Out and about yesterday I found myself in the southern half of the Yorkshire Dales. Unlike the northern half, I’ve not explored this area extensively which made yesterday’s trip a little bit of an adventure. New roads, new places, new views.
The weather was perfect for walking and this was reflected by the number of people walking the footpaths, especially sections of the Pennine Way near Malham and Malham Tarn.
However, my trip into uncharted territory took a little bit of a twist. I got lost. Signage on the upland moors isn’t what you could call extensive, (Quite rightly so as it would ruin the area) and unusually for me, with all the twists and turns in the road, I lost my sense of direction. Now in reality I was less than ten miles from Settle, but whichever direction I looked, I could only see beautiful, lush green moorland. Adding to the pressure the low fuel light had come on in the car. I had broken my own rule and set off without filling up. The trip to the southern part of the Yorkshire Dales was unplanned, like many of my days out are.
So, sitting surrounded by territory I didn’t know, low on fuel I decided I needed to check my options. My mobile phone hadn’t had a signal for over an hour. I hadn’t brought the GPS. Trying to raise anyone on the two-way radio wasn’t working as the signal bounced around the hills. I knew the time. I could see the sun, so I could work out compass directions. I had one 500ml bottle of still water, but the boot had my sleeping bag and some camping kit in it. It would be inconvenient if I ran out of fuel, but it wouldn’t be life threatening. Nor would I have to suffer the embarrassment of a Search & Rescue team turning out to find me. (I’d never live that down.)
I headed for south as I knew eventually I would encounter somewhere on the A65. I heaved a great sigh of relief when I crested a peak and saw a small town in the dale below. It was Settle. I knew there was a filling station there and could relax. At least, so I thought. On arrival, three of the four pumps were out of service. I was just about to make the decision to head east or west along the A65 to find somewhere else when I spotted the remaining pump with the right fuel. Normally I hate spending money fuelling up the car, but this time I didn’t mind too much.
Now I’m a great fan of going wandering. I love the sense of freedom it brings, finding new places and talking to complete strangers. However the lesson here is to decide on the radius of where you will go and fuel up accordingly. Then however much fuel you decide you need, add 10%. I was lucky this time, but it could have turned into an unscheduled overnighter in the car. Needless to say, I’m not as keen on that.