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The Yorkshire Dales
Gold Duke of Edinburgh

Day 1

Started from Westside House 368m (852672- Hovside Road) started at 9.00am

Weather was windy and visibility was poor as we could only see for 25m The weather was a mixture of cloud and fine rain.

We went through lots of thistles underfoot and got prickled through our waterproof trousers (848671). We had a problem within minutes of setting off as the footpath had been blocked off, so we investigated the field by travelling to the far bottom of the field towards these trees to pace out 20m. This caused us time wasting as some of the group was suggesting that we travelled through a broken bit of the stone wall which had been cornered off and Steph suggested that we did the limbo under a small gap in the wall to allow a stream to pass through into the next field. Using our inactive we decided to go back to this large gate and walk down this road to hopefully find the path again. When we had gone down the road for about 20 metres we discovered (839669) that the path did resume as there were footprints on the path leading to the original path.

We travelled in the rain (of course) until we met this stream in this boggy field. At the time we couldn't quite make out where the footpath went for the stream in the way so Ruth attempted the stream. Little did Ruth know that it would go over her walking boots. Everyone struggled across the stream, but ironically as soon we had crossed we noticed a little footbridge just round the comer where we had been.

As we approached Stainforth, we were ½ an hour late due to delay earlier on in the field. Stainforth was a pretty village where we had a first proper stop after coming down a from a cobbled steep bridleway into the village. To our surprise Tony met us there with Jane Brutan- who were supervising us on our walk on the first day: They met us up sporadically during the day to check whether we were alright and to refuel us with water

After meeting us up we plodded on. And we met another Duke of Edinburgh Gold group going the same direction They were on their climatisation day and much to my disgrace didn't have any rucksacks on to get accustomed to carrying waterproofs, tents and food for lunch. We had to go up a really steep hill with lots of steps due to the steep gradient of the hill. Beth commented that: "that hill was a killer." (824669) This hill. was made harder by the wet limestone flags as they had become slippy with all the water , so the climb up the hill was made more gruelling. It was truly a low point of the day as it was awful!

Once we had recovered from our climb we pressed onwards through Upper Winskil Farm, where we had to embrace going up and through a narrow style where several members of the group got stuck at the top due to their backpacks catching on the wooden style. In the farm we saw a lots of dead rabbits with their guts showing, (lovely!!!)

We went through Dip Ground Plantation, where there was evidence of medieval farming practices as there were small shaped fields with sheds/cattle houses.
At Langcliffe, another small village, instead of going left through the village to find our destined footpath, we went right heading towards the railway bridge. We passed some road builders who very kindly helped us across the road and asked if we were all sharing the same tent. We were quite disturbed by this builderish behaviour, as we were going further and further in the wrong direction we realised that we went wrong. We had to turn around and at the same time felt embarrassed and wanted to find another path to avoid the builders. Unfortunately there were no paths except going past those builders. Steph did not want to pass the builders and made it blatantly clear to the rest of the group.

After finding the right path we climbed another steep hill half dead and an hour behind in time. Unfortunately, we had a lot of climbing to do. At the top of the hill we passed through a few crags caused by water and wind erosion. By Beth's recognizing "they looked brill! Limestone gravel... wicked!!"

The weather was deteriorating as the wind had picked up again and we were tired so it didn't make life any easier. As we walked by 835692, there was a big feature of crags and caves, that were beautiful. They were obviously caused by glaciation as the sharp cliffs. We felt so small in comparison to this landmark in the Yorkshire dales. Beth jokingly said "I felt so scared and wanted to hide" She survived seeing the large rocks and was back to her cheerful self as we had the prospect of having lunch at checkpoint 2 We sat down by a wall to have our lunch and the weather was becoming nicer. After lunch we walked along to Stockdale Lane, as Ruth commented "It was like a public motorway." We picked up a good pace after that for a good 4km leg. But then... the motorway ceased. Instead we had to go up a stony track and the rain was baaaaaaaaaaadddd! ! You could not see 10m in front of you and all the energy spur from lunch was wearing off. When we arrived in Langscar, which was a huge relief but the weather didn't help us along on ; hard previous leg we felt a huge sense of relief seeing civilisation. The Assessor, Edward Marks met us along until the road and we introduced ourselves in the bleak weather. We walked along Ingscar and it was really wet and slippery.
Fortunately the weather cleared up and it became nice weather. We came to Malham cove, took some pictures. Ruth reckoned that she saw a bird of prey. As we walked through Malham cove it was really tough going on your knees going down many steep steps. We met Jane and Tony again as fuelled us up with jealousy and anger that they had hot chocolates and were warm in several tea-shops| whilst we had been slogging our way through the rain and the moorlands.

In Malham Cove we saw the famous limestone pavement. As Beth, Catherine and Ruth observed as geographers there were dints and grykes (cracks) about 10m deep. In the grykes we noticed plants growing in the cracks with wild flowers that were purple.


However man's influence on the limestone pavement was all too obvious with a litter problem where people had stuffed crisp packets between the natural cracks in the limestone. Nevertheless, the view from Malham was breathtaking as we saw a sheer drop in the limestone pavement. In the last stretch of our first day everyone started singing after Beth had started the classic LION KING song until we got into camp , -Gordale Farm.

From our observations of the day our reflections were these:
How the water effected the landscape
1. The rainfall and the water trickling down the rocks and cracks as it smoothed out some jagged rocks and but also created what looked like teeth marks on the rocks, that were sharp to walk on.
2. We saw places where waterfalls had dried up due to the shape of the rocks and the crack in the middle. At the campsite there was one dried up waterfall.
3. We saw the effect of freeze and thaw action on the grykes.
4. Sub aerial erosion.

One thing about the Yorkshire dales is the variation on different styles. Some were stepping stones that had been built into the wall on field boundaries; where as some were little steps in the wall with a gate on the top. This is to stop sheep escaping into the next field. Other had fences as well as styles that went over the walls. Some were too narrow and Beth struggled particularly! Others were kissing gates that were too small where you had to lift your rucksack up over the surrounding fence bit to get through the kissing gate. No physical contact was made between members of the team though through these gates! We had to lift Beth and Steph's bags though to get through these kissing gates. See it was a struggle. Mostly all of the styles were slippery and steep with long drops on the other side. (Beth edited and put in "Poor me" as she has short legs and nearly didn't manage!!)

Animals: We saw many cow silhouettes, sheep.
We had nothing else to count on our journey because the landscape was
hidden by the rain so we resorted to counting:
1 dead sheep
7 dead rabbits with guts showing
Lots of fat black slugs
Farmers sheepdog

After drying off in the toilets under the trusty hand-drier and writing up this long first day we scoffed lots of dried banana whilst drawing on little stick men on our map of where we had got slightly lost in the day with little rain clouds with water droplets to add to. the authentication of the map.

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