WINTER WANDER - 21.2.10

COME-ON-BARRIE, WE'RE FREEZING

Leader Barrie reports:

Ten of us, including Mike Deane, a guest from Northampton, gathered beside Ravenstonedale School. Contrary to the forecast it was snowing already although it had not been expected until afternoon. Well weather-proofed we set off to explore this quiet area tucked away under the northern flank of the Howgills.

The village was left behind as we crossed the normally busy A685 although traffic this morning was having a Sunday morning lie-in. Then it was up over Ravenstonedale Park, nicely snow covered already, and down into Smardale where we paused to admire the magnificent Smardale Gill Viaduct. This is now minus railway but carries a high level path into Smardale Nature Reserve where a pair of roe deer were spotted heading away from us across the Gill.

The railway path was followed through the reserve under another impressive viaduct which carries the Settle to Carlisle line. Then it was uphill again into sleepy Crosby Garrett to cross the main line again and into ancient Ladle Lane.
The snow gently coated us as we descended steeply into Potts Valley where we perched on rocks from a tumbled limestone outcrop to quickly eat our sarnies. Potts Valley was left behind as we passed Mazon Wath to reach Sunbiggin Tarn, now well frozen and snow covered.

A change of direction next as we turned homewards to cross Ravenstondale Moor. We re-joined the snow covered road which we had met earlier at Mazon Wath before finding another old lane which took us back towards Smardale. The last mile or so was across frozen fields and, this time, under the main road back to our cars. A quick change out of our wet boots we retired to the nearby Black Swan to enjoy refreshments.

Everyone agreed that the snow had been an added bonus for the day, adding picturesque beauty to this part of old Westmorland.

01. DOWN INTO POTTS VALLEY 02. LUNCHTIME 03. POTTS VALLEY 04. WINTER WONDERLAND 05. SUNBIGGIN TARN 06. SMARDALE GILL VIADUCT - ON A SUNNY DAY!!