Our annual pre-Christmas gathering. (Because Christmas comes but once a year, a bit like posts on this blog.) Our previous trips have been to Youth Hostels: Slaidburn, Keld, Dufton, Kirby Stephen, Malham and for the last three years Ninebanks (we’ve been to some of the others more than once too, and quite probably other places which I’ve temporarily forgotten. This was the tenth trip of this type, that much I do know). Much as we enjoyed Ninebanks, the consensus last year was that we should try somewhere new and we hit upon the Old School Bunkhouse at Chapel-le-Dale near Ingleton. And a top choice that turned out to be. The weather was pretty miserable, but the kids were content to charge around playing bizarre games and (most of) the adults equally content to sit in the spacious kitchen drinking endless cups of tea and shooting the breeze.
On the Saturday, when it did eventually stop raining for a while, we dragged the kids out for a poke around in the vicinity of Great Douk Cave. I seem not to have taken any photos at all, which is a shame. Many moons ago, the Shandy Sherpa, Geordie Munro and I explored this cave a couple of times, when we were dabbling in the art of speleology. It had even been mooted that we might take the kids into it whilst we were nearby, but a considerable flume of water was spouting from the entrance, so it will have to wait for another time.
We had a little bit of a wander around the limestone pavement above the cave and at that point most of the party were content to head back to the bunkhouse. A select band of more hardy, or more foolish, types decided to investigate another flume of water apparently issuing from the hillside above us. It transpired that the water was pouring out of a pipe which jutted out of the slope – something to do with Chapel-le-Dale’s water supply?
We were most of the way up Simon Fell now, so continued to the path which skirts the edge of the plateau and then followed that round towards the summit of Ingleborough. It was raining again and when we reached the point where we had an option to take the path down into Humphrey Bottom we consulted the junior members of the party and let them choose – back to the bunkhouse it was. Of course, shortly after we turned away, it stopped raining and then the cloud even cleared from the summit – Sod’s Law in operation, as ever.
On the Sunday, we did the Ingleton waterfalls walk. You have to pay to do it, and it’s not cheap (although – it’s worth knowing that the best bits – Pecca Falls and Thornton Force – are both on access land), but it is a fabulous walk, especially when there’s been plenty of rain and the falls are at their most spectacular.
I absolutely can’t resist waterfalls, and in stark contrast to the day before, took hundreds of photos.
Whilst we were up at Thorton Force, the sun even shone very briefly.
Here’s the falls catching the light….
I even took a video, probably by mistake because I’ve rather given up on the idea of getting satisfactory films from my camera, but it hasn’t come out too badly, and, for my money, a moving waterfall has it in spades over a still image:
Not much else to say about this one.
The top section of the walk gives great views of Ingleborough, which we see so often (if distantly) from home.
I must bring B (who almost made it to the top on the Saturday) back again soon. Also – choose a better evening to climb it after work this year.
Most of us were able to stay on until the Monday, but that brought really foul weather so after packing up we headed home. A great weekend – we shall be heading back again this Christmas.
I should mention that Andy took sole charge of the grub this year, and very good it was too. (I believe he’s available for weddings, bar mitzvahs, children’s parties etc).
He’s also cooking up a storm (did you see what I did there?) over on his blog: here’s his version of events which includes photos of the Saturday walk.