed back at the tent before nodding off, even though it was still light outside. One thing can be said about hiking, it certainly helps you sleep!
Day 11 – Rest Day at Hawes. (1) – Friday 4th July 2014 – ‘Never Too Much Cheese Indulgence’
Today was definitely a day of indulgence. For once we could get fresh supplies, so out went the camping rations as we headed off to the butchers for some local produce. It was fried eggs for breakfast instead of the usual porridge, pork pie for lunch and gourmet burgers for dinner. Not forgetting the couple of slabs of Wensleydale cheese we picked up from the Creamery. Now this is the kind of camping that I love!
The ‘Butchers’ in Hawes.
Home cooking in the tent.
Spicy chorizo sausage burgers with Wensleydale cheese and a fried egg on top.
Hawes is famous for having the Wensleydale Cheese Factory located right in the village. We couldn’t resist going along to try some samples and thought it would be interesting to see how the cheese is made as there is a viewing gallery into the production area.
Visiting the Wensleydale Creamery.
Giant Wensleydale cheeses in the picnic area.
We visited the Creamery in the morning as this is the best time to see the production process in action.
Watching the cheese making process in the ‘Viewing Gallery’.
Turning the cheese to drain out the whey.
After watching a short video clip about the factory’s history, you can take a tour of the small museum. For only £2.50 adult entry, it’s well worth a visit.
An explanation of milking.
Wensleydale – Wallace’s favourite cheese.
The children’s activity area.
There is also an on-site restaurant, coffee shop and gift shop which is great as it’s jam packed with ‘Yorkshire Dales’ accessories, postcards, souvenirs and lots of other quirky nick-nacks.
Anyone for Yorkshire tea?
Magnets for sale.
Our favourite part of the experience was the ‘cheese tasting room’. Around 20 different varieties of cheese are available for you to try before you buy! We couldn’t help but visit the tasting room twice! In our opinion, you can never over-indulge in cheese, especially Wensleydale.
A whole assortment of Wensleydale cheese!
Try before you buy!
The cheese tasting room was our favourite!
‘Too much cheese’ – said no one ever!
Overall we had a fantastic rest day! We’re certainly loving the Yorkshire Dales, somewhere we’ve never visited previously. We might even have to put ‘The Dales Way’ on our bucket list of multi-day hikes.
Day 12 – Rest Day at Hawes. (2) – Saturday 5th July 2014 – ‘Swept Up With Tour de France Fever’
Well it wasn’t an early start for us, unlike the rest of the campsite guests that headed up the ‘Buttertubs’ road from 6am onwards for a good viewing spot to see who would be ‘King of the Hill’. Instead, we enjoyed our first lay-in for ages and bought some more free range eggs so we could treat ourselves to omelettes for breakfast! (The mini frying pan we bought in South America has been one of our best buys and has become an essential part of our camping cook kit! Maybe not lightweight but definitely worth carrying the extra grams).
A welcome change from porridge!
The cyclists weren’t scheduled to reach Hawes village until just after 2pm so we had plenty of time to find a good place to watch.
The hay bale provides a perfect viewing platform.
Just before 2pm, we headed to the edge of the village along the roadside, which was a great spot recommended by the campsite.
Some villagers waiting eagerly for the cyclists.
Our spot at the entrance to Hawes village.
We didn’t have to wait long as a single competitor whizzed past surrounded by hoards of photographers. We don’t know much about cycling, but the guy was obviously in the lead! Then came the peloton closely followed by 4 helicopters hovering above filming their every movement. Of course we took the opportunity to wave to ‘mum’ hoping we’d get on the TV!
The ‘leader’ races past!
Blink and you’d miss them!
The crowds cheered and clapped. The cyclists pedalled as fast as they could. And that was that, they flew past in a matter of seconds. Blink and you’d have missed it! It was a great atmosphere though and a welcome break from the Pennine Way for a couple of days to rest the feet.
The peloton pedals past!
After all that excitement, we headed into town. It was still buzzing with cycling enthusiasts who were now watching the rest of the race on the ‘big screen’. There was a lot of ‘ooh-ahs’ when the local favourite Mark Cavendish came off his bike during the final sprint and ended up with a broken shoulder. Sad times.
But overall, another great rest day for us, with the weather picking up too.
Enjoying a beer in town still buzzing with cyclists.
Watching the rest of the race on the ‘big screen’!
After an exciting day in Hawes, we finally headed back to the campsite for one of our favourite meals – sausage and mixed bean hot pot before the sun went down.
Sausage and bean hot pot with more Wensleydale cheese!
With our feet revived and our spirits lifted, tomorrow we head over to Keld as we continue our Pennine Way adventure! We hope you’re enjoying the updates…
We would like to say a special ‘thank you’ to Bainbridge Ings Campsite for supporting our fundraising efforts by donating £10 to Macmillan Cancer Support. That takes our total over the £200 marker which is brilliant!
If you would also like to make a donation, please click on the Macmillan button on our Homepage. Thank you!