Date - 20th July 2008 Distance - 6 miles
Map - OL2/298
Start point - Barden Bridge, Wharfedale (SE 052574)


Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
North Nab 1047 319 SE 0847 5643
Brown Bank Head 1352 412 SE 1060 5820


The Walk

The ambition to visit with Dad and Uncle Bob all the summits in the Yorkshire Dales was coming ever closer to reality. By our climbing Brown Bank Head and North Nab, today meant that we had completed all those in the Southern Dales.

We were walking in Wharfedale near to Bolton Abbey. This was once a monastery and one that was subject to dissolution in the reign of Henry VIII. The Duke of Devonshire now owns this and the extensive estate around.

Our start point was the roadside parking just beyond Barden Bridge. We called out, "good morning to Uncle Bob."

"Hi lads", replied. "Good to see you mate", to Dad.

"And you Bob. Looking forward to another adventure in God's county."

Shaun was looking at the map. He told us, "we take that path south across the fields to the left of the bridge."

This took us beneath this impressive aqueduct over the rushing river Wharfe. It carries the pipe taking water from the reservoirs at the top of Nidderdale to the cities of West Yorkshire.

Soon we entered beautiful woodland. "It is delightful walking through here", enthused Allen.

The path climbed so that we were high above the River Wharfe, which we got glimpses of at times.

The path then descended through more wonderful woodland, onto a minor road using Posforth Bridge to cross Posforth Gill Beck on its way shortly to join the Wharfe.

"We keep on the road until close to Waterfall Cottage", advised Shaun. "There a gate will give us access to open country."

The sign reads 'no dogs allowed'. "OK for us then!", cheered Little Eric.

"That's North Nab and South Nab", pointed Grizzly

"There's a trig point on North Nab the highest point", said Uncle Bob, looking up from the map. "So lads we will have to climb them, although with so little difference it's only North Nab that can be properly claimed as a summit."

South Nab was first, its cairn just visible to the right of the tree. The route was over the open ground to a stile in a fence followed by a steep climb through bracken at first. From the cairn we were rewarded with this view down to the river with the church and abbey ruins just visible in the centre.

With so little difference in height it was such and easy stroll along the ridge to the trig point on North Nab. "Time of our picture", called out Tetley. "And being so calm we can sit on top."

Viewing the picture later Tetley said, "I like the casual way you are dangling your right leg over the edge, Grizzly."

A gentle descent brought us to Hammerthorn Gate...

...where following good tracks just below Long Ridge and then over an area called Gledstones, we came to Rocking Hall.

This is one of the two buildings of Rocking Hall. It is used as a hut for grouse shooting parties.

"Eww, look at that grotesque face carved on the arch. One eye appears to be higher than the other.", pointed Little Eric. "I wonder why it was put there in the first place?"

"I don't know", replied Allen. But from your comment about the eyes, perhaps we should call him Isiah!"

"Oh", cried Shaun, "that's an old one."

In fact there is little or no information about Rocking Hall when we searched the Internet, so properly we are unable to throw any further light on this.

Between this and the other building is the Rocking Stone that apparently is reputed to have last rocked 150 years ago.

Dad said, "I can assure you lads it will not move."

Well just in case we kept well out of the way!

Time for a rest and lunch", said Uncle Bob/

"Ooh yes", cheered Allen, "rubbing his tummy in anticipation.

The sandwiches and cake was delicious, Tetley saying, "thank you Grizzly, for making them.

You're welcome pals." Then laughing, "after all we can't have cake stuffer going hungry", looking at Allen.

"I just take after Dad."

Ready for the off again, Shaun pointed, "that gate in the wall is our onwards route."

This took us over very rough and at times boggy ground, terrain that Uncle Bob and Dad are well used to in Yorkshire, to the flat top of Brown Bank Head.

"Hmm", said Tetley. "A pretty uninteresting place and not one we are likely to revisit again", as he climbed out of the rucksack for the obligatory picture.

