Monsoon Season In The Dales

Just for a change, I’m going to start this post with a little quiz, aimed at testing your meteorological skills.

Take a look at the following photos and study them carefully. Some were taken in the Dales this Christmas and some last Christmas. Using your powers of observation and knowledge of all things ‘weather’, see if you can identify which photos belong to which year.

I feel it’s only fair to warn you mind – some of them are a little tricky!

I’m not going to give out any of the answers, but I’m sure that some of the more observant amongst you will have already twigged that this year’s Christmas trip to the Dales was somewhat wet.

We did have a bit of variety in the weather though. Some days were manically windy with persistant heavy rain, some were manically windy with showers, some were just manically windy and we even had a couple which were just torrential rain all day.

We made the most of it though. There wasn’t a day we didn’t get out, even if only for a few miles in the morning, and we did in fact manage two longer walks on a couple of the ‘manically windy with showers’ days. The dogs had a fantastic time. Sometimes it seems like they’re never happier than when soaking wet and plastered with mud. And after all they have the perfect waterproof coats – light, warm, breathable, easily cleaned and never need re-proofing.

And I have to say that there was something very cosy about spending an afternoon in a nice warm van while a storm raged outside, armed with chocolate, whisky and a Dean Koontz novel.

We started off the holidays on the caravan site in Hawes and by Boxing Day had decided that a longer walk just had to be done. Luckily, the weather that day was a touch drier even if the wind hadn’t let up at all.

We set off from the site and took the Pennine Way across the fields, to the village of Hardraw.

From there, we continued on the PW up the lower slopes of Great Shunner Fell.

We didn’t get very high up the fell before it became nearly impossible to walk in the wind, so veered off left down the western slopes in the direction of Cotterdale, eventually ending up at the main Hawes to Garsdale Head road. The road was then crossed and we continued along the river Ure to Appersett and through the fields back to Hawes.


All in all, only about 6 miles, but pleasant enough given the weather.

Since we’d left it a bit late when booking our little Christmas jaunt, on the 28th December we had to leave the site at Hawes as it was fully booked for over New Year. So that morning, we made our way across to a tiny farm site just outside Ingleton.

Ingleton has very bittersweet memories for me. When I was young (pre-teens), we used to go there once or twice a year, in our little touring caravan. It was an old, wooden, 10 foot long van, which had originally been a 2-berth but which my dad had altered to a 4-berth. Me, my parents and a large boxer dog called Candy, would holiday in it, staying in a small site right next to the river in Ingleton – directly opposite the entrance to ‘The Waterfalls and Glens’. I can quite clearly remember one particular Easter, when it was so cold and snowy we had to put newspaper under our sleeping bags to try and keep warm at night!

Anyway, having fairly recently lost both my parents, I indulged my emotions one afternoon last week and wandered into Ingleton on my own, taking a few photos and re-living a few memories.

So, how about the weather? Did it improve at all once we’d crossed over towards the western Yorkshire frontier? In a word, no. In fact if anything, it got worse. We did however, have one more day when it was slightly less wet and took full advantage of this to do an 8 mile circuit from Clapham.

For once, there was no trouble finding a parking space right in the centre of the village and we set off walking along Thwaite Lane which goes towards Austwick. This track also goes past the Norber Erratics – famous in geological circles.

On reaching Crummack Lane we turned left and wandered up Cummack Dale. It’s obviously very pretty, but today looked very grey and damp.

We climbed steadily up to Sulber, where once again the wind hit us making walking a bit of an effort.

Views of Ingleborough were totally obscured by low cloud, as we made our way back via Long Scar and Long Lane.

Feeling refreshed but battered, we made our way back to the van and then back to Ingleton.

