Saturday, 11 February 2017

Yorkshire Dales Wild Camp 4-5/2/17

I'd been wanting a trip to the Yorkshire Dales for a while but the Lake District had always lured me away at the last minute, the combination of awesome Fells, Wainwrights to tick off and the same amount of travel time meant the Yorkshire Dales always came runner up.
Pulling into the parking area near Rawthey Bridge meant things were finally underway.
The weather was as forecast with low cloud occasionally giving way to show some snow on the top of Baugh Fell.
I set off just before 10:00 and joined the track which took me south east, it was pleasantly fresh out and I was excited about exploring somewhere new.

It was very wet underfoot and I eventually gave in and put my gaiters on, the bottom of my trousers were already soaked but they'd have plenty of time to dry out.

Looking back to Wandale Hill.

As I was yomping along the path I had a sudden thought, olive oil. I'd left the bloody olive oil in the car.

Despite holding off since I arrived, the rain began to fall so I took the opportunity to test my bothy bag out. I had a quick snack inside and shortly after I was on my way again.

Knowing the bridleway would come to an end fairly soon I elected to head straight over the moors. I climbed a steep bank and at the top realised that I'd lost a glove on the way up. It was risky to go back down the same route so I ditched my pack and found a gentler gradient to descend. Back at ground level I'd now lost which way I went up.
I took a guess and about half way up I spotted it over to the left, laying on the grass. There's something deeply frustrating about losing kit, regardless of its cost.
The tussocky ground was relentless which made progress super slow, lots of bogs needed to be walked around too, the bright green foliage indicating it would likely swallow a leg rather than just a boot.

As I neared the summit it began to snow so the bothy bag came to my rescue again. I sought refuge for a good twenty minutes whilst watching the snow fall through its window.
It petered out and I set off again, passing many small tarns on my way up onto the plateau.
My original plan was to camp somewhere on East Baugh Fell but my left leg was hurting so I called it a day and decided to stay where I was.
Once the Tornado was pitched and sleeping mat inflated I collected water for my stay.

Vango Tornado 200 with East Baugh Fell behind.
After getting togged up I hobbled around to explore and take some photos, the windchill was brutal and I'm sure it was on par with -10 that was forecast.

Pitched beside West Baugh Fell Tarn.

It was the perfect place to relax; a nice remote Fell with 360 degree views, I'd not passed a single person on today's walk either.

All togged up at camp.
Looking over the The Howgills.

Getting back to camp it was time to crack on with the burgers I'd brought with me, these were cooked with onion and covered with applewood smoked cheese, truly delicious! I washed them down with plenty of warm Robinsons as I'd not drank any fluid all day.

I turned in just as daylight was fading as I was certain there would be no clear skies tonight.
Despite the wind increasing and waking me during the night the tent stood its ground and I slept soundly.
I peered out at around 07:00 but there was no chance of a sunrise today, I nodded off again and awoke very late but feeling refreshed, my leg was no longer hurting which was a bonus.

At around lunchtime I finally departed and headed north east for Holmes Moss Hill, sleet threatened but amounted to nothing.
The descent down to the river was straightforward and didn't require too many detours.

Swarth Fell and Holmes Moss Hill.
Rawthey Gill.
A run and jump was needed to cross Rawthey Gill and I headed up the steep bank of Holmes Moss Hill.

Lots of different coloured fungi on a dry stone wall.
The walk up Holmes Moss Hill was hard work, the squidgy ground sapping every last bit of effort needed. The moody cloud eventually gave way to some cheerful light hitting Swarth Fell as I plodded on upwards.

Following the wall to Swarth Fell.
A small trail running across the hillside caught my attention and it was soon apparent what it was, a mouse trod!

A mouse footpath!
Looking back to Baugh Fell.
The final push onto Swarth Fell was a beast of an incline and every gram of my pack made its presence felt!
As I made it up onto the ridge of Swarth Fell the weather began to close in; navigation was foolproof though as walls and a clear path meant I couldn't go wrong.

Small shelter (or chair?!) near Swarth Fell summit.
A small detour took me to Swarth Fell summit and I continued in the clag towards Wild Boar Fell. Time was now getting on and the path seemed to take forever, eventually the large cairns loomed out of the clag and I knew there wasn't much further to walk.
I crossed over the ladder stile and took a quick bearing, following some footsteps towards the trig point on Wild Boar Fell.

The ground was mostly frozen but the odd patch of bog was determined to catch me out. The trig point eventually came into view and the clag momentarily parted to reveal my first views since getting up onto Swarth Fell.

I made the short steep descent down to Sand Tarn and as daylight began to fade I picked out a delightful little pitch beside the tarn. The tent was pitched and the wine went in the tarn to chill. Water was fetched and my bare hands were now annoyingly numb.

Once back inside gloves were donned and my hands painfully thawed. The Jetboil was fired up and a Real Turmat Chicken Curry was soon hydrating in its pouch.

The meal went down a treat and was followed by the solitary burger that I had left.
A glance outside revealed that the clag had cleared and I set off around the tarn knowing it might be my only chance at some night shots.
I'm not normally a fan of the moon as it ruins night shots, but on this occasion it lit the terrain nicely.

Sand Tarn looking epic in the darkness.
The wind dropped off completely for a short while which added to the calmness of my surroundings and gave a nice reflection to the tarn shots.

After a good forty minutes of taking photos the mist started to roll back in and I headed back to a frost covered tent. I was glad of taking the opportunity when I did, it's all too easy to sit inside your tent when it's really cold outside.

A warming brew was had with some chocolate and I headed to bed, snuggling into my feathery cocoon.

I awoke to a freezing heavy mist and after a quick coffee and bite to eat I began to pack my stuff up.

All that I left was the template of my tent. Leave no trace.
I set off around 09:00 heading south west across Ravenstonedale Common, the clag slowly began to clear and the Howgills drifted in and out of eyeshot.


Thankfully the ground was hard enough to stop me sinking into a large number of small streams that I had to cross on my way back down to civilisation.

The hard frost eventually gave way to a nice spring day as I made a beeline for the single-track road some way below.

Some interesting cloud over Wild Boar Fell.
The last two kilometres were by road and it felt weird to be on a solid surface again as I passed by the many impressive shakeholes beside the road.

The road steepened and joined up to the A683 where I crossed Rawthey Bridge and was back at the car.

All in all it was a good trip, I really enjoyed the Yorkshire Dales, it was a lot quieter than expected and despite a lot of poor visibility I still had a good time and took a fair amount of photographs.
I'll definitely be back soon to make the most of this wintery weather before spring fully takes hold :)