Nidderdale Way – Stage 1: Pateley Bridge to Lofthouse

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.

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A Walk for a Wet and Windy Day?

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.

Huts used by the University of Leeds in its Haverah Park experiment on the Scargill Reservoir access road. Menwith Hill and the Knabs Ridge wind farm are in the distance.

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.

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Somewhere New

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

Trying Again and a Little Bit of History

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”

Roaches – along and high

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”

Working on my Weaknesses

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