A short, steep but very sweet walk with my daughter up on to Simon's Seat, one of the great Wharfedale landmarks, from the campsite at Howgill Lodge.
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I'd been promising my daughter a camping trip for a while and wanted to find somewhere close to the Kilnsey Riding School as I'd also promised to take her pony trekking there. When my first choice for a campsite, Wood Nook, turned out to be fully booked we went instead to the Howgill Lodge campsite near Appletreewick. With the pony trekking booked for Sunday we needed something to do on the Saturday and given the location of the campsite a walk up on to Simon's Seat was a no-brainer.
It is worth noting that while the downloadable route starts and finishes at the campsite there is room to park a couple of cars on Howgill Lane. This space can be found next to an information sign at the foot of the steep track climbing up alongside How Beck. We reached this track by simply walking out of the entrance to the campsite, turning right and walking a short distance along Howgill Lane.
"It was a beautiful sunny day and with a cooling breeze it was a perfect day to have introduced Rhiannon to what is one of the finest summits in the Yorkshire Dales."
The climb up the track through fields and plantations was a steep one. Luckily there were plenty of places to stop and admire the increasingly fine views over this section of Wharfedale. At first I thought Rhiannon might struggle with the climb but once we got talking about one of her favourite subjects - where in the world she would like to visit - it distracted her so that before she knew it we were at the top of the plantation below Flask Brow.
While there was still over 100m in height to climb the gradient eased considerably as we turned left to follow a thin path above the wall. Once we'd passed the treeline we could once again enjoy some rather grand views of Wharfedale. We also got a close up of a local rabbit who stayed remarkably still by the wall while I crept up close for a picture. We also came across numerous millipedes scuttling about on the path.
Finally the jumble of rocks that marks the summit of Simon's Seat came into view. This was quickly reached on a flagged section of path. After skirting around the first set of outcrops we scrambled up on to the summit rocks. Just before we reached the trig point Rhiannon pointed out one rock that is shaped like a hand giving a 'thumbs up'. This was my 6th visit to Simon's Seat and I have to admit I'd never noticed this particular rock before. Well spotted Rhanny!
It was a beautiful sunny day and with a cooling breeze it was a perfect day to have introduced Rhiannon to what is one of the finest summits in the Yorkshire Dales. After taking the obligatory summit photos and having a quick snack we made our way down to the head of the path descending to Dalehead Farm at the top of Howgill Lane. Steep in places and quite rocky the path zig-zagged its way down the moor. Upon reaching a track it is important not to turn left or right on this but to look out for the permissive path that slants down through bracken to Howgill Lane.
Once on Howgill Lane it was a simple walk back along the quiet road to the campsite. Along the way we passed a walker who told me how lucky I was that my daughter went walking with me. He was absolutely right and it was great to share one of my favourite places with her. Incidentally, the Howgill Lodge campsite is excellent and I would highly recommend it to anyone wanting to camp in the area.