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Picture of Doodle - a 
black cat

Welcome to Doodlecat, where we enjoy the pleasures of life (with a slight bias towards the outdoors). This page is regularly updated with news and views plus information about any additions or changes to the various parts of the site. It acts as Doodlecat’s Blog too, so the odd rant considered opinion may pop up from time to time.

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Monday, March 14, 2011

A weekend in the North

Thursday saw us motoring to the Yorkshire Dales for a couple of days R&R courtesy of the excellent Rick & Lindsey. And boy did we need a bit of relaxation once we finally arrived, having spent a not very happy hour or two on and escaping from a blocked A1 - it was a windy day and lorries seemed to be toppling all over the place. We heard on the radio that one poor soul had been killed by a capsized truck in Leeds town centre, which certainly put our moans and groans into perspective.

But we were delighted to arrive in good time to share an evening and splendid dinner in the good company of  Peter and Avril Goddard (aka Mr & Mrs Grumpy). Peter is a veteran of the TGO Challenge, and you can read about some of his early crossings in the TGO section. Avril will be manning Challenge control for the first week of this year's event, giving advice and encouragement as well as helping to ensure that 300 plus individualists are where they should be ... er, more or less.

Wine was taken - stories swapped. Bed and oblivion followed.

What better way to kick off the new day than a brisk walk before the inevitable Yorkshire rain drifted in? Fortunately no imagination was required on my part as our neighbour, an expatriate Yorkshire lass, had given us the latest copy of the Dalesman magazine, which happened to have a walk of just the right length starting a short distance away at Chapel le Dale - so off we went accompanied by Lindsey and Rick whose duties as a Park Ranger had him assiduously picking up any litter encountered en route (not too much I'm pleased to say).

Map of the walk
Map of walk from Chapel le Dale over Twistleton

It's an ideal excursion for a morning or afternoon, shown on the map by the yellow highlight. We followed it in an anti clockwise direction. Navigation presents no problems, except maybe in mist or darkness on the higher part (although why you would want to do it in the mist or in the dark beats me). Although undemanding, it is quite interesting, and I do like a bit of interest in a walk. The walk proper starts by turning right just after the church. For those interested in things subterranean, Hurtle Pot can be peered into with a short diversion from the track, but as this involves hanging on to a rope on a steep muddy and slippery slope above a seemingly bottomless pit ... I decided to give it a miss and failed to mention its attractions to my companions. Plus of course, Hurtle Pot is the lair of the Boggart, who can sometimes be heard roaring and crashing far below.

picture of metal sculpture
The Archer

A little higher up the lane is a sculpture called "The Archer" by a chap described as the "well known scuptor, Charles l'Anson". Not so well known that his name had reached my ears, but an interesting piece of modernism, made more interesting by its recent history. As I had a bit of camera shake when  took the picture, here is what is inscribed on the plaque below it:
For years a statue stood on this spot until it was vandalised on Saturday August 27th 1983 and subsequently found in thirty foot of water at the bottom of Hurtle Pot. A team of divers made the recovery and it has been erected again as found. It was originally the creation of the late Charles l’Anson the well known sculptor and artist. Only time will tell if the spirit of the BOGGARD of HURTLE POT is enshrined in the statue.

view of Whernside
Whernside lit by a shaft of sunlight

Passing the statue, past Gill Head farm we emerged from the woodland for a fine view of Whernside lit up by a shaft of sunlight as we headed up to Ellerbeck Gill. Away to the right we had an uncluttered view of the Ribblehead viaduct, many of whose builders lie buried in the small graveyard that we saw as we made our way past the church.
dilapidated railway trucks once used as shelters
Railway relics by Ellerbeck Gill
At Ellerbeck Gill our route reached the line of  an old packhorse route to Ingleton, and we turned left to follow it gently uphill to the limestone pavements that lie above Twisleton Scars.  These are quite extensive and scattered with large erratics - boulders left by the retreating ice sheet at the close of the last Ice Age. All around are 'shake holes', holes in the ground where the rock has fallen through into underground chambers and tunnels carved through the limestone by thousands of years of rainfall. Some are filled in with debris and mere depressions in the ground - others look as though a false step could have you plummeting into the bowels of the earth. I view these with suspicion; MissW was happy to poke and prod at them whilst standing inside, risking life, limb and abduction by boggards (note to self - must increase her life insurance).

a shake holeTini emerges from shake hole

From L to R: A spectacular shake hole - Miss W emerges from another shake hole - the pony path descends to Scar End

As the path enters the exposed limestone, so it becomes a defined stony track. On the descent we took care to follow the path the "wrong way" towards Kingsdale, knowing that this was the 'zig' before the 'zag' that dropped us onto the green lane, from where we headed on to Oddies Lane, an old roman road. The walk back along the old roman road to the start point is quite scenic and pleasant. A road walk, but hardly tarmac bashing in this rural backwater. I love abandoned machinery and ramshackle buildings, and Twisleton Dale House provided both. A gloriously asymmetrical edifice, slowly crumbling along with its associated bits of farmyard machinery and weathered misspelt signs displaying highly optimistic parking fees.
abandoned tractor at Twistleton Dale House
Little grey Fergie ends its days at Twistleton Dale House

memorial to railway workersBack at the car we took a little time to explore the tiny church. Although so many of the workers and their families from the shanty towns that grew up around the great viaduct are buried here, there are no marked graves. In the church is a tablet to their memory, and there is a small, quite recent memorial near the large sunken area where their remains lie.

Then, after a good dinner with Paul and Sue, with whom we shared our holiday on Harris last year we had one more nights rest before setting off to the TGO reunion dinner at the Snake Pass Inn on Saturday. I was delighted to find that the beer prices there still compare favourably with prices in the south (£2.50 for a pint as opposed to £2.90 here) so I set about saving as much money as I could ;-)

I would say that it was a splendid weekend, but on our return on Sunday we had some sad news. We walk a couple of dogs for the Cinnamon Trust, and one of our charges, a delightful black Labrador Retriever called Barney had died whilst we were away. We had been out with Barney the very morning that we set off and he had really enjoyed his last walk. Barney had been ill with cancer for some time, and it was a real shame that we weren't around to say goodbye. He was a cheerful chap who enjoyed life and got a lot out of his walks in the local forests - right up to the end. A lovely companion, we know his mistress will miss him.

Here he is, looking cheerful, wearing my TGO cap.

Barney the black Labrador
Barney - died 11th March 2011

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fascinating terrain...thankfully we don't come across that sort of narsty hole in the ground in this part of the world. FD would end up wedged half way down.

Gutted to hear about Barney - he looked a real character. It was only a few days ago too that you mentioned (on my blog) that you walked the two labs. I reckon that one will be missed.

March 15, 2011 at 7:50 PM  
Blogger Phil said...

Yes, we'll miss the old dawg. His pal Alfie is doing a grand job in cheering up his mistress though :-)

March 16, 2011 at 2:27 PM  
Anonymous Whitespider1066 said...

It's amazing what a big hole the mutts leave in our lives. Still miss Bud.
My thoughts are with Barneys owners, and you did saybthe best good bye possible to him, you had that last walk.

April 12, 2011 at 8:42 PM  
Blogger Phil said...

Quite right, Darren, he did enjoy his last outing. Still miss the old chap though.

April 13, 2011 at 9:44 AM  

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