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A winter scene in the Dales. Looking towards Ingleborough from Sulber Nick. Climbs of Ingleborough start from Horton or Ribblehead. We run these walks throughout the year.

Wharton Hall in the valley visited on walks from Kirkby Stephen. A favourite venue for many easier walks.



Weekends 2005

Please click on the links below to read the full reports

25-28 March Eskdale (Cumbria) 3 nights
26-29 August Peebles (Scotland) 3 nights
21-23 October

Yarm (Teesside) 2 nights

Eskdale 25-28 March 2005

(Photo by Martin Housley)

From over the passes and round by the coast or Ulpha a host of walkers converged on the Bower House Inn on Good Friday. Some immediately departed to conquer the surrounding fells. Others dallied on the Eskdale railway or sampled such delights as Wharram Percy on the way. A warm welcome awaited everyone and the food was excellent. Replete and filled with information about the following day, some trod the light fantastic on the dance floor until it was obvious that age had to give way to the beauty of the locals. Retirement to the bar or to bed seemed to be the only other options.


'A' Walk Click on the links below to view the Photos

1. 'A' party leaving Eskdale
2. Climbing up to Birther
3. A well-earned coffee at Birther Falls
4. Sunday's objective - Sca Fell
5. Where the hell are we??
6. Ascending towards Ulpha Fell
7. View from Harter Fell
8. Descending from Harter Fell to Hardknott
9. Ancient Brits in a Roman Fort
10. Legionnaires on Parade
11. The only ray of sunshine in England?
12. A dry crossing
13. Looking back at Sca Fell
14. Spring sunshine near Kepple Cragg

(Photos 1, 6, 8 and 14 by Ian Hull - remainder by Martin Housley)

Saturday dawned brightly enough for some people to wear shorts and everyone was booted up and ready to go at 9.30. 'A' party took the bus up the valley to Brook House and after a gentle start, began the climb in earnest. Memories of a navigation weekend were revived as we sloshed past Low Birker tarn towards Ulpha Fell. But now the real goal was in view and loins were girded to conquer Harter Fell. And this we did, with much puffing and panting and sideways lurching up vertical grass. The reward was lunch at the top and far-reaching views. The energetic in the party rushed up to the trig point. From there, as leaders always say, it was downhill all the way - and what a long way. Culture was included with a visit to the Roman Fort at Hardknott and entertainment was provided by the various vehicles going over the pass. Eventually, to some people's delight , we reached the George IV pub. Others, fearing they would never get going again if they stopped, kept plodding on to the hotel and a hot bath.

'B' Walk

No transport for the hardy 'B' party, led by Harry, they walked all the way from the hotel!! A short stretch of road led to the lane up the picturesque valley of Miterdale. Light cloud soon cleared and the sun peeped out, and at the coffee stop, cags and sweaters came off. Now on a path, a long, steady climb, with the odd breather, led up the open fell of Tongue Moor and on the descent towards Burnmoor Tarn, superb views ("A scene without a counterpart in Lakeland"-A. Wainwright). of Great Gable, Scafell Pikes, etc., and with binoculars, at lunch, Nancy was convinced she could see Richard on Harter Fell! Circumnavigating the tarn, we sloshed and bog trotted toward Eel Tarn before hitting solid ground and the lane down to the aptly named hamlet of Boot and the alcoholic/tea delights of the "Boot Inn". (from Boot, one anonymous member called Alan took the train back!!). From here, a pleasant path along the River Esk, led to a minor road back to Eskdale Green. A bonus, just before the hotel, was the sight of about 20 magnificent hounds start off on a drag race - if only we could go up a fell side at their speed. Maybe, Martin can!!
A most enjoyable day.

'C' Walk

A small group of limpers and 'C' party members set off with a map and certainly had a good time but nobody is quite sure where they went. The only fact gleaned is that they came up against a fence and had to retreat.

The day ended with a quiz in which a team of DalesRailers , 'The weary warriors', known for their deep funds of knowledge, managed to win a prize. Honour was satisfied.