The next day the weather reverted to all-day torrential stuff again, and then continued in the same vein for the rest of our stay. We returned to Hawes briefly for a couple of nights (the site had vacancies again as people were going home early due to the weather), but did eventually come home a day early ourselves. Still, despite the trip ending up a bit wet and windy, we had had an enjoyable break. I managed to eat loads of chocolate, drink some whisky, catch up on a couple of Dean Koontz novels and watch three Stephen King DVDs. I also managed to ingest far more calories than I exercised off – but what the hell!

11 thoughts on “Monsoon Season In The Dales

  1. Happy New Year Chrissie, looks like the weather was not so kind to you this year. At least you had a nice cosy camper to cosy up in with the dogs!

    I ended up spending New Year in that ‘secret’ camping spot high on the moors in the Peaks. To say that the weather was a little bit different from the week before would be an understatement!

    Pete, I was wondering if you were daft enough to try and get to Jura today. Its only a little bit of wind………………….


    1. Hi James, I’d already worked out where you were on New Year from someone else’s blog! (Can’t remember whose.) Did you have Reuben with you? I’ve been thinking about having a night out somewhere too, it’s ages since I was last out. Need to try sealing the fly seam on my Ultralight Voyager first, though. Not something I’ve ever had to do before, have you? I’m not sure whether to follow the instructions on the Silnet and just seal the seam on the inside, or do the outside, or even do both sides! Any ideas?


  2. Reuben came along to celebrate New Years Eve, although a night in a small tent with a very wet and muddy dog was intitally not much fun until he was dry and clean!

    I have sealed the seams on a couple of tents now. What I did was thin the Silnet using White Sprit (mix until nice and runny probably at about 50/50 although you may need more white spirit than that). I then coated the outside seams, this is because it rains on the outside of the tent! Not as neat as sealing the inside seams but stops the stitching soaking up water in the first place.
    It’s a smelly and messy job and you need to let dry for a good 24 hrs to stop everything sticking together.


    1. Thanks very much for that info, I had a feeling you’d probably know. That’s exactly why I wasn’t sure about the instructions saying seal the inside – it rains on the outside! To be fair the tent’s only ever leaked a tiny bit and that was after a horrendous hail storm which lasted a couple of hours, but I’ve never had a tent before which didn’t come with the seams already sealed and I realise now I should really have done them when we first got it. Of course all I need now is a dry day! I’m assuming you put the tent up to do it…?


      1. Pitching the tent would be best Chrissie. Seeing as the Voyager is freestanding, maybe pitch it in a spare room if big enough, or garage if you have one.


  3. Chrissie, I don’t think anyone has seen good weather this Christmas. I spent a very wet day in the Peaks after abandoning my trip to Cross Fell earlier in the week. I heard that wind was 96mph there, not recommended for a wild camp. Still you got out and that is the main thing. I think I recognised every outdoor photo of yours. I never tire of The Dales.
    Happy New Year


  4. Hi Mark, I too never tire of The Dales. Obviously something to do with spending a very large chunk of my childhood there – in fact I was always told that I actually took my first steps on a camping trip at Gunnerside!
    We assumed that we weren’t the only people having lousy weather but weren’t entirely sure, as with both a ropey phone and tv signal were having trouble getting any kind of weather forecasts. Hopefully it’ll improve and the crisp, snowy days will come!


  5. Hi Chrissie and belated Happy New Year. Looks like you had a decent break even the the weather did it’s best to put you off. Not walked in the Dales for many a long year. Since I entered the blogosphere it’s made me realise just what a huge amount of walking possibilities there are in our small island(s) and I have an endless list of routes and places to visit. Loved the cute sleeping doggy photos – I’m just an old softy at heart 🙂


  6. Hi Andy, belated Happy New Year to you, too.
    Yes, we did have a decent break even though there were odd moments when we almost felt like coming home early! Glad we didn’t in the end.
    You’re right about the blogosphere making you realise what a vast range of walking possibilities we have here. If only I had endless money and could give up work altogether!
    Dixie has always known from a very early age that she’s a bit of a cutie, and she’s also very skilled at ‘cushion re-arrangement and placement’ when she settles down for a snooze!


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