Walks in the Lakes (mostly) - 2010

Walks and days in the Lake District (mostly) – 2010

Great Gable by Barrie


Conistone Pie via Conistone Dib and Capplestone Gate in Wharfedale – Saturday 11 December – a grand walk of about 9 miles. We'd had a lot of snow and freezing cold weather, unusual for this time of year. But a sudden thaw meant much of it disappeared so it was good to get out for a walk. I'd heard a lot about Conistone Pie, but had never walked there. I'd worked in my teens in Conistone helping look after champion Fell ponies, but in those days walking wasn't on my list of enjoyable activities! Horses were! So it was good to walk in an area where I'd ridden before. From Conistone we walked up Conistone Dib, which reminded me a bit of a mix between Trow Gill, near Clapham and a mini Gordale Scar, and out into the open fell and onwards and upwards to Capplestone Gate. From there it was pleasant walking passing shakeholes and old shafts (the latter being evidence of old leadmining activity). Our return, after looking down on lovely Kettlewell, was through Crookacre Wood then following the escarpment to Conistone Pie – which does actually look like a pie.

The views up and down Wharfedale are among the best. It was certainly a grand day to be out, better than Christmas shopping! It was a great way to finish my 2010 walking year. I intend getting a lot more walking done in 2011.

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Windermere lakeside wander – on the quiet side of the lake – Tuesday 9 November – a Lakes walk was needed but it had to be something suitable for dear old Sam. The weather wasn't brilliant so we were looking for somewhere reasonably level and sheltered. Red Nab, near Wray, on the west shore of Windermere fitted the bill perfectly. We walked south nearly to the ferry and back. It was grey and murky and there was snow on the mountain tops. It was bitterly cold but the rain held off. We did about 5 miles and Sam was marvellous, just like his old self, and kept up with us like a youn'un.

An hour in Hawkshead then our usual trip to Hayes and Lakeland followed by ale (me) and chips (Barrie) at Gargrave rounded off a very pleasant day. And well done to Sam. There's life in the old dog yet! And it was good to be back in the Lakes and hopefully it won't be too long before I'm back again. I am, however, enjoying very much getting to know the beautiful Yorkshire Dales again, my true home.

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A solo local walk from Nab End, above Silsden to Ilkley and back again – Saturday 6 November – a walk on my own this time and something local. Nab End is the western end of Ilkley Moor and the northern end of Rombalds Moor. It also looks down over Silsden and I can see it from my house. Itís also only 5 minutes by car to the start of the walk. It begins with a short sharp pull up onto the ridge then is pretty straightforward walking to Ilkley Itís typical heather moorland inhabited by grouse Ė but unlike the walks on Simonís Seat this year, which are on land belonging to the Duke of Devonshire and shooting territory, this land is not out of bounds to dogs.

I walked to where the path starts to drop down into Ilkley town itself and decided to turn round when it became busy with Ilkleyite dog walkers. My walk was meant to be a there and back walk although I had a short detour on the way back which took me down past our own mini Brimham Rocks. The autumn colours were stunning and the weather was just right Ė dry and cool and pleasant for walking. A lovely walk of about 5 miles. It would have been longer but I was taking Hollie to the local bonfire in the evening and needed to be back earlier.

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Barden Bridge to Bolton Priory and back, Wharfedale – Saturday 30 October – a wildlife spotting walk . We couldn't really have asked for better weather – sunny and not too chilly. We parked at Barden Bridge (free parking but get there early as it soon fills up) and walked down the east side of the river to Bolton Priory. It's a popular walk and today was pretty busy as people made the most of the good weather – and end of the half-term holiday. But the wildlife was plentiful with mandarin ducks, dippers, nuthatches and a brief glimpse of the kingfisher. The walk was just under 7 miles but taken at a very leisurely pace because of all the wildlife to see. And very soon I will have a camera with a better zoom so I can have some wildlife photos. A lovely walk and ice creams back at Barden Bridge finished the day very nicely.

