Winter walk – Emma Tamlyn writes:

On 14th January a good-sized group of members (including five student members from the University of Leeds and the University of Sheffield joining for our first YTI event!) descended (or more accurately, ascended) onto the moors for this year’s Winter Walk.

Our guide was Matt Young, who lives in the area and suggested the area surrounding Ribblehead, in the shadows of the three-peaks and the fantastic Ribblehead Viaduct. Having already been thoroughly wowed by the scenery on the train from Leeds, when my Univesity of Leeds colleagues and I got off at the lovely old-fashioned station at Ribblehead, we were already considering the day a success – but the views got even better…

The route started at the The Station Inn (very important for a country walk) and followed the railway line north as far as Blea Moor Sidings, where we turned left under the tracks and walked south west past Ivescar. We then stopped for lunch at some very conveniently placed picnic benches in Broadrake and it was fairly unanimously agreed that the magnificent viaduct coupled with the wild and natural landscape made for some of the best dining views.

 

After refuelling we set off again, heading south east by Ellerbeck Gill, before stopping for a second break at Chapel-le-Dale church, whose graveyard contains the bodies of the (many) navvies who died building the Settle-Carlisle railway. At this point a hip flask emerged from the pocket of one member of the party!

We then walked up the B6255 for about a quarter of a mile before taking several paths to Gunnerfleet Farm, where we saw one of the various types of sheep Matt had promised along the way.

The final stretch took us back and under Ribblehead Viaduct, and the opportunity to see all three ‘three peaks’ at the same time, Pen-y-ghent, Whernside and Ingleborough – there was (perhaps wishful) talk of organising a YTI Three Peaks attempt…

We finally finished back at The Station Inn where we were greeted (grumpily in the case of the owner) by an open fire and well-deserved drinks. The group of students stayed a bit longer waiting for the train, and the clear skies meant that we got a great view of the stars!

The weather was fresh and crisp and satisfyingly wintery but not so cold that anyone feared hypothermia, which is always a bonus. There was a fair amount of ice and snow about which, inevitably, led to some slapstick skids and slips but all members of the party returned with their bones intact…

Thanks Matt for organising the route, I’m already looking forward to the Summer Walk.