#38 – Pen y Fan (The Brecon Beacons)

Typical Brecon Beacons scenery

 You would be wrong in thinking that the mountains of Wales end at the boundary of the Snowdonia National Park.  A bit further down the road the Brecon Beacons National Park has more than a mountain or two.  The Beacons National Park is also almost as popular as Snowdonia, both NP’s having more than 4 Million visitors a year.

Fen y Fan and Corn Du on the skyline as seen from Libanus, near Brecon

 You would also be wrong in thinking that the mountains of the Brecon Beacons are an easy option for hill-walkers.  This is the area used by the SAS to evaluate and train their new recruits, though if you fancy something a bit easier there is always the Brecon Beacons Traverse challenge – 72 miles and some 17000 feet of ascent, all to be completed in less than 24 hours!

The initial ascent from the Storey Arms

 Our aim was much more modest than either the SAS assessment or the Beacons Traverse – the route was from the Storey Arms to Pen y Fan via Y Gyrn and Corn Du. The initial ascent from the Storey Arms is steady enough, though our aim was to branch off left from the well worn track to follow the Right of Way marked on the map.  Although the Right of Way isn’t as easy to identify on the ground, it does avoid a 50-metre height loss on the better-known path – it also includes the poignant memorial to little Tommy Jones

The Tommy Jones memorial obelisk

‘Mist’ by the memorial obelisk

The inscription says it all – “This obelisk marks the spot where the body of Tommy Jones aged 5 was found. He lost his way between Cwm Llwch Farm and the Login on the night of August 4, 1900. After an anxious search of 29 days his remains were discovered Sept.”  

It remains a mystery how the boy came to this high place.

The path above Cwm Llwch

Beyond the memorial, the pace picks up a bit with a narrow path that hovers above the steep drop into Cwm Llwch.  The literal translation of Llwch is dust, and cwm is a valley, making Cwm Llwch “Dust Valley” – with the dry weather we had, this was an accurate description, with the red sandstone leaving a fine dust underfoot.

The final approach to Corn Du above Cwm Llwch

Looking down the Cwm Llwch path from Corn Du

The main reason for picking the path via Y Gyrn had been to avoid losing height into the small valley of Blaen Taf Fawr.  The other reason was to avoid the crowds following the more popular ascent route – however, we soon caught them up on the summit of Corn Du.

Crowds on the summit of Corn Du

 Corn Du translates as “Black Horn”, and from some angles the summit can appear to be ‘pointy’ and black in the light conditions that usually prevail in the Brecon Beacons.  Corn Du also appears to be the busiest summit, although at 873 metres altitude it is lower than Pen y Fan (886 metres).  In fact, Pen y Fan is the highest summit in Britain south of Snowdonia, but the top is strangely quiet after the hubbub of Corn Du.

The quieter summit of Pen y Fan (886 metres)

Sometimes size really is everything, which is possibly why we chose Pen y Fan for our lunch stop, though being able to find a bit of empty space might have had something to do with it as well.

Chris, Barbara and ‘Mist’ on the summit of Pen y Fan

Pen y Fan Summit, the highest top in the Brecon Beacons

On the descent - heading for the ice cream stall

From Pen y Fan we had to retrace our steps briefly to contour below Corn Du to follow the other popular route down to the car park near Pont ar Daf, where we found a stall serving superb local ice cream – perhaps there’s a good reason after all for following the popular route!

Corn Du from Pen y Fan on the return route

Text and images © Paul Shorrock


Posted in 6. Mid and South Wales | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

#37 – The three peaks of Yr Eifl

The three peaks of Yr Eifl seen from the northeast

I’m an unashamed fan of the Llŷn Peninsula.  This is, without doubt, one of the most delightful parts of Wales, and on a good day the mix of mountain and sea can’t fail to please.  So two visits in the space of a week was a real treat, even if both trips involved an early start and a severe dose of the M60 morning rush (if sitting in standing traffic can be regarded as a ‘rush’).  Still, it’s a price worth paying for Yr Eifl at the end of the drive.

