With Marion and Anneli. This post-philosophy-workshop stroll was such a short walk it might not be worth recording here at all but for the fact that it involved the conquest of a Marilyn, if not a very challenging one. Whaht can I say? We parked in the car park half a kilometer to the north and followed the easy, well-made path the short distance to the trig point on the summit.
I began by having a quick look round Byland Abbey. THis erned me the right to use one of the linited spaces in the Eaglish Heritage car park while I took this short walk. It started with a pleasant path over a couple of fields to Wass. From here a path leads through the woods to the derelict Mount Snever Observatory. I bet this is nice at any time. But on a beuatiful May day like today with the woods awash with bluebells, forget-me-not, stichwort, herb robert, red campion, wild garlic, it was utterly heavenly. From the observatory I climed steeply down toward Oldstead where I cut a corner by taking the track towards the Oldstead Hall and leaving it for a path on the right which climbs up through woods and then skirts alongside them to the road. Right bere than left down the drive of Oldstead Grange. The path here goes right through the farm policies and is not very clearly marked but a farm worker put me right and about a mile of footpath over fields lay between me and the abbey, The last few fields were cow populated with those slightly alarming signs on the stiles showing a bll's head. But the beast wewre all a reassuring distance away and took no interest in me.
I parked by the Tan Hill Inn. THis is the highest pub in Britain and they are pretty keen you should not forget it. From here to the top of Water Edge is quite a rough walk. Sometimes there was a path of some kind under my feet. Sometomes there was not. THis bore little relation to when there is a path marked on the map or not. Eventually the welcome trig point hove into view. Getting from here to Rgan's Seat is very easy. Basically a game of follow that fence. From the summit of my second Nutttall the plan was to wander cross country in a roughly northwesterly sort of way until I picked up the Pennine Way. THis is what I did. Again pretty rough going and nothing realy by way of paths until the Pennine Way. On finally reaching this it was uphill all the way home but happily that was not far.
Anyone coming to Rosedale Abbey after visting Byland Abbey and Rievaulx Abbey will be immediately disappointed by the conspicuous absence of anything resembling an abbey. Apparently there was once here once but ot was demolished with rather great thoroughness than its peers. I gather a few small traces do remain but nothing worth building an English Heritage coffee and gift shop over. The village is legendary among the sort of cyclists who enjoy a challenge for the Rosedale Chimney, a ferocious 1/3 hill that climbs out to the south onto Spaunton Moor. The idyllic pastoral dale around the village was once for a period from 1856 to 1926 a noisy industrial landscape given over to the mining of ironstone. An old works railway line makes a horseshoe round the top of the valley and is now a very walkable track. It is it a public right of way but the whole thing is on access land and popular with walkers. It offers a nice straightforward 12 mile walk from the village with the considerable attraction of a good pub roughly halfway.
The start is the only significant climb. One could just walk up the Rosedale Chimney road but I took the well-signposted public footpath that winds its way up past the golf course a bit further west. The track as far as the Lion Inn is beautifully made and in excellent condition. After that, round the head of the valley, it is a little rougher in places and occasionally boggy. As you approach the end huge ruined limekilns add interest to the walk. The rail track ended at Hill Cottages – a place that was very heavily populated by poultry – where I followed a path through fields towards Low Thorgill Farm, taking a left just before the bridge leading into the farm to follow a riverside footpath back to the caravan site on the edge of Rosedale Village and so home. Found my car and headed off, taking the Chimney road out of the village. By the time I reached the top my car’s little engine was really starting to feel the strain. I don’t think I’ll be trying it on a bicycle anytime soon.
Walk 131 had left me with some unfinished business back o’ Skiddaw so it was time to see to Knott. On a nice Sunday like today without a very early start I didn’t fancy my chances with the limited parking at Orthwaite so I drove to Fell Side instead. From here I headed up Brae Fell. Fording Dale Beck was a little tricky in very dry conditions and I’m guessing might be very tricky after a bit of rain. It was a longish trudge to the top of Brae Fell but then very easy going over Little Sca Fell, Great Sca (like Brae Fell, Wainwrights but not Nuttalls) Fell, Knott.
Around this time the weather started to turn though it never set in to rain. From Knott Skiddaw was shrouded in cloud and, by the time I got to High Pike, so was Knott itself. From Knott to High Pike is something of a trudge over rough, mostly pathless terrain. I didn’t bother about Great Lingy Hill or Hare Stones, very undistinguished Nuttalls (but not Wainwrights) I had grabbed on an earlier visit (86). Instead I trudged vaguely west until I caught sight of Lingy Hut where I knew I would find a good track taking me up High Pike. Which I did and easily and pleasantly down the other side to where I had begun.
I hadn’t thought to get away this weekend but the weather just looked too glorious to miss out on. So at the last minute I found a cheap B&B in Kirkby Stephen and set off north. By the time I got there, checked in, it was well into the afternoon so I wanted something that wouldn’t take too long. This little Marilyn looked just the thing. There is a big car park high up on the A684 above Sedbergh, with a horrifically potholed surface and a big noticeboard celebrating the geologist Adam Sedgwick, where there is usually a camper van or two parked up and one or two people with cameras stopping to photograph the striking view of the Howgill Fells on display. I took it from here and trudged up and down in the same glorious weather that had tempted me out. It was a dry day and there had been a dry spell but still it was decidedly boggy in places and is likely unpleasantly so in wetter conditions.