A' Walk Click on the links below to view the Photos

1. Heading for Cam Spout Crag
2. En route to Sca Fell
3. Climbing up to Foxes Tarn
4. The summit of Sca Fell
5. Burnmoor Tarn

(Photos by Ian Hull)

This was to be the big day for the 'A' party, the ascent of Scafell. Again we took the bus along the valley but this time to Wha House. The climb started almost immediately and got steeper. Disaster struck when the honorary leader pointed out that we would have to go back down and start again on a lower path in order to circumnavigate a rather deep gully. We reversed and set our sights on Cam Spout Crag from where we clambered like goats up How Beck waterfall. More exciting things were to come, although by this time the cheetah of the party had vanished into the mist in a flash of red and sticks never to be seen again until we gathered in the bar in the evening. The rest of us scrambled man and womanfully up a steep gully to Foxes Tarn and then continued to the top on a steep path of the one step forward two steps back variety. Unfortunately, there were no views, so we slithered crabwise and bottomwise down the boulders and over the marsh to Burnmoor Tarn. Miterdale was next and was uneventful except for a steep slither sideways and the chairman on his knees in a stream. Who was he trying to placate?

'B' Walk Click on the links below to view the Photos

1. The La'al Ratty Minature Steam Train
2. Railway Turntable
3. A local Eskdale character

(Photos by Eric Bottomley)

The weather was not as nice as yesterday, much cooler and overcast, when the 'B's, led by Richard set off (no bus, again!!). over the northeast shoulder of Muncaster Fell and into the Esk Valley. Soon, light rain began to fall, and on a good track through the woods, a woodpecker was heard. As we were passing the golf course, the sun came out for a while, but by the time we had traversed a long, straight, steep path up to Chapel Hill, with views of the Esk Estuary and open sea, it had over clouded again. A short stretch of main road, passing Muncaster Castle, through some woods and across the odd field, led us into Ravenglass. Hard place to describe. Just one street, parallel to the sea, a main line station and the terminus of the narrow gauge "Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway", known as "Ratty". Here, the party split with the hardier members deciding to walk back and the "softies" catching the train. (Unfortunately, some time had to be spent in a local hostelry, as there was an hour to wait!!) Quite an experience in a packed, open carriage - thank goodness for cagoules. An interesting day.


Click on the links below to view the Photos

1. Coffee stop on Brantrake
2. Sellafield from near Devoke water
3. Devoke Water
4. Suspension bridge over River Esk
5. Near Fell End

(Photos by Ian Hull)

By this time several people had gone their own way home or to pastures new. A mixed group of 'A' and 'B' walkers remained to taste the delights of a 9?, 11? mile stroll to Devoke Water and back. Once Brant Rake and Water Crag (aptly named) had been conquered, the heart and the lungs could relax a bit and we could enjoy the tremendous views of the Dunnerdale Fells. We could even see where the top of Scafell was, modestly hiding itself in mist again. We made for Stanley Force but somehow missed it, but we did find the suspension bridge across the River Esk and successfully navigated our way back to the hotel.

After seeing the mixed party off, the elite four remaining members drove to Boot and parked in the station yard. With Philip leading, the intention was to cross the Esk by the stepping stones by Boots seventeenth-century parish church of St. Catherine (well worth a visit) but was thwarted by high water. A short back track to Beckfoot Bridge, soon brought us to a narrow, wooded ravine and the path up to Dalegarth Force. A sixty foot leap, described in an early guidebook as "the finest waterfall in Lakeland". At the top of the ravine the route went up and across open fell before turning at Whinsop Bridge. A spectacular panorama but the tops of the high peaks seen on Saturday were marred by cloud. Lunch was taken on a very soggy patch of ground, free from rocks, below Hartley Crag. A very steep but short descent brought us to the path up to Doctor Bridge and the riverside path back to Boot. Refreshments were taken in the station café - surprisingly tea and coffee!! Thanks to Phil for a very good day.

A really good weekend in a splendid hotel. Three successful days of hillwalking and good food to boot. Thanks as always to Lewis and Yvonne for their tireless efforts in making these weekends so enjoyable and to all the leaders who helped to guide us over the fells.

(Reports by Diane Exley & Trevor Grimston)


Peebles 26 - 29 August 2005

Please click on the links below to view the Photos

1. Ascent from Peebles
2. Heading for the ubiquitous trees
3. Getting nearer
4. Dunslair Heights
5. The Horrendous Descent

(Photos by Trevor Grimston)

A relatively small but perfectly formed group of DalesRailers set off for Peebles bright and early on FRIDAY morning. The Bingley bypass and the A65 were conquered and even the M6 presented no troubles. A stop for refreshment and town trails in Penrith and a fine run through Scotland enabled us to arrive by 3.30pm. Some took to the water, some to the cricket and some to their beds. Golfers in the party looked longingly at the Green but decided to save themselves for the walking. The early evening echoed with the sound of heads hitting the floor in amazement as bills for drinks were presented, but the meal was delicious and anyway, we were on holiday, weren't we?

