Uldale Force, Rawthey Gill, Baugh Fell

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Cautley Crag on Great Dummacks, partly obscured by cloud.

I haven’t ventured out on the hills on my own all that much this year. Of course, we were supposed to stay ‘local’, what ever that meant, for quite some time, then those restrictions were relaxed, but I don’t seem to have got back into the habit somehow. This walk, on the sprawling moors of Baugh Fell being the notable exception. It began inauspiciously, in the parking area just off the Sedbergh to Kirkby Stephen road, south of Rawthey Bridge, with low cloud obscuring the Howgill Fells and a light drizzle falling. I was heading for the path which cuts across the slopes of Bluecaster heading into the upper reaches of the River Rawthey.

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Wild Boar Fell and Swarth Fell

Along the path I leap-frogged a group of three who had set-off from the same parking spot just before me. They were the last people I would see for quite some time.

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The Rawthey near Needle House and Uldale House.
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The Rawthey
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Whin Stone Gill

The waters of all of the streams which feed into the Rawthey ultimately end up in the Lune, and so fall under the remit of my Lune Catchment project. On the map, Needlehouse Gill and Uldale Gill look like an interesting alternative way up onto Wild Boar Fell. Whin Stone Gill, on the other hand, skirts Holmes Moss Hill, one of the boggiest places I have ever walked, so I might be leaving that one for a while!

Anyway, sticking with the Rawthey, as I continued upstream I passed a series of small cascades, including this one…

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Behind which, through the trees, you can just about make out Uldale Force, contained within it’s own little amphitheatre.

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It’s not Yorkshire Dales tallest, widest, or most spectacular waterfall, but it’s a smashing spot. At the back of my mind, when I’d planned this walk, I’d been thinking that I might manage a brief dip in the pool at the bottom of the fall, but it was still a bit damp, and quite cool, so I reluctantly abandoned that idea.

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I took solace instead in the abundance of Primroses growing on the far bank – this photo just shows one small section of an absolute mass of flowers.

From Uldale Force, it’s necessary to climb up above the river and it’s steep banks for a while, but I soon rejoined the watercourse further up.

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The Rawthey passes through a rocky little ravine for a while, where progress was quite slow, as I crossed and recrossed the stream. (Somewhere, the River Rawthey becomes plain old Rawthey Gill.)

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At some point the sun had come out. I came across a rather tempting little pool and hatched a new plan: make a brew, swim whilst the tea cooled a bit, get out and drink the brew to warm up. Perfect. Or it would have been had I remembered to pack a gas canister. So I abandoned that plan in a fit of pique.

At Rawthey Gill Foot, (perhaps where the name change occurs?) the landscape opens up and the feeling of space is immense. This would prove to be a feature of the day.

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As I climbed and the slopes on either side of the Rawthey began to rise again and enclose the gill, I came across a series of delightful little pools, just about large enough for a dip.

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I’m pretty sure this…

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…is the one I swam in, not that there was room for more than a couple of strokes. What was it like? It was the first of May, so it was pretty bracing, but the sun was shining, the views were great and there was absolutely nobody about, so I enjoyed it immensely.

Would have liked a cup of tea afterwards though.

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A substantial side stream – I think this might be Swere Gill..

All of the streams hereabouts look like they would repay exploration. It would be good, in dry weather, to camp in the vicinity of Rawthey Gill Foot and have a proper explore. Some of the streams drain the other way, down into Grizedale, and into the Clough River, but that’s another tributary of the Lune, so it’s a win win from my point of view.

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Plodding up the stream I was really in my element – following a watercourse into the hills has always been a favourite occupation of mine. Progress can be slow, but there always seemed to be another little fall just around the corner to keep me entertained.

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I’d been a bit concerned beforehand that the going might be very boggy, but in the event, it wasn’t (not till later in the day anyway). I’ve subsequently read some fairly disparaging things about Baugh Fell, one of them being that it’s essentially a giant sponge, so I think I picked a good time to visit, after a prolonged dry spell. I did eventually sink to my knees into a patch of hillside which I should have noticed was a slightly brighter green than the surrounding slopes.
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Looking back down the Rawthey toward Wild Boar Fell and Swarth Fell.
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As I approached the top of the gill, I was careful to keep left at every opportunity, thinking that would have me emerging onto the plateau of Baugh Fell near to the East Tarns. I must have left it too late to turn left however, so that I actually came out just below Knoutberry Haw. The ground ahead looked worryingly flat so I cut left where I could see rocks, eventually hitting the ‘ridge’ between Knoutberry Haw and Tarn Rigg Hill.

