Progress so far

English and Welsh Hewitts completed: 9/317

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Buckden Pike

Route: Starbotton - Starbotton Cam Road - Starbotton Peat Ground - Tor Mere Top - Memorial Cross - Buckden Pike - Cow Close - Buckden Rake - Buckden - Starbotton

Distance: 8.3 miles

Classification: Marilyn, Hewitt, Nuttall

With: Caroline

Weather: Bright, dry, cold

With the nights drawing in, an early start was needed in order to get up to the Yorkshire Dales, climb Buckden Pike and be back down again before sunset. We may live in Yorkshire but are still a good hour and a quarter away from the likes of Grassington, Buckden and Malham in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

We arrived in Starbotton and expected to find a car park and be on our way, but Starbotton is such a small village that there isn't really anywhere to park in the village itself. We asked a couple of the locals in the village who advised parking on the main road out of the village in one of the numerous passing areas on the small, country road (B6160). These are quite large so do appear to allow for parking as well. We didn't have any problems parking here so got kitted up and were on our way.

My Lowe Alpine Airzone 25 litre pack I had now realised was too small for winter walks for the Mrs and I, so I had just got a new, larger 35:45 pack of the same brand and it would be getting its first outing. It performed well, was as comfortable as I've come to expect from Lowe Alpine and easily fitted in our large load for this cold day in the hills. A good purchase I reckon.

We set off from Starbotton and ascended via the very good path of Starbotton Cam Road before throwing a left to join the appropriately named Starbotton Peat Ground. We had made good progress so far, but from here the ground became quite boggy and slowed our pace somewhat. In places it had frozen, which did help, but in others it meant a small detour around the bogs. Looking at the bogs, I don't think any would have troubled you any further than the knee, but I didn't fancy finding out, and we did go ankle deep a couple of times, but nothing major on this particular day.

This continued all the way past Tor Mere Top, past the views of Great Whernside and right up until reaching the Memorial Cross where the ground became much firmer. One interesting thing to note when reaching the Memorial Cross; the Ordnance Survey map has a path on the right-hand side of the wall to the summit of Buckden Pike, yet a newish looking sign has been erected with a 'suggested route to Buckden Pike' on the left-hand side of the wall. Take the left-hand side as suggested, as flags are starting to be put down on this side, whereas the right-hand side seemed to return to the boggy ground we had encountered earlier.

Despite the temperature hovering around 1°C, the steady ascent and the sun being out had meant we were down to just microfleeces, but once at the summit we certainly felt the cold. With the wind-chill the temperature was now down to -5°C, so on went the layers and the big gloves. 

The views from Buckden Pike are spectacular. On a good, clear day as we had you have all three of the Yorkshire Three Peaks, as well as Great Shunner Fell, Cross Fell and we even saw Scafell Pike in the distance. We ate our lunch next to the summit cairn and took on some welcome, warm coffee. Due to the temperature and there being only about two and a half hours until sunset we didn't stay too long on the top before taking the good path to the north-west of the trig point to begin our descent into Buckden.

I cursed myself for once again taking my hefty binoculars and forgetting to use them, I did this on Ingleborough on probably the clearest day you'll ever get up there. I'd carried them all that way, taking up space in my pack and then forgotting all about them until we were making our way down!

The plod down wasn't too memorable, although we did see some interesting limestone formations, before we landed in Buckden and walked along the road back to Starbotton and our car.

Buckden Pike is a great hill. It's pretty tough on the way up, but enjoyable all the way. On a good clear day I can't imagine there will be many hills in this area that will rival the views that Buckden Pike can offer, it's up there with Ingleborough and certainly better than the views on offer at Yorkshire's other two of three popular Three Peaks, Pen-y-ghent and Whernside. I'd actually go one further and say Buckden Pike is overall a more enjoyable hill than Pen-y-ghent and Whernside, and is possibly on a par with the brilliant Ingleborough.

Go up and see for yourself.

Not long after leaving Starbotton, and you're already gaining height

Sheep taking it easy as we get our first glimpse of Buckden Pike

The climb eases, but the terrain doesn't

Red grouse - plenty of these up here

An interesting stile!

