Dave’s Yorkshire Top Questionnaire

1. Favourite Peak.

For me this would have to be Pen-y-Ghent. It is the peak I have climbed more than any other and I never tire of climbing it, although I have been known to tire as I am climbing it. I just love its profile, and the fact you can see where you are heading almost all the way from Horton. The little sections of scrambling near the top add to the enjoyment and it is the complete walking experience for me. I have to say I was more than a little impressed with Wild Boar Fell which I climbed for the first time this year but it can’t surpass PYG!

2. Least favourite peak

There are a few I could name that weren’t particularly great to walk. A combination of uneven terrain or lack of features at the top mean they don’t rank highly on my list of most popular peaks. But as I sit here trying to think of which one to name the worst, I can’t decide, so maybe they weren’t that bad. To pluck a name out I would say Fountains Fell South Top although that may have something to do with the weather we encountered.

3. Most enjoyable walk

There are two walks that stand out above the other for me. That isn’t to say I haven’t enjoyed every single one, because I have. I just feel, looking back, that for various reasons the others have something I might have changed if I could. The weather, my breathing and the route being the main reasons. The two walks I have picked were perfect from start to finish in my eyes.

The first is the walk from Keld, through Swinner Gill and up to Rogan’s Seat. It was mid February and the snow was 3ft deep in places but that only added to the experience. The sun was out and it was a wonderful walk through Swaledale, which I think may be the most lovely of all dales. The wind on top was bitterly cold and we had trouble seeing the stones at the summit in the deep snow but what a day.

The other one I choose may not meet universal approval but it was our walk to nine Standards Rigg from Nateby. The walk was just under 5 hours and except for the first and last 15 minutes we were being battered by high winds and driving rain. On the top the rain was coming horizontal and it was like constant acupuncture to the face. I couldn’t have been any wetter had I jumped in a swimming pool, but I enjoyed every second. I have never been bothered by getting wet and the walk proved we weren’t just fair weather walkers. I think the other reason I like this walk was even though the weather was bad the morale remained high. As a happy go lucky bloke I like to laugh no matter what the situation.

4. Least enjoyable walk

They have all been enjoyable in different ways and for different reason so there wouldn’t be a bad walk. Looking back a bit of an uneventful walk was the trip from Garsdale Foot up to Knoutberry Haw and Tarn Rigg Hill. The underfoot conditions weren’t too bad and the climb itself was pretty good. The mist came in as we reached the top meaning our views were reduced and we were soon heading back to the car. I guess it was a short walk of about five and a half miles and there wasn’t really much to see. On most if not all of the other walks there has been something that stands out but on this one there wasn’t. I didn’t even get to try the Sherpa’s award winning Cornish Pasty!

5. Greatest moment

I could say reaching any of the pubs we have had our post walk drink in but maybe that isn’t great enough. I think it would have to be standing at the top of Whernside and knowing that all 40 tops had been done. After nearly 170 miles of walking here, there and everywhere, we had climbed that last peak and it felt good, really good. We were stood on top of Yorkshire!

6. Worst moment

I had a couple of problems with breathing on a couple of walks which meant I felt more than a little flustered, but fortunately I managed to get it under control. I have noticed it happens on warm days in heather so it must be some type of hay fever or something.

7. Best or worst animal / creature related incident

Seeing a Heron fishing was pretty cool as were the wild horses on the Howgills. The funniest moment was Simon startling about 10 grouse on Water Crag. He jumped a mile! The worst incidents involve the dead animals we encounter. I know it happens but it isn’t nice to see.

8. The most amazing thing I saw was

There have been so many amazing sights, to pick one would be almost impossible. Mallerstang Edge was impressive as was Wild Boar Fell from our vantage point in Outhgill. Ease Gill was weird but lovely as we descended Crag Hill. Hull Pot was pretty awesome when we used a different route on an extra catch up walk. The Howgills Fells would probably shade it for me as they are so different to the rest of the Yorkshire Dales. The only other sight that comes close was G’s half naked rambling. I am still having flash backs.

 

9. The one place in the Yorkshire Dales I would love to sit on a sunny day without a care in the world would be

Anywhere. I would rather be neck deep in bog and be out in the Dales than be at work. I can’t believe how much I enjoy it and how much it relaxes me. When I am out walking any of life’s stresses are left at home. For that reason it doesn’t really matter where I am because if I am out and about I don’t have a care in the world. Sat amongst the cairns that line the edge of Wild Boar Fell would be nice though.

10. Things I have discovered about myself

I have discovered that I can do the things I set out to. When I came up with the idea of walking the highest peaks in the Yorkshire Dales, I fully intended to complete them, but it wouldn’t have been a shock if I had found an excuse and dropped the whole idea. Now they are all done I have a sense of achievement and I like it.

11. Walking ambition

I think my ultimate goal would be a long distance path and I think the coast to coast appeals most of all. I intend to try the Herriot Way next year to see if I like the daily routine of walking. Other than that I think completing the Wainwrights would be a good achievement and one I can manage in time.

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