Settle Wolftracks

Settle Wolftracks

Walks, Navigation Training and Outdoor Adventure for all ages

I hope there's something here that inspires you, whether you're looking for ideas for a family outing, first hand experience of a competitive event, or simply just fancy a virtual tour of some place new! Comments & questions welcome!

Treasure Trail parties

Family AdventuresPosted by Jo Wulf Mon, February 09, 2015 21:44:20

You don’t happen to be able to do dinosaur themed parties by any chance?”, asked a lady as her child dashed about with the other treasure seekers in Gisburn Forest. The party was at its climax, the treasure chest on the brink of being discovered under a large Rhododendron bush, and as usual, one Settle Wolftracks Outdoor Party booking seemed to be leading to the next.

There is no denying that kids all love a treasure map. So my aim is to set up a treasure hunt using a proper OS map to take them along a safe yet challenging route, hiding a few clues along the way to keep them motivated. With the promise of a chocolate tree in the deep, dark woods, a stash of hot chocolate or ‘elf juice’ in a tree hollow or a message in a bottle under the next stream bridge, children are soon orientating their maps (twisting the map around to match the features on the ground), recognising lots of basic map symbols and even using a compass to find north, south east and west.

My business started with just teaching adults navigation and offering guided walks to visitors in the Dales. But one day a fellow mum asked me if I did outdoor parties. Well… um… yes I do, I replied. Thanks to Gill, the idea has taken off and seems to be a hit! I’ll never forget that first party - a dozen 9-year old girls on Malham Moor one cold November morning, with a most definite threat of rain on its way – you could see this ominous curtain of grey heading towards us as we set off round the trail… but it held off for an hour, finally wreaking its havoc on things just as the girls had found their treasure in a shake hole – they all crept inside a group shelter in their cosy dip, and happily munched on chocolate coins before piling into vehicles and heading down to the warmth of Malham Village Hall for some indoor navigation games and a home cooked meal of shepherd’s pie and fruit crumble. The best thing about that first party was the feedback! The enthusiastic bunch were full of ideas – perhaps I ought to invite them to do a new improved trail to see what they think!

And yes, from dinosaurs to Lottie Dolls, I will happily tailor a party to add a real thrill to your child’s special adventure. I happen to know a young man who is mad about Tintin and am enjoying developing a trail that will bring Tintin and his faithful, four-legged friend Snowy into the Yorkshire Dales on a mission to uncover treasure left by none other than Captain Haddock’s ancient ancestor, the fine sea captain, Sir Francis Haddock!

Getting back to Gisburn Forest though, I was astounded on Saturday, as I observed the different things the youngsters got out of the challenge. Some were more physical and boisterous and enjoyed tackling the terrain as they hunted for clues. Some simply loved experiencing the outdoors in a way that they wouldn’t normally do - peeping into a bird hide or leaving the comfort of the path to venture somewhere a bit wilder. Others quietly enjoyed walking at the back with the map and compass, watching with fascination as the red needle kept its course whichever way we turned. The trail took them off the beaten track far enough to make them feel independent and give them a true sense of adventure. There were boggy ditches and streams to negotiate, thick branches to crawl under, and plenty of opportunity to run off without running the risk of getting lost. Everyone got a chance to find a clue, solve a puzzle or add their stick to a den. And what could be more magical than finding chocolates hanging in a tree or a flask of forest hot chocolate hidden in the bracken under an ancient gate post… The best fun of all for me? It’s watching the whole adventure unfold on the big day, getting families outdoors and seeing them learn basic map reading skills whilst having so much fun.

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Kendal Winter League Fell race at Whitestones

EventsPosted by Jo Wulf Mon, February 09, 2015 19:20:30

Whitestones… hmmm. That video clip on the Helm Hill Runners website was the first thing that put me off. And then I had heard runners get lost up there, and that it’s single file. and then you print the map off and the map key actually has the words MAN EATING bog in it! What else might put you off? Ah yes, the weather! So we were all winners weren’t we? Just for getting to the start line.

