Leader : John Borrill. Distance : 8.5 miles
Left click route & profile to enlarge
Bill reports :-
They said it would rain— It rained, and how?
We must be …… mad (expletive deleted) was the consensus among the 5 brave souls assembled at EDW but then it has long been known that walkers are a little short of perspicacity when it comes to our hobby. So off we went.
The 75 minute journey through some of the north’s greatest countryside is something best left unrecorded as the stair rod rain restricted viewing to nothing other than racing windscreen wipers. But we made it and duly met up with our leader John in the people shelter adjacent the car park in Grassington, our venue in Upper Wharfedale for the day.
Wrapped like north sea fisherman and looking somewhat bedraggled from the start we set off initially walking through the charming old part of the village heading due north along the Dales Way past empty picnic tables in places, with one or two miserable canines cowering under and wondering why they had bothered.
After a short while we left both the village and the Dales Way and entered on to rough grassland to begin what was to be a gradual 300m climb to the interestingly named Bare House which in addition to being the high spot of the day was also (so said our leader) the point after which it was all downhill.
For a short while during our ascent the rain abated allowing us to take in the majesty of our surroundings. The area is noted for its drystone walls and many had to be traversed on our journey and it was amazing to wonder how they had coped with the ravages of time and weather in such remote areas. Stiles too, often the bane of walkers, had been immaculately maintained making crossings at least fairly comfortable.
On reaching Bare House, a long deserted farmstead our leader considered we might take a short period of shelter from the elements. Alas, “the best laid plans of mice and men” we had been gazumped by a family of sheep who sensibly had taken root.
Undaunted and after a short puff break we about turned and began to descent in a SE direction heading for our scheduled lunch stop at Yarnbury with its nearby small circular bronze age Henge. The track was genuinely down and whilst wet, we had no navigational difficulties.
Lunch was taken ‘al fresco’, as if we had a choice, but a conveniently situated bench seat allowed a modicum of comfort for some.
We were now on the edge of the famous and extensive Grassington lead mine workings scarring the landscape almost as far as the eye could see. The major economy driver of this area of the dales from the 17th to 19th century the works relics are maintained for generations to explore and appreciate.
Post lunch we continued for a while on a fairly substantial old mine track still descending and heading East for a while until on reaching a valley bottom we met up with the bubbling Hebden Beck which was to be our companion travelling south until we reached the village from whence its name.
Despite the inclement weather the pursuit of the beck was quite delightful. Occasionally tricky in places especially when a crossing was necessary it was nevertheless fascinating to follow in the footsteps of those miners whose livelihood was carved out in the environs.
The final part of the journey towards Hebden took us across grassy land passing the famous fish farm on the way. On reaching the village itself we actually had our first sight of the day of the River Wharf which, while high, was flowing quite gently. Then with the village behind us we turned smartly right onto what was to be the last leg of our trip and we re-joined the Dales Way which follows the river passing Linton and the Cathedral of the Dales on its southern bank. We left the Way finally at the small bridge over the Linton weir, pausing for a while to take in the magnificent view, before climbing the short stone path back to the visitors centre again.
Wet and bedraggled for sure but nevertheless invigorated after another excellent exploration of our wonderful dales. The journey home was well wet- but after all they said it would be.