There was a window of good weather between two windy and rainy fronts and we made the most of it.
Wanting some elevation and a different route where we wouldn’t get blathered in mud, we headed up to Kingsdale, just beyond Thornton in Lonsdale near Ingleton. It’s a narrow road, hemmed in by centuries old dry stone walls and climbing into limestone country.
We parked by a convenient lay-by with other hardy souls. Leashing the dog, we walked a short distance down the road and around a bend, where a wooden finger post pointed us left through the wall. It was a steady ascent through stubby grass and scattered rock until we reached a ladder stile. Here we lifted The Dog over, not that she’s not capable, but she tends to launch herself and there was rocky boulders on the other side. She was not impressed being manhandled and wiggled, so it was pretty undignified for both me and The Dog.
Once over, we continued to pick our way through the remnants of a limestone pavement. You had to watch where you put your feet and look out for wobbly stones. It was a good pull up. Finally the limestone petered out and we were able to stop and take stock. There were fantastic views across the valley. It was a broody day and a haze hung low. We followed a wall across the field until we joined a broad track and turned left.
We were heading down very gently, along a gravelly track, rutted with puddles. The wind blew in our faces and as we neared the edge, a panoramic view opened up before us. To the left was the Forest of Bowland and as we turned our heads, in the far distance, the silhouette of Heysham Power Station and the Irish Sea, Then across to Morecambe, Carnforth, Silverdale and Arnside Knott. It was quite spectacular and with the sun rays peeking out and lighting up the landscape, it was breathtaking. We stood for many minutes admiring it.
We continued down the track and in the distance, we could see a collection of vehicles. As we neared, we realised it was the Cave Rescue Organisation and they were on a live rescue. We stopped and chatted to the chaps who were basically at base camp. They were in the middle of rescuing four lads who had gone caving the previous day and had got stuck due to rising flood waters. The Cave Rescue were not pleased as two of the lads, from a university caving club had been rescued only three weeks previously in exactly the same situation. They obviously hadn’t learnt their lesson and I found it quite discerning that they were university students. Not a lot of common sense going on there, considering the weather forecast had been predicting heavy rain. So the Cave Rescue guys weren’t best pleased, though stoic. They had a job to do. We met one of the actual cave rescuers who had been down the cave twice in the last twelve hours trying to assist them. He looked knackered.
And the thing is, these guys are all volunteers. They don’t get paid to go and rescue people. They go out in all weathers, day and night, in their own time and at their own risk. Then they go and do their normal everyday jobs afterwards. I am in awe of these men and women. So selfless. So dedicated. And it’s all run on charitable donations – all the vehicles, equipment, the lot. It’s an amazing organisation and we’re so lucky to have it.
The cavers were safely rescued.
As we stood chatting and admiring them and their vehicles, four modern Land Rovers and a Suzuki pulled up. They squeezed past the rescuers and continued up another lane. They were off roading on green lanes – tracks that the public can use if they’re in the right vehicle.
We said goodbye to the CRO and followed the Land Rovers. They had now stopped in one of the fields and one of the women was taking photos of the cars from all angles. We caught up with them and started to chat to another lady. We then continued along the track, expecting to have to move over to let them pass, but every time we looked back, they still seemed to be taking photos. In fact, we walked for ages before we joined the tarmac road and they were still nowhere in sight.￼
We followed the road towards the ugly BT tower (a necessity if we want our broadband and phones). Some off road bikers overtook us and finally the Land Rovers. We looked at the tower in awe that something so fundamentally out of place was granted planning permission – a horrible faux brick edifice with corporate blue windows and doors. It needed a stick of dynamite in my opinion.
We carried on to the T junction, where we discovered a lovely seating area – stone built with a little stone plinth with a metal inlay pointing to areas of interest and the distant towns. It was really sweet.
The sun was out now and lighting up the surrounding hills, though Ingleborough was covered in dark clouds. We waddled up the road towards the car, pleased to get out and get some fresh air. We made the most of it – tomorrow was predicted to have a big storm, one of those they like to name to make it a bit more serious. We drove slowly home.