SATURDAY dawned, but not very promisingly. However, we are made of stern stuff. We girded our loins, some in shorts and others in longs, and set off for the hills. 'A' party climbed the old Drove Road out of Peebles and after twenty minutes thought they had got to the top. This was an optical illusion of the kind we have experienced before. Eventually Kalzie Hill was reached and then the gentle summits seemed to go on for ever until the leader cried 'Stop, follow me.' And we did. Unfortunately so did the mist - the proverbial Scotch mist. Half an hour later, after the statutory yomp, we had regained our position and attained the heights of Glenrath. The skies cleared and the valley lay below us. As time advanced, the beer drinkers lined up for the final press to Peebles. Tea drinkers fell to the back. All arrived safely at the hotel to enjoy another meal and a drink.

(Diane Exley)

The day dawned dry and bright but with a chilly breeze, which did not deter some of the hardier members from bearing their legs. After a hearty breakfast, the coach deposited about 17 members in Peebles. The Tree Walk!! The party, led by Alan Jagger (doing it "cold"), backed up by Brian Binns, climbed steadily towards Whitfold Hill, soon to enter an area of seemingly endless pine plantation! The forestry tracks were easily followed but some paths were extremely difficult to see never mind find, and lack of signs at junctions made navigation for the leader very difficult at times. The "gently rolling hills" mentioned in the guide must have "rolled up" quite considerably since it was written!! A coffee stop at "Shieldgreen", a house in the middle of nowhere, was followed by an unremitting slog up towards the radio mast on Dunslair Heights (1,975ft.). It started to rain before we got there and lunch was taken deep in the shelter of the trees - useful for once. By the time we reached the mast we were in cloud, so no views as 'advertised'. On the descent, a missed "Walkers Prohibited" sign saw us on a mountain bike track and were nearly mown down by some obviously fearless (or mad) riders - a hasty right angle escape to a vague path. For a short while a misty view of some soggy moorland, before a horrendously steep, grass, no footholds descent, which some of the ladies found very daunting. (A leaflet obtained later, warned of strict caution at this point!!). Plunging back into the trees, where else, the map showed a bewildering selection of tracks. Essential to pin point the right one, the G.P.S. came into its own. The descent, albeit quite a zig-zag, was quite pleasant as the sun came out, but we still couldn't see much. The intention of walking into Peebles had to be abandoned because the use of the only viable footbridge was once again for mountain bikes only!! With the original planned route having to be modified, we 'hit' the main road nearer to the hotel than our intended finish, so while most of the party meandered back to base, poor Alan had to walk into Peebles to explain why we weren't there at the arranged time. An interesting walk for tree lovers. Many thanks to Alan and Brian.

(Trevor Grimston)

Three enterprising individuals eschewed both the 'A' and the 'B' parties and made their way round Peebles, took a turn along the river and generally enjoyed themselves.

SUNDAY lowered into view with a howling wind and incipient rain. The brave stuck to their shorts and the wimps wore three layers. 'A' party was taken to Innerleithen where we immediately dived into the forest and proceeded onwards and upwards. Reaching the astounding height of 1647ft, the guide book assured us that there would be 'several short, stiff climbs ahead but nothing to match what you have just conquered.' We were now allegedly on the roof of the world. The roof.,however, was of an uneven habit and might even have had a slate or two missing as we plunged and rose over the heathered moors. The promised excellent views of Edinburgh and the Pentland Hills did not materialise and the well-known phenomenon of mist, driving rain and howling wind coincided at a crucial point. The skills of navigation were sorely tested. GPS's appeared, consultations were held and everyone gazed forlornly into nothingness. All was not lost, however, and after a good yomp the trig point on Dundreich was reached and we fell to kissing it as if it were the Blarney stone. Downhill all the way was the cry and we set to with a will, the vision of the sparkling draught clear in the minds of the frontrunners. Readers, the pub was closed and it was raining. Luckily our excellent coach driver arrived on time and another day of excitement on the hills was over.

