My first hilly day walk of the year! At last I had the confidence to break out of 'Lockdown' and head to the hills. Despite travelling through rush hour, traffic was light and I arrived in Dent at 10 am as planned. The high street was pretty much deserted, but there were quite a few cars in the car park, which seemed quite happy to extract £4.50 from me 'for local causes'.
Just down the road, a bit further down than shown above, a café was open, but apparently the pubs have not re-opened and it's not yet possible to get a draught beer around here.
I zeroed my gadgets and set off past the sparsely occupied campsite. Meadow Cranesbill graced the verges.
There was also lots of Red Campion, Willowherbs, and many more flowers.
The fields were being raked today, here with a view towards Calf Top.
I followed the Dales High Way route up to Long Moor.
Curious, but timid, this lot looked like fine specimens.
I think this is Elder [no, it's Meadowsweet - Thanks Buryman], joining the Meadow Cranesbill in the verges of a thin strip of rising tarmac.
From Long Moor, a somewhat squishy path led gently upwards to the east. This picture was taken from the east, with the Howgill fells in the background.
I'd driven through a deluge around Preston, and there were showers in the area, but luckily I spent all day taking advantage of the 95% forecast chance of no precipitation, and I benefited from having the cool breeze on my back.
The day was very clear, with good visibility to Sedbergh and beyond. (Click on any image for a better version.)
Views towards the Howgill fells became clearer as I got slowly higher.
A large flock of what looked at first like starlings didn't get close enough for me to identify the birds.
However, there were lots of Meadow Pipits
So I conclude that the flock was in fact one of Meadow Pipits.
Near the summit, which due to the convex nature of the hill is only seen at the last minute, the squishy ground led to a stile where I was glad not to be in Andrew's company. I might have had to abandon him!
Over the other side of the stile, the 556 metre trig point finally came into view.
From Dent, taking this clockwise route, it took 7 km and two hours, including a short tea break, to reach the top. The descent would be twice as far, and would take me another four hours, including breaks.
There are good views SE to the unmistakable outline of Pen-y-Ghent, and a couple of stately viaducts on the Settle to Appleby railway line.
To the NE, Garsdale and Great Shunner Fell.
After nearly 3 km of bog dodging, the terrain became much firmer, with grazed grassland providing a home for a range of wild flowers, including Marsh Thistle,
and many more, including Tormentil and Yellow Pimpernel.
This Lapwing appeared most perturbed by my presence.
I was not entirely alone on the hill. Kim and Colin, from Nuneaton, reached the top soon after me and on the way down we stopped to chat, and walked together for a while. It was good to have their company on the descent to the Dales Way route, where I paused to finish off my flask of tea.
Kim and Colin had earlier seen both a Barn Owl, and a Short-eared Owl. I was envious, having noted only Grey Wagtails by the river, a Buzzard high overhead, and a Kestrel hunting at the summit before I got there. Mind you, as we were chatting, I did see a stoat running across the fell behind us.
This splendid barn near Cowgill looks as if it's used for storage. A small cat hid behind the door as I passed.
Beside Ewegales campsite, and further on at Rivling, an assortment of machinery has been abandoned to the elements. I've not had a chance to offer any tractor pictures for a while, so here they all are...
Despite them all looking like wrecks, the tyres seem to be well inflated. There was a Land Rover with no engine, but otherwise looking as if it was ready to drive away!
From here, my route followed the Dales Way, except where I missed the path and took a very pleasant walled lane instead.
Some of these Foxgloves were about seven feet high!
Some fields had no wild flowers at all, just grass. Others looked like this one, with its abundance of Dandelions.
The hedgerow where I missed the path (perhaps they distracted me) sported some lovely specimens of Giant Bellflower, with Harebells also in evidence nearby.
The Dales Way is, in normal times, a well used path. In these far from normal times it has become seriously overgrown in places.
This next picture shows a dog walker about to cross the river towards me. I'd met her earlier going in the other direction, so I'm not sure how she got there!
It was nearly 4 o'clock by the time I reached Church Bridge, on the outskirts of Dent, from where it was an easy stroll along a path towards the campsite, and a narrow ginnel beside it, to regain the main street and return to the car park.
Well, that was a most satisfying day out. Here's my route - 21 km with 550 metres ascent, taking around 6 hours.
Finally, 'Hello' to Kim and Colin, if you read this far. I do hope you have a successful summer and that your plans come to satisfactory fruition.