Climbing Pen-y-ghent with Two Rolleis
Back in May my partner convinced me to go climb Pen-y-ghent with him, one of the Yorkshire Three Peaks. At 694m, or 2,277 feet, it’s not the tallest mountain but it’s still a fair challenge, and the total hike which took us from Horton in Ribblesdale to Ribblehead was on the order of 12-13 miles. I took two film cameras to document the trip, my Rollei 35 SE loaded with Fuji Neopan Acros 100 and my Rolleicord Vb loaded with a roll of Provia 100F. I had the 16 exposure kit in my Rolleicord as I wanted to maximise the number of shots I had. I didn’t break out the Rolleicord until after climbing to the top of the mountain so all the shots in colour are from the decent.
The path was pretty gentle to begin with and we joined a fairly steady flow of walkers, setting off at about 10 in the morning.
The path got gradually more rocky and uneven as we neared the foot of the mountain.
The path gradually gave way to a stony steps. As the route is so well walked these stone paths are essential to prevent the terrain from getting eroded into gullies.
Looking up towards one of the peaks with the scree slopes beneath. There are a few points where some mild scrambling and rock climbing are required to reach the summit from this side, but it’s all pretty tame really.
Getting near the top the views are already looking pretty spectacular with clear views for a good few miles before the haze sets in. Being a national park, there are no pylons or big roads to mar the landscape.
On reaching the summit we waited our turn to get a selfie by the OS trig post. I forgot to get a shot on film so this is from my iPhone, looking back at the path we’ve just climbed up. Now with the hard bit done it was time to breakout the Rolleicord and get some colour shots.
The previously clear blue skies started to get a few clouds as we began our decent on the opposite side of the mountain. The path on this side is largely made of big stone steps.
You can just make out the white line of the path we’ll be walking, snaking off into the distance. You can even just make out the Ribblehead Viaduct over the cloud shadow on the mid-righthand edge.
Looking back over my shoulder I could see the peak of Pen-y-ghent slowly receding.
Getting a little more cloudy still.
Every structure was encrusted with a mix of moss and lichens, as seen here on this old gate post.
I used a yellow filter on the Rollei 35 which helped brighten the path and some of the moorland reeds and grasses.
With the exception of the ever present winding drystone walls, the land is pretty bare. This ruined barn sits in rather splendid isolation.
We encountered a lot fewer walkers on the far side, you can just start to make out some of the cool limestone pavements the area is known for in the distance in this shot.
I’d love to come back here when I can spend a bit more time to explore and photograph the limestone pavement.
The background haze gradually increased as the afternoon wore on.
Towards the end of the hike, the footpath took us through a farm yard. Look at the date above the door of this farmhouse – that building has stood there since 1681!
The last stretch of the walk ran along the road to Ribblehead and as it wasn’t very visually interesting, this part of the hike really felt like it dragged out. When the amazing Ribblehead Viaduct finally came into view though it was all worth it. Unfortunately to get a good shot of the viaduct would have required a fair bit more hiking down into the valley it crosses – something neither of us had the energy to do at that point. So instead after having some refreshments at the fairly mediocre Station Inn pub, I quickly ran up the road to get this view from behind the viaduct before we had to dash off to catch the train home. The trains only stop every 2 hours at Ribblehead so we were keen not to miss it.