After our walk up Great Whernside from Kettlewell, I was keen to get back into Wharfedale and hopefully this time with better visibility than the whiteouts we had on that particular walk. That walk up Great Whernside was part of our training for the Yorkshire Three Peaks and this time, our hike up Buckden Pike was a prep walk for the Lyke Wake Walk.
For some reason the drive over the tops into Wharfedale seems to take you through several climate zones and this trip was no exception, as we drove through rain, sunshine and thick fog at various points on the journey.
We parked up in Buckden before heading upwards onto the fell. Weather conditions weren't great as we set off, with the drizzle soon giving way to misty rain as we entered the cloud. Unfortunately this also meant the views were very restricted. The walk up Buckden is nice and straightforward with a good footpath all the way up. Before we knew it, we were at the summit cairn an trig point. Sadly we could still barely see ten metres or so away.
From the summit we headed alongside a drystone wall, towards a memorial commemorating the loss of lives of a Polish bomber crew.
You can read the full story here: http://www.buckdenpike.co.uk/mainstory.html. The path wasn't too bad along here, but once we were past the memorial it deteriorated significantly and at times we were ankle deep in bog. Good training for the Lyke Wake Walk then!
At least it wasn't a long stretch across boggy ground and we soon started our descent of the fell. With the height lost came visibility gained and Wharfedale started to open its heart to us.
You've got to hand it to the Dales, whether you are on rugged limestone pavement, whalebacked fell tops or at the valley bottom alongside river, there is always a serene beauty to the region. The descent down into Starbotton was pure pleasure with a great view of the lush valley and the river.
Our route took us through the idyllic hamlet and out the other side as we headed towards the river, and onto the Dales Way footpath. We stopped for lunch beside the river.
As we were enjoying sandwiches, we noticed a distinct, distressed sound in the distance, and on looking around we could see a sheep with its head stuck in a fence. Unfortunately it was on the other side of the river! Dave bravely took his walking boots and trousers off and hopped into the icy waters, but it was too deep to risk crossing. Let's hope the farmer did the rounds later that day and rescued the poor thing.
The rest of the walk back to Buckden saw us follow the path meander its way gently close to the river. We were soon back at the car and despite the poor visibility we had for the first half of the walk, this was another fantastic expedition into the heart of the Yorkshire Dales.