Sunday, 11 November 2012

Great Knoutberry Hill

Great Knoutberry Hill

6 Miles 

The forecast was looking good (no rain), so it was decided to give the boots another outing. Actually, I'm not sure if it was to test out the boots, or see how the feet would feel walking in them on two consecutive days! We parked up at Dent Station (The highest mainline station in England) and pulled our boots on.

The downside to this walk was always going to be the amount of tarmac walking to make the route circular. All 1.5 miles of it at the start. However, very little traffic was about, so it was about as pleasurable as road walking gets. It was downhill all the way to Lea Yat. Dentdale looked peaceful and verdant as we descended.

Dentdale in mist
The remnants of mist were still stubbornly lingering further along in the valley bottom. As we reached Lea Yat, two chaps were making their way up the hill towards the station. (So conveniently placed 4.5 miles from the village of Dent!) We turned left at the T junction and crossed over the bridge (SD760868).
River Dee
We now had the pretty River Dee to accompany us on our left. Still on the road, we made quick progress, passing the pub at Cow Dub until we reached Stone House Bridge. (This section of the road is part of the Dales Way long distance path.) 

Having crossed the very narrow stone bridge at SD771859, we left the road to join a bridleway. Not the sort of bridleway that appears bold on the map and then you find no trace of on the ground. No... this bridleway was walled and small number of houses abutted it. Great joy! The most prominent feature of this place was the 11 arched Arten Gill viaduct which towered over Arten Gill Beck a little further up.
Arten Gill viaduct
Our way was clear. Numerous water courses traversed the bridleway in a managed kind of way. At some point in the past, a great deal of effort had been put in through the careful setting of cobbles and bricks to channel the water which ran from the hillside down to the Beck. It was good walking. Behind us, we could see Whernside, topping all around it. All the time the bridleway was gradually climbing upwards. At SD792861, recently weathered wooden signposts proclaimed that we were crossing the Pennine Bridleway. The Pennine Bridleway to our left followed the course of an old disused colliery road, While to our right, it followed a wall across to Newby Head. We wanted neither of these and continued on our bridleway until we reached a wall junction at SD794862. It was here that we had our coffee stop and a few nuts, sitting on the concrete stepped stile.. As we looked over to the south east, we could easily recognise the familiar stepped profile of Pen - Y -Ghent. It's summit was trimmed with cloud.
Pen -Y -Ghent (in the distance) from Arten Gill bridleway
Another walker also paused for refreshment and it seemed that we were on the same route. He, with a train to catch and us looking to take in the views and take photos, there was soon some distance between us. Our route was straight forward, following a wall boundary up the hillside. It was rather sloppy underfoot in places and we needed to take care not to get caught out by the lovely light green sphagnum moss and peaty patches with sparse vegetation. We could still see Pen - Y -Ghent and Whernside, but old 'flat top' as we call him (Ingleborough) was brooding in cloud.

In less than half an hour, we were at the triangulation column which stood surrounded by a peaty pool. After the usual photo, we hopped over two fences via simple stiles to reach a windshelter with a seat on either side.(SD788871) This was an unexpected bonus and was the ideal place for lunch. From where sat, we had views to Wensleydale, Widdale, Baugh Fell, Wild Boar Fell and Swarth Fell. Despite the hours looking at maps, I'm always surprised at how different parts of our countryside links together. On the other side of the wind shelter were the two chaps we had seen walking up towards the station from Lea Yat, at the start of our walk. It seemed there were five of us all on the same route today, just walking in different directions. We appraised each other on the state of the ground underfoot yet to be traversed and continued on our way. (We were bound to cross each other again, we felt sure.)
Path from Great Knoutberry trig point
Our route down simply followed the wire fence all the way to join up with the Pennine Bridleway. Our walk down was not without interest. Over to our right was Widdale Great Tarn, which looked dramatic set against a dark sky and a light coloured hillside. Also on our right, at Pikes Edge, the hillside was littered with rocks.
Boulders on Pikes Edge
Before our descent steepened, over to our left were some interesting cairns which we went over to investigate. One, at least, was more than the height of a person. There were other, smaller cairns on this little bit of a plateau. A hangliding enthusiast was taking advantage of what little breeze there was just above the plateau further along. We watched for a couple of minutes before heading down over the tussocky, kind to the knees, ground.
Surreal without seeing the person suspended below!
At SD776874, we passed through a couple of farm gates to join the Pennine Bridleway. We turned north and walked for 600m or so to another farm gate and Galloway Gate at SD779880. We turned left down this minor road (becoming known as the Coal Road further on). We passed the coniferous plantation on Dodderham Moss and a functional breeze block sheepfold. Over to our left, in the distance, Ingleborough's distinctive shape was visible for the first time on our walk.
Ingleborough from Coal Road
Dent station was now in sight, looking resplendent with its maroon and cream paintwork. We crossed over the railway bridge to the car.

It had been a gentle walk with some lovely views. It was good to see that others were making the most of a fine day, but it was by no means crowded. This part of the Yorkshire Dales National Park is one of its quieter corners, to a part that we will undoubtedly return.
Dent station
 Just in case you were wondering... the two chaps... we passed them in the car as they were heading back to theirs. They'd enjoyed their walk too! 

As for the boots... it's going to take a little while before they feel like a natural part of the foot, but they did a sterling job and kept the feet dry. 

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