Archive for the ‘ingleborough’ Tag

Pre-Xmas Warm Up in Yorkshire – Part 2   10 comments

The Sunday dawned similar if not a little worse than the day before. Dank and gloomy only this time with a persistent rain spattering the puddles in the road. Another leisurely morning of tea, fried breakfasts and cake helped to smooth over the weather bumps. TBH had lost her walking poles the day before and was sure where she’d left them so we headed out for a walk to see if they were still there. By the time we managed to get out of the door it had stopped raining and didn’t re-start for the whole walk. Result!


We were heading back out to the same area we’d walked through the day (sorry, the night) before so I was looking forward to seeing what it actually looked like. We started out along the Dales Way heading to its junction with the Pennine Way. All of the Three Peaks were out of the cloud now.


Ingleborough along Gayle Beck.


And above Ribblehead and its viaduct.


And Whernside.


The junction of paths where we headed south on the Pennine Way is relatively high up and commends great views across the Ribble Valley and the Three Peaks.


A panorama shot, Pen y Ghent to the left, Ingleborough in the centre and Whernside to the right.


The path drops into the valley of Ling Gill Beck and it was wonderful.


A gushing river, packhorse bridge and a deep ravine below.


Rather than just being an excuse for some air it was turning into a really fine walk with better to come.


On the slopes of the aptly named Cave Hill is Browngill Cave. Another rushing river dropping into a deep dark cave under the path.


I’m always fascinated by caves as is Mark and we both enjoyed a few minutes perched around its edge peering in and taking photos. There were bolts in the rock so clearly its cave to be explored.


Amongst all the fun, we began to realise that time was pressing on, the late start meant daylight was once again in short supply. This was actually the spot where TBH thought her poles would be but they were gone (she was pleased to hear later they were picked up by another member of our party the night before. The bad news was they had no idea they were hers and took them home – to Aberdeen!)


This is the Gods Bridge below the cave and in fact is just below where the water from the cave resurfaces.


The resurgence is just upstream in this photo. It was good to see this spot properly, it was pretty much dark when we passed through the day before. Further research reveals that Browngill Cave is a known through trip which we are keen to try some day. We often talk about a summer caving weekend as there are plenty of easy caves to explore in these parts.


Time to push on and we just about made it back to the lodge in the last vestiges of daylight. The route we’d taken the night before was very much easier in the light (although these last couple of photos show you these things are relative!)


Turned into quite a long walk (for an afternoon) of around 7 miles and very enjoyable it was too.


Another walk to prove that sometimes you just need to head outside and see what the winter weather brings you.


The First Post (of 2017) – Above and Below Ground in the Yorkshire Dales   8 comments

It’s Christmas time and rather than mistletoe and wine, for us its a bunkhouse in the Yorkshire Dales with our little troupe of friends from years gone by. The Old School Bunkhouse has been our home for the past 3 years and despite the fact the weather has been largely miserable, we love it. Well the adults do anyway. Some of the kids now think we should be staying somewhere more sophisticated (more shops, Starbucks etc and less spiders and damp) or even possibly abroad (Amsterdam was suggested, can you believe). Back in the real world this place does us fine, loads of space and huge kitchen make for a very convivial atmosphere

Well this year we actually had a reasonable forecast. In the event there was a great deal of cloud (apart from EWH who always walks around in his own deluded blue sky sunny interval) but it stayed dry and that’s the main thing

On the Saturday a small group tackled Ingleborough while others lazed and went shopping. This included my partners in crime The Dangerous Brothers. I’m an honorary DB, less for my love of danger and more due to my calamitous, clumsy nature that finds danger where no-one thought possible (benign beaches, avocados that sort of thing).


It was an atmospheric day as cloud swirled around the summits and gave us occasional glimpses above and through to sunnier skies above.