(Diane Exley)

The 'B' party took the coach to Peebles to start our walk led by Derek, with the sky looking ominously dark and threatening all kinds of awful portents. This was enough to encourage a few members to slope off and sample the delights of the environs around Peebles. However, 13 stalwarts with waterproofs at the ready started the ascent of Cademuir Hill (403m) and its Iron Age forts. This actually turned out to be a pleasant ascent as the rain never really materialised although it was very gusty which added a bit of atmosphere to the proceedings. Good views from the top, even a glimpse of blue sky while having a welcome coffee stop just below one of the tops. Descending by easy grassy slopes towards Kirkton Manor, we encouraged a group of D. of E. Award Scheme teenagers who were going up heavily laden and trying to look as if they were actually enjoying themselves. Back in the valley by the Manor Water, we found picnic tables awaiting, so settled down (minus waterproofs) for a comfortable early lunch. Afterwards, walking towards the River Tweed we picked up the Tweed Way for a pleasant walk by the river, stopping to admire the work of the Victorian bridge builders before making a short ascent to have a look at Neidpath Castle, an imposing 14th century tower house. Continuing back to the river we reached Peebles in plenty of time for a cuppa etc. Some of us caught the public bus back to the Cardona whilst Alan and Kath, who obviously felt they hadn't done enough, spurned transport and walked back to the hotel. All in all a pleasant walk enjoyed by everyone - thank you Derek.

(Harry Hoyle)

On MONDAY a 6 mile walk for all was promised. Those who did not participate were granted the delights of Galashiels, cashmere factory and Gala House included. The weather was beautiful - isn't it always when you are on the way home? - and all arrived at the coach for the speed back to Yorkshire.As usual the weekend was superbly organised by the tireless Lewis and Yvonne. Our thanks to them and the other leaders and backups who helped to make the weekend such a success - a professional team!

(Diane Exley)

And so to Monday…After another excellent breakfast, bar bills settled (gulp) and bags packed, eighteen choose to explore the delights of Galashiels while the remainder were dropped off to walk six miles over the hills, along the Southern Upland Way, to Galashiels.Was that an otter we saw swimming along the River Tweed? Our resident ornithologist declared it a giant squirrel - surely he was having us on! The views of the rolling hills across to Eildon (fond memories of the Melrose weekend) were excellent and the weather was good, finally. All too soon Galashiels came into view and Lewis led us straight to the coach, conveniently/coincidentally parked at where the walk emerged, a neat piece of navigation here, enabling us to have a quick drink before departing. The coach made excellent time and we were soon back in Yorkshire. Once again our thanks go to Yvonne and Lewis for an enjoyable and challenging weekend.

(Diane Taylor)


Yarm 21 - 23 October 2005

The rain was torrential but 40+ members of the Friends of DalesRail steered their various ways to Yarm on FRIDAY. It was a bit disappointing to find that the beautiful Georgian buildings of Yarm were hidden behind the gipsy caravans and the miscellaneous exciting machines which went to make up Yarm Fair.

However, the hotel was a delight - comfortable rooms and very helpful staff. And best of all was the leisure centre where those who felt that they were not already wet enough decided to go the whole hog and get wet all over. Many options were available and full advantage was taken of all of them including a relaxing vibrator, we understand. Dinner followed and was judged a success and we prepared for the morrow hoping that the skies would clear a bit.

They did not. We woke to streaming rain on SATURDAY and, waterproofed to the eyeballs, we put our best foot forward and stepped into the coach. 'A' party alighted at Battersby Junction and steamed vertically up to the Cleveland Way. Rumour had it that there were very good views from the top and indeed, as we progressed, forests and vales came floating tantalisingly into view for minutes at a time. There were even times when the rain stopped and people's heads appeared from beneath hoods. A late, but well planned lunch at Kildale Station was enlivened by the sight of one of the thrice daily trains passing through. More excitement was to follow as we struck out for Captain Cook's monument at the dizzy height of 324m. Roseberry Topping beckoned us next, looking much more mountain-like as we approached than when seen from afar. After that there was no holding us and we made a quick dash to the comfort of the teashop and pub at Great Ayton - where it was still raining hard.

(Diane Exley)

* Please click on the links below to view the photos from the 'A' Walk

1. Setting off from Battersby
2. Battersby Moor
3. View from above
4. Descending to Kildale
5. Kildale Station
6. Through the Woods
7. Roseberry Topping
8. En route to Great Ayton

(Photos by Ian Hull)

