A Circuit from Stainforth.

Start. Stainforth.

Route. Stainforth - How Bank - Moor Head Lane - Great Moor Head - Mean Moss - Long Lane - Helwith Bridge - Austwick Road - Sunny Bank - Stainforth Lane - Little Sunny Bank - Little Stainforth - Stainforth Bridge - Dog Hill Brow - Stainforth.

Notes. There I was dragging burning legs through soft ground, deep bog and equally deep snow, memories came flooding back, I seemed to recall battling my way over these vast unforgiving moors once before, in very much the same conditions, god I must have been fitter. Legs aching, lungs burning, and as the summit of Pen-y-ghent was shrouded in cloud I decided to call it a day, let wet feet carry me to the nearest pub.

My day started under leaden skies wandering between the grey limestone buildings of Stainforth, I was hunting for the Ribble Way, the section that would guide me to the summit of Pen-y-ghent. Once located I stepped over a stile into muddy sheep pastures. Above Rains Barn and How Beck I ascended, across Bargh Hill and Hesley, through newly planted woodland and out onto bleak moor land. Over soft ground, dodging pools of sphagnum moss and deep snow, invisible hands dragging me back, on I battled to reach Moor Head Lane, fighting the temptation to descend I crossed to suffer more of the same. By the time I reached the ice sheathed surface of Long Lane my boots had succumb to the damp, I think Mean Moss did for them. I turned west to descend back into Ribblesdale, Pen-y-ghent could wait for another day.

Long Lane ejected me onto the main valley road near Helwith Bridge, home to the Helwith Bridge Inn. A quick drink and I was back on the trail, crossing Sunny Bank to access the tarmac of the single track Stainforth Lane. With Smearsett Scar rising to my right I wandered on passed Leys Barn and Banks Barn and Hargreaves Barn (nice to see there all still in use) to reach Little Stainforth. I turned left descended to the River Ribble, ignoring Stainforth Force on this occasion I crossed the single arch of Stainforth Bridge before ascending Dog Hill Brow, all that remained, a couple of hundred yards easy walking along the main road.

view route map.


Views over Stainforth taking in Winskill, Stainforth Scar and a distant Warrendale Knotts.

Above the valley of the River Ribble looking south.

Wandering through a lonely nether world above the valleys of Silverdale and Ribblesdale feeling very alone, but still finding time to enjoy views to Attermire Scar and Warrendale Knotts.

Towards Moughton from the moors between Bargh Hill and Hesley.

Seen over a trackless waste of peat bog and tussock grass, Smearsett Scar rises from Ribblesdale.

Moor Head Lane, a chance to descend the hill.

Wrapped in swirling cloud, carrying a little snow the Ingleborough massif seen from Great Moor Head.

Views down my ascent route to a distant Smearsett Scar.

Smearsett Scar as seen from Studfold High Pasture.

Footprints in the snow proving I'm not the only clown to traverse this wide, wet grassy saddle.

Toiling across Mean Moss with views to Fountains Fell for company.

The threat of a storm.

Changeable moods of a Yorkshires winters day, somewhere in the murk, Pen-y-ghent.

Long Lane with views to Fountains Fell.

My guide off the hill, Long Lane.

The view from Long Lane, upper Ribblesdale with Whernside just visible closing the head of the valley.

Pen-y-ghent seen from Long Lane.

Another wonderful view over upper Ribblesdale.

The cloud's releasing it's grip allowing Pen-y-ghent to open out to the afternoons light.

Under snow the lower slopes of Ingleborough, seen over the green fields of Ribblesdale.

Long Lane looking to Smearsett Scar.

With the tarmac of Stainforth Lane under foot, pausing to enjoy views to Bargh Hill and Great Moor.

Attermire Scar and Warrendale Knotts as seen from Stainforth Lane.

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