Now I had a view to the south, of familiar hills from a very unfamiliar direction.

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Whernside and Great Coum over Aye Gill Pike.
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Looking north to Wild Boar Fell and the Mallerstang Edges.
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Knoutberry Haw from Tarn Hill Rigg – Howgill Fells behind.

There was a couple by the trig pillar on Knoutberry Haw. I was so surprised to meet other people that I marched right past without taking a photo of the trig.

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The vast expanse of West Baugh Fell.
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Looking back up towards Knoutberry Haw.

You can see that there is a faint path, but it was surprisingly easy to lose.

Incidentally, although the sun was still shining, by now I had donned all of my clothing, including hat, gloves and cag to keep out the biting wind. The idea that I had been swimming a few hours earlier seemed preposterous.

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Wild Boar Fell and Swarth Fell from West Baugh Fell.

Wild Boar Fell dominated the view all day. It’s far too long since I’ve been up there.

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West Baugh Fell.

West Baugh Fell was very firm and stony, I can’t imagine that this gets boggy. I was revelling in the space and the light and the emptiness.

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The Middleton Fells on the left, Morecambe Bay in the distance.
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The Howgills from West Baugh Fell. Cautley Spout in the centre.
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Wild Boar Fell and Swarth Fell again, from near West Baugh Fell Tarn.
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Wandale Hill and Harter Fell from my descent route.

I elected to descend directly toward the car, down the shoulder named Raven Thorn on the map. Not my best decision. It was hard going – wet and tussocky. After rain I suspect it would be purgatorial. Eventually, I gave it up as a bad lot and dropped back down to the track I had started the day on.

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Wild Boar Fell and Swarth Fell one last time.

Right near the end of my walk I met three trails bikers. I was all ready to be disapprovingly cross, when the lead rider popped up his visor, beamed at me and asked me how I was and where I’d been – it was one of B’s rugby team, who lives nearby. It was then that I realised that I don’t know whether to pronounce Baugh as ‘bore’ or ‘bow’ or quite possibly in some other way.

Thirteen miles and a little over 500m of ascent according to MapMyWalk. I once had the bright idea of attempting this walk in an evening after work. I’m glad I didn’t!

As you can see, lots of blue lines draining away from Baugh Fell, and all of them eventually feed into the Lune, so loads of scope for return visits.

Uldale Force, Rawthey Gill, Baugh Fell

An Early Purple, Atomic Eggs and Morecambe Skies

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Early Purple Orchid, The Lots.

A post to round of the final week of April. The orchid is from and a short Sunday afternoon stroll across The Lots. Earlier in the day I’d had a walk along the Lune with The Tower Captain, whilst our respective lads were training at Underley Park, home of Kirkby Lonsdale RUFC.

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River Lune near Kirkby Lonsdale.
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Pipe Bridge over the Lune…
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Carrying water from Haweswater to Heaton Park reservoir in Manchester.
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Harmony Hall and Laburnum House in Milnthorpe.
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These last two photos from a lazy evening stroll whilst A was dancing.

The next time she has a lesson, I was more ambitious and drove to park by Leven’s Bridge for a walk by the River Kent.

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Force Falls, River Kent.

This circular route was a firm favourite when the kids were younger. It’s around three miles – not too taxing for little legs. Not bad for an evening stroll either.

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Solomon’s Seal by the Kent.
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River Kent.

Later in the walk, I encountered both the Bagot Goats and the Bagot Fallow Deer, both unique to the Levens Deer Park. I took photos of the goats, but it was too dark by then. (This post, from the early days of the blog, has photos of both, and of the boys when they were cute and not towering teenagers)

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Midland Hotel Morecambe, from the Battery. It’s here that, hopefully, the Eden Project North will be built.
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Lake District Fells from Morecambe Prom.
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Midland Hotel again. Arnside Knott behind and right of the small building on the Stone Jetty.

