Beating the thaw

January 16th, 2017 by Simon C

Ingleborough and Pen-y-GhentAfter a dump of snow on Thursday night and some excellent-looking conditions on Friday, we were due a cold and clear day on Saturday before the warm and wet conditions returned a day later. So Carmen and I concocted a last minute plan and headed for the Dales.

Things didn't look promising as we passed Harrogate and all the snow had disappeared; even at Bolton Abbey there was very little left. But by the time we got to Arncliffe, the hills and valleys were all at least vaguely white – not what you'd hope for at this time of year, but enough to look pretty!

by Fountains TarnWe walked along the valley to Litton, then a rising traverse to the road between Pen-y-Ghent and Fountains Fell. A left turn led steeply uphill, preferring the wall to the path as this leads direct to the summit. The views from the top were dominated by Ingleborough and Pen-y-Ghent to the west, and Great Whernside and Buckden Pike to the east, the clear air unfortunately ending at a big blank of clouds over the Irish Sea preventing us seeing further.

Fountains Fell South TopWe descended via the south top of Fountains Fell (with a small stack of stones acting as a summit cairn) to pick up the Pennine Way. From the road we'd intended following the PW down to Malham Tarn, but the sun was getting low so we decided to stay high as long as possible to make the most of it. So we headed up east over Back Pasture – somewhere I've not been before, but well worth a visit for its unpolished limestone pavements. We then picked up the bridleway which we followed back north to Arncliffe just as the last light started to fade.

Back PastureUnfortunately we didn't have time to pop in to the Falcon, but by all accounts it hasn't changed a lot since its recent change of landlord and still serves beer from a jug (though these days has a couple of pumps in an attempt to enter the 20th century)!

Good to be out, and despite the fantastic weather we only saw 3 other people all day.

Some more photos here

One Response to “Beating the thaw”

  1. rob s says:

    carmen told us you were on a 2 week no exercise regime – so how's that going !

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