May 25 2013

Walk 64: A Walk On The Park

A Walk On The Park

route: ingleborough, simon fell & park fell from chapel le dale
Date: 25th may 2013
distance: 6.5 miles
ascent: 1648 feet
time: 4 hrs 30 mins
walkers: dave, david, graham, sandra & simon

Eight weeks prior to this walk we had done a nice little walk to Tow Scar from Ingleton, and for most of that walk we had wonderful views of a snow covered Ingleborough. So when I came to plan our latest walk that image was probably sat somewhere in the back of my mind, and I chose the nearby Park Fell trig point to be the main reason to walk here, as we still needed to tick that off our Yorkshire Dales trig points tick list. Whilst here though, it would be rude not to take in Ingleborough and also Simon Fell to give the walk a little most substance. The route would be the traditional Yorkshire 3 peaks ascent from Chapel Le Dale and we parked in the lay-by just above the pub and prepared to tackle one of Yorkshire’s most iconic peaks.
64th Walk 1
After the usual team shot that included Vidal (David) and Sherpa G-String, who was in attendance for the first time since last September, we headed down the road before the sign instructed us it was 2 and 3/8 miles to the summit. The climb up Ingleborough is split in two sections or at least that is how I see it, with the first being so gradual you hardly realise you are gaining height, we would worry about the second section when we got to it. The day was a glorious one and with no sign of rain we packed light and were full of beans as we began the early stages of our journey, with the sight of Ingleborough constantly in full view ahead of us.
64th Walk 2
Over our shoulder we had a great view of the only peak in Yorkshire that is higher, Whernside.
64th Walk 3
Our day had started very gently and I was interested to see how the overall climb felt. I had never done Ingleborough using this route when starting fresh, and normally I had done the best part or 17 miles up Pen y ghent and Whernside prior to this point. Even at this early stage of today’s walk it felt so different and things were enjoyable, when to be honest, there have been times at this point in the three peaks where it is more about completion than enjoyment. Today however, we would have chance to soak it all up a little more than usual and take in our surroundings.
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We reached Braithwaite Wife Hole and took a little time to have a look rather than plodding onwards. The small little details like this would be the difference between today and past visits.
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Shortly afterwards we reached the gate that for me starts the second section of the climb. Before this, you never really feel like you are climbing, but from here on the path rolls up and down before it reaches the steep section which leads to the final push to the top.
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As is usual, this would be the last I would see of Beaky until I reached the summit, the same applied to Vidal who was walking alongside G. I took things easy and walked with Ramblo stopping from time to time to take a picture, a suck in some air at the same time.
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Away to our right we could see the coast and what I presume was Morecambe Bay as it shimmered in the sunlight. We also had a fairly extensive view up towards the Lake District as well as further inland and more of the Yorkshire Dales. Up ahead we could see G and Vidal and we could also just about make out the silhouettes of walkers making their way up the ridge towards the summit plateau.
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Ten minutes later and we were at the base of the steep section I mentioned a little earlier. The very first time I reached this point was on a charity three peaks walks 15 years or so ago. I had no walking experience and like a lot of first time participants, I had underestimated it massively. I spent 30 minutes laid on the grass at the bottom of this climb hoping my legs would recover enough to get me up this last bit, which they eventually did.
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There was to be no laying down today as we were only 2 miles in and the legs were still fresh, so while it couldn’t be described as powering up, I made reasonable progress. Every now and again I stopped to make sure Ramblo was ok behind me. Up ahead Beaky and Vidal were nowhere to be seen, but I could see G standing at the very top waiting for us.
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About two thirds of the way up I went to slide my camera into my pocket without realising my t-shirt was sat over the top of it, meaning the camera slid down my t-shirt and continued down another few steps bouncing as it went. Ramblo was approaching and she picked it up for me and handed it back when we reached the top. I was surprised to find it still intact and snapped a picture of a distance Pen y ghent.
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From this point we still had more climbing to do, but we had certainly done the vast majority and I still felt great so we set off for the final push to the top. I walked alongside Sherpa G-String and we tried to recall if we had ever had a clear day on Ingleborough and the only time was the very first time some 15 years earlier. That said, I wasn’t interested in walking or anything to do with the outdoors back then so I had no recollection of it, which meant today was going to be extra special. I would get to see the surrounding views and be able to make sense of how everything fits together, also the walk across the top would be clear so we could see the trig point nice and early instead of walking into a hazy mist.
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As we sat and had a sandwich not more than 15 feet from the trig, I was amazed to see so many people coming and going. I was always aware that being one of the three peaks it will be a popular place for people to walk to, but it was too early to be at this point in that monster walk, so the people we could see must be walking up from Chapel Le Dale, Ingleton, Clapham or somewhere else local. The non-stop turnover of people coming and going continued as we took our own photo’s, before heading back the way we came and began the next phase of our walk.
