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Some Pennine Wanderings

Some Pennine Wanderings


Postby johnkaysleftleg » Thu Apr 09, 2015 7:11 pm

Hewitts included on this walk: Ingleborough

Date walked: 21/03/2015

Distance: 51 km

Ascent: 1770m

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All my recent wanderings have been in the Pennines so this is a report of four walks through the diverse landscapes of England's backbone, in the main they are well established routes so I won't bore you with any detailed route descriptions.

By the River Tees, 4/03/2015, 13km 300m

The River Tees is in my opinion the finest river in England, if only for it's spectacular journey over the features of the Whin Sill eruption some 295 million years ago. The Whin Sill is responsible for some of Northern England's most notable sights outside the Lake District including High Cup, Hadrian's Wall and some fantastic features on the Northumbrian coast. I parked at Bowlees Picnic area and headed off across Wynch Bridge to begin walking along the Tees. The fine waterfalls of Low, High, and Bleabeck Force were all passed before I realised I was running out of my limited time as I reached deep snow between High and Low Crags. I had intended on continuing further but common sense prevailed and I turned tail back along the Pennine Way. Rather than retrace my footsteps I followed the public right of way up Whiteholm bank onto the moors. In some ways this was a good decision but in others (crossing the becks swollen with snow melt) it was questionable. Blea Beck in particular provided a bit of a challenge to my suspect sense of balance. A visit to Holwick Scar, where I sheltered from a rouge shower, finished off a fine outing brightened by some of the white stuff.

ImageLow Force by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageBroken by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageHigh Force by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageThe River Tees by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageBleabeck Force by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageOn the Pennine Way by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageAlong the Wall by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageWhich Way Now by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageLooking down on the Tees by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageFell Dike Sike by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageWhiteholm Bank Top by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageNoon Hill and Cronkley Fell by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageHolwick Scar by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageHolwick by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageTeesdale by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr


our_route.gpx Open full screen  NB: Walkhighlands is not responsible for the accuracy of gpx files in users posts



Ingleborough from Clapham, 21/03/2015, 15km 780m

This weekend saw Me and Nicola escape from children and dogs and have a night in the Dales at a lovely B'N'B in Chapel le Dale. Our drive down took us quite a while and given it was quite late when we set off it was nearly lunch time when we set off walking from Clapham. This route up the mighty Ingleborough is considered a classic by many and with the charming Trow Gill and spectacular Gaping Gill en-route it's easy to see why. We lucked out on the weather and sat in the summit shelter soaking up the lovely March sunshine for quite a while ending thoughts of an alternative descent. This wasn't a problem however as the way up was just as nice in reverse.

ImageWaterfall at Clapham by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageTrow Gill by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageGaping Gill by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImagePen y Ghent by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageAscending Little Ingleborough by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageDales Sky by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageIngleborough ahead by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageStubbon Snow by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageWernside and Ribblehead Viaduct. by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageLittle Ingleborough by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageLooking back by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr


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Gordale Scar and Malham Cove, 22/03/2015, 11km 360m

Another beautiful day saw us head for the tourist trap of Malham. We hadn't been here in nearly ten years and given it was another perfect day it was a well timed return. The route we took is a well established circular walk taking in Janet's Foss, Goredale Scar, Malham Tarn and Malham Cove. The Limestone scenery is stunning in this part of the world with Goredale Scar topping the bill for me. An entertaining scramble leads to the wonderful sight of the upper falls flowing through a window in the rock. I can't quite understand why more isn't made of this feature with Malaham cove getting all the attention, perhaps it's because it's a bit tricky for some people to get to see.(although dropping down from above would be simple enough) This is not to take away from the remainder of the walk however, if proof were needed you don't need a summit to have a great walk, this is it.

