The 3 Peaks, Yorkshire Dales (Chapel-Le-Dale)

12th May - 14th May 2006

The third visit........

On this For the third year running, the hiking club returned to Chapel-le-Dale. Though a large turn-out seemed apparent, late withdrawals reduced the numbers significantly. This meant that I had a multi-bunk room all to myself.  I drove up with Sandra but only managed to get there just after midnight, just after everyone had just turned in.  Nadine and Daniela had taken the trouble to travel all the way up from London by train, just as they had done on the trip to North Wales.  They had volunteered to cook a meal on the Saturday evening after Martin and Vanda, having initially proposed doing so, figured that they would probably want to do the Three Peaks walk, weather permitting.  Things went full circle when, after gazing out the window on Saturday morning and seeing Ingleborough  shrouded in cloud, Martin was back in the kitchen and back in the fray, so to speak. A chicken curry was prepared, with everyone chipping in to help as usual.


Setting out from Chapel-le-Dale on the waterfall walk via Ingleton.

  Breakfast is a smooth operation on Xerox Hikes these days. After everyone had been catered for, we set off at the usual time around 9h00, the general idea being to do Ingleton waterfalls. This meant passing through Chapel-le-Dale off the B6255, taking the back farm road over cattle grids down towards the village of Ingleton.  

The back route to Ingleton - braving the smelly field!

It is a pretty walk, save for the most incredible stench we had to endure as we passed a field being irrigated with diluted  manure (hardly!) from a large storage drum being towed by a farm tractor. The acrid smell was so bad it made our eyes water. We passed a pig farm, their tiny housings resembling dog kennels, in neat rows across the fields, the pigs happily feeding themselves. Soon we reached Ingleton and a tea stop had been mentioned. Some disappeared into the curio shop / tea-room searching for postcards, others wandered up to the ticket office at the entrance of the park leading to the waterfall, deciding that a paltry three quid was far too much to dispense with, preferring a signposted,  alternative route via higher ground. We lost sight of the exact position on the map where we could double back to rejoin the path close to the stream. We followed the well-fashioned, contrived pathway as it led all the way up the valley, eventually crossing the stream via a footbridge.

Down the B6255 towards Chapel-le Dale turn-off, shortly after leaving the bunkhouse.

   We passed a pretty section incorporating several waterfalls, the stream flowing freely as a result of recent rains. Somehow the constant stoppages and interruptions made the walk seem somewhat disjointed and disorganised, though not down to it being anyone's fault in particular. The weather wasn't of the best but we made the most of it.  

A section of the stream encompassing Ingleton waterfall.

 We lunched on whatever we had brought along with us to eat. Nadine and Daniela decided to up the pace somewhat and press on ahead, with little Conaugh resolutely in tow. Somehow I thought that this continual, steady climb upwards would very soon lead us close to the base of Whernside but this was not the case at all. This was indeed still way off into the distance. No doubt the presence of Tim Porter would long since have resulted us being dragged relentlessly up the length of Whernside.  With Tim you get your money's worth, of that there is no doubt whatsoever!  Instead, after prior consultation with others who had taken this route in the reverse direction the day before, we intentionally veered off to the right, picking up a trail the led us to the edge of the ridge along the entire length of the higher ground above the long valley between Chapel-le-Dale and Ingleton. Engrossed in taking photos, inevitably, I soon got left behind. A wall lined the ridge, reminiscent, to some small extent at least, to rambling along Hadrians Wall.  The view across the Valley below as quite awesome and below we could see the farm road we had walked on earlier, with the peak of Ingleborough beyond, visible across the valley. It wasn't long before the bunkhouse at Chapel-le-Dale and Ribblehead Viaduct came into view and we reached some farmhouses without being able to find a clear path through the farms. I saw the girls scaling a wall and followed them.

Gazing across a field of cairns, as if one large rock had splintered into a multitude of smaller rocks, Whernside deep into the mist beyond.


View along the meandering wall and ridge as we approach the bunkhouse at Chapel-le-Dale on the B6255, Ribblehead Via visible in the distance.

  We passed a farmhouse with a number of Shetland ponies in a pen. Being quite cuddly and seemingly gentle-natured, they wandered over, probably expecting to be fed. A road from these farmhouses led us down to Chapel-le-Dale. It was indeed a peaceful yet beautiful and intriguing setting. In the interim, Jane Sherry and Steve Rogers had caught up with us.  

Shetland ponies at the Chapel-le-Dale farmhouse, to the delight of Nadine, Daniela and Conaugh.


Shetland pony hoping for a handout.


Though the walk had probably not been as strenuous as it could have been, I had alternative reasons for getting back earlier.  We tried to set the TV at the bunkhouse up to picking up a decent signal so as to be able to watch the 2006 FA Cup Final between Liverpool and West Ham United but the reception was so bad.

Another view across some cairns towards Whernside; Vanda caught in the act; Hannah Newton and Karen Cameron "getting their hands and throats wet" in Chapel-le-Dale bunkhouse kitchen.

Eventually John Robertson and I  wandered off by car to the pub up the road at half-time and watched the dramatic second half, extra-time and penalties, ending what was later described as one of the best FA Cup finals ever.  I quite enjoyed chatting to some of the locals and found them quite friendly. Chef supreme Martin Lighten set about cooking the evening meal with great aplomb, issuing calm yet clear instructions to those in assistance, a la Gordon Ramsay, sans the f-word. It was a great meal and the wine and beer and good company made for a lovely evening. I had scarcely recognised Hannah Newton, who had not been on a Xerox Hike for some time and had now undergone a dramatic makeover, transforming herself from a sweet young girl into a bubbly teenager, though she had still not shaken off that touch of shyness entirely. After two glasses of wine Nadine giggled and announced that she was tipsy. No-one had noticed. After dinner, Peter Hartman, Sandra Bird and I, absconding from the karaoke session that followed,  legged it up the road to the restaurant / pub for a final snort before closing time. This establishment seemed substantially more up-market than the rough and ready pub where we had watched the footy earlier. We kind of got the feeling that, as hikers, we weren't made to feel terribly welcome. On the Sunday we decided to head back immediately, given the long distance.  I was a bit concerned about my car and wished to get back early, as I had an unwelcome Green Belt Lean-Six Sigma training course to face at Xerox over the coming week.

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