Thursday, 9 October 2014

Surrender Bridge, The Old Gang Smelting Mills, and a Flue.

For various reasons I haven’t updated the blog recently.  I do have all sorts to update the blog with but I'm very behind, so I'll catch up later perhaps.  Today I am going to post my latest walk, if only because I enjoyed it so much that I can’t wait to shout about it.

I’ve been recovering from a twisted ankle – (which I twisted twice!).  I chose this easy route, on what is mostly a flat track, without the hazards of rough ground.  The drive to Surrender bridge is only 30 mins max from home, and the weather forecast was good, so it seemed the perfect walk. 

The thing is, after getting dressed this morning,  I wondered if I really wanted to leave my home comforts to tackle a six mile trek.  After all, walks can be hard work and there is always plenty of stuff I could be doing around the house.  As I was getting ready, I was thinking, “Can I really be bothered?”  But I got meself sorted all the same, and was soon in the car heading for Healaugh and Surrender Bridge. 

And boy was I glad that I gave meself that little push.  Booted up and taking my first steps towards the bridge, the view, the sun, the sounds and the air suddenly reminded me why I like being out in the Dales so much.  From that point I knew I was gonna have a fantastic walk. 

And it was.  Here are the pictures. 
The view as I stepped from the car.  That's Old Gang Beck (or Mill Gill), below, Surrender Bridge ahead with the bulk of Reeth High Moor behind.  And it's a wonderful day. 
From Surrender Bridge, looking down stream to the old Smelting Mill
Following the track.  The colours of the bracken and heather are wonderful.  
It wasn't long before I reached the ruins of the Old Gang Smelting Mills
Old carts and rusting machinery
Not sure what this piece of machinery is
But I don't think most people would imagine one this size
I think this is what's left of a massive chimney, with the flue leading off out of the door sized space and up the hill. The flue has always interested me.  I'll come back to this later. 
After spending a good 20 or 30 mins around the old mills, I carried on.  Today the grouse were very vocal and quite prolific - they where everywhere!  Sometimes they startled me suddenly shooting out from the heather, but mostly they kept me company, appearing in flocks or on their own, walking or flying, and constantly telling me to "go back go back go back".........  Not on your Nelly! I was having a wonderful time.

A few hundred meters from the smelting mills are the shooting huts, and a pretty disused bridge. 

A disused bridge and one of the shooting huts.  Note the tunnel to the right
One site I read suggests this is a tunnel into the lead mines.  I'm thinking it may be for ventilation, or drainage, as it seems a little small for people to use.  Maybe it had a deeper floor 100 years ago?
The little disused bridge looks lovely
Onwards and ever so slightly upwards, the track continues North West following Gang Beck.
Looking back is as good as looking forward. You can see the pretty little bridge and  two shooting huts. Up on the hill on the left is a row of pillars, with a couple of end walls.  This is actually an old peat store.  Peat would have been used to fuel the fires in the smelting mills. 
I continued along the track, first stopping at Hard Level Force, which is normally a waterfall.  I've visited before, where I've seen sheep get confuddled as to how to cross and fish in the plunge pool at the bottom.  Today it was a water trickle, which disappeared into the ground below.
Old Gang Beck changes to Hard Level Gill, which was for the most part dry.  I passed Level House Bridge and walked through the slag heaps of the lead mines.  Definitely not the best part of the walk.
Hard Level Gill becomes Flincher Gill and the track continues gently up.  Just as it turned east I came across more entrances to the lead mines below ground.

