Walks and days in the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District (mostly) 2012

Great Gable by Barrie

The walks on here are my main walks. I take other short local walks when I might not take the camera – if the weather's bad or it's a short power walk to keep my fitness regime going. I might put a separate photos page on some time although most of my pix can be seen on my Picasa pages. At some time I'm hoping to walk the Dales Way. I'm not doing it in one go in one week or anything daft like that! I'll be picking my days – no point doing it on not so nice weather days – but doing the full length even though I'm already very familiar with the lower stretches of the walk. Keep watching!!

Update 18 February – I don't know how many mountains I'll climb in the future. I'm suffering with arthritis and find my joints start aching sometimes after only a slight ascent. My left hip, which is the 'new' hip, also gives me pain sometimes. So perhaps my walks will be more level walks in future. Hopefully, they just need some warm sunshine on them.

Update 18 April – Unfortunately I'm not getting as much walking done as I'd hoped so far this year. This is due to several things. My joints have been playing up, mostly I think the wet weather has been behind this – I need some warm sunshine (don't we all!). I'm a fairweather walker too these days. I've got soaked many times over the years and don't see any point in it now when I can pick my days. I'm also back studying and have just started a GCSE in Psychology – my exam is next June so I've plenty of time, but I'm really enjoying it. And I have plenty of work on just now. I am getting out for short local walks but they aren't really worthy of a website entry. But I will be getting out for some longer walks as the weather warms up.

Swaledale Circuit from Muker – Friday 23 November

Left:  Wintry scene in beautiful Swaledale            

Right:   The lovely Ivelet Bridge over the River Swale            

Bad weather and too many commitments for Barrie and I meant we hadn't managed a day out for a couple of months. So this was a lovely walk in a place I haven't visited for quite a few years. We decided to go the long way round – up Wharfedale and over the tops – as it would mostl likely be getting dark on the way back. First stop was at Burnsall as the sun was just coming up over the river and it was a beautiful sight – but a bit chilly. Then we pressed on wanting to get started on our walk as the weather was on our side for a nice change.

We parked in Muker then walked down the south side of the valley (Swaledale) to Ivelet Bridge where we crossed the river then back along the north side of the dale. The terrain was very mixed but unfortunately, after all the rain we've had, the ground was extremely boggy for much of the way. And I was wearing my new boots. They weren't too expensive so I didn't mind too much. The forecast had been for rain coming in at about 3 o'clock. We were just approaching the village – when it started. The time was just after 3 o'clock! The forecasters do get it right sometimes.

We had a look in a couple of shops – there weren't many open – then set off home, taking the shorter route over to Ribblehead and Settle and back down the A65. Chips for Barrie and Tetleys for me at Gargrave rounded off a great day. The scenery was fantastic and the walk, which was about 7 miles, was interesting. It was just a shame that the ground was so wet and muddy. Apart from that it was a lovely day out.

More photos from the walk can be seen here

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Bolton Abbey circuit with Hollie – Monday 5 November

Left:   Near The Strid on the River Wharfe, Bolton Abbey            

Right:   Looking south down the Wharfe from the old aqueduct            

It was the start of free mid-week parking at Bolton Abbey. Luckily Hollie's school had an extra day holiday and we were able to enjoy a lovely circuit from the Cavendish Pavilion via the Strid to the aqueduct returning on the other side of the river. We parked at the Sandholme car park (Cavendish Pavilion) and walked up the west side of the river to the shelter above the Strid. The top footpath isn't as well known as the lower path and is very good if you like birdwatching. Hollie is showing an interest in wildlife so I hope to encourage her more. We stopped for a while at the shelter and were lucky to see coal tits, chaffinches, great tits and best of all, the nuthatch. We carried on to the aqueduct where we crossed the river and walked back down the east side. We didn't stop at the Harrison Ford shelter – not named after the filmstar – as it was now getting quite busy and Hollie was nearly ready for home. However, one more good bird for her. You can guarantee seeing a dipper by the river outside the Pavilion – and yes, it obliged. Only about 3 miles but Hollie enjoyed it and was very pleased with the birds she'd seen.

