Posted By : admin On 2015-10-25 18:15:00
Welcome to the Dales Active Blog.

Activities in the Yorkshire Dales

Articles will be posted by members of the Dales Active team and guest contributors from around the Yorkshire Dales (and beyond)!­

With over 60 Fell Races, 20 Sportives, MTB, Trail, Potholing, Triathlon, Canoeing, Climbing, Orienteering, Riding, Windsurfing, Walking, Swimming and Paragliding Events taking place or passing through the Yorkshire Dales every single year, whichever way you look at it, one thing is certain, there is an awful lot of it going on out there!

Check out articles by Ultra Runner Matt Neale & others Here!

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Bardale Loop
Posted By : admin On 2020-06-07 13:20:28

Bardale Loop, 25th May 2020

Taking advantage of another glorious day in late May I re-visited one of my favourite routes, the Bardale Loop from Marsett.
Another of my local runs, this classic route offers steep climbs, runnable trails, Roman roads and magnificent views.

Set in the heart of Raydale, also home to that other hidden gem Semerwater, I set off knowing that I would very quickly be into the toughest part of the course.

The initial steep climb eventually leads to more runnable and enjoyable footpaths across the moor tops which take you to the Roman road. 

At this point, there are a number of route choices but, if you care to go straight over you can continue along the footpath and traverse around Wether Fell where outstanding views towards Cumbria and the North East await.   

Following the traverse, rejoin the Roman road and head towards the Cams/Kettlewell Road where after short section you will arrive at the footpath which leads you down Bardale.  From here the descent is really enjoyable as Semerwater and Marsett beckon in the distance.

Bardale descent!
Bardale descent!

This is a fantastic 8 mile loop which makes for either a cracking walk or run

– Enjoy the video!



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The Beacon!
Posted By : admin On 2020-06-06 08:55:10

The Beacon, 29th May 2020

Taking advantage of all this fine sunny weather that we've been having recently, I decided to make a small investment in an action camera to see if I could record some of the outdoor activities that have been helping to keep us all relatively sane during this period of lockdown and furlough due to the Covid-19 epidemic!

Initially, the camera produced some interesting if somewhat trying results.  After a little experimentation, I found that using it as a fixed head cam produced very jerky results and didn’t always film where required. I then looked at wearing a chest harness followed by a shoulder harness but each produced similar results to the head fitting.

After much trial and error, I eventually decided that the good old selfie stick provided me with the most options.  I find that it gives greater control and produces a more stable film!  Once you get used to carrying a camera it does make it a lot easier to switch between filming the surrounding landscape and selfies.  It also makes it much easier to use the zoom facility and to change other settings most of which I have still yet to fully master. 

Okay, so far so good, what else could possible go wrong?  However, little did I realise that I was still at the beginning of this trial and error learning curve.

The next issue to arise was the battery running time.  I found that if I was to film continuously then the battery became exhausted after approx 50 min’s.  No big deal if you have a spare battery to hand but I didn’t.

Rule number 1 – Always carry a fully charged spare battery


Having resolved that issue I thought I’d finally cracked it and set off on another mini adventure.  All was going swimmingly well as I kept a watchful eye on the battery and made the change when needed.  Bingo, what could possibly go wrong now?  Off I set again with not a care in the world.  However, not long after a new message appeared on screen, memory card full!  Duh, never occurred to me that a 32gb card would not be sufficient!

Rule number 2 – Always carry a spare memory card or use a larger one if available!

OK, perhaps I could have been a little more selective in my use of the camera and filmed shots that might have been more relevant than others but how do you decide?

In the end and despite the additional work involved I have generally opted for filming whole routes.   Whilst this creates a great deal more footage, most of which is left on the cutting floor it does have the advantage of leaving you with shots that can be used for other occasions.

Great, surely I’d now covered all bases?  Wrong!!

Rule number 3 – Always remember to switch on the sound if required otherwise you will need to do the run again!! crying

Anyway, enough of this technical stuff let’s get back to the main event, the early morning run to the Beacon summit. 

The Beacon sits high up on Oxnop Moor overlooking Swaledale and after starting out from Wensleydale this circular route of just under 8 miles (1300ft) offers a little bit of everything.   Initially running on low level footpaths you soon begin to climb via the bridleway tracks before breaking out onto open moorland.   Once there, you are able to enjoy the fantastic views that all this effort affords.

