I made a quick off the cuff decision to tackle Little Whernside this weekend. I had walked Great Whernside last year while on a holiday in the Yorkshire Dales. This time I set off in the early hours of the morning and drove up to Pateley Bridge and on up to the free parking at the head of Scar House Reservoir. As you pass through the far end of Lofthouse, look out for the Water Authority blue signs to the right where there is an access road taking you several miles to the reservoirs.
Similar to Howden Reservoir, Scar House and Angram Reservoirs allow the water to flow over the top of their dam walls when they reach their maximum level. This makes for some dramatic images of water flowing into the valley.
Starting my walk from the car park at the head of Scar House Reservoir a few elements were making themselves clearly present for the rest of the walk. The first was the view. From the dam wall I had a fantastic view of Great Whernside and Little Whernside. The second was the wind, it started just as it finished. Never strong enough to spoil the walk, but enough to remind you it was there. The third element was the big skies with cloud formations making for some dramatic photographs. The last element was the one I wouldn't forget in a hurry in one form or another..........water.
Once across the dam wall the path took a turn to the left, along Carle Side following Carle Fell Road. The view up the valley from here takes in Great Whernside and Little Whernside with quite a vantage point of the weather blowing in.
The path crosses into a run of pastures and this is where the water started in earnest. The constant rain and battering the country has suffered for the last few weeks was more than obvious. although I have read that this area can be quite water logged year round, so gaiters are definitely recommended. I'm more than glad I wore mine. At Hard Bank the view of Great Whernside and Nidd Head was at it's best with the amount of snow up there more than obvious. I'd been hoping for snow, and I got it.
Approaching the Col between Nidd Head and Little Whernside I started to come across significant patches of snow that slowed the pace a little.
At the Col the path splits, left for Nidd Head and right the route to Little Whernside.
I took the right for Little Whernside. At this point it was becoming clear that I would have to deal with water in one of two ways. Either the watery tufted grass, or the snow. At this lower altitude the snow was fairly soft and my feet were going right through making the going very hard work. Looking back occasionally, the hard work was worthwhile.
On the summit of Little Whernside I managed a few nice shots of the view to the north west. I stopped for quite a few minutes to soak in the view.
Onward and downward the path continued on it's watery way above Lodge Pasture heading in the direction of Dead Man's Hill.
About two thirds of the way along the path from Great Whernside to Dead Man's Hill I took a turn off to the right and down Shaw Gill Close. This took me back down to Carle Fell Road and a return walk to the car park.
One more look back before my drive home finished the day nicely.