New Year's Day, in the freezing fog.
Despite being only the second highest peak in the Yorkshire Dales, Ingleborough is by far the most popular, due to its impressive scarp, and prominence. This walk was on the first day of the new year, and hardly anybody else was up quite so early, though I was accompanied for the walk by another solo walker, who had also, apparently, not been drunk the night before. The walk begins in Chapel-le-Dale.
The last five days had been well below zero, with constant mist or fog. The result was a completely frosted landscape, and a totally surreal light. These pictures are presented without any alterations to their colours or lighting. There is no point in trying to improve on nature.
- For contrast, a picture taken in 2004, of the normal view of Ingleborough.
- A rare patch of sunshine, melting the frost on Whernside's West Fell, with Gragareth (627 metres) behind it.
- Ingleborough (724 metres) with sheep. The clouds have managed to rise off Simon Fell (636 metres) on the left, but the main summit is still covered.
- Limestone benches by Ingleborough.
- The lower glacial valley, cut beneath the upper glacial valley separating Ingleborough and Whernside, now occupied by the river Doe.
- Frosted rock.
- Frosted logs. You name it, it's frosted. Frosted sheep next, perhaps.
- The flanks of Ingleborough have some fine examples of limestone pavement.
- The enormous shakehole housing Braithwaite Wife Hole, showing the shadow line where the sun has failed to melt the frost. Ingleborough is home to a huge number of the northern cave systems, including Gaping Gill, Alum Pot, White Scar, Quaking Pot, the Long Kins, Meregill, Hurtle Pot, Great Douk, and another 25 or so more major caves.
- One of my favourites. If I could choose one picture to sum up walking in the Yorkshire Dales, this would be it.
- Frozen stream.
- Ice flow. This stream is beside the steepest part of the route, climbing 70 metres in about the same horizontal distance.
- Boulder field.
- Weathered boulder near the top. The top of Ingleborough is protected from erosion by its caprock of gritstone, which explains how it manages to stand so proud.
- Looking towards Simon Fell.
- A misty summit. The trig point is by the humans on the left, but the highest point is in the middle of the massive + shaped wind break on the right, 1 metre higher. Because of this difference, the height is often misquoted as 723 metres. The 1:25'000 map shows the spot height of 724 metres at the shelter.
- The summit, now cleared of cloud just as we descend, and the hoards of late-wakers arrive. The grass shows the excellent effect of being sunlit only on one side
- Whernside (736 metres), the tallest mountain in the Yorkshire Dales (and quite boring compared with Ingleborough), finally becomes clear enough for a proper picture.
- The ridge of Ingleborough, made up from Park Fell (563 metres), Simon Fell, and Ingleborough.
- All the way from Leeds to Ingleborough, the trees had been covered in frost, but no-thanks to the sunshine, none of the trees by the walk were frosted. So I took a detour around the back of the mountain to see some there instead, at Ribblehead.
- Frosted grass.
- Frosted log pile.
- Frosted branches.
- Frosted twig.
- Frosted trees.
- Penyghent, sometimes spelled Pen-y-Ghent. A strange mountain with a seeming Welsh name, meaning the Head of the Ghent. The name apparently derives from old Cumbric, a Celtic language similar to Welsh, and originally spelled Pen-y-Gaínt, head of the plateau. Although only 694 metres high, taking ninth place in the height rankings of the Yorkshire Dales, its magnificent profile, proximity to Ingleborough, and the county in which it fully lies makes it often be treated as one of their Three Peaks.
- Superb frosted trees by Horten-in-Ribblesdale. They are so white, they are brighter than the surrounding landscape, like a negative of a normal picture.