A Walk beside the Ure

I avoided Cumbria last weekend – for obvious reasons, and my thoughts go out to everyone affected by the floods. I went instead to Yorkshire and chose a walk along the Ure – Wensleydale’s primary river. It’s been about 4 years since I walked along it and I resolved to revisit and reacquaint myself with it.

I had no idea though, that it too had recently burst its banks and flooded a wide swath of land either side of its usual course. I parked in Askrigg and wandered down to the stepping stones that take you across to Brush House on the southern bank. I had to negotiate a couple of flooded fields on the way down, but I had my Sealskinz on and my heavily dubbined leather boots, so feet were secure enough. The river was up high and the stones were flooded; you can tell by how much if you compare my last visit in 2004 to this one.

The river in 2004 (Oh dear what was I thinking with that hat?)

The river last weekend – you can just about make out the stones on this side of the river beneath the torrents.

As I walked further along, the extent of the flooding soon became apparent. Although the water levels had returned to pretty much their usual levels, they had left behind detritus and flotsam all over the place. Any barrier to the passage of the river had accumulated a mound of debris behind it.

This post had captured a couple of large logs and a load of other sticks and twigs. The significant point is that this is dozens of yards from the river.

You can see from the picture below just how far from the river it is. The river is off to the left out of shot – my camera doesn’t have a wide enough lens to include both the post and the river.

Further along, almost every stile and every gate had gathered a pile of river debris.

Again, this gate is a long way from the river, but it’s been almost completely covered by it at some point.

The path close to the river has been eroded and some stile are almost invisible under the camouflage.

All in all a rather sobering walk. And this is nothing compared to the damage in the Lakes.


Fell-walker, trig-pointer, peak-bagger, Wainwright-er & Pennine Way author, with a passion for long paths, malt whisky, fast cars & Man City

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2 Responses

  1. Garry Green says:

    Hi Stuart
    I see what you mean. I had a similar problem due to erosion on the Reeth/Grinton path in ’08 – I wonder if u know what’s happening around there at the moment?
    I know there are many challemges for a lot of the rivers around there – but I know that my experiences of diversions and repairs were in a more dry time (albeit a result of previous flooding events).

    • lonewalker says:

      I’ve walked almost the length of the Swale this year from Keld to Richmond and had no problems at all with access. The only problem with the Ure was some fallen banks, and about 20 or 30 yards of lost path, but that was easy to avoid – so all in all, from Askrigg to Aysgarth its passable – can’t speak for outside these limits though.

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