ImageJanet's Foss by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageGoredale Scar by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageThe climb ahead by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageUpper falls in Gordale Scar by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageLooking Back by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageTree by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageMalham Tarn by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageComb Hill by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageLimestone Cliffs by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageMalham Cove by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageLimestone Pavement by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageTourist Trap by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr


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Bolt's Law from Rookhope, 25/03/2015, 12km 330m

If the previous three walks left me with happy memories of idyllic wanderings, this walk up Bolt's Law left me thinking about the way man uses the land. Weardale is, of course, famous for it's lead mining history with rich veins, coincidentally thanks to the Whin Sill eruption, being extracted in the 18th and 19th century with 28 separate smelting operations at its height. By the 1880s however the industry was in sharp decline with the last commercial operation closing in 1931. As the lead mines declined the coal mines rose up and many of the folk of Weardale headed East, along with the environmental destruction, for pastures new. Now I'm aware that many of our upland areas were once extensively mined but some have recovered better than others and for me Weardale still doesn't wear it's scars well. I've always found it to be a dreary place, somehow washed out and grey, even when the sun shines.
I parked opposite the Rookhope arch, one of the last remaining parts of a huge flue that transported poisonous gasses up the fellside and attempted to set off up the track of the Rookhope chimney. I was initially blocked by barbed wire but before I could find away round I noticed they were burning the heather on the moors. As I had the dog with me and this route not being a public right of way I changed my plans and headed through the village.
After passing through Rookhope I headed up the Bolt's Law incline and had not gone far before a gaudy NO DOGS sign yelled at me from the gate. Whispered in the small print conversely was the fact that dogs under control on public rights of way are not prohibited so onwards we went.
The incline is an option on the coast to coast cycle route for those who wish to give themselves a good work out as it's a fair pull up but well worth it as views quickly open up, reminding me just why I came to this desolate place. A farmer with his dogs passed me on his quad bike making the sum total of other people I saw on the moor one (and two dogs).
Once the top is reached and you pass the old mine buildings the desolation really hits home, although this is a great place to be a grouse (till the glorious 12th that is :roll: ), curlew, golden plover or Lapwing for just about everything else it's fairly desperate. Heather burning has been systematically practiced and where as this doesn't look too bad from a distance, close up it's very grim indeed. The public right of way that I took up the hill quickly dissipated but I wasn't far off as found a stile (with a slightly friendlier dog notice) and from there an obvious path took me to the summit and views of endless moors pocked with plumes of smoke.
I had an early lunch on the summit feeling somewhat conflicted, just what would this place look like if it were left alone for once? how long would it take for a more balanced, natural environment to form? how great would it be to see a Hen harrier quartering the moors? With these questions and more swirling in my head I may or may not have visited the west top (allegedly the highest point) with what may or may not have been Hughie before retracing my steps back to the village.

ImageLeaden Skies by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageWeardale Moors by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageDistant Rain by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageBolt's Law by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageRuins by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageAusterity by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageRookhope by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageThe Rookhope Arch by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr

ImageLooking Down Stanhope Burn by johnkaysleftleg, on Flickr


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I am seldom particularly affected by a walk other than a collection of nice memories to call upon when not in the hills but my visit to Rookhope bothered me. A little bit of internet research revealed that Leeds University had recently carried out the first independent large scale study into heather burning.....with damming results.
This combined with the struggles of the residents of Hebden Bridge paints a depressing picture. Why does this bother me so much I here you ask? I could simply walk elsewhere, stick my head in the sand and ignore grouse moors as much as possible. I think the reason it upsets me is I come from the place the miners of Weardale moved too, the former coal fields of Durham. Here the environmental crimes in the name of profit were perhaps the worst committed in this country, millions upon millions of tonnes of waste product from mines all over County Durham were dumped onto Blast beach at Seaham and Blackhall. The effect was to totally devastate a coast line so unique and beautiful that is was actually a tourist destination before King Coal took over. Despite the clean up large parts of the beaches are buried beneath a huge slab of waste that will take many more decades for nature to disperse, the former Pale fine sands perhaps never will return. The thought that one day the coastline I grew up on will one day be subject to more misuse and abuse is horrifying but as it has happened and is happening in Weardale in the name of a landowner making a few quid why not here? When will we learn to stop thinking of land as something to be exploited for profit and treasure what nature provides?
Thank you to anybody who has read this far, please click on the links, and sorry for the rant.
Last edited by johnkaysleftleg on Mon Apr 13, 2015 3:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Some Pennine Wanderings