The seniors start was a furious pounding and rustling as runners ploughed through the bracken to gain a good position on the path before the flat-ish path narrowed into an ever steepening, muddy and rocky incline. Jan shouted, “come on - get that waterproof off and get running!” (I was finding I could walk as fast as the runners on this steep section - the terrain controlled the pace here, so I took advice and got my coat off while I could). As we started topping out, I managed to gain a few places by running over the brow. Now for the flat bit - this is better… or is it? Ankle deep bog, then knee deep, then you see runners stumbling right in! Oh, and this wasn’t the man-eating bit yet. There were some interesting little craggy bits to negotiate and some streams, gullies and wider bits of bog to leap over - the terrain was hard work even though it was flat. Fog, driving rain, first in one earhole, then the other, the intense pace never really let up as we followed the well flagged single NOT track, but muddy little line through the heathery bog, until finally you had that steep descent to the finish line ahead of you. It was an exhilarating way to finish, with a slight uphill sprint to the finish funnel if you had it left in you! Trays of chocolate cake being offered round in the rain was a bizarre sight, but I declined and said a quick good bye to all the Harriers - well done everyone! Brian Kennedy was top of the Settle Harrier charts this time, with Steve Proctor, Andy Evans and Steve Moore to follow. Judy Marshall was first Harrier lady home, then Sally Handforth - (Richard also ran a good race), and myself and Sabrina had our own little race going on to come in 3rd and 4th Harrier lady respectively. Well done any juniors who ran - see you at Birkrigg next week - I am looking forward to that, as I grew up in Ulverston! I hope the weather will be as nice as it looks in that race’s video clip!

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Kendal Winter League Fell race at Fairmile Feb 2015

EventsPosted by Jo Wulf Mon, February 09, 2015 19:14:33

So, that’s another KWL under the belt for just a small handful of Harriers this time. Getting there was all part of the fun, navigating tiny roads in the fog. Of all the routes we could have picked, we chose the narrowest bridge we could find and all breathed in as the van crept over it with its wing mirrors turned in. We parked as best we could on the old Roman road and the kids and Jan wrapped up warm and hiked a little way up the steep trod to enjoy a picnic in the fog and support the runners as they began their struggle up hill. And what a hill! We started with a 250m ascent and it felt brutal. I hardly managed to run a step! I just concentrated on one uphill technique at a time, swapping to the next one and then the next one to keep me going… swing those arms, press down on the thighs, ok, now try a bit of running keeping your toes up.... The going uphill was oddly slippery –the short grass was so solid with the cold, that the shoes just didn’t grip at times. As we gained height we left the clouds below us, a vast, white ocean, and it was such a pity there was no time to stop and admire the spectacular sight! I managed a couple of glances over to the snowy Lakeland fells under a clear blue sky as we pushed on over the odd semi-frozen snow patch. At the first summit, we dropped down to a col and then it was another 150m up again, the sea of cloud dazzling us as we went on. Oh! A photographer! Try NOT to look exhausted… The descent was on rougher tussocky grass with better purchase but quite steep at times. I went carefully having seen an injured runner hobbling down with helpers on either side supporting her weight. Down, down into the cold murky clag again, until finally the finishing flags were in sight, earlier than I had expected!

Brian Kennedy was first Harrier home in 32:13 and well up the field in the MV50 category too. Then came the Proctor brothers, their own little race going on, with less than a minute between them! (Steve did it in 35:07 and Adam in 36:01). Judith Marshall and Steve Moore finished 40:25 and 40:50 respectively – that must have been an exciting battle for the finish line, but I was still in the clag and didn’t witness that one, coming in 3 minutes later at 43:52. Jill Gates, possibly our most dedicated Kendal Winter Leaguer so far did a respectable 51:10. The Race Organiser did a great job, and went the extra mile literally! Having already flagged the route the day before, he went up and put extra flags out because of the poor visibility, and I can tell you, this was appreciated once the line of runners thinned out on the descent!

If I found this race steep, I am in for a shock at Barbondale next week! Can someone please have a go at persuading me that it will be worth it, as I fear I won’t be able to actually RUN a single step, uphill OR down! My legs feel totally trashed today and even the stairs are a challenge. Thank you to my family for all coming to support me – there is nothing nicer than having Oscar running alongside me for a section egging me on. Kirsten’s support is usually more passive, her bottom firmly on her picnic mat but I do appreciate them coming all that way to cheer me on.

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Giggleswick Scar Navigation Event June 2014

EventsPosted by Jo Wulf Fri, June 20, 2014 13:14:41

Giggleswick Scar, Woodlands House, a Navigation Event and how it all came together to make a fantastic summer’s evening social for the Settle Harrier Running Club.

