Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Wintry Swaledale - Muker, Keld and Crackpot Hall

The forecast for the weekend was brilliant, but due to both of us feeling under par, we couldn't take full advantage. But we did manage to get out for a Sunday afternoon meander of just over 6/12 miles.
This included paths we'd not walked before, gained a little bit of height, and wasn't too far a drive from home.  Perfect! And on a wonderfully sunny day in December, how could we go wrong?  A picture paints a thousand words, so here we go................

We decided we needed hats, gloves and layers as we set off from the car park in Muker.  Once we were all wrapped up, we took the left path out of the village to make our way up Kisdon Hill.

Swaledale east of Muker in the crisp clear sunlight  
Looking west towards Great Shunner Fell.  
The torrential rain of previous weeks made itself obvious as sheet ice across the paths and tracks.  Despite the sun of the last two days, frost and ice had not melted.  Making walking rather precarious sometimes.  Luckily, despite a few slippery waivers, neither of us actually landed on our behinds at any point.

The white of the frost was quite beautiful across the top of Kisdon Hill.
We never reached the peak of Kisdon, our path took us around the west side of the hill, heading north towards Keld.

Looking back to Great Shunner Fell
 The place names sound like something Tolkien thought up.  Below us, to our left, the little Skeb Skeaugh beck, and across the little valley, Angram, Crag Hall, Aygill and Thorns Green.
Sunlight and frost white.  Crag Hall on the left, the houses making up Greens on the right.
We made our way to the north slope of Kisdon Hill. Everything around us sparkled or glowed in the afternoon sun. 

Winter wonderland
Warm glow on frosty ground.  Looking over to Keld
Cold, crisp frosty shadow. 
At Birk Hill we turned left (west) to reach the footbridge across the Swale.  The slope down to the footbridge is quite steep and very icy!  I'm hoping the National Trust re-inforce the fence soon.  It only just held me up as I carefully picked out non slippy footing on the way down.
(I should also tell you that the first time Peter and I came here, it was a thick sheet of wet, slippery ice all the way down.  We never actual made a step, just slid, holding onto the fence with grim determination and using it to control the speed of our slide as well as prevent the thud of derriere on hard, packed, ice.  You could hear us laughing for miles.)
So for anyone else visiting in snowy, icy conditions, may I suggest crampons and an ice axe!
Definitely winter here. 
Over the footbridge is Catrake Force,  just above the point where East Gill meets the Swale. 

From there we turned East, following the track that would take us to Crackpot Hall.  
The frosty and noble looking lump of Kisdon Hill from the path above West Wood
The wonderfully dramatic slopes of upper Swaledale.  
As we approached Crackpot Hall, the sun was beginning to set and we didn't have much time.  But we decided to go see anyway.  First I nearly fell over this:
This landmark guards the track entrance to Crack Pot Hall. 
Before we reached Crackpot and Peter took these brilliant photographs.  I love the one looking along the the tumbledown wall of the ruined building into Swaledale. 

As we left this iconic site, the sun was just about set and the air beginning to cool, so we made quick work of the last stretch of the walk from Crackpot Hall to Muker.  Well, as quick as we could bearing in mind we had to negotiate the sheets of ice everywhere.  You can liken ice skipping to bog hopping.  You end up covering three times as much distance as you try to pick a route through the none slippy bits. (It's gonna be muddy when that lot melts.)

It was just dark when we got back. A wonderful afternoon and a really lovely walk.  Somewhere to visit again I think

Our route.  

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Wensleydale -Carperby, Woodall and Aysgarth

Bolton Castle from Ponderledge Scar
If you look at a satellite picture of Wensleydale, or any image showing the terrain, it won’t take long to work out this dale the widest and gentlest of all of them. It is the only one named after a village, rather than the river running through it. I’ve walked along the banks of the delightful River Ure between Wensley and Ayesgarth several times. Uredale? It has a ring to it, but would you eat Uredale cheese?

The stretch of the river as you approach Ayesgarth is full of rough and tumble,and waterfalls. The falls at Ayesgarth itself are popular and easily accessible to most, and definitely worth as visit. Apparently Robin Hood liked them and visited on his way to Sherwood Forest, so they must be good!   (He started at Dover, then Hadrian's Wall, then Ayesgarth.  Perhaps he would have got there quicker if he'd taken a more direct route.)

