Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Pennine Moorland and Cauldron Snout

The last time me n Peter got out for a walk was in Norway. I've got a few days holiday over Christmas, the weather is glorious and we've done all the family visits n stuff so it's time to get out and enjoy the glorious sunshine. Except Peter has to work. My fault to be honest, if I hadn't had a brilliant idea about eBay.............

Anyway, finally I managed to persuade him out of his studio and we set off for somewhere I'd wanted to see since Mike Knipe posted a "Where is this?" photo on the WalkersForum
Cow Green Reservoir
After an hour plus drive (stuck behind a big pile of hay!) we reached Cow Green Reservoir. I never realised it was so big. It's surrounded by the Moor House-Upper Teesdale National Nature Reserve and is known as an area of outstanding natural beauty. I'd certainly agree with that statement. The area really is stunningly gorgeous, especially in the winter sun we were lucky to have today. Apparently Cow Green Reservoir is full of brown trout...... interesting if your interested in fishing I suppose.

The wind was bitter though, so well wrapped up, we set off along towards Cow Green Dam and Cauldron Snout Waterfall.  I dunno what I was expecting, but the dam looked really modern and concrete. Impressive though.
Cow Green Dam
The River Tees just before it tumbles over Cauldron Snout
Still feeling the cold through the layers of clothes we started down the Pennine Way over the boulders and rocks that line the sides of the waterfall as it drops 200 ft. Certainly not an easy clamber, because everything was covered in slippery melting ice. I had to "not look" once or twice, as I carefully made my way down, avoiding the ice for grass, mud, the odd bare stone, or anything that looked remotely firm. All that effort had its rewards. We were toasty warm when we got to the bottom, and we got to see the waterfall at it's best. 
Cauldron Snout - at the top
Cauldron Snout on the way down
Cauldron Snout at the bottom - and a video to give you the whole scene. 

After that, we followed the Pennine Way and the River Tees past Falcon Clints, It's hard to put into words how truly lovely it was to walk along valley in the December sun. Almost dream like.
The River Tees with Falcon Clints on the left
We passed Widdy Bank and Raven Scar
Looking back, Falcon Clints on the right now
Raven Scar
and reached Widdy Bank Farm, At this point, a little niggly cold that I'd been fighting off took the advantage and suddenly drained me of all my energy. It didn't stop me appreciating the beauty of the white farm buildings in the winter light though.
Widdy Bank Farm.
But it did make the last few miles of the walk feel particularly hard, especially since we'd chosen to follow the road back to the car park. A nice easy (if you discount the climb down beside the waterfall) 7 1/2 miles in a beautiful area on a beautiful day.

What more could you ask for.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Walkers Forum Weekend - Lofthouse to Scar House Reservoir

A few folk from the Walkers Forum decided to visit Yorkshire en masse, and Masham in particular. (It reads like “mash am” but you’re supposed to say “mass am” apparently.)  They booked into a church conversion and planned a couple of walks in lower Wensleydale (amongst other things, but I won’t go into that).

Saturdays walk started with 10 of us launching from Lofthouse o'er In Moor and down t' Scar House Reservoir.  I say launched, we didn’t really.  We sort of wandered and ambled, taking a look over the bridge at How Stean Gorge while we were at it.

I thought How Stean Gorge must be what The Strid would look like without any water, mebbe not quite as deep, but interesting anyway.  The group didn’t do the How Stean Gorge tour, that would have cost £5.60 each.  Mebbe me n Peter will do it another day.

The dogs on the walk were Lexi, Sylvia, Stacey, Flash and Frankie.  Sylvia was having a couple of hormonal days and behaved like a total tramp, constantly swinging her hips at Frankie.  Poor Frankie, he had Sylvia presenting her assets to him all the time, and Rich his owner shouting at him to stay away.  Not a good day for a boy dog.