When I heard that David Sexton was hoping to host a Settle Harriers event at the Woodlands House in Giggleswick, I had been thinking it was time I set up a course too, so we joined forces and soon found ourselves recceing all the good hidey holes up on Giggleswick Scar. We picked our way up the scar, stopping every now and again to circle a feature on the map and note down a quick description of where we could hide a marker. North east edge of crag, wall corner, gate north of cattle grid and the mysteriously tucked away dew pond which had a few runners puzzled on the night of the event! More about that later!

As we approached the north end of the scar, before you start descending to Feizor, David led me up along a wall and over a gate to see Dead Man’s Cave! I had been wanting to see this cave after reading Stephen Oldfield’s blog about the caves around Feizor (His blog is called A Three Peaks Up and Under – if you ever have a free evening, check it out – you won’t be able to tear yourself away from all the magnificent local journeys Stephen takes you on!). It was thrilling to be at the cave’s impressive entrance and we crouched inside to have a look around, using my mobile phone to light the way right to the back. Hmmm a good place to plant treasure we thought, but a bit far out. We made a note and carried on, running back towards base on the western side of the Scar. Sheepfold – tick, finger post – tick, where else can we put a marker? Aha! Another Cave! Kinsey Cave this time – a short detour up a boulder bank and we were there… David already making plans involving chocolate coins and lanterns! We scrambled carefully up to the highest point on the scar, 330m and marked by a beautiful cairn – another perfect spot for a marker and superb views all around us!

So that was the recce done. All that was needed now was for me to mark up a map using Memory Map (do Harriers know that the club invested in this software, so any of you can use it if you would like to organise your own event in this area!), type up the clues/descriptions for each marker, add some safety rules and timings and send out an email to the club!

We soon had a good number of replies and 19 runners on the night, including four juniors who put on an impressive performance alongside the adult competitors! One mum and daughter team kindly took these wonderful pictures for my blog, and deserve extra points! Thanks Jill and Emily!

“Ok folks, you’ve got two hours to locate as many markers as you can in no particular order. Clues are on the back of your map, as are penalty details if you’re late back. Good luck, off you go!” Starts were staggered over an hour and runners generally paired up, though Team Marshall was a family trio and Tim Jackson was champing at the bit, so we let him go solo. Simon Cane was last to arrive on the scene, so also set off solo and was all set for a leisurely tour, still feeling his legs after his amazing Joss Naylor Challenge on the weekend!

Results were as follows:

  1. Robin Moore and newest Harrier, Mark Wildsmith cleared the course losing 8 points for being 4 mins late. Score 442.
  2. Julia Murfin & Louise Wileman – an impressive 420 points in 1hr49mins! Well done ladies!
  3. Simon Oxley and Laurence Ormerod were third, only 25 points from clearing the course, also 4 mins late, so 417. Simon’s sat-nav photo of their course showed the REAL location of the dew pond, 146m north of where I had drawn it in! I reckon they may have had 440 points if it weren’t for my error, but the top three teams were all very close indeed!
  4. Judy, Sophie and Thomas Marshall – Thomas was much focused on reaching Kinsey Cave with the promise of treasure! I loved Judy’s comment on Facebook about feeling like she was part of a Famous Five adventure full of caves and scrambles. Well done you three – you were out for bang on 2 hours, not easy to get right, but what an amazing score of 355 too!
  5. Simon Cane came in with 350 points in only 1hr40! Legs can’t have been that tired after all Simon! Well done!
  6. David and Clare were also on 350 points, leaving only 1 minute to spare at 1hr59! This sharp-eyed husband and wife team spotted (and thankfully picked up) the two markers that been lost earlier in the day whilst we were out hiding them! 10 extra points for you guys! Thanks to David who offered to help Jill and I clear the markers the following day too!
  7. Jill Gates and 11-year old Emily, who amazed her mum and me for being out for a massive 2hrs 08, and scoring a brilliant 347 points! It’s the chocolate in the cave that made you slightly late girls! Thanks for all the lovely photos!
  8. Tim Jackson - Good job you borrowed my watch Tim – you came over the line in 2hrs 03 scoring 329 points! Nice job!
  9. Annie and Helen arrived 1hr52 minutes after they set off. Well done on scoring 315 girls and I’m sorry you missed the chocolate in the cave – scared of the dark perhaps?
  10. James and Ruth Maxwell were our third junior& mum team, pulling out all the stops with their sprint finish to make it back in 1hr 59, with 300 points.

