A hugely enjoyable ramble in Wensleydale starting from Whorton featuring a nice start along the River Ure and a visit to the village of Thornton Rust before climbing up to the shapely Addlebrough. Some stepping stones early in the walk may make this particular route impractical when river levels are high.
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Due to subsidence the A59 was closed (again) at Blubberhouses between Harrogate and Skipton. This is frustrating as it is my favoured route for heading out to the western dales and Howgill Fells. As I couldn't go in that direction without a lengthy detour I decided to make for Wensleydale or Swaledale. In the end I plumped for the former so that I could revisit Addlebrough - not the biggest hill in Wensleydale but certainly one of the more shapely.
On my previous visit to Addlebrough, in March 2016, I started from Bainbridge where I was staying for the week with my family. On this occasion I began a bit further east from Worton, a small hamlet between Bainbridge and Aysgarth. At the eastern end of the hamlet there is a useful layby for parking on the opposite side of the road to the Victoria Arms.
"A short way to the north-west of the summit are some fine crags. Heading towards these I sat down to have some lunch and enjoy the views of Wensleydale."
Rather than heading south straight for Addlebrough I rather fancied a bit of a riverside walk to start with. Therefore I walked along the road a short way to take the minor road dropping down through the hamlet to reach Worton Bridge. Crossing over I took a path on the right to follow the River Ure downstream. After reaching Nappa Mill the path is deflected away from the riverbank. Instead it initially carries on immediately to the north of the old Wensleydale railway line.
The map shows the path continuing above the railway line but in fact, at a stile, the path continues along the old trackbed itself. Eventually I left the latter at a signpost to cross over into a huge pasture for sheep and cows. Heading back down to the riverbank I arrived at some stepping stones. Probably impassable in wetter conditions there were no problems crossing after all the fine sunny days we've been enjoying.
On the other side of the stepping stones I climbed the opposite bank to arrive on the main road running through Wensleydale. Turning left I walked carefully along the road side for a 100 yards or so before escaping on an enclosed path to the right. Marked on the map as Nipe Lane, this stony little path climbed gradually uphill. Although it is still fairly early on in the summer the undergrowth was already encroaching on the path and it is best avoided in shorts due to nettles.
Eventually I reached the upper end of Nipe Lane to emerge on a quieter road at the western end of the lovely little village of Thornton Rust. Walking through the village I took a turning to the right which was signposted for a car park (note this would make an alternative starting point for the walk). At the far end of the car park an enclosed lane climbed up out of the village.
After a few twists and turns the lane ended at some high pastures with Addlebrough now finally in view. There followed a pleasant walk along the grassy bridleway crossing Thornton Rust Moor with not a soul in sight. After a while I passed through a gate in a wall. Just beyond there was a signpost for a permissive path on to Addlebrough. This is one of at least two permissive paths in the area which unfortunately aren't marked on the map. Nevertheless this was the route I decided to take.
Passing close to the 392m spot height the path dropped down to a wall corner before commencing an initially steep pull up the flanks of Addlebrough. As the going began to ease the path headed back towards the wall. Reaching the top of the slope a stile provided access to a fine cairn and seat built into a wall end. This however was not the summit so turning north I continued to reach another wall where a stile finally gave access to the summit area of Addlebrough.
Features of interest included a cairn, which I believe is the rebuilt remains of the trig point that once sat on the summit. On the summit itself are some small rocks which apparently have some cup and ring marks. I'm not convinced but then again I'm no expert in these things. What was more obvious was an Ordnance Survey benchmark on one of the rocks. A short way to the north-west of the summit are some fine crags. Heading towards these I sat down to have some lunch and enjoy the views of Wensleydale.
When I'd finished I continued west and then south a short while. Here there were some quite superb views of Raydale and Semerwater. Crossing a fence I carefully made my way down a breach in the crags. I then turned sharp right below the crags to cross the nearby broken wall. On the other side I then made my way down to a huge boulder. Called the Devil's Stone the legend goes that a giant once lived on Addlebrough. He got into a disagreement with the Devil down in the valley below. The two started throwing boulders at each other. This particular one fell short of its target. Meanwhile a couple of the boulders thrown by the giant can now be seen near the shores of Semerwater. Of course the more prosaic explanation for the stone's presence is that it is a glacial deposit.
From the Devil's Stone I continued downhill to reach a quad track. This largely followed the nearby wall in a generally north-westerly direction. This eventually joined the bridleway just short of Carpley Green Road. Turning right along the bridleway I enjoyed a level march across sheep filled pastures. Eventually an enclosed path dropped down into the small settlement of Cubeck. From there it was a simple case of following the minor road descending back into Worton and the start of the walk.