Thursday, 6 May 2021

In the Clouds

 Over the bank holiday weekend I decided to go and investigate an area I had viewed from afar on my last mountain adventure. 

Doing a little research I found that it was mentioned in Alfred Wainwrights book - Walks in the Howgill Fells.

Stennerskeugh & Fell End Clouds, white limestone crags & pavements seated across the lower slopes of Wild Boar Fell in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

A view of the only signs of inhabitants on the full slopes which was a rudimentary old farm house, now in ruin which is called Harry Hope's Land, named after the last occupant who is said to have etched out a living and farmed there until 1820 and since then it has lay in ruin.

Looking back on Harry Hope's you can see the old ruined field boundaries.

Heading further up onto the crags over the years various cairns have popped up all over the place, nobody seems to know what significance they take.

A view I could never tire of is this magnificent amphitheatre shaped limestone pavement.


The ever changing light making it a special place to be, albeit a very cold day.

As I headed over the clouds I came to a tree which again was mentioned in Alfred wainwrights book, so has been here battered by the elements for quite a few years.

And a few other views from various locations along the clouds

A place I intend to visit again in the future during various seasons

Thursday, 29 April 2021

Sleeping Elephants

 Another weekend where the rivers were on their bones & to be honest when its like this time is short on the river so to utilise the time I had available to me I headed to the hills again.

After a little bit of background research I headed to a place I'd always driven by & took no notice of so decided to give it a bash & I was very pleasantly surprised, as the famous artist & writer Wainwright said of them a herd of sleeping elephants, and you can see why by some of the photographs.

The large sleeping elephant at the end of the Dale

The hike in from the car was simply stunning, everywhere I looked I wanted to explore but I had set myself a goal to achieve so had to press on to achieve it but I will certainly be back to explore all the other places I seen.

After 3 hours of Hiking I finally seen my target which I wanted to achieve which was the highest point in this particular range at 2217 feet

After a brief rest my 2nd place I wanted to see & spend the night at was an old sheep fold which had been rebuilt as a memorial to the foot & mouth crisis the area had & with my accommodation sorted for the night it was time to get fed & watered.

Darkness soon fell & the scenery was just as lovely at night as it was during daylight hours.

Next morning it was up early, pack away & leave no trace I had ever been there. I had chosen to take another route back to the car which turned out to be just as stunning as the walk in.

On stopping for a break on the walk back I sat and watched a deer come almost all the way up to me eating some then moving on and eating again before she finally went out of sight.

And before I knew it I had covered the distance back to the car and headed home to reality, totally refreshed at the fact I was in such stunning scenery & I had seen a total of 4 people throughout my 2 days trip & they were all at a far distance away. 
Now what shall I do next week!

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Freedom...At Last

 Well thankfully we can all go further afield now & stay out overnight, so without fail I took myself out this last weekend just to press the reset button in my head which I did but I never made it easy for myself by walking with a full pack weight of 45lbs up the 3rd highest peak in the Yorkshire Dales, then just kept going dropping down 100m in elevation along the ridge to another peak which I had to ascend almost the 100m back up again before calling it a night & pitching the tent.

Looking up at my 1st way-point on the route from where I was  leaving the car, I was not looking forward to this part. 

It was going to be painful & I can confirm it was! But well worth the effort of getting up.

And this wasnt the summit this was simply a beacon at the first Plateau but I made the summit & was still smiling so all good.

After the descent & cross country bog hopping which tired me somewhat the ascent back up to a place I had earmarked to set up for the night was a welcome sight. Finally got set up & time to hit the reset button.

Fed & watered it was time to kick back with the slippers & good scotch,(I do have standards to uphold)  & let the world go by.

With Kestrels hunting overhead, black grouse calling to each other from afar & the sound of nothing else it was great for the soul & apart from 2 people where I had left the car I never seen another person for the full hike.

Night set in and it was time to practise some light painting & night photography before finally calling it a night. The next day after a late rise & a good breakfast the kit was packed up & I started my way back to reality & the hustle & bustle of normal day life but not without a detour to a waterfall first.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Albeit not a lot of water flowing down the beck it was still nice to see & photograph before finally making my way back to the car & making some new friends along the way in this case 4 red squirrels playing around in the small hamlet that I had left the car at. 

I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the trip out, just to get away and forget about the last year and everything that has gone on & get back to some normal things again. The rivers are very low in the Dales at the moment but am really looking forward to picking up the rod again but unless there is some rain soon it will be the walking boots that will be getting picked up again until the weather changes things.

Friday, 9 April 2021

Walking the Rod

 Well today the hill walking boots were taken off once again & the wading boots put back on.

The river was exceptionally low & clear and I sat for almost an hour before finally seeing any sort of hatch, which when it did come was sparse but I saw one fish move at the tail of the pool I was observing, not a big fish and I decided to see if it would come up again, It did not.

Nature all around was waking up to the sun today with this bee covered in pollen from the willow buds starting to burst into life.

The view upstream looked just like a summers day, with the flock of 50 + geese honking in the field opposite.

No rest for the military though as the occasional noise from a spurt of GPMG fire carried in the wind from the military ranges close by & helicopters flying overhead.

With no further hatch coming off I decided to head downstream & see if I could find any feeding fish, I found one fish tucked at the back end of a willow bush which was sitting in the water just off the main current & when I cast to it , took my dry imitation almost immediately but alas a small Grayling which generously set itself free on the retrieval. I decided to call it a day, I had a couple of hours on the river which I was thankful for & to just sit and soak up the surroundings was reward enough for me.

On heading home I heard the sad news of HRH the Duke of Edinburgh's passing on the car radio, I was saddened to hear this, as one military man to another I appreciated what he had done for this country & the many thousands of kids which participated in the Duke of Edinburgh's awards as I had done when I was younger. 

I had the absolute pleasure of meeting him twice during my military career & he brought a smile to all our faces when he visited us. 

Sir I salute you & may your R.I.P.

Thursday, 8 April 2021

A Cold Start

 The wading boots were left off & the hill walking boots put back on for yesterday as the weather wasnt good at all. 

Snow in the morning as you can see from the start of the trek & the wind was bitter with Ellerton scar off in the distance & that being the afternoon half of the walk.

I also needed a day on the hills to clear my head and at the same time get myself back into the habit of carrying weight on my back again and build back up my fitness after 4 months of being off the hills.

I was glad to get to the windbreak on the top of Blackstone edge as the bitter wind was making my eyes stream & it was nice to get tucked away in the corner out the wind with a coffee.

The walk certainly cleared my head & the views down into Swaledale were as always stunning.

The afternoon was slightly less of a chill & the walk across & up onto Ellerton scar was a good leg stretch.

With views over to Semerwater & beyond.

The walk back along the ridge past the old shooting house, where once this grouse would have been hanging up outside it.

And to finish it all some wise words on a bench.

Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit. It certainly refreshed mine.