Monday, 3 September 2012

Wild Boar Fell & Swarth Fell

Wild Boar Fell & Swarth Fell

...because he can...

The Nab from the path up to High Dolphinsty


This walk has been much anticipated and today was the day. Monday, 3rd September 2012, 'We're walking up Wild Boar fell'. The MWIS forecast was looking promising.
The final few metres to The Nab

As we started our walk, feather-light cloud was hovering around the Nab of Wild Boar Fell. We crossed Thrang Bridge and started across the fields to Hazelgill Farm. From here the route steepened as we walked under the Settle-Carlisle rail line. Heading due west, we followed a bridleway over rough ground up the fellside. We noticed limestone pavement to our left. The route steepened as we walked the last 300 metres to the wall at High Dolphinsty.
Trig point - Wild Boar Fell

Cloud was swirling around near the top of Wild Boar Fell as we headed south from High Dolphinsty and steadily walked upwards. An hour and a half after starting our walk, we reached the Tumulus at The Nab. Not much of a view. Clouds were being blown across the fellside from the west and the trig point was not visible. Although a muddy, grassy path was visible for some 200 metres, we took a bearing to ensure that we headed towards the trig point, which was some 450 metres distant. It was very wet underfoot and care was needed to ensure that we didn't get a bootful. We were at the trig point before very long, cloud still swirling around and visibility still quite poor. Given the conditions, we didn't linger, so we retraced our steps using a back bearing to the tumulus at The Nab. 
AB, Wild Boar standard and cloud

Again we headed almost south along the top of Yoadcomb Scar until we reached the tall cairns along the ridge. They appeared mysterious set against the cloud, standing guard on the edge of the hillside. Although thinner than the cairns on Nine Standards Rigg, they were every bit as beautiful. I suspect they are less visited too. From here we caught sight of the trig point in the distance, surrounded by a small wall as the cloud lifted. The three-walled windshelter near the cairns was a great place for a coffee break. Down in the Mallerstang valley, it was sunny. 
Swarth Fell

We climbed a ladder stile over a wire fence and followed it over rough, wet fellside. Eventually, we descended from the Wild Boar plateau with the wire fence on our right until it became a stone wall. Here, there was a stretch of water to our left, but the wall to our right was our guide up onto Swarth Fell. We left the wall to the summit cairn for the traditional photo before dropping down a little out of the wind amongst the rocks for lunch. The cloud had lifted and we had a clear view of the Wild Boar cairns and the valley of Mallerstang. Spotting a red anorak in the distance, we quickly set off walking parallel with the wall some 50 metres to our right. A clear, soggy grass path stretched out in front of us. The wall to our right became a wire fence once more as we ascended up onto Swarth Fell Pike. At the point where there was a stile in the fence, we turned north-east and made our way down the fellside, crossing Smithy Gill. It was wet and slippery with springy vegetation underfoot.

We crossed the Mallerstang Road at Aisgill Moor Cottages. Here, the road was decorated with roadsigns welcoming us to Cumbria in one direction, whilst proclaiming us to be in North Yorkshire, the Yorkshire Dales National Park and Richmondshire in the other. We crossed the road in 'no man's land', before walking over a bridge which crossed the railway line. 150 metres along a bridleway brought us to Hellgill Force. It was a pretty spot. Trees to the side of the waterfall were already covered with bright red berries. From here, a public footpath took us up past Hellgill Farm to a bridge of the same name.
Hellgill Force

Joining a byway, we walked northwards along a broad green swarth (Hellgill Wold) with sheep grazing on either side. As we walked along, to our left, the top of Wild Boar Fell and Swarth Fell was cloaked in cloud once again. Soon, we arrived at the Watercut, and from then on our route along the Pennine Bridleway gradually descended to the Mallerstang road. 
Wild Boar Fell from the Pennine Bridleway

It had been a fabulous walk taking in two of the Yorkshire 600s that we'd not walked before. Not another soul had passed us all day. No rain. Not too hot. Lovely picnic.

Monday, 3rd september 2012 - what a great day for AB - ...because he could.

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