Saturday, 30 January 2016

Another day, another gale

For three months now it seems there has been little change, the Dales and Lakeland fells battered by a succession of gales, the ground unable to soak up any more of the incessant rains which have been interrupted by only the briefest of colder spells bringing snow to the higher summits. Miserable conditions for the kayak and to my mind only marginally more tolerable on the bike but as ever, exhilarating in which to run. Certainly there are few pursuits which allow such a lightweight approach in conditions like these.
And while I am willing to stop with less frequency to dig out the camera...
...I managed a couple of shots as the cloud swirled among the crags beneath Great End and Scafell Pike, the fells clearing and disappearing moment's later as the next hail and snow showers rattled through. 

Sunday, 17 January 2016

A view from Firth Fell

The broad ridge which runs from Birks Fell, along Firth Fell and down Old Cote Moor Top provides grandstand views of The Dales and its higher summits - Buckden Pike and Great Whernside to the east, Fountains Fell, to the west and north, Pen-y-Ghent, Ingleborough, Whernside and Baugh Fell beyond - their steep flanks and broad summits all offering familiar trails and all at their best to my mind beneath the first real snows of winter.
Fountains Fell and the unmistakable saddle back ridge of Pen-y-Ghent...
...from the high point of Firth Fell (607m) with more snow clearly on the way.
Looking back on Pen-y-Ghent with Whernside beyond, before running the length of Old Cote Moor Top, dropping eventually to Knipe Scar and from there turning back sharply towards Kettlewell - a remarkable place from which one could run, walk or ride on a different trail every day for well over a week.

Friday, 15 January 2016

High above Hag Dyke

Another wintry day in The Dales, this time the ground hard, the snow dry and light lying atop frozen peat which made for fast progress on the ridge of Great Whernside, high above Hag Dyke.
Following the valley floor first to Starbotton along the River Wharfe, there follows the climb of Cam Head - unrelenting whichever way it is taken...
...before the track levels and contours beneath Top Mere and the old mines - the steep flank of Great Whernside beyond.
It is another steep climb though with the lower boggy section frozen, easier going than is sometimes the case in summer and certainly drier.
On the ridge and still ahead of the snow showers passing through though the summit (704m) was now hidden in the clag.
Looking down on Angram and Scarhouse resevoirs to the east...
...before pushing on, into near white out conditions approaching the top though the snow showers passed quickly, carried on a biting wind that eased only as I dropped back to the valley floor.
A moment's pause above Hag Dyke, looking out across Conistone Moor before following the twisting beck down to Kettlewell...
...and the brilliant hues of a winter sunset on the ridge high above.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Cold and wet

At last the seasons appear to have changed. Winter has arrived in The Dales - at last, an end to the unseasonably warm and wet weather. Now it is cold and wet instead. Still, the cold snap has brought a little snow to the fells, adding interest to a familiar run over Ingleborough.
Above Trow Gill - a melt-water gorge which formed as the glaciers melted over thousands of years - and heading for more recent snow, also melting.
On the ridge at a little over 600m, looking north towards the summit plateau around 100m higher.
The last few feet, sheltered temporarily from a bitter wind with dramatic winter skies behind...
...and a view of Pen-y-ghent to the east.
The obligatory summit photo - it was a brief stop on the wind scoured plateau, feet and fingers paying the price for fiddling with the camera, before turning and dropping rapidly back towards Clapham Bottoms and the beck, normally a gentle stream glimpsed through the wooded valley, today a torrent of white water ending in the violent falls above Clapham itself.

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Huge jugs and Green Lipped Mussels

With waterfalls forming in the streets of late and record flooding very close to home, heading out deliberately to climb through the falls at Gordale may seem a little odd, and certainly attracted some odd looks, although I couldn't help notice the number of cameras flashing below while climbing towards the upper waterfall, pictured below.
Though it required more of a wade than normal, climbing out of the gorge wasn't any more difficult than usual - unlike the sport route (Green Lipped Mussels F7c) which takes the roof of the window through which this waterfall drops to emerge on the face immediately above - there are huge jugs (holds) everywhere.
Wonderful light above on the moors though the colours rapidly faded, this being a good couple of hours before sunset, and a brief interlude between the gales and incessant rain that is now falling again. It looks like another wet exit ahead.