TBH and I had a half-hour stroll along Morecambe Promenade, prior to picking up B from meeting his friends in Heysham.

An Early Purple, Atomic Eggs and Morecambe Skies

Feet Keep Moving

…which is more than can be said for the poor old blog!

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So..this is the second-half of a snowy January Saturday. Near the end of my morning walk with TBH and A the sun finally made an appearance. After lunch, when I set out again, this time alone, there was still some blue sky in evidence, enough to patch a sailor’s trousers, as my mum puts it. On south facing slopes the snow soon melted, leaving an odd patchwork of green and white.

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Eaves Wood.
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Stinking Hellebore, one of the first flowers of the year.

I was heading, initially, for Gait Barrows. This…

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…is usually a tiny little spring which creates a small pool before disappearing back underground. On this occasion, as you can see, it was creating a stream which had flooded the gateway and was flowing across the adjacent field.

From Gait Barrows, I crossed Coldwell Meadow, heading for the ruin of Coldwell Limeworks in Back Wood, but was distracted by the sound of this cascade on Leighton Beck..

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It’s not very big, but a bit of a rarity in limestone country where the water is often below the surface. No name is given on the OS map, but it’s close to the wonderfully named Creep-i’-th’-call Bridge, so maybe Creep-i’-th’-call Falls, which has a nice ring to it?

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Coldwell Limeworks
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Middlebarrow Quarry, partly obscured by very low clouds.
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Arnside Knott, also hidden in clouds.
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Near Arnside, by Black Dyke, I was fortunate to find a way around this flooded section of path.

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I climbed Arnside Knott, soon entering the cloud to find that the snow had clung on under the cover of the cloud.

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Arnside Tower Farm and a hint of Middlebarrow Wood.
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Whilst I generally enjoy the views from the Knott, it was quite exhilarating to be in the clouds and the monotone woods and apparently cut-off from the surroundings.

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The last of the light from ‘The Dip’, between Far Arnside and Silverdale.

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Warrendale Knotts

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Above Settle.

The weekend before Christmas, when we would, in normal circumstances, be gathered together for a wet weekend of overeating, anecdote bingo, and maybe a bit of walking. Obviously that couldn’t happen last year. At least we could meet up for a walk. Sadly, the Surfnslide crew were self-isolating and weren’t able to join us.

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Rainbow over Settle. Glad I got that sheet of corrugated iron in the foreground!

We met in Settle with a view to climb Warrendale Knotts. I suggested we divert slightly from our planned itinerary to take a look at Scaleber Force…

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Scaleber Force.

I’d noticed that a small section of woodland here is access land, and that a right-of-way drops down to the bottom of the falls and then abruptly stops.

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The EWO and Scaleber Force.

I think you’ll agree, it was worth a little out-and-back along a minor lane to see it. We found a likely spot, out of the wind, for an early lunch spot, thinking shelter might be at a premium later in the walk. Naturally, once we’d settled down, it began to rain. This seems to have been a recurring theme when we’ve met for walks of late.

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Pendle Hill. Plus more corrugated iron.
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High Hill Lanethat’s High Hill straight ahead.

It brightened up and we had a lovely sunny spell back along High Hill Lane.

But it was soon grey and wet again. It was that sort of day.

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Warrendale Knotts.

The route we took up Warrendale Knotts proved to be ridiculously steep near the top, but it was well worth the effort…

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Attermire Scar from Warrendale Knotts. The distant big hole in the middle of the picture is Victoria Cave.
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On Warrendale Knotts.

We spent quite some time on this modest top. It was very windy, but with the clouds scudding across the views were constantly changing and very dramatic.

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Crepuscular Rays.
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Warrendale Knotts and Attermire Scar. Rye Loaf Hill on the right.
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Pen-y-ghent
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Pen-y-ghent and one of the cairns on Warrendale Knotts. Is that Fountains Fell in the cloud on the right?
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Leaving the top.
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Eventually, we had to move on. In fact, the Cheshire contingent had some pressing engagement and we chose to walk with them, initially at least, and so by-passed Victoria Cave.

