Jul 03 2010

Walk 12: All Aboard

Wild Boar Fell

route: sails, swarth fell & wild boar fell from angerholme
Date: 3rd july 2010
distance: 11.8 miles
ascent: 2,978 feet
time: 8 hrs
walkers: carol, dave, graham, leanne, roger, sandra & simon

It had been three weeks since we last walked, but we would be making up for it this weekend as we had a B&B booked, and we were doing four peaks over two days. I felt very excited as we found a place to park along the B6259 and climbed out of the car into glorious sunshine. The plan for today, was to do Sails, Swarth Fell and Wild Boar Fell, before heading to The Black Bull in Nateby for some food and a few beers. This added something extra to the whole proceedings as on all previous walks we had headed home afterwards. It was our first dual walk weekend too, so there would be some kind of questions answered, with regards to stiffness of the legs etc, although to be honest I didn’t ache anymore after our walks. We slapped on the sun cream, made sure we had everything we needed then tried to take a picture by balancing the camera on the car roof. Some people were convinced it was leaning whilst other weren’t too sure, but the main thing was, we managed to get everybody in the shot.

We set off on the footbath that was through the gate right next to us, and followed it over the little bridge and up through a couple of farm buildings and out onto the rolling fields. We had only been going a short while but already it was hot work. Graham decided it was time to lose the T-shirt which wasn’t the prettiest of sights, but it probably meant we moved quicker, as we wanted to stay in front of him so we couldn’t see (fortunately it went back on soon afterwards). We hopped over a couple of walls and at one time nearly straight into a big nettle patch on the other side, but fortunately we were ok, just. Carrying on, we crossed Hell Gill Beck and continued to climb towards the cairn that was now visible on the horizon. Upon arriving, the girls cracked out their sandwiches and were all smiles, until I pointed out that there was clearly visible higher ground and another cairn in the distance.

We made our way towards the second cairn and in next to no time we were there, but, as before, it wasn’t the top.

From here we checked my GPS and picked a heading for the top. En route we noticed a couple of little mice, voles or something scurrying around before disappearing quickly as we got closer. It didn’t take too long before we could see the little pile of stones and a pole ten yards to its left that signalled the top of Sails. We rested up for 15 minutes whilst taking pictures. We could clearly see Swarth Fell and Wild Boar Fell sat there waiting for us. Away in the distance we could also see the three peaks (Whernside, Ingleborough & Pen-y-ghent) and it isn’t hard to see why the walk is so tough when you see the distance between them. We would no doubt turn our attentions to that challenge another day, but right now we had two more peaks to do, so we set off, passing the source of the River Ure as we went. As we descended the grass was tall, thick and at times could be scratchy on the legs, but nothing to worry about.

We made our way to the bridleway that runs parallel to the road we had parked on and had a look at the map for further directions.

We basically had two options to choose from. The first meant following the bridleway away from our intended route until it picked up the footpath that would bring us back, the second was a simple cross county route that went directly towards Low West End. We chose the second option and made our way towards a bridge over the river.

Within five yards of crossing the bridge there was a nice area of short grass which we decided would be a nice spot for a break and a bite to eat. Not only was it a pleasant spot, apart from a nasty little tick, the footpath we wanted started here too.

Once we had refuelled, we joined the footpath and climbed back towards the road, but before we got there, we had to cross the Settle to Carlisle railway line. From here we got an excellent view of Wild Boar Fell, although it still looked a bit distant!

We crossed the railway and then the road as we tried to find the best way back into the fields. We could see a footpath only 20 yards into the field but we were struggling to get to it. We didn’t really want to go right around and eventually we found a way towards it, then beyond it up onto the lower slopes of Swarth Fell. The weather was still hot and as we made our way higher up Swarth Fell my breathing began to suffer. I don’t know if this is to do with the pollen or grass or something. I am certainly not a doctor but it wasn’t an unfit out of breath. I had been consuming plenty of water too so I don’t think dehydration had anything to do with it. Basically, it felt like I imagine asthma would. I kept plugging away slowly as the others pushed on. From time to time various combinations of Sherpa G String, Wu Tang, Ramblo or Carol would wait until I caught them and had two minutes rest. Finally, after a bit of a struggle (but never really doubting myself) we made it to Swarth Fell Pike. From here we just had the plateau to walk across to reach the cairn at the other end.

