Friday, 4 March 2016

Buckden and back

It's been a while since I've written up a walk, but what else is there to do on a Friday night? A couple of weeks ago I popped up to the Dales for sunrise but couldn't resist staying out, despite having plenty do get done before teaching the next day, thanks to the beautiful, endless sunshine. So I decided to come back to York via Wharfedale and stop off in Buckden to finally get to the top of Buckden Pike. It's one of those hills that looks boring and rounded - so it's been on my to do list for years, without getting done - but I couldn't have been more wrong. The views from up top are some of the best in the Dales, which I probably should have guessed what with it being so central! I'll attach the precise route at the bottom of the post - but for now, here's a photo of the sunrise I went out for... 

Ellerkin Scar, Wensleydale.
A short (and slightly steep and icy) drive later I allowed myself 10 minutes to stop off at this lovely waterfall just west of Askrigg... It's a lovely spot and a few years since I'd been, so couldn't resist.

Waterfall near Askrigg.
Finally, back down, through West Burton and over the tops to Wharfedale. Being the Yorkshireman that I am, I was reluctant to pay for parking in Buckden so found a nice little spot down near the holiday cottages at the other end of the village - fine in winter, but probably not a good idea in the summer! So, now time for the endless steep climb up - with a short break to enjoy a cocoa and de-layer at the top of Buckden Rake... 

Getting out of the overtrousers.
Upper Wharfedale and Langstrothdale.
Feeling quite refreshed after getting out of all the layers I'd needed for sunrise, it was time to power on up to the top following the well marked path (you really can't go wrong!).

Nearly there...
Hard work all over! 
The views from the top really are stunning - with the Three Peaks all visible, all three Whernsides (Whernside, Great Whernside and Little Whernside), the snow capped fells of the Lakes, the Howgills, the North York Moors across the Vale of Mowbray, Pendle Hill - never mind then being able to pick out Swaledale, Wensleydale, Coverdale, Bishopdale, Waldendale, Langstrothdale, Littondale. Basically everything in the Dales can be seen.

Still chilly, despite the sun! The 3 Peaks in the distance too.
After continuing along with the wall on the left and hopping over the stile to the war memorial (which I for some reason do not have a photo of) I decided I'd risk finding my own way back down, hoping the barbed wire fences and the like were few and far between! So I climbed back over the stile and headed straight down the hill in the direction of Buckden and, luckily for me, came across another feint path after 15 minutes. My lucky day, I rarely go off piste and don't have to at least jump over one thing! 

Dropping back down in search of a path (not wanting the path/climb down the gill!).
Once on the path, looking up Langstrothdale.
The clouds were finally beginning to bubble up by this point and provided some lovely dappled light across the valley. The overlapping hillsides of Langstrothdale always make a nice photo, but I loved how the light was then playing on that too - so it seemed a perfect spot for another hot drink break! Whilst sat around I also noticed these lines of trees across the way. Not the most interesting of subjects but I rather liked them placed in the middle of the vast hillside...

Simple but slightly intriguing.
The last section back down into Buckden can seemingly get quite slippy! With a choice between mud and wet limestone I prefer the mud, but it certainly made for some slow going. Still not content to head back to the car and an afternoon indoors though, I allowed myself one final stop off for what was left of my picnic (a mini roll and bag of crisps, having eaten all my Jelly Babies for breakfast 6 hours earlier) below the falls on Buckden beck. Out of the wind, in the sun, it felt just like spring.

The sparklingly clear water of Buckden beck.

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