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Angletarn Pikes on a gloomy day – Thursday 13 September

Left:   Looking down to Ullswater from the path to Boredale Hause. Shame the cloud was down.

Right:   Looking down on a gloomy Angle Tarn from near the summit of the southern pike.

It was a while since we'd been to the Lakes and even though the forecast wasn't 100 per cent in our favour we decided to risk it. We parked at the George Starkey Hut in Patterdale – get there early for free parking – and set off up Angletarn Pikes. I like to do ones that Barrie and I haven't done together if at all possible. For some reason I thought that we hadn't done the Pikes – although it turned out on checking when we got home that we had! Senior moment and memory going, oh dear. As we carried on from Boredale Hause we could see the rain clouds gathering but after putting on our over trousers we decided to keep going. It wasn't too bad for a while but we knew it was going to get worse.

We made it to the south pike but after lunching in the lee of the north top before going for the summit I tried to stand up and couldn't. The most awful pain was shooting down my left leg. I'd come down a rocky bit off the north pike a bit awkwardly and assumed I'd done something there. It's my 'new' hip so I was rather worried – Barrie was too! We really did think we might have to call out mountain rescue. For nearly 10 minutes I couldn't put my left foot down unless I was doubled over but then it eased slightly and we decided to set off – at a very slow pace. By now the rain was quite a bit heavier and conditions were very unpleasant, to put it mildly. By the time we arrived back at Boredale Hause the pain had eased off enough to be able to walk without having to lean forward. I'll be forever grateful to Barrie for carrying my rucksack and being such a help.

I've never been so glad to get back to the car. We did our usual trip to Hayes Garden Centre and Lakeland then drinks and chips at Gargrave on the way home. An eventful day, but it was good to be back in the Lakes. Next time we'll double check which fells we have done together!!

More photos from the walk can be seen here

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Farnhill Moor circuit – Thursday 6 September

Left:   The Leeds/Liverpool Canal at Kildwick

Right:   Large old oak tree on Farnhill Moor

I needed a walk but didn't want to travel too far. Farnhill Moor fit the bill perfectly. I parked in my usual place by the canal in Kildwick – I like the walk through the village and past the old churchyard before starting up the moor. It was just as well because I found the moor extremely muddy after all the rain we've had and I'd have been better in my wellies rather than my walking boots. I did a short circuit of the moor then retraced my steps along the canal and so back to the car. Not a very long walk – only about 2.5 miles – and not much wildlife about but just good to be out for a while.

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Farnhill Moor and Nab End – 18/19 August

Left:   Ann and Roger's granddaughter, Abi and Hollie at the Doubler Stones

Right:  Harry has a rest at Farnhill Pinnacle

I was looking forward to seeing my good friends, Ann and Roger Hiley, who were staying with me for the night as they had a family party not far away. We enjoyed a short walk, with of course, Harry and Bethan, Ann and Roger's two golden retrievers, to Farnhill Pinnacle on Saturday afternoon before they set off for the part. It was more or less a straight up straight down walk as we didn't have a lot of time. But it was nice and sunny. I then went to collect Hollie and we looked after Harry and Bethan while Ann and Roger enjoyed their party.

The following day we were joined by Hollie and Abi, Ann and Roger's granddaughter, who had also stayed the night. There is one month difference between Hollie and Abi, Abi being the slightly older one. Our walk on Sunday morning took us up Nab End and over to the Doubler Stones. Sadly, the rain set in but it certainly didn't spoil it for the girls. They've met once before – see my walk up Sharphaw on 20 July 2009. It was just like old friends meeting up and was lovely to see them enjoying themselves – in spite of the weather.

Two short walks with good friends and good craic – what more could one ask for. More sunshine perhaps!!