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Another view of Pen-y-ghent.

The weather deteriorated again, but the Adopted Yorkshire Woman assured us that she remembered a shelter, or possibly a cave, in the vicinity of Jubilee Cave, which would be kitted out with comfortable benches and provide a pleasant dry spot for another lunch stop. Sadly, it never materialised. Hard words may have been spoken about the vividness of the AYW’s imagination.

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Jubilee Cave.

AT Jubilee Cave, the Cheshire crew left us to take a direct route back to Settle, whilst the remainder of our small party returned to Settle via Winskill and Langcliffe. That’s a very pleasant route, but I didn’t take any more photos, because the rain returned and this time it meant business. We did enjoy a brief dry spell and had a hurried stop in order to drain the dregs from our flasks, but by the time we reached the cars it was chucking it down. A small price to pay for a terrific walk though.

The day before this walk I uninstalled and reinstalled MapMyWalk. It worked, so here’s the resultant map. I think the numbers are kilometres, although the 4 and 6 seem a bit odd?
Warrendale Knotts, not named on the OS 1:50,000 is the trig pillar with a psot height of 440m.

I’ve never climbed Warrendale Knotts before, and I still haven’t been up Rye Loaf Hill. Looking at the map of the Dales, it also occurs to me that I haven’t been up Great Shunner Fell or Buckden Pike or Fountains Fell since the mid-eighties. Which seems criminal given that they’re all relatively close to home. Aside from the Three Peaks area, the closest bit to home, I’ve been neglecting the Dales. I have a lot of exploring to do!

Warrendale Knotts

Allt Coire Thoraidh – Cry Me a River

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Eas Urchaidh waterfall on the River Orchy.

Early March, time for our annual get together in the Highlands. This started many years ago as a ‘boys’ weekend, to get as many of us as possible on one place to meet an old friend who was visiting from Denmark. He still comes over from Denmark for the weekend, but we long since abandoned the idea of it being a for ‘boys’ only, so the group has, if anything, swelled over the years. In addition, as our kids have grown up, this has been a good opportunity to introduce them to the delights of winter hill-walking. This year we were joined by A and her friend, the Tower Captain’s daughter S. Imperative then, that we had some decent weather so as not to put them off.

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Eas Urchaidh waterfall on the River Orchy.

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Eas Urchaidh video – click on the image to open it and play it on flickr

Unfortunately, on the Saturday, we had one of the wettest days I can remember. We tried to get out for a walk – thinking that staying down in the forestry might be a good idea. We’d spotted a Caledonian Forest Reserve in Coire Thoraidh and thought we would go and have a look, then continue up to Lochan Coire Thoraidh and possibly down the other side beyond the Lochan.

But it really was chucking it down. The Allt Broighleachan was a raging torrent, which I didn’t recall from our previous visit to these woods. We crossed a slightly awkward ford and had just reached the reserve when we encountered…

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Ford (!) through Allt Coire Thoraidh.

…a ford too far!

I seem to remember that there was some discussion of ‘practising river-crossings’ in threes, or some such lunacy. Andy went off to look for somewhere to jump across.

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Drowned Rats.

But ultimately, sense prevailed, and we turned back.

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Allt Coire Thoraidh ford video.

Watch to the end to see how put-out Andy was by the situation. Doesn’t seem too bothered does he?

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Waterfall – Allt Broighleachan.

When we retraced our steps it was to find that the ford we had already crossed had become more of an extended pool and were forced to divert across a very wet boggy area, guaranteeing wet feet for all.

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Waterfall – Allt Broighleachan – video.

After we got back and hung up all of our drenched gear to dry, it actually briefly stopped raining. It didn’t last too long, but it was sufficient to entice me out again, for a wander towards Inverveigh.

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River Orchy at Bridge of Orchy – looking north.

The map shows another ford there, so I ought to have known how that outing would end.

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River Orchy at Bridge of Orchy – looking south.

I didn’t get far, but the views of the river were worth it.

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River Orchy

Later, the girls played Ticket to Ride in their room, whilst the Tower Captain and I watched England beat Wales at Twickenham on the little telly in ours. Then to the bar where we were staying, the Bridge of Orchy Hotel, for a slap up meal, a few bevvies and the usual mix of silliness, rehashed stories, daft gags and such like.

