We finish our day out on the lakes in the canoe and head over to the campsite I’ve booked which is in a woodland called Low Nabs Wood. After two days sleeping in a super tiny bunkbed room with Matt I thought it might be good for us to get some fresh air and we might be cooler sleeping in the woods. It’s still really hot so some shade would be good, plus despite this I still don’t trust the weather not to give us some rain. I never trust it not to rain anywhere in the UK actually, I even carry a waterproof when it’s sunny all the time. If you are reading this in another country at least you know what to expect if you ever come to visit! Don’t let it put you off visiting in summer though because when we do have a decent summer it is amazing in the UK Countryside.
Low Nabs Camp Site
The woodland camp site is pretty awesome, we drive up and after finally working out where the owner wants us to park, we jump out with the tents and start setting up camp. There’s beams of sunlight shining through the trees in the afternoon sun and the birds chirping in the trees above us, and the fresh scent of pine sap floats on the air. I’ve brought my two man MSR tent which is fast and easy to set up, Matt on the other hand has brought some gargantuan three person Coleman tent which he has no idea how to set up, in fact he hasn’t even put it up in a garden yet. I set most of mine up in around five minutes flat and it’s not surprise to see Matt struggling to put up his ridiculous size tent, so I have to help him out. “You work in a camping shop, you should know how to set this up” he laughs. “Doesn’t mean I know how to put up every brand of tent, especially this pain in the ass” I reply. Its so hard to work out I actually have to look at the instructions for once, and typically they are not that helpful. To make things more difficult the grounds pretty hard and the pegs this thing has come with are about as useful as waterproof jacket would be to a fish. It’s one of those campsites where you really need a mallet and the sort of tent pegs you could execute Dracula himself with. We finally manage to get the tent up but it’s defiantly a bodge job. I’ve got visions of the wind getting up in the night and the tent flying away with Matt in it, far up into the tree canopy. That done I tell Matt just how much I hate his tent before finishing putting my own up.
With the tents finally sorted we get to sit down have a gin and tonic (actually tequila and gin and tonic) and talk for a while before heading to bed fairly early, as we are heading over to the Yorkshire Dales tomorrow. The plan is to do the Yorkshire three peaks, however by accident we have managed to go the very day that there’s one of the many three peaks challenges going on. I have a feeling that it’s going to be super busy.
When we finally wake up it isn’t very late in the morning, not that we are in a rush as we are still waiting to hear what time the rest of the guys will be arriving. After finally regaining the flexibility of my spine I’ve lost from lying flat on a forest floor all night I get the usual fun of attempting to have a shower in a tiny cubicle without getting all my other gear wet, and just to make the process even more fun I’ve momentarily forgotten about my sunburnt calves from the day out on the side of Harrison Stickle. The even slightly warm water feels like someones just ran a soldering iron down the back of my legs. I think the yelp I let out probably scares the forest wildlife away, if the sounds of Matt’s epic farts haven’t done that already. If i hear a sudden explosion i’ll know he’s lit a match inside his tent. We head out to grab some breakfast while we wait for the rest of the guys to get back to us on their arrival time. The phone goes off a few times and due to covid and some other issues it’s not long until it just me Matt and Andy still in the game. I call the campsite which Keith has booked in his name to tell them that there’s only three of us coming now and that it’s not in our name but we still want the pitch. Everyones been locked down for so long we now it’s going to be nightmare finding anywhere at short notice.
Heading over to Yorkshire.
None of us have been to Yorkshire before but me and Andy have been talking for quite a while about how we want to go and check out. The place we are heading to is called ‘Horton In Ribblesdale’ which is about the most Yorkshire sounding name for a place I think I’ve ever heard. The Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District are actually pretty close to each other in fact it’s only roughy about an hours drive. So to kill time me and Matt play the worse session of crazy golf I think either of us could ever muster and check out the coast at Grange Over Sands.
White Scar Cave
White scar cave sounds really interesting, its a shame we can’t go and find a cave of our own to go down but we haven’t brought the gear for it. In fact Matts car is literally loaded to the roof with adventure gear, so much so we couldn’t even fit the kayak in which I was a bit gutted about. There’s no way we would have fit the caving gear in there too! So off we go to visit White Scar instead, which will be less exciting but definitely safer. It’s pretty hard to miss and we approach, being as the building has CAVES written on the roof in bright white.