I hope you enjoy the resulting video!


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Ben Klibreck
Posted By : admin On 2017-04-01 20:37:00
Ben Klibreck - 24th March 2017

On a day when the rest of the UK was basking in glorious sunshine......

My second foray into the wilderness that is Sutherland took me to the delightful village of Altnaharra and it's excellent B&B (www.altnaharra.net) where you will receive a really warm welcome from hosts Mandy & Lindsay.
As I approached the village, the snow capped Ben Klibreck looked rather benign in the late evening sun and things boded well for the mornings early start!

 Ben Klibreck in the late evening sun
Ben Klibreck in the late evening sun
After a hearty breakfast I drove to the popular 'start' lay-by just past the hump back bridge and despite low clouds clinging to the tops; the forecast was for a dry if somewhat chilly day - ideal walking weather in my book!  

Hump Back Bridge just before/after the Crask Inn
The Hump Back Bridge, 2km before/after the Crask Inn

The initial approach to the first summit, Cnoc Sgriodain, is via a boggy track which leads three quarters of the way before you need to bear left onto grassier slopes which then leads to the first cairn.  A short walk across the plateau takes you to a second cairn from where the descent to the bealach below begins. 
Creag an Lochain to Ben Klibreck
The view from the 2nd Cairn across to Ben Klibreck in the distance

After a short boggy stretch you are then faced with a choice of what looked like a tricky snow covered traverse to the left or, a seemingly more straight forward but strenuous climb via Carn an Fheidh to the summit of Creag an Lochain. I opted for the latter given the conditions.

On reaching the top, the view across to the ridge and final climb to Klibreck looked somewhat intimidating as the wintry conditions persisted. After deciding it couldn't be as bad as it looked I began the steady walk down to the ridge which on a better day would have afforded some fine views out to the North West.

Ben Klibreck  
Looking down to the Ridge and final climb up to Ben Klibreck

As often happens, the ridge walk wasn't quite as bad as it had looked from a distance and swift progress was made.  On reaching the foot of the final climb it was difficult to see any definitive path up through the snow covered slopes.  Fortunately, some brave soul had already led the way leaving fresh footprints to follow. 

After a short tricky section across a boulder field the climb began in earnest.  My new fave bits of equipment (carbon fibre walking poles) certainly came into their own as they greatly assisted my progress on the steep and sustained climb to the summit.

The wind speed seemed to increase with every step and the now descending clouds dashed any hopes I had of seeing the promised spectacular views.  
On reaching the summit I was greeted by virtually zero visibility and the rather sad sight of the derelict trig, half of which was lying on the ground.  It is to be hoped that this can soon be adopted and maintained in a similar way to many others around the UK!

Being able to see very little and finding it rather difficult to stay on my feet, I took the following short video as a reminder of how unpredictable the weather can be and how quickly the conditions can change in the space of a few minutes when out in the hills. 

A magical moment was provided when for a few seconds, the clouds broke - you really can be hugely grateful for such very small mercies when out walking in the hills!  Just a week ago I had to abandon a 2nd attempt on Ben More, Crianlarich due to blizzard conditions!

As this was most certainly not a day for hanging around a swift descent was made, carefully retracing my footsteps back through the snow.  Fortunately, the clouds did begin to lift and the valleys below soon reappeared.  Back at the ridge I met the first of only two other walkers that I was to see that day.  After exchanging pleasantries and recommending that he followed the footsteps to the summit, we went our separate ways.

Descent from Klibreck
The snowy return across Creag an Lochain from Ben Klibreck

The return route was pretty uneventful but having tackled the summit under difficult conditions I now felt confident enough to traverse Creag an Lochain as the snow had begun to soften as the day turned warmer.  Sighting two ptarmigan along the way certainly seemed to confirm in my own mind at least, that I had made the correct route choice.  

I returned to the lay-by in a little under 5 hours and all in all, a cracking and very challenging day out in the hills! 

Note:  Not sure of the siting but, it could be that the views from Klibreck and the surrounding area may well be altered in the near future by a proposed wind farm! - ­https://www.insider.co.uk/news/scottish-government-approve-altnaharra-estate-9869156  Considering that this is a remote and treasured wilderness area it would seem a little odd if this development were to proceed! 
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