Ingleborough

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Sunday morning the sun was shining. We got up early, loaded our boots and rucksacks in the car and drove over to Ingleton in the Yorkshire Dales, which is less than an hour and a half away  (traffic willing), to climb Ingleborough. The mountain is one of the one of the “Yorkshire Three Peaks” and as we’d climbed Pen-y-ghent a couple of years ago we’d be able to tick off our second of the three.

It was a beautiful, warm sunny morning when we arrived in Ingleton. We parked up near the Community Centre and set off walking through the small town centre past the church

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After about half a mile we reached the start of the path up to Ingleborough

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It’s a good track and as it hadn’t rained for a while the path was dry underfoot (which meant I didn’t need to get my new boots muddy!!)

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There were good views over to Whernside, the third of the “Three Peaks” but visibility wasn’t as good as the previous week when we’d walked up Clougha Pike, over the border in Lancashire.

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The route involved a gradual ascent over a couple of miles along a well defined path followed by a short steep climb of the cliffs up to the gritstone cap at the end to reach the summit.

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About half way along the route we passed this isolated farmhouse – “the Little house on the Prairie”? It looked nice in the sunshine but it would be a very bleak setting for much of the year.

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As we were walking along the valley, looking back we could see cloud coming in from the north west and there was a strong breeze behind us. The wind became fiercer as we climbed the final steep section up the millstone grit cap that gives the mountain it’s distinctive shape. Luckily we’re reasonably sensible and had come prepared with jumpers, gloves and coats in our day sacks. It was time to put them on. Yet we passed quite a few people ill-equipped wearing t-shirts, flimsy tops and dresses and completely inadequate footwear. As a popular mountain in a National Park it attracts a lot of day trippers who setting out on a bright, warm, sunny day don’t realise just how quickly conditions can change.

As we climbed, the cloud had come in, engulfing the summit at almost the same time as we reached the top and the wind was blowing strongly enough to knock the unwary off their feet.

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Despite being a “peak” the summit is a flat plateau which, on a good day, has extensive views over the Dales and to Pen-y-ghent and Whernside.

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We managed to find a seat inside the wind shelter to take a rest, a drink and a bite to eat. And we chatted with some other walkers, some of whom were attempting the Three Peaks Challenge. Not for us though, one peak was enough for today!

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Unfortunately, the low cloud was obscuring the views

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We set back down retracing our route. A circular walk is possible but it would have meant either finishing with a long stretch on tarmac, which didn’t appeal, or navigating along unfamiliar territory without clear paths and we didn’t want to risk that in misty conditions.

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The countryside is a mixture of moorland and limestone outcrops

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Looking back the mountain had disappeared!

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Approaching Ingleton village

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A brew awaited in one of the many Cafés in the village. (I wonder what the Bristol ‘grammar vigilante’ would make of the sign!)

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A proper mug of tea! (and only a quid!)IMG_0039

So our second of the “Three Peaks” conquered. Whernside next!

Cadair Idris

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Cadair Idris dominates the southern part of Snowdonia near Dolgellau. It’s a magestic mountain, 2,930 ft high, and climbing it was our main motivation for our short break at Dolfannog Fawr. The weather forecast was good so on the Thursday morning we set off to climb the mountain via the Minffordd path, the beginning of which was about a mile down the road from our B&B.

Cadair Idris means ‘Idris’s chair’ which is a good description as it’s comprised of a series of peaks surrounding a glacial lake Llyn Cau. Nobody really knows who Idris was. Some say he was a legendary giant and so the mountain was literally a chair. Another view is that it refers to a 7th-century prince of Meirionnydd who won a battle against the Irish on the mountain and that “cadair”  should be interpreted as “stronghold” or “fortress”.

We decided to follow the MInffordd path up to the highest peak, Penygadair via Craig Cwm Amarch and Craig Cau and then to walk along the ridge to Mynydd Moel before descending to complete a circular route.

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The path down from Mynydd Moel isn’t marked on the OS map for some reason which is strange as it’s a very popular route up and down and described in most walking guides to the mountain.

The start of the climb is via a steep wooded valley alongside a river which tumbles down from Llyn Cau via a series of waterfalls. DSC09394

This meant ascending a very log flight of steps – reputably 700 (although we didn’t try counting them!)

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Eventually the path levelled off somewhat and the slopes of Mynydd Moel came into view

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Continuing onwards we could now see the dramatic rock face of Craig Cau

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and after climbing a little higher a view of Llyn Cau opened up below us

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with Penygadair looming above it

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Gaining more height, we could see the summits of the Tarren hills which we’d climbed the day before.

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and then Talyllyn Lake

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and our B&B way down below us. We’d come quite a long way up but still had quite a bit of climbing ahead of us

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and looking the other way there was Penygadair

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We carried on up the steep slope to the summit of Craig Cau. It felt like we should have been at the summit, but we now had to lose some of the height we’d gained before making our final assault on the main peak of Penygadair.

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and just as we reached the bottom of the col (or hawse, as these are referred to in the Lake District) before making our ascent, the cloud blew in. This definitely wasn’t forecast!!!

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so when we reached the summit this what we could see.

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The cloud was patchy so we managed to get some momentary views of the dramatic scenery below us

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We carried on along the grassy ridge. It was relatively flat and quite firm underfoot so made for easier walking than the initial ascent and the cloud was beginning to disperse

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We could clearly see the summit of Mynydd Moel ahead of us

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Cloud was still rolling in and out, but we could see down towards Dolgellau

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and make out the dramatic rocky cliffs on the north side of the ridge

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The path now was hard to make out, but we took our bearing and after a while a faint path became more distinct. Great views now opened up of the glacial bowl, the Talyllyn valley and the Tarren hills.

 

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After a while the path started to descend very steeply. It was heavily eroded, rock strewn and in bad condition underfoot, making for a slow, tricky descent. This was the least peasant part of the walk

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Further down it was in better condition, with stone steps and flags laid down.

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Eventually, after crossing a slate bridge over the river, we were back on the path we’d ascended during the morning with just (!) the 700 steps to walk down to take us back to the road.

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Another 20minutes and we were back at our Dolfannog Fawr. A quick shower and a change of clothes and I was able to relax in the garden on a pleasantly warm afternoon, enjoying the view of the mountain we’d just “conquered”.

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