The climb up the steep slopes to the plateau were taxing and we’d hoped we’d break through the cloud as promised, but promise was all there was. Once we pushed up towards the top that was the last we saw of blue sky and the end of the photos



The summit was actually bitterly cold, highlighted by the fact that DB Jr had come out with only a T-Shirt under his cag. Cue the comical sight of him wearing ED’s fleece over the top. The size differential is on a cosmic scale. To his absolute credit he barely complained and seemed in chipper spirits the whole day. It was a harsh day and I was mightily impressed how the young ones coped with the inclement weather and longish walk for them

The evening was the usual mix of stories and cooking, treated this year to catering by TBF and her sous chefs ( a very fine shepherds pie). I joke many times about the fact we re-tell many old stories but these gatherings are so important to all of us. Thirty plus years of friendships has given a huge comfort of familiarity. We all do our own things or group together depending on how we feel with no animosity if people feel the need for some “me” time. There is lots of gentle ribbing and mickey taking but no offense is ever taken.We do have some more serious discussions safe in the knowledge that we are all of a similar mind and on the odd occasion we disagree its never taken to heart. I can’t imagine starting my Xmas break without this weekend or indeed any other time of year when we regularly get together

Anyway, back to the outdoor stuff. The Sunday needed something to get the kids engaged (walks are “boring”). We decided to take them caving (after some small scale play in the Runscar caves last year) and all the kids gave it a go. We took the very sensible decision to rent lamps and helmets (a bargain at only £3 each) and it proved a masterstroke – they give off way more light than your average head-torch. ED had done his research and found a small cave just outside Ingleton, Skirwith Cave. It was an old showcave but sounded accessible. After a short while searching the hillside for the entrance (a steep slide down a concrete pipe) we were in. What can I say but it was great, easy walking and loads of interesting features and flow stones. Alas I forgot my camera so if you pop over to ED’s blog, he has some excellent photos

That first cave was enough for most, the delights of cake and carols proving tempting. However the oldies and the Dangerous Brothers wanted more so we headed back to Great Douk Cave. I messed around in here many years ago with GM and ED and my memory was of  a fun but short expedition. It turns out my memory let me down as I had no recollection of just how long, varied and feature packed it was. I did take some photos but they are, as you can see, a bit crap.






Again ED has much better photos over on his blog.

There was flowstone, waterfalls, roof openings and crawls and of course the now legendary “Pumffrey Back-Passage” (last time we were in here, GM got very excited thinking he dug out a whole new cave network until he realised me and ED were standing there looking at him as he burrowed back into the main passage . The DB’s were in their absolute element and despite the cold loved every minute (as did the grown-ups, lets be honest). By the time we returned to the exit the day was fading and we’d had pretty much a full day of enjoyment. More to come next year please, plans are already afoot

Interestingly whilst my photos came out badly, the video worked fine, there vare some clips in the brief slide show at the end

Another awesome weekend to kick off what has become our annual “leave home and the Xmas chaos behind” winter trip. We said our goodbyes and headed off to Luton Airport for another two weeks of fun in the sun

And the Sun it did Shine…   4 comments

The annual pre-Xmas gathering at Ingleton and a car full of wellies and waterproofs. The past couple of years here whilst great fun have been appallingly wet and pretty miserable. Saturday looked well set to continue the trend. Gloomy skies and the threat of rain ever hanging in the air. We convinced the kids to go out with the promise of caves to explore (we neglected to tell them it was an hour’s walk away – very remiss)

Well some of the kids (and adults) love caves and we had a great couple of hours messing about (although some of the party were bored within 10 minutes and wandered off back). Runscar caves are great for kids, no big pot holes or loose rock and wet enough for the Dangerous Brothers. You can in fact walk through from top to bottom but we weren’t really equipped for that. We made a solemn promise to return in summer, hire some proper gear and have proper explore. An ideal activity for a gloomy Yorkshire day although the long walk back in increasingly heavy rain was wearisome by the end. A hearty chilli cooked by yours truly aided by his sous-chefs more than made up for it. Needless to say a grey and rainy day combined with caves was not camera friendly so no photographs

Rather astonishingly there was actually a small amount of blue sky the next day. Despite this (there was food to eat and carol concerts to attend) only myself and Uncle Fester were keen on a walk. TJS was not feeling too well so again he failed climb the iconic Ingleborough with us.




