Over the Valley from Darnbrook Estate

Leaders - Helen & Arthur Lupton
3 October 1999

When the leaders walked the route the previous weekend, they followed the dry watercourse below Darnbrook to its junction with Cowside Beck, and crossed the pallet bridge to the steep path climbing the south flank of the valley towards Middle House and the Monks' Road, and following a wide loop back to the stream crossing, explored the little waterfalls and the abandoned buildings along the contour high on the valley side and returned (with permission from the Estate) along the top of the scar.

On the third of October we were greeted by a beautiful sunny afternoon, the clear air washed by recent rain — and admired the raging torrent of Darnbrook Beck as we walked down to the little bridge. But this was not the only torrent, Cowside Beck was no longer contained between its banks and even the approach causeway to the bridge was deep enough under water to flood the boots of the foolish. The wise chose to clamber along the fence and to reach the far shore comparatively dryshod.

A stiff climb brought us through ancient settlements to the locked gate in the wall, which could fortunately be easily lifted off and onto its hinges so that even the most nimble had no need to climb the slippery stile. So far so good with fine views of the Littondale heights and of Great Whernside to the west. To the east was a spectacular black skyscape, with the sun still shining on Darnbrook Fell.

Soon we were rewarded with a fine rainbow as the sun still shone, but then the rain began and the planned route started to look rather over ambitious. When the hail started it was voted that we should cut our losses and follow the water as it poured down its flood bed over the grass towards the valley. We were rewarded by the sight of a magnificent waterfall plunging over the scar and as we dropped down again into the valley the rain stopped as we crossed back over the flooded bridge - much less careful this time to keep our boots out of the torrent.

We may not have learned much of Heritage, but we certainly had fine experiences of the Meteorology of North Craven.