Aye Gill Pike is crosscrossed by many sturdy walls and fences – most typically walls supplemented with fences – that would be awkward to climb. So it is a matter of finding a way up through them that makes any necessary crossings at points where there are stiles. If coming from the A684 car park as I did, here are instructions to do so. Turn left out of the car park and follow the A684 a short distance east till you reach a cattle grid. Just before the grid a path heads off to the right signposted “Lunds 1¾” (Lunds is a place in Dent Dale. You’re not going there. Though the sighnpost suggests you could just as well start there.) On your left there is a wall. Keep it that way. Don’t cross it, just follow it steadily, with a sometimes rather faint, often boggy path underfoot. It leads up onto the ridge and past the top of a conspicuous strip of woodland. Soon after passing the woods you come to a point where two walls converge blocking your way. But there is a stile. Cross it. Now there is a wall on your right. Keep it that way and follow the ridge. You will twice find your way blocked as the wall on your right radiates branch lines but both times a stile solves the problem. Finally you find yourself on the top but with the wall between you and the trig point but again a stile just where you need it. I came down exactly by the ascent route described based on observations on the way up. Without benefit of those observations, I ascended almost by it but not quite and tore my trousers on some barbed wire. I got down early evening and went off to feast on lasagne and chips at Tebay Services.
A walk in a town for a change, I thought. So I jumped on a train to Piccadilly. Down Piccadilly I went. Then left down Portland Street. Then right along Oxford Street, past the Albert Memorial where there was a demo going on about green belt protection, past what was once Free Trade Hall in what was once St Peter’s Fields, now a swanky hotel in heavily built up central Manchester. Right up Deansgate, past the Rylands Library to the Corn Exchange – now lots of restaurants and stuff – and the Cathedral. Then Chapel Street and Blackfrairs Road took me to Broughton Bridge. Left along Lower Broughton Road. Right down Frederick Road and across the river again. Down its banks on Salford Way then right on Great Cheetham Street and back over river on Cromwell Bridge to resume march down Lower Broughton Road. When this met the A56, or Bury New Road,. I turned left and followed it to Park Lane where I turned right, then left down Singleton Road. I had a wee look at Kersal Moor, then carried on down Kersal Road till I swung right down Hilton Lane. After crossing the A56 this turns into Scholes Lane which took me to Heaton Park where I make my way to the temple behind the house, that being the highest point in the city of Manchester. From the Bury Old Road a 135 bus took me back to Piccadilly and my train ride home which was shared with drunken football fans but mercifully short.
It all went more or less to plan. But it was a mistake, with hidsight trying to do an urban walk with the OS Explorer map that doesn't show street names. I really needed an A-Z. I hadn't really planned to detour so far off to the west down Kersal Road but got a little confused in Higher Broughton. Here the Ordinance Survey helpfully identify one building as a synagogue so I kept my eyes open for it plannikng to use it as a landmark to find my way. What they didn't tell me and I didn't know at the time was that there are in fact several synagogues round here. I passed loads of Jewish folk in their Saturday best that should have made it really clear to me that this was a very Jewish part of town. In any case, I went and navigated by the wrong synagogue. As one does.
The track starts halfway between Orthwaite and Horsemore Hills. Halfway between Orthwaite and the start of the track is a space where there is room to park. It is not a very big space. On a nice day you would have to get here early as three cars would pretty well fill it. It was not a nice day. It was raining. It was windy. Everything was in cloud. It was, to be fair, nicer than the last time I was here (see 90 below) but that is damning with extremely faint praise. I set off down the track, planning to visit the two Calvas and carry on to Knott. I didn’t. The summit of Great Calva was very miserable indeed. Getting back to the col between here and Knott, I thought, maybe not Knott. So back down Hause Gill I went.
Bardon Moor is a big old grouse moor north of Skipton. A nice longish walk would link the three trig points on Halton Height, Crookrise and Thorpe Fell with the highest point, the Marilyn Cracoe Fell with its towering war memorial, maybe taking in the two reservoirs. I had something like this in mind for today but an evening in Leeds with an old friend to see Opera North’s beautiful production of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Snow Maiden ended with us sitting up boozing till four a.m. At my age you would think I would know better. Cut a long story short the end result was me parking my car by Embsay Reservoir and heading off uphill at about 2p.m. with the much curtailed plan of heading up Cracoe Fell and down it again. I followed the track along the edge of the reservoir to where it bends sharply right near Crag Nook. Here the map shows a path that heads of north, becoming a track and crossing the top of East Harts Hill. On the ground, but not on the map there is a signposted path, a bit further west, that heads off from the same bend and follows High Edge northwest to Crookrise. I took this path but did pay very close attention and managed rather early on to lose it. By the time I figured ourt I had done so, I was rather far away from it, off to the east on the wrong side of Lowburn Gill. Och well, I thought, I will just forget the path over Crookrise and head straight north towards East Harts Hill with a bit of luck picking up the more easterly path on the map. If the latter was anywhere to be found I never found it. I struggled over rough heathery ground over East Harts Hill passing deer Gallows Rock on my right, eventually meeting the path that crosses the moor from the top of the road near Halton Height to near Rylstone.
From where I was now to Cracoe Fell using the paths on the map would be a bit of a detour but I found a path of sorts not far away heading more or less straight towards my summit which I reach a little before 4, turning and racing the failing light back over Crookrise to the car park. I won. Just. (Before you protest, I’m a sensible fellow and carry a headtorch but it was satisfying not to need it.)
A Marilyn so small and insignificant the Landranger map doesn't bother naming it. I started at the car park at Stokesay Castle. Pay and display but not very expensive - flat rate of £1. The bvious way up is by Clapping Wicket. Instead of this I tried to follow zigzagging tracks/path marked on 1:25,000 map up through wood starting from 431812. This proved horribly overgrown in the lower parts and not recommended. Down by Clapping Wicket, a much better idea. A grey day with lots of low cloud ensured there was no view but as the top is in a big wood I don't imagine there ever is.