So really after the first three places, everyone else’s scores were quite close and all above 300 points! Great achievement, especially our youngsters – it was good to have you with us, and I am sure that one day it’ll be the juniors like you organising events for us oldies to have a stab at in ten years’ time! Well done everyone, and thank you so much for taking part!

As for the social, thanks everyone for arriving laden with goodies, from still warm gooseberry pie with cream (Annie!) to delicious bread and cold meats, spicy homemade dips and chilled beers. It is great that so many turned up – even those who didn’t compete came along to be part of it and it was nice to see you all (Kerry, Sandra, Jill, Edie, Connie and Sharon – thank you for all your help in making the event run smoothly).

David Sexton, you are a host beyond hosts, and Woodlands House is truly magnificent, every nook and cranny of it! Some of us were lucky enough to get a tour of all three storeys and sleeping nineteen people, it is a very unique venue for a group to book, whether it’s to have a holiday in the Dales, or simply to get the wider family together for a special occasion! David’s passion for the building shows in every beautiful piece, from vintage lamps or chandeliers, to perfectly chosen furniture that brings a sense of the past back into the house … some favourites of mine were the dining room table and chairs of banquet hall proportions, a splendid four poster bed, the luxurious Victorian-style bathrooms with their black and white tiled floors, a free standing Victorian bath with an amazing view over the Attermire and Chip, dear Chip who fits right in with the look of the place, the most elegant and gentle canine friend who let me share his favourite sofa for much of the evening whilst I waited for runners to have their fill of sunshine and fun! Thank you David, for providing this stunning venue for the event. If you haven’t yet see it, here’s a link:

Another link for you - to one of Stephen Oldfield’s tours I enjoyed (including Dead Man’s Cave), but more recently I was taken on an incredible virtual tour of Rowan Pot, complete with several videos so he’s a great guy to follow. I will be one of the first to buy his book when it comes out in August hopefully?

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Geocaching from Settle

Family AdventuresPosted by Jo Wulf Sat, May 17, 2014 22:04:51

Today we went for a walk, one of our usual little strolls – through Settle Market Place, past the Langlcliffe Caravan park to the beautiful mill pond, then to the weir on the Ribble, through Langcliffe village and along the old ‘High road’ that leads back into Settle, the perfect, tiny lane with several benches along it to sit and enjoy the views. The ideal little route for a boisterous 7 year old who dashes everywhere like an untrained sheepdog and a more laidback 5 year old who doesn’t like walking quite as much as her brother. Now, here’s the difference: Before we left, I logged onto the website which I’d registered with a week before. I typed in our postcode, and lo and behold, a whole map of our area popped up, just littered with caches! Have you heard of it? , GEOCACHING? I bet you walked past more than one just today!

The idea is, you log on and seek out a cache you fancy finding, and using your GPS device to enter the co-ordinates, you drive/walk/cycle/scoot/sail/fly… move however you like, letting yourself be led to the cache! My mobile GPS refused to work, (I knew there was a reason I prefer reading a proper map!) but a 10 figure grid reference meant we could pinpoint the location quite easily on our map anyway. By reading the cryptic clue, which Oscar had had fun deciphering, and reading comments others had left, we managed to locate four geocaches in one little walk. The children had their rucksacks with them, to carry little trinkets and toys they were willing to swap, to place in the cache boxes: if you want to take a treasure out, you have to put a treasure of your own back in for the next geo-cacher. Then you sign the log and make sure you hide the cache just as it was, without anyone else (they call non-geocachers ‘muggles’!) seeing you!

