Smardale Gill 290411

After a small breakfast of muesli and yoghurt and then a boiled egg, I left High Chapel House and parked up at Smardale Hall. There is a path through the National Nature Reserve which has pretty flowers but runs along a disused railway track and is quite boring and hard on the feet being Tarmac. You go past the site of the 1955 Smardale crash – apparently they only removed the remains in 2004!  You also go under the Settle Carlisle Smardale viaduct and then you come to the Smardale Gill viaduct which is on the dismantled line. I went round it so as to get better photos. The path off the line is pretty and winds along the beck to Smardale Bridge – a packhorse bridge. Then back up onto the line, over the viaduct itself and back. I liked the bits that were off the line better.

I then drove home, stopping to eat my sandwiches in sight of Wild Boar Fell and the cairns very prominent looking like people on the top.
I stopped in Hawes on the way but too full of motorbikes so left without lingering. I went past Pen-y-Ghent which I climbed on the day that Charles and Di got married and tried to drive through Settle but had to take a longer way round as they were having a street party. They had a street party there for Charles and Di back in 1981 but didn’t shut the road then. One of the Pen-y-Ghent party was craving a steak sandwich and this seemed an unlikely thing to find in the middle of the Dales on a bank holiday but actually she was in luck in Settle 30 years ago. Oh I can’t believe it was that long ago.
I skipped the steak sandwich for this royal wedding and got back with lots of time to prep the next day’s outing.
Smardale Gill viaduct
Smardale Gill viaduct
Smardale Bridge
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Wild Boar Fell 280411

I’m sleeping very well, was out like a light and woke at 7. Yelly gave me muesli and yoghurt and bacon, tomatoes and mushrooms and a double espresso.
Set off to Kirkby Stephen and went back to the Post Office for another ristretto. My order was remembered as so few people know what it is!
On the way to the walk I stopped at Pendragon Castle which sounds like it’s made up but is just a ruinous old ruin in a lovely spot with purple flowers on the ramparts. There’s not much to it really.
I parked up and set off having to micro nav the first section where there was no path. It worked out and I got onto a track which wound up to Little Fell where there is a row of 5 cairns overlooking the valley.
Next was Lower Dolphinsty and Higher Dolphinsty. Not a dolphin to be had up here.
Just carried on up the escarpment until nearly at the top and was about to take a short cut to the trig point but then decided to do the extra 5m to the tumulus. I spotted a whole long row of cairns on the edge of the fell which I would not have seen if I’d short cut. So I headed round to the cairn row. There are about 12 of them with a fence in the middle of them. They’re in a most impressive location overlooking the valley. Not as big as the 9 Standards.
From the cairns across to the trig and then back to another old old cairn for lunch. Cheese and cucumber today and a pear and an apple. I don’t like pears but ate it anyway as very juicy but it still tasted of pear drops!
It was pretty chilly in the wind up top but sunny all walk. I only saw 2 people in 4 hours.
I got back down quite quickly.
A nice easy walk and my knee much better for it. No gip today.
Whatever you do, do not buy Sainsbury blister plasters in the expectation they will be like Compeed. Do not be seduced by a BOGOF as they are totally shit. I can’t say enough how rubbish they are.
I went to the Cross Keys Temperance Inn for my dinner. This was quite an experience, as I walked into what was basically a sitting room full of people the Maitre d’ declared “Ah you’re the one!” as in table for one. Despite this, the other 2 tables with largish parties were pleasant and the proprietor was kind and told me about the Quaker and the Temperance history of the inn. He’s a Quaker and the inn is owned by the National Trust. You can bring your own booze and there’s no corkage charge. I had pate followed by beef stroganof. Dinner was nice but pricey compared with the previous evening. The proprietor gave some of his pals huge shots of whisky and I wished I’d been a pal but probably just as well not as had to drive a few miles back to Ravenstonedale.

370m ascent
Pendragon Castle


Bits of castle
Wild Boar Fell
Cairns on Wild Boar
Row of five
Hungry lambo
View from my window

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The Nine Standards 270411

I can remember hearing about these years ago and then was reminded more recently whilst watching Julia Bradbury on the C2C.

I hadn’t even taken in that they were so near to where I’m staying.
I woke at 7 and made a cup of tea. At 8.30 went down for a big breakfast of muesli and yoghurt followed by 2 very nice poached eggs on toast and grilled tomatoes and beans. Yelly gave me espresso so full marks for that. And a big packed lunch in case of danger of going more than an hour without food.
So I went into Kirkby Stephen and pootled for quite a surprising amount of time. I bought eye drops and batteries and went for a great ristretto in the Post Office which is the old Catholic church and has nice deli type food for sale.  Also put my head in the church which is jointly used by Catholics and Anglicans and just shows ecumenical ideas can work and have done so here for over 20 years.
I parked near the quarry and then walked for a good way along the road which wasn’t entirely necessary but did include passing a farm with 2 llamas. They did look odd with their long necks.
Just after the path to the Standards starts I had my lunch but could not eat it all so gave the birds some bread.
Carried on and before long got to the stones. They are very strange and are in good nick. I stopped for a bit but quite cold and windy so kept on to the trig point. Then I decided to cut across the dried out bog to Jack’s Standard. This was ok and then I did some serious nav and aimed at returning to the 9 Standards path. I met an old man with dog who suggested I go to the fell wall and down so I went with Frank aged nearly 80 who is ex farmer, milkman, climber, Mountain Rescue volunteer and all round mine of information. He showed me all sorts of things including a badger sett. We went to the end of the track where he had parked his car and where I should have. He then gave me a lift back to my car!
I drove back to Ravenstonedale for cake and tea followed by most powerful shower I’ve ever had.
Out and back to Kirkby Stephen to the Old Forge for much better dinner. I had beef carbonnade and it was also lots better than the one I made on Monday. It came with chips, new potatoes, swede mash, broccoli. And was cheaper than last night.
440m ascent
Heading up to Nine Standards Rigg, peat erosion

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Cautley Spout and the Calf 260411

A leisurely start to my 4 day trip to the Howgills and Dales. I parked at the Cross Keys Temperance Inn (more on this later). I was feeling tired despite the regular exercise and a good sleep so looked at the Spout which seemed to be spouting about half way up the cliff and decided just to go up and see it close to and then return. The Spout actually starts at the top of the cliff. It was a situation where I thought I would just go a little bit further and then a bit more. Once I was at the top about 600m I continued along the path of Red Gill Beck. When I checked the map it seemed pointless to come all this way and not go to the Calf. So I carried on up the side of Force Gill Beck. At the top of the beck I saw the only people on the walk. They had passed me as I ate my lunch and come up widdershins to my clockwise route. I trotted up to the Calf. Still fine but very cold in the wind. I was glad of my new Millet, not Millets jacket and also new Smartwool merino socks. Excellent. Jacket light as feather and kept me warm. I rang my B&B with ETA from the Calf as good signal. On the map to get down you have to go over a kilometre and then turn back on yourself. I could see the path I wanted so did a short cut by the side of a beck. Then it was a short descent to the plain where there are remains of an Iron Age settlement.

I drove up to High Chapel House in Ravenstonedale pronounced Rissendall of course. Yelly very welcoming. Nice comfy billet.
Walked down to Black Swan and had olives and feta cheese then Tuscan chicken which was ok not madly brilliant and enormous portion so I could not eat it all.
500m ascent
Evil sheep blocking my path
The Spout
From the Calf, pillows of Howgills
Lovely horses

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