Saturday, 1 October. Conistone.
Leaders Dorothy and Roger Schofield
Dorothy and Roger led the party of 14 from Conistone on a steady ascent up the Dib en route to Kettlewell. At this point a short detour was required to avoid a shooting party, but the remainder of the day went without a hitch. The circular 10 mile walk made use of the well walked Dales Way long distance footpath from which clear views were enjoyed.
Walk Report – The Whernside Walks – 30 July, 6 August, 13 August
Leader Ben Brown
Yorkshire is blessed with three Whernsides. There is Whernside 736m (2415ft), one of the “Three Peaks”. There is Great Whernside, which by some quirk of Yorkshire logic, is lower at 704m (2310ft) and there is Little Whernside, not quite a mountain at 604m (1981ft). The Whernside trilogy were climbed on consecutive Saturdays.
Little Whernside ( 9 mile walk) 30 July 2016
Little Whernside is in effect a continuation of the Great Whernside broad ridge, but is seldom climbed because most people climb Great Whernside from Kettlewell and never get as far as Little Whernside before descending again. This was the first time Clitheroe Ramblers had tackled this “metric mountain” and it proved to be quite a boggy experience.
Setting off from the car park at Scarhouse Reservoir, at an altitude of almost 1100ft, a broad track above the southern shore of the reservoir was followed to Angram Reservoir, crossing its impressive stone built dam to reach the northern side, where an early refreshment stop was taken. Field footpaths were followed to a sheepfold and a walled lane, which became a rough track and led onto the open fell. The track was left at its highest point and a wall was followed across the flat boggy ridge, gradually becoming steeper, narrower and less boggy. Lunch was taken not far from the summit, in a sheltered spot, where there were extensive views of the remote valley of Coverdale to the north east and of Nidderdale to the south east.
The summit was marked by a small cairn, which we crowded around for a photograph as this is not a place to visit more than once in a lifetime with its flat peaty waterlogged dykes and no compensatory views. A descent was made to the coll at Long Syke Head, which links the two Whernsides via a long curved ridge. Here just over half a mile and a hundred feet of ascent would have linked the walk up with the Great Whernside walk a week later. There was however no appetite for this detour, which would have added more than a mile onto the walk and moreover the way ahead was known to be over difficult and boggy terrain.
A long bridleway path descended slowly for two and a half miles, with many intermittent boggy patches to finally reach the northern shore of Scar House reservoir, for a final rest and refreshment stop. A pleasant walk along the shoreline to its western end and across another magnificent stone built dam brought the walkers back to the car park.
Great Whernside (10 mile walk) 6 August 2016
Sunshine and a cooling breeze provided ideal conditions with stunning views for this high level traverse of the Great Whernside massif. The walk started from Kettlewell and followed Dowber Gill Beck, climbing slowly up the valley to Providence Pot, the scene of a major cave rescue in 2013. After a short refreshment stop, a narrow path, steep at first, led up to Hag Dyke, a self catering scout hostel. The chapel here at 1533ft is the highest in England. It was a steep climb from here initially over rocky terrain, easing off and then steeper again on the final climb to the ordnance survey trig point on Great Whernside, an ascent of 1400 feet from the valley. The ridge was then followed over Blackfell Top and Black Dyke End, stopping at a sheltered spot for lunch.
The ridge curved round to the north east and Angram and Scar House Reservoirs and the whole route of the Little Whernside walk came into view. We followed the ridge down to a point where the wall is crossed by a bridleway, only a short distance from the point linking the two Whernside walks. The bridleway was then followed on a long slow descent, quite boggy in places, to reach the narrow steep and winding road that runs from Kettlewell through Coverdale to Wensleydale and Leyburn. Crossing the road, a good path along Tor Dyke, a hill fort built around AD70, led onto the Starbotton Road, still at a height over the 500m contour. A long gradual descent down a broad track, known as Top Mere Top, brought the party back into Kettlewell.
Whernside (11mile walk) 13 August 2016
The weather looked very unpromising as steady rain greeted the party at Ribblehead, where they awaited the train to Dent, having already donned overtrousers. On arrival at Dent, one stop and ten minutes later, the rain had stopped and overtrousers were removed. Dent station is the highest mainland station in England, lying four and a half miles from Dent and situated on the coal road to Garsdale. The start of the walk was down this very steep road to Les Yeat bridge, along which a long tailed field mouse was found sitting in the middle of the road, eventually “after a little encouragement” scurrying into the grass verge.
