Sep 24 2011

Walk 36: The Lang Way Round

Catrigg Force

route: Langcliffe from Settle
24th september 2011
distance: 9.1 miles
ascent: 1,716 feet
time: 4 hrs 55 mins
walkers: Dave, Leanne, Sandra & Simon

It seemed like an eternity since the Badgers had been together for a stroll, so I was more than looking forward to it as we parked up in Settle and readied ourselves for the off. In fact it had been just over a month, and in the meantime myself and Wu Tang had been on holiday to Jersey and walked the entire 48 mile coastal path (the report can be found on our profiles) but it was nice to be back in Yorkshire and ready for another adventure with the Badgers. The number of us attending had gone from seven with four possible on Friday, to four who actually made it, but not to worry. We are a flexible bunch, so no firm commitment is required by anyone at anytime allowing people to tag along or drop out without worrying or giving notice as such. The four of us in attendance prepared in our usual relaxed manor before we asked a guy walking his two dogs to take a picture of us, then we were ready to go.

We made our way through the lovely little town of Settle, stopping at the Co-op to buy some batteries for “Gordon” (see our “Less Is Moor” walk report for an explanation on who or what Gordon is). With that taken care of we began the climb out of Settle towards the one and only trig point we were after today, Langcliffe. Initially we followed a walled track before it opened out to the open hillside which we continued to climb. I had been feeling a little under the weather for a few days and could feel it the moment we left Settle and began to ascend, so I took it steady and kept plugging away as the others began to walk away from me before waiting.

We paused for a few minutes and had a drop of water, taking time to have a scan around the surrounding area and back towards Settle. After setting off once again we had another short climb before we were offered some respite as the path levelled out a little, still climbing but ever so slightly. Up to our left we could see a scar and what looked to be some sort of shelter and cairn stood on top of it. We knew this was roughly where we wanted to be, so we crossed the wall to our immediate left and made our way around the base of the scar.

Upon reaching the far end of the scar we could see the end of Attermire Scar behind a couple of small peaks in front of us and it became apparent that to continue this way we would have to drop down and then climb back up as the land fell away ahead of us. I had previously spotted what I thought may have been a way up to the trig, which was more or less directly above us at this point, so we decided to go have a look and turned around. We stayed high on the sloping hillside just underneath the vertical rock, rather than drop back down to the path and have to climb once again. In doing so it meant we had to be careful not to slip, but we didn’t have that far to go and eventually we could see the gap in the rock allowing us access to the summit plateau.

As we reached level ground yet again, we were confronted by a small wall and whilst the rest of us decided to step over it, Wu Tang chose to go through it. On our Pastures New walk we had to do something similar but that was when confronted with a 6ft wall. This was 3ft if that in places, but each to their own.

Once over, or through the wall, the pile of stones we has seen earlier were clearly in view and as Beaky and Ramblo reached them they found the trig point hidden away in the middle. As we approached it started to drizzle ever so slightly and we ticked off another trig point just as the day threatened to turn nasty. It hadn’t been sunny up to this point, but it hadn’t been wet or cold so it had almost been perfect walking weather.

We took various pictures as we usually do (these can be found on our trig point ticklist) and planned the next stage of our route. As always, a route is pre-planned using online mapping as well as printed versions before we arrive so we have a rough idea of our route. What these can’t tell you is exactly how easy or hard certain bits will be. On almost every walk the route has changed as we see something with our own eyes we often choose to go a different route for many different reasons. Sometimes that is to save ground and on other occasions it is to take in an extra view or see something we like the look of. This method suits everyone as it gives us more flexibility when we are actually out and about or at least nobody has complained if they don’t like it. With our next steps chosen we readied ourselves to get going once again, but with the drizzle still coming down I decided to stick on something waterproof. I had purchased a bright yellow poncho for £2.99 whilst we were in Jersey in case of rain (I didn’t take a water proof) but thankfully it wasn’t needed. It was however still in my bag, so Wu Tang told me to try that instead of my usual waterproof. As I am always up for a laugh I tried it, even though I was ridiculed from the moment I put it on.

Thankfully, within ten minutes of us leaving the trig point the light rain had stopped and I could remove my banana costume as we made our way to Attermire Scar, before heading north under Brent Scar towards Victoria Cave. That was most of the ascent for today done, so now we had a chance to just put one foot in front of the other and soak up the sights of this particular part of the world.

As we approached Victoria Cave I turned to Wu Tang to find she had already fitted her head torch, even though we were some 150 yards from the cave entrance. When we did reach it the entrance was a large gaping hole inviting us in to take a look. I wanted to go and Beaky was already in as far as he could with natural light, Ramblo wasn’t fussed and she sat at the entrance as myself an Wu Tang moved forward complete with head torches.

Once we got under the overhang the floor became slippery meaning Wu Tang didn’t feel entirely comfortable and began to retreat to the open air. I asked for her torch and took it to Beaky who was waiting a little further in, before we went off down a passage that began to narrow and drop down away from us.