You can see more photos of the walk here

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Murky Malham Moor meander – Saturday 23 October – a short circular walk of about 5 miles above Malham from the tarn toward Gordale Scar. The weather forecast hadn't been particularly inspiring but it wasn't raining as we parked near the tarn. There was a very bitter wind as we set off toward the tarn then a brief uphill stretch before heading toward Middle House Farm. The rain was threatening so we donned waterproofs before skirting back toward the road before cutting across country toward the top of Gordale Valley and Gordale Scar. Gordale Scar is a very impressive rock chasm when seen from below but from the top you donít appreciate how awesome it is. Iíve never walked up the valley beyond the scar but after looking down on it from above, I will be putting it on my Ďto doí list. We had a short lunch break looking down on the popular tourist path to the scar before retracing our steps back to the road and back to the car. A very chilly walk but the limestone scenery never fails to impress even in dull conditions.

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Simon's Seat in lovely Wharfedale – Tuesday 12 October – my second time on Simon's Seat in three months. Barrie has wanted to do Simonís Seat for a long time but because of the ban on dogs Ė grouse shooting land owned by the Duke of Devonshire Ė had been unable to. Sam is now at the stage where a short walk is enough and he can be left for a while. I also have a very good neighbour who will keep an eye on him and give him his dinner. She is lovely.

We more or less followed the same route Iíd done in July with Dave Dimmock and Simon Howard except we walked from Barden Bridge along the west bank of the river which shortened our walk by a mile or so. We werenít sure what the weather was going to be like so this was very welcome. It still made the walk about 7 miles, which was just right. And as it happened, the weather was just right too Ė a bit hazy for good photos but dry and warm with only a light breeze, even on the summit which made our lunch break a very pleasant interlude.

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Barden Moor, Wharfedale – Saturday 11 September – a pleasant moorland walk and the start of my get fit campaign. I am determined to get back to my fitness of a few years ago Ė in fact I hope to get even fitter. So I was looking forward to a not too steep walk but of a reasonable length to get me on the way. I am lucky to live where lovely walks are plentiful and the Yorkshire Dales are nobbut a cockstride away. Parking just south of Barden Bridge, at the junction with the road over to Eastby, we followed a good track across Barden Broad Park past Lower Barden reservoir. The track continues further onto the moor to Higher Barden reservoir where we turned west then south to follow the track back to the road and a short downhill walk back to the car. About 7Ĺ miles total. The weather was mixed with some heavy showers Ė and a lovely rainbow Ė and some pleasant sunshine. The gradient was just right. The terrain is typical heather-covered grouse moorland but there are good views across to Simonís Seat Ė where I walked only a couple of months before Ė and over Wharfedale. And yes, I think Iím feeling fitter already.

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4-day break with friends at Loweswater – Friday 3 September to Wednesday 8 September – a lovely break staying with good friends Ann and Roger Hiley at Loweswater. The photo is of Grasmoor, taken from their lovely garden at Oak Cottage. One of my OFC friends was completing his Wainwright round on Steeple so I thought it a good time to have a short break and stay with my good friends at Loweswater. Unfortunately, my fitness Ė or lack of fitness Ė and bad leg meant that I wasnít able to complete the whole walk with them. But it was lovely to be in Ennerdale again and I enjoyed the part of the walk I did with them very much. And it was good to join them all in the evening at the Kirk Stile Inn for a celebratory meal.

Sunday was the Loweswater Show Ė Iíve been to it a couple of times and each time the weather has been terrible. But this time couldnít have been better Ė a bit windy but the sunshine was very welcome. Itís always a shame when so much work has been put into these events that the weather can make or mar the day. But we canít change the weather, can we! Monday and Tuesday I enjoyed a couple of local walks with Ann, and Ann and Jo and a visit to another OFC friend, Jayne.

I was going to have a walk somewhere on the way back but it was a hot day and very busy everywhere. I drove back down the scenic way rather than the motorway but just wanted to get home. But it was a lovely break for me, seeing old friends and catching up on news. And hopefully in the not too distant future Iíll be visiting again.

