Beinn Dorain and Beinn an Dothaidh

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A cast of thousands (well a dozen or so) assembled for our winter gathering, this year held once again at the Bridge of Orchy Hotel and, as ever, superbly organised by Andy. On the Saturday, The Tower Captain and I decided to tackle the two hills which tower over the hotel to the East – Beinn Dorain and Beinn an Dothaidh.

The route was extremely simple: follow the path beside the Allt Coire an Dothaidh into the slightly forbidding looking Coire an Dothaidh…

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Turn right at the col for the long haul up to Beinn Dorain before returning to the col to nip up Beinn an Dothaidh via a circuit of Coire Reidh.

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Looking down Glen Orchy.

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Looking across Loch Tulla.

Towards the top of Corie an Dothaidh I was really surprised to see, emerging from the snow, the flowers of what I assume to be Purple Saxifrage, familiar to me from the limestone crags high on Ingleborough and Pen-y-ghent.

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We stopped for a while, behind a boulder near the top of the corrie, for a drink and a bite to eat.

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Lochan on the ridge, unnamed on the OS map.

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Beinn a Chuirn and Beinn Mhanach, with Beinn Sheasgarnaich behind TC.

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Looking up to the steepest section of the climb on Beinn Dorain.

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Looking back towards Beinn an Dothaidh.

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Across Loch Tulla again. Ben Starav, Stob Coir an Albannaich and Stob Ghabhar.

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Pano. Click on this, or other pictures, to view a larger image on flickr.

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Looking south-west, Ben Oss and Ben Lui prominent.

The weather was pretty changeable and we had a few showers of snow, hail and rain, but on the whole that just added to the drama of the views.

The false summit of Carn Sasunnaich came as a surprise, in mist I can see that it would be very easy to be fooled by it.

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I was feeling in particularly fine fettle along this section of ridge, like I was really in my element.

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In fact, here I am, feeling very pleased with myself. The Tower Captain took the photo, I don’t think he’ll mind that I’ve used it.

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Looking back along the ridge to Carn Sasunnaich.

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Across Loch Tulla again – the weather coming in.

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Looking toward Ben Oss and Ben Lui again.

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Looking South from the top.

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Ice formations on the slopes of Beinn an Dothaidh.

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Looking back to Beinn Dorain.

I was hoping that Beinn an Dothaidh would give us superb views across the vast expanse of Rannoch Moor, but, by the time we had reached the top, the weather had closed in again and our views were a bit limited.

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Looking down to Loch Tulla.

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Beinn Achaladair.

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Large cornices and the summit of Beinn an Dothaidh.

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The Tower Captain on the summit of Beinn an Dothaidh.

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Looking towards the hills around Loch Lyon.

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I’m not sure what kind of rocks the hills we climbed are composed of, but they seemed to glitter in the combination of damp and sunlight we had, with lots of silvers and golds on display. Eventually, it occurred to me to try to photograph them, but I only took one photo, which hasn’t really captured the effect very satisfactorily.

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When we got back down to Coire and Dothaidh the snow had mostly melted and the late afternoon light put a completely different aspect on the views.

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We sat by the same boulder as we had on the way up for one final rest stop…

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…before returning to the pub for food, drink and a convivial evening with old friends.

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Beinn Dorrain

Can’t be bad.

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Beinn Dorain and Beinn an Dothaidh

Half Term Happenings II

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Back to mid-February, when we are ‘at home’ for the visit of numerous guests.

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We’d been for a midday wander around Jenny Brown’s Point, when I don’t seem to have taken any photos at all, and were then out again, climbing Arnside Knott and then pausing at the Pepper Pot, on our way home, to watch the sunset.

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Don’t be deceived by my brother’s shorts, the breeze had turned very cold, as you might expect in February.

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I actually took quite a few more photos, mostly of people, but the camera has an HDR facility, which I forget to turn off. It’s great for landscapes, but makes people look like strange Frankenstein monsters.

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The sun disappearing behind Humphrey Head.

 

Half Term Happenings II

Half-Term Happenings I

February half-term was very busy here at our Country Pile. The Surf’n’slide crew dropped by for the first weekend. My brother and his kids also arrived late on the Saturday and my mum and dad had booked a room at the Silverdale Hotel from Sunday night through till Thursday.

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We had regular Roe Deer visitors in the garden too.

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In the woods by Hawes Water.

The remaining photos are all garnered from the first of two walks we managed to squeeze in on the Saturday.

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On the new Hawes Water boardwalk.

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Gloucester Old Spot pigs at Hawes Water Villa.

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Leighton Moss from the ‘Skytower’.

Andy has a fuller account of this and our other walks that weekend over on his blog. He seems to have taken more photos than I did.


In the summer, I shall be attempting to complete the annual 10 in 10 challenge. Briefly, the idea is to walk a route over 10 Wainwrights in 10 hours or less.  You can find out more here.

The event is a fundraiser and I’m hoping to get some sponsorship for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. My Just Giving page is here. All donations, however small, will be most welcome. I should add that the sponsorship is not a condition of my entry and that I’ve already paid a fee to enter which covers all costs, so all sponsor money would go directly to charity.

