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Monday, 30 November 2009

Monkeying Around Swaledale

I set off for Fountains Fell this morning. I was a little biut late due to having to rescue Bruno and Tammy from the claws of Tommy, next door’s cat, whom they’d somehow manage to corner in the back yard (not a good idea..) – then the petrol pump at the petrol station wasn;t working, then the roads were a bit flooded and all the local farmers had decided to drive around slowly with horseboxes – so by the time I got to Richmond, it was getting late.

I dredged up a plan B and went to Reeth where it was snowing.

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Not a specially good start

But me and superdawg had a nice little trundle through the floods at Grinton (two feet deep) and over the moor to Harkerside, which has some kind of iron age defensive work on the top.

apedale 005 Harkerside earthwork

The path from Harkerside runs along the hillside for a couple of miles and has cracking views of Upper Swaledale. Eventually, after a draughty lunch of yesterday’s cheese butty and banana in a shooting butt, we crossed over the moor into Apedale. I really should have saved the banana for this bit.

apedale 007 Bruno killing some snow

Anyway, from the foot of Apedale we completed the circle (13 miles and 2000 feet of climbing).

It snowed soft, wet snow in short but fierce squalls on and off pretty much all day, but not much was sticking around. The only thing it really achieved was numbing one half of my face. Higher tops to the West and South were bright white under the hillfog, though – I expect FF had a nice white cover. (bugger!). Bruno likes to attack snow, and he did manage one short game of bite the snow I think it was beginning to freeze as we came down the road into Grinton.

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Bruno, bell pit, Apedale beyond

Not Fountains Fell, though. Will FF turn out to be another Shelf (?Ledge) route? I won’t be having another go at it till at least February, cos I iz so bizzi, innit? I have a Christmas Tree to put up and dress tomorrow – its sitting in the back yard just now.

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Apedale shooters huts

Anyway, if you’re ever in Reeth and at a loose end, this walk is a blast – easy walking, gentle gradients, easy navigation, nice views, no pub. Pity about the flooded path at the start.

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The route on the map is anti-clockwise (doesn’t do arrows….)

5 comments:

Harkon said...

Hi Mike,

Glad you managed to get out today and have good walk. I bet you were the only one out walking? Your pictures are really nice, very atmospheric and wasn't there a hint of sun trying to get through over at the shooters huts?

Take care and good luck putting the tree up :)

John

mike knipe said...

Thanks John, yes, there was a bit of sunshine but I didn't mention it as I wanted to understate the poor conditions, thus making me appear to be a right hard bugger.
I won't mention the top rope that I use to get the tree up the Angel's bum....

Louise said...

The amount of floodiness just about equals that which we struggled through on the monthly girly walk last Saturday.

Luckily, I don't have to do the Christmas tree bit for a couple of weeks, haven't bought one yet for one thing, but we've got to let youngest daughter have her birthday un-Christmassy first, then it descends upon us rapidly overnight! Obviously more experience with ropework would help speed things up...

Andy Howell said...

No pub!

I'll keep this one in mind

mike knipe said...

I quite like the Christmas tree thing, Louise - and the log fires, the whisky, the lights and the whisky and the whole Christmassy whisky thing.
Andy - I forgot to mention the three pubs in Reeth and the one at Grinton (which has a sign outside welcoming dogs with muddy boots (I may have read that wrong))
But these are at the start, though, so there shouldn't be any distraction from the walking.
Reeth also has an ice cream parlour and a collection of tea rooms by the way, so its a fine spot really...