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Black Pots and the Stanza Stones – Tuesday 7 August

Left:   Looking over the Stanza Stones toward Silsden and Nab End

Right:  Ominous clouds but some sunshine on Cross Hills

A friend had seen short-eared owls above Silsden and it was a place where I liked to walk. So off I set hoping to see some as it is a bird I have never seen. I didn't want a long walk as I had other things to do later but just wanted some fresh air and a bit of exercise – I'm still not as fit as I'd like to be! I parked in my usual spot below Nab End – then took the easier route along the road instead of up the short steep pull to the ridge. Part of this walk is through the forest and even though the day wasn't too hot, it was good to walk in the cool shade.

There wasn't much wildlife about at all and sadly, I didn't see the owls. But it was a pleasant enough short walk of about 4 miles. I'll try again another day.

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Sharphaw with Sophie and Hollie – Wednesday 25 July

Left:   Looking back up to Sleeping Lady and Sharphaw

Right:  Sophie and Hollie at Sharphaw summit

For all the years that Sophie has lived either in or near Skipton she had never been up Sharphaw, the distinctive pointy peak that overlooks Skipton. Hollie had walked up it when she was 3 (see Walks 2009, 20 July) and was eager to show Mum how lovely it was. So as Sophie had a few days off and the weather was OK we got her there at last. It wasn't a long walk; only about 3 miles, but it was lovely to be out walking with my 2 girls. We had a refreshment break at the summit, which as usual was windy, before returning down over Sleeping Lady. Rain was in the air so it was good to get back to the car before it got any heavier! I was a bit annoyed with myself though as I'd had the camera on the wrong setting for part of the walk so not all my photos turned out well. But at least I got some of my beautiful girls.

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Brothers Water and Leighton Moss – Tuesday 26 June

Left:   Looking across Brothers Water to Hartsop Dodd

Right:  The beautiful avocet seen here at Leighton Moss

We were hoping for a good fell walk with Helvellyn being our first choice, or St Sunday Crag from Patterdale. However, as we set off from the George Starkey Hut in Patterdale I knew from the pain in my leg that I wasn't going to get very far. We'd only gone about half a mile but my left calf had swollen up like a giant redwood tree trunk and I could only walk a few steps then have to stop and massage it. No choice but to limp back to the car. After a brew we parked at Cow Bridge at Hartsop and had a short wander by Brothers Water. Then Barrie had the great suggestion of going somewhere I hadn't been in about 15 years and we had said that we'd go one day – Leighton Moss.

So cross-country we went. By now my leg had eased a bit and we had a very pleasant wander round the reserve – with plenty of hides to rest the leg and watch the birds – seeing some lovely birds including avocets, marsh harriers, black-tailed godwits, little egrets and bullfinches. So, it was a bit of a different day but very pleasant all the same.

****Postscript: a visit to the doctor confirmed that I had pulled a muscle very badly in my leg and he advised taking it easy for a while and it should be OK. I did and it was, thank goodness.

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Ingleborough via Trow Gill – Thursday 14 June

Left:   Looking to the Ingleborough plateau from Little Ingleborough

Right:  Looking across the impressive limestone pavement to Penyghent

I haven't done any good long walks for a long time and I wanted to see if I could still do them. I've always loved the walk from Clapham up to Gaping Gill and while the route from there to Ingleborough summit is a bit of a slog, it's straightforward. So that was what I did. The weather was a bit grey as I left the village – nice and quiet at 9.30 – and there was quite a breeze. But it wasn't raining. I stopped many times, but I was in no hurry, the day was long and I wasn't expecting rain. I've been to Gaping Gill many times so I by-passed it and carried on up the slog. The wind was getting stronger and was blowing across the open moor. Several times I had to try and wedge my feet in the ground to stop being blown over. A couple of times I thought about turning back, but the summit was nearly in sight. I hadn't seen anyone till half way up the slog, but as usual, it was quite busy at the summit.

After a quick lunch and a chat with a couple of very pleasant ladies I set off down the very obvious track along the flank of Simon Fell to Sulber Nick. I was walking against the very strong wind but this was the way I wanted to go so I had to put up with it. The sun had come out now and the white of the limestone against the blue sky was enough to cheer anyone up. I turned right at the crossroads then headed across country on lovely grassy paths till Long Lane came into view. Long Lane always lives up to its name but it's all downhill, thank goodness. It was a super walk of about 12 miles. My longest walk in quite a while but I've proved to myself that I can still do it.

