Thursday, 9 September 2021

Challenge Completed.

 When I started venturing out with the camera, then spending the odd night out, I set myself a challenge of walking the full length on Wensleydale at height, all the peaks & high fells on both sides of the Dale.  To drive at low level what people call the Wensleydale Loop it is 60 miles by road, so to calculate the miles done with the ascending & descending  all the high peaks & fells I wouldnt like to estimate a guess at what the miles would be.  

Not to be deterred I promised myself I would finish it, but I have to say I blasted it out the park as not only did I complete the original challenge I set myself  but also added Cotterdale, Grisedale, Garsdale & the Upper Eden Valley peaks & fells to the challenge as they were on the way of my travels.

Sunday saw me climb the last 2 hills to complete my challenge that I set myself.

Looking up at Rise Hill and slightly out of shot Aye Gill Pike were the final 2 hills to complete.

Walking up the ridge of Rise hill saw me looking down into Dentdale on one side & Garsdale on the other, with views of the Carlisle to Settle railway as it carves it way through the Yorkshire Dales. 

Looking back on the Arten & Dent head railway viaducts.

A closer look of the Arten viaduct & the workmanship that went into building them all those years ago.


Skirting the edge of the forest I seen a couple of rubber fire beaters which as a kid I used to see them all the time but nowadays they are as rare as rocking horse shit,  this is the first Ive seen in many years.

Looking down on Garsdale and the views beyond makes it all worth while for me, I never seen a single person in all the time I was walking, a very quiet part of the Dales, nice to get away with just your thoughts & forget the stresses everyday life now throws at us.

The view down into Dentdale weren't to be sniffed at either.

With longer views across onto the Howgills.

The final summit & challenge completed.

It was now time to find somewhere to spend the night, have some food & a few drams whilst letting the world go by at a slower pace for the night.

My window onto the world for the next 12 hours or so.

and my home for the night with the nearest neighbours a few miles away far below me.

a nice spot to finish off a challenge & think of whats happening next.........I wonder!

Tuesday, 3 August 2021

Climbing a Sleeping Elephant

 Was back in the hills again recently & had an agenda that I wanted to fulfil which was to climb the highest of the sleeping elephants I came across on my last trip to these hills. 

Yes there is a place higher in the range which I completed last time but this one stands off to the side & out of all the hills looks like an elephant from afar.

The read arrow indicating where I wanted to be by the end of the day.

The walk in was hot & the litre of water I had in my bottle soon went, but I knew the streams albeit very dry at the moment would still be running from the few springs dotted up the Dale which I had observed last visit.

After a couple of hours of trekking, mainly uphill it was time to drop back down into the valley & stock up on water before climbing up to my target, Unfortunately there was no springs up there so I had to pack up 3 litres of water to keep me going through till I descended again, with my pack already at 20 Kgs with camping & photographic kit I certainly didn't look forward to the extra 3 Kgs of water.

The view across to Cautley Crags & Cautley Spout was something else with Cautley Spout being the highest above ground waterfall in England, dropping 650 ft straight down the rock face.

It wasnt too long until I was within the sight of the summit cairn & my goal achieved, Even though I was blowing through every orifice in my 

& the best part of it all....I hadn't came into contact with another human since leaving the car which was sublime as I really needed the thinking time & peace & quiet which this walk was giving me.

Tent up & time to chill

Im often asked why I enjoy wild camping & the above picture really says it all without explaining.

The view back down the Dale next morning on the descent, wasnt to be sniffed at either.

Also managed a couple of hours on the river which I have to say is in desperate need of water with only a few of the deeper pools holding any water, nothing to write home about but a Grayling graced me with its presence.

As I was finishing off, the pilot obviously seen me on the river and came for a closer view as he flew around me twice banking the aircraft over before heading off down the Dale.

Sunday, 11 July 2021

Feet Wet

 With all the media hype of football on TV & Radio,  for somebody that cannot abide the game at all no matter what nation is playing I had to get away & currently carrying an injury the mountains were ruled out so after a long break (9th April) being the last trip out with the rod. 

I opted to get my feet wet again.

The rivers were are low and I knew it would be a day of not much fish moving but I was determined to get a wet net.

I certainly didn't need any net for the first 5 fish that rose to my small dry fly.  Par seemed to be the only thing taking terrestrials off the surface.
I made my way down the mile & a half length of club water I was fishing without seeing any decent fish break the surface so at my turning point I opted to go sub surface & adopt a nymph set up.

Moving back upstream to the first decent bit of deeper water I concentrated on the high oxygenated parts of the water & sure enough within a few moments lifted into my first decent fish of the day, which turned out the be a Grayling.

I continued to fish the faster water & struck into a further 3 Grayling but on my haste to get out I hadn't charged the battery on the camera, thinking that it would be OK, I was wrong the camera did not even have enough power to open up the lens shutter. Not to worry they were OK fish but no record breakers so I wasnt disappointed about not getting a photograph but I did manage to get my net wet & thats what I had come for.

A nice couple of hours away from all the media hype  Now the TV is off & Im sat typing up the blog, what could be better.

Wednesday, 23 June 2021

Bit of a Detour

Well its been sometime since I last stretched my legs out in the Dales so Saturday afternoon I decided to head out & rectify this. 

I had a plan in my head & the place I wanted to spend the night & cross off another summit was a relatively short 8 miles walk so decided to take the long route around and added a 17 mile detour to my journey but I have to say it was great to stretch the legs again and I loved every moment of it bar about 10 seconds where I missed a photographic opportunity of a lifetime.

