Archive for the ‘ribblehead viaduct’ Tag

Winter on Whernside   12 comments

Twas the weekend before the weekend before Xmas and friends from across the country gathered in the Old School Bunkhouse for a weekend of walking and gluttony.

The weather has been pretty poor for the past few years we’ve been heading up here. We were hoping for a small slice of winter and despite reports that there was nothing like the feet of snow we’d had in lowly Herefordshire things looked promising when we got up early(ish) for a walk on the Saturday

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Even more surprising was the fact the kids also got up early and wanted to climb a mountain. I was underlined on the virtual sheet of paper and therefore the nominated hike leader so I chose Whernside on account of the fact I’ve only been up once, on a dreadful day in my University days

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The ground was frozen solid and the paths and roads were treacherously slippery. Not a great combination when you have the Dangerous Brothers in tow

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The clouds rolled in but rather than deliver rain as is the norm on this weekend it sent us some rather nice cloud effects on a pretty much still day

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The steep path onto the ridge was very icy with snow depth increasing as we climbed. A chance to stretch on my microspikes and perfect conditions to use them. I was glad I had them and rather smugly reached the ridge ahead of the rest of the floundering party

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We stopped on the ridge to throw a few snowballs and look at the icicles

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From there is a was splendid rise up onto the ridge in ever-deepening snow, all powdery and clean

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As the summit approached the pace slowed primarily as the kids were having fun in the snow. No problem for me. I get as much pleasure out of seeing other people enjoy the mountains in winter as I do myself. Watching the DBs have fun was infectious and put a smile on everyone’s face. I have to say I was in a pretty damned good mood on this walk. The pressures of work seemed a lot further in the past than 24 hours

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This photo didn’t come out as well as I’d hoped but if you look closely you can a snow-bow. Very pretty

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The summit ridge was proper winter, icy cold and deep snow with a thin mist and vague hints of a blue sky above

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Inevitably, snowballs were the order of the day!

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The DBs and their dad spent ages playing in/with the snow while the rest of us headed down

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Snowballs in action!

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The walk down seemed snowier than the way up

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It passes by the rather nice waterfalls on Force Gill. I wanted to take a closer look but I was alone in that thought and the ground looked seriously boggy. Another day

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The fields on the way back were full of large pools of frozen standing water. Cue more fun for the DBs. Despite the fact the water was likely only a foot or so deep, it still made us edgy as they slid about and the ice made rather worrying deep cracking sounds. These things never worry the DBs though. Wellies and boots full of water is all part of the days fun

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The plan was to be back at the bunkhouse for lunch and then head up Ingleborough in the afternoon. The walk and its snowy fun had taken longer than expected so we called it a day and focused on the gluttony aspect of the weekend

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A nice picture of the Ribblehead viaduct to finish off.

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Cracking 8 mile walk

Whernside

Normal weather service was resumed for the rest of the weekend. Sunday was awful, low cloud, wind and heavy drizzle until just after it got dark when the skies miraculously cleared. Monday when we had to drive home was clear and sunny.

Still, another great weekend with one excellent walk and much fun and laughter. The Jones family were not too disappointed with the wet Sunday as on Tuesday we were heading off to…….

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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.

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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

Ingleborough

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!

Ingleborough

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

ingleborough

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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