Off the bike and a fantastic weather forecast, so revisited Ingleborough although this time a linear route from Ribblehead to Horton. It was a Sunday so the trains were few and far between…happily the pub was open, and the waiting room in the station was warm and dry.
Ingleborough: Hewitt, HuMP, Marilyn, Nuttall; 724 m/2,375 ft
Another walk from Dent to Ribblehead, this time on the eastern side of the train line.
Following the road up from Dent station I joined the Pennine Bridleway as it follows the contours of Great Knoutberry. Leaving the track I followed a fence up towards the trig point, from which all three peaks can be seen – visibility was good if a little hazy. Curlew were disturbed on the way up, although I don’t think it was only me as there was a large bird hovering above. As well as the trig point at the top there is a also a nice wind shelter; a section of wall with stones protruding as benches on either side.
Navigation was so easy as to verge on boring but I still almost followed the wrong fence down from the summit. The correct fence is also the Cumbria/Yorkshire border. Eventually I met the track at Aysgarth Moss which was a cross roads of bridleways; the west-east track being an old drovers road between dales. I took the north-south route around Wold Fell which is a restricted byway, although given the more stringent restrictions on the surrounding routes I’m not sure how you could make the most of it. This is a fine track and I would like to revisit it on a mountain bike. There were lots of wheatears which were curious but seemed to find rabbits’ burrows a useful shelter when I got too close.
The track meets a road for a few hundred metres before continuing around Blea Moor. I stopped for lunch at the first gate and was visited by a curious weasel – it looked at me as if I was sitting in its way. After a couple of laps of what is presumably a well-trodden route, followed by discrete surveillance from a patch of reeds the weasel disappeared. Very quick and difficult to photograph but a lovely moment.
Although following bridleways was easy it had become a little dull so I decided to change my plan and head up to the summit of Blea Moor. This involved more fence-following and lots of bog-dodging. A vehicle had been driven over here recently – probably to repair the fence judging by the old rusted sections and new posts and wire – which made tracks to follow. At the most difficult section I thought I was going to have to use the fence as a bridge but instead found a reasonably clear crossing. I saw a couple of traps and wondered if they were for the weasel…perhaps it had been threatening the grouse population. I only saw a couple of grouse, maybe after the 12th most of them have gone.
A fence junction was near the trig point of Blea Moor – there are air shafts near but out of sight, over the railway tunnel. The best way down seemed to be to follow yet another fence – one now fully in Yorkshire. A bit of bog-dodging was required, and eventually I met the path which follows the railway. This was the first time I had seen other walkers since I left Dent station.
I saw the 3.42 pm train come and go, so was happy that I had a couple of hours before the next one to spend in the Station Inn. A better back garden is hard to imagine.
9.7 miles, 1,657 ft climbed
Great Knoutberry Hill, 672 m; Marilyn, Hump, Hewitt, Nuttall,
Bleh Moor, 535 m; Hump, Dewey
After a few days at the parents’ over Easter I travelled back home through the dales, leaving the motorway at Tebay. After finding a campsite I spent the afternoon walking up White Boar Fell.
I could see rain in many directions in the distance but was lucky and missed it. Snow on the Howgills; I had hoped to walk that way on the next day but it became very wet with low cloud so I made my way home.
Wild Boar Fell, 708 m; Marilyn, HuMP, Hewitt, Nuttall
Whernside from Dent station, finishing at Ribblehead, staring with a walk along the road beside the little River Dee and the Settle – Carlisle train line.
There is a very straight path directly over the Bleamoor tunnel, with several air shafts along the way.
Then up to the top of Whernside through a few snow patches.
Cloud on the top came and went. We could see Ingleborough with a permanent toupeé. The wall marks the boundary between Cumbria and North Yorkshire, the trig point is on the Cumbrian side.
After a steep but thankfully not icy descent we walked under the Ribblehead Viaduct just as the light faded and the rain started.
Whernside, 763 m; Marilyn, HuMP, Hewitt, Nuttall, County Top (North Yorkshire)
My late night arrival was rather mysterious. Ennerdale youth hostel is up a one-way forest track, so this looked right.
Saturday morning and the weather was as forecast. But still better visibility than in the dark. It’s a lovely hostel; small, out of the way…although we did have some early morning callers after tea bags…
We walked along the track towards Black Sail YHA; great spot, I remember camping near here twenty years ago on a Duke of Ed expedition. Almost a bothy. Then it was up Scarth Gap Pass and on to Hay Stacks.
Fast moving clouds meant that the rain and the views came and went (the rain mostly the former, the views the latter). It was windy and wet on top, so we had a very quick lunch before heading back down via a couple of tarns, one of them Wainwright’s ‘Innominate’.
Strong winds drove the rain straight into our eyes, and new streams appeared on the hillsides as the water found its own way down. The ground levelled out as we approached Black Sail. We walked amongst the drumlins that had appeared as little lumps earlier, but now they were significant mounds and seemed rather mystical.
Eventually there was a very welcome drying room, tea, showers, dinner, and fireworks. The wind and rain were worse on Sunday, so after cleaning the hostel we headed home.
9.5 miles, 1750 ft/533 m climbed
Hay Stacks; Dewey, Wainwright, 597 m/1959 ft
ODL weekend at Helmsley Youth Hostel.
Arrived on Friday evening, got a top bunk next to a window so woken by a tawny owl in the night. Saturday’s walk was initially wet, up along Rye Dale then increasingly foggy and windy as we crossed Scrawton Moor. After pre-lunch pub stop in Wass the cloud lifted and it dried up. Then along to Ampleforth and back via Sproxton. Fast paced, led by an ex-Royal Marine.
Less pleasant nocturnal disruptions on Saturday night included an unwell room-mate, followed by the loud entry of a very drunk one. A more sedate walk on Sunday up Ash Dale and back down Beck Dale.
From Middlesmoor to Scar House Reservoir.
Off the track through head-high bracken and lumpy heather to Great Haw, stopping off at this ‘Sportsmans’ Rest (Disused)’. The boundary stone also marks the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park (Nidderdale being without).
Return to Middlesmoor via the Nidderdale Way. The smoke was a bonfire although there was quite a bit of heather burning elsewhere.
Buzzard, kite, lots of grouse. Barn owl before dark and hundreds of gulls on Gouthwaite Reservoir on the drive home.
A mission to find the highest point, and a bit of map and compass exercise. We were lucky with the weather, it was clear enough to see that we might actually be at the top (marginally higher than the surrounding moor; perhaps not worth it unless you are a bagger) and the rain held off until we were on the home strait.
Kinder Scout: 636 m, Marilyn, Hewitt, County Top