Friday, 20 July 2012

Up and over

Eventually, I got fed up of sitting on sharp bits of spiky limestone and decided to stretch my legs. Having not climbed down then up on my last visit to Malham Cove, the obvious choice was to amble my way up to the top.

Rather than trudge the steps up the left arm of the formation, I passed through a small gate and climbed up from the end of the ledge, following a small, fairly indistinct path up the right edge. 

About two thirds of the way up, I discovered a perfect flat topped rock to sit on and admire the view.

Small irregular fields bordered by dry stone walls are a common sight in the Dales, as are the multitude of little stone barns.

Continuing up to the top, I scrambled over the lip of the Cove and discovered the reason for the indistinctness of the path; barbed wire and a large 'Do not enter' sign. Good job there was another way down!

Meanwhile, I took another good look at the limestone pavement, managing to spot some ferns this time (as well as more nettles).

The view from the top is still stunning and rather more sunny than the last time I was here!

By now, you've probably worked out that I like sheep!

Through the gap and down the steps - best go down the legitimate way :)

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Malham again?

I went back to Malham!

Only this time, we approached from the bottom...

and so, here is the classic view of Malham Cove...

complete with two lads laden with climbing gear.

The UK has seen rather a lot of rain this 'summer'; something to do with the gulf stream we're told. Whatever the cause, it's upped the levels of a lot of our watercourses and Malham Beck is no exception...

If you look closely, you may be able to make out the streaks of rain adding to the volume of the Emergence.

Limestone, being a permeable rock, has many channels and tunnels which have been eroded over millennia. Behind the face of Malham Cove are many such channels, to the extent that,within this rock, two separate streams cross without merging; this one, and the stream that flows from Malham Tarn, one and a half miles to the north. The latter emerges below the village of Malham and forms the source of the River Aire.

I spent a good part of the day perched on this ledge above the emergence. I have to confess that it was not my favourite spot, being narrow, sloping, rather slippery in parts and sadly lacking in comfortable places to sit!

On the other hand, the outlook was rather pretty!

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

A Windermere evening

There are few things more beautiful than an evening by water.

Bellies satisfyingly full, we watched the sun sinking slowly over Windermere.

Sailing boats barely stirred on the stillness of the water.

...and the Langdale giants slumbered.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Gorge walking

Over the past few weeks, I've been spending some time up in the beautiful English Lake District, helping my eldest son to move out of his university accommodation.

Of course, it wasn't all work and one fine afternoon, Mark suggested we head over to Rydal Beck and try a little gorge walking.

What an inspired suggestion!

After days of rain, the tree lined beck was full; water surging down the narrow gullies and pouring over the waterfalls. It was a perfect day for scrambling over slippery rocks and throwing ourselves into deep pools.

The Lower Pool:

Mark springing from the bridge handrail

Ben flinging himself off the rock.

My turn.

Then, it was up the gorge, eventually arriving at the biggest jump. 

Interesting to see the different methods we use to silence the 'Are you crazy? I'm not doing that!" voices in our head.

(49 seconds)

...and you have no idea how long I stood at the top!!!

After a short absence, I'm delighted to be linking this to Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday, where the letter of the week is 'G'.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Jomo lead with a view from the top

While we were at Trowbarrow, the lads took me up a V Diff called Jomo.

Ben lead the first pitch and I followed. So far, the climbing was pretty straightforward

Pitch two was my turn to lead, with Ben flexing his muscles on belay.

It wasn't til I was reaching the top that I spotted a small obstacle. I don't do overhangs; especially not at that kind of height!!
(Picture taken from the ground later on - some random climber who has no idea I took his photo - hee hee)

In the end, it wasn't quite as bad as it looked. The worst bit was actually dangling from the roof with nothing more than a toe on a pebble of the side wall. I won't pretend it was pretty, but with a little coaching from Mark, I managed to top the roof. You can see the relief :) 

It was an awfully long way down!

An old, dead, but very solid, tree stump provided an anchor to set up the belay and Ben followed me up.

The view from the top was beautiful; the top end of Morecambe Bay. The two little dots on the horizon are Heysham nuclear power station. Next to the reactors is the terminal for the Isle of Man ferry. When I was a third year student in Lancaster, I had a room on the 6th floor of the tower block. During my final teaching practice, when I was sitting at my desk completing lesson plans, I would see the lights of the 23.55 ferry pull away from the town and track down the shoreline to avoid the sandbanks, before eventually turning into the Irish Sea for the crossing. 

Morecambe Bay is very shallow, meaning that the tide goes out for miles leaving vast areas of sand. At certain times of the year, walkers gather to complete the Cross Bay Walk, for which it is absolutely essential to have a guide. Some of that sand is treacherous!

View admiration over, there was only one way down. Ben went first...

followed by Mark...

leaving me all fastened in and ready to go last of all :)

Fun :)

Sunday, 1 July 2012


In the last couple of weeks, I have been putting in some serious milage up and down the M6 to Cumbria. First trip, Ben had finished his exams, so I took him up to stay with Mark and then, second trip, there was the collection and move out as Mark has finished year 2 of Uni and needed to clear his room.

Of course, I took the opportunity to spend a couple of nights up there each time and, of course, we went climbing; we always go climbing!

This is Trowbarrow, just outside the Lake District, near Silverdale at the top end of Morecambe Bay. Once a limestone quarry, Trowbarrow is now a Local Nature Reserve and a Site of Special Scientific Interest, mainly because of the fossils in the rock. Climbing is allowed, but there are restrictions on abseiling down certain walls.

A notice board by the entrance gave some information about the quarry.

Limestone extraction first began here in 1857 after the building of the Carnforth-Ulverston railway. Work continued for just over 100 years and was done entirely by hand throughout that time!

The work was done from the top down, using ropes to lower off the crag face. Holes were drilled and explosives laid. After blasting, the rock was broken down with sledgehammers, pickaxes and crowbars, loaded into trucks and lowered down the incline to the railway.

In an experimental procedure, the limestone quarried from Trowbarrow was mixed with hot tar from the gas works in Carnforth and, in 1904, used to surface Blackpool promenade.

Since quarrying ceased, Trowbarrow has become a refuge for wildlife, including grasses and orchids, but also some mammals which are finding it increasingly difficult to find habitats on farmland.

All day long, people were telling me they'd seen rabbits. I sat and I watched and I scanned the undersides of boulders...

Finally, as we were walking out at the end of the day!

I spotted rabbits :)