This is the fifth Ramsoc weekend to be mentioned in these pages – it’s Sue’s University Rambling Club reunion, ably organised by Sue W, this year for the 12th and last time, and before that by Mark and Janet, who cleverly absconded to Singapore in order to avoid the organisational stress (largely caused by a single person who was absent this year).
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By about 9.30, twelve of us were strolling through Kettlewell on a misty morning with autumn colours well on the way as we crossed the Wharfe to ascend gently above Knipe Scar, before heading down to Hawkswick and the River Skirfare.
A good path took us up beside Cote Gill, with good views back to Hawkswick and beyond. Elevenses were taken on a grassy bank before a stream crossing, after which the cleft of Cote Gill deepened to our left. We passed hundreds of slightly curious residents on the gentle ascent to Lee Gate.
An old lime kiln came and went and we got a bit spread out. Great Whernside’s summit lurked in the cloud behind us.
Lunch was taken at a path junction by Goredale Beck.
A splinter group then headed off in an abortive attempt to find a pyramid from which to view Malham Tarn, the day’s objective.
Others took the Monk's Road to get a view from there.
We soon caught up the main party again, beyond Middle House, having been delayed as much by an abortive lesson during which Mike failed to teach me how to plot a route on the Satmap GPS. (Well, I did plot a route, but immediately ‘lost’ it!)
The party was led by three wise monks on the road to Arncliffe, leaving any thought of the need for a GPS seeming curiously stupid.
Views up Littondale opened out as the skies cleared.
Arriving in Arncliffe at 3.30pm, there was no beer to be had as the Falcon’s landlady gleefully slammed her front door on twelve thirsty ramblers. Earlier, other members of our party had managed to gain sustenance here, on the strict understanding that ‘no hot drinks are available’. The feeling that soft drinks are also discouraged places this place into something of a time warp.
Arncliffe, a village of quirky pub, chickens on the village green, and all manner of domestic pets.
Soon we were labouring up the steep ascent of Old Cote Little Moor, and finally, with the exception of an exhausted backmarker, staggering in his Scarpa Manta winter boots under the weight of a fully laden 65 litre rucksack, the jolly band found themselves dancing back down to Kettlewell for much needed tea and cake.
Here’s our route - approx 23 km with 850 metres ascent, in 7.5 hours.
The cloudless morning view from the YHA’s fire escape was stunning.
As usual in such circumstances, we got off to a slow start, but eventually most of the group assembled outside the hostel for a photo call (see header image). I wonder how many of the group Mark and Janet will now recognise?
By around 10am, we were on the road to Grassington, soon stopping for views back to Kettlewell in the bright light.
We didn’t hurry, and there was certainly no need to do so, as a group of 20 of us lingered in Grassington’s car park for half an hour or so before the latecomers joined us at around 11 o’clock.
Sedber Lane, an ancient walled lane, leads down to the River Wharfe,
where a narrow suspension bridge and a series of weirs facilitate images of gleaming white water on a day like this.
The riverside path to Hebden showed the river in a more reflective mood.
Soon it was time for a geocaching interlude – Horatio Puddleduck now has over 500 caches to his name - and elevenses, with CCS and other delights. Lots.
Then we left Wharfedale and passed a cafe at Hebden, where some chose to take a short cut back to Grassington. It had already been a long day for them.
Seven stalwarts, freed from the constraints of distracted teenagers, chose to zoom up the lane by Hebden Beck to a convenient picnic table for lunch. Near here a bird of prey, probably a hen harrier, sat nearby, munching its own lunch.
Crossing the beck led to wet feet for some, but otherwise it was an easy stroll up through the debris of old lead workings to Yarnbury.
Then Moor Lane, a quiet road even on a busy Sunday, led happily downhill all the way, past a strange skeleton, to the fleshpots of Grassington and our onward journey home.
Here’s our route - 11 km, 200m ascent, 4 hours (feasibly quicker) – an easy half day stroll.
There are more pictures (and commentary) for anyone interested, in this slideshow.