Thursday, 30 August 2012

Marske, Marrick and Lower Swaledale

Here is a recap of a walk I did shortly before breaking my ankle. I've been slowly making my way around Swaledale this year as it's an incredible valley that packs so many delights and hidden gems - Gunnerside Gill, Calver Hill, Crackpot Hall and its commandeering view over the steep head of the top of the valley, the ruins of its industrial legacy just to mention a couple.

We took the road along the top of the valley from Richmond to Marske which is scenic enough in itself. The tiny village of Marske is a great starting point for a number of hikes. Our walk on this nice Summer's day was a circular route from Marske to Marrick and back and is another walk in Paul Hannon's excellent "Swaledale" walking guide. You can pick this book up in most good walking web stores, for example in the excellent Walking Boots webstore. (Note: No affiliation)

We headed out of the village a short way along the minor road towards the Richmond-Leyburn road before heading off across the fields. This offered a great view of Applegarth Scar, the cliffs of Side Bank Wood leading up to Downholme Moor and our first glimpse of the river Swale.

Looking back we could see the pastures and lush fields that surround Marske and the impressive clock tower of Marske Hall. We crossed the minor road at the historic Downholme Bridge.

The next part of the walk saw a change in the landscape. We left the lush pastures behind us and with the river Swale accompanying us on our left, we slowly climbed up onto higher ground in the valley giving us extensive views across the moorland of Swaledale and it was an impressive view indeed.

The great views continued all the way past the recently renovated Marrick Park and a restored double limekiln, all the way to the village of Marrick. Much like Marske, this picture postcard village is a beauty and seems to be lost somewhere in time.

Our return route followed the Coast To Coast route. We climbed back up out of the village onto the meadowland and this meant some classic Swaledale scenery, big meadows and stone barns.

I love this aspect of the Dales, wide open undulating meadows that offer massive views from the tops and images of a beautiful working landscape wherever you look, with sheep, barns, haybales, drystone walls and farms all around.

From here it was a simple if at times steep walk back down through the fields and onto the road taking us back to the car at Marske. Once again it was a pleasure to explore the diverse scenery that Swaledale has to offer.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Hanging Up The Boots

...temporarily that is!

An accident has left me with a broken ankle. As if this didn't hurt enough on it's own it has the very painful side-effect of putting the fells, dales, moors, lakes and tarns out of bounds for the next few months. As a friend wrote to me, "those fells aren't going anywhere", which is good as neither am I.

This of course means I won't be reporting on any walks here for a while. I think I'll take the opportunity to reorganise the blog a little and add some more links here and there as well as posting some archive material I have. In the meantime, continue enjoying the fells and I hope to see you all again out on the hills before the end of the year.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Tarn Hows in the Lake District

Although I have been to Tarn Hows with crag rat Rainer many moons ago, I had never been with Claire, so a visit from my parents seemed like the idea opportunity to have another look at this beauty spot.

Tarn Hows is an amazingly picturesque spot out in the middle of the southern half of the Lake District. It was formerly owned by Beatrix Potter, before she passed the land onto the National Trust. Although a popular destinantion, it is quite remote to get to by car, but within walking distance of many places - Coniston, Hawkshead, Ambleside and the Langdales to name but a few. I think next time we come we'll start off from somewhere like Coniston and head past Tarn Hows on our way to Black Crag or one of the other nearby fells.

We took my folks on a whistle-stop tour of the lakes, stopping in Keswick, Hawkshead and Grasmere along the way. On a day with very changeable weather including some heavy downpours, we were extremely lucky to get sunshine and no rain on our walk around Tarn Hows.

This is a lovely gentle walk around the lake, nearly all on level ground which makes it accessible to pushchair and wheelchairs.  The views are pretty good, from the top of the tarns near the car park you get a good panorama of some fells further afield towards Langdale, and walking around the tarns you get some good views of Wetherlam and the Coniston fells.

The Tarns themselves are great to look at too, with a variety of woodlands, wetland and moorland around, as well as some unusual looking grazing cows - which we later learned are Belted Galloways.

The walk is short and pleasant and well worth a stop off on a Lake District visit.