Western Howgills

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Saunterings:  Walking in North-West England

Saunterings is a set of reflections based upon walks around the counties of Cumbria, Lancashire and North Yorkshire in North-West England (as defined in the Preamble). Here is a list of all Saunterings so far.
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24.  Up Ingleborough with the Holiday Crowds

A popular walk is popular for a reason. Just because the last bank holiday of the year, with only one day with a good weather forecast, will cause crowds of people to tackle Ingleborough that is no excuse not to join them. What's more sensible, on a day of compulsory holiday idleness, than to wheeze and stagger up a mountain and, with luck, to hobble back down again?  So, with our car undergoing prolonged intensive care, we took the bus to Ingleton.

Whernside from the Fell Lane track up Ingleborough

It was a fairly early start and we saw nobody on the Fell Lane track for a while, apart from a couple of men already on the way down (show-offs). Then we were overtaken by a few walkers – but some were running (cheats). There were a fair number of people on the Ingleborough (723 metres) plateau, enjoying the fine views of Pendle, the Lake District, Whernside and Pen-y-ghent. I have little to add to what has already been written (sometimes by me, for example, in The Land of the Lune, Chapter 8) about the top of Ingleborough, and we have been there before a few times, so I won’t dally about here and we didn’t dally about there.

Whernside and the Ribblehead Viaduct from the top of Ingleborough

We headed down to Little Ingleborough and Gaping Gill, passing a growing stream of walkers puffing on their way up. It was all quite sociable. One or two warned us not to say “not far now” but mostly it was a sunny, holiday “hi”, and one woman asked us to confirm that they were indeed Lake District hills that she had skilfully espied off to the left. We had anticipated that a winch would be operating at Gaping Gill, as it usually is on bank holidays, but there was nothing happening. We hadn’t planned on going down Gaping Gill ourselves (see The Land of the Lune, Chapter 10), but we had imagined lounging around, amused by people descending into and emerging from the great abyss.

Ingleborough from Little Ingleborough

Gaping Gill

Gaping Gill

On the way down from Ingleborough we realised that because we had come by bus we didn’t need to return to Ingleton, as we had intended without thinking about it. We could continue to Clapham and get the bus there. That had the advantage of allowing us to walk through the gorge of Trow Gill, past Ingleborough Cave (with Beck Head nearby, where the Gaping Gill water emerges to form Clapham Beck) and along the trail through Clapdale Wood – a walk that Wainwright (1970) describes as “a classic”. We could then promenade amongst people who had no need of walking boots, backpacks, or walking sticks with integrated GPS and wi-fi.

We emerged from the wood to find that there is now a kiosk demanding £1 payment. In Wainwright’s day it was 6d (2½p) – and you could easily avoid finding someone to pay it to. But then Wainwright did have to pay for the bus.

    Date: August 25th 2018
    Start: SD694730, Ingleton Tourist Information Centre  (Map: OL2)
    Route: (linear) E, NE on B6255 – Fell Lane – E, NE – Crina Bottom, Ingleborough – S – Little Ingleborough – SE – Gaping Gill, Trow Gill – SE along Clapdale Drive – Clapham
    Distance: 8 miles;   Ascent: 575 metres

The two following items:
     26.   A Booze by Any Other Name
     25.   Mysterious Harkerside Moor
The two preceding items:
     23.   The Kentmere Diatomite
     22.   In the Lancashire Yorkshire Dales
Two nearby items:
     63.   These Are a Few of My Favourite 'Superficial Things': in Crummackdale
   152.   Is the Purple Saxifrage on Ingleborough in Flower Yet?
A list of all items so far:

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    © John Self, Drakkar Press, 2018-


Top photo: The western Howgills from Dillicar; Bottom photo: Blencathra from Great Mell Fell