Sun 7th Feb, 1999
Members Present: Dave Dillon, Lorna Marsland, Andrew Croughton, Linda Crossley, Richard Bloxham, Dave Wylie, David Summerfield (and Beth), Sheena Hendrie, Sue Brooke, Iain McCallum, Keith Williams, Margaret Williams, Frank Williams, Chris Thickett, John Dwyer, Margaret Baldock, John Dobson, Graham Harkness, Sue Harkness, Alan Peck, Alan Jones (and Meg), Lester Payne.
Guests Present: Mike Graves, Peter Blythen, Roy Blackburn, Neil Perry, Heather Brooke, Dave Walker, Christine Beeston, Christine Jones. (30 members and guests and two dogs).
Saturday was atrocious, the Sunday forecast was what I'd ordered so was not believable. Bitter north wind, overnight freezing down to minus three and bright sunny intervals on Sunday with the north wind continuing.
I got worried as more and more people turned up at Ribble Head, all in exceptionally cheerful good mood, a reaction after all that rain and mud of the past months. How oppressive this could be, with an army of thirty or more! But the weather was as forecast and the pools were frozen solid in the car park, the moorland was firm and crisp, we might even have a bit of the white stuff. The north wind drove us to a cracking pace as we took of f towards the
southern portal of the Blea Moor tunnel. We soon warmed up and it was a delight walking on the line of the tunnel without slutch underfoot. Arriving at Bridge End at Dentdale Head we had a brew stop in sunshine, but the goats' milk place was for sale.
Walking on the road next to the Dee, past the YHA and even the pub, because it was closed, early as we were, was a delight and there were no complaints as we walked downhill alongside the stream, glistening on the bedrock and rushing over natural weirs. We soon left the road at Ewegates and took to the fields, contouring more or less parallel to the road. On the south of the river now we passed through Little Town Wood quietly like a partisan patrol, to emerge into a little walled angle in full sun and windless in the lee of the wood, a perfect spot for lunch.
Two miles further on at Whernside Manor we turned south east, with the wind now behind us to climb up to Wold End on the northern tongue of Whernside itself, we were making too fast a time and so could afford another brew stop to regroup sheltered between the lane's walls. Going up to Whernside Summit was discussed and four stalwarts detatched to go south over the frozen area of Whernside Tarns, easy going for once, but the general consensus was to carry on down to Ribble Head.
It was consolation to some that the going was either contour or downhill from now on, with a bit of rough ground over Craven Wold. Regrouping once more on Force Gill ridge the leading group made it back to the car park by four o'clock. There was a great sense of club spirit throughout the day and the numbers didn't seem to matter since we spread out along the way. Thanks to all who braved the bitter wind whilst trying to get our car started, your willing efforts were clearly in vain. Thanks to Sue and Graham for hosting us in their Espace while we waited for the rescue, and apologies to our passengers (MB and CB) for being unable to take you back to Manchester. Eventually the ETA arrived at about five thirty and had the car going in about five minutes, thanks to a quick blast of Easy Start!!! That's our first call-out since we switched to the ETA and at Ribble Head they took about fifty minutes to get to us, don't think that's at all bad.
Thank you all for a great walk (fourteen miles not seventeen), and for coming on the meet, clearly everyone enjoyed it. Thanks to KW and I McC for seeing our passengers safely back. The turn-out demonstrates that the club is in great shape, that we can enjoy our wilder countryside as well as more far flung places, and that there is a demand for walks in diverse and not too frequented areas. Lets have more
Meet at Ribble Head, parking at Grid Ref: 765793 Outdoor Leisure Map "The Three Peaks", near the junction of the B6479 with B6255.
This is a relatively dry route, and in the crisp conditions which I have ordered, will be absolutely fantastically enjoyable.
We follow the path by the railway north till we reach the portal of the Bleamoor Tunnel, itself an interesting monument to the nineteenth century engineering, then follow the track above the tunnel descending through the forest to the Dent Head portal. Down to Bridge End, where it is usually possible to buy a refreshing pint. (A pint, that is of, refreshing goats' milk !) We will then take it easy along Dentdale, walking alongside the interesting River Dee, stopping off for another pint at the pub at Cow Dub Bridge.
We leave the road at Ewegates and walk through fields to Whernside Manor, turning South East, we then walk along the spring line over Great Wold and Craven Wold. We may if the day allows then go over Whernside, them as wants to can. Then South-East by South we descend back to the south portal, to return down Little Dale to Ribble Head.
On the drive back we can recommend the Hill Inn or more Yorkshire fare at the "Settle Down" Caff in Settle itself. Lovely toasted teacakes runnin' Wi' butter and anyway "you can have anything you want at Alice's Restaurant" in the immortal words of Arlo Guthrie.
See you there it'll be great. In case of ten foot snowdrifts a more local walk will be arranged.
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