Sunday 20 August 2017. The caravan site wi-fi was so slow that I’ve had to wait until I got home to post this blog update. The weather on Friday wasn’t great so I took the opportunity to visit my brother , Mal, in Harrogate. Saturday’s weather was even worse with heavy showers and strong winds. Sitting in my caravan resembled being in a car wash.
Thankfully, Sunday was a much better day. I met with Jacqui for the last time on this holiday and possibly the last time this year. I seem to have walked more with her this year than with the Fenland Ramblers. We met at Towneley Hall on the outskirts of Burnley. Finding our way out of the park grounds and on to the Burnley Way was problematic but we eventually made our way out into the countryside.
The Singing Ringing Tree marked the halfway point of this 6.25 mile walk with a total ascent of just over 1,100ft. We had a brief lunch stop here whilst listening to the wind blowing through the pipes of the Singing Ringing Tree. Soon after, on the way down, I was chatting to Jacqui about navigation training when I realised that we’d crossed a wall and we were heading in the wrong direction. We were on open moorland without any clearly defined footpaths and it was all too easy to go wrong. Anquet to the rescue, we were soon back on track without adding too much distance.
The rest of the walk was relatively easy although finding a path through a recently built housing estate proved a challenge.
Singing Ringing Tree – walk route
Thursday 17 August 2017. There was rain first thing today so I wasn’t in a hurry to get out walking. I had planned to do a walk up Beamsley Beacon (1,070ft) but when I got there I discovered that the approach roads were very narrow and parking was a problem.
A change of plan was required so I drove to the nearby Bolton Abbey Estate with the intention of doing a walk up to Simon’s Seat (1,591ft). It is many years since I last did this walk and I’ve been put off doing it again by the high price of admission to the car park at Cavendish Pavilion. I thought that this was £8 but I was shocked to find that it has now increased to £10. I’d just paid my money to the lady on the entrance when I saw a sign advising that access to the surrounding moors and the path to Simon’s Seat was closed for grouse shooting. I got my money back and left.
What to do now? I needed some thinking time so I stopped off for a late (11am) breakfast at the Abbey Tea Room. As I had saved £10 on admission to the Cavendish Pavilion, my £8.95 breakfast was effectively free. The countryside nearby was out-of-bounds so the easiest thing to do was to go back to my caravan for a short 3.25 mile with just 400ft of ascent.
Afternoon Walk Route
Wednesday 16 August 2017. Although I’ve climbed Pen-y-ghent (2,277ft) a few times before, I decided to do it again today but taking a different route on the way up. This added a little distance to the walk but proved to be a better approach, being less steep in the initial stages and providing a different perspective on the hill when viewed from the south on the Pennine Way.
Whichever way is used to get to the foot of this mountain there is no escaping the final 500ft of ascent which follows a long stepped stone staircase that eventually gives way to a scramble up the rock face. It is far easier to go up this way than coming down.
It was quite busy today but I managed to grab a seat behind the summit wall to shelter from the wind whilst having a coffee. The descent down the northern side is less steep and frankly boring as it follows a wide gravel path and then a bridleway enclosed by stone walls. I broke my descent to divert to Hull Pot but the stream and waterfall that normally cascade into the cavernous hole was dry today so I’ve had to steal a picture from the internet to show it in its glory.
Back in Horton-in-Ribblesdale I headed to the cafe for a pint mug of tea and a toasted tea cake. I had an interesting chat with a lady and her 19 year-old son who were doing the Yorkshire 3 Peaks walk. She had taken part, last January, in the Spine Challenger Race which follows the Pennine Way from Edale to Hawes. Those doing the full Spine Race then go on to complete the 268 miles of the Pennine Way at Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders. I follow the progress of these races on the internet, through Facebook and GPS trackers, so it was good to have bumped into her.
My walk was just 7.75 miles with a total ascent of 1,750ft.
Pen-y-ghent – walk route
Monday 14 August 2017. Today has been bookended by rain. The morning rain stopped at about 10am but it looked like there was more to come, so, instead of walking, I had a drive into Skipton to have a look around the street market. It was full of tat and a complete waste of time. I took the opportunity to do some shopping for a few basics before returning to my caravan.
The sky’s had cleared by lunchtime so I took the opportunity to go for a short walk directly from my caravan up onto Threshfield Moor. I had done most of the route before but took a slightly different path on the way back. It was only 5 miles but had a total ascent of almost 800ft.
As I’m writing this blog at 4pm it has clouded over again and has just started to rain. With luck, this will clear overnight and I’ll be able to get out walking again tomorrow.