Postby trailmasher » Thu Apr 09, 2015 8:01 pm

Great report, great photos, and a delectably great rant. You rant away JK 'cause I echo your environmental concerns wholeheartedly :clap: :clap: . Too much leaving of desolation in the wake of 'profit' for the privileged :( . And thank you for the history lesson. Having a background in construction major projects I always find great pleasure in looking at and examining old industrial sites and wondering how they managed with the resources to hand. Thank you :D .
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Re: Some Pennine Wanderings

Postby Alteknacker » Thu Apr 09, 2015 11:32 pm

Some wonderful pics there, JKLL. This is where I grew up, so it's a part of the world that's very dear to me, and your photographic portrait is spot on (except for Gaping Ghyll - you need to be inside..... :roll: ).

No rant. Landowners the world over. For me, a sign that says "Private" or communicates any similar sentiment is an invitation to enter. Private owners have often been very poor custodians of our precious communal countryside legacy.
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Re: Some Pennine Wanderings

Postby ChrisW » Fri Apr 10, 2015 5:51 am

So many beautiful shots of home I can barely stand it, just spectacular JK. As for your 'rant' I would describe it as wise words, but who would listen mate.....there's no money to be had in listening :(

I really enjoyed these, so many lovely memories of home all bundled together....It's a good job my son and grandson are arriving Saturday for a couple of weeks or I'd be missing them so much after this :thumbup:
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Re: Some Pennine Wanderings

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Fri Apr 10, 2015 9:46 am

trailmasher wrote:Great report, great photos, and a delectably great rant. You rant away JK 'cause I echo your environmental concerns wholeheartedly :clap: :clap: . Too much leaving of desolation in the wake of 'profit' for the privileged :( . And thank you for the history lesson. Having a background in construction major projects I always find great pleasure in looking at and examining old industrial sites and wondering how they managed with the resources to hand. Thank you :D .


Many thanks, Weardale will be a great place to visit (if you haven't already) given your interests. The Rookhope Chimney must have been some sight in it's day.

Alteknacker wrote:Some wonderful pics there, JKLL. This is where I grew up, so it's a part of the world that's very dear to me, and your photographic portrait is spot on (except for Gaping Ghyll - you need to be inside..... :roll: ).

No rant. Landowners the world over. For me, a sign that says "Private" or communicates any similar sentiment is an invitation to enter. Private owners have often been very poor custodians of our precious communal countryside legacy.


Thank you, the chances of me being dangled by a rope down Gaping Ghyll are very limited indeed! Exposure is one thing but pot holing is way out of my comfort zone. As for landowners I often wonder just how they came to be in this privileged position. Granted lands by some King or Queen in the distant past no doubt :roll:

ChrisW wrote:So many beautiful shots of home I can barely stand it, just spectacular JK. As for your 'rant' I would describe it as wise words, but who would listen mate.....there's no money to be had in listening :(

I really enjoyed these, so many lovely memories of home all bundled together....It's a good job my son and grandson are arriving Saturday for a couple of weeks or I'd be missing them so much after this :thumbup:


No quite sure how you can miss home given the landscape you live in at the moment but I'll happily take the complement. :D
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Re: Some Pennine Wanderings

Postby Ibex » Fri Apr 10, 2015 8:35 pm

Awesome photo's as usual. Something about snow on hills makes them look even more majestic to me!
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Re: Some Pennine Wanderings

Postby martin.h » Sat Apr 11, 2015 10:24 am

HI J.K.
Wonderful photo's and a nicely informed account of our local surroundings, we are lucky to be able to access such a landscape in less than an hour from our everyday lives, I agree the industrial part of the landscape IS an eyesore and we all suffer the scars of this activity all over the U.K,
My personal "rant" is the total disregard some members of our population have as far as the disposal of un bio-degradable waste is concerned, its all over our towns, cities and countryside, its a shame folk can't be a wee bit more responsible.
There's now't wrong with "rants", they may have positive results in the future and make future generations take a step back and look at the harm certain activities can have.
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Re: Some Pennine Wanderings

