Saturday, 17 May 2014

Gayle in The Dales - Dodd Fell and Wether Fell.

I tried to do this walk a few weeks ago, but the weather got the better of me and sent me back to my car drenched through to the skin.  But today,  the weather was better, and I set off with a smile on me face, all ready to enjoy the sun and the Dales.  

It's a good walk, starting in Gayle, right next to Hawes.  Hawes is a brilliant little town which always seems full of people, especially at the weekends.  The motor biking community loves the place, mixing with tourists and walkers, everybody visiting The Rope Factory and the specialist shops, enjoying Wensleydale cheese and of course a drink in one of the pubs.

Gayle on the other hand is a pretty little village which is too small to be'd never get the people or any more cars into the place or on narrow windy roads.  Methinks it must be a wonderful place to live, judging by the happy faces of the people sitting on garden walls and the riverside, enjoying a drink in the sunshine.  (This was in the late afternoon by the way, as I returned from my walk.......  I don't want to make it appear that they all started drinking before lunch!)

Anyway, I found the walk here Walking Englishman - The Sleddale Horseshoe.  Starting from Gayle it's around 10 miles and reaches the summits of Dodd Fell and Wether Fell.  So with my camera battery charged, off I went.

Actually, I didn't start the walk straight away, I popped down to bridge to take this picture of Gayle Beck.  It really is very pretty here. 
The walk follows the Pennine Way along Gaudy Lane up to Rottenstone Hill. But I didn't take any pictures until I was approaching Ten End.  I loved the way these stones had been scattered across the landscape.   
A beautiful day
Ten End is marked on the OS Map with loads of Shake Holes.  In fact there are so many, you wonder why the whole hill hasn't collapsed in on itself.  There must be hundreds of caves and holes underground. 
This amused me. A tree plantation that has been cleared.  I wonder in aliens looking at us from above are trying to translate the meaning?
There were plenty of people on the Pennine Way, all walking the opposite way to me.  Just after Ten End, I broke away from the path and people and made my way towards the summit of Dodd Fell.  There didn't appear to be any path through the heather, and I just aimed for the highest point, taking advantage of any 'sheep paths' or trails I came across.
It was as I was walking along one of these tiny thin lines through the heather that suddenly a bird ran out in front of me, dragging it's wing and looking very distressed.  
It only took me a second to work out that this was a ploy, and the bird was trying to distract me from it's nest, which must be very close. A quick check around, and there it was, just a foot away from me
I never saw the bird enough to work out what it was, but these seem to be Lapwing Eggs
I was pleased to see the nest. I was also pleased that I hadn't trodden on it!

After that, I continued the trudge through the heather up the hill, until I came to the trig point.
The Trig Point on the summit of Dodd Fell. 
The summit of Dodd Fell is a good view point.  That's Pen-y-Ghent in the distance.
And this is Ingleborough.  You can also see Whernside from here, but I didn't really get a good enough photo. 

So once you've got up, it's time to go down, and following the route of the WE, I cut across the top of Sleddale to join the Cam High Road heading towards Wether Fell. It wasn't an easy area to make my way across. After lunching in the shelter of a peat grough,  I battled through heather, walked this way around one bog and that way around another, and then clambered around more peat groughs.  Eventually, there was nothing but grassy tussocks and deep dark peaty ground
So many Peat Groughs.  Quite a spectacle to be honest. 
 By the time I reached Cam High Road,  I was grateful to get back on a level path.
I took this picture from Cam High Road. I love the way the Limestone had been weathered away to leave these rock formations. 
It's easy to quickly nip off the Roman Road to get to the summit of Wether Fell.  
After Wether Fell the route heads North East towards Gayle.  This is Yorburgh, a very flat hill looking over Gayle and Burtersett.  Wouldn't this be a brilliant place to build a castle.  And it's so flat! I wonder why no one ever did?
Making my way back to Gayle, there are lots of little waterfalls on Blackburn Sike
And I couldn't resist getting a picture of these tiny little lambs. 
And then I was back. Walking through Gayle, seeing villagers out in their gardens, or sitting by the river, enjoying the sun and each others company.   Brilliant.  (As I said, it must be a nice place to live).

I don't know where I'm going next.  I just hope the weather is a good when I do.

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