Saturday 21 July 2018
Leader Dug Bell
Photos John Jones
A group of seven members, two guests and Bess left Stainforth at 9.30am on an overcast and some what cool day for this summer.
A ‘10 mile’ route was planned (which turned out a tadd longer – but that’s another story) walking north from Stainforth, picking up the Pennine Way on the lower slopes of Pen-y-ghent and following south over Fountains Fell towards Malham Tarn, before returning to Stainforth via Catrigg Force.
We left Stainforth taking a small foot path north through pasture and climbing steadily up onto the open moor towards Pen -y-ghent. As we climbed we could see that the tops were cloud covered – Pen-y-ghent never clearing during the day.
We picked up the Pennine Way at Churn Mill Hole (A large sink hole on a fault line which runs from Sulber Nick the other side of Ribblesdale) and followed to the road at Dale Head where a short break was had.
The Stainforth – Halton Gill road took us north for about a mile, before turning right to begin the steady climb up Fountains Fell (668 m – 2190 ft). We reached the summit for 12.30 and lunch. Views back towards Pen-y-ghent are normally spectacular, but today somewhat subdued due to the cloud cover. For us the cloud had lifted off the summit of Fountains Fell and views could be had north and east over towards Wharfedale, Buckden Pike and Great Whernside.
It was on the summit where we met out first group of ‘Duke of Edinburgh’s - a group of lads from London – maybe it was a North/South thing or strange old fogies out walking, but they were somewhat difficult to engage with, and despite being volunteers, did not look like they were enjoying their expedition challenge – well out of their comfort zone. By contrast the group of girls from Hull, who we passed on the descent, were enthusiastic and full of beans.
The steady descent was on a good path and very soon there were long distance views of Malham Tarn. Once at the Malham – Arncliffe Road we then left it immediately to climb, on a nice grassy path, over Knowe Fell. The path then took us down to the Langcliffe road which we followed for about a mile, before turning right across undulating field to the final descent down a stoney lane into Stainforth for 4.15pm. (Passing Catrigg Force – normally worth a short detour)
Well earned refreshment was taken at the Craven Heifer in the village, before returning home. (Three of us having an excellent fish supper in Settle on the way home.)
Apologies for the 10 ‘Dougie’ miles – the route was slightly underestimated in distance – (I must invest in a longer piece of string!)