Sunday, 3 March 2013

Back in me boots and out in the Dales

After all that gadding about in foreign climes, (see the cruising blog), I'm back in good ole England, enjoying the cold, damp and dull days of our winter.  Peter got home a week after me,  and it's taken a little while to get back into the routine of work and weekends, just long enough for the days to lengthen and the sun to start making an appearance.
And it did today.  Glorious sunshine.  Not quite as hot as in Isle Du Salut, but wonderfully warm and hinting of Spring.  And we were ready for it.  Today we were off to recce parts of a walk I'm planning to lead in April. 
The walk is in Swaledale and starts at Surrender Bridge.  I've been up here a few times, but we wanted to check out some paths we've not been along before.  Good job too.  This area is used by the shooting fraternity and is criss crossed with tracks, misleading walkers trying to follow the rights of way.  We got confused several times and ended up walking up and down hills we shouldn't have.  But who cares, the sun was out and so were we.

So we started at Surrender Bridge, and made our way Southwest in a big curve heading towards Gunnerside Beck.  As always, the views around us were wonderful.

Despite appearances, the air was anything but quiet.  The grouse are just setting themselves up for a bit of a canoodling and nesting.  Boy grouse chase away other boy grouse from the best nesting pads.  And all the boys chase the girls if she's silly enough to let them see her. And if that wasn't noisy enough, it's also the time of the year to burn off the heather, causing grouse, lapwings and crows to get all het up and make a right racket.
The smoke came over our heads and kept getting into the camera shots, making them look even blurrier than  

We could see Great Shunner Fell, still wearing a snowy coat

This is Potting Farm.  I can't think of anything more Dales like.

From there we made our way up and down until we reached the old mine buildings at Gunnerside Gill. The area has been ravaged by the lead mining processes and all you can see are spoil heaps.  But the scarred landscape has a strange beauty.

After lunch in the sun, we moved on to climb up onto the moors.  There are a couple of scrambly routes up, we followed Bunton Hush.

A hush is a sort of mine area, I read up on it all here Lead Mining in the Yorkshire Dales
Once we'd got to the top, we were surprised and a little bit delighted by how much snow still remained.

Making our way between Friarfold and Melbecks Moor, the snow made patterns in the landscape.

The second set of old buildings of the walk were the Old Gang Smelting Mills.  Fascinating places, they make you wonder who, what, where and how.

And the sun is still shining.  Blue skies, tired legs, but happy hearts as we followed the Old Gang Beck back to our car.

A wonderful day out.  8 1/2 miles, and 1500ft of up (and down).  Here's the map.

To see more pictures and read about a different walk, click here:- Swaledale Leadmines August 2012

To see and read more of the same walk, but this time including the wonderful Blakethwaite mines, waterfall and dam, click here:-Lead mine walk with the Walkers Forum


  1. That's a great walk and with great views. The last time I was up there was on my birthday three years ago and the shooters were out in force. But it was a day just like that, sunny and cold.
    Cheers, Alen

  2. Thanks Alen. I'm looking forward to getting out there a lot this year. Fingers crossed.