Desolate moorland to the east

Great Whernside

Memorial Cross

The part-flagged path near the summit

Buckden Pike trig - 702 metres

The Yorkshire Three Peaks, in one shot

The summit cairn

The view north

Limestone Country

The path down with Whernside looming in the distance

Monday, 23 September 2013

Black Hill

Route: Crowden Campsite Car Park - Pennine Way - Laddow Rocks - Dun Hill - Soldier's Lump - Tooleyshaw Moss - White Low - Hey Moss - Crowden Campsite Car Park

Distance: 9.5 miles

Classification: Marilyn, County Top

With: Caroline

Weather: Warm and dry

Trip report:
Black Hill, in the Peak District, is the highest point in West Yorkshire. It's a hill that I have climbed before doing the classic route from Crowden, over Laddow Rocks and back via Tooleyshaw Moss. As I was with the Mrs this time, I thought better of making her leap across the Tooleyshaw Moss bogs, so the plan was that we would come back the same way we had ascended.

An interesting fact according to Wikipedia is that up until quite recently Black Hill's summit had virtually no vegetation, and with it being so peaty, the hill had a very appropriate name. Check out the picture of the summit on Wikipedia and you'll see what I mean. These days though the grass and heather is flourishing and the black summit seems to be a thing of the past.

We parked up in the car park at the campsite in Crowden and made our way on to the Pennine Way and across pleasant fields before the hard work began. The climb of Oakenclough Brook up to Laddow Rocks is tough, but you'll be rewarded with great views once up there.

Laddow Rocks are a fantastic part of this walk, the gritstone cliffs at an altitude of around 520 metres provide great views back down towards Crowden, Bleaklow and the Crowden Great Brook valley. I'm not great with heights, and the path does get quite close to the edge, but I didn't feel uneasy at any point. There were hundreds of hangingflies (?) about again, at least I think that's what these things are, they had irritated and nearly made me abort my Diffwys walk. If anybody has any idea what these high altitude flies are please get in touch.

After leaving Laddow Rocks you descend slightly to meet Crowden Great Brook before ascending again over Dun Hill to the summit of Black Hill. It's easy walking, is paved in parts, although it does seem longer that it is in reality. I suppose that's because the ascent of Laddow Rocks has taken it out of you earlier on. The Mrs admitted she struggled on the final ascent of Black Hill, so upon reaching the summit we had a bite to eat and a hot drink before she said something I wasn't expecting.

"What's it like that other way back?" She was talking about Tooleyshaw Moss. I told her how notoriously boggy it was and how even after a week of solid sunshine earlier in the summer I had found it pretty difficult going over there. She told me she couldn't face ascending Laddow Rocks again on the way back and would rather we went back fighting the bogs over Tooleyshaw Moss!

"If you're sure..." I said. In truth it wasn't so bad this time and I think she may even have enjoyed the bog-hopping adventure. I explained that once we had made the large cairn on Tooleyshaw Moss the worst of it was over. We made it with no problems, just the usual couple of diversions and we were on our way.

There next follows a section through some peat groughs before a squelchy ascent of White Low and over West End Moss. It was wet but there was no real danger of ending up waist deep in bog, thank God! 

We finished the walk by descending Hey Moss and being back in the car, both absolutely shattered, but having enjoyed what in my opinion is the best walk I personally have done in West Yorkshire. 

So that's two accolades for Black Hill, the highest, and the best (in my humble opinion). The summit may not have the great views other places can offer, but the walk as a whole is a really enjoyable one. You're soon into the wilderness not long after leaving Crowden, and with great views along the way and highlights such as Laddow Rocks and Tooleyshaw Moss (!), this is easily my favorite in this county.

