This is the fourth walk in our series of Yorkshire Dales 2000 foot tops. Its pretty much a classic Howgills walk – a standard which many people do, except that I put in a couple of slight variations and , at the last minute, even varied the variations, possibly just for variety but more probably because we wanted a sheltered cosy spot for lunch and the unvaried bit of variety would have been too draughty.
Once again, Martin Banfield met me and superdawg for the walk. We parked badly just next to the Cross Keys at Cautley in a bit of dribbling rain but with some signs that the hillfog covering the hills was, perhaps, lifting a bit. The weather forecast was…well, least said, soonest mended is what my old grannie used to say. Actually, what she really used to say was “How’s your mum and what about a game of dominoes?” but least said soonest mended about that as well.
So we climbed the thigh-bustingly steep stepped path which lurches pants and heaves itself up next to the mighty waterfall of Cautley Spout, the highest waterfall in Cautley. At the top, we crossed the beck where I ate a cheese and onion flan in celebration.
Some might consider this a quiche, but, in Yorkshire, we don’t have quiches, we have flans. Be a man, scoff a flan, is my motto. I couldn’t think of anything similar about quiches. Sorry.
Anyway, up we went, alongside the edge of Cautley Crag which has cracking views when its not as foggy as this. Compass time – for the route across the mossy top of Great Dummacks. My compass spends all of its useful life attached to my holy ortleib map case by its lanyard. It wasn’t there. Martin said he last saw it flapping in the wind at the top of the Spout. Bugger. Martin had a compass, though, and by skilled setting of the same, and then adding a few degrees, and taking some off again, we marched confidently over the tussocks to hit the summit of Calders spot on.
Not long after, we bagged Bram Rigg Top. – These two being fairly minor, grassy lumps on the way to The Calf, where we duly arrived a bit later. Hunger pangs panged hungrily. My compass was discovered hanging around the back of my neck, still on its lanyard and, obviously frightened about something. Maybe there’d been a sudden shift in the position of magnetic North or something. Who knows? Who cares anyway?
Bruno sending thought messages concerning lunch
So we followed the bridleway down into Bowderdale and soon found a cosy spot for lunch on some comfily arranged rocks. Mine had four different kinds of lichen on it, I noticed. And whilst i was noticing this, Bruno noticed that my chicken salad sandwich was unguarded, and took his chance by nipping off about an inch of it and swallowing this immediately, putting it well out of reach of The Boss (me). I remonstrated with him and he looked suitably guilty for a while till he noticed that the rest of my sandwich was now unguarded and…. but I was too clever for him. Too clever by half. Too clever by half a chicken salad sandwich, as it happens.
We progressed to the foot of a steep shoulder which climbs slowly and a bit tiredly to the top of Yarlside. Bruno had a short medical emergency, consisting of a yelp, a limp and looking a bit unhappy for a while. No idea what it was, but he recovered quickly and we hurtled uphill, stopping only briefly for about half an hour at a sheep scrape to eat bananas and pontificate on whether or not that hill over there was Dufton Pike.
Bowderdale from a little way up Yarlside
In gathering gloom, we passed over Yarlside’s summit and descended the east ridge, which is very steep and quite good for sliding down on overtrousers, although the speed achieved was a bit scary at one point.
Having finished our walk, we visited the Cross Keys and had coffee, sarsaparilla and scones. (Its a temperance house – a tea room, really… but there’s a fire in the range and a comfy settle and rocking chairs and its all very atmospheric.)
Cautley Spout from Yarlside (note fog!)
A short walk today – seven and a half miles but with 2800 feet of slugging uphill. Four tops bagged (possibly five?) – Great Dummacks (the possible one, although we probably didn’t find the highest point) – Calders, Bram Rigg Top, The Calf and Yarlside.
The next walk in the 2000 foot tops series is Fountains Fell and Darnbrook Fell from Arncliffe on 29 November
Me and Martin (Martin and Me…) also arranged a walk from Embsay on 8 December for Crookrise, Rylstone Fell and Thorpe Fell. No dogs allowed on this one, though.
These two both start at 9:30 am, if anybody feels they’d like to participate.
I fully expect Martin will be blogging about this Howgills walk on his Postcard from Timperley blog at http://phreerunner.blogspot.com STOP PRESS - In fact, its here http://phreerunner.blogspot.com/2009/11/sunday-15-november-2009-calf-in-cloud.html
I expect he’s got better pics than mine , most of which were shaky due to it being too dark and the fact that the screen’s broken. I’m trying to wait till the January retail desperation period before I buy another.