The further we walked the brighter the weather became. Forecast was for very heavy showers and they were clearly all around but we seemed to be in a sunny spell. The walk through the Limestone slopes was a pleasure and even the boggy swampy morass that is Humphrey Bottom is now easy seeing as they flagged the whole stretch.





The steep section up to the edge is also less of a chore and when we reached the top the low angled sunlight was majestic. It was turning into a mighty fine day





As we crested the summit the wind suddenly found it’s feet and roared its greeting from the edge overlooking Ingleton. Not a day for stopping so we waved at the sun, congratulated ourselves on our grand fortune of a day of sun in this most miserable of winters and headed down.




UF wanted a quick retreat but the day was too good to waste. I went on alone along the path that skirts the edges. Its a superb route, airy with grand views over the valley and across to Whernside and Ribblehead. In my younger days I always followed the broad, boggy path up the middle of the “ridge”. Finding this path has been a real revelation.



I was worried that going off piste to get back to the bunkhouse would be tiresome and boggy but it was easy and dry (well, as dry as Yorkshire can be in the Monsoon season). It was even enlivened by meeting MM and EWO on my way down


More gustatory excellence was in order for the evening courtesy of UF. The following day we left early. We had a places to go! 🙂

Xmas Warm Up and Wet Down   10 comments

Xmas is time of traditions and friendship. Our little posse of friends and families celebrate the start of the holidays with a gathering at a hostel or bunk house and its a highlight of the year. For the past couple of years our home has been the Old School Bunkhouse and a very fine place it is. Warm comfortable with bags of space and a huge kitchen.

chapel le dale, ingleborough, ingleton, Old school bunkouse, ribblehead viaduct, waterfalls, twistleton scars, yordas cave, kingsdale

When I say a highlight I certainly don’t mean the weather. The previous year was pretty poor and if anything this year was much worse. Did it matter? Not one bit. The weekend passes by with the simple pleasures of lazy and outsize breakfasts, a few short wanders on the local hills and more convivial time spent preparing meals, chatting and drinking a few celebrity beers. The kids enjoy the simple pleasures of having the run of a huge multi-roomed hostel (and a TV worse luck!). It’s all very simple and undemanding and very satisfying indeed. Spending this weekend with good friends of 30+ years (god is it really that long) is a fine tradition and I hope it continues for as long as we can bore each other with the tales from years gone by.

Now having said all that, I should come clean and say that I really wish the weather is better next year! The area has so much to see and do that I really want to get out and see it through something other than a waterproof hood. The Saturday this year wasn’t too bad truth be told. We got out for a couple of walks.

chapel le dale, ingleborough, ingleton, Old school bunkouse, ribblehead viaduct, waterfalls, twistleton scars, yordas cave, kingsdale

Before lunch we took the juniors (and some seniors) out around the local lanes and paths. Sunshine was mixed with dark and stormy skies and rain was always a threat. Sometimes it’s nice to walk without the burden of a day-pack and all the accompanying hassle. Sometimes its nice to just walk.

chapel le dale, ingleborough, ingleton, Old school bunkouse, ribblehead viaduct, waterfalls, twistleton scars, yordas cave, kingsdale

chapel le dale, ingleborough, ingleton, Old school bunkouse, ribblehead viaduct, waterfalls, twistleton scars, yordas cave, kingsdale

chapel le dale, ingleborough, ingleton, Old school bunkouse, ribblehead viaduct, waterfalls, twistleton scars, yordas cave, kingsdale

chapel le dale, ingleborough, ingleton, Old school bunkouse, ribblehead viaduct, waterfalls, twistleton scars, yordas cave, kingsdale

After lunch a few hardy souls took a walk up Twistleton Scars. Apart from one inadvertent trespass we had a fine walk under glowering skies – a sign of things to come, again just enjoying being out rather than striving for some goal of distance or height.