The top of Swarth Fell enabled us to sit down for a longer rest and soak up the views. We could see across to our next target, Wild boar Fell, as well as right up Mallerstang and the peaks we did earlier in the year (High Seat, Archy Syrigg & Hugh Seat). I felt as if this was the first Summer walk we had done. It had a certain feel to it that I hadn’t noticed on any of the previous excursions. We had experienced plenty of nice weather, but this was certainly a warm day and it made for a pleasant one. We dropped down off Swarth Fell and walked by the small tarn that sits in the col between these two peaks, before heading up the other side. The path was angled into the hillside and that certainly took any real sting out of it. With everyone going their own pace we were strung out all over as I took it steady at the back, accompanied by my loyal companion, Sherpa G String. Soon we were on the flat top of Wild Boar Fell and we could see the others alongside the numerous cairns that line the edge. Wu Tang came running back to walk with me and G for the last few yards to the edge. There were about 15 cairns (I have no idea how many really) that lined the edge of the plateau. I don’t know if they are there as a warning that it is a steep drop the other side, but you certainly wouldn’t want to be falling off.

From up here we could see the car and initial footpath we took.

We weren’t the only ones soaking up the view though.

After having a nosey around, I had to disappoint the girls once again, by telling them that we weren’t quite at the top, although there wasn’t far to go to reach it. We made the short distance in no time and once L’Autobus arrived we took our photos and celebrated ticking another peak off the list.

From here we had a really good view of the Howgill Fells which would be our destination in three weeks time. Each time I had seen them they got bigger and better, I couldn’t wait.

After a short rest we had a look at a watch and estimated our finish time, our minds already wandering towards tonight’s beer. We also managed to find out that Germany had beaten Argentina 4 – 0 in the World Cup, much to our surprise. At least we scored one!. Once rested up, we made our way over to The Nab (an area of the top that jilts out slightly) and began our descent.

The walk down was ok but Leanne was struggling with her foot and from time to time I had a twinge in my ankle. Neither were that bad but they meant we had to be extra careful with foot placement. As we made our way down we had a wonderful view looking back up to Wild Boar (see main pic at top of the page) and the sun was still shining down meaning we kept warm in the light breeze. After a while we passed an old farm building before the path dropped down and cut back on itself to go under the railway lines. As we did we seemed to corner a mother and her lamb. We waited for them to escape but they decided that they would rather watch us go under the tunnel from higher ground.

I sat down the other side of the tunnel for a short while as my breathing had gone slightly funny again, and waited for G and Carol to catch us up. When we were all together, we continued through the little farm and out towards the road. Just as we exited the farm there on the fence were loads of moles, strung up as a warning to other moles maybe? Not that they would see them! They may not even have been moles to be honest. We are still learning with each walk we go on.

We waved at the farmer as he drove by us and then we were back on the road near Elmgill, turning right to head back towards the car. There was a footpath directly opposite that would have taken us the same direction but over the fields, although the vote said the road, so the road it was. If we are in doubt at any point, we vote and go with the majority. We like to keep things fun and with that in mind we try not to put people off when they have had enough for the day. The consensus was it had been a long day in hot weather and the road offered a flatter surface and a more direct one. As we walked along we heard the whistle of a steam train and turned to see a plume of smoke rising above the trees. Within seconds the train was visible and we all stopped to watch it go by.

Leanne said that seeing the train had made her day. Mine was made half an hour later when we made it back to the car. Maybe that is a lie, maybe it was half an hour after that when we were sat with a nice cold, ice cold beer. Or maybe after the shower that helped refresh me ready for the evening session. Maybe it was the evening session, or the food, that was excellent. There were so many nice things that I couldn’t possibly choose one. I know that I was liking the feeling of staying over with my friends, although unfortunately, Roger had a long drive home as he had made plans to cycle the next day. It was about half ten when I turned in, thoroughly exhausted from a long day in the office. Day one of our double header had been a success. The only question left, was how would I feel in the morning?

Sir Edmund


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