It's amazing how things develop. After all, this blog started out as a news section for the rest of the website. With encouragement from readers, it has become a place for relating my countryside wanderings and musings about the world of outdoor activity. Walking, cycling and photography all are part of what I do out-of-doors and, hopefully, they will continue to inspire me to keep adding entries on here. Of course, there needs to be something of interest to you, dear reader, too and I hope that's the case. Thanks for coming.
The duller weather that we have been having recently has allowed me to stay away from the hills and engage in a blizzard of website updates. Since the holiday year at my work starts in July, I took some time off to use up my allocation and got through a few things. I’d probably have headed off somewhere but for the weather forecast and my needing a breather after all these weekends that I have been away over the last month. Even so, I did get out on my bike when the sun came out yesterday evening.
Last December, I got to York to do a spot of Christmas shopping (yes, that!) and my camera came too. For a few months, a picture of the York Minster taken from the city’s old walls graced my desktop. Now it graces www.assortedexplorations.com and my desktop features a view of the Isle of Arran (more on that later).
Ribblesdale in the Yorkshire Dales features some of the wilder country in the area. It is also home to Yorkshire’s Three Peaks. Although, they are not peaks as such, the three peaks in question are among the highest in the Pennines, that hilly English backbone extending from Derbyshire to the border with Scotland. There was a time when one of their number, Ingleborough, was thought to be the highest point in England. That honour has since gone to Scafell Pike in the Lake District.
My acquaintance with the Three Peaks started with a view from a train window while on journeys between Yorkshire and Edinburgh in 2000, while I was working in the former. It wasn’t until 2004 that I scaled Pen-y-ghent, the one that I first saw four years earlier.That day started off cloudy, a bit like what’s outside my window right now, before the cloud broke up to give a fantastic evening.
However, it wasn’t until earlier this year that I surmounted the other two: Ingleborough and Whernside. Apart from meeting slushy snow, my day out on Ingleborough was as uneventful as my exploration of Pen-y-ghent and nearby Plover Hill. Also, the sun showed its face as I neared Ingleton (Ribblehead station was my starting point). After this, I decided to complete the trio with a yomp over Whernside, the highest of the lot. The trek has everything going for it: views of the Howgill Fells and the country around Ribblesdale. However, to see all this you need the weather. It started well and I had ample opportunity to sample views of Pen-y-ghent and Ingleborough but there was plenty of grey cloud up north. This was a sign of things to come: as I contended with iced-up flagged paths (I preferred the snow covered banks by the side) on my final approach, the clag came in. Armed with a good map and provided with a clear track and an almost continuous wall, I was safe (my concern for safety meant that I missed out on the trig point atop the hill: a minor point in the circumstances). In addition, there were other folk about (a mad bunch, us hill bums). Apart from the odd snow flake, everything remained dry. Going down, though, I encountered rain and it was a damp trudge back to Ribblehead station (and a cold wait until the train home arrived: need to get a new waterproof jacket; the water resistance of the one I have has given up the ghost).
Following that experience, you’d think that I wouldn’t return but I do have designs on a ramble from Ingleborough to Dent. There is more to see in these parts yet.
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