2 inches of snow overnight on Saturday transformed Upper Nidderdale in the Yorkshire Dales into a winter wonderland. At Pateley Bridge, just down the valley, the fields and hills were green, but beyond Lofthouse the snow gradually increased in depth to several inches on the high moors. It was a clear, cold day with great visibility and no-one else around.
We set off from the Yorkshire Water road near Lofthouse and climbed up to an old track at Thwaite House Farm, then followed this up through the valley, passing several old farms, to reach Scar House Reservoir dam. The water level was high and water was pouring across the overflow straight down the front of the dam wall - very impressive. That said, the riverbed was dry near Lofthouse, as the river almost always sinks at Manchester Hole and Goyden Pot unless there has been particularly heavy rain.
After crossing the dam wall, we followed the track up onto the moors before a gradual descent to Middlesmoor, with superb views down the valley towards Gouthwaite Reservoir. Got to the Crown at Middlesmoor at 3:10pm expecting it to be closed, but it was full of locals, the fire was roaring and the beer tasted great. Just a 30-min walk left in fading light back to the car.