The ‘Dales 30’ are the mountains over 2,000 feet within the Yorkshire Dales National Park. There are 30 of them. A growing number of people have now completed all 30 and are looking for an additional challenge. I have named another 10 excellent mountains in the area which completers should climb.
The criteria for the ‘Dales 30’ was originally clearly defined. To add extra mountains would involve changing the criteria. I could either lower the height for which a mountain/hill would qualify or/and adding extra mountains of note from close to the National Park Boundary.
My initial thoughts are to add 5 of each, bringing in a secondary list of 10. At the end of the day I am really after including the best mountains of the area that offer an enjoyable walk and a satisfying conclusion.
Please let me know (via email or the comments section below) if you feel there are other ‘more worthy’ mountains. Alternatively any other thoughts to change the list.
Nine Standards Rigg was originally included in the “Dales 30”. It met the height criteria and some of the lower slopes were inside the National Park boundary. However it was replaced by Calf Top when Calf Top was re-measured and found to be over the 2,000 feet height criteria.
Nine Standards Rigg however is a worthy mountain (beloved, or not, by those on the Coast to Coast long distance trail) and lies between Kirkby Stephen and Keld in Swaledale.
Details of the Best Walk
Dufton Pike is a little further afield but still part of the Pennine chain. It is a graceful little fell, totally out of keeping with the bleak moorland it borders. The climb is short but steep and the views across to the Lake District very impressive.
To the south of the Dales lies a area of upland moors which have become famous through folklore. ‘On Ilkley Moor B’ahtat’ has been sung for generations and describes an ancient legend of love and hats! The area is criss crossed by a myriad of paths and the highest point is not particularly dramatic but, coupled worth a visit to the Cow and Calf rocks, makes for an excellent day out.
Details of the Best Walk
The Forest of Bowland is a large area of rarely visited countryside that borders the western fringes of the Yorkshire Dales. The best mountain in the area is Fair Snape Hill, not so much for itself but due to the wonderful walk between it and the smaller hill of Parlick to the south. The trig point of Fair Snape is to the west overlooking the Lancashire plains and with views across the Irish Sea to the mountains of Wales.
Pendle Hill has a very distinctive and recognizable profile. This is partly due to its isolation from other hills but also the flat top has many similarities with nearby Pen-y-Ghent and Ingleborough. It also has an infamous history, being one of the last places that witches were murdered for very little wrong doing.
These two reasons are only part of the reason for its popularity, the main being the proximity to larger areas of population. It is mainly climbed from the high road to the east, an easy and quick route up. This is a waste however and the longer climbs described below are much more enjoyable.
The ‘mini Matterhorn’ of the Yorkshire Dales lies in the heart of Wensleydale, close to Semer Water. The distinctive flat plateau of the summit was an obvious place for the ancients to build their look out posts and forts, today it is the views which are most appealing. The walk itself is not difficult and offers an enjoyable day in the Yorkshire Dales.
Aye Gill Pike is a long, broad grassy ridge, reminiscent of a boat’s upturned keel. It dominates the northern flanks of Dentdale. Its counterparts on the southern flanks of Dentdale are Whernside and Great Coum, more dramatic and higher. However Aye Gill Pike is quieter and fully deserves a visit, as much for the views of these Dales giants as anything. There is also good views of the Howgills.
Despite a few reservations (in particular the ban on dogs) Simon’s Seat has to be included in any list of the best mountains in the Dales. It dominates the area to the east of Bolton Abbey and the River Wharfe. The approaches via the Valley of Desolation are some of the best in the Dales. However it is the large, distinctive, sandstone boulders that litter the higher slopes which give Simon’s Seat its main character.
The smallest hill of the proposed group Sharp Haw is actually quite popular. Its distinctive cone shaped summit is a recognizable feature for anyone travelling in the Skipton area. The fact the hill can be easily climbed from Skipton is an added bonus.
Kisdon Hill is one of my favourite places in the Yorkshire Dales. It lies in Upper Swaledale, separated from other high land by a series of embryonic rivers which cut a deep divide. Kisdon Hill stands isolated, almost like an individual block of Toblerone chocolate. In addition the hill is surrounded by 3 of the most lovely villages in the Dales; Keld, Thwaite and Muker.
The ‘Dales 30’ provide an excellent challenge, maybe some extra mountains will add to it.
Enjoy your walking
Just when I thought I’d exhausted the Yorkshire Dales, you’ve reminded me of some paths I need to revisit.
Shame Simon’s Seat doesn’t allow dogs (like you I have a hairy walking companion).
Thanks for a great site. See you on the fells.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed completing the Dales 30 and found your route suggestions in your book excellent and very helpful. Doing them all was a great way to really get to know the Dales fells. I very much look forward to doing these next 10 suggestions.
One minor point – your photo from Kisdon ( also a favourite of mine) is actually of Keld, not Muker 🙂
All 10 look good
We’re can I fined the list of the top 30’
The list is here. https://where2walk.co.uk/home/walking-challenges/the-dales-30/
Also includes details on how to buy the Dales 30 book.
Thanks we’ve already done five of these, but will add the other five onto our growing list of walks to do!
Enjoyed doing the Dales 30. Currently done 15/75 of the Peak District Hills from that book!
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
Notify me of follow-up comments by email.
Notify me of new posts by email.