I was walking along the high path high up above the Dale where out of nowhere 2 arrow formations of the RAF Red Arrows  appeared 100ft or so below me flying down the Dale, I never even heard them coming until they were in my view & where was the camera...yep in the bag on my back, I could have kicked myself, so here is the scene that would have been a great shot, less for the Red Arrows in it.

The view up onto the high path was stunning looking back down the Dale from where I had come & the best part of it all I had it all to myself, as apart from standing talking to the gamekeeper at the start of my walk I never seen another soul for the duration of my 24 hour trip out.

One of the old Kiln's high up on the upper fells of the Dales.

The Dales are covered in derelict barns & farms where it must have been a hard life back in the day, but nice to see some life returning to some of the old barns albeit just a new roof to keep the stock covered in winter time.

After filtering up the water bottles from the stream it was time to head up onto the higher fells for the remainder of my walk where I knew water was scarce due to all the smaller gills & streams being totally dry.

 A couple of old what I think to be survey cairns for the railway far below when it was being built as they are not on the summit yet take up a prominent view of the railway far below in the Dale floor, which puts to shame what is actually at the summit, a mere survey bolt in the ground and a very small cairn.

The summit cairn

and survey bolt

& home for the night was soon erected afterwards as it was getting late on, which certainly didn't stop the bird song until late into the night with Black grouse, Red grouse, Skylarks, Curlew, Lapwing and a few others that I didn't recognise.

The walk back the next day was slightly less mileage and took in one of the deeper tarns located high up on the upper fells.

Nice to be back out again putting some mileage below the belt & ticking off another summit.

Be safe everyone.

Monday, 7 June 2021

Home at Last

 Finally,  we are allowed to travel so my first trip was back to Scotland to see my family which I haven't seen in almost 14 months, it was great to get back up home & see family & friends and although only for a couple of days it was just great to get away. 

One place which is less than 30 minutes drive from my family home & I haven't bothered with before is Finnich Glen, which was made more famous recently after the programme Outlander did some shooting there, so decided to go see what it was all about. 

Some say the rock is where the devil stood to address his followers, the crimson current swirling at their feet, Some say druids held secret meetings here, hidden away from sight within the steep walls of the gorge, others say witches used it as an execution block , but over time it got the name "The Devils Pulpit".

An early morning visit to Finnich Glen to beat the crowds & I had the place to myself for a while before the mad crowds descended on the place.

The water was refreshingly cool & with just shorts & walking boots on, I got to a few places where some never see & glad I did as I have to say the photographs turned out better than expected.

I also had the invite from an old friend to access an old shooting bothy which I knew would make a great photograph, however on the day I visited it was the hottest day in Scotland so far this year & the waterfall had all but dried up, but it was still cool to visit & Im sure on my next trip hopefully with more water I will be rewarded with the photograph Im looking for.


The waterfall all but dried up

A quiet bay tucked away in the corner of the reservoir.

Thursday, 20 May 2021

A revisit

 There is not many places that I feel the urge to re visit within a week or so but this place certainly drew me back, but this time decided that I was going to incorporate it into an overnight stop over. 

Lessons were learnt though & the main one being that the mountain weather forecast is not very accurate currently, some say due to the lack of civilian aircraft reports being sent in, I dont know how true it is, but last Sunday they were well off the mark.

Mountain forecast for this particular range was light winds with 9mm of light rain mainly on Monday morning. 

On route whilst still driving the first storm broke overhead and it came down with such force that I had to pull the car over into a lay by as the wind screen wipers even on full pelt could not clear the water away & made driving dangerous. Almost 30 minutes the rain came down with such force that the drains simply could not cope & places started flooding. As it eased I drove onto my location where I was going to leave the car for the night & had to sit out another storm in the car for another 30 minutes or so until it eased. Finally the rain subsided and I could start the day.

Ready for the off, I had a feeling that the sealskinz socks I had on were going to be needed, it was like walking in a wet sponge the ground was sodden.

As I started to gain altitude another storm broke to the south of me, thankfully it did not come in my direction.

The natural limestone amphitheatre of this place really has grabbed my attention and Ive been all over the world at some spectacular places but this place which is less than 50 miles away from my front door certainly captures me.

Its a place I will certainly go back to over the seasons to capture the ever changing mood of it.

The semi feral locals which roam the fells didn't seem to mind me being there and even came over for a look.

I really could fill the post with nothing but photographs there was so many different views I saw & everyone was different.

Looking up at my next way point there seemed to be a light dusting of snow, which actually turned out to be a covering of hail stones.

Remnants of the hail stones still lying on the sand & grass around the tarn.

It was getting late & I needed to sort out a home for the night, my boots were sodden & the decision to wear the sealskinz socks was a welcome one as they remained dry although everything else was sodden.

Not a bad view & it certainly beats sitting at home watching a TV screen.

Home for the night set up, fed & watered it was time to watch the last rays of the day disappear.

The rain did come again in the early hours of Monday morning, so much that a rip appeared in my lightweight tent, which I would never have taken if I knew the weather was going to be that bad.

Thankfully I was dry inside & remained that way until it was time to pack away & walk the sodden ground back to the car & a return to civilisation to find that many homes & roads had been flooded out causing major disruption over the Dales. Oh how wrong the forecast had been!