The Dales Way was then followed along the river Dee to Ewegales bridge, where field paths and a minor road on the south side of Dent Dale led to Whernside Manor, a Grade 1 listed building and now a private house. Here a refreshment stop was taken. Soon the Craven Way was reached and the long climb up the easily graded track was made to a point known as Boot of the Wold, where lunch was taken. The main track was left here and a little known path was followed uphill past Whernside Tarns to eventually meet the main track, just over half a mile from the summit. Not a single person had been seen since leaving the road above Whernside Manor, but at this point we were joined by hundreds of walkers doing the three peaks walk. By now the intermittent showers had ended, the clouds had lifted and there were splendid views across towards the Ribblehead viaduct and Ingleborough. Soon we were on the crowded summit of Whernside, the highest point of the Whernside trilogy. This was the first time in four years that James had climbed a mountain and a group photo was taken by the O/S trig point.
The hardest part of the walk proved to be not the getting up but the getting down! The loss of height along the ridge path was quite gentle, but as soon as the path left the main ridge, it became very steep and great care was required until the first gate was reached, where the party regrouped. It was still along way down to the valley but at least the gradient now eased considerably and a refreshment stop near the bottom aided recovery. The last part of the walk was on easy ground through Ivescar and along field paths and tracks under the viaduct and back to Ribblehead.
Sunday, 10th July
Moorlands south of Rawtenstall - Leader Penny Pitty
A small group of us departed from Kay Street car park in Rawtenstall on a day when the weather was not looking very favourable. Although not overlong, the walk contained a number of challenges, with some steep gradients, extremely boggy sections, and some poorly waymarked paths.
The route, to the south and east of the town, had much of historical interest, particularly a number of old quarries. The first of these, Brow Edge, is now used by the Rossendale Fusiliers for target practice on Sundays, so this section of the walk was accompanied by the sound of gunfire. Once past this, we followed a former tramway towards Black Hill and joined the Rossendale Way as far as Foe Edge, with its information board about the poet, Edwin Waugh, where we stopped for an early lunch. After lunch we retraced our steps to join the Pennine Bridleway, which we followed through Cragg Quarry. We were expecting to see mountain bikers, and perhaps even horse riders, but not a vehicle driving slowly towards us. This turned out to belong to a farmer who was in the vanguard of a herd of belted Galloway cattle. We duly stood aside until they had moved through, along with their calves, before continuing to the junction near Top of Leach. Just prior to this we spotted a lamb which had somehow got itself trapped on the steep, stone edge of Cragg High Level Tank reservoir and was bleating for help.
At the junction we turned north down Rooley Moor Road and by chance encountered another farmer in his vehicle heading towards us. He was not the owner of the stranded lamb but assured us he would contact the person concerned. Our anxieties over the lamb diminished, we turned south westwards at Top o' th' Height farm and headed down to the southernmost end of Cowpe village, where new building was taking place. We walked through the village as far as the left turn up to Roughlee Hall. Before heading up the track we took advantage of the Lodge cafe at the car park and enjoyed a tea break, sitting in sunshine.
The tea fortified us for the last climb of the walk, past Higher Lench farm and through Hurdles Quarry, which was relatively peaceful compared with the earlier quarries. Then on up to the remains of Cloughfold scrubbing mill, with its twin pillars overlooking the valley below. The final stretch took us steeply downhill and then westwards, past Hill End farm and Middle Carr farm, to return to the town centre.
And the weather? In spite of the forecast, while walking we only had the occasional light shower, but once back in the car driving home, there was a torrential downpour. We were very lucky!
SCARBOROUGH WEEKEND AWAY 10th -13th June
Leader Ann Jolly
Thirty-three of us ventured into Yorkshire for our annual weekend away. It hardly rained at all, we were very fortunate in that respect, but we encountered the famous sea fret, or haar!! It was very strange to stand on the cliff and hear the sea below but not be able to see it, only a bank of white mist/cloud. (It was pointed out that ramblers who paid extra for a sea view room had wasted their money!)
Friday’s walk was from Sutton Bank Visitor Centre on the way to Scarborough, just three miles along the ridge and back to see the white horse. There no views though, due to some light drizzle.
On Saturday we got the bus to Ravenscar and walked south, back to Scarborough along the Cleveland Way, a total of eleven miles. For the first half of the walk we couldn’t see the sea, but the sea fret did clear when we neared Scarborough.
On Sunday morning we caught the bus to Filey, and after a short look around the town we walked back to Scarborough north, along the Cleveland Way in the other direction.