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Online Fellwalking Club 4th annual meet at Gaping Gill – Monday 23 August – I really can't believe that this is the 4th OFC Gaping Gill meet and that 3 years have passed since our first do. The forecast wasn't brilliant and we knew that at sometime during the day we were going to get wet – apart from down the pothole. Twelve happy walkers met in Clapham, which included 2 GG newbies, Freddie Philips and Robbie Kiger. The rain started not long after we set off and by Trow Gill waterproofs were on and remained on for the rest of the day! Never mind, the banter was up to its usual standard. Nine of descended the pothole – after quite a long wait, during which we got wetter while we ate our lunch. A chat with my sister Patsy and brother-in-law Donald, who are members of the Craven Pothole Club and camping there – was good. We don't see that much of each other so it was good to chat in the rain!

I wasn't intending going down this year but I just love the ride down and up – at £10 it's a bit dearer than the Big One at Blackpool, but it's worth every penny. It was just as wet down below as last time and after a quick walk round I was ready to come back up.

It was still raining at the surface and was quite a long wait till all our group were back up. No walk up Ingleborough but a quick walk back to Clapham followed. Very welcome liquid refreshments were enjoyed in the New Inn but unfortunately we were too early for food. Despite the wet weather a very enjoyable day was had by everyone – it's great to meet up with friends who we see so infrequently. And next year's GG meet has already been decided on. See you there in 2011!

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Halton Gill to Cosh in lovely Littondale – Monday 16 August – a lovely walk in peaceful Littondale in sunshine and warmth. I'm really enjoying my Yorkshire walks at the moment and didn't want a long drive up to the Lakes. It's quite a few years since I was in Littondale and I fancied a return to the unusally named Cosh. When I was there last – about 15 years ago – it was just a ruined house, so I wasn't sure what would be there now. We parked at pretty Halton Gill and followed the River Skirfare to Foxup then the track to Cosh. It's very quiet up there and as you walk the track, now following Cosh Beck, you really feel as if you are walking into the wilderness. We were quite surprised on arriving at Cosh to find it had been completely renovated and is now a very nice house with all mod cons. But 2 miles from the nearest house up a rather bumpy track is nowadays not my idea of fun. 20 years ago, yes! We returned the same way as the alternative was a rather long one. The walk was about 6 miles with only a slight uphill gradient in places and Sam did just fine, enjoying a paddle in Cosh Beck on the way back. After that we carried on over the road to Stainforth, stopping for lunch above Penyghent Gill with super views across to the full length of the quiet side of Penyghent. Then we did the tourist thing visiting Watershed Mill at Settle, where I bought some shoes. A lovely day with a lovely walk in lovely weather. Just perfect.

You can see more photos of the walk here

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Simon's Seat, Wharfedale with OFC members Dave Dimmock and Simon Howard – Saturday 24 July – I wasnít sure if Iíd made the right decision in joining Dave Dimmock and Simon Howard on a walk to Simonís Seat in Wharfedale. I am not very fit at the moment. They are! However, Dave has given me a lift to walks many times before so I thought it only fair to return the favour. We met Simon at Barden Bridge and set off down the peaceful river Wharfe stopping at the Strid for photos. There was quite a bit of water in it but Iíve seen it much more impressive. The weather was warm and humid, not my favourite walking conditions at all, and with no breeze it was difficult to keep my cool. We walked on down to the Cavendish Pavilion (popular place on the Bolton Abbey estate but quiet at this time of the day, which was still before 9 am). After crossing the wooden bridge it was only a short walk before we were into fields and on our way to the Valley of Desolation (owing its name to the desolation caused by a great storm in 1826). It is a tranquil place now and replanted with many trees. The valley is deeply carved in places and the lovely waterfall in Posforth Gill is well worth visiting.
It was lovely to get out of the trees though and onto the open moor where a pleasant occasional breeze was most welcome. Now it isnít steep at all but the combination of the earlier heat and my lack of fitness caused me a few tricky moments between here and the summit. My companions were perfect gentlemen and waited patiently for me as I took several short rest stops. Lunch among the rocks just below the summit was very welcome and our break was made more interesting as we watched the air ambulance arrive at a farm below us. I believe it was a hang glider or something whoíd had a bit of a mishap. The descent was very welcome too and I was glad of a break while Dave and Simon went in search of Asick Bottom (!). I found a shady spot and had some fun startling passers-by who couldnít see me until they were level with me. Didnít do it on purpose Ė it was the best place out of the sun for me to cool down and have a rest. But it was good fun. The final part of the walk was along the river bank back to Barden Bridge. The ice creams were very welcome too, thanks Dave. And thanks to Dave and Simon for taking me and being such gentlemen. It was the longest, most strenuous walk Iíve done in a long time Ė 8.5 miles. Good going for me at the moment

