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Route No 235 - Saturday 2 February 2008
Blubberhouses, Fewston Reservoir,
Swinsty Reservoir circuit - 10km
Washburn Valley . . .

(Also route from Blubberhouses to Fewston reservoir,
Timble, Roman Road circuit - 15km)

Ordnance Survey route map on the Landranger series map base
View the route in Google Earth

Map: Ordnance Survey Explorer 297 Lower Wharfedale & Washburn Valley


The church at Blubberhouses seen from the car park
The church at Blubberhouses seen from the car park

As usual it was all media hype and the roads were perfectly clear and well gritted and our little group of friends met without any bother at the little car park at Blubberhouses at the head of Fewston Reservoir (map ref. SE168553) at 10.30am.

This morning the news reports were full of trapped motorists and dramatic rescues by the emergency services and dire warnings not to travel. In the end we decided to risk it and turn back if things looked like getting bad.

Looking down Fewston reservoir from the A59
Looking down Fewston reservoir from the A59

Fewston reservoir from the permissive path around it
Fewston reservoir from the permissive path around it

The plan was for my wife and me leave the main group and to continue on the path around Fewston reservoir back to the start giving me a nice gentle walk of 6km.

The plan was for us all to walk along the water company permissive path on the north east side of the reservoir to the dam. There we would cross the dam and split into two parties.

Our lunch stop by Swinsty reservoir
Our lunch stop by Swinsty reservoir

(The main group would take the path through the woods behind Swinsty Hall to map ref. SE190531 and then take the path up the hill to the village of Timble. Their route then was along the road through the village to the junction at map ref. SE170530. Here their route went across the road to fallow the track through the woods to map ref. SE149526. From there the route joined the public footpath across the moor to a gate through a drystone wall at map ref. SE 133530 on Gawk Hall Ridge. Through the gate the route turns right and after about 100m goes through another gate called Gawk Hall Gate on the map and continues across the moor to join the Roman Road at map ref. SE139536. After almost 2.5km on the Roman Road the route turns left at map ref. SE163545 on a track down the moor to join a lane into Blubberhouses village at map ref. SE165550. From there the route goes down the road back to the car park where we started. This route is just under 15km)

Fewston reservoir from the permissive path around it
Fewston reservoir from the permissive path around it

A lovely old beech tree by the path
A lovely old beech tree by the path

We stopped for some lunch at the picnic area by Swinsty reservoir at map ref. SE197536 and then continued around the reservoir to Swinsty Hall. Here we split up and the main group headed for Timble. My wife and I carried on around the reservoirs and back to the car park at the start. Our walk was 10km, quite a bit longer than the 6km I had planned and it proved a bit of a struggle for me, but we made it back to the car by about 2.30pm. It had been a very good snowy walk. You just have to have at least one good snowy walk each winter in spite of our funny climate these days. I learned afterwards that a lady in the main group had had a heavy fall and was helped back to the car park from Timble village, whilst the remains of the main group did a longer route and got back to the car park in the dark at about 5 o'clock after walking 20km.

My friend, Jim, keeps telling me that "no battle plan ever survives contact with the enemy". I should have heeded his warning. All went well as far as Fewston reservoir dam. There everyone decided that they would continue around Swinsty reservoir and join the planned route to Timble on the path up the side of Swinsty Hall.

A lovely old beech tree by the path
A lovely old beech tree by the path

Looking back down Fewston reservoir near the end of our walk
Looking back down Fewston reservoir near the end of our walk