Sunday, 20th March 2016I decided I need to start getting some hills back into ye olde leggies and also needed some wild places. So I headed for the massively touristy Farndale.
The plan was to walk up to Rudland Rigg, do a loop round the top, then descend and return along the Daffodil river walk (of “I wandered lonely as a cloud" fame).
SatNav got me there okay and I pulled into what I thought was the car park only to see loads of cones dotted around. A helpful chap from the North Yorks. Moors National Park pointed me in the right direction – you know – straight in front of me – a mahooosive sign saying “Car Park this way” … doh! Epic Fail #1. Lesson learned = look further than your nose-end.
I paid my £2 for all day parking, observantly (this time) noted what time the Village Hall “bandstand” tea room closed, found the loos and off I pootled up the hill. I was quite impressed – I only stopped once to catch my breath and I wasn’t wheezing like back in my fag ash lil days. My calves protested a bit though. Soon enough, I reached my turn off:
So off I meandered along a well-surfaced farm track. So far so good. It was a gentle, steady uphill but I still stopped to enjoy the views opening out around me:
And then it all started to go wrong. Up until now, there were nice, blue arrows pointing me along the bridleway – you know – a track which horses and push bikes can go on? Blue arrows mean bridleway and all that (ie. no stiles). Remember that for later… Anyway, after a farm, the blue arrow pointed me across a field. My map said the bridleway went straight ahead but the arrow said different… so I followed the arrow assuming some sort of diversion was in place. Down a steep field to a stream. “Hang on a minute” I thought, “I’m not supposed to cross a stream”. But I did anyway. The stream was deeper than I thought and I got wet socks. Marvellous. Still unconvinced that I was on the right track but assumed it would join up with something somewhere, I started up the other side of the hill. Only then, once I had some views, did I look at my map properly and actually decide I really shouldn’t be where I was and I really should have just carried straight on the well-surfaced farm track. Epic Fail #2. Lesson Learned = ignore waymarkers, trust your instincts.
More wet sockage later and I was back on track (the proper track). I managed to waste half an hour doing that.
Pootling along the track I came to another marker point me straight on. I stared at it mistrustfully but it was right (this time). I soon came to a building called High Barn:
A lick o paint and a roof and it’d be worth a fortune. I had a bit of a poke around it (nowt much to see) before carrying on. Round the corner the arrow pointed me. All is good and round the corner I go. I see that (on my map) the bridleway leaves the track and, yayy, the arrow points me away from the track. So off I go. Over a stile I go and drop down to the beck as I’m supposed to be crossing it now-ish. Nope. No way of getting down to the actual beck due to a barbed wire fence. No worries, maybe I cross it in the next field. So over another stile I go. Has anybody spotted the errors of my navigation here yet? It wasn’t until I reached the third field that I thought “haaaang on a minute, I’m going in the wrong direction”. The beck should be on my left (it wasn’t) and I shouldn’t be able to see High Barn on my right. I should have crossed the beck by now and should be heading up the side of Rudland Rigg by now. I spotted a gate which lead back onto the well-made track so I decided to get back to where I knew I was (if you know what I mean). I passed High Barn (again) and turned off the track (again) went over the stile (again). [censored] what part of “bridleway” don’t I get? How the bluddi ‘ell is an ‘oss gonna get over a stile? This thought sort of glimmered in my brain cell as I was looking for ways down to the beck. Then I got in a mood with myself and headed back up to High Barn (for the third time) and sat on the wall to study my map properly – you know, the minute detail that looks blurry without glasses. Sure enough, I could then see that I needed to veer off the track only slightly before turning off to cross the beck. And, sure enough, when I did that *ta-daaaahhhhhh* a bridge:
So basically, I climbed 3 stiles and did 2 laps of some marshy, tussocky fields for absolutely NO reason whatsoever. Epic Fail #3. Lesson Learned = I’m a muppet.
Nice gnarly, fallen tree though:
Having crossed the beck (hoorrahhhhh) I headed up the steepening hillside, looking for a gate somewhere on my left. I found it and carried on. This hillside was steeper, gnarlier and squelchier than the other hill and my out of condition legs were getting a bit tired. I’d only done 2 chuffin’ miles by this point. But, the way was clear and I could see gates in all the right places and heading in the right direction so I carried on, stopping much more frequently. I reached the gate informing me I was entering access land and decided to take a bit of a breather and nibble a sarnie. It was trying to rain/mizzle and, after looking at how much further I had to go to complete the walk, I made an executive decision not to go any further so I dropped back down a little ways to find a sheltered spot and have my lunch “proper”. I sat there for ages listening to nothing but the muted gurgling of water on the hillside, the cak-cak-ing of an occasional grouse/pheasant and the wind blowing round the rocky outcrops. Big deep breath and “ahhh”, lovverrly.
My lunch stop views – Looking towards Rudland Rigg:
And looking back towards Low Mill:
Once I started getting a bit chilly I headed back downhill, across the beck, past High Barn (for the fourth time), onto the well-made track again and back down the road to Low Mill. Strangely enough, I decided not to follow my outbound route “to the letter” – I can’t think why not.
Back at the car park and I headed for the café. Never has a cuppa and a bun tasted so good. Reasonable prices and all home made. Nom nom nom nom nom.
So there you have it. Navigation at its finest
Thanks for reading