Saturday 4 September 2021

Walk and Pray for the Climate - Environment - Creationtide- 1 September 2021 - Settle - Whelpstone Crag

 Churches Together in Settle run a "Walk and Pray for the Climate" on the First Day of the Month. We use material prepared by the website "Pray and Fast for the climate". - They also have some excellent material for use at a vigil for COP26

1st September is also the beginning of Creationtide.

For the sake of context and history:

5 Sept - is "Climate Sunday." We are having a special Service at St John's Church Settle - I with four others are leading that. Then after the service I hope to get on the Settle Carlisle train and go to Glasgow for THE National Climate Sunday Service to be held at Glasgow Cathedral at 4pm the same day!!

Back to our trip to Whelpstone

We pile into two cars at 5pm  and drive  5 miles west from Settle, through Rathmell and up to the end of the road at the foot of Whelpstone Crag at the border with Lancashire. Here we leave the cars (at 303m above sea level) - pleased to have met the farmer on a quad bike as we left the cars.  We walk to the two peaks of the crag at 362m (NE) and 371m. (SW)... So total height climbed = 70m. and total distance there and back 2 miles.

On the first summit  - NE end of the Crag, looking SW to the Trig point (centre) on the main summit
. The geology is gritstone and there is acid grassland. If one carried on in a straight line past the trig point from here we would eventually get to Stocks Reservoir and Slaidburn.

At the trigpoint on the main summit

THis walk was on 1 sept, but I had come up the previous evening to check access etc, and I include a few photos from that evening too.
Some ecological reflections: The land to the north and east is very beautiful and is treeless - as would the land to the south and west before the Sitka spruce plantations were planted round Stocks Reservoir. Yet the natural vegetation - pre sheep and rabbits - would be woodland
I did not see much (any) sign of heather  - maybe an indication of more intensive grazing in the past. A few flatter areas had peaty boggy ground. In one spot I was delighted to find Cranberry leaves.
Acid grassland and Peaty areas are good for storing carbon in the soil, though it only accumulates slowly.

I hear  ravens near the NE peak when we are descending.  
The previous evening at the 2nd gate on the way down I had seen a medium sized flock of lapwings.

View back to the first summit (actually taken the previous evening when I came on a recce) In the distance Penyghent (left) and Fountains Fell (right)
We read the introduction about Creationtide from the Prayer and Fast for the Climate Sheet.

From this same vantage point as above, I turn round and look down to see two cyclists on a trail in Gisburn Forest.

The cycle tracks are much appreciated by many cyclists.

A friend, Clarice Howorth, nee Garnet (now deceased) told me how when she was young all this land was farmland and that there had bee a strong farming community of the separate farms linked to the farms round Rathmell, and roads across.

Now it is forest.

I play a tune on the summit

View of the two peaks of Whelpstone Crag from the Cycle trail (North one on the left, trigpoint one much closer on the right), with Sitka Spruce in the foreground and a hazy Ingleborough in the far background
Same view as above - telephoto

A few of the lichens that I found below the NE summit - the rocks on the right above:

Fuscidea cyathoides - chocolaty brown

Hypogymnia physodes

Any suggestions please: :

And a wildflower at a gateway on the cart track as we leave the moorland and the vegetation  becomes grassland: Gnaphalium uliginosum - Marsh Cudweed 

If you would like to join us on 1 October do email