chapel le dale, ingleborough, ingleton, Old school bunkouse, ribblehead viaduct, waterfalls, twistleton scars, yordas cave, kingsdale

chapel le dale, ingleborough, ingleton, Old school bunkouse, ribblehead viaduct, waterfalls, twistleton scars, yordas cave, kingsdale

chapel le dale, ingleborough, ingleton, Old school bunkouse, ribblehead viaduct, waterfalls, twistleton scars, yordas cave, kingsdale

chapel le dale, ingleborough, ingleton, Old school bunkouse, ribblehead viaduct, waterfalls, twistleton scars, yordas cave, kingsdale

chapel le dale, ingleborough, ingleton, Old school bunkouse, ribblehead viaduct, waterfalls, twistleton scars, yordas cave, kingsdale

Alas that was as good as it got weather-wise. The last two days were pretty much washed out with heavy rain. This did provide some excitement though.

We got to take the kids to Yordas Cave in Kingsdale. An old showcave that the kids enjoyed immensely. A thunderous stream and waterfall underground provided an exciting if short diversion

chapel le dale, ingleborough, ingleton, Old school bunkouse, ribblehead viaduct, waterfalls, twistleton scars, yordas cave, kingsdale

chapel le dale, ingleborough, ingleton, Old school bunkouse, ribblehead viaduct, waterfalls, twistleton scars, yordas cave, kingsdale

chapel le dale, ingleborough, ingleton, Old school bunkouse, ribblehead viaduct, waterfalls, twistleton scars, yordas cave, kingsdale

EWO went out walking and came back looking rather sad and soaked, worth the petrol money as far as I was concerned. Schadenfreude is the word I believe. Only Germans could have a specific word for taking pleasure in others misfortune

And on the final morning, EWO and TYG went out again and came back with tales of swollen streams and life threatening stream crossings. We went out to take a look and discovered some dangerous water flows that very nearly caused us to get wet feet. Some people just can’t help telling porkies and I doubt we will ever let them forget about the day when they risked life and limb paddling through a puddle. Never let the truth get in the way of a good wind up I say.

chapel le dale, ingleborough, ingleton, Old school bunkouse, ribblehead viaduct, waterfalls, twistleton scars, yordas cave, kingsdale

So not much to write home about in terms of outdoor adventures but a superb weekend anyway. Mark has posted his version here and refers to some of the stories from the Xmas get-togethers from many years back before we started increasing the population. Let me finish off the post by elaborating on one of those tales he mentioned by way of my own cathartic amusement and to get me some big points in anecdote bingo.

A gathering at one of our homes always involved us cooking a proper roast dinner with all the trimmings. Cooking can be a tiresome business and we always found it helped to punctuate the day with a regular supply of beer. This does have the minor downside of leading to some poor decision-making on behalf of the chef collective. We once neglected to put the roast spuds in the oven for example until far too late. Some bright spark decided we could microwave them first to speed up the process. Alas we had about 12 people to cook spuds for and one microwave. No problem, just fill the microwave. When I say fill I mean really fill! We just crammed the thing so full that the little rotating plate just went round on its own without moving the spuds. When you opened the door spuds just tumbled out. Anyone with a brain (unfettered by alcohol it should be said) knows that microwaves cook less efficiently the more stuff you put in. End result is after 30 minutes on full power we still had raw spuds. There then ensued a furious debate between those who claimed the spuds were pretty much ready and those who knew they were raw – namely me. The air of tension was palpable  and time was ebbing away so I took the executive decision to throw the spuds out of the window in a fit of pique thus removing them from the equation. There was a silence as everyone looked at the spuds on the back garden lawn before realising that the only way forward was to drink some more beer. The saddest part is that 20 years on some of those involved still claim the spuds were cooked. They weren’t! 🙂

Twas the Weekend before Christmas   7 comments

The annual friends pre-xmas gathering had moved. After 3 splendid years at Ninebanks Youth Hostel we decided it was time for a change. A year or so before we came across The Old School Bunk House at Chapel le Dale near Ingleton. The location was perfect with plenty of walking on the doorstep and loads of interesting limestone scenery to explore. Despite some pretty miserable weather we had a cracking good time.