Threshfield Moor – walk route
Sunday 13 August 2017. I met Jacqui yesterday for a walk up Parlick Fell. It rained quite heavily on the drive there and there was a heavy shower as we dashed from the car park to the village tea shop. The hills were still shrouded in cloud and it didn’t look very promising so the walk was abandoned in favour of a visit to the food festival being held in nearby Clitheroe. The corndoned-off streets were packed with stalls and people. It stayed dry and the intended hill walk might have been more preferable.
The weather was much improved today so I made the 10 mile drive to Pateley Bridge. My route followed the Nidderdale Way for much of the time but large sections of the route were made up of tarmaced farm access roads shown on the maps as bridleways. I only saw one car but the hard surface was unforgiving on my feet.
I stopped for coffee at Brandstone Dub bridge with the beck flowing just below me. Another stop was taken sat in the sun near the caravan site at Ashfold Side. The walk was just 5.9 miles with a little over 900ft of ascent.
Pateley Bridge – walk route
Thursday 10 August 2017. Great Whernside at 2,309ft comes in at 6th in the list of the Dales 30 highest hills and, as I haven’t done it before, today was the day. I made an early start and was parked up (£4.50) in Kettlewell at just after 9am. The cafe across the road was open so I looked in with the idea of fuelling up with a bacon sandwich (£4.25) and a pot of tea (£2.50). The prices were extortionate and the tight-fisted Yorkshire man in me wouldn’t allow me to pay so much for something that I bought in Grassington yesterday for half the cost.
There was a stiff 1in4 climb out of Kettlewell and I stopped after half an hour to get my breath, take a few pictures and to have a swift coffee. My next stop was at the top of Cam Head. My knee was beginning to hurt and I thought that a few minutes rest might help. The knee pain had eased by the time that I crossed the Leyburn road which was good news as a steep 700ft climb lay ahead of me to the summit of Great Whernside. The lower slopes were waterlogged, both on the way up and on the way down, and I soon had wet feet.
The outcrop of rocks and the trig point that mark the summit of Great Whernside aren’t spectacular in any way so, after a quick coffee, I made my way down towards Kettlewell passing Hag Dyke on the way. At 1,525ft this converted farmhouse must be one of the highest and most remote Scouts accommodation in the Dales. The last mile or so was on a lovely green path across fields with views over Wharfedale. Having now ticked-off Great Whernside, I doubt that I’ll take the trouble to visit again, something I suspect that I might be saying about other Dales 30 hills which lie at the top of bleak sodden moors.
The walk was 7.9 miles with a total ascent of 1,900ft. Having missed out on breakfast I couldn’t resist a very late lunch (3pm) of fish and chips at the Kings Head.
Great Whernside – walk route
Wednesday 9 August 2017. I first did this walk some 25 years ago as I started to get into hill walking and since then it has become one of my favourite walks in the Wharfedale area. I last did this walk in March 2015 when there was a good covering of snow and I took a picture of my orange Slam-Duck with Yarnbury farm in the background. I thought that it would be fun to try to re-create this picture on today’s walk. My route was somewhat longer as I took in a diversion to the old lead mine workings on Grassington Moor and to Linton Falls.
Leaving Hebden I made my way steadily uphill alongside Hebden Beck. There was a strong northerly wind blowing in my face making the going tougher than normal. I’ve had to abandon this walk in the past as the stepping stones across the beck were under water. This wasn’t the case today although the last stone was slightly submerged. I stopped for a coffee break soon after, sheltered from the strong wind behind a stone wall.
I broke away from my normal route to Yarnbury to follow the Duke’s New Road and the Lead Mine Trail to have a look at the old working and to visit the large chimney. Old Moor Lane then lead me back towards Yarnbury, my Slam-Duck photo shoot, and a much needed lunch stop/rest which consisted of an apple and a cup of coffee. My turning point at Bare House marked the half-way point of today’s walk. When I was last here the snow had drifted so high against the gate that I couldn’t open it and had to climb over instead.
From Bare House into Grassington my path ran parallel to the Dales Way although a little higher up the hillside. This provided great views. I had been looking forward to reaching Grassington (8 miles) as I had planned a 2nd and more substantial lunch stop. Unfortunately, my favourite cafe was packed so I went across the road to buy a takeaway bacon sandwich and a cup of tea from Walkers bakery. My £2.50 sandwich was so large and loaded with bacon that I was unable to finish it and saved some for when I got back to the caravan.
By now, I was a more than a little tired and enquired at the YDNP office about getting a bus back to Hebden. There would be a wait of 3 hours so I had no chance to whimp-out and had to walk the last 2 miles back to the car. The plus point was that I could visit Linton Falls which were in fine form following recent rains. My walk was a little longer than intended at just under 10 miles with a total ascent of over 1,300ft.
Hebden – walk route