Saturday 30 October 2010

Birks Fell and Horse Head Moor

Distance: 18km, Ascent: 510m

See route in new window

It was dull and overcast when I arrived in Buckden, but I was hopeful that it would improve as the weather forecast promised!  I set off walking just before 11am and followed the bridleway SW up the hill.  Near the summit of the bridleway, the path became flagged and I soon reached the trig point of Birks Fell, where I had lunch.  I then followed the pleasant moorland ridge for the 2km to the true summit of Birks Fell, which was my final 2000ft peak in the Yorkshire Dales.

The going remained easy following the wall over Moss Top; however the next col was full of peat hags, which obviously slowed my progress down! By now it was quite sunny and pleasant, apart from the cool wind. I soon reached the true summit of Horse Head Moor, from where I admired the view of many of the major peaks of the Dales.

Continuing along the ridge, I detoured to the trig point on Horse Head Moor, before dropping down to Yockenthwaite. It was then a pleasant stroll back through Wharfdale, following the Dales Way to Buckden.

Saturday 2 October 2010

Meall Greigh, Meall Garbh & An Stuc

Distance: 18km, Ascent: 1260m, Solo

See actual route in new window

We were away in the Southern Highlands for our first weekend away with Isabel, and I was able to sneak in a day's Munro bagging!  Lynsey dropped me off at Lawers village at around 10:15am and I headed up the path alongside the Lawers Burn.  Soon it started to rain so I donned waterproofs, which ensured the rain soon stopped!

After a brief break I headed up into the mist roughly following the line of a stream.  After around 300m of ascent, the ground levelled out into a bog.  In strengthening winds, I ascended the final 200m up to the summit of Meall Greigh (Munro).  I dropped down the NE slopes a few metres to get out of the wind for lunch, where I was soon joined by a group of four other walkers.

Despite the strong winds, I decided to continue with my planned walk on the assumption that the wind would be become less strong as the ridge became much broader, which turned out to be correct.  There was a reasonably clear path for much of the way, roughly following the line of fence; although it was somewhat vague through the boggier areas.

After a couple of km, I reached a bealach and started my ascent of Meall Garbh.  I got buffeted by the wind quite a bit on the ascent, especially where the ridge narrowed, and the rain continued to fall relentlessly.  I detoured off the path to visit a rocky knoll, which turned out not to be the summit.  However, soon I did reach the true summit of Meall Garbh (Munro).

After a quick break, I continued along the SW ridge from Meall Garbh.  After descending to a bealach, I then ascended the steep slopes of An Stuc, which involved occassional bits of easy scrambling.  There seemed to be several different well worn routes up the craggy slope that I could make out in the mist.  Soon I was on the summit of of An Stuc (Munro), stopping for another quick break.

I descended to the bealach to the south of An Stuc, where I had to decide whether to continue to Ben Lawers or whether to descend.  As it was now 3:30pm and the weather was still vile, I decided that I would descend.  There was a faint path descending from the bealach, which I followed, but it soon petered out so I picked a route down staying close to the stream.  The stream went over a few waterfalls where the ground became craggy, but I was able to find a route down through the crags.

Eventually I reached Lochan nan Cat, where the mist began to clear.  I followed the north shore to it's east end and then followed a faint path down to the head of the vehicle track.  From there I followed the path alongside the Lawers Burn back to the A827 and thence back to the car, where I arrived just before 6pm.

Written up in January 2011 from memories and photos