Garn Ganol – the 'Centre Cairn’ seen from the top of Nant Gwrtheyrn

Garn Fôr – the 'Sea Cairn’

Yr Eifl means ’The Fork’, for reasons that become obvious on the approach from Caernarfon –  the three peaks are presented like the prongs of a fork, with Garn Fôr (‘Sea Cairn’) to the right, looking as though it might slide into the sea below.  The centre prong is Garn Ganol (‘Centre Cairn’), the highest hill in Llŷn at 564 metres.  The third peak of Tre’r Ceiri (‘Town of the Giants’) is perhaps the most intriguing of the three, with an Iron Age hill fort ringing the summit.

Tre’r Ceiri – ‘Town of the Giants’

The two trips were booked by Natural Retreats, a company providing luxury self-catering holidays in some of the most stunningly beautiful parts of the UK.  Last weeks walk had been with Neil and Kay, in what was less than perfect weather – despite a chill breeze and hill mist we had managed to get round the three peaks in a reasonable time.  This week the trip was part of a press promotion by Natural Retreats.

Penny and Vince starting out up the bridleway

The team for the day was broadcaster and journalist Penny Smith, with Vince Leigh doing the honours as photographer.  My job was to pick the most interesting way over Yr Eifl’s three summits, and ‘Mist’ was working hard at just being a Border Collie!  My favourite route round the three is to start off from the car park at the top of Nant Gwrtheryn and to follow the bridleway up to the ‘bwlch’ (pass) on the old pilgrims route to ‘Ynys Enlli’ (Bardsey Island) – Garn Fôr is just above the bwlch.

Garn Fôr and Bwlch yr Eifl (‘Pass of the Fork’)

At 444 metres height, Garn Fôr isn’t exactly the biggest of hills, but its slopes are steep and strewn with boulders.  There is an easy option, though.  A set of concrete steps lead up to the repeater station mast to the south, and from there a well constructed set of stone steps allow easy progress to the summit.  Well, they did today – last week Neil, Kay and I had slipped and slithered our way up and down these steps in damp weather conditions.

Garn Ganol from the slopes of Garn Fôr

Next on the list was the ‘Centre Cairn’.  We had to retrace our steps down to the bwlch, and from there is was a steady pull up to the summit of Garn Ganol, highest of the day at 564 metres.  The views from the top are extensive, and include the Isle of Man, the Wicklow Mountains in Ireland, the Lake District and much of Snowdonia and Cardigan Bay.  Not for us, though – last week the hill mist had restricted the views, today heat haze was the problem.

Vince and Penny at the summit of Garn Ganol

View to the hill fort on Tre’r Ceiri, with the outer walls and hut circles visible

From there we descended yet again before the last summit of Tre’r Ceiri.  The outer walls of the hill fort, and the hut circles within the walls, can easily be picked out from Garn Ganol.  It’s best to allow ample time for a wander round, something that we had utterly failed to do – a combination of chatty fellow walkers and bilberry picking had eaten into our available time, and Penny and Vince had to get back to the Natural Retreats cottages at nearby Pistyll.  So, we breezed into the fort by the gateway at the northwest side and breezed out again by the other gateway to the southwest of the fort.

'Mist' at the southwest gateway of Tre’r Ceiri

We yomped the remainder of the walk back to the car.  Penny and Vince dashed off to the next phase of their mission, and I enjoyed a sunny drive back along the North Wales coast.  ‘Mist’ continued, as she had all day, being a Border Collie…. she went to sleep!

Summer evening over Yr Eifl seen from Morfa Dinlle

p.s. – really busy week.  The Yr Eifl day was great, with Penny and Vince being witty and amusing company.  Next day was a walk in the Peak District, followed two days later by an afternoon sailing on Windermere.  The sad note of the week was the funeral of Mike Steel on Tuesday, a dear mate who will be sadly missed – good wake though, only marred by Mike not being there.