Our walk was a nice relaxing 6 ½ miles, taking in some of the wonderful Dales countryside. Lovely.
The Lane from Carperby

Ponderledge Scar ahead.  The cows are just three quarter sized, and not scary at all. 

Oxclose Road, looking up the dale

Eller Beck Waterfall.  Me n Peter had a "heated discussion" about the scrap metal at the bottom.  Turns out he was right.  Humph!  
Addlebrough.  Maybe we'll go and have a look see sometime. 

Lady Hill.  The pond below, inclusive of ducks, isn't on the map.  Methinks we've had an awful lot of rain this year. 

Penhill and Harland Hill.  Need to try out a new walk I have for up there. 

Ayesgarth Upper Falls.  Did you check out the Robin Hood link?.  He fought Little John here.  

Autumn colours near Bear Park

<<<<<This made us laugh.  Stile but no fence.  We had no trouble working out our way across the field though.  Can you see the next one?

Fields near Bear Park.

I have to admit nicking a load of Peter's photographs, because he takes better pictures than me.  And here's the route.

6 1/2 miles and 700 ft of up.  

Saturday, 3 November 2012

The Williance's Leap Walk from Richmond

Well, as I said on my last blog post, I’ve had a brilliant morning following the Drummer Boy Walk, finishing with the delicious flavours of chocolate and toffee fudge, before walking back up into the town center.

But I wasn’t finished for the day. I needed to blow a few more cobwebs away, so after coffee at home, I decided to “nip” up to Williance’s Leap, which, in my head, isn’t far away. Not far means 2 ¼ miles, and a climb of 525 ft from my house. The walk continues on to Deep Dale, and drops down to the C2C path which I followed back to Richmond. All in all about 6 ½ miles or so.

I had a lovely walk. It wasn’t too cold, and the sun was out most of the time. Every time I come out this way I am so grateful that I live where I do. In less than 5 minutes I am away from the town, at the top of Hurgill Bank looking down on West Field. This is the C2C route, although many walkers use the road alongside, perhaps not realising this is so much better.

Just a little further on, and Richmond Town looks lovely highlighted in the sun. I can see my house from here, and Richmond Castle Keep of course.

Every C2Cer will recognise this bench,

and the words written by Alfred Wainwright.

But, if you took a slightly different route up on to High Moor, and went a little higher up than the C2C path, you’d get this view, which I personally think is much better. 

Walking along the edge of High Moor at the top of Whitcliffe Scar – wonderful views the late afternoon sun.

Until I reached Williance’s Leap where Robert Williance survived a 212 foot fall over the cliff, which you can read about here: Williance Leap Story. In the picture, you can clearly see two stones, but there is a third, in the undergrowth and which I’ve put a little arrow to. They may be spaced to mark the three final bounds of his mare before they went over the edge. 

I continued on along the top of Whitcliffe Scar, looking down on the Swale, and the Applegarths. The autumn colours are wonderful.

Until I got to Deep Dale, following the road between the steep slopes down to the C2C path.

At this point I realised that “nipping” out to Williance’s leap, and undertaking a 6 mile+ walk was maybe best not started at 2.45pm in November. It was getting dark very quickly, sunset being about 4:30 pm. The C2C path is mostly a wide track and tarmac, an easy route to follow and I was back home long before it was too dark to see, but I have made a mental note to be more careful next time.

Sitting at home with me coffee, I felt very satisfied at a wonderful day. The Drummer Boy walk this morning and Williance’s Leap in the afternoon. Class!

A good walk, mostly along the C2C, but I do love the stretch along the top of Whitcliffe Scar.

I did this walk in the summer last year:
Too nice to stay in - Williance's Leap

To see and read about the same walk in the snow, click here: A walk in the white stuff

The Drummer Boy Walk - Richmond

Richmond Castle from The Green
Alright, maybe I’m a little over enthusiastic about Richmond – (the first one, the one in North Yorkshire, not one of those inferior copies!)  And maybe I should work for the tourist board, selling the town’s virtues, but it’s only because I think this little place is perfect.

