SATURDAY 15th SEPT. 2018

LEADERS:  Jane and Richard Hargreaves

This day offered our group of eight walkers a bright sky with some sunshine as we set off from Arncliffe and began the steep ascent up the field east of Old Cotes onto the Arncliffe/Starbotton bridleway.  Our frequent stops to regain breath did also allow us to appreciate the beauty of the lush Skirfare valley, and the features of Blue Scar and Yew Cogar Scar opposite.  After much earlier rain, the swollen streams were clearly visible as they rushed downhill to join the already abundant River Skirfare.  Some mushrooms were gathered from the hillside turf, and many more were just emerging.

On reaching the height of Old Cote Moor, after 1000ft of ascent, we turned north- west and followed the wall for two miles towards the Trig Point above Litton.  Now we had an expanse of the Wharfedale valley on our right, with the  compact clusters of Kettlewell, Starbotton and Buckden visible below, the dramatic geological features of the fells rearing behind.  About a mile along the top we had lunch in the shelter of a wall beside the stile.  As we crossed the stile and followed the next wall  the weather worsened, now darker enclosing cloud and rain, but we continued northwest and, in the gloom, reached the Trig Point (Grid 926748) – rain-spotted photos!

Then the route was downwards, on the Buckden/Litton bridleway, steep and stony, and we slowly emerged out of cloud, Littondale opening up before us – very atmospheric.  A Wheatear flitted along a wall, and in woodland near Litton a Woodpecker ‘ cackered’.  We approached Litton by crossing the Crystal Beck.  A little lane from the village led us to the crossing of the River Skirfare, having passed the site of the once cockfighting pit.  (Jane and Richard recalled the experience of the Skirfare ‘bore’ on a previous occasion after heavy rain, when the subterranean limestone cavities had filled and the surplus volume of swollen water was taken by the river.)   The meandering Skirfare led us back to Arncliffe……..a very interesting and satisfying seven and a half mile walk and 1200ft of ascent.

Phyllida Oates