Text and images © Paul Shorrock

Posted in 5. North Wales | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

#36 – “And now for something completely different” – Curved Ridge, Buachaille Etive Mor, Glencoe

Buachaille Etive Mor from Rannoch Moor

The A82 road from Tyndrum to Glencoe must rank as one of the most scenic and dramatic drives in Britain.  Amongst all this drama, Buachaille Etive Mor stands head and shoulders above the surrounding hills, a mountain amongst mountains.  It is almost always associated with Glencoe, though to be correct the mountain belongs to Rannoch Moor or Glen Etive – the name means “The Big Herdsman of Etive”.

The northeast face of Buachaille Etive Mor

The northeast side is the real head-turner, with what appears to be an almost impenetrable barrier of steep rock walls and deep gullies.  There are ways through the maze of rock, but most of these ways are the preserve of the rock climber.  There is, however, an exciting, elegant and not too difficult route through the defences of the northeast face – Curved Ridge.  The ridge is classed as an easy rock climb or a hard scramble, depending on which guidebook you are reading.  Because of this it sits on the fence somewhat.

Scrambling up to the start point.

The team for the trip was a couple of old mates, Ian Rogers and Mark Bradley.  Curved Ridge is also another old mate, and I had done the route three times previously.  We had set out early to drive to Glencoe from Ian’s place near Carlisle, and on arrival found “The Buachaille” far from inspiring.

The day was grey and dismal, but there are few things in life that can’t be improved by adding a bacon ‘sarnie’. So the plan was, drive on down to Glencoe village, investigate the bacon, and then head on back to the mountain.    The plan was a total success, though we had to endure a swarm of midges that had set up shop right next to the bacon butty van.

Mark below the slabby rock wall at the start of the route

When we returned to the mountain, the day had brightened up enough to make it worth while getting our boots on. Leaving the car at Altnafeadh we set off on the path past the white cottage at Lagangarbh, at first heading for Coire na Tulaich, which was to be our descent route.  We then peeled off to traverse under the brooding northeast face before we started heading upwards on the eroded path next to the rock feature known as “The Waterslab”.  Some easy rock scrambling brought us to a slabby rock wall that marks the start of the route.

The author leading the second rock pitch

One way to tackle the slabby wall is by the thin  groove on the right.  However, there’s a neat way to by-pass that to save time, which is exactly what we did, passing the remains of a dead deer on the way.

After that the route wanders back and forth, with no route finding problems – on a ridge like this you just carry on up! After a while the route becomes a little steeper, and a rope becomes a sensible insurance policy.  There are only a couple of short rock pitches, but a fall from one of them would be terminal.  As it was a wet day, and I had a heavier than usual rucksack, it didn’t take long for me to suggest roping up.

Ian at the top of the second rock step

The weather continued to be fickle as we sorted out the rope and continued upwards.  On a warm sunny day this section is simple enough, and the route is considered to be either a Grade 3 (s) scramble or a moderate rock climb – I’ve soloed this section when I was younger, but age makes caution (or perhaps in this case cowardice) an honourable option.

On top of that, the rock was cold and wet, with the visibility constantly changing from clear to misty.  I belayed at the top of the pitch and was rapidly joined by Mark and Ian.   Then, just as the route was gaining interest we arrived at the top of the difficulties.  As the bacon sarnie was just a memory by then, it seemed a good place for a late lunch and a coffee.

A good way to finish Curved Ridge is to continue over to Crowberry Tower and to climb that, but ‘iffy’ visibility made the gully behind the tower an easier route finding option.  From there a bit more easy rock scrambling took us to the summit, and a rapidly clearing sky – typical!  From the summit the route to the top of Coire na Tulaich was easy enough to find.

