A grand stride up the valley of Oughtershaw Beck before a much rougher return to Oughtershaw via the crest of Cam Rakes.
|Parking:||Verge parking, Oughtershaw|
|Route:||Download Route [GPX]|
Over the last couple of years I've been gradually revisiting a number of hills in the Dales where, it is fair to say, I didn't enjoy the best of weather on first acquaintance. Cam Rakes was one such hill and the aim of this walk was to gain a better appreciation of this little known fell whilst also exploring the valley of Oughtershaw Beck, one of the two main sources of the River Wharfe.
Parking on a grass verge at the northern end of the hamlet of Oughtershaw I took a quick look at the stone ereceted to mark Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee before heading up the valley on the Dales Way. This first section of the walk was supremely easy with increasingly good views back to Langstrothdale and some nice moments alongside Oughtershaw Beck.
"Although not a long or particularly steep climb, I found the ascent of Cam Rakes quite arduous. This was probably due to the tussocky and in places boggy nature of the ground underfoot."
Having passed the fine houses at Nethergill and Swarthgill the wide track gave way to a thinner path in grass. A bit muddy in places it was still a grand walk deeper into the valley. For most of this section the views were dominated by the flanks of Cam Fell on my right and Cam Rakes on my left. As I neared the head of the valley Ingleborough suddenly came into view as well.
As I approached Cam Houses I crossed over the Pennine watershed and moved from the valley of Oughtershaw Beck to that of Cam Beck. It is an odd spot really for Cam Houses had been in view for much of the walk and yet is on the Cam Beck side of the watershed.
From Cam Houses I dropped down to the dark slow moving waters of Cam Beck which I crossed via a non-too sturdy footbridge consisting of a few planks of wood. Forestry work has wiped out the right of way shown on the map, the easiest thing to do is to climb the slopes of Cam Rakes with the two fences on your right (note a crossing of a barbed wire fence is necessary).
Although not a long or particularly steep climb, I found the ascent of Cam Rakes quite arduous. This was probably due to the tussocky and in places boggy nature of the ground underfoot. When I reached the crest of the fell I turned left up the three metre wide strip of ground between wall and fence to the waiting trig point.
In complete contrast to my first visit it was a glorious day with a plenty of sunshine, patches of cloud and a nice cooling breeze. The view from the trig point was also much better than expected with Whernside now joining Ingleborough in the view. After eating my lunch by the trig point I continued to the summit of the fell which stands two metres higher and is marked by a tiny pile of stones next to the fence.
Continuing on between wall and fence I began a very gradual descent towards Cocklee Fell. The ground remained rough underfoot and I had to put my well honed bog trotting skills to good use. Eventually I reached the right of way crossing Cocklee Fell where there was super prospect of Langstrothdale. Turning left on this path I made my way down easier grass back to Oughtershaw.