View of Whernside from Chapel Le Dale.


Chapel le Dale

(Old School Bunkhouse),

Yorkshire Dales

14th - 16th May 2010

  The traditional emblem for the House of Lancaster is a red rose, the red rose of Lancaster, similar to that of the House of York, which is a white rose.


Once again Martin Lighten, our great leader, had booked the Old School Bunkhouse in Chapel Le Dale, as is the case each year. Owing to its location, it provides an opportunity to climb what is known as the Three Peaks, which comprises the mountains of Whernside at 736 metres, Ingleborough at 723 metres and Pen-y-Ghent at 694 metres. Fresh from my Patagonian experience a few weeks earlier, I felt that if ever there was an opportunity to tackle all three with a reasonable level of experience, that opportunity was now. As luck would have it, this was not to be.  On the way up from Hertfordshire on the M6, we took a detour into Lancaster, the settlement that gives Lancashire its name. It was after we resumed our journey on the last leg towards Chapel le Dale that I began to experience some difficulties with my car's engine, causing me to pull over a mile short of the bunkhouse. I managed eventually to get there at nightfall but had to call for a tow-in first thing in the morning, to have the car moved to a garage in Ingleton a few miles away (without my having to accompany it). This was arranged prior to the hiking group setting off at nine the Saturday morning. As things looked the night before, that scenario did not seem possible.


View from the steps of Lancaster Castle on Castle Hill towards St Mary's Parade.


The 15th Century Lancaster Priory & Parish Church; Zoltan on the steps at the rear of Lancaster Castle.


St Mary's Parade, Lancaster, just below Castle Hill.


Lancaster is the county town of Lancashire, England. It is situated on the River Lune. Lancaster is a constituent settlement of the wider City of Lancaster and encompasses several outlying towns, including neighbouring Morecambe. Little is known about Lancaster between the end of Roman rule in Britain in the early 5th century and the Norman Conquest in the late 11th century. The city's name, first recorded in the Domesday Book in 1086 as Loncastre means 'Roman fort on the River Lune', from the Old English cæster. Lancaster Castle, partly built in the 13th Century and enlarged by Elizabeth I, stands on the site of a Roman garrison and  is a medieval castle, a Crown Court, and a Category C men's prison. Lancaster Castle is well known as the site of the infamous Pendle witch trials in 1612. It was said that the court based in the castle (the Lancaster Assizes) sentenced more people to be hanged than any other in the country outside of London, earning Lancaster the nickname, "the Hanging Town". Lancaster Priory & Parish Church dates from the 11th Century, though there has been a church on the site from 630 AD. The 15th Century Priory and Parish Church of Lancaster standing by the Castle on the hill, overlooking the city, is built on the site of a priory which was founded in 1094.


Along the farm road from the Old School Bunkhouse, Chapel Le Dale.


View from Whernside towards Ingleborough.


Whernside summit on the approach from Chape Le Dale; Ribblehead viaduct and Ribblehead station through the haze.


View from the summit of Whernside towards Arten Gill viaduct with Great Knoutberry behind it.


View along the route over Whernside summit, in the direction of Dent Station and Dodderham Moss.


My Hungarian friend Zoltan, recently relocated to Germany, had flown over in the week for this, his first visit to the Yorkshire Dales. Zoltan possesses a mind and logic that is typically that of an engineer, where the element of precision manifests itself in his outlook, behaviour and personal use of language. He is proudly Hungarian and has often reminded me that it is the most complex of languages, even to the extent of sending me an e-mail as to what George Bernard Shaw once said about Hungarian: "After studying the Hungarian language for years, I can confidently conclude that had Hungarian been my mother tongue, it would have been more precious. Simply because through this extraordinary, ancient and powerful language it is possible to precisely describe the tiniest differences and the most secretive tremors of emotions". Such a compliment by the Irish noble-prize winner writer, George Bernard Shaw elegantly points out the uniqueness of the Hungarian (or as the Hungarians call it, Magyar) language. It is unique, for that Hungarian is an isolated language, having no relatives in Europe.




Views across Whernside Tarn.


View down towards the Deepdale valley with Crag Hill beyond, at the cairns just below Whernside Tarn.


View across Blea Gills just below Whernside Tarn.


View towards Dent station, the highest mainline station in England, with Dodderham Moss to the left, where the railway line enters a tunnel once again.


On the descent towards Deepdale we branched off to pick up a path that would lead us to Dent Head.


View towards Dentdale.


So with my walk now rescued, I set off with the group up Whernside. On the summit, we took a break and sheltered from the wind. The views were spectacular and we could follow most of the route of the Settle - Carlisle railway as it made its way from Horton to Ribblehead station, over Ribblehead viaduct below us to the right before entering the tunnel at Blea Moor, emerging at the other end in the forest of Mossy Bottom, before crossing Dent Head and Arten Gill viaducts (within one kilometre of one another) ahead of us as we gazed out to the hill of Great Knoutberry beyond. The line finally reaches Dent station, the highest mainline station in England, at 1150 metres before disappearing into another tunnel as it reaches Dodderham Moss. 

