Showing posts with label Nine standards rigg. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nine standards rigg. Show all posts

20 November 2012

Nine Standards Rigg, Giraffe bread and a muddy end!

Its Sunday, the weather forecast is good, boots are cleaned, route is downloaded, sandwiches packed, a quick cuppa and we're off, in the dark, heading North to Kirkby Stephen. 

The drive up was beautiful as the more north we got the frostier it became.  Hedgerows white with a thick frost and as the sun came up behind us it burst with a fiery glow into the sky.  The skies ahead were tinged with pink and there werent many clouds which suggested we were indeed in for a fine day.

After a quick stop at Ingleborough for fuel and Sedburgh for the loo we parked in Kirkby Stephen and set off on the first part of our walk which would take us up past the quarries at Hartly and on towards Nine Standards Rigg.  It was cold, the fresh air biting our faces and definately hats and gloves weather but the sun was out, the sky was blue providing excellent walking conditions.
The first part of the walk was on a road, not the surface we're used to walking on however it was a pleasant wander up past the old railway viaduct and onwards through the valley.  The views were beginning to open up behind us and the road took us on a steady climb.

Finally the road ended and we were on a muddy path.  Thankfully the temperature meant that the ground still had some firmness to it and wasnt as muddy as it could have been.  Puddles were icy and there wasnt much slipping and sliding going on.

There were few fellow travellers on this route.  A man with 2 small children who seemed to be defiant at walking any further as children sometimes are and 2 men and a dog which came bounding up behind us all muddy and smelly.  Thankfully their pace was much quicker than ours and they were soon far ahead.

The Nine Standards were now coming into view after being on the horizon for so long finally they looked like they were getting closer and the last path to the top could clearly be seen winding its way up the hillside.  The towering pillars of rock stood triumphanty on the top of the hill and legend has it that they were built to trick any invading armies from the North that there was a strong army on the hilltop ready to attack.  Other legends have the stones dating back over 800 years.  Whichever the story they were an impressive sight and I'm glad we came here today.

We spent quite a while darting in and out of the stone pillars taking many many pictures and trying to catch the light at every angle.  They were all different shapes and sizes and so perfect in form after the 2003 rebuild and a pleasure to photograph.  The light wasnt too bad and throwing some nice shadows on the ground and the sky was perfect with wispy cloud throwing all sorts of shapes over the sky.  The wind was fierce and cut through you like a knife so after all our pictures were taken we headed off towards the trig point and the rest of our walk.  Just before the trig point their was a pillar with a dial on top which showed what we could see in each direction.  I'm sure there is a name for this but it was a great source of information for getting our bearings.  Old Man of Coniston - that way.  Blencathra - over there and the rest.

It was about the trig point we first encountered the mud plateau, slightly reminiscant of Kinder but not as vast.  It still tested us in making us look for suitable routes round to avoid most of the deep sticky stuff.  With the wind still blowing a fierce gale it was still quite chilly on the top and I was relieved when we turned right to take us back in the direction of Kirkby Stephen and onwards to somewhere we could stop for lunch.

First lunch was a bit late this week and it was a relief when we found shelter behind a rock formation, who's name escapes me but it had something to do with Haggs.  Sandwiches made from Giraffe bread and ham, flapjacks and some little chocolate rum things from Ikea which didnt go down well at all lol.  No, they wont give you a hangover but they were a bit rummy!

After lunch the descent starts and as we made our way down the path we could see some handgliders in the distance landing then dissapearing then landing again down what could only have been a cliff on the other side.  Handrailing the wall again we were on the path back to Kirkby Stephen and according to the GPS we had about 3 miles to go.  The weather was changing and the sun was now gone with dark ominus clouds coming over the sky.

The rain started just as we approached what can only be described as a mud bath.  Through a field of sheep, following the footpath signs the recognisable footpath ended and a sea of mud lay before us.  This was a published footpath and the farmer had obviously let cattle or some other big hooved animals wander through here regularly which made it choppy, muddy and almost unpassable.  There was nothing more for it but to keep moving forward through it in the hope that it would end.  It wasnt enjoyable slipping and sliding in the mud, boots caked, ankles caked and one false slip would mean everything was caked.  It was part of the day and looking back quite a funny part of the walk and soon we were through and had a dip in the river to see if we could get at least some of the mud off our boots.
We followed the river back to Frank's Bridge where we started the walk and soon enough we were wandering through Kirkby Stephen and back at the car.  A quick change of trousers and footwear and soon enough we were clean again for the drive home.
A good walk, another box ticked, for the best part it was sunny and worth the trek up to the Rigg but oh how I long for a scramble and a bit of height, rocks and beautiful ridges, I do believe I hear the mountains are calling........