Monday, 5 March 2012

Kirkby Stephen Hostel

About Kirkby Stephen Hostel
I discovered Kirkby Stephen Hostel fairly late on but realised it is an excellent base both in terms of accommodation and village facilities for either the Yorkshire Dales - Northern Fells or the North Pennines - Western Fells. There is a co-op opposite for all of your self catering supplies and when we were too tired or too lazy to self cater there was The Black Bull Hotel serving excellent meals and most importantly excellent beer.

Routes walked from Kirkby Stephen Hostel
Backstone Edge 28 February 2012
The Stag Inn, Dufton
Days walk start point

9.59 miles, 612.59 metres of ascent, 6 hours 3 minutes, 1.59mph.
Short car ride to the walk start point at The Stag Inn, Dufton. Only the one peak of Backstone Edge visited. Fairly slow pace due to thick fog and time spent finding cairn on summit plateau. Had planned to go on to Meldon Hill and return to High Cup Nick and back in to Dufton along the Pennine Way. Achievable on long summer days but an ambitious 15½ miles for the time of year which we abandoned at Great Rundale Tarn.

Howgill Fells (East) 29 February 2012
Looking back down Bowderdale Beck
ascending Yarlside on 50° - 60° incline

7.95 miles, 938.69 metres of ascent, 6 hours 12 minutes, 1.28mph.
Start point is Rawthey Bridge on the A683 half way between Kirkby Stephen and Sedburgh. Two peaks of Randygill Top and Yarlside visited. Had planned to pull in the minor peak of Kensgriff but decided to head straight home to ensure off the fell before dark. Again with longer summer days this could easily be achieved and would also avoid the ford crossing over Backside Beck just before Narthwaite. Again in the summer though (summer 2012 excepted) would not expect there to be as much water as the winter months.

Murton Fell 01 March 2012
Foot bridge over Maize Beck, the point
we turned back on way to Meldon Hill

10.72 miles, 600.69 metres of ascent, 6 hours 34 minutes, 1.63mph.
Another short car ride on the other side of the A66 to Murton public car park for the walk start point. Slightly longer walk of 10.72 miles with just over 600m of ascent in 6 hours 34 minutes. Could have been a shorter walk and included the minor but distinctive hill of Murton Pike. We chose to ignore this hill to allow time to go on to the isolated top of Meldon Hill. Once again, for the second time this trip, we abandoned the attempt due to short February days and spending too much time looking for Murton Fell summit. The biggest disappointment however was that when we reach High Cup Nick we could not see anything, again due to the thick fog.

Mickle Fell & Little Fell 03 March 2012
Mickle Fell summit

10.71 miles, 605 metres of ascent, 7 hours 40 minutes, 1.51mph.
I had planned to start in Hilton to retrace the walk when I last attempted to visit Mickle Fell back in February 2009. It would also be a chance to see if I could find my camera, my phone, my glasses, my torch and loads of others things which I lost on this epic walk. Due to the fog and experience we had had in failing to reach Meldon Hill on the two earlier walks, mentioned above, on this trip I decided to start the walk on the Cumbria Durham border on the B6276 just north of Brough and the A66. Following the fence more or less all the way to King's Pot and the final ascent to the Mickle Fell plateau. The decision paid off by successfully reaching Mickle Fell as well as Little Fell.

Howgill Fells (West) 04 March 2012
The Calf trig point

10.61 miles, 865.12 metres of ascent, 5 hours 33 minutes, 1.92mph.
Had first attempted to visit Fell End & Bush Howe two days earlier, but unfortunately failed to take proper bearings at the beginning of the walk and ended up going up Uldale Head first instead of Linghaw. This time I was going to be on my own as my mate Clive dropped me off at Carlingill Bridge on his way back to London, the same start point as two days earlier, but this time after Fell End & Bush Howe, carry on over The Calf, past Cautley Spout and finally walking along the A683 towards The Lamb & Flag pub where Denise would meet me to take me back to Kirkby Stephen Hostel.

Other routes that can be based from Kirkby Stephen Hostel
Living in Suffolk I tended to try and stay in accommodation from where I could start at least some of the walks. While this was great it was not necessarily the most efficient though it did give me the opportunity to stay in different towns and thereby drink in different pubs.

Having stayed at Kirkby Stephen it has occurred to me that the town and the Hostel is a great base to stay for most of the southern Nuttalls in the North Pennines - Western Fells and virtually all of the Nuttalls in the Yorkshire Dales - Northern Fells with the possible exception of Lovely Seat, though this could be combined with Great Shunner Fell starting somewhere near Keld.

North Pennines - Western Fells
Bink Moss
Route Map

Meldon Hill
Looking down on Cauldron Snout
 as the Tees is joined by Maize Beck and
meanders past Falcon Clints

Pennine Way - Day13
Great Dun Fell Comms/Radio Station

Yorkshire Dales - Northern Fells
The Calf and South Howgills

Nine Standards Rigg

Pennine Way - Day09

Wild Boar & Swarth Fells

High Seat Range

Baugh Fell

Lovely Seat

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