I tell you, it was hilarious when a muggle approached. Kirsten would yell “MUGGLE!!!” at the top of her shrill voice, and we would all stop searching for the cache and pretend we were enjoying the view or looking in our rucksack for the next sandwich! Dodgy, loitering bunch! When people had passed by, we’d start hunting again. We found one cache with the clue ‘magnet’ stuck on a metal gate. It was a really amazing vessel (I am NOT giving it away!), with a tiny scroll of paper hidden inside to log your name on. We needed tweezers to get the scroll out! There were no treasures in there, but we were quite excited anyway – our first ever geocache, found! The second cache took a bit more hunting - a film canister under a rock at a rickety gate. There was only a 2 pence piece and another scroll of paper in there. We took the 2p and put in a marble and a fancy eraser, and signed the log of course before following the millpond path to the weir, admiring the family of ducks as we went. At the weir we had a fair idea where to look next, having read plenty of comments online to help us. The clue was ‘shoulder height and hidden by rocks’, and Kirsten was the first to spot the Tupperware box hidden in the dry stone wall. What fun! This one had a special pin in it, from the British Potholing Club, a coin from Iceland, (how cool!) a woven bracelet and a button in it! The children each put two items in, just because they had loads of stuff to give away and picked their treasures out! Kirsten hid the box carefully again, and off we went up the hill and over the railway bridge to find the last geocache, called Freda’s gate, so named after a 97-year old lady who used to walk to this gate frequently from Settle. Her daughter put this cache there in her memory, but boy will we remember how long it took us to find. We nearly gave up, looking for another gate, but returned for another try. After several funny moments ‘enjoying the view’ as muggles passed with their dogs, Jan finally spotted it – all I will say is, think ‘artificial/camouflage/disguise’ (it would be wrong to paint you a fuller picture) and remember to write down the clue, so as not to forget the exact wording! Well, I don’t think I would have spotted it! The cavity inside the vessel was about as big as a wine cork and had only a metal screw-up cylinder with a scroll of paper in it. We signed the paper and the children were rather grumpy at not finding any treasure this time, but still left some for the next people.

We can hardly wait for the next geocache - it was a great way to get the family out, and we just logged on to see what else we fancy searching for. Next on our list will be several caches on one of our favourite walks in Bremen, Germany that we’ve walked/run past many a time.

What can you find near you? Just log on to and once you’ve registered, which is quick, easy and free of charge, you can enter your postcode and click on ‘map this location’ and be prepared to be amazed. One of these days, I will be hiding a www.settlewolftracks cache of my own, so watch this space!

Top tips: only bring small treasures - think of film canisters and other such tiny vessels! Most of ours were far too big! Also pack a pen and tweezers. If you’re geo-caching with children, do the research carefully, the night before, so as to give yourselves the best chance of finding them. Some are defunct or damaged due to exposure to the elements, so read others’ reviews of the cache and check how recently they were written. Make sure your GPS device is working, or brush up on your map-reading – can you remember that little rule from those DoE days? ‘Go along the corridor and up the stairs…’ Pack plenty of snacks and full waterproofs if you’re leaving just at lunchtime with showers forecast like we did! Our two didn’t notice the rain at all, they were having too much fun! Good luck!

If you don’t have time to do all the preparation, let Settle Wolftracks do it for you, and book a geo-caching adventure as a family treat. You’ll soon be hooked, I guarantee it!

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Ingleborough: It's not about the Summit

WalksPosted by Jo Wulf Fri, March 14, 2014 13:41:12

How many times have we been up Ingleborough, usually on a training run whilst chatting with fellow fell-runners or struggling up, head down, breathing hard and descending full pelt on Ingleton Gala fell race day? Today is different. Yes, we’re donning running gear and fell shoes, but call it a rest day – Jan is saving his legs for the Howarth Hobble in two days’ time, but intends to enjoy his day off exploring this mountain of secrets… and what a day it turns out to be!

Firstly, I must thank a fellow explorer whose blog “A Three Peaks Up and Under” at is absolutely riveting stuff. Stephen Oldfield’s blogs take you on a wondrous tour of places you THOUGHT you knew well, with his wonderfully informative writing complemented by loads of fabulous photos (and videos!) from every angle so that you feel you were there yourself! Totally inspired, Jan and I start out from Ingleton up past Crina Bottoms Farm in 3˚C fog, fairly confident that we will soon have our feet in the clouds. We are not disappointed as from about 400m, we catch our first glimpse of Ingleborough’s chiselled silhouette and blue sky through the thinning cloud. By this time, we have already ticked off a few features, so close to the path, yet walked past by most. Some (ancient?) shelters on the limestone scar to the north of the path, and then a little further along, Quaking Pot, which was impressive up close with its fern fronds dripping with water into the cave below and a rock bridge splitting the hole in half. A mystical hiding place that we spent a while wondering at. Now that we have full visibility, we can hatch a plan – an ascent of Falls Foot – will that chossy-looking grit stone gully go? Since we aren’t quite sure, we trot across the tussocky ground to take a closer look. Yes, it looks do-able, so without any hurrying at all, we enjoy picking our way up the layers of grit, lime and then grit stone again and then traversing north along the top edge, always keeping beneath the summit plateau.