There are two entrances. The tunnel on the right swiftly reduces in size and isn't really big enough for a person.  The barred tunnel on the left is much larger. 
Inside the left tunnel, you can see the rail tracks for the carts that were used.  Stuff like this always makes me want to know more. 
After a short break at the tunnel entrances, I set off again up through the surface stripped area of Forefield Rake.  
Forefield Rake.  The surface of the land raked, smashed and pulverised to extract the lead. 
I'm about half way on my walk now.  The track turns and gently, uneventfully descends South East. Ahead the view is taken up by Reeth Low Moor and the steep slopes up to Fremington Edge.
You'll remember that I said earlier that I had an interest in that flue from the Old Gang Smelting Mill?  Well, if you look on a map, you'll see that the flue extends nearly half a mile from the mill upwards to the top of Reeth High Moor.  I wanted to see the top, and the easiest way to get to it was from this side of the hill.  Once I'd reached the right point, I turned off the track, and headed through the heather to the top of the flue.  Luckily I had Gizmo with me, my GPS kept me on track through the uneven ground and deep heather.  It was worth the effort though. 

There isn't any way I could get a photograph to show the whole thing, but this picture gives an idea.  The top of the flue is behind me, and you can see the flue tracking all the way down the hill to the smelting mills at the bottom of the hill and out of sight. 
Not only was I pleased with meself for finding the top of the flue and satisfying me curiousity - I was especially delighted with my other find on the top of the moor. 
A little bit of a dramatic cliff edge near the flue.  Not that big a drop, but wonderful all the same. 
Massive limestone pavement slaps - really impressive
And rocks carved by the wind and rain.
And a veiw of Low Reeth Moor and Fremington Edge.  Wonderful. 
I loved it up there on moor, but it was time to find my way down.  Bearing in mind that my foot and ankle had still not properly recovered,  I couldn't afford the slightest twist or sprain, The deep heather hid rocks and drops. and as per my way up, I was a very careful about where I put my feet. 

But I was back on the track and making my way along the last mile or so of the route soon enough.  The walk ended far to quickly to be honest, but then, there is always another day. 

Here's a map of the route, you can see my little excursion to the top of the flue. 

A little over 6 miles. 

Thursday, 17 July 2014

This should be fun. I've been nominated for a Liebster Award; thanks to Lee - Walking the Peak for the nomination.

The Rules

If you have been nominated for The Liebster Award AND YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT, write a blog post about the Liebster award in which you:
  1. Thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog.
  2. Display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”. (Note that the best way to do this is to save the image to your own computer and then upload it to your blog post.)
  3. Answer 11 questions about yourself, which will be provided to you by the person who nominated you.
  4. Provide 11 random facts about yourself.
  5. Nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 1000 followers. (Note that you can always ask the blog owner this since not all blogs display a widget that lets the readers know this information!)
  6. Create a new list of questions for the blogger to answer.
  7. List these rules in your post (You can copy and paste from here.) Once you have written and published it, you then have to:
  8. Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it (they might not have ever heard of it!)
OK, so I've dealt with rule 1 and 2, and 7. Now rule number 3

11 Questions from Lee
  1. What's the most unusual, or funny, name of a place you've visited?  I walked through Dirty Piece in Swaledale not so long ago, does that count?
  2. If there was a hole in the bottom of your rucksack and something fell out, what would you hope it wouldn't be, and why?  My spare glasses. EVERYONE is in serious trouble if I break the ones on my face and don't have a spare pair, I can't even see where to put my feet! 
  3. What is your least favourite area for walking, and why is this?  Town Centres. They are full of people, hard on the feet and don't provide any decent views.
  4. Walking poles; help or hindrance?  Getting across a stream on some dodgy stepping stones... Help.  Coming down a really steep slippery slope... Help. The rest of the time.... Hindrance cos I'm carrying them.
  5. What are your preferred weather conditions for walking?  Sun and wind. I love the wind. And not toooo hot.
  6. What was your most embarrassing moment when out walking?  Slipping over in Fell Beck just above Gaping Gill. I wet me knickers. I got me knickers wet.
  7. How often do you think the Ordnance Survey map is wrong?  What? The Ordnance Survey map can be wrong? No wonder I can't find the paths
  8. Do you combine your walking with any other hobby, such as photography, public presentations, blogging [of course], or maybe first aid?  Blogging came from walking. And taking pictures came from blogging. 
  9. For those of you who regularly walk in the Peak District; White Peak or Dark Peak?  Sorry, I don't fit into this one. I have no idea. 
  10. Do you go walking to escape from your everday life, or do you go to participate in something different, and better?  I just like being up on a hill in the wind and the sun.
  11. What's your walking bugbear; what really annoys you?  Intolerance. Some walkers think the hills belong to only the fit and experienced folk with all the gear. Not true, the overweight, uneducated and ill prepared are just as likely to enjoy the experience, if not more so. We all have to start somewhere, how else can we become fit and experienced with all the gear?

