One of the best things about this walking lark is that I can return to my favourites and enjoy them via different routes, in different seasons and most strikingly in different weather. As I grappled up Gordale Scar in our mini heatwave last week (is that it for the summer! Pray not) and avoiding the drenching which usually accompanies the short, sharp climb I could not help thinking how one’s perception of a walk is so affected by the weather. A glorious day in winter or summer is enough to make a potentially average walk look and feel so much better, a good walk becomes memorable.
It is well over 10 years since I climbed Ladhar Bheinn from Barrisdale on a beautiful summer’s day and I can honestly say it is my favourite mountain and favourite day’s walking in this country with even the 8 mile hike to the road at the end of the day bearable. The views over the sea, lochs and mountains were unsurpassed and every time I travel north I pray for the same. We were so lucky that day as almost all other scribblings from walkers visiting this part of Knoydart in the far west of Scotland contain references to rain, wind, misery, danger and the reflective frustration of missing out on what is one of the grand days of walking in Britain.
Fortunately last week I was not only able to get out to Malham but also spend 10 hours on the fells above Dufton, near Appleby taking in High Cup Nick, Dufton Pike and Cross Fell itself. What a scorcher it was but what a pleasure to be able to sink to the dry and warm ground when I chose and soak in the sounds and sights of the mountains, the birdsong,the tinkle of the mountain streams and at the certain times the complete silence. Nothing else disturbed the senses. As an aside I am planning to do many more walks in what I am calling the Cumbrian Pennines over the next few weeks which will be a new section on the website – big hills, big walks and hopefully big, blue skies !
Just a word too for my new Berghaus Exterra Light Boots that I wore for the first time on Cross Fell – 10 hours on a mix of turf, rocky paths, tarmac and still comfortable as I sank in to the chair for a pint in Dufton. Surely that is what boots are all about!
However back to Ladhar Bheinn and my favourite days.One of my pastimes to while away a steep climb is to think about my favourite walks/climbs in an area. Last month it was the big circuits of the Lake District which I listed (find here) and this time it is my favourite walks in the Yorkshire Dales, I have not stuck to the present boundaries of the National Park because good walking does not stop at such arbitary lines, particularly in the Dales where the Forest of Bowland, Masham & Nidderdale and the Howgills deserve more than a mention. They may not all be your own favourites but I reckon they are top notch and I would defy anyone not to have a good day on them (at least when the sun is shining!).
They are in no particular order..
Gordale Scar and Malham Tarn
Moors of Carlton
Buckden Pike & Upper Wharfedale
The Lonely Howgills
Walking the Upper Nidd
Littondale & , two Wharfedale Valleys
Kisdon Fell & the Upper Swale
Ancient Castles of Mallerstang
Parlick & Fair Snape Fell
Ingleborough via Gaping Gill
10 Lakeland Classics. A list of my favourite 10 full day walks in the Lake District
Walking Holidays. Choose a walking holiday in the Lakes or the Dales, many choices.
Buses & Trains . Save on cost and hassle by looking at the Buses and Train options
Why go walking? Many good reasons to get off your backside and get out and about
Fell Top Assessors. What do they do and how are they funded
Windfarms – simply no need. As wind farms continue to be built why are we doing it?
Inspired by Autumn Watch? Some photography of animals in the countryside and the pleasures of limestone walking
Extending the National Parks. Views and news on the decision to extend the national parks of the Lakes & Dales
Using a map to navigate. Why using a map and compass adds so much to a good walk.
Walks for the family. How to educate your children to enjoy the great outdoors.
Away from the Crowds. Some tips and suggestions on where to still find peace and solitude when many walks are crowded out.
My favourite villages in the Dales. The villages in the Yorkshire Dales which are extra special.
Delighting in photos. Why it is so easy to enjoy photography these days.
More than just a walking heaven. Different reasons why people take to the fells and dales.
Watch out for the little blighters. Sheep ticks continue to be a growing menace.
Map Reading Skills on the decline. Impact of new technology on traditional navigation.
Hidden Yorkshire Dales. The joys of walking in my favourite lesser known dales.
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