Yorkshire Dales Walks
Date: 22nd January 2005
Distance: 7.1 miles
Ascent: 1634 feet
Time: 4 hours 40 mins
Start Grid Ref: SD927782
An easier than expected walk to the peaty summit of Yockenthwaite Moor with nice views on the ascent and descent.
Route Summary: Hubberholme - Scar House - Strans Gill - Yockenthwaite Moor - Middle Tongue Tarn - Yockenthwaite Moor - Strans Gill - Yockenthwaite - Dales Way - Hubberholme
1. A frosty view of Birks Fell
2. Looking up the slopes of Yockenthwaite Moor
3. Matt on the summit of Yockenthwaite Moor
4. A shrunken and frozen Middle Tongue Tarn
5. Back at the summit of Yockenthwaite Moor
6. On Yockenthwaite Moor with Wharfedale stretching out behind me
7. The River Wharfe near Yockenthwaite
8. The River Wharfe looking towards Buckden Pike
Walk Detail: Rarely had we been so apprehensive about a walk as we had about this one, mainly because we had read some quite sinister descriptions of Yockenthwaite Moor, two of the most memorable being, ‘the bog to end all bogs’ and ‘a truly evil place’.
Nevertheless we set off in high spirits buoyed by the fact that, for once, the weather looked quite promising. The initial walk up to Scar House was quite stiff, more so because it was straight up without the chance to warm up. There were some good views from the path above Scar House but these were eclipsed later when we turned right at Strans Gill and headed up on to the open fell. From here we got some classic views down Wharfedale and up towards Buckden Pike on our right.
As we neared the crest of the brow above us we halted to take a picture of a solitary patch of snow. At this point I was wondering what all the fuss was about but as we crested the brow of the ridge the moor plateaus out and becomes a wasteland of giant peat hags.
Fortunately for us we had picked one of the best days of the year for this treacherous terrain. It had been about –5 degrees over night so most of the bog had frozen which meant there was much less floundering around normally occurs in such conditions. The summit trig point offers some superb views, much better than I thought it would. We could see just about every top we had climbed over the previous nine months.
We decided to push on to Middle Tongue Tarn before we had our lunch. En route we came across some particularly large hags whose groughs Matt aptly christened elephant traps. The tarn itself was frozen and less than half the size of what it was marked on the map. Nevertheless it was a peaceful place though we did not hang around long due to the biting cold.
We retraced our steps to the summit and the plateau edge before commencing a fine descent with great views of Wharfedale ahead of us. Back at Strans Gill we headed northwest towards Yockenthwaite. It was here that Matt developed a sudden habit of falling over, not just once but several times. This was all the more remarkable as he is normally very surefooted and I am the one that goes for the comedy falls.
Yockenthwaite itself is a rather tiny village and from there we followed the Wharfe along the Dales Way back to Hubberholme. From the river we got some more good views of Buckden Pike which actually dominates this corner of Wharfedale and probably for the first time on our walks was revealed as the major fell that it is.
With the cold weather in our favour and the wide views on offer this was one of our best walks. In warmer weather the bogs on the top would have been very unpleasant and in low cloud difficult to navigate so we were very lucky.