Adventure on Monkey Beck Road

It was February 1997, most of the low-lying snow had gone, but it was bitterly cold. Mike had come up from Wales for a few days greenlaning. We set off towards Ingleton fairly early and soon we were heading towards our first lane little knowing how long a day it was going to be. Heading north up Twistleton Lane (40G) was easy enough, weaving in and out of the walkers was a bit harder, they seem to invade the same popular places like bees around a honeypot. Soon we reached our first obstacle, the ford through Kingsdale Beck [Photo right], it was fairly deep, there had been a lot of rain recently but we got through alright. Next we did a few easy lanes including Tow Scar Road (35G) before climbing up the loose rock and onto Turbury Road (36G).

Now Turbury Road, what can you say, this is what greenlaning is all about for some. High up on the fells, miles from any houses, absolutely quiet. This is the road used by the hardened pot-holers, and if you keep your eyes peeled you'll see the small entrances into the caves, just to the left and right as you progress. After several miles we came towards the end of the lane only to find the way through the gate blocked by a couple of very large boulders. Not being one to put up with illegal obstacles on public roads I soon got the winch into operation [Photo left] and shifted one of them. We followed the dry-stone wall until we turned right through the gate and dropped down the hill-side past Yordas Caves [Photo right], then onto tarmac once again.

We now follow a few twisty roads on our way towards Dent Station climbing upward and into the snow and onto Monkey Beck Road, what an unusual name ! This greenlane is enclosed within dry-stone walls [Photo above], the snow had swept up against them making it deep and forward motion was hampered as we fought for grip. Nevertheless we made it to the lane at Artengill. Anyone familiar with this lane will know all about the boggy section that comes next. It took a while but we eventually got through, but then BANG! What was that? I stop and get out, the leaf spring had snapped and no-way could it be repaired, it had snapped just next to the 'eye'. Only one thing for it, back to Burnley in Mikes hybrid, a phone call to Ian confirmed he had a spare 'leaf' but it needed taking off a vehicle. Three hours later we we back at my jeep, spanners out, jacked it up, it was sodding freezing, by now it was nearly midnight, but eventually we got the new 'leaf' on [Photo right]. When I got the engine going and I tried to set off the wheels wouldn't turn, they'd frozen! No towing from Mike could free them, the drum had frozen solid, what could we do? Then we had a brainwave - out with the camping stoves, lit them and placed on the insides of the wheels with the flame on the drums. It took a while and a lot of gas but eventually they freed up and we were on our way. We eventually got home at 4am, cold, wet, tired and covered in muck but... 'what an adventure' - same again next week? No thanks!