TWO WALKS ABOVE SWALEDALE, YORKSHIRE

The many expeditions to the Yorkshire Dales has meant that there are few of the hills left to climb, so consequently "bagging" a few tops in a day is now almost impossible. A mopping up operation is now the order of the day with often just one summit as was the case in these two walks.



BLEA BARF from track to SUMMER LODGE

Summary

Date - 3rd August 2008 Distance - 4 miles
Map - OL30 Start point - Verge parking on Askrigg to Reeth road near junction with track to Summer Lodge (SD 964949)

 

Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Blea Barf 1772 540 SD 9555 9620

 

The Walk

A narrow lonely road climbs steeply from just beyond the village of Askrigg in Wensleydale, leading eventually to beautiful Swaledale to the north. As we climbed to its summit up Long Band the wild desolate moorland stretched out all around. At a sharp bend at the bottom of a steep hill Dad parked, and we waited a few minutes for Uncle Bob to arrive.

This gated track below leads to Summer Lodge, where it becomes a road to Crackpot. Such a name could be given to the unwary drivers who have blindly followed the instructions of their Sat Nav to take the road to Crackpot only to come to grief on this rough track. We used the track as our return route at the end of the walk.

Climbing another gate we set off in a westerly direction on a clear path. Looking back we were able to enjoy the view to Swaledale, the landscape dotted with isolated farms and the many field barns.

Across the valley our objective Blea Barf was clearly in view its tall summit cairn being just discernible on the skyline.

The path wound on passing a number of piles of stones. The map described them as "Tips (dis)." That is a disused tip from long defunct mining operations. Quite suddenly near a stream the path just disappeared. We skirted left to cross the stream and to our left Summer Lodge Tarn came into view. We had passed this before on the other side when we had climbed Blackstone Edge and The Fleak. At this point we joined a fence and followed it over the very rough ground heading now directly to Blea Barf.

In a dip another stream was crossed, then through a gap in a wall it was just a steady climb right to the summit, marked by this tall and shapely cairn that we sat by for our photograph as usual.

It stands on a rock plinth that due to the erosion juts out over the pool behind. To the left in the distance are the road and the track from Summer Lodge where we had started.

I know you might think this is overkill, but we could not resist putting in this picture below taken by Uncle Bob of Dad at the cairn.

photo courtesy Bob Woolley (Uncle Bob)

Heading roughly south the descent was then made. A stream was crossed and an extremely substantial wall climbed after which, it was clear walking all the way to the car. The stream runs in what is called the Bloody Vale. One can only wonder what events might have caused it to have such a name.

A steep climb up the bank from the vale led to easier ground and this clump of magnificent trees.

Soon the track from Summer Lodge was reached and it was just a short stroll to the car. Away to our left at the end of Swaledale was a shapely hill. This is Calver Hill and was to be our objective next weekend.

Well of course refreshment was now in order so it was off to Hawes where they parked at the Wensleydale Creamery. We then had our picnic while Uncle Bob and Dad strolled down to "The Chippie" for delicious fish chips and peas. They then shopped at the Creamery, Uncle Bob buying some cheeses, while Dad bought some nice biscuits for us to take as a gift to Uncle Brian. Roll on next Sunday!!



CALVER HILL, ARKLE TOWN & ARKLE BECK from REETH

 

Summary

Date - 10th August 2008 Distance - 6.75 miles
Map - OL30 Start point - Reeth (SE 038993)

 

Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Calver Hill 1598 487 NZ 0133 0029

 

The Walk

"Hooray" called out Allen, Sunday is here. We were up early and needed no urging to hop into Dad’s car for the drive to Reeth in Swaledale where we met Uncle Bob. The route was along the familiar road to Ribblehead passing by the mountains of Ingleborough and Whernside, although the tops were covered in cloud. It was on then to Hawes (famous for The "Chippie"). Dad then took the same lonely road as last week passing where we had parked. This led down to the main road through Swaledale and then to the pretty village of Reeth backed by the high ridge Fremington Edge that we had climbed last December.

Photo courtesy Bob Woolley (Uncle Bob)

Special note should also be taken of the white fronted building. This is the Ivy Cottage Tearoom. We hardly need to say that they visited it later!

Soon Dad was ready so we jumped up and settled in his rucksack, and off we went along the road out of the village to the Old Schoolhouse, where steps gave access to the footpath.

This led to fields and through a gate onto Skelgate Lane. Once upon a time probably a good track but now rather narrower and overgrown. The light filtering through the trees created a nice effect.

A gap in the trees afforded a view of Fremington Edge with in the foreground one of the many field barns that dot the landscape all over the Yorkshire Dales.

At the end near to Ridding Farm another gate gave access to open fell and ahead was this rather stylish cairn.

Although it may not look it the sky was very dark and threatening, so Uncle Bob and Dad decided to stop and put on waterproof over trousers. This was to prove a very wise move. A path climbing and slanting right was now taken, which brought us to this old tumbled down wall, from where we could see our objective Calver Hill. If you look carefully you might just see on the right its summit cairn.

It was a simple matter now to follow the wall and then picking the best route to the summit. It had been breezy when we set out, but at the summit it was blowing a full gale and it was difficult to stand up. However this has not stopped us in the past and today was no exception as we climbed on to the cairn for our photograph.

Take note now of the lowering sky behind. This was where the weather was coming from.

Tetley said, "were going to get soaked".

So Shaun said to Dad, "you had better tuck us fully inside the rucksack when we set off".

Before doing so Dad took this nice shot looking across Swaledale.

So off we went heading north west down the fell. Now the wise decision for Uncle Bob and Dad to wear over trousers paid off. The heavens opened and the wind increased even further. The rain hitting Dad’s hood sounded more like someone was shooting gravel at it such was the ferocity. Once it had passed over we heard Uncle Bob remark to Dad that he had rarely known rain heavier. Oh were we glad to be tucked up inside!

Reaching a track we turned right to walk to the road and then along this for a short way before turning right into the tiny hamlet called Arkle Town.

A gap stile clearly indicated the route, but we were surprised to find that we were in a burial ground.

On examining the graves Dad noted that they all dated from the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Apparently at that time there had been a church here but this was later demolished, the villagers travelling instead to nearby Langthwaite. According to the map this area is called Kirk Park Hill, using the Scottish term Kirk for church.

As we passed through here we noticed this lovely horse in the next field.

"Please take a photo", implored Grizzly.

The path now soon lead down to come beside Arkle Beck. First walking through woods then over many pastures, brought us to the road leading into Reeth, and so back to the green, where the Ivy Cottage Tearoom lay invitingly across the green.

We happily settled in the car and enjoyed our picnic. We should say that we divide the making of this between us. Grizzly with Eric’s help makes the sandwiches. Allen with Tetley’s help makes the cakes, and Shaun provides the drinks. Black Sheep beer and either tea or pop depending on how warm or cold it is.

Dad told us that he and Uncle Bob had lovely Yorkshire Curd Tart with cream, and a warming pot of Yorkshire tea. Another super day out thank you Dad, and all that remained was to say our goodbyes to Uncle Bob and for Dad to drive us home.

Dad’s car is rather big, and Uncle Brian refers to it as a tank, and nicknames it Sherman. Well we thought this photo would amuse him taken on the road over the Army Ranges.

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