Saturday, 30 November 2013

Buckden Pike, Wharfedale

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: 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.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Raising Money on the Lyke Wake Walk

Once again, the North York Moors challenge walk has drawn us in. Yes, it's the Lyke Wake Walk. The last time I completed this challenge the last few miles seemed to pass in a delirious dream, the only thoughts in my mind were to make it to the end, and promising myself never again!

Well the human works in mysterious ways and so we find ourselves poised to undertake the challenge once again this coming weekend. The chosen charity this time round is the Hardcore Help Foundation. You can read more details including how to donate here.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Wensleydale Ales

I have been lucky enough to interview Geoff Southgate who, along with business partner Carl Gehrman, recently took over the Wensleydale Brewery based just outside Leyburn. You can read the full interview here:

I recommend you settle down in a comfy chair with a glass of Semer Water Light Ale and then enjoy what Geoff has to say!

Friday, 1 November 2013

Walking on the Coastal Cleveland Way

Although we have made the occasional visit to places such as Saltburn and Whitby, we haven't really explored the North Yorkshire coast in much depth. Following a recent excursion to Staithes, we decided this was a place that warranted further exploration, and so Claire and I booked ourselves a night away in a beautiful little cottage just off the sea front, and a coastal circuit walk with our partner in crime Dave.

Our chosen route would take us in a loop, following the coast southwards before heading inland for the return leg. Seeing as the harbour village of Staithes is tucked below steep cliffs all around the walk started with an inevitable hike upwards, taking us onto the Cleveland Way.

This was just a short ascent though and the rewards were fantastic - from here on the coastal walk was pure pleasure with massive views out to sea.

Looking back we could see the massive cliffs that protect Staithes from the elements. Soon enough we passed Port Mulgrave which has a fascinating mining history. I am sure we will be investigating this part of the coast at some point in the future but for now we pushed onwards until we reached Runswick Bay.

So Runswick Bay - how come I had never heard of this place before?! Aside from the picture postcard village, it boasts a fantastic beach. Conditions were so nice that Dave and I agreed if we had our swimming gear with us we would have gone for a dip - had we brought our trunks I am sure we would have found an excuse not to go in though.

We spent a bit of time on the beach, enjoying the incredible bay and lovely conditions before heading back up to the higher ground along the cliff tops to Kettleness where we stopped for lunch. I think we could have sat there for hours enjoying the views, but we soon pressed on.

The return leg of our walk saw us come away from the coast, following the bed of an old railway track. In order to get there we had to cross a field with an angry looking bull that stared at us the whole time we were in "his" field - we gave him a wide berth!

The rail path took us back to Runswick Bay and here again we swung away from the coast, following the road to Hinderwell and crossing a couple of fields before entering the woodland of Borrowby Dale.

This was a day for lots of varied walking terrain and all of it interesting, but the coastal paths were the definite winners.

The last half mile or so saw us return to Staithes past the row of houses at Cowbar, and this gave us a really spectacular approach back into Staithes and a welcome cold drink at the Cod & Lobster right on the sea front.

An amazing day's walking that really showed off the versatility of the North York Moors and the Cleveland Way.