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Martindale – Hallin Fell and a short walk on the slopes of Steel Knotts – Monday 5 July – we had semi arranged to meet up at Martindale Old Church with 2 OFC members who we hadnít met before for a walk up Steel Knotts and Hallin Fell. Owing to them not knowing when they would be arriving in the Lakes to camp because of bad weather, it was cancelled. But Barrie, Sam and I hadnít been in that area for a long time and they were 2 fells we hadnít done together so decided to head that way. We went up the M6, on the way deciding to take a detour to Haweswater to see how much of the drowned village of Mardale was visible after the lack of rain. Some walls were showing and you could see where some streets had stood. It was quite sad to think of what had been there some years ago. I hope that they are soon covered again and left in their underwater graves. After that we drove round to Pooley Bridge then down the east side of Ullswater, past Howtown to the very beautiful and peaceful Martindale, parking by the Old Church, We set off up a very pleasant and gently rising green path and thought all was fine in the world. However, after walking for about an hour, with several photo stops, we lost the path completely. It should have turned back on us carrying on upwards. The bracken was too high to make much investigating possible so we had a quick change of plan.
Back to the car and have lunch! After that, the direct ascent of Hallin Fell from St Peterís Church Ė quite a steep but short approach to the summit which has marvellous views down over Ullswater. We particularly enjoyed looking across at Common Fell and Watermillock Common, where weíd been on our last walk. After that we had a look round Pooley Bridge then it was our usual trip home – Hayes at Ambleside, Lakeland at Windermere then chips and ale at Gargrave. A great day out with 2 short walks. Steel Knotts will wait for us.

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An evening stroll by the river Wharfe at Burnsall with fellow OFC members Dave and Josie Dimmock – Tuesday 15 June – a leisurely stroll by the beautiful river Wharfe from Burnsall to the suspension bridge at Hebden (the original built by my great-great great-father in law, William Bell), passing by Loup Scar (no one jumping off it this time) and back again. It was a perfect evening, warm and still and just right to chat away with good friends. This stretch of river is part of the Dales Way, which one day I hope to walk. Not in one go – I intend doing it in easy stages, hopefully starting fairly soon. Burnsall always bring back happy memories for me of my time in my teens spent working at the café on the green. The old café is long gone but the village hasn't changed that much, thank goodness. And a big thanks to Dave and Josie for the very pleasant company

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Common Fell and Watermillock Common above Ullswater – Monday 24 May – Barrie's plan for a walk that took in fell tops, easy walking and super views was just perfect for our day in the Lakes. Starting from Dockray – good parking for several cars by Aira Beck, we were soon onto grassy slopes and very pleasant walking. It's much nicer than Gowbarrow Fell, just across the valley and much less frequented. We saw one other person all day and that was in the distance. The views over all of Ullswater must be among the best in the Lake District. We even managed a few 'summits' – Round How, Swineside Knott and Common Fell, which all make up Watermillock Common. As we walked south the views over Ullswater got better and better and our cameras were out permanently. It was a very pleasant walk of just over 4 miles.

I treated us to a drink at the Royal in Dockray – a pub that used to be a frequent stopping off place in my earlier walking days. I wish I hadn't – the prices were outrageous! Never again. Then it was our usual trip back via Hayes Garden Centre, Lakeland and the Mason's Arms at Gargrave for beer (for me) and chips (for Barrie). A great day out.

