Tuesday, 28 May 2013

A Walk On the Whernside. . .

With our Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge looming, the Liverpud and I decided we needed to practice with a hike that took in at least one of the peaks.  And then the latest issue of Country Walking popped through our mail slot and lo and behold, it contained the perfect walk that led up Whernside, the highest of the three we're going to shortly be tackling (Walk 18 in the June 2013 issue)

This 12.5 mile Yorkshire Dales route began in the lovely little town of Dent with one of the nicest views that I've ever seen from a public car park. 

Dent is full of whitewashed cottages and cobblestones.

We followed a lovely path beside the River Dee for a few miles.

And then began a rather gradual ascent up Whernside with views of the Dent Valley behind us and the Settle-Carlisle railway line ahead.

About halfway along, we came to a lovely tarn.  You can just see the summit of Whernside in the distance.  I love coming across these tiny bodies of water nestled unexpectedly in the hills; they are so pretty and peaceful.

Despite the gorgeous weather on Sunday when we did this walk, we didn't encounter another hiker up to this point. What I liked about this walk was that it took a completely different route up Whernside than the one that the Three Peak challengers do which was perfect as I really didn't want to replicate too much of what's to come.  However, fairly close to the summit, we crossed over a stile and on the other side of the wall was the regular Three Peak Route. And all we could see was a queue of walkers stretching all the way down to the bottom.  We joined the line for the brief walk up to the top.

And the here's the view.  It was quite hazy out, but on a clearer day, you can probably see the other two peaks that make up the challenge.  Whernside is the highest (2415 feet) and the second climb of the usual Three Peaks route.

We quickly got off the main trail, taking a sharp right for our descent.  This next photo is near the bottom looking back at the summit.  It looks steep, but the path is quite grassy and it wasn't too bad on the knees.

The rest of the walk was along an easy bridleway back to Dent with the Dales landscape all around us.  It may not have the majesty of the Lake District but there's something very soothing and beautiful about the miles of empty space in every direction and it truly was a glorious day to be out in the fresh air.

Having tackled the highest peak now, I feel quite confident that we can do the challenge in the twelve hours - if we have good weather.  Though we only did half the mileage, the legs felt good and I could have kept going.  It was also great to test drive one of Country Walking's printed walks as we have a subscription and lots of back issues. As with any hike, I'd never go without also carrying an ordinance map and compass, but the directions for this walk were clear and the descriptions of the terrain were very useful.  Now we just have to cross our fingers and hope for as good a day for our challenge.

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