Muker

Meadows and Tornadoes

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I’d seen pictures of the beautiful meadows in Muker on a facebook group I follow and knew they were somewhere I had to see with my own eyes, so today we packed up the car and off we went.

The weather was quite cloudy when we set off but by the time we’d got into the heart of the Dales, the sun had come out and it was glorious. We drove through the beautiful scenery, passing well known places along the way, including the iconic Kilnsey Crag (another place I’m yet to explore).

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After an hour or so, we reached the delightful village of Muker. We parked at the far end of the village at the roadside (we don’t like having to pay to park in the main car parks).

The village itself was typical of the quaint Yorkshire Dales villages I know and love, with a charming church, cosy cottages and traditional farmhouses.

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We made our way up through the village, passing an art gallery, a pub and the village store with an attached tea rooms as we went.

The winding road soon led us to what we had been waiting for – the most beautiful meadows I have ever seen. The wild flowers covered the ground with vibrant colour, each one appearing to shimmer in the sunshine.

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As I was taking my photos, I looked across the hills and saw thick, black clouds in the distance.

Within minutes we heard a loud rumble of thunder, Bobby heard it too and was already pulling us back the way we’d come before we had time to even think about it.

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Thankfully we made it back to the car before any sign of rain. Just as we were about to set off, I noticed a strange shaped cloud in the sky.

The more I looked, the closer it seemed to get and I could now see that it wasn’t just a cloud – it was a more like a tornado!!!

With it came the rain, well by rain I mean a torrential downpour with thunder and lightening – definitely time to head for home.

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Whernside

Our second of the Yorkshire Three Peaks

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Following the successful completion of Pen-y-Ghent a few weeks ago, we’d got the bug for climbing all of the Yorkshire Three Peaks and we decided to try Whernside next – the biggest of the three.

The weather forecast seemed to be OK, a bit cloudy but not much chance of rain and warm enough, so we packed our rucksacks and aimed for the Ribblehead Viaduct.

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It was very busy when we arrived with lots of people a third of the way through the Three Peaks Challenge – how they do all three at once is a miracle to me!!

We made our way up the path, stopping as usual to take pictures of the views. We soon came to the Blea Moor Signal Box, one of the many focal points along the way.

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From here we passed over some stepping stones, well not really, the stream was more of a trickle so I just went straight through it.

The next iconic point was the impressive aqueduct which carries a stream over the Settle to Carlisle Railway, together with the Blea Moor Tunnel – the longest tunnel on the line.

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The sun had started to come out from behind the clouds now, making the scenery even more beautiful.

We made our way slowly up some steep steps, pausing to admire the delightful Force Gill waterfall and then ‘having a minute’ at the top.

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Whernside’s summit was now clearly visible and we could see a steady line of people walking along the ridge.

The clouds had started to gather again, which actually was a welcome relief as it was getting quite warm. We took the opportunity to stop and eat our lunch whilst looking out over the tarn and down towards Ingleborough and Pen-y-Ghent.

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The path started to get quite steep from here but we were nearly there! The only thing that was keeping us from that trig point at the top was the wind.

I have never experienced wind quite like it, it was unbearable at some points. I got the majority of the dust from the path in my eyes, ears and mouth, and had to cling on to to my glasses for fear of them blowing away, Alex took his off!! Poor Bobby’s ears were flapping about so much that he could have used them as wings.

By the time we finally reached the trig point, all we wanted to do was shelter and thankfully the good old, dry stone wall provided just that.

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After a brief stop, we braced ourselves then started our descent. The views over to the Lake District and Morecambe were clearly visible from here but I was too scared to take many pictures for fear of my phone being whisked away by the wind.

The path down was quite rocky and steep in places but to my surprise, I managed quite well. I must be getting used to it now!

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Finally we made it onto the flat path, where the end (Ribblehead) was in sight.

At this point, I was starting to flag a bit. The sun was hot, we’d walked around eight miles and we’d been out for almost five hours.

A random car that had obviously taken a wrong turn drove by and I asked the driver for a lift  – bless him, he did say we could get in but we couldn’t give up now could we? Well I could to be honest but Alex was still fine.

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We reached a crossroads and instead of going with our gut instincts, we made the mistake of asking someone the way. Yes, you guessed, it was the opposite direction to where we should be heading!

Thankfully there was a nice little cafe around the corner so we refuelled there before making the decision that I would stop and wait with Bobby while Alex trekked back for the car along the main road. Little did we know, that ‘trek’ was three miles long!!!