As we have done on numerous occasions before, we turned off the path and headed to the left towards Whernside Tarns, picking up the path that descends into Deepdale and Dentdale beyond. On a previous walk in 2008, we had taken the path into Deepdale that allowed us to pick up the road that led through Dentdale past Whernside Manor towards Cowgill, where we ascended the hill that led to Dent station. On this occasion, we left this path and continued along the back of Whernside Manor. The forest that had previously existed there had now been logged completely and the landscape now bore a somewhat denuded look, though fresh saplings had been planted. We stopped for another tea break at a beck, before continuing. It was then that we saw a pair of alpacas that we had seen at a farm gate on the previous occasion. Strange looking creatures indeed, one brown and the other white, the did not seem shy at all, as curious in in us as we were in them. We eventually reached a bridge that crossed the River Dee at Ewegales Farm camping site (postcode LA10 5RH), just before the village of Cowgill and its beautiful church. From here we followed the road that led past the Sportsmans Inn (postcode LA10 5RG) the led towards Dent Head viaduct.



Along the path across the back of Whernside Manor, where we encountered the alpacas once more - they seemed fascinated by Zoltan as much as he was by them.



Ewegales Farm campsite in Cowgill, close to the River Dee.


The Sportsman's Country Inn on the road just after Cowgill towards Dent Head in Cumbria, at the head of Dentdale in the North Yorkshire National Park.



Whitewashed walls of cottages along the road towards Dent Head.


Just on the opposite side of the road at Dent Head viaduct, a path leads off to the right that takes one past Dent Head Farm (this is where the turkeys are bred, each bearing their own name) just before Mossy Bottom, where the railway enters a tunnel. Following the path through the forest which eventually reaches a clearing, an ascent of the hillside leads to the first of three ventilation shafts, enclosed by a rounded brick construction, leading up from the tunnel below. As the day moved towards late afternoon, we descended the established path towards Blea Moor, passing its Signal Box en route to Ribblehead viaduct. Taking a short cut through a tunnel under the railway line instead, we cut across farmland back towards the bunkhouse at Chapel Le Dale, eventually picking up the path we had set out upon that morning. We had covered a distance of 21 kilometres and our aching bodies and limbs were well aware of that.


Picture courtesy of Zoltan Kiss.



Dent Head viaduct.


Air shafts above the railway tunnel that cuts through the hill at Mossy Bottom, on the Settle - Carlisle railway.


Walking the last leg back to the Old School Bunkhouse, Chapel Le Dale.

We had rushed our walk back in order that we would arrive at the Old Hill Inn on time at 19h30 for dinner, which we had pre-booked, as it was an immensely popular restaurant, not least due to the quality of its food and notable popularity of the desserts created by the resident chef and owner. It was with some sense of disappointment that Zoltan and I were forced to leave Chapel Le Dale the Sunday morning without my vehicle, having secured a lift to Royston with Gordon, a colleague of mine. Fortunately, it was exactly one week later that I returned to fetch it, travelling by train via Doncaster and Leeds to Ribblehead, followed by a short cycle to Ingleton.


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Descending Whernside towards Deepdale.






Soup of the day served with a home made bread roll and butter.


Baked beetroot and red onion served with mixed leaf and feta cheese salad.


Beetroot and mascarpone risotto topped with Wensleydale cheese.


Creamy Mushroom Risotto topped with shaved parmesan


The Hill Inn Fishcakes served with a crisp salad and sweet chilli sauce.


The Hill Inn Prawn Cocktail—With Marie Rose sauce and apple, served on a bed of dressed mixed leaves.


Mussels Marinara served with a home made bread roll and butter.


Smoked Duck Salad, served with a walnut dressing and Hill Inn chutney


MAIN COURSES           

Lemony Chicken  - Chicken breast flavoured with lemon & herbs, wrapped in bacon & baked in lemon juice and butter, served on a bed of linguine.


Lamb Shank served on a bed of Dauphinoise potatoes, a rich lamb gravy, mint sauce & redcurrant jelly.


Beef casserole – Tender beef cooked in red wine with onions, celery & herbs, flavoured lightly with orange served with or without a pie crust.


Ribeye Steak—served with a chive, garlic, and lemon butter, mushrooms, tomato and chips or new potatoes.

£ 15.75 

Confit of duck – Crisp duck leg served with a  potato and herb mash., rich duck gravy & apple sauce.


Grilled delice of salmon served with a mixed leaf salad, marinated cucumber, mustard and dill crème fraiche and new potatoes.


Seabass Fillets with ribbon vegetables, served with a soy, ginger and garlic sauce on a bed of linguine.


Aubergine and Polenta stack, with Blue cheese and roasted plum tomatoes.


Beetroot and mascarpone risotto topped with Wensleydale cheese.


Creamy Mushroom Risotto topped with shaved parmesan.



 Sticky toffee pudding served with home-made vanilla ice cream or cream.


Lemon tart served with a raspberry coulis and home-made lemon and mascarpone

ice cream.


Chocolate Indulgence - a rich chocolate dessert flavoured with Cointreau & finished with raspberry sauce, chocolate shavings & home-made vanilla ice cream.


Crème Brulée served with an orange salad and home-made orange & yoghurt

 ice cream.


Warm chocolate pudding served with a white chocolate sauce and home-made

vanilla ice cream.


Blueberry tart served with fresh berries, a fruit coulis and home-made

Vanilla ice cream.



All desserts £5.95


Selection of cheeses served with biscuits, home made chutney and grapes.



Selection of home made ice creams:

Choose from: Strawberry, lemon, vanilla, orange or chocolate.

£1.75 per ball