The start of the walk and a look back at the Torside Clough ascent for Bleaklow

A first sight of the imposing Laddow Rocks

On top of Laddow Rocks looking towards our destination

Spectacular views from Laddow Rocks back towards Crowden and Bleaklow

Crowden Great Brook - between Laddow Rocks and Black Hill

Black Hill summit - 582 metres

No great views unfortunately as the top is quite flat

Mountain Rescue seemed to be doing some kind up exercises up here

OK, here we go then... Tooleyshaw Moss

Tooleyshaw Moss

A look back up Crowden Little Brook towards Black Hill

A last look a Laddow Rocks from the other side now

Wednesday, 11 September 2013


Route: Horton-in-Ribblesdale - Horton Scar - Tarn Bar - Pennine Way - Pen-y-ghent - Plover Hill - Foxup Moor - Horton Moor - Horton Scar - Horton-in-Ribblesdale 

Distance: 10.5 miles

Pen-y-ghent: Marilyn, Hewitt, Nuttall
Plover Hill: Hewitt, Nuttall

With: Nick

Weather: Sunny with cloudy intervals, windy and quite cold on top

Trip report:
Earlier in the week the weather was pointing towards the Peak District having fairly decent weather, and anywhere north of our home in Halifax as being awful. Nick would be my partner this weekend and I had said to him that either Kinder Scout or Bleaklow would be the Hewitt to bag this weekend. 

As the week progressed the weather forecast for North Yorkshire improved which meant an opportunity for a higher peak for Nick, and a chance to bag my third of Yorkshire's Three Peaks for me, having climbed Ingleborough and Whernside previously.

We set off for North Yorkshire in good spirits, laughing at the cheesy songs on Radio Two before landing at the car park at the Golden Lion pub in Horton-in-Ribblesdale. The original plan was to ascend the 'nose' of Pen-y-ghent, but as there was a group of appriximately 100 people in front of us we decided instead to head straight for the Pennine Way and ascend from the west.

It was a good route up, it wasn't overly busy and the climb was fairly steady with a steep, final pull. Nick, I now know, is a lot fitter than I am, and he set the pace which meant that we were quickly on the summit of Pen-y-ghent. The summit, as you would expect, was packed, and we enjoyed views of Inglebrough, Pen-y-ghent and Pendle Hill before leaving the crowds behind and heading for Plover Hill.

As you'll see on the OS map, there's a wall from the summit of Pen-y-ghent all the way to Plover Hill which would be very useful if the mist came down, no such troubles for us today, just the occasional bog to avoid, but nothing too serious.

We only saw one other person making his way to Plover Hill, but he didn't take in the pile of stones marking Plover Hill's summit, he carried on instead to the route of our descent. In order to find the actual summit you do need a very slight diversion. Grid reference SD8492875209 will take you to the exact location, it had it within 1 foot on my GPS! The views south from Plover Hill are very good and the descent of Plover Hill opens up fantastic views over Foxup Moor and Birkwith Moor. 

Our final stop would be Hull Pot and it was something that I was not expecting. I had seen pictures of Hull Pot on the internet but was not prepared for how steep it actually was. I'm not great with heights and I was casually walking straight for the edge, but was stopped in my tracks when I saw how deep it was. I froze a good few feet from the edge as Nick asked what was wrong with me! 

But it was a great sight, we walked all the way around it before making our way back to the pub and the car, but only after a well deserved pint of Timothy Taylor's Landlord. It was a nice surprise to see the pub landlord is also a fellow Burnley fan, and there was plenty of Clarets stuff on display in the pub, I wasn't expecting that up here in North Yorkshire. But as the landlord pointed out, it's probably the closest club to here, he's probably right.

All in all this was a good walk. I still need to go up the conventional way of Pen-y-ghent, but it gave Nick a taste of fellwalking, and he wants to go higher next time. Plans are already being drawn up for the Old Man of Coniston...