The view as we approached Middlesmoor
This little piggy must have flown all the way home
The wonderful thing about Middlesmoor is that there is a public loo (near to the pub).  That's one to keep in mind for the future.  It's also got a little car park, just right to start a walk from.
We'd been stripping our layers off as we went uphill.  But it wasn't long before we put them on again, it was blowing a freezing wind from the the North at us.
We followed the Nidderdale Way along In Moor Land over (strangely enough), In Moor
Looking down on Scar House Reservoir.  The weather is wonderful
Despite the sun the mud and puddles on the track down to the reservoir were frozen, so it was careful down the bank to reach the dam, diverting left to reach the bunk barn and loo block.  There are also picnic tables and a wonderful giant bus stop big enough for all of us to sit out of the wind and eat lunch.  Luuuuurrrrvly. 

We took advantage of the loos and then made our way across the dam.  I've been here before, so the next couple of photographs are from a previous walk - cos the dam looks better with water flowing over.  (There was none today)

Looking over the edge
This one was taken on the day though.  I really quite like it.  I wonder what causes the foamy lines though?
We crossed the dam (into the wrath of a belligerent photographer) who was taking pictures of fell runners on the Nidderdale Frostbite Marathon (34 miles!! I'm shattered thinking about it). Anyhoo, we was pootling along, enjoying the views over the sides of the dam, chatting away etc etc, and moving out of the way of the fell runners as the passed.
Thing is, we didn't move out of the photographers shot, and he was not happy about it.  He made lots of rude and snotty comments to our group as each of them passed him.  He got a few back too!
Looking back on Scar House Reservoir
Sadly the blue skies disappeared, and low misty clouds came and blurred out the sun. On the other side of the dam we walked along along the top edge of the valley before dropping down to Bracken Ridge and getting back onto the Nidderdale Way.
Scar House Reservoir Dam in the distance. 
From there it was down to Limley Farm, were we encountered a lot of men with guns.  They also had dogs and beaters, which hopefully meant they were out on a pheasant shoot!  At Limley Farm the river disappears underground, making it dead easy to cross.  Like the last time I came this way, we missed the Nidderdale Way that follows the river back to Lofthouse, and we ended walking along the quiet road on the other side of the river.  Not really a problem, but I’m getting a bit frustrated by that ROW now, I’m going to have to go back and find it.  StevetheTree suggested I start at the other end.  What a brilliant idea!

Once back at Lofthouse, it was into the Crown Hotel for a refreshing something before going home.  An unusual establishment,  It doesn't sell tea (much to Bob's annoyance), and there isn't a gents loo inside.  From what I could make out, the lads were sent outside to a sort of brick shed, except it didn't have a roof, or lights or anything but a trough to pee into.
You can see it on this view on Google Earth, the hotel is on the right, and the outside loo is on the left,  beyond the cars. The outside karsey
 Luckily the ladies were treated slightly better and could stay inside in the warm.

So that was our Saturday walk, 11 miles which I thoroughly enjoyed. Tomorrow we have another walk starting from Jervaulx Abbey, and the weather is going to be good too.  How class is that! 

Thursday, 4 December 2014

East Witton to Jervaulx Abbey

So, after four weeks cruising followed by a couple of weeks eating any amount of greasy pies n pizza's I'm really beginning to feel slobby and unfit. I need to get back into walking but as usual I don't want to drive far, and anyway, the days are getting really short so curtails things a little anyway.