Postby clivegrif » Sun Apr 12, 2015 5:15 pm

Great report and what a fabulous collection of photos! :clap:
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Re: Some Pennine Wanderings

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Sun Apr 12, 2015 6:28 pm

Ibex wrote:Awesome photo's as usual. Something about snow on hills makes them look even more majestic to me!


clivegrif wrote:Great report and what a fabulous collection of photos! :clap:


Cheers lads

martin.h wrote:HI J.K.
Wonderful photo's and a nicely informed account of our local surroundings, we are lucky to be able to access such a landscape in less than an hour from our everyday lives, I agree the industrial part of the landscape IS an eyesore and we all suffer the scars of this activity all over the U.K,
My personal "rant" is the total disregard some members of our population have as far as the disposal of un bio-degradable waste is concerned, its all over our towns, cities and countryside, its a shame folk can't be a wee bit more responsible.
There's now't wrong with "rants", they may have positive results in the future and make future generations take a step back and look at the harm certain activities can have.


I agree entirely about the general lack of respect for our surroundings, nothing more sickening than a load of plastic on a remote hebridean beach, or even in the local beck but some people should know better as custodians of our wilder land.
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Re: Some Pennine Wanderings

Postby simon-b » Sun Apr 12, 2015 7:33 pm

I agree, the Ingleborough route from Clapham is a classic, and the Malham - Gordale Scar round is on of the very best non-summit walks. The other two routes looked interesting, as is your point about land healing - or not - after industrial activity. Sometimes the traces of old mine workings can actually add character to a hill walk. This was true about the Coniston fells around the time Wainwright was writing, and still is in some places, notably on Wetherlam.

But now it is somewhat disturbing to see full on oil tanker trucks heading up on the track past Coniston Copper Mines YH to the reopened quarry on the way up to Levers Water, and seeing how much of the mountain side below the Old Man and Brim Fell is being blasted away by modern techniques. Is this the price of helping the local economy and providing jobs? Or is it, as you and others on the thread suggest, devastation of the landscape only for the profits of the few?
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Re: Some Pennine Wanderings

Postby johnkaysleftleg » Sun Apr 12, 2015 8:41 pm

simon-b wrote:But now it is somewhat disturbing to see full on oil tanker trucks heading up on the track past Coniston Copper Mines YH to the reopened quarry on the way up to Levers Water, and seeing how much of the mountain side below the Old Man and Brim Fell is being blasted away by modern techniques. Is this the price of helping the local economy and providing jobs? Or is it, as you and others on the thread suggest, devastation of the landscape only for the profits the few?


Some areas are enhanced by industrial heritage. Rosedale in the Moors has the same mining/grouse shooting dynamic but somehow manages to be a wonderful place. I can't put my finger on just what it is about Weardale and I'm sure many people will have a differing opinion.
The balance between jobs and conservation is a very delicate one. To take the example of where I live, when the pits were in full flow, causing untold damage to the environment, the region was filled with great little communities with very little crime. Now the pits are gone and the land is slowly healing the social devastation is every bit as acute. Many villages have become dumping grounds for the worst elements of society with random acts of crime common place. At least the Coniston area has much of the required infrastructure to cope as unpalatable as it appears. Another bug bear of mine regarding the grouse farming industry is the claim of much needed employment. Running these areas as nature reserves would create just as many jobs, but actually caring for the land.
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Re: Some Pennine Wanderings

Postby simon-b » Sun Apr 12, 2015 9:06 pm

johnkaysleftleg wrote:Another bug bear of mine regarding the grouse farming industry is the claim of much needed employment. Running these areas as nature reserves would create just as many jobs, but actually caring for the land.

Another claim meant to justify the grouse shooting industry is that the population needs to be controlled to protect the species, which would otherwise be decimated by disease. But burning the heather to stimulate new shoots, the grouse' preferred food, thus encouraging the birds to proliferate, seems like a funny way of controlling their numbers.
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