He made it though and it was such a relief to see our car come over the brew of the hill – almost like a rescue mission for me.

We headed home but called in to the Pen-y-Ghent cafe en route to reward ourselves with another badge 😂

Two out of three done – Ingleborough next…

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Malham Cove

Something a bit different for a Monday evening

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We’ve lived in Gargrave for over two years now and have driven alongside Malham Cove numerous times, however, despite it only being twenty minutes away, we’d never actually visited – until one random Monday evening a few weeks ago.

Our thoughts were that it would be nice and quiet, without the usual hoards of visitors. We certainly weren’t wrong.

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After parking in the village, we ventured up the road and into the estate. We’d probably seen one other person in that time.

A nice, easy walk along the path led us straight to the foot of the cove. It was here that the sheer enormity of it became apparent.

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Apart from a few Peregrines circling above and the echo of our feet scrambling over the dry riverbed, it was silent – just as we’d hoped.

Alex and Bobby climbed up on to a ledge while I looked on in fear (you can just about see them in the pic below). I did attempt to do it once they came back down but didn’t quite make it and had to scramble back down on my bum!

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Recovering from my scrambling panic (this seems to be a recurring theme), I spent a while taking my usual hundreds of photos.

We then made our way back along the path, briefly stopping to watch a rabbit run through the fields – I say briefly because Bobby had seen it too!

Before getting back in the car, we had a quick look around the village. It’s so much easier to enjoy its charm when the crowds aren’t there.

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Oxenber and Wharfe Woods

The Beautiful Bluebells

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I’ve always had a love for bluebells, they remind me of when I was little and my sister and I used to walk through the woods near our school, picking them as a gift for our Mum.

During May, the bluebells are in abundance in the Dales but within Oxenber and Wharfe Woods they are something else.

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A friend had recommended this walk to me, so a few weeks ago, when the weather was glorious, we decided to give it a go.

We headed towards the charming village of Feizor, which was full of people with seemingly the same idea as us. After a few U-turns, we finally found a parking space and set off up the lane, enjoying the limestone scenery along the way.

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At the top of the lane, we were met with the glorious view of Pen-y-Ghent in the distance. Once again I filled with pride at the fact that I’d made it to the top of one of the Yorkshire Three Peaks just a week before.

It was also here that we found an entrance into the woods. Once over the stile, we were greeted with a carpet of purple – I’ve honestly never seen so many bluebells in my life.

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It was almost like entering a magical world, somewhere that you would find fairies and mythical creatures living. The smell too was amazing.

We walked further into the woods, admiring more and more beautiful wild flowers and breath-taking views, including that of Ingleborough looking majestic as always.

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As time went on, I could feel my neck starting to burn in the sunshine (a regular occurance despite being covered in sun tan lotion), so we decided to head back the way we came and stop off at the delightful Elaine’s Tea Rooms for a refreshing glass of lemonade.

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Pen-Y-Ghent

Our first attempt at one of the Yorkshire Three Peaks

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It was a lovely, sunny day on the 13th May 2018 – not too hot and a nice, light breeze was gently blowing. We’d talked about attempting Pen-y-Ghent for a while and today was the perfect day to do just that.

We parked on the roadside at Horton in Ribblesdale and made our way along the side of the church yard, across the beck and towards the primary school, pausing to admire ‘the perfect seat’.

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From here, we followed the lane, went through a gate and onto the path.

It was a steep climb but stopping to appreciate the stunning views every now and then made it easier.

Following a further stop for lunch (good old cheese butties), we continued up the steep steps where the summit became clearly visible.

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We were nearly there!!

This was when the hard part came and one which almost made me give up – the scramble.

Most people found it relatively easy but my fear of climbing and heights, together with my worry over Bobby falling down, caused me to panic.

After a few pathetic tears, I pulled myself together and got on with it. I’m so glad I did because the feeling of pride, mixed with the incredible views on reaching the trig point made it all worth it.

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Knowing there was no way that I could go back the way I had come up, we opted for the longer, but easier decline back to Horton in Ribblesdale, taking in the views of Hunt and Hull Pot, as well as the iconic Ribblehead Viaduct and Whernside in the distance.

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We finally arrived back at our starting point just over four hours later – not bad for a six and a half mile walk with lots of stops, a dog who sniffs every blade of grass, my panic incident and our first attempt at one of the Yorkshire Three Peaks!!

To celebrate, we had an ice cream at the brilliant Pen-y-Ghent cafe where I also bought myself a badge 😊

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