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As we descended on the shoulder of Ingleborough the sun went in and it was pretty chilly, but that wasn’t to last as one small cloud was responsible and that soon passed, leaving the sun to beat down once again. We nipped through the gate found at the top of the steep section we climbed earlier, but continued straight on at the side of the wall as we headed for Simon Fell.
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In what seemed like no time at all we had covered a fair bit of ground and Ingleborough started to look a little more distant. We commented as we often do, how long it take us to get to the top, but how quickly and easily we leave it behind.
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A minute or two later Beaky found the cairn and we all converged at the small pile of stones to signify the summit. Vidal wasn’t too convinced that the stones were at the highest point and chose his own high spot about ten yards away. To be totally honest, I think he did have a point from where we were stood, but as I moved to look from a different angle I thought another spot was higher still. We have experienced this before (Rogan’s Seat comes to mind) and we didn’t worry too much about it. In the grand scheme of things do a few yards really matter?
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With the question of if the cairn was actually the high point still unanswered, we left Simon Fell and continued along the ridge towards the main reason for the walk, Park Fell. We crossed the wall and began descending slightly. Park Fell could be seen ahead of us as could the Ribblehead Viaduct which is visible from many vantage points in the area of the Dales.
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Eventually we reached the bottom of the dip in between Simon Fell and Park Fell and the ground began to rise again. We decided that we shouldn’t continue to follow the wall and instead we should aim for a visible stripe of grass off to our right. It wasn’t a clear path, but we could tell it had been walked before and headed over… straight into a boggy area. Vidal decided he would try and skirt it away to the right as the rest of us picked our own route through with varying success.
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As Vidal re-joined it became apparent that everybody had been fairly successful apart from one of us who had gone in up to their knee. Unfortunately, that person was me and my feet were now soaking.
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By now Ingleborough was looking more and more distant with every stride.
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I nipped off behind a peat hag to answer a quick call of nature and when I reappeared most of the others were at the trig point which was now no more than a couple of hundred yards away.
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Our time at the trig was probably somewhere in the region of 15 – 20 minutes as we had a snack and relaxed in the sunshine. Conversation was pretty sparse and people were just left along with their own thoughts until the call came to pack up and move on. As is usual, there are no set plans or rules, we just go with the flow, so when the call came Beaky and I looked at the map to plan the route back.
64th Walk 31a
We had the option of continuing our route and walking off the edge of the ridge and picking up a footpath that would lead us back towards the car. The second option would be to turn left at the wall ahead and head down a steeper route which would save us a bit of distance. Against Ramblo’s wishes we opted for the latter and headed off to begin the descent.
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This was fairly simple at first but things began to get steeper and steeper. Fortunately things never got so bad we couldn’t manage, even though some used Wu Tang’s legendary descending technique to feel safe.
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Behind me I could hear Beaky, Ramblo and Vidal giggling as I followed G down the final few feet before waiting with him at the bottom. Ahead of us we could see the path and pick a course to reach it once we had regrouped. After a short while we turned to check our route down and it looked a little bigger than we realised and is always the case the photograph never quite does it justice.
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We were now only 20 minutes away from the end as we followed the track towards the ladder style that would lead us to the road. In front of us we had a great side on view of Whernside in the distance and just as impressive sights close up. There was a solitary tree growing out of the limestone which looked impressive but the one thing, or should I say two things that attracted attention belonged to a ram the was stood in our way ahead of us. After a short stand of he moved away and let us carry on until we reached the aforementioned gate and joined the road.
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The section of road walking was small and took no more than five minutes, but it did give us enough time to reflect on the last time we walked along here back in March 2010. It was our 4th walk entitled “The long road home” that cause a small uprising when I finished a similar walk off with a five mile trek into Ingleton. It wasn’t one of my best decisions but it is one we mention every time we either walk near or drive along this stretch of road.
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With the walk complete and another trig point ticked off the list we walked a little further down the road to the pub. Whilst here we reflected on another great walk and one that reminded us of the early days simply because we ended up climbing one of the higher peaks in the Dales. There is no doubt that it feels good to look at Ingleborough knowing you had been at the top only a short time ago. It is one of the best sights the Yorkshire Dales has to offer and one I hope to view and climb many times to come.

Sir Edmund


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