A buy-one-get-one-free offer: two walks for the price of one.
Looking over Beacon Fell to the Lancashire Plain and Coast.
Whilst we were down in Herefordshire, Andy and I were discussing the all-round magnificence of climbing hills on a summer evening after work, and bemoaning the fact that, for various reasons, neither of use had yet managed to get out to do that this year. In the past, reading about Andy’s hill-top suppers has inspired me to make an effort to find the time and the energy for something more ambitious than I might otherwise have aimed for; and apparently my posts about evening strolls serve the same purpose for him: so if it achieves nothing else, this post might at least spur him on to make the most of our long summer days.
Another view from Parlick Fell. Vaguely in the direction of Preston?
So anyway, after our conversation, I was determined to get out and climb some hills and with the glorious weather continuing, I decided to start sooner rather than later.
Two advantages of a late start are that you avoid the heat of the day and the crowds. Theoretically. In this case, it seemed very hot as I toiled my way up little Parlick Fell, and I’d unknowingly chosen the evening of a fell-running event. As a result I was frequently passed or overtaken by wiry men wearing diddy shorts, PBs and little else. One of my colleagues is a fell-runner, and since Pendle Hill, which I could see not too far away across Ribblesdale, is his stamping ground, I assumed he would be here. He is tall and thin and bald. Every time I saw a tall and thin and bald runner, I initially assumed that it was him. But it never was. Soon, I came to realise that all fell runners are tall and thin and bald. In fact, he was there, but was indistinguishable from his many fellows to the untrained eye.
Reaching the summit of Parlick Fell brought not only expansive views, but also a refreshing bit of a breeze. To my shame, in the many years that I’ve lived nearby, I’ve never been this way before. My loss: the walk from Parlick Fell to Fair Snape Fell is a cracker.
A gentle climb on springy turf, with great views both down in to Bleasdale and along the edges which curve gracefully around it.
Fair Snape Fell itself has a bewildering array of summit furniture.
Not that it’s particularly a summit, that lies somewhere off to the east, in amongst the peat hags.
Looking across the Bowland Moors to Ingleborough. That’s the tiny nipple in the centre: to the naked eye it looked impressively distinctive, honest. With a magnifying glass, you might pick out what I think is Whernside to the left of Ingleborough.
After a bit of faffing about wondering which fence to follow through the peat hags (there seemed to be a bonus fence on the ground, not recorded on my OS 1:25000) I hit this track, headed for Saddle Fell, which made for very pleasant walking.
The lump in the middle distance is Totridge which I climbed in the mist one evening last year.
Where the track began to descend towards Ward’s End I stopped to eat my sandwiches. Egg mayonnaise, I think. Hardly cordon bleu stuff, but I’m prepared to forgo gastronomic delights if my dining room has a view like this:
A couple of parascenders were airborne by Parlick Fell and, beyond them, a glider swept wide circles. Curlews flew overhead, calling stridently. A grouse rattled away in a huff.
A couple walked past, heading uphill on the path. Or rather, a man walked past followed by a woman 50 yards behind. He shouted a cheery greeting. She seemed to be in single minded pursuit and said nothing. Why do people do that to each other? Particularly couples? I imagined the conversation they’d had before-hand: ‘Let’s almost go for a walk together. We’ll do the same route, but not at the same time. That way we won’t have to talk to each other.”
The final leg of my walk took me across Chipping Beck, where a steep bank was even more intensely decked out with bluebells than Outhwaite had been on our recent visit. Sadly, with the sun now quite low in the sky, this east facing bank was in shadow and it was hard to do justice to the bluebells with a photo.
Flushed with the success of that walk, I emailed my friend T and suggested that the two of us should make good on the promise we’d made ourselves to climb Ingleborough together.
Here he is on the top. Soaked through, cold and bemused, but still smiling.
We’d left a car in Ingleton, parked at Ribblehead and then traversed Ingleborough North to South. We had a lengthy, heavy shower as we climbed Park Fell. After that we were in the cloud practically until we reached Crina Bottom. Following the edge around Simon Fell we were blasted by a fierce wind. Now and again rents in the cloud tantalised us with views of blue sky overhead or limestone pavements below, but the breaking up and lifting of the cloud, which seemed to be promised, never materialised. We didn’t stop for a brew and sandwiches until we reached the spring just before the final climb onto Ingleborough, where a small hollow afforded a little shelter. We almost missed the huge shelter on the top, because the visibility was so poor. All in all, it was a bit of a wild night for T’s first ascent of Ingleborough. But, as T said at the time, it was good to be out experiencing something different, instead of watching the telly. On the positive side, we appeared to have the hill entirely to ourselves. Although, given the visibility, there might have been a whole tribe of Brigantes living in a fort on the summit plateau and we would probably have missed them.
A fine leg-stretcher.
This doesn’t quite show the beginning or end of the walk, I know. I’m doing me best, honest.
So, have I whet your appetite? Is there somewhere on, or near, your commute where you might climb to a promising viewpoint with a picnic and enjoy an evening out of the ordinary, summery or otherwise? If you do, why not pop back and let me know about it.