11 Random facts about myself.
  1. I don't like advocados, olives, fried eggs or beer. There's not much else I won't eat or drink.
  2. All my younger years I dyed my hair. Now it's going grey, I don't bother.
  3. In my twenties I learnt to gut fish like a professional. (My then husband used to come home from sea fishing trips with bin bags full for the freezer).
  4. I love to dance
  5. I love Science Fiction and Fantasy. 
  6. I play four suit Spider Solitaire - and win
  7. Not including walking boots/shoes - I have 23 pairs of shoes and 3 pairs of boots. Quite conservative for a woman I think.
  8. I was a top long distance runner in my secondary school.......... Nope! I got that wrong. I was a top long distance runner in my dreams. I did run though for the school though...... slowly.
  9. I once put my car keys in the fridge. I've also put empty loo rolls in the fridge, set the hoover on fire, let the toaster fill the kitchen with smoke and cooked eggs so long they exploded.
    This is why I'm known as a bit of a ditz.                                                                                                                                                                                                  
  10. Despite everything in random fact 10, I can bake and cook quite well. I just need supervision.
  11. My ultimately aim is to live a long, happy and fulfilled life. I plan to grow old absolutely disgracefully.

Blogs I nominate for the award.

Well........  I'm not one for forcing stuff on other people, especially this sort of chain thing, so I'm looking for volunteers.

11 questions I would have asked Liebster Award bloggers.
  1. Which is the scariest path/route you've ended up on, (either on purpose or not).
  2. What it the weirdest thing you've seen whilst out walking. 
  3. Do you have a favourite mountain or hill? What or where is it?
  4. What was your most embarrassing moment whilst out on a walk?
  5. What's your favourite piece of outdoor equipment?
  6. What's your favourite food whilst out walking?
  7. Which country outside the UK would you most like the opportunity to walk?
  8. When you're in an outdoor shop which section do you make a beeline for?
  9. Who is the person you'd most like to go on a long walk with?
  10. Who is the person you'd least like to go on a long walk with?
  11. Where will your next walk be?

And that's it.  I don't quite qualify for the award cos I didn't nominate anyone else.  I'm claiming it anyway though. 

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Clapham to Ingleborough

Todays walk was a meet up with a few guys from the Walking Forum.  I’ve met The Very Knowledgeable Kev and John before, but Peter and his lovely dog Scally were new aquaintances.

We were to meet at the Yorkshire Dales Park car park in Clapham.  The gents parked in the laybys outside the car park to save money and I parked in a bay inside the car park to save money.......  (I’d only end up putting me car insurance up if I tried to park anywhere else...................)

So, after feeding the meter all me pennies, I said Hi to the guys, and we set off on our merry way.

It was a good walk. The sun shone, there were loads of quirky features to catch the eye, and the hills weren’t so steep that I couldn’t breathe when I got to the top.  I also had a personal target of getting to the summit of Ingleborough without the attractions of  “wet” and “miserable”.  This was achieved, but I think I should have added “or freezing wind!”  We found a bit of shelter whilst we where up there for our little rest stop, but we really could’ve done without the extra strong doses of cold fresh air.

Anyway, the walk went like this.  