Half-Term Happenings I

Pre-Xmas Weekend: Ling Gill and Calf Holes.

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Ling Gill.

The forecast for the Sunday was, if anything, even worse than it had been for the day before. However, some of us were itching to get out, and so, when TBH revealed that she had left her trekking poles behind whilst out on a walk the day before, we decided to go out to look for them. We started by heading up onto the moors of Cam End then turned south on the Pennine Way, heading for the impressive gorge of Ling Gill.

We met a lady walking her dog who told us that she walks that path every day and that we were the first people she had met for months. It’s a very quiet corner of the world!

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Looking across Ling Gill to Ingleborough.

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Calf Holes.

At Calf Holes a stream disappears into a yawning pothole.

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TBH had been here with the boys the day before and this was where she thought she had left her poles. There was no sign of them, but it later transpired that some of our friends had picked them up here later in the day, so she will eventually get them back.

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TBH wasn’t overly concerned about her poles and, whilst Andy and I faffed about taking photos, took the opportunity to tuck in to her pack-up.

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Brow Gill Beck

The stream which pours into Calf Holes emerges downstream at Brow Gill Cave and then flows briefly underground again at God’s Bridge.

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God’s Bridge.

We’d been this same way on our previous outing, but that had been in the dark, this time we managed to get back to the lodge almost before it got completely dark. In the end, the weather had been much kinder than we had been led to expect with hardly any rain and not too much wind – it had been a good decision to get out.

The next day, when we were packing up and leaving, the sky was pure blue, the sun shone and we were too busy to take advantage of it. Not to worry, it had been a highly enjoyable weekend, as always and a great start to our yuletide celebrations.

Pre-Xmas Weekend: Ling Gill and Calf Holes.

Pre-Xmas Weekend: Pen-y-ghent

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As ever, we got together with a gaggle of old friends for the weekend before Christmas. After several years at Chapel-le-Dale, this year we moved, but only a little way up the road to Gearstones Lodge. Here’s the lodge…

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I’ll take a moment to say that, if you are after simple, comfortable and spacious accommodation in a fantastic location for a largish group at a good price, then this place is going to be very hard to beat.

The first time we booked accommodation for a weekend before Christmas, A was just a baby and spent most of the weekend happily rocking furiously or sleeping in the only warm room at Slaidburn hostel. Now here she is, in the first photo, practically all grown up. It’s not the best photo of either A or Pen-y-ghent, which is hidden in the cloud behind,  but I’ve included because it’s a very typical A pose: she doesn’t want me to take her photo, but is tolerating my antics with a bemused look which tells me just how little she appreciates it.

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Here she is again. We were all hunkered down behind the wall seeking some shelter from the wind and rain. We’d parked in Horton-in-Ribblesdale and were climbing Pen-y-ghent with the intention of continuing back to Gearstones afterwards.

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A and J.

As often happens, somebody had stopped to change a layer or swig some water and somebody else had taken that as a queue for a lunch stop. We have a lot of lunch stops when walking together. I think there may even have been more scoffing underway when I caught up with the rest of the party at the top of Pen-y-ghent, having lagged behind a little, as is my wont. Certainly, an ‘official’ lunch stop was declared in the sheltered hollow…

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Around the opening of Hunt Pot.

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From there we diverted slightly from the most direct route to take a look at the highly impressive Hull Pot…

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Usually, the streambed above the pot is dry, but one compensation of the weather being so wet was the opportunity it afforded to see the falls cascading over the edge of the pot.

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And that’s it for my photos of that day. We still had quite a long way to walk, but it was very overcast at first, then dark for the last hour or so and anyway, I was busy chinwagging.

The ground we covered from Pen-y-ghent back to Gearstones did look very interesting, when we could still see it, and I look forward to going back to have another look in more conducive conditions.

Andy has helpfully included a map of our route in his post and there are more photos too.

And for photos from Pen-y-ghent in better weather, here are two previous posts of my own: here and here.

Back at the hostel, we dried out over cups of tea then enjoyed some top-notch grub and no doubt lots of silly anecdotes.

I’ve finished a number of walks in the dark this winter, which is just how winter walks should finish, and which gives me a handy excuse to include this…

‘It Might Get Dark’ by White Denim, which has something of Marc Bolan about it. I’ve heard White Denim quite a bit since I started listening to Radio 6. They’re touring the UK in February…..

Pre-Xmas Weekend: Pen-y-ghent

Around the Coast Again.

Elmslack – Middlebarrow Plain – Holgates – Far Arnside – Park Point – Arnside Point – White Creek – New Barns – Kent Estuary – Arnside Promenade – Redhills Wood – Arnside Knott Wood – Arnside Tower – Holgates – Middlebarrow Plain – Elmslack.

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Monday had brought clear skies and sunshine, Tuesday strong and chilling winds and dark clouds, Wednesday was more of a mixed bag with some cloud, but some sunshine too. Good walking weather in fact.

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Essentially the same view as the first photo, but this one was taken with my phone rather than my camera. The drama is definitely ramped up a bit here, although the first photo is a closer representation of what I could actually see. Frankly, I can’t decide which one I prefer.

