I’ve just had a fabulous couple of days walking in the dales, my friend and I can now tick off another two of the Dales 30, Whernside and Great Whernside. Typically, Great Whernside is the smaller of the two!
We decided to tackle Great Whernside on Monday as it was a bank holiday here in England and this would be the quieter of the two, it also meant we missed the show traffic for Kilnsey Show on Tuesday. My OH has been wanting to go for a walk recently, but he walks much faster than me, he walks for exercise, I walk for the enjoyment of being outdoors. As my daughter was also up for the weekend, I hatched a plan!..
My friend and I got dropped off up Park Rash, a narrow, steep single track lane which goes over to Coverdale from Kettlewell. It meant we started less than 2 miles from the summit! My OH and daughter Helen then returned to Kettlewell, parked and walked up from there, this route is nearer 4.5 miles and obviously a lot more up!
This was the view of Great Whernside from our starting point…
We had a good walk up to the summit, the cloud was down but there’s posts along the way to mark the path which does make life easier. Just as we arrived at the summit, so did Helen and my OH, perfect timing!
As you can see Helen was still full of the energy of youth!!! This is despite filling her rucksack with tins from the kitchen as training for the army – her pack weighed about 20kg!!
Apparently from the top of Great Whernside on a clear day you can see both coasts, Morecambe Bay to the west and the North Sea to the east. Obviously when we went we couldn’t even see down the valley!!
Helen and my OH descended the way we had come up but then walked down the road into Kettlewell. We walked down the way they had come up, past Hag Dyke hostel. I have fond memories of Hag Dyke, it’s a remote scout hostel belonging to the Ben Rhydding scouts. I first went there on a school trip, when we were about 13 years old our school organised a class residential for a week. We went to Hag Dyke. It’s only accessible by walking up – they used a tractor and trailer to get our bags up. In those days it was lit with gas lights too, very atmospheric when they tell you it’s haunted, the first night we were that scared in the girls dorm that we pushed two bunk beds together and slept five on the top and five on the bottom!
I organised a trip up there myself for a Rotaract group in my 20’s, I was slightly disappointed to see it now had an electric generator! Apparently now it’s energy comes from solar panels and wind power. It also has the highest chapel in the country, a little stone outhouse at the top of the field has lovely stained glass windows.
From there it was quite an easy descent down to Kettlewell, and perfectly timed again, my OH and Helen arrived about two minutes after us!You can just see a couple of cottage roofs in the village peeping through the trees. As you can see from the photo, this is classic limestone country at the head of Wharfedale.
Yesterday my friend and I walked up Whernside. This is one of the Yorkshire Three Peaks Challenge, the challenge is to walk Pen-y-ghent, Ingleborough and Whernside in under 12 hours – its about 25 miles long. This was our main reason for not doing this walk over the bank holiday weekend – it would be heaving!
Whernside is the highest peak in Yorkshire, number 1 of the Dales 30.
We parked at Ribblehead by the viaduct. This icon railway line is part of the Settle to Carlisle railway line. Beeching tried to close it in the 1960’s but there was a big campaign which went on for decades before the line was safe from closure. We arrived just in time to see one of the steam trains going over the viaduct.
Behind the viaduct is Whernside. The route up is very clear due to all the work that’s been done to protect the paths from erosion from the hundreds who walk up here on a weekend We walked up the right hand side to the mouth of the railway tunnel. It was quite interesting here as next to the stone bridge over the railway line was an aquaduct to take a stream over the line. I’ve seen any aquaducts for canals, but never for a steam…
The peak in the photo is Ingleborough, one of the other three peaks.
The path climbed pretty relentlessly up to the ridge. We stopped for a coffee and bun on the way up…and a couple of squares of Kendal Mint Cake. The views kept us going too. This is one of the few places where you can see all three peaks clearly…
We finally made it to the top, there’s a curved stone wall with seating so we could eat our sandwiches out of the wind. We declined to go through the squeeze stile to the actual trig point as it was pretty narrow!! It would certainly have been a squeeze!
From the top the view was great, as you would expect from the highest point in Yorkshire. As well as the dales in front of us, on the other side of Whernside we could see the Lakes, Morecombe Bay and the Howgill range where we walked a couple of weeks ago…
The path down was a little testing, steep with stone steps – totally irregular, not great when you have no balance! We took our time and got down in one piece. Altogether we walked over 8 miles, boy do I ache this morning!