Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Walking Yorkshire : Brimham Rocks - Braham Crags

A lovely sunny and cool morning and nothing happening at work that required my presence, perfect. My winter hiking has been rather curtailed by a random leg injury that I suffered back in January and I have been missing the hills and moors.

I parked up at the National Trust car park at Brimham rocks, I may as well get something for my membership, and set out on a quick circuit of the rocks.

I love it up here, the rocks area can be a quite eerie and strange place before it gets packed with climbers and children playing hide and seek. I sometimes set off for a day's walking with no clear idea of where I want to go, and so it was yesterday. I strolled around the rocks for a while, then looked at the map and saw a pylon atop Braham Crags and though "That'll make a nice place to eat lunch."

I set off down the road into Summerbridge, the road down got progressively steeper and it was at the back of my mind that this was going to be a hard final section to the walk.

A doorway in Summerbridge, I liked the colours and the display of items in the dimpled kitchen window.

Logs and a St. George cross at the Nidderdale wood works. There had been a motorbike accident in Summerbridge, the rider was down on the street but moved himself on to the pavement, I didn't loiter or take pics, there were a number of people helping him.

I was walking through a field of sheep, following what I thought was the path when a farmer waved me into another field. I apologised for straying from the path and asked where it actually ran. The farmer pointed at two gates about fifty yards apart at the top of the field and took great pains and some length of time to explain that the path ran up to the left hand gate and not the right hand hand. I went through the left hand gate only to find that both gates opened onto the same moorland track, fifty yards apart. I don't know, perhaps he has an OCD fixation with gates.

These mounds are the spoil heaps of the former stone quarries below High Crag Ridge.

The pylon at Braham Crags. Now my thoughts on trespass are well documented on this blog, and despite the normal "Keep Out - Danger Of Death" signs, there wasn't even a lock on the gate, and that step looked an inviting place to sit and have lunch.

The view and skies looking West. Along come a small group of older hikers. The silver haired gentleman makes a great show of reading the warning sign and shouts at me.

"What are you doing in there ?"

"Eating a roast ham and stuffing sandwich and reading Dickens*."

This produced a slightly baffled look from the old gent, I helpfully waved my copy of Oliver Twist in the air for him to see.

"You shouldn't be in there."

"I know, but trespassing is great fun, come in and have a look around."

This produced a shake of the head and the gent moved his little group off in the direction of away from the nutcase.

My legs were a little heavy as I started the descent, somewhere I missed the footpath into Hawkshaw Gill Wood but upon seeing a stile I climbed over and into the woods. What sort of wood is this, it the sort that people speak about when they say "Don't go into the woods at night lads." It is dark and eerie, tree crowded and lifeless underfoot, and within about twenty yards there is no discernible path. I spend the half hour ducking under branches, making detours around impassable stands of firs and being very thankful that English woods are not full of things with fangs and claws.

Eventually I found a point where the five foot high barbed wire boundary fence was missing its top strands, I threw my pack over over and then carefully climbed over myself, very aware that barbed wire within inches of your testicles isn't a great thing.

The rest of the hike was fairly event free, I trudged back along railway line path to Summerbridge. I was correct about the hill, the sun had come out and I made slow progress back up the winding road, soaked with sweat and panting, I may be carrying half a stone less than at the turn of the year, but it didn't feel like it coming back up the road.

I did about 11 miles with two decent climbs in 4 1/2 hours, so decent exercise, and nice to be out hiking again.

*My literary addiction is so bad that I nearly always tuck a book into my rucksack.

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