We headed out of Clapham along Thwaite Lane.  There's a bit of a slope to start off with, but it eases out to a steady walk until we reached gate where we turned off and headed for Robin Proctor's Scar. 
Looking over to Ingleborough from the gate in Thwaite Lane. 
Through the gate and then we headed towards Robin Proctor's Scar. There are a few stories telling how the cliff got it's name, such as this The story of Robin Proctoror this text from a book 'Ingleborough Landscape and History':

"Robin, so the story goes, was a well-established yeoman farmer from somewhere south of Ingleborough. One day he was returning to his home, taking the direct line over Thwaite Scars rather than sticking to the safer but longer track, when he was caught put in thick fog. Sadly he lost his bearings and tumbled with his steed over the edge of the cliffs, being dashed to pieces on the rocks below. Its a nice story but has at least one major pitfall: the ground up there is so rough and rocky that no one would knowingly ride a horse across it. On the other hand there is an entry in the Clapham Burial Register, dated 12 August 1677, recording the death of Robin Procter of Hazle Hall farm (now near Clapham Station) 'falling frrm a cliff at Norber."

Many thanks to the Very Knowledgable Kev for providing the stories.

Robin Proctor's Scar.  We are heading up to the left of it.  
Up near RP's scar is Norber Brow and the Norber Erratics.  These great lumps of rock were left behind by the glaciers of the last ice age, which I think makes them around 15000 yrs old.
One of many boulders that don't belong.  The erratics make for an interesting landscape though.
Norber is an area of limestone which means it has a habit of dissolving away - creating wonderful limestone pavement scenery above ground, loads of caves underground and then eventually shakeholes which may hopefully connect the two.
The local caving community got the idea that this shakehole may be another way into the cave system,  They've even used explosive to clear away the rubble apparently.............   It doesn't look like they got very far!  
So we carried on our walk along the slope of Crummack Dale until we reached Crummack Farm.
Loving the countryside.  That's Pen-y-Ghent in the distance. 
We walked on past Crummack Farm, through what used to be a settlement, according to the OS Map and on to Beggar's Stile - which is a bit like scaling a wall when you come at it from Crummack Dale.   From there we crossed the amazing limestone pavement to reach Thieves Moss.
The Limestone Pavement of Moughton Scars.  
 Time for a sit down, lunch and a photo
Moughton Scars........  Amazing landscape
Onwards and upwards after lunch, we went through Sulber Gate and started along the clear path heading for Ingleborough summit.  It was along here that Scally demonstrated her love of water when she discovered a small pool.  She was in and swimming round and round before we knew it.
But the summit beckoned, and on we went, up the Swine Tail heading for the top.  Thing is, so was everybody else.  It seemed as if a couple of busloads of families had decided to make their way up the Swine Tail at the same time as us.  We were surrounded by little people, of varying sizes and noise levels.  A very busy summit.
Ribbleshead Viaduct from Ingleborough
Time for another little break to enjoy the views......  When we found somewhere out of the wind that is!
Whernside just  over the way.
As always, once you've got up, you have to get down.  I was sorry to leave the views, but definitely happy to get out of the wind.  Easier said than done as it happens, the wind stayed with us for a fair part of the descent towards Little Ingleborough.

Next it was Gaping Gill - a gaping hole in the ground into which Fell Beck normally disappears. Except Fell Beck was nearly dry today, so it trickled over the edge.  I like Gaping Gill, Peter and I have visited a couple of times before,  both visits have had a certain amount of adventure about them:  Descending into Gaping Gill and Ingleborough and the slippery Fell Beck.
Gaping Gill
Our last highlight was Trow Gill, quite a feature to be honest.  I would have got more pictures, but for some reason, walkers kept appearing and getting in the way, honestly, you'd think they'd be a bit more considerate!  

<<<  Trow Gill

Actually, Trow Gill wasn't quite our last highlight.  The route meets up with Clapham Beck and follows it down past Ingleborough Cave (Ice creams!), and then on to "The Lake" of Ingleborough Hall.  This part of the walk is actually very lovely

The lake is also very lovely.  So lovely in fact, that Scally decided that once she'd got in, she wouldn't get out.  
She swam the distance that we walked alongside, spending a fair bit of time chasing ducks.  She really is a water baby!
One very happy dog
And that was it, the end of another wonderful day.  Thank you to Kev, John and Peter for the company.  12 miles and tired legs.  Awesome!