Not a bad day, considering.

Andy’s account of the day is here.

My own account of our previous visit, when both the river and the waterfalls at the top of this post were frozen over and we climbed Beinn Mhic Mhondaidh in testing conditions, is here.

Now,  a tune in different guises:

I’m presuming that everybody knows the original Julie London version. I’m very fond of that. There’s a great version by Dinah Washington too. The song was originally written for Ella Fitzgerald, but she didn’t actually record it until well after it had already been a hit. Unusually, I’m not overly-struck by her take on the tune. Too lush an arrangement, I think. Having said that, I really love this live rendition, which throws in everything but the kitchen sink and couldn’t be further from the spare, melancholy original…

It’s my favourite tune from Joe Cocker’s brilliant live album ‘Mad Dogs and Englishmen’.

Allt Coire Thoraidh – Cry Me a River

Gearstones Get-together.

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Gayle Beck, which becomes the River Ribble. Or the River Ribble which has been Gayle Beck.

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A distant view of Ribblehead Viaduct

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Calf Holes

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Ling Gill

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The viaduct again.

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Ingleborough

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Force Gill

These photos are from our pre-Christmas weekend at Gearstones Lodge near Ribblehead. You’ll perhaps have spotted that people are noticeable by their absence – even though the photos come from two sociable walks in largish parties, and the principal pleasure of the weekend is in the catching-up with old friends, general chit-chat and light-hearted banter. It seems I have reverted to type and lived up to my kids image of me as a curmudgeonly misanthrope. My excuse is that I didn’t take any photos of my friends precisely because I was too busy chin-wagging.

The two walks were, firstly, a wander around the area to the south of the lodge, which is packed with interesting features like pot-holes, caves, waterfalls and a steep-sided ravine; and, secondly, a cloudy and eventually wet outing on Whernside.

Andy has a much better account of the weekend here.

One curiosity which he omitted to mention, I think: as we finished out first day’s walking, descending the track which is an old Roman road back towards Gearstones, we were passed by a steady stream of vehicles, which is a bit of a surprise on a rough track. We surmised that the occupants had been shooting on the moors.

It was, as ever, a fantastic weekend. We planned to all get together again, as usual, for the May Bank Holiday weekend, which seems very unlikely now. Here’s hoping we don’t have to wait too long before we can see each other again and I can once again take lots of landscape photos and apparently ignore my companions.

Gearstones Get-together.

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

High Dam and Thornton Force.

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We didn’t visit High Dam and Thornton Force in the same trip, but on two consecutive days over half-term. The Wednesday was overcast, but still warm and sticky and the boys and I decided to check out High Dam. It’s above the southern end of Windermere near Finsthwaite.

As the name suggests, it’s a reservoir, with a dam…

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…but don’t worry, it’s not drinking water.

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Columbine on the dam.

The water is relatively shallow (but deep enough to swim in), peaty, and was surprisingly warm – in other words: not freezing.

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We started from the small bay southwest of Roger Height…

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…and swam across to visit the two little islands. On the second a fallen tree, laying out over the water, gave the boys a chance to jump in, which seems to be essential. We swam back, and then back across again, by which time Little S was worn out. So we swam to the southern shore exiting close to the western end of the dam (which looks further on the map than back across the lake would have been, but Little S was happy with it).

Having said the water was warm, I should perhaps qualify that admitting that Little S’s fingers were a bit blue by the time we got out of the water.

As well as being a bit muggy, it was a windless day and I had been surprised that we weren’t attacked by midges when were changing to get in the water. We weren’t so lucky when we were changing back again. Overall, though a great place to swim, which is not too far from home.

Talking of which…

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…this is Thornton Force, on the River Twiss above Ingleton. My cousin R is lucky enough to own a house nearby and generous enough to invite us to visit during half-term. The invite was an open one, but since his sister, my cousin K, was also visiting with her family on the Thursday we decided to crash their family get together. It was great to see them again.

I’d already bribed the boys with the possibility of a walk to Thornton Force and Little S almost immediately started to drop not so subtle hints like: “I’ve got a good idea – we could walk to the waterfall and have a swim.”

