Grimwith Reservoir,

Walkers:


Andy, Norman, John, Val, Glenn, Helen, Dave, a couple from West Yorks group and a Lady from the Malhamdale area(Apologies for not remembering names).
We all assembled at the rather picturesque picnic spot at Grimworth Reser in the steadily warming sunshine. Sunscreen was slathered over various exposed bits of flesh(and there was plenty) and we were on the off heading over the dam wall and huge expanse of Open moorland that stretched before us. I did quiz Dave as to where we were going and when he told us the main objective was Great Whernside I overheard a few gasps of surprise that we were heading that far. Personally I was looking forward to heading out this way as the area is superb..A real feeling of remoteness and a quick glance at the map demonstrates the vast expanse of nothingness in this area. We were soon in an area of former lead mine desolateness. This area above Yarnbury was a former hive of Lead mining activity and the toxic spoil that has been left behind is testament to what was an illustrious industry. Although not quite as barren or vast as the mines above Gunnerside in Swaledale the poisonous spoil still ensures very little grows in this area. Having said that it’s a fascinating area. Soon we were climbing high above Grassington moor and soon left the mines behind. The sun was getting warmer and we appeared to be the only people on the moor….Just the call of the curlew, the cry of the Lapwing and John excitedly talking about the hundred broke the silence
We were making excellent progress and soon dropped down to the scars at the entrance to Mossdale Caverns for a mid morning break. Despite the lovely weather this is a very solemn area as unbeknown to some it was the scene of the worlds worse caving tragedy in 1967.I enjoyed caving in my youth and the incident always fascinated me(in a morbid sense).The system basically consist of 10k of crawling, body sized passages. It also floods severely. Unfortunately 6 men were caught out during a flood and were instantly killed. Their remains are still in Mossdale and are buried in high level Mud caverns deep inside the system in a part of the cave that does not flood. This was carried out weeks later by the cavers friends as a final mark of respect. The permission is no longer granted to enter Mossdale but exploration still goes on in an unofficial capacity. I regaled the tale while we were scoffing sarnies….
Info on the tragedy and rescue attempt can be found here:-
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/this-britain/what-lies-beneath-mossdale-caving-disaster-794268.html
So,on that happy note we were soon on our way up the Bridleway and onto Conistone Moor. This gained plenty of height and all too soon we were yomping our way up to the rocky summit of Great Whernside. The views from here were superb although slightly marred by a heat haze.
Lunch was to be had here but due to a very slight chilly breeze we all hunkered down among rocks.
Thankfully conversation was a little more light hearted after my mournful morning break tale and we were back to the usual banter and general micky taking.
Once refreshed we started the steep descent off the west edge and headed towards the rather luxurious scout hut at Hagg Dyke. We even crossed the last remnants of the Winter snow.
On the skyline we could see some form of ‘kite thing’ …Andy mused as to whether it was a UFO…unfortunately it was not as interesting as this and was in fact a ‘kite thing’… This was at the Scout Hut….we were expecting some skilled kite master wrestling with his lines as he tried to perfect the ultimate Ariel stunt….but nope it was tethered to a land rover while 3 or 4 youths looked on….then it crashed!(Kite not land Rover)
Dave then did what I consider one of the cruellest things a walk leader can do to his charges……descended us down the steep sided valley of Dowber gill …only to have us climbing out the other side..rotter!!....The plus side was I could bore those in my vicinity of the unique nature of the cave system of Providence Pot…an entrance that is in the stream bed of the Valley and travels through the hill side and emerges in the next valley along…The’ interesting’ thing is the system contains a passage that is perfectly straight for about 1500m….but is one of the hardest passages to negotiate in the UK…again, further reading can be found here:-
http://www.braemoor.co.uk/caving/dowbergill.shtml
Thankfully after our little lungbusting climb we were soon on a superb grassy track high above the Dales way…The views were far reaching all the way down Wharfedale. We soon reached the Trig Point at Capplestone gate and started the steep descent to the Bycliffe Rd. I think we were all starting to tire now..except Norman of course who still managed to run to the front…Then Dave did the second cruellest thing a walk leader can do to his charges…announce that the walk was going to be more like 22-23 miles!!!....on the other hand this ranks crueller than dipping in and out of valleys!!
A well earned afternoon rest was to be had Yarnbury…John was press ganging the good people of South Pennine into submitting autumn walks for the program. He also told us that in his capacity as group Secretary he had to vet the titles of some of the group walks as some could be deemed offensive. I came up with some unprintable suggestions….but really felt he was throwing the gauntlet down to see if we could get some of the more obscure risqué titles past him(I’m gonna get my double entendre thinking cap on).
We were soon on the last leg of the walk. This took us though the Yarnbury mines on the lower slopes. Information boards have been positioned and the national park has devised a self guided walk around the mine remains. We had one final climb up to Mossey Moor reser.
Unfortunately time was getting on and it was with some reluctance that Val and I had to shoot off and split from the group as we need to get back. We half jogged up Blackstone edge lane and cut over a field or so to regain our outward path. we soon reached the Dam wall and jogged over this…..The Dam is deceptively longer than first appears.
This was a fantastic day out in a really wild area of the Dales…The weather was superb and as always we had great company. Thanks to Dave for devising yet another enjoyable yet demanding walk.
Unknown mileage as GPS packed up…but 22mls at a guess.
Again, we must apologise for dashing off at the end and will not make a habit of it.
Glenn

Gr1 gr2 gr3 gr4