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A birthday wander along the canal bank from Kildwick to Silsden and back – Tuesday 29 May

Left:   Looking east along the canal and it is looking rather grey

Right:  Looking west along the canal and it is looking somewhat brighter

It was my birthday so a day off from work was definitely on the cards. I had an afternoon (after school) planned with Hollie so it couldn't be a long walk. A canal wander but from Kildwick to Silsden and back to Kildwick would vary the usual route of Silsden to Kildwick and back. The weather was dull but dry with a pleasant breeze and I took my time hoping to get some bird photos. As I sat by one of the swing bridges a jay landed just across the canal from me. I managed to get a reasonably good shot of it before it flew off into the trees. So not a long walk at all but just right for my birthday.

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Rivock Edge and a Stanza Stone – Tuesday 22 May

Left:   The Dew Stone – one of the controversial Stanza Stones – on Rivock Edge

Right:  Old stone footbridge over Holden Beck

I'd picked up a booklet in the library 'Stanza Stones Poetry Trail Guide' and found that one of these Stanza Stones was not too far away and would make a pleasant short walk of about 5 miles. To see what the Stanza Stones are all about have a look at the Ilkley Literature Festival website (if you don't mind this sort of thing in the open countryside) or the Voice of the Valleys website (if you feel that this is no more than mindless graffiti and spoils the open countryside). I have an open mind. There are two stones here, the Dew Stone, at the moment lying down but to be raised when the ground has dried out.

I walked on through the forest to the radio mast then cut across country through fields and over a lovely old stone footbridge (probably used more often by sheep) over Holden Beck back to the car. It was a lovely walk with super views over Airedale, blue sky and the cuckoo accompanying me all the way round. I knew exactly where he was but didn't see him. It was lovely just to hear his voice.

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Mickleden meander – Friday 11 May

Left:   Looking up Mickleden with Bowfell to the left and Rossett Pike centre.

Right:  Black skies over Blea Tarn with a very dark looking Langdale Pikes in the distance. Side Pike is the prominent outcrop to the right.

It's hard these days finding a day that Barrie and I can both manage and that coincides with good weather. Today the forecast was only half promising but we made it to the Lakes. We decided on a low level walk up a perennial favourite, Mickleden – you're surrounded by mountains and enjoy the real wild feeling without actually having to do anything strenuous. However, the rain was never far away so the walk was only about 3 miles but it was just lovely to be out there. After that we had a short wander by Blea Tarn, which is always impressive. After that we did the touristy thing including our usual visit to Hayes Garden Centre and a stroll round Bowness – we tend to keep away from the busy spots but it wasn't too bad. So even though we didn't get up a hill it was a very pleasant day and the weather was pretty decent most of the time.

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From Holden Gate through the fields and woods above Keighley – Tuesday 27 March

Left:   Looking across Riddlesden golf course and Airedale towards Steeton

Right:  Looking down to Silsden in its lovely green setting

A local walk of about three miles in very warm sunshine – we were having a most unseasonal early mini heatwave and it really was too hot to be walking far! But I parked the back road (the high route with lovely views down and across the Aire Valley) to Keighley at Holden Gate and wandered down through some fields to a lovely path alongside the golf course and through trees. It was very warm and the shade of the trees was very welcome. I crossed over the road and took the waterfalls path but instead of crossing the beck I turned right and up to The Crag. From there it was a pleasant grassy uphill path and back to the car. Not a great description but it was just fields, trees and lovely paths. Not far but very pleasant.