Heading from the summit to the descent route down Coire na Tulaich

Coire na Tulaich is the easiest way off “The Buachaille”, leading straight back to the start point at Altnafeadh.  It’s a place to exercise care though, as it’s steep and eroded in places.  In winter it requires much more caution and judgement – there have been several avalanche accidents here in recent years, some of them fatal.  No snow today though, and it didn’t seem all that long before we were back in the car heading back to Carlisle.

The top of the descent route down Coire na Tulaich

Text and images © Paul Shorrock

Posted in 1. Scotland, Mountain Safety | Tagged , , , , , , | 7 Comments

#35 – Not “The Coast to Coast Walk”

Robin Hood’s Bay from Ravenscar

 When Alfred Wainwright wrote his guide to “A Coast to Coast Walk” in 1972 he could never have imagined that thirty years later the route would be described as the second best trail walk in the world.  At 190 miles in length, and crossing three National Parks, it’s no pushover, and twelve days is considered a respectable time to complete the walk.   Chris and I didn’t have twelve spare days, but we were just down the road from the C2C finish point at Robin Hood’s Bay, so a circuit including part of the Cleveland Way was the plan.

The “Cinder Track” heading out of Ravenscar

 We started from Ravenscar and took the old disused Scarborough to Whitby railway line, known as “The Cinder Track”.  Next stop was to be the stunningly attractive fishing village of Robin Hood’s Bay, where after dropping in at one of the pubs we would follow the Cleveland Way coastal path back to Ravenscar.  One good thing about railways is that they tend to follow gradual gradients; one bad thing about railways is that they literally go ‘round the houses’ to avoid said gradients.

Robin Hood’s Bay from “The Cinder Track”

Close up of the sprawling old village of Robin Hood’s Bay

 The total length of the walk was about 14 kms, but much of this was in the sinuous curves of “The Cinder Track” as it followed the route of the old railway.  The line was closed in 1965 as part of the infamous ‘Beeching’ cuts, which decimated the British rail network.  The old Scarborough to Whitby line now has a new lease of life as a track for cyclists and walkers, and we made rapid progress to Robin Hood’s Bay.

The old village of Robin Hood’s Bay almost tumbles downhill to the sea, and at high water you can just about step off the main street into salt water.  The old odd-shaped houses nestle next to one another, separated only by narrow ‘ginnels’ or passageways;  include the red roof tiles to the mix, and the village looks as though it should be in Italy, not in no-nonsense Yorkshire.  Unfortunately, the spin-off from looking picturesque is that many of the cottages are holiday homes, and in winter the place is a ghost town.

The old village, looking more Italian than Yorkshire

Our usual choice of pub…The Dolphin

The author and ‘Mist’ outside The Bay Hotel, ‘pretending’ that they have just finished the C2C

A hot days walking, and no pressure to be anywhere, meant that we had time for a ‘pint’.  Our usual choice of pub is The Dolphin, a place with great atmosphere, but as we had never tried the alternative ‘Bay Hotel’ with its ‘Wainwrights Bar’, we thought we would give it a go.  The end of the C2C is right outside The Bay Hotel, especially if you arrive at high water – even the ice cream van has to make a strategic withdrawal as the tide comes in.

The tiny cove at Boggle Hole

Ups and downs on the coastal path

Having done the pub and the beach it was time to be off again.  Don’t let anyone ever try to tell you that coastal walking is a soft option.  It’s great striding out on the high cliffs, but every stream that crosses your path almost always involves height loss and gain.  This was the case on our return leg with steep little valleys across our way at Boggle Hole and Stoupe Beck Sands.  We finished on an uphill as well, having to gain height to get back to Ravenscar.

Looking back across Robin Hood’s Bay to the Old Village

The day was hardly a high-mountain challenge or the C2C, but I reckon we earned that ‘pint’ at The Bay Hotel.  We also knocked off a small section of the Cleveland Way on our return leg – all that and good weather as well!