(Even as I typed that I could hear in my mind my teenage daughter saying in a very loud voice “Perfect for old people!”, so maybe I ought to add a caveat):- This little town is perfect for me to live in, OR for non-teenage people to visit.

Peter is away exhibiting this weekend, abandoning me to the vagaries of leftovers and cleaning.  But the weather forecast was good, I haven’t been out for ages, and the washing can wait another day, so I donned me boots and headed out.

But where to go?  Well, to be honest, there are loads of brilliant walks direct from my front door, but I chose an old favourite: the Drummer Boy Walk and Legend. The Drummer Boy story is all about soldiers, the castle, and tunnels even ends with a ghost.   I decided I’d have a walk around the outside of the castle, where you get some lovely views, then make my way down to the waterfall, alongside the river, over Mercury Bridge and then join this easy walk to Easby Abbey and onward.  It’s about 2-3 miles all in, finishing at The Station, another wonderful place to visit, ‘specially if you like food.

Actually it turned out to be not so much of a walk, more of a dally and a dawdle, a mooch and a mosey in and around the delightful settings on route.

I started by walking through the market and herewith obligatory picture.   Behind the stalls are a converted medieval church, and of course, Richmond Castle.  (Richmond Castle appeared in a lot of photo's taken today.)

As it happens, this little horse drawn carriage was in the market place too.  I have no idea why.  Worthy of a photo tho’.
I crossed the market place to reach Castle Walk, which is, funnily enough, a walk around the castle.  Walking along outside the castle walls, I love the views of old Richmond and Green Bridge.
Then I made my way down to the waterfall, surrounded by autumn colours.

After a short walk beside the noisy Swale, which rushes and gushes, almost angry, over the rocks and stones that cause it to churn and eddy.
I reached “The Batts”.  A very small park, but lovely none the less.

Over the road now and joining up with the Drummer Boy Walk which goes through the woods at this point.   A lovely view through the trees (Richmond Castle of course).
The Drummer Boy stone.
You can choose the high road or the low road. I chose the lower path, alongside the Swale, because I wanted to kick up leaves.  The river goes quiet here - silent and stealthy, as if hiding how dangerous it is.  Eventually the path turns,  up a few steps  and meets with the high path.  Then through a stile and into the fields next to Easby Abbey. I aimed across the field to the small hill, because I wanted to see the Abbey from higher up first.
Then I went on down to the Abbey.  My plan was to have a quick look, maybe take a few photographs, and then walk on.  It didn’t quite work out like that, firstly because St Agatha’s church was open to visitors, (and I’ve never been inside before), and secondly because Easby Abbey demands a lot more than  five minutes to have even a quick look.
I loved St Agatha’s church, it goes back to about 1150, with fresco’s surviving from that time too.  Proper history!  Incidently, the Richmond Online guide describes them as St Agatha's Abbey and Easby Church.  Curious?

The Gatehouse

And then Easby Abbey did what all old buildings do, caught me up in the puzzle of trying to work out what, where, who and why? I think I am going to have to buy the book! I love the atmosphere here. It’s very easy and casual. In the summer people come for picnics, but today women were chatting on the benches, their children running around laughing and shouting. Other visitors like myself wandered through  the ruins and archways engrossed in history. Lovely.

This one on the left is my arty pic.  

After a wonderful half hour or so it was time to move on.  The rest of the walk leads from Easby Abbey in a loop back to Richmond, and in particular, Richmond Station. The path is wide and flat from here on, good enough for cars, pushchairs, bikes or wheelchairs.

So after a 30 min walk or so, I ended up at The Station, from where it's just a short uphill walk to the market place. But I wasn't gonna go straight on - The Station's charms are far too tempting.  There is loads to see, and eat, inside.  

(Toffee fudge and chocolate if you are wondering, and no, it isn't falling off, there is just soooo much icecream. Delicious)

Here's a little route map of my travels.  Only 3.4 miles, and it took me nearly 3 hours!

After all that, my walking wasn't finished.  I'll have to do another post to cover the rest of the day.