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Steel Knotts to Howtown and back round Hallin Fell – Tuesday 6 March

Left:   The beautiful view up Martindale with The Nab prominent

Right:  Pikeawassa (Steel Knotts summit) – one of the best summits in Lakeland

I don't get to the Lakes as much these days for a variety of reasons. Too much work, study, my body not being as fit as it used to be and the price of fuel. Also the weather has been dreadful so far this year and the good days haven't coincided with my being able to walk. But this day Barrie and I decided that a day in the Lakes was a good idea. It was a long time since we'd visited the east of the area and Steel Knotts had been attempted once before but not finished. We parked at Martindale Old Church, which is always a lovely place to be and one of my favourite places in the Lakes. The path starts immediately behind the church and slants easily up the fellside to reach a col by a wall. It's a very straightforward walk with no really steep bits and the views in all directions are superb. But the best being the view forwards into Martindale with The Nab prominent. We turned left at the col and were soon at the summit. The actual summit of Steel Knotts is known by the unusual and curious name of Pikeawassa. I have no idea where it got the name and have never been able to find out. Anyone reading this who can help, please get in touch.

It was very windy at the summit, but we found a sheltered spot with a fabulous view over Ullswater, down into Fusedale and north to Cross Fell and the Pennines. We then descended over Steel End to Howtown looking forward to a drink at the hotel. We very rarely stop mid walk for a drink and typically one time when we do, the hotel is closed. A tad disappointed we carried on along the shore path round the base of Hallin Fell to arrive at Sandwick then what seemed a longer road stretch than it should have done back to the car.

The walk was about 6 miles and I was fairly pleased with my fitness. It was a grand day out and hopefully won't be too long till the next walk, wherever it might be.

More photos from the walk can be seen here

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Carron Crag and Grizedale – Friday 27January

Left:   Approaching the summit of Carron Crag

Right:  One of the many sculptures in Grizedale Forest

The forecast had changed somewhat between us planning the walk and carrying it out but it was the only day we could go. Rain, sleet, hail and a bit of sunshine were our companions for the day. But a day in the Lakes is always enjoyable whatever the weather. We'd hoped to see the red kites which were released in Grizedale a couple of years ago. I think they were hiding from the weather as we had no sighting of them. At 1025' and about 750' of ascent Carron Crag isn't exactly a strenuous walk, but the not very nice weather and lack of fitness made it seem longer. We never walk fast anyway!! It's much too nice just being out there. The walk was about 5 miles – not bad for the first Lakes walk of 2012.

More photos from the walk can be seen here

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A frosty sunny walk on Farnhill Moor – Friday 13 January

Left:   Jubilee Tower, more commonly known as Farnhill Pinnacle on Farnhill Moor

Right:  Wintry trees on Farnhill Moor

Bad weather for just about every day of the first two weeks of January with rain at some time nearly every day has meant that I hadn't got out for a proper walk yet. I intend getting out as much as I can this year and also getting on with my wildlife and birdwatching. At last, however, a nice day coincided with me being able to get out for a walk midweek. Tilly was at the vet having a biopsy to try and sort out a stubborn skin infection. So needing to take my mind off it and not wanting to travel too far I parked at Barretts Bridge at Kildwick and set off for Farnhill Moor. I was hoping for some bird photos – the swans were very obliging. After only a short walk along the canal bank I crossed another bridge. This took me up Parson's Walk, which originally was the path the parson took from the parsonage down through the fields to the church in Kildwick. A friendly robin let me get some nice photos and a grey squirrel was obliging too.

I was soon up onto the frosty open moor where the walking was easy although I had to keep a lookout for icy patches. On the top of the moor is the prominent marker of Jubilee Tower, better known locally as Farnhill Pinnacle, with its bright white coat standing out against the blue sky. The views from here are panoramic reaching up Airedale beyond Skipton to Malhamdale, with an intimate view of the valley below. A lovely place to sit and dream on a warmer day. As I walked back through the woods a harsh bird call caught my attention and I was lucky to catch a glimpse of a jay. I managed a photo as it flew up high into the trees, but only a back view. Then back down Parson's Walk and I was soon back at the car. Not much wildlife seen but I was happy with the photos I did get. A lovely short walk of about 3 miles.

More photos from the walk can be seen here

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