On the Cleveland Way, with Ravenscar in the distance

p.s.  Thanks to all my regulars for reading the latest post, and welcome to those who have recently found the blog.  If you have enjoyed it why not share on Facebook, Tweet on Twitter or subscribe for email updates.  Here every week, first thing Monday morning.

Text and images © Paul Shorrock

Posted in 4. Northern England | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

#34 – The Other Borrowdale revisited

Looking west up "The Other Borrowdale"

I had finished blog #31 (The Other Borrowdale) with the words, “…This walk only followed the northern ridge, and as we returned to the car there was already talk about coming back for the southern ridge…”  3½ weeks later we were back.  Last weeks prediction of heat-wave conditions for Ingleborough had ended in rain, but once again the Met-Men were forecasting fine weather, so a return trip to the Howgills was on.

Borrowdale with the slopes of Whinfell Common on the left

Yes, I did say the Howgills.  For those who haven’t seen post #31, this Borrowdale is in the old county of Westmorland, and runs from the A685 (between Tebay and Grayrigg) to the A6 (between Kendal and Shap).  These are quiet, lonely hills, where you rarely see a soul, and they are not really typical of the Lake District or even their nearby neighbours, the Howgills; this is quite simply, “The Other Borrowdale”.

Near the start of the easy valley track

Flower meadows near the ruins of High Borrowdale Farm

We started at the A685 by following an easy track that runs all the way up the valley to the A6.  The walking was easy and a height gain of over 50 metres in the first 2 kms was not even noticed.  We soon passed the farmhouse at Low Borrowdale, followed soon after by the ruins at High Borrowdale.  Not far beyond there we came to the flower meadows we had admired 3½ weeks ago – they had impressed then, but since our visit they had, literally, bloomed.

The flower meadows, looking towards Borrowdale Edge

...the gradual height gain became a little more serious

The view from the first summit of Ashstead Fell

When we reached the A6 there was a feeling that the walk was about halfway through – this was far from the case, though, and the gradual height gain became a little more serious.  We started with Ashstead Fell with its three separate summits.  From the third summit we had a good view of the next objective – Mabbin Crag, our highest point of the day at a mere 482 metres.  However, a surprise lay in wait as we left the summit, in the form of a ten-metre rock step.  The downclimb was easy enough, and too short to be a difficulty or, unfortunately, an attraction.

The ridge heading east to the third summit of Ashstead Fell

View to Mabbin Fell from the third summit of Ashstead Fell

An easy climb down the 10 metre rock-step near the summit of Ashstead Fell

From there it was a switchback of a ridge walk.  Tree-clad Mabbin Crag came next, with a devious and damp descent to the next col.  From there it was up again to Castle Crag.  ‘Complete-ists’ will probably make the short detour to the summit, but we didn’t bother.  A descent followed to another col before climbing again to Whinfell Beacon.  The beacon has been used as such in the past, and there is a small plantation of trees below the summit, once used to provide the wood for the signal fires – the only issue is the 50 metre ascent with half a tree on your back.  From the beacon an easy track led us on to two modern day beacons – the repeater station and mobile phone masts near Grayrigg Forest.

Looking east from the summit of Mabbin Crag

The view east from Whinfell Beacon towards the repeater station mast

The repeater station near Grayrigg Forest

If you drive much in the North of England you will have seen these masts silhouetted on the skyline as you drive north on the M6 between junctions 37 and 38.  They don’t look any prettier close up, but you do have a mobile signal to call your mates to tell them where you are.  The masts also gave us a clear signal of something else, that it was time to return to the valley.  It had been a hot day, and with more up and down than expected, and we were more than ready for the steady descent pointing us back down to Borrow Beck, and the start point.

Final view of Borrowdale before the descent to the valley

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Text and images © Paul Shorrock

Posted in 4. Northern England | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

#33 – Ingleborough from Clapham

Ingleborough from the southeast

It’s not often that the weatherman predicts a two-day heat wave for the UK.  At 22° Celsius, it was shaping up to be our hottest day of the year so far, but not everywhere, though.  The Lake District was forecast to be cloudy in places, with rain likely later on.  On the other hand, West Yorkshire was predicted to have temperatures rising to the mid-twenties.  So, somewhere in the Yorkshire Dales seemed to be a good idea.

