Sunday, 23 August 2009

'Misses Dales' Diary

Only the older ones of you will 'get' the title of this posting, but in essence, it had been a number of years since Sue or I had been to the Yorkshire dales to walk. Today, we were to address that!
Although we've both walked Malham and Goredale scar before, it's just SUCH an attractive walk, we decided to do it again today. The weather wasn't as good for photo's as last week, but the temperature and breeze were perfect.
We parked up in Malham centre, and started the day with a cup of coffee in this cafe with the clever sign - a boot cut in half, one half on each side of the sign - brilliant!

It really is picture book/chocolate box country around here.
This is as fine an example of a clapper bridge as you'll ever see.

After a short walk across meadows, with quite a lot more company than we're used to, mid week (well, it IS holiday time), we reached Janet's Foss, a small but pretty waterfall near Gordale Scar.

We pressed on up into Goredale. Here it is, a mighty scar it is too, all cut out by the action of water on the limestone. There was what we assumed to be a painting class, as there were about ten painters in all.

This is the falls in the scar.
It looks a little insignificant in this picture, but to progress, you must climb up it.

This is the view from the top when you have.

This is what you have to do to GET that view - poor Susie (in truth, she relishes this sort of challenge).

The hard part over, it's just a scramble now to get to the top.

Another falls at the top, this one comes out of a hole in the rock face. I'm told, when in spate, it's a fantastic sight as the water comes out of the hole like a fire hose!

Your rewards for all that climbing - Goredale.
Isn't it LOVELY?

This is Limestone pavement. there's a lot of it in this area. It's where the water has worn the once-flat limestone into what looks like an enormous jigsaw puzzle.
Incredible to think that ALL this is the remains of tiny creatures that lived here when it was a warm, tropical sea millions of years ago.

Sue knows a lot about this, and went on to explain............
......yes dear.......yes dear..........
After walking for a while along the GORGEOUS grassy tracks above Goredale, we reached Malham Tarn, where we were to have lunch. The sky was marginally better still not bright.

After this, we went to 'the dry valley'. This is the path leading down into it.

Sue & I at the head of the valley.
Looking back up the valley after descending the path.

We walked out of the valley and made our way to the top of Malham cove. As I said, a little more company than we're used to. Every man and his dog up here today!

The view from the top of the cove - magnificent!

....and if you walk to the edge and look down........

This is what limestone pavement looks like close up. A real ankle-breaker, if you're not careful.
It hosts a lot of rare plants, which grow in the cracks and are protected from grazing, wind etc.

We started the path down. A long, winding succession of steps. A look to the left sees the face of the cove, which they say was once a mighty waterfall, dwarfing even Niagara. Nowadays, the water 'emerges' from the very bottom of the face after it has leeched its way down through the limestone. It looks quite strange to see it just 'appear'!

Sue diligently counted the steps, all 418 of them!
A look back at the face where the water used to flow over.
One more look back before we leave this lovely place.

We decided a cup of tea was in order, but then naughty Sue persuaded me that it had been many years since either of us had had a cream tea, so that's what we had.

A final look at Malham beck before our journey home.
Not a great day for pictures, but we really enjoyed the walk :-)

Thursday, 13 August 2009

It's a Kinder magic........

As we hadn't been out for the last three weeks, we really were champing at the bit, and Sue decided we should 'go high' and so we chose Kinder Scout, the highest point in Derbyshire, as our target for the day.
The forecast was good, but that's not what we saw as we drove to Barber Booth, near Edale, to park the car. All the way there, drizzle and thick mist. This was the view that greeted us when we booted up.
Not good! Ever the optimists though, we set off all the same.
Into this - well, you NEEDED to be optimistic.
Now, call me optimistic (hahahaha), but it LOOKS like it might be clearing a bit over the Mam Tor ridge???
No, wait - that IS looking a bit better.
Just in case we got lost, we employed some 'guide ducks' to show us the way.
As we started the climb up Jacobs ladder, again we were sure things were improving.

