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Tuesday, 29 May 2012

The Yorkshire Dales May 2012 - Day 1 & 2

Saturday the 19th of May is the day seven of us from the Wigtownshire Ramblers head to Grassington in Wharfdale for a week's adventure of walking.
It's been arranged by 'Scoop'. There's should have been eight of us, but unfortunately one tripper has dropped out.
We're going in two cars packed to the gunnels. (mainly my luggage ha ha )
The 'Teacher' is our car driver. 

In our car,we made three stops on the journey. The first at Gretna Green (above), then at Killington Lake services on the M6 and finally a walk round Skipton..

In Skipton there's a bronze statue of Freddie Trueman the England cricketer unveiled by his widow in 2010. Canal boats, busy streets and an interesting pub were other things seen in Skipton.

The scheduled time of arrival is 4pm, the other car is here before us.

After being allocated rooms we're out for a short walk to get the feel of the place.
This is us taken by a helpful passer by.
We're in the first house in Grassington, just over the River Wharfe from Threshfield.

We access the river bank from the road just below the house.
This is the route of the Dales Way, a long distance path running from Ilkley to the shores of Lake Windermere.

An easy short stroll brings us to very picturesque Linton Falls. There's a virtual tour at Lee Pilkington Photography

After crossing the falls we take a walk down to the historic church of St Michael and All Angels church.
It dates back to Saxon days, and if we'd known before hand we'd have found a Saxon Cross in the graveyard.

Our route back after this lovely little walk took us along the road on the west side of the river passing, surprise surprise ! The Linton Falls Hydropower Project..
Good on you Yorkshire. Remember all the rain down south in April, just think how much Hydro Power that could have generated ? Ok, the rain isn't permanent, but use it when it comes.

Our's is the end terraced house. I'm in the basement sharing a room with a non snorer.
Our forward thinking organizer and another of our group have arranged our evening meals for the first couple of days. After a pint in the Black Horse with the teacher. We returned for dinner, wine and good repartee to end a pleasant first day.

Sunday the 20th of May   
Walk to Simon's Seat
We've a number of reference books for choosing our walks. Dozens have been printed around the Dales. 
During the week we will use walks from the Skipton Web, compiled by a character called Cragface.
The one we are doing today is a circular taking in the River Wharfe, part of the Bolton Abbey estate, and a climb to the trig pointed rocky outcrop that is Simon's Seat.
Our walk starts at Barden Bridge, and after an early stop in the wrong village of Burnsall we eventually get to our start point. This is the walk Tracks and Trails

I get to help Scoop with her boots. She tells me she's happily married and the answer is no.
No time today to visit the ruins of  Barden Tower or the Priest's House restaurant. 

From Barden Bridge we follow the River Wharfe in a southerly direction.
What has caught our attention in Wharfdale is the sheer numbers of birds especially water fowl. Young chicks are numerous.

Not far south we reach the Barden Aqueduct

 The castellations hide the pipe that carries water from the reservoirs at the top of Nidderdale to the cities of West Yorkshire. Note the strange apparition in the battlements.

My thanks to Scoop for the use of her pictures throughout this trip.
In the picture above is a fit 76 year old and an unfit yours truly.

Fun and games !

We came across a few of these 'Money Trees' during the week.
Here's a Daily Mail article about them. Mystery of the Wishing Trees  

I get my Penny's Worth in.

The river tumbles through the gorge beneath us. This can be a destructive river in spate.

We reach this shelter where a bird photographer with a bag of seeds is getting some close ups.
I missed the rare one he mentioned. 
However !

A little further on the Teacher spots a quite rare species on the far bank. It's a meandering Mandarin duck. I'm on full zoom to get a close up. This is my best effort.

We've been in Strid Wood for a while, and as we reach the wooden bridge over to the Cavendish Pavilion,  It's decided a visit is in order. Despite the inflated prices, tea and scones are enjoyed.
With just under 30,000 acres of beautiful countryside, and over 80 miles of footpaths, Bolton Abbey is worth a visit.

Once refreshed we recrossed the bridge, where a short road walk brought us to a track northwards up Posforth Gill and into the Valley of Desolation.
 "In 1836, lightning, strong winds and torrential rain from a storm over Barden Fell caused a storm surge along Potsforth Gill and created a scene of desolation, hence the valley's name."

At the waterfall, I set my camera for a ten seconder with Scoop.

Out on Barden Fell, it's onward and upward. 
It's a steady uphill climb, but none too strenuous.
The grouse are numerous and quite unperturbed by walkers.

Grouse grit boxes are spaced at regular intervals. These provide nutrients that fatten the grouse for the table. Is grouse shooting really a sport when the birds are no longer really wild...I have my doubts.
You can find some grouse recipes here.

After crossing Great Agill Beck, we reach Great Agill Head.
Grouse butts are spaced at regular intervals and the track, now occasionally boggy, winds between rocky outcrops with names like Truckle Crags and Hen Stones. There's a cairn to the west with the wonderful name of 'The Devil's Apronful'.

The 'Teacher' is the first to reach the trig point on Simon's Seat.
There's quite a number of people up here.

I get my picture taken..........

................and bag the flush bracket of Triangulation Point S5294

It's a fabulous view below. I thought about taking a 360 panorama, but distant views were somewhat hazy so didn't bother.

We're having our lunch up here, and Scoop grabs a passing couple to snap the seven of us. 

Lot's of pictures were taken.

This view's back up Wharfedale.

After the delights of Simon's Seat it's time to descend. A little apart from the outcrop with the trig point is this outcrop. Judging by the OS map it all comes under the same name. No one on here, but looks good for mountaineers.

It's a long footpath down south west. There's a stretch of it made from big square Yorkstone slabs. It's the Howgill path.

Reaching Howgill we pass a cottage where the owners obviously have a great sense of humour. Lot's of oddities in the garden. The pigeon looks real though.

Back on the banks of the Wharfe we take a look at the Drebley stepping stones. A bevy of beauties pose for a picture.

Is the teacher tiring ?

We've a mile plus along the riverside back to the walk start. It's a colourful scene.

Another delightful scene slows us down as we watch the antics of a female Merganser and her chicks.

Drystane dykes, hawks and inquisitive lambs at Gamsworth get us back to the walk start at Barden. That was a great walk.

Back at Grassington I decide against accompanying the other guys to the pub, and instead do some shopping with a look around the village.
Back at the cottage, a sumptuous meal was followed by coffee and cakes. It's been a thoroughly enjoyable day.
I'm not sleeping very well. It's not the most comfortable bed I've slept in.

Extra pictures added the 13th of June.  


  1. Oh dear Gretna Green - it must be a relief to the tourist to find that most of the rest of the country isn't that commercial.
    I've only once been in the Dales for long, a few years ago on a folk music weekend in Hardraw, it's got a good waterfall too. The area is lovely to visit, especially if you managed to get some of this good weather for it.

  2. A wonderful set of photos Jim you always seem to catch so much more than I do. The teacher is becoming quite a prominent person on different blogs. See you soon.

  3. Got the good weather Sandy, a great week.
    I see the teacher was with you round the 'Lost Villages' yesterday.
    He's nearly as fit as you now Gordon !

  4. I,ve always wanted to visit the Dales area Jim.Great photos.Could never get anyone else to go as they were fixated on "proper" mountains in the highlands.My kind of walks,history,lush landscapes,villages stuffed with character.I,m jealous!


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