Approaching Trow Gill

The Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District are fairly close in places, and sometimes they even share the same weather pattern, so why did I think that Ingleborough (Western Dales, and near to the Lakes) would be a better bet than  the eastern side of the Dales?  As we arrived at Clapham the temp was showing 21°, but the sky was overcast, and the air felt like a warm, moist blanket.

Trow Gill

Our route started by heading for the impressive Trow Gill.  The experts are undecided whether this is a melt-water channel or a collapsed cave, but the argument is, literally, academic.  Most of us just enjoy the sense of majesty, whilst sport climbers will head for some of the bolt-protected routes on the side walls; definitely out of my league, though we had an interesting trip here 1½ years ago, when a sharp freeze turned the upper part of the Gill into a minor ice route!

The upper section of Trow Gill

Out on the open fell - near Gaping Gill

After the gill, a short walk by a wall brings you to a pair of stiles giving access to the open fell – one of the main points of interest is the nearby pothole of Gaping Gill, or ‘GG’ as it is known in the caving world.  From the outside it just looks like a large hole.  What isn’t immediately obvious is that you are looking into on of the largest underground chambers in the UK, with a volume comparable to York Minster – the water plunging in free-fall down the hole is England’s highest unbroken waterfall.

Gaping Gill Main Chamber – © Bob Smith

Gaping Gill – © Peter Smyly

Ordinary mortals can enter ‘GG’ without risk to life or limb – every year the Bradford Pothole Club and the Craven Pothole Club organise winch meets where, traditionally, you get a free ride down.  To get out again you have to pay, and most people do!  There are also other cave entrances nearby, with routes of varying difficulty leading to the Main Chamber of ‘GG’


Forty years ago I was a member of a minor (now long forgotten) caving club.  As we didn’t have a permit to go caving in the area, we decided on a ‘pirate’ trip.  These were great fun at the time, usually involving a quick pint before closing time, then setting off across the hillside in the dark – if you think about it, potholing at night is no more difficult than in the day.  Our route was the fairly modest ‘Bar Pot’ with a long ladder pitch of 30 metres, which led us eventually to the Main Chamber of ‘GG’, and the whole thing was completed without incident, followed by a long lie-in the next day.


Looking back to Gaping Gill from the Little Ingleborough path

Heading up to Little Ingleborough, our pace a bit too slow for ‘Mist’

Having seen ‘GG’ many times, Chris and I carried on heading up to Little Ingleborough, our pace a bit too slow for ‘Mist’ – situation normal, then.  This route isn’t the most popular, but was still fairly busy.  The ascent continues gaining height gradually until you suddenly appear on the summit plateau.

The path to the summit, looking back to Little Ingleborough

Remains of the hill fort walls, 2000 years old

Ingleborough is one of the most recognizable mountains in the North of England, and can easily be picked out from several directions.  Two thousand years ago the Brigantes built a hill fort here, and the remains of their walls can still be picked out as you reach the plateau.  Another pile of stones marks the site of a ‘hotel’ built in 1830 to provide refreshments to visitors.  At the official opening a drunken mob started to demolish the building, a task later completed over several months by other visitors and the weather.

The shelter at the summit of Ingleborough

The path to Horton from the summit plateau of Ingleborough

As a refreshing ‘pint’ was clearly out of the question, we settled for our sandwiches before heading off down the Horton path.  The popularity of the Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge is evident by the eroded state of the path.  The subject of path “improvement” is controversial, but I would rather see a well-laid stone ‘causeway’ path than a ten metres wide swamp.  Some disagree with that view – they are usually the ones wearing muddy gaiters and unhappy expressions.

