Saturday, 24 August 2019

Long Walks - Littondale to Malhamdale

August's long walk (we're doing one long walk each month) - started at Arncliffe in Littondale and went by some very soggy valley-bottom and riverside paths to Litton, where it all went a bit wrong. Due to a shift in the time/space continuum which just happened to coincide with me not looking at the map, we went up the wrong track. Eventually, this started going in the wrong direction and left us on a moor a bit away from where we should have been. However, rather than go back down the steep hill to start again, we contoured over sheep tracks and a few walls and found the road where we should have been in the first place. It was about here that it began to rain. In this case "we" were me, LTD, Li Yang, Diane and David.

This lead damply and fairly breezily to the Pennine Way at the foot of Fountains Fell, where, it being eleven o'clock or so, we had our first lunch. On a 20+ mile walk, we find it's a good idea to have two lunches.

After lunch#1. we followed the Pennine Way over Fountains Fell, past Malham Tarn where it was choppy and there were clever wood carvings of animals and birds and lots and lots of people, two of who asked the way to Catterick.  It turned out they were searching for Catrigg Force a waterfall near Stainforth and not the army camp. They were supposed to be doing a walk and following a guide through some kind of app or, at least on a mobile phone....

After directing the lost couple, we continued down through the limestone parts to the top of Malham Cove where, it being three o'clockish, we had lunch#2.  We saved marvelling at the huge drop just below us to after the butties and pies and nuts and bananas and oranges and so-on. After lunch, Li Yang scared us by walking quite close to the edge for the taking of pictures.

It had stopped raining and the sun had come out, so we pressed on to Gordale Scar where LTD's harness was attached to a rope and I climbed up to the top to belay him up the waterfall. He's been up the waterfall once before when Dawn and I were walking the Highest Pubs in England walk a couple of years ago. This was done with big backpacking packs and was tricky for the dog - so I brought the rope.  It was probably just as well - the beck was running high and the left had waterfall was spraying back uphill due to the strong wind blustering from somewhere in the approximate direction of Cornwall.  This went well after initial reluctance from the pooch and him getting stuck under an overhang and all - and then there was the wind blowing up through the gorge. I had to stand in the exact spot where most of the blown-back water was being blown back to. It was quite refreshing to say the least and within a few minutes, and well before a panicking dog slipped into a rock-basin full of water and arrived, (Lucky hates water) - I was soaked through to the undies. And then it started raining again. The excitement was not really over, though.

We carried on damply, or, in my case, wetly. The wind and rain blew and sprayed us along at a pace and we joined the Monks Road to Arncliffe. This is a path, it's not a road and one large pasture is occupied by a well-distributed and large herd of suckler cows, one of which took a dislike to LTD and followed us closely and a bit aggressively. We lost any pretence of dignity and hurried to a collapsed bit of wall to get out of the way when other cattle started getting a bit frisky.
Then it stopped raining and we arrived on the hill just above Arncliffe - damp but dignified. My boots have taken nearly a week to dry out.
According to Diane's GPS it was 23.5 miles and just a bit short of 4000 feet of climbing, 30 or so of which were fairly exciting.
September's long walk is likely to be Wild Boar Fell and Mallerstang Edge. I expect.
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Phreerunner said...

Well done on completing another long walk. I'm impressed by your monthly exploits, and by your bravery in getting Lucky up Goredale Scar in less than ideal conditions.

Quinn said...

You are an intrepid lot!