Wednesday, 9 September 2015

A Sunday Stroll

On the day before a bank holiday with a good weather forecast and within easy travelling distance from the major Lancashire and Yorkshire conurbations, the Nuttalls above Kettlewell were free of the crowds that almost certainly would be engulfing both the national and Yorkshire 3 peaks.  Despite complaints from some hill-goers that our high places are becoming overcrowded, it’s easy enough to find peace and quiet on the hills if you use some imagination.

Driving through Wharfedale was hampered by the number of cyclists on the road although I left them behind when I drove to the summit of Park Rash Pass – hardly any seemed willing to take on the challenge of such a steep route!  I parked at the top and took aim for Great Whernside, putting a short boggy passage behind me and making my way up a couple of water-eroded gullies to the ridge where the walk to the summit became a very pleasant stroll.  On the way down I had a passing conversation with a paraglider who was bemoaning the lack of breeze – I suppose that each of us has our own definition of good weather!

Pen-y-ghent and Ingleborough from Great Whernside

Great Whernside summit

I reversed my route to the pass and started up the fellside towards Tor Mere Top, a deleted Nuttall but a Bridge summit.  To here, and beyond, the path (for what it was worth!) negotiated hags and boggy terrain until the plateau of Buckden Pike presented itself.  I met only a few other walkers including a couple who sarcastically said that they were “glad it isn’t a wet day”, a sentiment with which I could empathise as the majority of the way up was a peaty mess.  Another encounter was with a family asking if this was the right path to Starbotton – a quick check of the map confirmed it was and I pondered the demise (but maybe it’s always been this way!) of map-reading and navigational skills.  I’m sure that they didn’t realise how lucky they were being able to walk in such good weather.

The final flagged path across the plateau to Buckden Pike’s summit came as a pleasant change.  As with Great Whernside the top afforded an unusual profile of Pen-y-ghent and it is selfishly gratifying knowing that you are seeing familiar mountains from unfamiliar angles.

the path to Buckden Pike summit

Pen-y-ghent from Buckden Pike summit cairn

The solitude of walking on less-frequented routes and summits adds to a greater appreciation of the landscape and, for me, gaining different viewpoints greatly increases the enjoyment of my time on the tops.