How happy we are in the sunshine, the inversion – a sea of cloud filling the valley below, giving Ingleborough the time it deserves for once. We take in its every feature, the patterns on the fractured grit stone cliffs, the curves of the plateau’s edge leading over to the ‘Swine’s Tail’, the curiously uniform lines of shake holes far beneath us, the perilous drop off Black Shiver… it’s not about the summit today, so when we do venture up to the very top, we ignore the trig point, and instead take a jog around the entire plateau, stopping to talk about the routes up from Clapham, Horton, the Hill Inn… reminiscing of previous ascents. Many a walker, even locals have been confused more than once in poor visibility up here… add snow to the equation, and finding the path you want requires time and careful navigation.

We are reluctant to descend as the cloud is not burning off, even though it’s nearly noon. But we still have a good view of our next objectives, Tatham Wife Hole, Green Edge and an ancient wall running east to west from this limestone feature, then Lead Mine Moss, several lovely cairns and the lone Hawthorn tree surrounded by a vast and gleaming limestone pavement, today showing off its spring buds. We find a baby Hawthorn tree just nearby, doing well in its protective mesh cage, and a sheep’s skeleton in a deep gryke – obviously limestone pavement is not a clever place for sheep to roam.

Soon after this we are back in the mist, and the drop in temperature is noticeable. On with an extra layer and we jog down to the car, chatting excitedly about all our finds! To top off our perfect day, we head to Inglesport Café for a coffee and a slice of cake (buying two slabs of rocky road for the children as we feel guilty that they have been at school whilst we have had so much fun!) As our order is taken, Fran is just serving a full English breakfast to another customer, and suddenly I am very hungry! “ Mini English for you?” asks Fran. So we treat ourselves to a mini (still substantial) version of the Full English, where the coffee is included! Fully refuelled (and yes, we had the cake too!) we head back to Settle in time for school pick up, the only deadline of the day! What a privilege to have this special day off with my lovely husband!

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Keswick with the kids

Family AdventuresPosted by Jo Wulf Fri, February 21, 2014 22:35:40

It’s half term and the Wulf family needs an adventure fix. Off we set in our van (Cali) up to Keswick for a couple of days. We’ve got a few ideas in our heads and various bits of kit with us: picnic, wellies and walking boots, our Innov8 Mudclaws (boy have they had good use this winter... the only running shoe for all this mud!), swimming togs , climbing harnesses, head torches – all set for a spot of adventure! Let’s start with Cat Bells shall we? A great little summit for kids with a good path, great views and a walk along the shore of Derwent Water on the way back to the car.

Hmmm, as we approach the A66 the weather is getting worse rather than better. We carry on regardless, glimpsing views of Blencathra as its snowy ridges swirl in and out of the mist. No sooner than we have parked up, we find ourselves drawn into the woods, rather than up the mountain, as it is now pouring with rain. The kids are far too busy building their dens to eat a sandwich, so Jan and I sit in our group bivvy and laugh at ourselves sat here on this steep, mossy, wooded slope with a delicate orange layer of fabric between us and the rain. Soon the kids join us and tuck in too. Once the rain eases, we head down to the shore... the kids are leading us away from our summit plans. Never mind – let them lead the way today! There is something spellbinding about being here on this wind still day. Shingle beaches, logs and rocks half-submerged become islands, boats, horses...
Away from the crowds, we take our time and let the children lead the way, gazing out over the mirror still water as the light seems to improve and the weather disperses.

We head into town, to eye out the new year bargains and enjoy the delights of the lovely Old Friars Sweetie shop - where we feast our eyes on every beautiful display before helping the kids choose some jelly beans from every flavour you can imagine! Oscar tried ‘sizzling cinnamon’ this time, as well as ‘green tea’! Kirsten went for ‘ice-cream parlour mix’, ‘water melon’ and ‘candy floss’ to name a few! Jan and I chose cappuccino chocolate buttons... .

OK folks, time for a swim now – as much as we love our local Settle pool, coming to the Keswick Leisure Centre is a real treat, with its wave machine, waterfalls and big tube slide, which spits you out violently so that you get a good dunking before finding your feet and surfacing.