All the time we were conscious of not doing anything too silly as the light from the torches wasn’t exactly bright, so we called that a day and turned to head towards the large opening we came in. When we got there we saw the girls chatting away so we decided to head down another gap and have a little look at more of the cave. Again we didn’t go as far as we could or would have liked but we were sensible considering we didn’t have any protective head gear on. The last thing we needed was blood and a nasty head wound!

Five minutes later and we called it a day and headed back to L’Autobus who were sat waiting patiently at the entrance. I enjoyed the whole experience and may return one day, but next time a little more prepared. With our cave adventure over we returned to the walking and after following the footpath along the front of some more rock we came to a bridleway, checked the map and turned left. This track took us to a junction with a small road heading to the village of Langcliffe, which we didn’t want to go to, so we turned right away from the village and proceeded to climb gradually moving to one side on a couple of occasions to let cars pass us. Half a mile of road walking took us to a new looking signpost pointing us to our intended destination of Stainforth and we began to descend once again.

A short distance down this track we saw a group of cows along with their calves munching away on the grass. We are always careful not to get too close when young ones are involved, so we passed by quietly having made a little noise as we approached to announce our arrival. As we passed by I commented on the big bull stood with them and we moved half a stride quicker until we were clear.

A little further down this track and we came to a four way sign post stating Stainforth 1 ¾ miles which is what it said on the previous sign about half a mile or more further back. We had a chuckle but didn’t worry too much about this as we chose the route we wanted and set off in that direction. The path followed a wall for a little while before it dropped down and in front of us was a sign post to Catrigg Force. This wasn’t on our planned route but anything with its own signpost must be worth a visit, and the fact we could hear the water going over the edge meant it wasn’t too far away. Sure enough we soon arrived at the point where the beck goes over the edge of a drop that must have been 30ft or maybe more.

The view was nice but it would have been greater from below the waterfall and fortunately we had spotted a path a few minutes earlier that would lead us to a better vantage point. This path took us through a wooded area as the path descended down some steps to a clearing and a perfect view of Catrigg Force and we had found the perfect spot for lunch.

After consuming lunch we returned up the path and back out to our original route, turning right and continuing on towards Stainforth. For a long period we followed a walled lane which removed all chance of us getting lost (not that we ever do) and we made good progress, pausing for a few minutes to take a close look at a field containing Highland cattle and especially their young ones. In front of us was a prominent peak which we worked out to be Smearsett Scar, and that just happened to be the last trig we had reached before today’s walk.

The path eventually led us to Stainforth and we passed the Craven Heifer, a pub we visited earlier this year on a trip to Halton Gill to take in two trig points. It was here we had a little confusion as to the best route to take to join the Ribble Way, which we intended to follow back to Settle. Ramblo picked a route and after we all made it perfectly clear that any wrong turns would be solely her fault, we set off under the road bridge and round to join a path that had also been pointed out previously by someone else. No big problem though as it did give myself and Wu Tang the chance to have a picture taken in a bush (a new craze currently sweeping my family). Up to this point we hadn’t really passed any but this one seemed perfect and we crouched in it and smiled for the camera before we continued with the walk. The road led us road to an old stone bridge and immediately after crossing it we followed the finger post to the left and we could see Stainforth Force in front of us.

The next few miles of the walk were fairly simple as we followed the River Ribble as it snaked through the countryside, meaning the terrain was level and for the most part the underfoot conditions were good. The earlier part of the walk had been done at a sedate pace due to my cold and various stops at caves, waterfalls etc, but now we covered the ground fairly quickly as we made our way back to the car and to the pub for a drink.

Further along the river bank we reached Langliffe village on the opposite bank. Here we turned right away from the river and headed up a narrow lane towards Stackhouse although there was a slight doubt in my mind if this was the right direction. Well, it wasn’t really a doubt as such but sometimes you can get reliant on fingerposts and it was a small relief when we reached the end of the lane to find a post indicating the Ribble Way pointing back the way we had just come. If walkers going the other way were instructed to go that way it meant we were also on course and this was confirmed a little further up the road by a sign pointing us across some lovely green fields back towards Settle.

We reached Settle bridge and crossed the road, continuing on the same side of the river rather than cross the bridge. Here we found a decent manmade path that led us to a small bridge over the river and into the town centre. We paused on the bridge for a minute or two just watching the water flow beneath us before giving in to the inevitable urge to get the boots off and find a hostelry to celebrate our achievements.

With the walk over, we found a pub and had a drink as we discussed the high points on another great walk. I found it reasonably hard initially but that was due to a little cold and if I hadn’t had that, I think it would have been one of our easier walks to date. I enjoyed it just as much though and it was nice to explore Victoria Cave, even if it was only for a short while. The area around Attermire Scar was lovely and I would love to come back on a clear day and maybe spend a little time having a look round the scars and various caves to see what they have to offer. The last couple of walks have been similar in feel as they had contained lots of scars and rocky outcrops which we hadn’t seen to that degree before. Our next walk however would be something new, as we ventured into the Peak District for the first time. If it is half as nice as the Dales, then I will be happy…

Sir Edmund


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