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Sunday, 17 January 2010

Drumaldrace from Virosidum

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This is yetanother walk in the Yorkshire Dales 2000 foot tops series – and about time, too after a long interval caused primarily by deep snow.

The snow was still around when I met the bro in Bainbridge, just by the village green. Our route was designed, or , at least, intended to be as easy as possible in view of the increasing speed of the thaw which was happening (car thermometer showing a sub-tropical 3.5 degrees C) (wow).

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On the roman road from Bainbridge

And so we all trotted off to find the start of the roman road which has run in the general direction of Ingleton in a straightish roman-road kind of way for the last 1936 years.

As we gained height slowly over melting ice, we started coming across deep snowdrifts until, at last, the lane was full to the top.

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Road filled with snowdrifts

On the positive side, this snow is now much firmer than it has been and, mainly held the weight of a fully developed ex-personnel manager and his rucksack full of tasty things. Every now and then, though, it wouldn’t. And the drifts were arranged in a series of steep, frozen waves which eventually started to require quite a lot of effort.

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More @$8*!! snow

As soon as we could, we left the lane for the slightly less deep snow on the moor and after bashing our way through tussocks and snowdrifts, we arrived at the summit cairn, where we stayed for almost a full minute.

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Nearing the summit cairn of Drumaldrace

We returned to the monster drifts on the road and followed this for another half a km or so, and then hurtled off downhill to join the footpath to Marsett. This proved even more like hard work since the snow let us through into hidden and swollen streams and we had to cross a couple of in-spate becks as well.

Bruno, as usual, enjoyed the snow enthusiastically and spent most of the day bouncing around, digging snow and jumping for snowballs. By the time we got to Semer Water he was looking a but fragged, to be honest and was all for dozing off. Not as young as he used to be! He’s fast asleep just now as it happens and will only have a short dreamy snoozy-time intermission till food time. Its a hard life but somebody has to do it, I suppose.

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Semer Water

But as we lost altitude, the going eventually eased and we arrived at Marsett ruffled and wet but strong enough for a second lunch by the lake – which was partially frozen.

A path back to Bainbridge was abandoned due to mucky bogginess and we escaped to the tarmac to the East and were soon back in Bainbridge.

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Has this rock got a face in it?

In better, more summery weather, there are fine alternative routes on the East side of Semer Water.

12 miles (with the effort of about 18) and 1900 feet of lurching upwards.

Virosidum, the probable name of the small roman fort at Bainbridge, we thought, meant the fort of the chap called Sid. But, apparently, this may be incorrect. One source says that it could be named after the nearby River Ure and another says it means the Fort of the True Men – these true men, in this case being the 6th Cohort of the Nervians. This particular unit was famed throughout Britannia for chewed fingernails and hearing noises outside the fort late at night, and with good cause as the local Brigantes were a rough lot until they turned their hand to the production of Wensleydale cheese, a delicacy untouched by the local garrison in case it was poisoned or something.

Its a relief to finally do a proper walk. The neve should be really really good and solid after the next freeze-up. Its getting there slowly.



Laura said...

Yes - I can definitely see a face in the rock............spooky though...........

mike knipe said...

..sort of looking wistfully over the lake.....

James Boulter said...

Are those high level north pennine roads open yet mike?

Louise said...

Wow, Bainbridge! That's a blast from the past. We stayed at a guest house in Bainbridge for seven out of eight summer holidays when I was a child, I loved it! Semer Water, went there too.

We used to go into Hawes every morning for fresh rolls, cheese, ham and the most fab fudge.

Need a sit down after all that reminiscing.

mike knipe said...

James - according to the main roads are all open but possibly very narrow in places. I'm not sure if this includes the B road from Alston to Teesdale.
Louise - There seems to be a shop in Bainbridge that does all that kind of stuff now - no need to drag yourself to Hawes.
Its a cracking place - you should return!

Louise said...

Would love to, we talk about it. Planned to a few years ago, but ended up at Lake Windermere, camping with my sister and brother-in-law for a week. Darned careless, if you ask me.

Don't actually go south of the border much these days, it's a long way. With four children, it's a really long way, trust me!

(That might have been a bit careless too, come to think of it...)

mike knipe said...

We used to holiday near Callander. I used to entertain my three with Madness tapes and getting the words to a Postman pat singalong wrong.... Eventually, they started to travel with the wife.....(we went in 2 cars!)(They'll probably be along shortly to dispute this comment..)

Louise said...

We used to do the 'two car' thing! We didn't own one at all for a while so when we went away camping, we hired two, an estate for an incredible amount of 'kit' and a small one for me. And the children.

Hmmm. Someone was ahead of me there.

(We've bought one that seats seven, has a tow bar and roof bars. Revenge is sweet!)