Eroded path below the summit

The descent to Sulber became wetter and muddier, and as we headed past the head of Crummack Dale the rain arrived.  Apparently back in Bradford ‘the sun was cracking the slabs’, but at least we had warm rain – roll on the next heat wave.

"Waterproofs out" - on the return section looking back towards Ingleborough

Text and images © Paul Shorrock – Images by Bob Smith and Peter Smyly from the Geograph Project and reproduced here under Creative Commons Licence.

Posted in 3. Yorkshire Dales, General Interest | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

#32 – Fountains Fell

The twin cairns on the Pennine Way near the summit

 Went up Fountains Fell – didn’t see one fountain!

In fact, there aren’t any fountains – The mountain is named after Fountains Abbey near Ripon.  The abbey owned quite a bit of land in this area and Fountains Fell and the surrounding area was used for sheep grazing.  The monks also had a fishery at Malham Tarn, and used the “Monks Road” from Arncliffe to Malham Tarn as part of their route from the fishery to the abbey – very handy if the Abbot fancied a trout for his tea!

A steady and gradual ascent

Repaired path with steps and stone footbridge

Most of the people walking around here nowadays are following the Pennine Way rather than the Monks Road.  The PW crosses Fountains Fell almost (but not quite) at the summit, and most of the ascent is steady and gradual.  The route has taken some hammer over the years though, and in several places the path has been repaired and improved.  It was a bit like rush hour on our walk up, as we were passed by two groups of teenagers well loaded down with big rucksacks.

Rush hour! Group of youngsters on the Pennine Way

Satisfied customer at the top - 'Mist' taking time out

The twin cairns next to the Pennine Way are the nearest that walkers on that route get to the summit, which is around 10 metres higher.  Today, though, we were on a mission.  First of all we had a wander round the old mine shafts on the summit plateau.  The miners were after coal, used to smelt lead also mined in the local area – not far from the shafts we found what looked like a stone shed, but was in fact an oven for ‘coking’ coal.  Not far beyond there is the aptly named ‘Pile of Stones’ very near to the real summit at 668 metres.

Open mine shaft

The ‘Pile of Stones’

From the summit a track by a stone wall descends southwest, heading towards the main potholing area on Fountains Fell near Fornah Gill, with Gingling Hole and Magnetometer Pot being perhaps the best known.  Not for us, though.  Instead, we were heading southeast, first of all along the plateau then eventually descending to the Trig Point above Knowe Fell, giving views across to Malham Tarn in the distance.

Start of the descent

The view across to Malham Tarn in the distance

However, the best of the views were behind us as we walked this section, namely the view back to Pen y Ghent.  I’m more used to seeing Pen y Ghent from Horton in Ribblesdale, and the less than familiar view towards the east side of the mountain provided constant interest – the eroded path up through the crags of the South Ridge was clearly visible, even without using zoom on the camera.

Pen y Ghent to the northwest

Close up of the eroded path up the South Ridge of Pen y Ghent

The gradual descent down the fell was over fairly featureless ground, but a stone wall followed by a wire fence provided a good navigational handrail.  Before long we were at the Trig Point, and we stopped briefly for a photo before heading over to the wire fence to descend Knowe Fell.

Trig Point above Knowe Fell

Here the afternoon was livened up somewhat when I found that the fence was electrified!  A crossing point nearby saw us over without further incident, though we thought it wiser to pick the dog up and pass her over.  From the fence it was all downhill back to the car. The last time we were here we hadn’t seen much at all, but today the views stretched northeast to the hills of Swaledale and southwest as far as Pendle and beyond, but the stars of the show were, as usual, the ‘Yorkshire Three Peaks’ – Ingleborough, Pen y Ghent and Whernside.

The Yorkshire Three Peaks – Ingleborough (left) Pen y Ghent (centre) and Whernside (right)

Text and images © Paul Shorrock

Posted in 3. Yorkshire Dales | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment