Posts Tagged ‘stilton’

Buckden Pike Walk

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

This month's 'Sunday activity' was a walk in Wharfedale, taking in Buckden Pike and Great Whernside. The forecast was a bit iffy, but 7 hardy souls made their way to Kettlewell for a 9.30 start.

Nigel and Alan had brought ice axes, how bizarre we all thought, you don't need axes in the Dales.

The cloud was low, as were the temperatures, with the ground frozen hard. We walked along the Dales Way to Starbotton, where we slogged up a bridleway before a long traverse to the old lead mines below the summit. The path by this stage was largely covered by snow. A spot of second breakfast/first lunch was followed by a stuff pull up to the summit of Buckden Pike, where the usual bogs were all snow-covered and/or frozen solid. The snow level by the walls was mostly wall-high, rendering stiles unnecessary.

Nobody much fancied the wimps option of a direct descent from Tor Mere Top back to Kettlewell, so we all continued to the road below Great Whernside for second lunch. Annie won the prize for her array of salad, crab paste, and stilton choose, among many other things.

The ascent of Great Whernside was quite steep, and below the summit ridge we found the site of a fairly recent avalanche – I'd guess a couple of days old. It was a couple of hundred metres wide and the headwall at the top was a good 2 metres high. It was full depth, so mild weather coupled with recent rain had probably led to water flowing on the grass underneath the snow pack, followed by collapse. Luckily it had all refrozen since then and was now pretty solid. Attempts to climb up the headwall failed until Nigel's completely-unnecessary ice axe came out and cut some steps 🙂

The summit (where Annie did a back flip off the top of the cairn, 0/10 for style) was followed by a steep descent with varying degrees of control, Peter's bum-slide being eventually stopped when he left the snow and met the grass.

A good day, the weather better than it could have been (the rain started as we drove off), and the unusual chance of seeing a Dales avalanche site!

More of our photos here and Peter's here.