This small packhorse bridge marks the start of the real climbing.
You can see by the path that there's been some rain, but is it me, or is the sun trying to poke through?
Looking back to the packhorse bridge.
Look ahead - that's BLUE SKY, that is, YIPPPEEEE!

Swines back rocks, and breaking cloud.
On the hillside, evidence of National Trust work to recover the eroded path up to Swines back, a very popular route for walkers.
NOW we're talking - this is more like it.
Looking up to Kinder Scout from Jacobs Ladder.

Sue starts to smile as she tackles the climb in the improving weather.
The Pennine Way has been diverted to come up Jacobs Ladder. (It used to go straight up Grindsbrook from the Nags Head at Edale). The path up to Swines Back (that ridge in front) is VERY popular, and this has lead to bad erosion. The National trust are tackling this by laying a stone path, as they have on many other eroded paths.
These stones come from the floors of old mills. The Trust use the stones, which weigh around 1/2 a ton EACH, and lay them upside down, so the rougher surface is upwards to provide more grip, and also to be more pleasing to the eye, and look more 'natural'. The cost of this stone is £100 a ton, then it has to be airlifted by helicopter, then laid.

It's hard, backbreaking work but will save the path for centuries, and descendants, to come.
We'd soon got the climb behind us, and were rewarded with views like this.
It was turning into the perfect day - JUST what we needed to recharge the batteries.
Looking across to Brown Knoll and Rushup edge at the Southern end of the Edale valley.

This is the kind of path erosion the National trust are tackling.

Looking back to Jacobs Ladder.
You can see the path going left to right halfway up that hillside on the right.

Looking west along Kinder's Southern edge. Not only was it the perfect day, weather wise, but we had a lovely cool breeze wafting us all day. On days like this, we wouldn't want to be anywhere else in the world!

This is another example of how the NT are trying to regenerate the landscape on the high moors. Replanting is taking place to try and re-establish indigenous species.

Looking on to the 'Woolpacks' rocks.

Sue stands on the rocks to get a better view.......

.....I do it just to show off!

We passed by the top of Crowden clough and followed the path along the edge.

We had a wonderful time walking the edge of Kinder, here's Sue on some more renovated path.
I thought they would have run out of stone from mill floors by now, as so much has already been laid, but one of the NT workers told me they had NO trouble at all still getting it.
After a very relaxing and pleasant lunch sitting in the sun, taking in this wonderful day, we reached the top of Grindsbrook and started the descent to Edale. We were both sad to be leaving Kinder on a day like today. I would cheerfully have stayed there and watched the sun set, but as you'll see, the way down is NOT recommended in bad light!

Here's Sue, at the top of the brook, just beginning the descent

Looking back up the rocky path down Grindsbrook.
The path & Kinders southern edge.

The heather was just starting to turn purple here. In a couple of weeks, these hillsides would be a RIOT of colour from this plant. We always try to get up onto the edges above Hathersage then, as there's a really good show of it there. The best I've ever seen it though is across the Yorkshire moors, at Fylingdales. There, it's just a purple sea!

As we were fast approaching autumn, there was a good show of berries around too.
We saw (and tasted) our first blackberries of the season at the side of the path.
They are very plump and juicy this year.

After a swift half in the Nags Head, official start of the Pennine way, we set off back towards Barber Booth.

This sunken track is now the start of the Pennine way
It leads out to spectacular views along the Edale valley, but Sue and I both agree that the original route was better. They changed it because of erosion on the top of the plateau.
This is 'Ringing Roger' above Edale.

As you can see, the views were still perfect, with a perfect sky (sigh).
WHAT a fantastic day!

This is the iconic view of the Mam tor to Lose hill ridge, with the hunch of Back tor in the middle.

Almost back at the car now, but STILL drawn to these incredible views all around us.
The sky looks a bit cloudy in this shot, but the sun was still warm, and the breeze comfortable.
We got back to the car, pleasantly tired from out efforts, and made our way back home to a hot bath!
A final look back, using this old barn as dramatic forground.