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Upper Wharfedale ramble with the Online Fellwalking Club – Saturday 17 April – it's always good to meet up with our friends – old and new – in the Online Fellwalking Club and Dave Dimmock had arranged an Upper Wharfedale walk taking in Buckden Pike – via the steep gill. Now we knew Sam wouldn't make it so we met up with everybody at Buckden car park and after refreshments at the tea rooms and a catch up with news we set off our way and they set off up the steep gill. Although it would be very pleasant that way with lovely waterfalls and interesting mines, our way was flat and easier! We followed the river through pleasant fields and riverside path to Hubberholme where we had a look around the old church then our one steep bit up to Scar House. We hadn't taken as long as we thought we would, even at our dawdling pace, and our possible intention of joining up with the main group didn't happen. We carried on the pleasant path through trees and scrub and then downhill to the hamlet of Yockenthwaite. We enjoyed a pleasant rest by the picturesque bridge before setting off along the riverside path back to Hubberholme then Buckden.
We then enjoyed drinks with Ann Hiley and Josie Dimmock, who'd taken the shorter return route from Scar House, sitting outside at the Buck Inn before the main group returned. A lovely meal was then enjoyed inside with nonstop chat and fun – it's amazing how much fun you can get out of a lemon pip!

Barrie was returning home for a flying club do so I had a lift back with Dave and Josie, followed by Ann and Roger (and dogs Bethan and Harry) who were staying with me for the night. Before they returned home next day Ann, Roger and I had a pleasant short walk on the moor above Ilkley.

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The fairy waterfall of Janet's Foss at Malham with Sophie and Hollie – Friday 9 April – would I like to be four years old again and believe in fairies? Not sure, but Hollie does believe in them and I'd promised her I'd take her to the fairy waterfall of Janet's Foss at Malham. Malham is only a half hour drive from home so after we'd picked up Mum at Skipton we set off to try and spot some of these elusive beings. Unfortunately it was still the Easter holidays and although we thought it might be quieter by Friday, the car park was full when we got there – about 11.30. The nice lady in the information office/shop (who lived in Silsden) said we were OK to be a coach for the day! So we had a nice large parking space all to ourselves! It isn't a long walk – a couple of miles or so, but just long enough. Hollie insisted on climbing every wall, even though she was in a hurry to see the fairies. Unfortunately, the crowds, when we got to the waterfall, had scared them away, although we did see a couple of what we thought could have been fairies, flitting about behind the waterfall. Ice creams back at the car rounded off a pleasant afternoon out with my two girls. And yes, I do believe in fairies.

Hollie feels the chill, but doesn't see any fairies. Or did she?

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Mickleden – a lovely lazy valley walk – Tuesday 2 March – it really was time that we got back to the Lakes and what a fabulous day it turned out to be. We know that long strenuous walks will have to wait as Sam can no longer manage them. But we weren't feeling like anything strenuous (yet again – see previous few walks) and Mickleden is always a favourite of mine. You're surrounded by great mountains and can get the atmosphere without any of the effort. Snow was still lying on the high ground and against the blue sky looked terrific. It was an ambling day, much too nice to hurry. Now we don't like returning by the same route if there's any possibility of a different one. After a leisurely lunch at the junction of the Stake Pass turn off and the Rossett Gill path we explored the interesting sheepfold then made our way back down as far as the weir. Now there should have been a footbridge but this is now gone. However, the top of the weir is paved and was shallow enough for us to walk across, although on photos it looks as if we're walking on water! Then a pleasant walk back to the bottom of The Band, past Stool End and back to the car. A lovely walk – weather just right and the pace just right too. Our usual trip to Hayes in Ambleside and Lakeland at Windermere followed!

The photo is looking up Mickleden with Bowfell to the left and Rossett Pike to the right.

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Humphrey Head – Monday 25 January – better weather than when we were there last time. We've walked on Humphrey Head once before and it had been a wet, windy and miserable day. So it had been on our list of places to go again when the weather was better. This time is was just cold but was in the area we fancied going to and not too far to go. At least this time we didn't make the mistake of taking the wrong path at the start of the walk – enough said! We walked right over the top and down onto the beach hoping to be able to walk back along the coastline. Unfortunately, the channels which hug the shore were just too deep to make it feasible. A notice board depicted a hanging boulder just over the edge of the cliffs but it was out of sight from the ridge. Barrie was determined to find it so on returning to the car, while I sat and got warm, he and Sam walked along the beach to find it. They did – but I didn't really think it worth the effort. It wasn't very big and not that impressive. Perhaps we'll go again on a sunny day as it is a very pleasant place to pass a couple of hours.

The photo is looking back to Humphrey Head from the beach.

Humphrey Head from the beach

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