Today we are off to see White Scar cave, which is the longest show cave in Britain.The cave guides excellent and we learn the story of the young bloke called Christopher Long, a Cambridge student who discovered it, back in 1923 who clearly was a bit mad or just had balls the size of church bells. One thing to note is he went and explored this place alone, and he didn’t have all the equipment we do now, all he had was a wide brimmed hat in which he stuck a bunch of candles to give him some light. Bearing in mind a lumen which they use to indicate light on modern head torches is meant to represent the power of one candle this guy was relying on about ten percent of the lighting power I go out with just as standard. He made his way into the cave system via crack in the rock, eventually he came across a waterfall (add picture here) in full spate, this waterfall has around 55 tonnes of water pass over it every minute. Following his discovery White Scar cave was opened to the public in 1925. The cave is a limestone cave which formed due to the movement of water that contains carbon dioxide dissolving the limestone.
As we pass through the cave with our guide we see really interesting Stagmites and Stagtite formations. As well as many formations of flowstone, mots of which resemble characters or items.
The most we see in one go are in the immensely sized 100 metre long and 30 metre high Battlefield cavern. The cavern is 20,000 years old and is one of the largest caverns in Britain. It is spectacular and makes you feel absoutely tiny.
We see prehistoric mud pools which have set and cracked and have never been disturbed by man which look like crazy paving, sitting under hundreds of stalactites.
Janets or Jennets Foss
We head over to Malham with the intention of wild swimming because it’s just been scorching all day so we are planning on finding, and swimming in the limestone rock waterfall and pool not far from Malham village, known as Janets Foss or ‘Jennets Foss’ as the folklore states that Jennet Queen of the fairies lives in the cave next to the waterfall. After walking a short distance from the village and into a small picturesque wood we come across the waterfall. As with many places associated with faery or fairy folklore in the UK (one such being St Nectans Glen in North Cornwall) there’s are a few wishing trees scattered around the site. There’s a few types of wishing trees but one ones that seem to be the most common in the UK are the type where coins are hammered into the bark or wood of a tree as an offering to nature or in this case probably the fairies / spirits of the wood. Usually accompanied by a wish for something you want to happen.
Despite still having quite a few people in and around the falls the area is pretty stunning and I can see why people might think of it as a place for the supernatural. Deep green moss covers most of the back of the falls, in places clung to by creeping ivy, and with the exception of the chatter of a few groups who are still here with the sun slowly setting, it’s very peaceful. This makes it easier to forget about the darker local legend, that the entity that occupies the falls is not the fairy queen Jennet but an evil green mist, thought to be a wraith that feeds on the energy of the living, manifesting itself as a green mist that begins rising off the water. I spot no fairies or evil mist but the chill of the water, as I carefully step in narrowly avoiding slipping on the greasy wet limestone rocks, polished in places by the feet of many visitors takes my breath away momentarily.
An Unusual Campsite
When we find the campsite we are staying on, which is run by a pub there’s confusion when we tell them about our booking. They say that I called up and cancelled it.
Pen Y Ghent
Facts: 694m high , Pen-y-ghent The smallest of the Yorkshire Three Peaks at 694m (2,277 feet), it’s name may mean ‘Hill on the border’ or ‘Hill of the Border country’ (Celtic) or ‘Hill of the winds’ (Welsh).
We have the intention to do all of the Yorkshire three peaks today, so we start with Pen Y Ghent. Pen Y Gent is the smallest of the three peaks and its’s name may come the eclectic for ‘hill on the boarder’ or ‘hill of the winds’ in Welsh. As myself and Andy are both going for the mountain leader qualification now so it’s a good opportunity to practice a bit of basic navigation. The area area Pen Y Ghent is quite picturesque, with the kind of cracked limestone pavement which places like Malham Cove are most well known, for sticking up out of the grass.We start at Horton In Ribblesdale but end up taking a pretty long way round, not that this matters as it does help us avoid a crowds doing the three peaks momentarily. Eventually however we do end up on the main route towards the peak. You can see by the looks on these challengers faces as we pass them that this is the first time some of them have attempted a mountain walk, either that of they are already part way along the challenge. Some of them look like they are going to collapse, what’s more it’s really hot weather for this. Fair play to them though, they all seem to be keeping it together so far. Some of them look horrified as me and Andy discuss how awesome this route would be to fell run. It’s not untrue though it really would, just maybe not in this kind of heat.