The bunk house is excellent. Really well appointed, warm and spacious and the owners were friendly and accommodating. Perhaps not quite as much character as some of the places we’ve been to but a huge kitchen (where we tend to spend most of time) and a lounge with enough comfy seating for all us (something singularly lacking at Ninebanks) gets a massive thumbs up from me. I felt at home in minutes, always a sign you’ve hit the jackpot

chapel le dale, old school bunkhouse

Sunshine was in short supply all weekend. Saturday was dark and grey but it did stop raining just before lunch. The kids were not keen to go out but what do they know. They were going out and that was the end of it.

5 Miles

5 Miles

We took a stroll across the limestone to Great Douk Cave.


We had planned to take the kids caving in here (it’s just an easy walk-in sort) but after weeks of rain the entrance was thundering with water. Caves are not a good place to be exploring in high water. We contented ourselves with a scramble about in the entrance and a look down the excavated hole. This was just a rubble filled hole last time I was here but now it’s a sizeable pot-hole. supported by scaffolding and gushing with water. Never quite understood the need, in an area littered with caves, to dig new ones 🙂

Great douk cave

Great douk cave

great douk cave

Our cave fix satisfied we wandered up on to Fenwick Lot, one of the expansive areas of limestone pavements that this area is renowned for. I have a certain fascination for them with their myriad holes and blocks. The kids interest lasted slightly less and most had had enough fresh air by now (the bunk house has a TV and DVD player you see!)

fenwick lot

The hardiest souls noticed shafts of sunlight and headed up the hills onto Souther Scales Fell. Steep it was – very steep! The views back across towards the Ribblehead Viaduct were pretty good and the weather was almost promising

souther scales fell


souther scales fell

The path that follows the edge towards Ingleborough along the flanks of Green Hill is excellent and I don’t think I’ve ever walked it before. We were encouraged to press on to the summit although the light was fading. Right on cue, sunshine was replaced by clouds and rain so most of us headed back down the steep edge to Humphrey Bottom. Unsurprisingly a couple of minutes after heading down it stopped and the sun came out again!


The path across Humphrey Bottom used to be a nightmare of quaking bog, a graveyard for dry feet. In recent years however the whole way has been paved and what an improvement it makes. No ugly scar on the hillside and – dry feet. We made our way back as the last of the light faded with a respectable 5 miles covered and fine day in the wet circumstances. Mexican food and beer tasting followed to close out the evening in true xmas style – who says Xmas shouldn’t begin with Chilli, Enchilladas and Corn Bread!

Sunday dawned cold and wet with hail showers and general unpleasantness. Time for another long leisurely and exceedingly large fried breakfast waiting for the weather to improve and it did – a bit. The Ingleton waterfalls walk beckoned and despite my natural reticence to pay money to look at natural features (they charge you for this walk) we agreed it would keep the kids interested.

4 Miles

4 Miles

Up Swilla Glen along the River Twiss, past Pecca Falls and up to Thornton Force. The rain held off and we even had some glimpses of sun. The falls were in spate and thunderous with water after the rains and quite impressive

swilla glen

pecca falls

pecca falls

pecca falls

Thornton Force was amazing. I was the only idiot who scrambled across the slippery rocks to try and get behind the falls – I gave up halfway across – it was too cold for a swim.

Thornton Force

Thornton Force

Thornton Force

Back across the top and down into the gorge of the River Doe.

river twiss

river twiss


More waterfalls of Beezley and Snow Falls but the light was fading and I’m not skilled enough with the camera yet to get decent photos in such a dark environment. Tripod needed really. Quite a long walk in the end and it was dark when we finished but everyone seemed to enjoy it and that is of course the most important thing

beezley falls

beezley falls

snow falls

That was the end of the excitement though. Monday was a total washout, a truly awful day of driving heavy rain from the moment we woke to the moment I arrived home later in the evening. A sign of the winter to come. A fantastic weekend enjoyed in the company of old familiar friends and faces. We’ve already booked for next year. I would wish everyone a happy Xmas and New Year but of course that would dumb considering it’s now February 26th! 🙂

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