Monday’s walk on the way home was a seven mile circular from Helmsley, passing Rievaulx Abbey, a former Cistercian monastery dating from the 12th century.
Everyone enjoyed the weekend, especially Ann and James, who had most of their bar bill paid for by the group as a surprise for organising it!!
Saturday 14th May
Farleton Fell Walk - Leader James Jolly
Ten of us set off on a cool bright morning for a ten mile walk over the loveliest limestone fell there is. We climbed the fell at the start, and then passed Farleton Knott on the way to Newbiggin Crags. Dropping down, we joined the Limestone Link path for a while until we reached the small village of Hutton Roof. Turning off the road, we passed by Park Wood Nature Reserve, full of bluebells, and walked through Hutton Roof Park to the road. After cutting through woods, the village of Dalton and parkland, we walked over the M6 and back to the start of the walk along the Lancaster Canal, passing a swan sitting on a nest, closely guarded by her mate! The weather had grown warmer as the day went on, giving a beautiful end to the walk.
Saturday 7th May - Ilkley Moor
Leader Geoff Errington
Starting from Wells Road car park we followed the Dales Way path in an easterly direction along the edge of the moor, gradually rising towards the significant landmarks known as 'Cow and Calf', where many other walkers and families were enjoying an outing. Our route continued in this direction with views across the Wharfe Valley towards Burley and Otley before veering south, making a gentle ascent on a stone track and then joining the Dales Way link path, passing a small reservoir en route. All the while we enjoyed the calls of birds nesting in the access land areas around.
Before starting a gentle descent in the direction of Ilkley the group paused to consider the origins of a stone circle - 12 upright stones marked on the map as the 'Twelve Apostles'. Lunch was taken in a stone seating area which provided a metal posting box for poems, for the use of those hikers who happened to write poetry as they rambled!
After traversing Rocky Valley the ramblers made a sharp, steep ascent before walking along a contour high above Ilkley town, negotiating a disused quarry and further access land paths, and eventually enjoying an afternoon halt at Swastika Stone. On this section of the walk many empty bird egg shells were noticed, later identified as snipe eggs, and probably the evidence of a preditor's lunch.
Our return route along the Millenium Way on a well made level path was an easy end to this 10 mile walk, made even better by a refreshment stop at the cafe on the moor.
Walk Report – Limestone Link 23rd April 2016
Leader - Ben Brown
The Limestone Link is a walk through the limestone country of South Cumbria, over rocky fells, flat open mosses and over low wooded hills.The day commenced with an exhilarating coach ride along narrow lanes through Gisburn Forest, climbing up over Bowland Knotts and then along Keasden Road on a high level route with breathtaking views throughout the journey.
The 23 strong party, (which included 6 survivors from the 2011 walk led by Jane Donnelly) set off from Devil’s Bridge, Kirkby Lonsdale and used field paths and country lanes to reach the official start of the Limestone Link at High Biggins. After a refreshment stop and 3 miles of easy walking through pleasant countryside, the village of Hutton Roof was reached.
From here it was a steep climb up on a rocky path through the Blasterfoot Gap, which raised the heartbeat and respiration rate. The gradient eased as the high plateau on the northern edge of Hutton Roof Crags was reached. From here the views were impressive. Looking back to the east lay the Yorkshire Dales peaks and to the north lay the Howgills. Nearer at hand were Newbiggin Crags on Farleton Fell, and ahead Holme Park the next stage of the walk.
Descending to the road, we crossed the southern flanks of Holmepark Fell, where lunch was taken, before dropping down towards the M6. After passing through the village of Holme, the west coast main line and the A6 were crossed and a short climb was made onto Hale Fell. Here in the woods there was a multitude of paths making navigation difficult and great care was needed to keep the party together. A splendid example of limestone pavement was walked across in the woods with the path eventually emerging onto a minor road just below Slack Head. Soon the road was left behind and there was another climb up through the woods over Whin Scar following the waymarks for the Fairy Steps. A final refreshment stop was taken in an area of huge limestone slabs, just above the Fairy Steps.
The Fairy Steps are natural rock steps down a crack, which is less than 30cm wide at shoulder height, between two of the limestone blocks and provide a direct descent down the small cliff. According to legend, to descend the steps without touching either side will please the fairies, who will grant you a wish. Some believe in fairies and some don’t, but no one came even close to testing the legend of the Fairy Steps!