So I decided on a local walk and to investigate areas I've not ventured into before - Jervaulx Abbey sort of piqued my interest. The site promises tea rooms, which seemed like a perfect rest stop. So I worked out a circular route from East Witton
An overcast day in November isn't usually the best time of year to enjoy the countryside, but the walks had its points of interest nonetheless. Here are the pictures.
This little Methodist Chapel in East Witton is at the start of the walk.  The footpath is just to left.
From East Witton I headed North towards the River Cover, a relatively uneventful part of the walk, unless you count the gates and stiles........  And I did.  There were eight of them by the time I got to Cover Bridge.
Crossing the road, I followed the River Cover until it met up with the River Ure.
Arty shot of the Hawthorne Berries.  I tried, but I couldn't make them look as good on camera as they were in the flesh. 
The point where the River Cover and the River Ure meet.  This fotie doesn't show it very well, but there is a "wedding of the waters".  The water in the River Ure (furthest), is a lighter muddier brown than the River Cover, which is a dark peaty almost black colour. You can just about see the line where the two meet. Much clearer when you are actually there.
The sun came out, and the path looked better.  No doubt it looks fantastic in the Spring and Summer, full of flowers.
I tried so hard to get a picture of this little pond without the sun glare.  I failed obviously.  The pond itself was a stunning sight.  Described as a "Fish Pond Plantation" on the OS Map.  (Whatever that means).
I continue alongside the River Ure, the path widens and the trees open out.  Glorious in the sunshine. 

The right of way comes to a fence and you turn right towards the A6108  and this sign.   Looks good dunnit?

I walked along the road for 1/4 mile and found the tea rooms.

Sadly, they were closed.  Out of season I think.

But I crossed the road to take a look at Jervaulx Abbey, duly dropping my pennies in the honesty box (They ask for £3 per adult).
Jervaulx Abbey 
I found a Wamping Willow in the grounds
I ate lunch on a bench next to the Willow, (keeping an eye on it like), before taking a walk around.  It's a nice little place.  Very pleasant, and from the literature, full of flowers and plants in the summer.
Looking across to the Abbey from Jervaulx Park
I left the Abbey to walk across Jervaulx Park, some of the trees lining the track were glorious.
I am often amazed by how wonderful, large, old and gnarled trees can be.  This one is also a brilliant colour. 
After Jervaulx Park I walked up Masham Bank on the A6108.  Not recommended!  There is no path or bit of bank to walk on, and oncoming traffic won't necessarily see you due to hills n bends n stuff.  If I was to do the walk again, I'd find another route.  

From Masham bank I made may way across to Quarry Hill and then Ellingstring.  I was aiming for Hammersdale Farm, but I missed.  Mebbe I should have got Gizmo out!  No matter, I ended up walking through the village, which is very friendly, people chatting and asking how far etc. etc.

From Ellingstring I headed for the Millstone Band and Great Yaud plantations, passing Moor Cote Farm.  I say passing, because the ROW has been diverted around the farm as they convert it into holiday cottages.  And as I was taking in the detail of the farm, the ram in the field was taking in the detail of me....  with an odd look in his eye!

First thing I know is that he's right behind me making weird huffy noises.  Now I know there has never been a story of someone getting killed by a four legged ball of wool, but I really didn't need to be head butted out of a field by a territorial sheep, it would be VERY undignified.  So I'm shouting at the little beastie to clear off.  He ignored that of course, and kept following me as I backed away. I took off me rucksack and waved it at him, which seemed to confuse but not deter him.  The gate into the next field was wide open and as I got through it  to push it shut, a very attractive little ewe, (well, he would have thought so anyway), trotted over to catch his eye.  He immediately forgot I existed and wandered off and head butted her a few times instead......  Phew!  

So after that little adventure, I continued on alongside and through the woodland.  At one point I saw this:
Not quite an inversion, but the vale ahead is filled with cloud.  Cool. 
Now what I should have explained at the start of this post is that I started a lot later than planned..... like about 11.30ish.  That in itself isn't too bad, except I dawdled and pottered and took loads of foties, (like the arty shot earlier). 
So I was still walking when it got dark.......
Leyburn lights from Hammer Farm
Not that I was too worried, I knew that the rest of the route was the track that you can see in the fotie above which led onto a road back to East Witton.  And like a good little girl guide I also had a torch, and a head torch, and I'd tested them. 

I got back to East Witton about 4.45pm, very satisfied with the day. Gizmo sez I walked 9 miles instead of the 7 1/2 planned.  (I'm not quite sure how I did that?) 

A good walk, and it turns out I am going to do much of it again soon.  Class.