On the Sunday I missed the opportunity to get out with any of the others – it’s a long(ish) story involving a cancelled rugby match and a lack of mobile phone reception, but the long and the short of it was that I was ready for a walk at about midday. The weather was forecast to be mixed, which was how it turned out, but mostly dry with some spectacular sunny spells.
The obvious choice was an ascent of Ingleborough via the flagged path through Humphrey Bottom, which I remember as a purgatorial quagmire on my first visits to this area back in the Eighties.
This route has a short, sharp shock in store – a final (well almost) steep ascent to gain the ridge.
I arrived on the huge plateau of the top at an opportune moment – just in time for a break in the cloud and some wonderful, low winter sunlight.
During my ascent I’d bumped into Uncle Fester on his way down. He opined that whilst the route along the ridge looked attractive, the inevitably pathless descent from it would be deeply tedious after all the wet weather we’d had. I could see that he was absolutely right. But I couldn’t resist…
This was the third time in recent years that I’ve followed this path, skirting Simon Fell and sticking to the edge – it’s a cracker.
Especially when the sun shines!
The most prominent view from there is across the valley to Whernside – tantalisingly, the clouds kept ushering patches of sunshine across the valley below without ever spotlighting the ridge or the summit. Until…
In the end the descent wasn’t anything like as bad as it might have been – I found a sheep track which traversed from the low point in the ridge before Park Fell, then I followed a wall to a track and then found another path, not marked on my map, which took me through the Ingleborough National Nature Reserve back to Great Douk Cave and hence to the Old School House.