Winter Walk - Wharfdale

Berghaus Warfdale map
Berghaus Warfdale1BErghaus Wharfdale3Berghaus Wharfdale4
Berghaus, 01 December 2011
The Yorkshire Dales in winter is just a delight.  The weather is never too bad and often cold and clear.  There are so many varied walks to choose from and I have chosen upper Warfedale.  Not as popular as some of the other dales but just as charming and known as Langstrothdale.

1    Start and Finish
2    Path leaves river
3    Curve uphill above farmhouse
4    Follow path through wood
5    Footbridge
6    Turn right between buildings ( Option to extend the walk)
7    Waterfalls
Note: Map shows possible extended route via Cray.

The walk starts in the lazy village of Hubberholme where the church is worth a visit.  Here is the resting place of the ashes of the writer and playwright J.B. Priestley.  Before leaving the church check out the pews to find the famous trademark of Robert Thompson otherwise known as the “Mouseman of Kilburn”.  He always carved a small mouse somewhere on his furniture.

We leave the village and find the Dales Way which follows the River Wharfe upstream.

It’s not long before we cross a small stream called Strans Gill.  As a retired caver the name strikes a cord – tight, high risk of flooding but fantastic formations.

The Gill actually makes a good introductory gill scramble although today there is no water running.  It is best done on a wet summer day.

At Yokenthwaite we have to ascend steeply to gain a footpath higher up the hillside giving great views of Wharfedale and the surrounding countryside.  Relax, this is the only uphill section.  Take your time and the pain will soon be over.

We are in typical limestone scenery with plenty of exposed rock both vertically in “scars” and horizontally as “limestone pavement”.  The walls are made from the same white limestone and extend as far as the eye can see.  The winter snow extends down to our level so care is needed at times when the path is covered with the white stuff.

The high level path gives great views down the main Wharfedale valley before making a sharp turn close to Cray village to head downhill.  It is possible to make a short excursion to Cray village which consists of only three buildings, but one of them is the White Lion Inn!

Care is needed on the grassy descent if wet or frozen but a final “hidden” waterfall provides a last photo opportunity before gaining the road a short distance from Hubberholme.

The walk can be done in half a day even in winter but give yourself plenty of time to take in the scenery.

This is the Dales where life is lived at a much slower pace.  Chill out, no hurry, work will have to wait another day.

So back in the car and time to leave the Dales but let’s not be too hasty.  There are some great tea rooms in Leyburn and Richmond so the day is not over yet and then there is that weird Antique Emporium shop …………

Jon Gale

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