"No", agreed Grizzly, "but it was worth it to see Rocking Hall."

"Where now", asked Little Eric."

Pointing Shaun replied, "that gate in the seemingly distant wall."

"Before we set off, I'll use the compass to get a bearing, so we keep on track", said Uncle Bob.

The terrain was very rough and completely trackless. Really hard going and when they reached the wall, Dad said "phew I';m glad that's over."

Then looking he said, "oh darn, I've dropped my map during the crossing." It first he thought about returning to retrieve it, but immediately abandoned the idea, as due to the trackless terrain it was nigh on impossible to retrace the route. "I could pass within yards of it and not see it."

"Well", said Grizzly, "the map and case sellers will benefit."

Through the gate we were now thankfully on a clear track that brought us past the farm of Broadshawe. The occupants have to cross this ford on the track to reach the main road. Just out of shot was a little footbridge making our progress easier.

There was now a consultation about the route. Uncle Bob said, "we are heading for the Valley of Desolation. The best way will be through Sheepshaw Plantation."

Shaun said, "it may not be exactly an official route but the map clearly shows a track running through."

So first we struck right off the current track and then into the plantation. There had been in the past forestry work so the path was very churned up and deep ruts full of water had to be negotiated. After what seemed like an age we finally came down to the wide main track. "Glad that section is over", sighed Dad as he took this shot looking back.

Turning left we passed through a gate and headed down the tranquil and lush Valley of Desolation. It owes its name apparently due to the desolation caused by the great storm in 1826.

Reaching the River Wharfe again this was followed to Wooden Bridge where, on the other side are the Cavendish Tearooms! We had seen few people so far today, but suddenly we were surrounded by seemingly hundreds. This area is very popular and not far from a large car park.

Of course Uncle Bob and Dad could not bear (sorry) to pass by the chance of refreshment and for once we were able to come with them to the tearooms although we decided to stay in Dad’s rucksack, as it was so busy. Tea and chocolate cake with cream was the order of the day. It was yummy too – we pinched some when Dad was not looking! Afterwards Dad replaced his map at the shop, and while waiting for Uncle Bob, a lady asked him about us, so we were introduced – made our day.

Hearing this Uncle Bob then said about Dad, "it's alright, but I have to have him back 4pm."

We all let out a bellow of laughter about this.

Setting off again we immediately entered Strid Wood. We noticed that face like sculptures had been put on some on the trees.

This one amused us all Shaun saying, "worth a picture for the story."

"Reminds me a bit of the face on the arch of Rocking Hall", laughed Grizzly.

All the time we were close to the river and after a while we reached a point that is called the Strid.

This is where the broad River Wharfe suddenly becomes very narrow and the water rushes with great force. It gets its name from the fact that it is said to be a Stride wide, but it is very dangerous here. It is wider than it looks and the rocks are usually very slippery. In fact the Strid was formed by the wearing away of softer rock by the circular motion of small stones in hollows, forming a series of potholes which in time linked together to form the deep, water filled chasm.

Uncle Bob said, "it is not in spate by any means today. "I have it with the water up to the white rock on the right. In these and in fact any circumstance it is not a place to attempt to stride across!"

"Quite", agreed Tetley.

"You do not appear very much in our stories", said Little Eric. "I am sure Uncle Bob will take your picture here."

"Good heavens", said Dad, looking at the picture later. "I do look a bit of a sight really."

Continuing through the woods we came across this old shed. It was very dark in fact under the trees, but with Dad’s new camera he was able to dramatically increase the "film" speed to 1600 and so get the shot.

Soon now we were out of the woodland and passing once more under the aqueduct, it was just a short walk to the start.

Well another good walk under our paws with the contrast of the desolate and lonely moorland, woodland and the tourist trap by the tearooms.

Thank you Dad and Uncle Bob for another super adventure.


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