The 'B' group (28 in number) debussed in Great Ayton into pouring rain and the rattle of unfurling umbrellas filled the air. Not a very encouraging start. Led by Brian Hall (backed up by Alan Jagger) with the unenviable task of navigating an unknown route from a written description. As usual, finding the way out of town wasn't easy. Along muddy field paths, up slippery ones through the woods, we finally got sight of our first objective, mist shrouded Roseberry Topping, looking rather daunting. After negotiating a nasty little slippery bank, a steep zig zag but well laid path led to the summit. By this time the rain had stopped (for a while), and the mist had cleared, so distant views, albeit hazy, were possible, and a dry coffee stop. After the inevitable photographs to prove we'd done it, an equally firm but very uneven zig zag descent before another climb to a ridge, where once again the rain siled down all the way along, but stopped just before lunch in an official picnic area. Those at the front were lucky enough to get seats at the only two tables. From here, a wide track led up to Captain Cook's monument, a very impressive obelisk, passing on the way, a memorial to the crew of an RAF plan that crashed here during the war. The last descent along a treacherous squelchy, muddy track, a steep path through the woods, then over soggy fields, brought us at last to terra firma, the road back to Great Ayton and rest and relaxation, in the bar of the "Royal Oak". Unfortunately, the rain had spoilt what was obviously an interesting and very scenic walk and Brian did marvellously well in the conditions and many thanks to him and Alan.

* Please click on the links below to view the photos from the 'B' Walk

1. En-route to Roseberry Topping
2. Approaching Roseberry Topping
3. Ascent of Roseberry Topping
4. Summit Trig Point
5. Summit
6. Descent
7. Captain Cook Monument
8. Descent to Great Ayton

(Report and photos by Trevor Grimston)

SUNDAY dawned misty and obscure. The optimists thought it was clearing up but those in the know set off for the comforts of home. 'A' party clambered up to the Cleveland Way from Osmotherley and set off over Black Hambleton, not so much black as white and misty. The pheasants knew a thing or two and wisely kept to the valley. The going was easy but the viewing was blurred. The leader promised to stop before Sutton Bank and we almost believed her. However, an executive decision was taken at the turn off for Kepwick and we sidled down the road to the valley and then to the comparative comfort of the churchyard at Nether Silton for lunch. As we made our way to the interestingly isolated church of Over Silton shades of the grassy fields of Leek sprang to mind, although the slurry was of better quality and depth and the stiles definitely required a more acrobatic disposition. Osmotherley was soon reached and, after rest and refreshment at the watering holes, we made our various ways home to be greeted by sunshine!

(Diane Exley)

* Please click on the links below to view the photos from the 'A' Walk

1. Through Oak Dale & up Thimbleby Moor
2. Enjoying the climb!
3. Still enjoying the climb!!
4. Kepwick Moor
5. Cracking the Da Vinci Code near Nether Silton
6. Isolated church at Over Silton
7. Final resting place

(Photos by Ian Hull)

The 'B' party - ably led by Richard and Nancy - started from Mount Grace Priory, which has to be reached by taking a sudden and rather sharp turn-off from the busy A19 - so sudden that one or two members overshot the junction and then roared into the car park at the last minute, almost wiping out yours truly, but that's another story. We made our way up through Mount Grace Wood and wended our way to the delightful village of Osmotherley with its award-winning public toilets where even the graffiti was relegated to being on post-it notes, so as not to damage the décor. A charming little path led us between the houses and then up again - or should it be down? - no it's up - no, not that little stile on the right, that path's too flat - keep on going up! Soon we were rewarded with a coffee stop and a view overlooking Osmotherley, before continuing up to emerge on to a thankfully level track in between forest and the edge of the moors. Now, why doesn't everyone love moorland walking like I do, I pondered, as the drizzle continued to stream down and the mist closed in from the nearby fells, obscuring what little view there might have been.

Now the path turned downwards with the promise of better things to come, as we dropped to the road and car park, where today even the usual ice cream van feared to tread - instead there were just a couple of local dogs thrashing about happily in the aptly named "Sheepwash" beck. Shortly afterwards we rejoined the Cleveland Way at Scarth Nick and although our lunch stop couldn't quite be described as dry, we nevertheless had a view of some of the countryside below - with a possible glimpse of Roseberry Topping - the site of yesterday's labours! As we set off on the last leg (or was it last legs?) the weather was undeniably improving. We followed a pleasant and reasonably level track before going down through the forest to rejoin the path back to the Priory where people dispersed to either the café, pub in Osmotherley or began the trip home. The latter of course ended in glorious weather with the sun virtually cracking the flags by the time I reached Lancashire. Another excellent weekend - thanks to Lewis and Yvonne and the leaders - as we proved once again that the weather won't beat us. Mind you, it had a hell of a good try!

(Philip Birtwistle)

Beautiful countryside, well-planned walks and the comforts of a well run hotel made this a very enjoyable weekend. We may not have made it to the wedding disco or the Fair but who needs extras like that? Thanks to the leaders and backups for their extra work on our behalf and thanks to Lewis and Yvonne for their organisational expertise and attention to detail in the planning of the weekend.

(Diane Exley)

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