Sunday, 24 February 2013

Back in the hills

At the beginning of the week we got out for our first "proper" walk of the year.  Back to the windswept hill of Whernside in the Yorkshire Dales.  We packed a picnic and a couple of flasks (coffee for the grown ups and hot choc for the girlies), wrapped up and headed over the border.  It was glorious.  Really beautiful and sunny with blue skies but cold and crisp.  There was still quite a lot of snow on the hill tops and it felt almost like a winter expedition tramping over the still quite deep snow on the top.
Snowy Whernside in view
The really good thing about the recent cold weather is that it has hardened up all of the mud.  It's pretty boggy around this part of the Yorkshire Dales so a cold and crisp day was just the ticket for easy walking. That said, for the most part, the Whernside route is pretty good most of the way around.  There's just one part that is boggy and it was still quite snowy so good fun to cross on the way up.

The final haul up to the top is north-facing and there was lots of snow there.  We all felt quite intrepid trekking up through it all.  It was quite exciting.
Trekking up through the snow
Amazing views of snow and sunshine
We got to the top and stopped for our butties and very welcome hot drinks all huddled together like a family of penguins!  On the way back down we hit the more southerly flank of Whernside and the snow was much less here.
Heading back down the less snowy flank
And finally crossed the fields in the valley to reach the iconic Ribblehead Viaduct and the end of our walk.
Ribblehead Viaduct
The girls want to come again.  So do we. While it's not as visible as its neighbours (Ingleborough and Penyghent), windswept Whernside is always a pleasure to visit.

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