Pen-y-ghent behind the church from our start point in Horton-in-Ribblesdale


Getting high now, a look back at our path up the Pennine Way

On the horizon - Ingleborough (left) and Whernside (right) from the summit of Pen-y-ghent, the other two of Yorkshire's famous 3 Peaks

Follow the wall from Pen-y-ghent to Plover Hill

Lunch stop pic with Plover Hill's pile of stones summit behind

Great views descending Plover Hill

More great views coming off Plover Hill

Nick at Hull Pot

Hull Pot

Another view of Hull Pot

A nice way to end the day

Monday, 5 August 2013

Kinder Scout

Route: Bowden Bridge Car Park - Kinder Reservoir - William Clough - Pennine Way - Kinder Downfall - Kinder Low - Edale Cross - Oaken Clough - The Ashes - Bowden Bridge Car Park

Distance: 9.1 miles

Classification: Marilyn, Hewitt, Nuttall, County Top (highest point in Derbyshire), highest point in the Peak District

With: Caroline

Weather: Not cold but damp, some light showers, windy on top

Trip Report:

With the Mrs back up to full fitness and me craving a visit to the Peak District, I posed the question of Kinder Scout in order to bag her first Hewitt. I'm not sure she was too happy at waking up at 7am on a Sunday morning but I was worried as always about parking, so come just after 8am we were on our way.

The drive is always a pleasure in itself, particularly the A6024 between Holme and Crowden, passing the Holme Moss transmitter near to West Yorkshire's highest point (Black Hill) and the drop down to Crowden with Bleaklow lingering close by.

We parked up at Bowden Bridge and set off for Kinder Reservoir. From Kinder Reservoir we then picked up the path(s) that ford back and forth up William Clough. Strangely this early part of the walk was the highlight for me. It's just great fun and not too strenuous a climb up to join the Pennine Way. You leave civilisation behind at Kinder Reservoir and with there being numerous routes up Kinder Scout, this one, on this day, was pretty quiet. There are one or two occasions where you have to get your hands down to climb and heave yourself up, but nothing too drastic, it's just a real pleasure to ascend Kinder this way.

We then joined the Pennine Way and had an initial short, steep climb before heading towards Kinder Downfall. The plan was to have lunch at Kinder Downfall or at the trig at Kinder Low, but we were already starving! It must have been the climb of William Clough that did it. We found shelter from the wind in some rocks and quickly scoffed down our lunch before getting on our way again.

Kinder Downfall was a bit of a disappointment today, we didn't see any water falling never mind the infamous spray, maybe next time. We then headed for Kinder Low with me checking my GPS for the direction of Kinder's true summit. We were within 750 yards at one point but I didn't fancy off-roading on the peat at this point and the area it's in wasn't looking too inviting. We'll get there one day though.

After what seemed an eternity on the Pennine Way from Kinder Downfall, we finally hit the trig point at Kinder Low. It doesn't seem too far on the map from Kinder Downfall but it just wouldn't come, it felt like we were going for ever! But we got there. "It looks like we're on the moon", Caroline said, it was hard to disagree. We had the place to ourselves for quite a while, then after a few pictures and general mucking around climbing the stone the trig point is on, we set off in the direction of Edale Rocks for our descent.

We were both starting to tire, and after reorganising the rucksack near to Edale Cross we got back walking again and completely missed the cross! I realised about 100 yards after it, but there was no turning back, we had the awful bridleway at Oaken Clough to negotiate. This rocky path requires concentration of where you are putting your feet, but it did have it's upsides. It was here I saw two unfamiliar peaks, South Head and Mount Famine. I could see people at the summits of both of them. I liked the look of them so they've been added to the list of must-dos.

The walk ended with us walking along the River Kinder back to our car at Bowden Bridge. It had been another really good walk. For me, the ascent up William Clough was a real highlight. It's one of a number of ways up Kinder Scout, and at Edale Rocks we could see others ascending via Jacob's Ladder. We'll be up there again no doubt, probably using Jacob's Ladder as part of the walk, or will it be Crowden Tower next time? So many decisions on one mountain.

A look at Kinder Scout from Kinder Reservoir not long after starting the walk

Looking back down the wonderful William Clough

Towards the top of William Clough now and the views start opening out

A look back at the Pennine Way not long after joining it

Getting high!

A look back at Kinder Reservoir with ominous looking clouds

Kinder Low trig - 633 metres and today's highest point

A look towards the Vale of Edale

South Head and Mount Famine - food for thought

First time I've seen one of these!