Then downhill through Underlaid Wood to Hazelslack Tower, one of a series of pele towers, built in the late 15th century across northern England to provide protection from raiding Scots. Finally across Arnside Moss, drained in the 18th century when an embankment was built to keep back the sea, to reach Black Dyke Road on the outskirts of Arnside and the end of the journey.
It had been a relatively easy varied and interesting walk, with some 500m of climbing over 12 miles, taking six and a half hours to complete and finished with impeccable timing just as the coach arrived for the journey home. The weather had been ideal, sunny yet cool, underfoot conditions had been dry and views had been crystal clear. The day was nicely rounded off with a stop at a fish and chip restaurant on the way home.
Arnside Saturday 16th April
Leader Nan Errington
It was a bright and chilly morning as the group started the walk from the village of Arnside with a steep ascent through Red Hills Wood. However, we were rewarded with stunning views from the top of the hill known as the Knott, where a well deserved coffee stop was taken. (The advertised walk from Sandside having been adjusted slightly to avoid duplication with the Limestone Link on the following Saturday.) From this vantage point the leader, Nan Errington, lead the group steadily downhill towards the coast at New Barns Bay, from where the party followed the cliff path towards Park Point for a scenic lunch stop. Visibility was good - to the south, Heysham Head, and across the estuary Grange-over-sands.
The day remained bright and clear; many of the group had to shed layers of clothing and several people even wore sun glasses!
After lunch the walk continued along the cliff path to Far Arnside, through woods carpetted in miniature wild daffodils. We followed the footpath through two large caravan parks to the outskirts of Silverdale and then through the National Trust land named Eaves Wood to Waterslack.
The way back to Arnside was mostly across fields via Gate Barrow Nature Reserve and Black Dyke, after which a minor detour was made to the cemetry to see the grave of John Popplewell. The gravestone reflects the short life of John, who played cricket for Kent in the 1920s and was the son of an Arnside family. The wicket, bat and ball are attached to the headstone with a thought provoking poem.
Having completed the 10 mile ramble and with the weather remaining sunny and bright, the thirsty walkers enjoyed at the Albion public house on the front at Arnside,
Wheelton, Saturday 20 February
Leader Geoff Errington
A small party of hardy ramblers enjoyed the 10 mile circular walk from Wheelton despite the inclement weather, and arrived safely back at their cars still smiling.
Leader, Geoff Errington, planned a route via Heapey, White Coppice, Brinscall and Withnell Fold, returning to Wheelton along the canal tow path. The rain persisted all day making conditions underfoot wet and often muddy, however a sheltered spot was found for lunch under the veranda of the pavilion at White Coppice Cricket Club. Flora and fauna enjoyed en route included snowdrops, primroses and several species of water birds.
Walk report – Abbey Village – 10 miles – Sunday, 14 February 2016
Leader – Penny Pitty
On one of the best days of the year so far, six Clitheroe ramblers, plus two dogs, enjoyed a ten mile walk in the area west of Darwen. We weren't the only people out enjoying the sun that day. On most stretches of the walk we encountered people with dogs, families with young children, cyclists (as we were often on bridleways), and even a couple of horses with their riders.
The route took us from Abbey Village, and followed paths by the reservoirs of Rake Brook and Roddlesworth. Emerging from the woodland, we crossed a still soggy field and then followed the bridleway towards Earnsdale Reservoir, stopping for a coffee break at the benches on the edge of Sunnyhurst Wood. After following the metalled track over the dam, we continued uphill to reach Jubilee Tower, where we joined the crowds who had also headed for this landmark.
On leaving the Tower, we walked south westwards, following a track which overlooked Sunnyhurst Hey reservoir. This is no longer needed for water storage, and United Utilities is in the process of transforming a portion of it into a wetland area, which will have great wildlife value, with the rest becoming moorland. We then continued southwards over Darwen Moor, before turning back north again, following the narrow valley of Stepback Brook. Here there was still frost and ice in evidence, where the sun had not reached the ground. The cyclists we encountered here were wisely on foot, given the icy conditions. This eventually brought us to Roddlesworth Visitors Centre, which provided a convenient lunch spot with picnic tables and other facilities. The cafe here was extremely busy, and it was good to see so many young children out with their families enjoying the 'great outdoors'.
After lunch we set off southwards again through the woodland to the ruins of Hollinshead Hall. From the Hall, we followed tracks northwards over Slipper Lowe and then through the valley of the River Roddlesworth back to the reservoirs, where we followed a less used route along the south side of the western reservoir to return to Abbey Village.