Its been a while since we were out in the hills, things getting in the way like work for example , the weather lack of enthusiasm etc etc, so, before it becomes a habit, we decided to take advantage of a good forecast, get ourselves motivated and do something around the Settle area.
The drive to this part of the Dales from home takes an hour and a quarter so we didn't have to set off mega early, the sky was clear and there was a bit of frost in the fields, a good day in store, that made a change Instead of doing one of the default hills, Pen-Y-Ghent was tempting us, we decided to do Fountains Fell again, we hadn't been up there for a few years.
Fountains Fell is a sprawling lump of a hill and can be done from various directions, I decided we'd have a go from
Helwith Bridge for two reasons, firstly it makes for a longer walk even if there's a fair amount of road walking and it would give our legs chance to get loosened up and, secondly, there's a good pub at the end of the walk to have a couple of orange juices when we'd finished, so, this was our little route.
We set off, the sun was shining but it was cold, it was nice to be out again, the first time since the end of October, we decided to take it easy and break ourselves in.
There were some interesting cloud formations which rather added to the scenery.
DSC04132 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr
DSC04133 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr
DSC04136 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr
We took the track we've used in the past to do Pen-Y-Ghent, we left it around SD818697and continued on Moor Head Lane.
This was nice and steady, a typical Dales track used by walkers and mountain bikers, the knees and legs were objecting slightly but I guess it was due to lack of hill time and ancient bodies.
The views back to Ingleborough and Whernside away in the distance and towards Stainforth were good, especially with the strange clouds
DSC04137 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr
DSC04140 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr
DSC04138 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr
DSC04143 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr
We joined the minor road Goat Lane and then turned onto Henside Road a little further on.
There were a couple of ups and downs as we went, when we arrived at the top of the last bit of up Pen-Y-Ghent was looking good
DSC04145 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr
looking back there was a nice serene view of a typical Dales farm
DSC04146 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr
After nearly two miles of road walking we left it at around SD857672 and headed across the field towards a wall, there's a path here, it's marked on the map, when we reached the wall we turned left, following the wall would eventually take us to the summit of Fountains Fell, easy peasy
There's not much of a path alongside the wall, there are ATV tracks that can be followed but these leave it every now and again to negotiate peat hags
DSC04147 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr
So it's a case of following them or just following the wall, either way, there's a lot of tussocky terrain to walk on which made the fairly easy gradient a wee bit harder to travel over it's a good job it was frozen solid otherwise it would have been very soggy
DSC04148 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr
We reached the trigpoint at point 593 which was barred access to by a tall fence the view to Pen-Y-Ghent from here shows its dramatic side
DSC04149 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr
DSC04155 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr
We could see Malam Tarn
DSC04152 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr
And out towards Buckden Pike
DSC04153 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr
It's a fair walk to the top of Fountains Fell from the trig point so it's a case of heads down and plod, either side of the wall will do but as you get to around point 662 on the map it's best to cross the wall as this eventually puts you on to a decent path, we also found the wall was less tumbledown further along it, we had to climb over it where it was damaged, there was on old metal frame leant against it so it helped to make it easier without further damaging it.
We arrived at the summit in the clag which was a bit disappointing then moved onto a bunch of cairns next to the Pennine Way which goes over Fountains Fell here.
DSC04156 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr
DSC04157 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr
The clag was a bit of a surprise it had been nice and clear for most of the walk up, so we ended up with the default views again on the top
From the summit we followed the Pennine way down to the road and continued on it as far as Churn Milk Hole where we left it and continued down Long Lane which takes us back to Helwith Bridge.
DSC04159 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr
This was a nice day out, nothing too taxing (even though my legs are feeling it a bit as I write this), we decided to have Fish and Chips in Settle on the way home, as we were travelling down to Settle from Helwith Bridge we were treated to a lovely sunset, those strange cloud formations really showing off now
DSC04160 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr
DSC04164 by Martin Hawer, on Flickr
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