Archive for March 25th, 2009

March 25, 2009

Yorkshire Dales backpack – Marske to Hoove

by backpackingbongos

Last weekend I finally got out for my first backpacking trip of the year.  I have had a route planned in the Yorkshire Dales for over a year now but have never got around to actually walking it.  As the Dales are less than a 3 hours drive away and I did not fancy a long journey, I decided to finally walk it.  Having a campervan meant that we could travel up on the Friday evening and sleep in the van before setting off on the Saturday morning.

Myself and Rae set off after the rush hour traffic had died down on Friday evening for the drive up the A1.  Traffic was good and we were soon heading across the moors between Leyburn and Swaledale looking for a place to park up for the night.  A spot was found next to the road, a brew made then a good nights sleep was had.

The next day dawned warm and sunny so breakfast was made outside the van and rucksacks packed for 2 days out on the hills.


We then drove and parked up in the car park by the river in Marske.  A path heads north along the eastern side of Marske beck through lovely woodland.  I was cursing the fact that my Bush cooker stove had not yet arrived as there was loads and loads of dry twigs everywhere just begging to be picked up!  We soon arrived at Orgate force.


On a hot day it would be nice to swim at the base of the falls, a chill wind was blowing so we continued north up the valley before heading west up Marske beck towards Helwith.  The dale was deserted even though the scenery was as good as any you get in the Dales.


The valley now headed north and its name changed to Holgate beck.  The moors were slowly encroaching onto the valley and the scene was becoming wilder with every step.  Lunch was had behind a wall where out of the wind it felt like a warm spring day, however in the wind we were quickly reminded of winters bite.  Just after lunch whilst walking across a field a pig launched itself downhill towards us, making Piggy noises.  Its friend soon joined it and we spend ten minutes in fits of laughter as they ran about us squealing, trying to get food out of our pockets and biting our boots!


North of Kexwith farm the valley splits at Arndale hole, the arm heading west becomes Arndale beck.  The river was flowing well for a couple of hundred metres to a point where a large spring was flowing into the river bed. For the next few hundred metres the river bed was dry and we were able to scramble through dried up waterfalls through the narrow gorge like valley.


Leaving the valley it was a fairly dull slog up the slopes of Arndale hill where there was an area of old mine workings amongst the moorland grasses.


Crossing the summit of the Stang road we only had Hoove to climb before pitching camp for the night.  The rough ground and having a large pack on our backs for the first time in months made the going pretty tough.  Hoove was also not the most inspiring of summits, the the actual top being somewhere south of the trig point.  Being a bit of a collector of hills we wondered about for a bit trying to establish the highest spot.  Weirdly whatever point we stood on there always seemed to be somewhere that looked higher!

We dropped down and pitched our tents on a flat grassy area below Faggergill scar just before it got dark.  I have always struggled to get a good pitch with my Laser Competition tent but that night for some reason I managed to pitch it perfectly and it was as steady as a rock.  Maybe it was the new pegs I had treated myself to?  The night was still and cold and I remember waking in the night with the inner of the tent covered in condensation.  A strong wind picked up at dawn so I ended up laying there for a couple of hours with a fine rain of condensation falling on me.  I managed to hook the ends of the tent to the end pole for some air to blow through, everything soon dried out in the wind.



Breakfast and packing tents was a battle with the wind which was getting stronger.  We half walked and half staggered along the track towards High Faggergill farm before crossing the moor towards Shaw farm.  The rest of the day was spent walking the moors above Arkengarthdale back towards Marske.


The wind did its best at trying to stop us enjoying the day as it constantly tried to tear rucksacks from our backs and blow us off course.  Luckily we found an unlocked shooting hut for lunch where we could get a brew on and eat in comfort.  Finally we were above Marske beck where we were greeted with this great view.


Of course by the time were were back at the van the wind had dropped…………..