Sunday, 25 September 2011

A little wander in Wensleydale - Ayesgarth, West Burton and the River Ure

Ayesgarth High Falls

I discovered the Walking Forum  a little while ago, and through it, ended up making arrangements with Cheviot Stroller, AKA Rambling Nana (see blog links), to meet up for a walk.  We decided on Ayesgarth, and I worked out a route of about 8½ miles.

 We both arrived in the NT carpark, smiled hello at each other, and set out to view the delights of Ayesgarth and beyond.  The route can be seen on the map at the end.  
Cauldron Falls

After a quick look at the Upper Falls, the first half of the walk took us through the fields to West Burton, where we saw the village waterfall, also known as the Cauldron Falls.  

Then we climbed gently along grassy tracks to a point where we were overlooking the dale.  Not very high, but high enough to get some delightful t views.  Along the route we spotted a squirrel dash away from us along the wall.  The fact that it chose not to run up a tree made us look again, and we quickly realised that it was a stoat. Cool!
Look back on the Morepeth track

Eventually, we turned left to make the gentle descent towards Swinithwaite.  Enjoying the views, we were also amused by the antics of several rams in the field next to us.  I swear it looked like only one of them was brave enough to investigate whatever it was in the hedge that caught his eye.  His five or so “mates” were all bunched up about 10ft behind him.  We could almost hear them egging him on as the whole group crept towards the hedge.   Curiosity could have killed the ram? 
Looking across to Nossil Bank

Just below Lower Falls

Through Swinithwaite, across a few more fields and then we spent the second half of the walk alongside the River Ure heading back to our starting point.  The river itself is fascinating, with the loads of waterfalls, and rocky stretches.  With the variety of birds and flowers around, there is always something that catches your eye. 

Looking up at Lower Falls

I personally prefer being on the south side of the Ure as you approach Ayesgarth.  I think you get to see so much more of the river and all its nuances.  

Lower Falls again

But we did cross over and take a look at lower and middle falls using the NT walk on the north side.  These touristy viewing points allow you good views of the falls, especially if you go to the very end and climb down to get an excellent view of the lower falls. 

Middle Falls

A bonus for me was that I got to see the grey heron that spends a lot of time at middle falls.  I even took a blurry picture.
Another lovely day in very pleasant and quietly tuneful company.  Now……….. Where next?

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Another day out from Richmond

The view from High Moor over the Applegarths,  Swaledale
After chickening out of two routes from Reeth, I thought I’d walk from Richmond and find a path that I've always missed before.  (Because I’d never had a map and didn’t know it was there!)  I included a couple of slopes and 8½ miles walking in my route, (map at end), and I looked forward to getting out.

This time I learnt::  
                          1. Keep your camera battery charged.
                          2.  "Light Showers” means torrential downpours.
                          3.  My boots aren’t waterproof
                          4.  Always take a wetproof, even when you're sure you won’t need one.
                          5.  Follow your map, not your nose.
Willance's Leap memorial stones
Starting at Richmond, I headed up to Willance’s Leap with stunning views over Swaledale.  An added bonus is you get to look down on the Coast to Coasters.   I didn’t take any pictures because my camera battery failed, (Lesson No1) but I’ve included photographs taken on earlier walks.
From there, I walked along the top of Whitcliffe Scar to Deepdale Tree. Here I got my first “shower”.  (Lesson No 2)  Don’t ask about the tree, I didn’t see it.  I couldn’t see through my glasses or the rain. It stopped fairly quickly, but not until I was dripping wet. (Lessons 3 & 4)
Musk thistle on 24 July. Still there on 18 September, and still lovely

There’s a road down the centre of the steepsided Deepdale that you follow to Low Applegarth Farm.  Here I suffered my usual inability to find the path.  Ringing  water out of my sleeves, I “remembered” the route when I saw someone else go that way.  The farmer has realised that I can't navigate his fields.  He’s put up hulking great poles covered in yellow plastic tied with black masking tape stripes.  You really can’t miss them.  I like this part of the walk. The sun came out. 

Dripping on, I got to Swale and followed the path alongside to Whitcliffe Wood where there is a memorial from dogs to their dead owner.  Curious.  

Hudswell Woods

After Whitecliffe Wood, it’s past Lownethwaite Farm, down a track with loads of Himalayan Balsam in the verges, over Reeth road and the Swale and into Hudswell Woods.
I turned right and followed a very muddy, slippy path close to the river. At the end are a set of steps, (376 of ‘em, I counted!....... (But that could be 326?)). The steps climb 200ft up Hudswell Bank.  As I got to the top, the rain came down.  Luckily, fate provided me with a couple of dense trees over a stile perfect to sit on.  I stayed damp this time.  (I didn’t get any wetter.)
The Swale from Hudswell Woods
I headed east next, following the path through woods and fields. I’d always gone downhill before and this time wanted to stay at the top of the bank. Just above Round Howe, between the trees, you get lovely views of Richmond across the river.  I continued my route across the fields.  At the point I was looking slightly confused and trying to spot my next stile, a nice old lady told me that I should follow my nose and go right to the far corner of the field.  Actually, she should have said “Not that corner!  The other corner!” (Lesson No 5). Wrong again, but I was close to home.  And I had very nicely just about dried out.

Then, as sure as eggs is eggs and toast always falls butter side down, the heavens opened.  Just enough to make sure I was properly soaking wet by the time I got back to the house.