Eventually, we let him have his way. The pool below the force turned out to be of a good size and ideal for swimming. The photo was taken when I visited one evening last summer. It was much, much busier this time. But we were the only ones swimming and the falls had a lot less water coming over them so that we could duck our heads into them, which was very bracing. I entrusted TBH with the camera, but she took lots of close-ups of peoples heads – all very well, but not really showing where we were swimming.

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That evening TBH got a fire going in our new fire-pit and the kids lit sparklers and tried making campfire popcorn (not entirely successful, well, actually, not remotely successful, but maybe the fun was in the trying)

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Those are both swimming spots we will visit again, I’m sure.

High Dam and Thornton Force.

Swindale and Mosedale Beck

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An exchange of text messages and phone-calls with TBH during my walk on the Helm gave some shape to the rest of our day. We would have a barbecue at some point, and either take the boats out or maybe look for a gill to play in. You can see that we chose the second option. I also decided to cook at lunchtime so that we didn’t have to rush home in the afternoon. Hardly surprisingly, this turned into a very leisurely affair and wasn’t very conducive for an early departure, but not to worry: we arrived as most people would be leaving and the sun was still shining.

There’s a sign someway short of Swindale Foot warning that there is no parking further up the valley. The boys were quite happy with where we parked however…

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…since it gave them a chance to crawl through this culvert, which was practically dry after a couple of weeks with little rain.

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I already knew about the new fish ladder in Swindale Beck…

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…because Conrad recently posted pictures – subconsciously, that’s probably what put Swindale in my mind when I was trying to think of stream with falls and pools and an east facing aspect to catch some late sun. The fish-ladder is part of a joint venture between the RSPB and United Utilities. They’ve also put the meanders back into a part of the stream which was straightened some time ago. I assumed that the fisher ladder was intended to benefit Salmon, but it’s won an award from an organisation dedicated to Trout, and there seemed to be a device for counting Eels too, which shows the limit of my knowledge about fish.

We didn’t need to cross the beck…

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…but who can resist stepping stones?

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Gouther Crag.

The RSPB have also created a nature trail, which follows, I’m pretty sure, the track along the valley in the picture above. None of the information boards they’ve put up made that clear though, so we stuck to the road…

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Which was very quiet and pleasant walking.

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Hobgrumble Gill and Dodd Bottom.

Dodd Bottom is pancake flat and must surely once have been a tarn?

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Away from Dodd Bottom, the valley floor is a mass of hummocks which I assume are drumlins. Among the trees on the left we spotted an enormous boulder, presumably another remnant of glacial action….

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We were fast approaching our destination…

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The beck is Mosedale Beck above this steeper section and Swindale Beck once into the valley. Where the transition from one to the other occurs, I couldn’t say.

I’d done a little research online and read that this footbridge…

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…was washed away by flooding some years ago, but clearly it has been reinstated.

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The beck flows through a series of small waterfalls and cascades, with lots of enticing bare rock on either side. The boys and I decided to see how far we could get, without getting wet, by sticking to the rock.

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They soon tired of that though and we turned back. They were much more eager to get into the water…

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I didn’t join them in this pool, it was evidently too shallow for a decent swim.

This one looked much more promising…

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…but whilst it was quite deep, it also contained several very sizable boulders which made swimming quite awkward. The pool above, however, which was sandwiched between two waterfalls, although small, was very deep, and we managed to find a spot from which we could jump in with care, which made B in particular, very happy.

As the sun began to sink behind Hare Shaw, we ate out picnic and then walked back on the other side of the valley, beneath Gouther Crag, on a path not shown on the OS map. Little S had remembered some of the edible wild-plants I introduced to him last year and he gleefully tucked into some Sorrel and Cuckooflower leaves. I’m thrilled with his interest, but wish he would show the same inclination to eat salads and vegetables at home!

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Incidentally, this valley is excellent for both birds and wildflowers. Photos here from my last visit, which I was stunned to find was as long ago as 2011.

Swindale is also almost certainly the last resting place of Little S’s sledge, which he lost to a gale this winter.

Swindale and Mosedale Beck