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We were joined for our walk around the coast by our good friends from the village Beaver B and G and their kids.

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I was really enjoying the contrast between the dark clouds and the shafts of sunlight lighting up the waters of the bay. I think Little S was impressed too, he slipped down the cliffs somewhere (I try not to worry too much about the kids little diversions like this, they usually seem to emerge unscathed somehow) and then sat down on the shingle to drink it all in…

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Grange-over-Sands in the sunshine.

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Beaver B on the clifftop path.

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I was very taken by this little memorial by the path, commemorating one Edgar W. Crabtree; presumably he too loved this coastal walk.

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We stopped at the Bob Inn at New Barns for tea and coffee and such like. There’s a children’s playground, but most of our kids are getting a bit too old and sophisticated for that to divert them for too long.

I was impressed by a number of painted slates hanging on the cafe’s exterior walls…

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Here’s the details in case you’re interested…

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Grubbins Wood and the Kent from New Barns.

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Approaching Arnside.

We split into two factions in Arnside, some eating in the Pie Shop, or the Old Bakery as the proprietors seem to prefer, and some at the chippy. I was well prepared and had some soup in a flask. I think it might have been quite late by the time we’d finished our various meals, so we took a fairly direct route home. Around the coast is always a good day out, especially in good company, and this was no exception.

Around the Coast Again.

Crummack Dale from Clapham

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Waterfall in Clapham Beck.

The forecast for the Sunday after our Gummer How stroll was truly dreadful. It did seem that things might improve in the afternoon though. We’d made plans to meet friends at Clapham, but now hastily rearranged them to put back the time of our rendezvous till midday. Even so, as we drove over it was raining cats and dogs and we were having serious doubts about the sanity of the whole idea. B had elected to forgo his usual Sunday ration of rugby and, after spending all morning at home whilst we consumed endless cups of tea and nattered, he must have been wondering about his choice. Fortunately, by the time we had gathered in the car park, the rain had stopped, at least temporarily.

Clapham is an attractive Dales village, but, as is often the case, I neglected to take any photos until we were well underway. The most direct route would have taken us along Clapdale Drive and past Ingleborough Show Cave, but we would have had to pay for that privilege,  so we opted to climb up the western side of the valley and follow the path to…

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…Clapdale Farm, before turning back toward the valley bottom.

Conditions were very damp and murky, but we could see that the sun was shining down in the valley behind us. Perhaps things would clear up after all?

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Thwaite Scars.

From there we climbed up Trow Gill, where again I didn’t take any photos, you can see some from my last visit here (it’s a long post with lots of photos, the Trow Gill ones are near the end and after those there are some of Clapdale Drive and even of Clapham itself).

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Trow Gill.

From the top of Trow Gill we climbed to meet a path which dropped down into the marvellously named Clapham Bottoms, stopping en route for lunch and/or a cup of tea in the rain.

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This group photo was taken at the lowest point before we began to climb again. For Uncle Fester (on the right here with B) this was a low point both figuratively and literally; he wasn’t feeling very well and had already decided to turn back to his car. He seemed convinced that the curry we’d shared the night before to celebrate TJF’s birthday was to blame, but if that was the case, it was odd that nobody else was feeling the same ill effects.

It was a shame that he had to turn back, because from that point on the weather did finally begin to improve.

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Pen-y-ghent almost emerging from the cloud.

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Pen-y-ghent from Sulber Gate – still not quite free of cloud.

I’ve visited this area of limestone edges and pavements above Crummack Dale a few times recently and it has become a firm favourite.

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Looking down to Crummack Dale.

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Beggar’s stile.

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Moughton Scars.

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Moughton Scars pano.

Just after we’d descended below Moughton Scars, the sun made an appearance and gave us some better light for the superb views which Crummack Dale has to offer.

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Moughton Scars.

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Moughton Scars.

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Moughton Scars.

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Moughton Scars.

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Looking across Crummack Dale to Pendle Hill.

We dropped down the valley and then climbed a little, past Nappa Scars and into the Norber area…

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Norber.

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Robin Proctor’s Scar.

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Where we found a spot for another brief stop…

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The path took us under Robin Proctor’s Scar…

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Robin Proctor’s Scar.

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Robin Proctor’s Scar.

And then onto Thwaite Lane which would take us back into Clapham.

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Andy seems to think that nobody else noticed the sudden spell of bright weather which accompanied the final leg of our walk, so here’s two photos to prove otherwise.

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It was an unexpectedly glorious ending to what had begun as a filthy day – typically British weather in fact.

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I’ve nicked Andy’s map of the route; there have to be some perks of being way behind with the blog. Mapmywalk have this as just a little over 10 miles; not bad for a sociable afternoon stroll.

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After that some of the party came back to ours to share the kleftiko which had been slow-roasting in the oven whilst we were out. One of these days I’m going to get to Greece to try the genuine article.

So, a weekend with loads of old friends, two walks, a curry, a birthday to celebrate, and roast lamb. A perfect start to the half-term break!

Crummack Dale from Clapham