Day 2 – it’s still raining, but mild. Let’s get up Latrigg Fell – it’s described as Keswick’s own personal fell, and only a third of its towering neighbour, Skiddaw, most of which is hidden in cloud this morning. Luckily, the clouds part when we reach the top, and we are treated to a great view of the town and Derwent Water. Beneath us, the car park is out of sight. We watch as three walkers head down the path which winds around the slope, but decide to take a bearing and head straight for the van. Oscar and I are sent ahead into the mist, and we turn our little navigation exercise into a fun ‘leap-frogging’ technique. It’s always surprising when you take a bearing... if you try beforehand to point where you THINK you might be heading, it just shows how important the bearing is, and how you really have to trust your skills and your compass (unless your compass needle is being affected by a mobile phone in your top pocket or by magnetic rock in the area but none of that here!) – Oscar is impressed that our bearing leads us straight to our goal, and we definitely got there more quickly than if we had gone round on the path. All very small-scale, but perfect for getting the kids excited about navigation!

We’re off to the Keswick Climbing Wall, at the Adventure Centre at Goosewell Farm. I had not realised it was just opposite Castlerigg Stone Circle – we absolutely have to have a quick look at that. It’s been five years since we last stopped at this impressive prehistoric site. Of course, nothing has changed , and why should it have? These ancient stones have stood here for four to five thousand years, and remain firmly in place, set on this unique, grassy plateau surrounded by high mountains in every direction you look. Just a little further down the road, we reach the climbing wall: The kids love the climbing holds – from turtles to aliens, and they surprise us with the number of routes they achieve, as well as having a go on the bouldering wall, where a (very nice) young lady is working hard at problems whilst Oscar and Kirsten look on with total admiration. Soon they are trying to copy this future champion, attempting sitting starts and hanging upside down from the lowest overhangs! I like this place – great facilities (indoor picnic area, a comfy sofa for a rest whilst watching the climbing and nice toilets too), friendly and vigilant staff, and Oscar is most impressed that he is old enough to try archery here too, so we’ll be back soon.

It’s time to head home, but there’s one last mission – Jan is hankering after a good, long training run, so we drop him and his trusty mudclaws off in Ingleton, from where he makes his own way home, over Ingleborough, through Crummackdale, Wharfe and Feizor before descending to Settle from Giggleswick Scar. In true German style, he arrives home exactly three hours later, just as he said he would. Nice one Jan. My turn tomorrow. Now where shall I head?

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Catrigg Force

WalksPosted by Jo Wulf Wed, February 12, 2014 22:25:34
The Ribble River is huge today. Yet another day's rain is flowing off the peaks and pouring out of every orifice in the limestone cliffs in Ribblesdale, where you wouln't normally see a waterfall. An example of this is above Foredale Cottages at Helwith Bridge. Look up to the old quarry and you will see a tall chute of water, only flowing in the wettest weather. My friends and I decided to take a look at Catrigg Force or 'Foss'(Old Norse word, like many local place names in the Yorkshire Dales).

Off we set along the Ribble Way out of Settle, along the muddy riverside path, past the old mills, Langcliffe Weir to admire the recent hard work put in by volunteers planting trees at Knight Stainforth Caravan Park for the Ribble River Trust.

The next treat is Stainforth Foss -one to make kayakers think twice about today! This is a popular beauty spot in the summer, where on hot days, youngsters on exam leave can be found swinging out over the deep pools on ropes before plunging in to delight their friends. In October walkers pause for as long as it takes to see the salmon hurling themselves up this waterfall on their way upstream to their breeding ground. Today it is a spectacular sight compared to the last time I was here, paddling with my four-year old with a bucket and fishing net. Then we head through Stainforth village and carefully over the stepping stones by the village green and start the climb up to our goal.

Catrigg Force (Grid Ref: SD 832671) is a fabulous sight, requiring a slight detour from the bridleway leading out of the back of Stainforth. Care must be taken if you want to take a look from the top - it is a sheer drop where the water free falls into a smooth bowl shape, before it pours down the next tier to the bottom and continues down Stainforth Beck into the Ribble below. Estelle is suitably impressed when we descend to the bottom of the wall, where we all enjoy a hot drink and a flapjack before continuing our walk upwards, through Winskills Farm and descending to Langliffe via one of my favourite paths, where you get a really good view of the ancient field systems - 'lynchets' and 'lazybeds'. So where to next? It's still raining... Scaleber Force girls? Janet's Foss? Gordale Scar - now that would be good, woudn't it?

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