It was an inauspicious start to an amazing walk. Within the first few minutes of starting on the 54-mile (87km) Nidderdale Way, I was a bit lost. My guidebook had directed me to walk down Mill Lane in Pateley Bridge before passing “between houses to reach a footpath that signs you up a narrow alley along the backs of houses.” I was now wandering around the cul-de-sac of Mill Lane wondering where the Nidderdale Way had disappeared to. The large number of signs on houses and gates proclaiming “private”, “no right of way” and “no footpath” suggested that I was not the first person to get confused about where to go, and that the people who had come before me had decided the way to go was through someone’s garden. Luckily, I spotted a small footpath sign pointing to an inconspicuous, narrow alley partly obscured by greenery.
I have sometimes wondered if I should write a guidebook of walks to do on days with poor weather. Walks without exposed summits and ridges that you might be blown off by high winds or on which you battle gusts that make it impossible to go in a straight line. Walks without paths that turn into quagmires in heavy rain. Walks that have points of interest within a few metres for when low level cloud means there is no chance of a stirring view across a valley. Although I have not put a single word on paper for this imagined guidebook, I have got a mental list of walks I can do on wet and windy days. Last week I tried out a new walk that I was thinking would be a good addition to this list.
The weather forecast for the Yorkshire Dales described itself as having high uncertainty, but seemed to have quite a lot of certainty that the day on which I was going on my walk would involve cold, strong winds and heavy rain. I therefore looked for an interesting walk that was either low or sheltered, and perhaps far enough from the Dales to avoid the worst of the weather. I found a walk that fitted that description in the Harrogate and Ilkley guidebook from the Walking in Yorkshire series of books. The walk was a loop from the Forestry England car park at Stainburn Moor that took in reservoirs, the remains of a castle, woods, and a bouldering venue I’d not been to. It seemed like a good bet, but ended up not being as enjoyable as I had hoped.
It’s been a while since I last wrote a blog post. The main reasons for this were that the pandemic, and actually getting Covid-19, made it hard or impossible to do the activities I normally write about here. Then there was moving house, and all the changes and work that brings. Thankfully, that move has brought many opportunities for climbing and walking as I’ve left London for the wonders of Yorkshire. I therefore have more to blog about, and so I’m returning to posting on The Severe Climber. Continue reading Somewhere New
A little over a year ago I returned to climbing outside after surgery on my knee. It felt absolutely great to be climbing again, but I knew I still had a way to get my strength and technique back to what they were. I did a lot better that weekend than I thought I might, but I did feel disappointed to not get up some problems. So last weekend I returned to Burbage to try those problems again. Continue reading “Trying Again and a Little Bit of History”
Sometimes rain on a climbing trip can be good thing. A couple of weeks ago, rain forced me to give up on climbing at The Roaches and instead go for a walk in the surrounding countryside. It turned out to be a great walk, going to places I had never been and seeing some fantastic sights. I hiked over Hen Cloud, past The Roaches, through the chasm of Lud’s Church, along the pretty River Dane, under The Hanging Stone, and back along the whole length of the Roaches ridge. The best bit was the amazing, clear views from The Roaches once the rain and cloud had cleared. Continue reading “Roaches – along and high”
The other weekend I got reminded that a great walk doesn’t have to be up the highest peak, or to a famous summit that everyone wants to tick off their list. I had a brilliant time walking up a hill that’s just lovely for being in a great location, a bit different, and with an interesting character. Continue reading A Lovely Hill
Windy, wet and grey – last weekend had a lot in common with other weekends I’ve spent in the Peak District at this time of year. It was still fun though, particularly as I set out to go to bits of the Peak District I’d not been to before. This meant heading around the edge of the moors to the East of Kinder Scout on Saturday. Continue reading “Windy Kinder”
With a knee injury (and resultant surgery) I didn’t get out as much as I would have liked in 2018. But I still had some great days climbing and walking. These photos give a sense of days. Continue reading My Climbing 2018 in Pictures
Sometimes the day works out better than you expect. The forecast last weekend was for low clouds and showers. That’s certainly how the day started out, but by the time I’d walked up to the edges and tors above the Derwent Valley a low autumn sun had broken through to create one of the best days I’ve had in the Peak District. Continue reading Low Autumn Sun
A piece of advice that I’ve read in lots of different places is that you should work at getting better at the things you are weak at if you want to become a better rock climber. The thinking behind this is that people tend to avoid the things they’re not very good at. A lack of practice means that you don’t get better at the thing they’re shunning and so continue to avoid it. Continue reading Working on my Weaknesses
Winter was ending by the time I turned up. The weather system nicknamed The Beast from the East by the media had combined with Storm Emma to bring freezing conditions, blizzards and strong winds to the UK. This late season storm had been the last blast of winter. Continue reading The End of Winter
Forecasts of 45mph winds, with gusts up to 65mph, meant that it didn’t seem like a good idea to climb a mountain in Snowdonia last weekend. So I decided to do some fairly low level walks. On the Saturday I walked from Capel Curig to the pass near Crimpiau, and down to Llyn Crafnant. Continue reading Rainbows and Waterfalls in Snowdonia