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Whernside - Yorkshire Dales

Whernside - Yorkshire Dales

Sun 28th April 2013

Not just the first ‘away day’ of the year, but the first ever.

We have a great loyal group of Shepherds Walkers who we take out throughout the year week on week and to date all our ‘day walks’ have been in the North East.

I have also walked extensively in many other places and the Yorkshire Dales is one of my favourite places, especially the famous Three Peaks. I have walked these many times with friends and family over the past 20 years, so what better location to start our ‘away days’.

We planned to do one of the three peaks every other weekend and looking at bookings to date we had made the right decision.

As I arrived into Ribblehead at 10.00 am the weather was not the greatest. Sharp showers blew across and looking up to Whernside itself, it looked like it was going to be a blowy affair.

After meeting up with the rest of the group I quickly realised it was going to be a good day. We had some great characters and everybody gelled very quickly which was just what we needed for our climb up the highest peak in the Yorkshire Dales.

We skirted along the side of the Ribblehead viaduct and walked along the edge of the Settle to Carlisle Railway before crossing over the top of it to start the ascent. The path is great underfoot and the group managed brilliantly with a great atmosphere running throughout.

As many of us had started off very early that morning we stopped for lunch just after 12.00, with this also being just before we joined the long ridge walk to the summit. It was thought that a sheltered spot, in the now glorious sunshine, was just what the doctor ordered. It was a great sun trap as we sat behind the broken down stone wall.

After lunch the real climbing started but the whole group worked well as a team. They all had total respect and cared for every single member of the group and therefore the climb was broken up with some great conversations and debates. It was not long before reached the summit.

The summit shot, at the top of Whenside (all 2515 feet of her) was a must and we spent a good 15 to 20 minutes savouring the moment and enjoying the views on what has turned out to be the ideal day on the weather front.

As we started our decent the path did get steeper and it was just a case of taking our time and looking back on the great achievement the group had made.

After dropping back down to the valley floor we passed through some beautiful farmland appreciating the newly born lambs and discussing the qualities of the different breeds as we came across them.

A few moments was taken as we passed under the Ribblehead viaduct to really take in the true engineering and sheer scale of this stunning construction.

Back at the cars we said our farewells and I believe a real day to remember for many of group had really been had.

I think I should get out of the office more often; this is what Shepherds Walks is all about. Looking forward to leading the walk up the next one - Pen-y-ghent in two weeks time already.

Jon

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