I walked 9 miles and only found half the path I was looking for.  (Sounds like a song title?). But  I really enjoyed the walk, even the wet bits.  You can see from the photo's how nice it is.

Another lovely day.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

A Walk to Work

The Friary ruins in Richmond

live just over three miles from work, and for the few months, I've had this idea in my head that I might walk to work. Only in the nice weather like, definitely not when it's cold and raining. When I saw the weather forecast last night, I decided today would be the day.
I nearly didn’t do it. I was running late, and then had to turn back after 5 minutes to get a map of the path I’d not used before. It would have been so easy to get in the car and drive. But the sky was so so blue, the sun so bright, and the air so clear and fresh, I couldn’t miss the chance. And boy am I glad I didn’t. I start by going through Richmond past the Friary.
The Station

Then it's down the hill across the Swale, to "The Station", which is a listed building that has been revamped and now houses a two screen cinema, a restaurant, a brewery, cheesemaker, baker and delux sweetie shop. Anyone within a mile vicinity should make it a priority to get an ice cream from the shop at the end of the building. It's made in one of the dale's and it is absolutely gorgeously wonderful.

From The Station, I followed the old railway track, a favourite walk of us locals, as this path ultimately leads to Easby Abbey. 

On the way to Hagg Farm

Then a right turn past the sewage works following the Coast to Coast as far as Hagg Farm, (which isn't there). On route were a load of soldiers training, running up and down the hill as per orders shouted at them by guys in bright yellow hi vis vests. The hill had been previously grazed by cows and was subsequently very mucky slippy. Uuuuuurrrrrrgh! I am so glad I never joined the army. 

Himalayan Balsam

Since June, many of the paths around Richmond have been lined with Himalayan Balsam. It is really quite pretty, but apparently it is a nasty foreign invader, driving out our own native plants. If it drives out a few nettles, I would be happy. And I still think it's pretty.

At Hagg Farm, I turned south to walk across the fields towards Hipswell. Really lovely views, although I got wet feet in the morning dew.
 Finally into Hipswell village and sadly back onto road and the smell of exhaust, but I was only about a third of a mile away from work, so not far now.

When I got to work, my colleagues thought I was ever so slightly mad. They couldn't understand why I would walk three miles plus to work by choice. I was offered a lift home............ twice. I very happily turned it downed and went back the way I'd come. 

They don't know what they're missing.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

A little meander from Marske.

I’ve wanted to do this for a couple of weeks.  Peter is off working again this weekend, and, after a frustrating wait to make sure the wet weather and mist cleared I managed to get out this afternoon.  It is only a little walk of 5 miles+, nothing too strenuous but in an area new to me.  I’d included a little waterfall in my route, and I was looking forward to exploring.

Lessons learnt:

  • When driving to and from walk, always plan to change boots after completion of said exercise. 
  • There are such things as bright yellow and purple mushrooms.  (No - not together in stripes or anything.  I mean separate mushrooms). 
  • Sheep can be scary 
  • I can take the wrong path more times than you have fingers.  (Boasting now.) 

I’ve added a little map of the intended route for interested walking types (see bottom).  The walk goes northwest along the north side of Marske Beck, dallies around a bit, and then comes back on the south side.  There aren’t any steep hills, the Yorkshire countryside is always lovely, and pleasant sights include the becks, horses, brightly coloured fungi, Orgate Force and an old water wheel.   I parked the car at a little layby next to the bridge over Marske Beck and started my walk from there.  The walk goes like this. 
  • Start at layby 
  • Trek through the village (backtrack and check three different roads to be sure of the right one). 
  • Follow track through a couple of fields into the woods.  Whilst walking through woods, checkout three different paths to be sure of right one.  Notice buzzing noise.  Notice buzzing noise is very loud.  Notice you are surrounded by hovering, buzzing, humming yellow and black insects. Look up.  No nest, phew!  Move very swiftly out of area.  Buzzing diminishes. 
Orgate Force
  • Walk on to Orgate Farm. Miss intended path.  Take another instead down to Orgate force. Take loads of pictures, enjoy surroundings.
  • Back up to Orgate Farm, head on towards Telfit Farm.  Wonder about little bridge?  Look over edge……. Ahhhhh there it is. 

Is this is a Bright Yellow Russula? 
  • Go past Telfit farm, take pictures and enjoy the scenery, get curious stares from horses and discover yellow mushrooms. Go uphill towards fields with cattle and sheep.
  • Walk past unnervingly docile cow into field full of hyped up and very noisy sheep.  Establish that sheep believe you have something they want when complete flock masses behind you baaing loudly.  Complete flock quite menacingly follows you (stopping only when you stop) and baaing very loudly for length of field.
  • Climb gate, (because really have got fed up with sheep, and ended up at wrong one).  Subsequently end up on wrong path along Telfit Bank.  Do not spot this mistake until you come to wall that doesn’t have a stile.
  • Go downhill to road/track, follow this to the first wooden “Public Footpath” sign you have seen on the walk and cross fields to Pillimire Bridge. Discover purple mushrooms and waterwheel.
Blackish-Purple Russula
  • Cross bridge, turn right and walk alongside river.  In the last 30 yards of the walk, find the thickest, deepest mud possible to cake your boots in.  Finish walk with boots twice the size and weight that you started.
  • End walk at layby

Another lovely afternoon.  I will add in my defence that several of the paths and gates had no markers, whether they be right or wrong.  And anyone can make a mistake when being hounded by 40-50 sheep.